The sheer genius, beauty and flexibility of Ideal Protein boggles my mind. I've always said I thought it was the PERFECT weight loss method, and my admiration only increases over time.
Even for someone like me who has deeper metabolic challenges than the average bear, with deep modification (not deviation), it is once again saving my life!
Most of you who've followed my blog know that I've struggled to keep weight off since my initial over 100lb loss. My struggle has been much harder than most of my clients' and I've worked really hard to try and understand why. After extensive research and medical tests, I came to understand I have Metabolism Type B, and combined with PCOS and a long history of carbohydrate addiction, I've developed very severe insulin resistance and "Reactive Hypoglycemia." My biochemistry has my body locked in a vicious cycle of cravings, blood sugar instability and weight gain. My deeply impaired metabolism has been particularly intractable and hard to heal despite strict adherence to IP Phase 1 and Maintenance principles. Trying to use typical guidelines has caused me to fall back into binge eating, sugar addiction, and created tremendous difficulty for me each time I try restarting and sticking to the protocol…
I am in the tiny subset of people for whom Ideal Protein Phases 1-4 (as it exists today) is not deep enough. I have to make Phase 1 more strict (i.e. remove all sweetened products and a few other "extreme" steps), and modify Phases 2-4 (Stabilization and Maintenance) to ensure I don't head back toward insulin resistance and weight gain. It's been difficult to get my mind around this. I've grieved, been in denial, fought, said f*ck it a few times, but kept trying to make peace with what I now know is my reality.
It's taken some time because I have this pernicious fantasy that if I just find the right way to eat (for a few weeks or months), it will somehow "fix" me and I'll be able to go back to indulging in sweet things again. I also fall for the promises of low-carb diet gurus who suggest that certain sweeteners are ok -- so I try them and figure out the hard way that they aren't. Not for me. For me, it's not the particular sweeteners, but sensation of sweetness, that is the problem. Each time I experiment, I am pulled so far backward that I have to start over. My binge behavior is always just a few sweet mouthfuls away. Dormant but not gone. Hiding and waiting. Like a crafty wild animal -- driven by a primal and unrelenting desire for freedom. Barely contained in its cage. Always on the verge of escaping.
Acknowledging this is painful. It's depressing. But if I'm nothing else, I'm persistent. Relentless. I promised myself years ago I'd never give up and I haven't.
And it's working!! On my very strict and heavily modified protocol, I'm down approx 20 lbs from my top regained weight and with minor setbacks, am making steady progress back toward my goal weight. More importantly, I KNOW that what I'm doing is healing my metabolism. It's creating metabolic resilience sensitivity which will be my KEY to keeping it off this time. I know I've found the missing pieces - for ME.
But it's not easy. There are some days when I am around others who are eating low-carb foods which are perfectly "legal" for most, but would send me spiraling back into biological Armageddon, and I have to breathe my way through it. It's even hard to be around some of my old favorite sweetened Ideal Protein products at the office -- Peanut Butter Bars, Chocolate Drink Mix, etc. I often just have to skip food events all together to just survive this strict regimen. I remind myself in maintenance it will be easier. I will have more variety and choices -- but I will still have to avoid those sweetened products that I used to look so forward to. And I have to work on my morale constantly to not feel depressed by this.
Every day I have to start with 5-15 minutes of meditation on my WHY. I also have to do spiritual centering and alignment or I find myself feeling sorry for myself and becoming resentful. This journey is as much mind as it is matter. It feels like walking a tightrope -- but what makes that image bearable is imagining that it is a tightrope leading me out of the darkness and into the light, metabolically speaking. Everything I have read tells me that strict adherence will pay off with major improvements in my metabolic capacity and sensitivity. And everything I have read says that is a KEY to surviving to a healthy, ripe old age -- free from the ravages of metabolic disease.
I am feeling great and peaceful (despite my occasional, minor thought storms about food). I am feeling relieved and hopeful. I wanted to shout my gratitude for Ideal Protein to the world! It's a god-send and the most adaptable, health-focused, supportive weight loss method I've ever found and I'm so grateful to Dr. Chanh for creating it!