Confessions of an Ideal Protein Coach - RESTARTING (again...)

Hi Everyone, It's Sherene :) 

I'm on Day 2 of Phase 1 (again) and I've made a big decision:  I'm going to BLOG my progress in order to gain a level of accountability that is hard for me to find in any other way. I'm going to be as transparent as possible… I'm going to spill it all!  My successes & failures, my mental and spiritual process… as well as my results.

This is freaking me out a little bit… But I know it's not much harder for me to write about my (latest) restart than it is for my clients to come back to see us after they've gained weight back during maintenance.  Like they often do, I feel embarrassed. I want to explain what happened to make sure you judge me fairly…  I long for acceptance and understanding, especially since I have so much trouble giving those things to myself.  This is the same anxiety my clients feel when they have to restart, so part of why I'm blogging this is in solidarity with them… And also to be sure you know this struggle is REAL for ALL of us - coaches too.  I am convinced that weight loss and maintenance are a life-long process and that we all need each other along the way.

How did you gain back 40lbs? What happened?

When I lost weight the first time on Ideal Protein, I was scared for my life and very motivated to get well. My life was quiet and predictable. I had no kids, a solid routine, lots of support… For a large portion of that year I didn't even work.  My best friend calls it my prior life "bubble."  Sticking to Phase 1 in my bubble was easy.  I planned, prepared, limited my activities, rarely ate out or travelled. When I did eat out or travel, it was on my terms and I could structure my itinerary and activities to suit my needs.  Everything went smoothly, from losing over 100 lbs to the surgery I had right afterward to remove many pounds of loose skin.  

And then my life changed.

My 20 year marriage came to an end at about the same time I began recovering from surgery. The painful physical recovery combined with the grief and stress of divorce, as well as selling my house of 7 years and moving out on my own for the first time in two decades led to a very deep depression.  My doctor put me on an anti-depressant which helped, but my weight began creeping up shortly thereafter.  I can't blame the med entirely...  I also found myself turning to my old comfort foods to cope with my pain.  And those comfort foods brought on cravings. And those cravings sparked an eating disorder.  I found myself in uncharted waters - feeling ashamed when I'd lose control of my eating and frightened about my future.

I regained about 25 lbs over the following year before I found equilibrium and stability in my life.  Life started to be good again as I struck out on my own, but I was unhappy with my higher weight. I fully intended to jump right back on Phase 1 to take care of it… But suddenly it wasn't so easy. 

Over the subsequent two years, my life changed into an unrecognizable adventure - filled with people and social activities, parties, dates, cooking for myself, traveling -- FUN!  My desire to pair food with my fun was as strong as ever, and compounded by my compulsive eating.  If I ate carbs, I wanted more.  Wanting more led to shame and guilt and impulsive, punitive restarts on Phase 1.  But these restarts didn't stick… I was grasping at straws, only to fall short and then decide that I'd just do it later… when there was less going on.  But that time never came. In fact, my life got more full and busy, not less. 

Out of desperation, I entered a 12 step program for my food addiction (which helped a LOT).  At the same time, my new Love and I decided to move in together.  Thus began my new life, complete with a couple of wonderful kiddos who visited us on the weekends.   Good changes mixed with chaos and upheaval:  combining households, getting used to part-time weekend parenting, dealing with some drama from an Ex… But it was glorious!  We celebrated, and enjoyed a wonderful summer!  The result was a brand new, full, raw, unpredictable and authentic LIFE.  Oh, and about 18 more lbs, putting me 43 lbs heavier than I wanted to be.

And that's where I am today.  Humbled. No longer in denial. Excited about the future but needing help in the present.  A spiritual practice (found through my 12-step work) was the help my mind needed.  Love and family were the help my soul needed.  Phase 1 is the help my body needs. So that's why I'm up here today - baring my soul the same way my clients do when they come in for our help.  We aren't so different, after all.

What's the Plan?

My goal is to drop 43 lbs. I restarted Phase 1 yesterday.  I will be on Phase 1 through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years - hoping to average 10-12 lbs a month the way I did the first time. 

I plan to blog a couple of times a week about my process.  If I think I've found something helpful, I'll share it. If I'm struggling, I'll tell you. I promise to show up whether I'm doing great or not so great - the same thing I ask of my clients. My hope is that this will keep me focused, on track and motivated.  I want to pull back the curtain on myself so I can't hide behind my coach persona and reveal myself as just another dieter… imperfect, hopeful, serious.  And perhaps in this transparency, I'll inspire and help a few readers along the way.

I feel excited. Optimistic. Anxious. Hopeful. All of the things I sense from my clients as they start and restart Phase 1.  I've cleaned out my refrigerator and stocked it with Phase 1 food.  I've started my food journal and begun planning my meals for the week. I've boiled a whole pot of eggs for quick, portable protein snacks. I've put it out to the world what I'm doing - for accountability and support. I feel good about this. I'm ready.

Wish me luck!