Looking back to 2013 (the year following my big weight loss), somewhere in my mind I thought I was fixed. Even though I warned others not to fall prey to that kind of thinking, I fell prey to it myself. The bravado of having lost so much -- so successfully -- and then to have capped it off with surgery to make my loose skin match my new, permanently slim body… Along with spending a LOT of money on a new wardrobe… I did everything I could to cement in my progress. I tried to make it permanent by making outside changes. I didn't know how, back then, to make permanent INSIDE changes…
So it didn't seem like a very big deal that I indulged in a few too many cheat days in a row for the first couple of months after I hit my goal… After all, I was going through a divorce and it was stressful. Plus, I'd earned some indulgence after over a year on Phase 1! I owned an Ideal Protein clinic. I was a great coach. I knew what I was doing. I just needed a breather and then I'd get right back to my clean maintenance plan.
A few months later, I'd put some weight back on but that was normal, right? Ok, then a little bit more over the Holidays, but HEY! I could restart Phase 1 whenever I wanted. I still looked good. I was still many sizes below where I'd started. Right after the next big event/holiday/vacation, I told myself, I'd get right back on track. No problem.
A few months later, my beautiful new wardrobe wasn't fitting me anymore and I had to buy some "temporary" clothes. I swore to myself I'd only have to wear them long enough for a quick stint on Phase 1 to put me right back into my small sizes. But then I had to buy another size up. I rationalized that manufacturer size labels varied and I wasn't *really* 2 sizes up from my lowest... Except then I went up another one.
Once I started gaining, I stopped weighing. I started buying clothes to hide rather than flatter my body. Again. In my mind, I was always just a month, two months, three months away from getting back to my goal. No problem. Any time I wanted I could just head straight back down to my goal.
I can't even count how many "restarts" I tried along the way. Unofficial. Official. Telling no-one. Telling EVERYONE. Failing. Confessing. Not confessing. Figuring out why the last try didn't work and vowing that the next one would. Failing. Blaming something -- not my own mind or thinking -- something else. Life stress. Turbulence. Happiness. Celebration. Depression. Addiction. Medical conditions. Emotional overwhelm. Everything.
I even put my journey online on my Blog to try and get some accountability. I got a LOT of thanks for spilling my guts, and a lot of encouragement. But I kept failing. I kept failing. I kept failing. I kept failing. Even if my wonderful readers didn't grow tired of me blogging about failing -- and my theoretical, physical, mental and emotional reasons for it -- I got tired of it. I was in freefall for a while.
The one thing I did right? I NEVER NEVER NEVER GAVE UP. I never stopped searching. Reading. Praying. Researching. Seeking help. Talking to people. Envisioning where I wanted to be. Healthy. Happy. At peace.
I've been through a very rough patch. But today, my most recent restart has me down 20 lbs, and I'm feeling wonderful! This time it's different! I can tell, and I've done my best to try and summarize what happened for me to make this shift so I can share it. Many of you have expressed having the same kind of difficulty getting your MIND back around restarting. Some suspect Ideal Protein doesn't work as well the second (3rd, 4th, 5th) time around, but I assure you -- the DIET hasn't changed. It works just as well as it always did. What wasn't working as well was my mind -- my mental focus, commitment and resolve. That's what needed to change.
I have the same metabolism I did when I had my Glucose Tolerance Test done -- and yet, Phase 1 is working for me now. I've modified it (with my doctor's guidance) to address my ridiculous sensitivity to even artificial sweeteners and to make ketosis deeper to help resolve my chronic insulin resistance. It's working. Just as well this time as it did the first time. What is different? My mind.
I've stopped looking for excuses. I've stopped kidding myself and others. If you follow Phase 1 the way it's written, you will lose weight. If you have trouble, there are a couple of medical tweaks that can help you -- and then you will lose weight. When I follow my modified plan, I lose weight. When I don't accurately follow it -- ALL OF IT -- I don't. There is no half-way on Ideal Protein and we all know it. There might be a fluke day here and there where we overeat or cheat and get away with it - and maybe even see the scale dip - but not for long.
This time I'm in it for the metabolic healing. I've already talked to my doctor about another Glucose Tolerance Test at the end of this Phase because I KNOW I am healing my metabolism. I am COMMITTED to healing it. If I make mistakes (due to my addictive habits), I double down on my spiritual program, spend longer each day envisioning my goal, and compensate for it accordingly. But this time, I haven't made many mistakes. I'm just as flawed as I was before, but right now, I'm COMMITTED. I want to reach my goal more than I want to eat something inappropriate. I am spending time daily on reinforcing this commitment and I think that has made the biggest difference.
How was I able to recommit? This time, I used an important milestone: my 50th Birthday. Spontaneously, on that morning when I woke up, my mind said, "It's time." Visions of how I would feel, how I would look, how comfortable I'd be, how much I wanted my slim body back swam through my mind. I jumped out of bed determined! That very day, I put a calendar up on my bathroom wall with the timeline for my new Phase 1 stint, and that night began crossing off days. I cleared the kitchen of problematic things, told my fiancé about my plan, pulled out my most inspiring materials, recipes and guidelines, and started.
Each morning since then, I've spent at least 15 minutes each morning re-visualizing my goal. I reiterate to myself why I'm doing it. I recapture in my mind the excitement of my birthday, and I think about how far I've already come.
I'm spending a bunch of time putting together recipes and meal plans for maintenance. My fiancé is helping me. Knowing how delicious REAL maintenance will be, I'm excited. It's easier for me to pass up a tasty snack or non-protocol meal right now when I tell myself that in a month or two, I can have the thing I miss (or some low-carb version of it that will be WONDERFUL). And it won't hurt me then. If I wait. I just breathe through each temptation -- directing my mind immediately to vivid images of my goal, my WHY, and the fact that it won't be long til I can eat more freely.
So I'm really back! And better than before. Because now I don't feel as naive. I feel more humble. Less cocky. More open and grateful. I know four people in my life right now who are either battling cancer or just beginning remission. My 'disorder' is totally treatable with lifestyle. The sacrifices I have to make to become healthy again are very minor compared to the ones my friends have had to make to just stay alive. I feel grateful that as I look over the horizon at the 2nd half of my life, I have good reason to hope for a long and healthy one. It's up to me. Only me. And I choose a healthy body and life.
I'm re-inspired, too. While I was struggling, I withdrew a lot from my friends, colleagues and community. So I didn't host many Inspiration Meetings this year. NOW I have something inspiring to share! I'm about to schedule a INSPIRATION MEETING called, "The Psychology of Re-Commitment" in early September -- where I'll have some new and recently vetted techniques to share!
As a reminder, we offer FREE restarts at Ideal Northwest, and FREE clinic transfers, too! If you've reached a turning point -- whether it's Back-to-School, End of Summer, or just hitting a weight you swore you wouldn't go past in your own maintenance journey… I hope you might join us for inspiration and/or a restart. I'll be coaching a bit more, too, so feel free to ask about my schedule.