- read my weight loss journey part 1 – the background here.
- read my weight loss journey part 2 – the diet here.
- read my weight loss journey part 3 – the exercise here.
You’ve so patiently read through what I did, how, and why, but I know that what you really want to hear are the facts, the stats, the results, find out “did it work?”. Short answer: yes. Long answer: keep reading.
I got my South Beach book during the summer before my sophomore year of college. I decided to wait until after the first week of school to start because the first week of school there were tons of free meals provided for us by our church and I didn’t know if I would be able to resist temptation. On Saturday after that first week of school I bought tons of healthy groceries, pre-made lots of South Beach approved food, and of course had my “last meal” and treated myself to my favorite Mexican restaurant and a huge frappuccino from Starbucks. Sunday morning I hit the ground running and never looked back.
Mind you, that first semester that I was doing South Beach I was living in a dorm room and had a small meal plan (I later moved off campus). I usually ate breakfast in my room, lunch in the cafeteria on campus, and supper at Michael’s apartment. For breakfast I just pre-made stuff at Michael’s that could be warmed up in my microwave. For lunch I just learned to make healthy choices in the all-you-can-eat lunchroom. I made sure to have lots of healthy snacks on hand, and then I cooked a health dinner at Michael’s. Oh and I might also mention that I hardly knew how to cook and had only made a few meals in my life, I just taught myself as I went. Make no mistake, this was not super easy. It took extra planning and effort to have healthy food on hand and to cook every night, plus if Michael hadn’t had an apartment and I hadn’t had such easy access to a stove it would have been much harder. But it can be done. And it was so worth it. And this first semester, while living in a dorm room with only a small fridge and microwave and while still having to eat in the cafeteria, I saw my biggest weight loss. It CAN be done.
Don’t forget I also started exercising at our gym – mostly walking, stationary bike, elliptical, jogging, and power yoga – yoga was the only fitness class I took that whole first semester, the rest was just on my own.
Side note: I’ve pulled out my old food journals from when I first started and it has been really fun to go back and look at what I ate and what I did. By the way, time and time again I’ve heard that writing down what you eat every day really helps you stay on track. I did that faithfully for the first few years although I don’t do it as constantly as I should.
On with the weight loss results:
By the end of Phase 1 (the first two week) I had lost 10 pounds. Just looking back at my records I can see that during that time I still ate out once and went to eat at a friends house while still sticking to my diet. In about a month I was down 15 pounds. In two months I had lost 20 pounds. I started my diet at the very beginning of September. By Christmas (so over the course of one semester of college) I had lost 30 pounds. I never really crunched the numbers before, but after that initial big weight loss during Phase 1 I lost about 5 pounds per month. Not exactly Biggest Loser results, but still effective. Looking back at my journal I see that I ate Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. I ate Reeses sometimes. I had cookies sometimes. I just didn’t have them every day and I got right back on track the next day.
Now some medical results:
- The first time I went to see my doctor (August 8, 2006 when he told me to start my diet) my total cholesterol was 201 (high), my bad cholesterol was 141 (high) and my good cholesterol was 40 (low).
- When I went back January 1, 2007 (30 pounds lost), my total cholesterol was 181, my bad cholesterol was 128, and my good cholesterol had gone up to 43.
- When I went back a third time June 11, 2007, my total cholesterol was 188, my bad cholesterol was 123, and my good cholesterol was 55.
So with diet and exercise alone (along with a few supplements) I got all my cholesterol numbers within the desired range in just a few months. No meds for me. (I do still take the supplements – fish oil and niacin to help with the good cholesterol).
By mid-January I had lost about 5 more pounds and I basically leveled off there. Overall I had a total weight loss of between 35-40 pounds. My weight fluctuates a ton – it can change as much as 3 pounds overnight. Because of that, I don’t try to worry about staying at one particular number because I would make myself crazy, instead I have a range of about 5 pounds where I want my weight to stay. So basically in 5 months I reached a weight where I was healthy and my body was comfortable. It wasn’t my “goal weight” but it was pretty obvious that my body was content right there.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about the maintenance – from January 2007 to now.