My name is Natalie, and I am a carb-aholic.
I have always loved food. Or, more specifically, eating. But I have always been especially drawn to carbs. And it showed.
As most women have, I tried different diets and exercise programs at different times in my life. One time, after college, I even managed to lose 40 pounds! Unfortunately, I gained it all back, plus extra. Sound familiar? Yeah. My story is not unusual.
In 2009, the year I got married, I pretty much gave up the idea of losing any significant amount of weight. I actually got rid of my boxes of skinny clothes when I moved in with my husband. “Heck,” I figured, “I’ve moved twice and never been able to unpack them. Time to move on and love myself the way I am.” I then proceeded to gain another 10lbs after the wedding.
|Before -- August 30, 2010|
In early June of 2010, I visited my childhood friend in Chicago after her first child was born. Her husband had signed us all up for a charity 5K walk/run event. Trust me, we didn’t run. We walked… but I was miserable. Not only did we finish dead last (seriously, the police escort was so close behind us we were afraid he’d run us over), but I physically felt awful. My feet, hips, and back hurt, I was sweating like a horse, I was out of breath, and I felt weak and nauseated. After we got home, I sat on her couch and cried; I was uncomfortable, unhappy, and unhealthy, and I didn’t know how to change it after so many failed diet attempts. I was scared, too; my mother had just become a Type II diabetic, and my older sister, after having gestational diabetes during 2 pregnancies, was showing some signs of being pre-diabetic. I was even showing my own signs of insulin resistance (thanks to having PCOS).
|After -- Minus 114 lbs in January 2013!|
After my sister joined Metabolic Research Center and had successfully lost about 20 or 30 pounds on it, I thought, “Well, maybe this program DOES work…” I signed up on August 30, 2010, and I lost 3 pounds in the first week. I was thrilled. By Christmas I had lost about 30 pounds, and by June 1, 2011, I had lost 70 pounds. I thought I was happy at that weight, so I started the maintenance part of the program. However, I wasn’t happy with my physical fitness, so I exercised more—adding additional yoga classes and cardio/running—and ended up losing another 10 pounds by August. (UPDATE: As of January 2013, I am now down a total of 114 pounds and maintaining my weight at 150 lbs!)
The MRC program is based on eating high protein, high fiber foods (through veggies and whole grains), and controlling blood-sugar spikes. Basically, eating lots of protein, lots of veggies, some fruits, and some carbs based on the Glycemic Index. Some foods had to be given up during the diet (no pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, carrots, crackers, onions… you get the picture). Some foods could only be eaten at certain times (no fruit with dinner, to avoid evening blood-sugar spikes). The goal was to lose the weight first, then reintroduce “normal” eating within moderation. I gave up a lot of my favorite things (I literally wept over losing yogurt, bread, and my favorite veggies: corn, carrots, and potatoes!), but they came back at the end, when I was ready to maintain.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m a smart girl. I understood diets and nutrition and exercise. I understood the concept of calorie in/calorie out. I knew what I needed to do all along to lose the weight. But I wasn’t doing it. Metabolic Research Center’s program (and my sister’s insistence that I try it) was what saved me. It’s not a magical cure-all. It wasn’t a double-rainbow experience. The weight did not just melt off—I had to WORK at it. What the MRC program did for me was two things: 1) provide support and accountability, and 2) provide me with a food plan that took everything I knew or had read about nutrition and Glycemic Index and simplified it so that it was easy to remember and build a routine around (so important for busy people!).
After Halloween, I saw a flyer for a 5K “Turkey Trot” race for Thanksgiving, so I changed my cardio routine over to the Couch to 5K running plan, and lost another 2-3 pounds. I have never particularly enjoyed running, and I still don’t…but I liked how I felt after a run, and kept at it.
|5K Turkey Trot, November 2011|
On Thanksgiving day of 2011, I RAN in a 5K race with an old high school buddy who ran with me and cheered me along. I didn’t win it (not even close), but I ran it. I finished it. And I wasn’t in pain or the last to finish! Later that day, I wore my first pair of skinny jeans to Thanksgiving dinner.
And now I plan to keep running, to keep eating healthfully, and to keep wearing those skinny jeans.