(UPDATE FROM 2014 - I am no longer involved with Take Shape For Life. Some day there might be a follow-up blog article about this, but I didn't want to leave my TSFL blog posts sitting here without that disclaimer)
25 pounds lighter!
Today, at 25 pounds down, I've gotten rid of 27 inches and 8% bodyfat.
Yesterday was my five month anniversary of being a customer of Take Shape For Life. I started with the 5 and 1 plan, with pre-packaged meal replacements 5 times a day and one sensible 'lean and green' meal. Everything low glycemic. No white flour.
"You don't have to be perfect," they say, and I definitely wasn't. BUT, when I've cheated, I've been really conscious about whether it was something I really wanted and had I already cheated recently. If I'm going to cheat, it's going to be for Godiva or Moonstruck, and it's going to be one piece, not 12.
In the first 3.5 months, I ate "5 and 1" with no cheats about 70% of the time. 25% minor cheats, 5% of the time significant cheats. The better I followed the 5 and 1, the more I lost in that week. And in the first 3.5 months, I lost 23 of my 25 pounds. I'm not racing anyone, so I was quite happy with the speed of my results. 23 pounds on my frame is a dramatic amount, not just in my frame but in my face; people notice, and some of my clothes started to fall completely off my hips... not to mention cargo pants slipping down in the middle of teaching two Zumba classes. Almost 22 inches lost in my circumference measurements.
A few things have slowed down my weight loss in the last month and a half.
(1) Taste fatigue ===> food substitution. There's a lot of variety, but I'm getting tired of pre-packaged meals. I have started adding a few healthy, low glycemic snacks from Dr A's book, either in addition to or in replacement of a TSFL pre-packaged meal. My favorite items are non-fat greek yogurt with a small amount of small-chopped low glycemic fruit (raspberries are very low glycemic and strawberries are low glycemic), steamed cauliflower with a very small amount of extra sharp cheddar cheese, and broccoli with hummus. The TSFL cocoa is a morning staple for me and my tastebuds have adapted to like it; but I like it even more with one teaspoon of gourmet cocoa powder added to kick up the flavor (Toblerone, Godiva, Sharfenberger), adding only a few calories but keeping the nutrients of the TSFL product. When I am not carefully tracking these replacement snacks, my calorie deficit isn't as big as it is when I'm eating controlled TSFL meals. HOWEVER, this isn't necessarily bad. The things I'm eating are healthy replacements, and I'm not going to eat 5 and 1 forever. I am learning what works, and what doesn't, and overall I'm still creating a calorie deficit with more healthy foods, fewer pre-packaged foods.
(2) Reduced workouts. My "calories out" have dropped recently, since our taekwondo schedule has changed and there are classes that conflict with my job. I have not figured out whether to change my work schedule so I can re-attend TKD, whether I will replace those workouts with something else, or whether I need to tighten up my eating. But I'm aware of the issue and I'm working on it.
Overall, I'm very satisfied with the program. The coaching model, with Candy as my helpful but noninvasive coach, works for me. What I like about the coaching model is the push towards behavioral change. Not just eating less, but about changing habits and thought patterns. Candy didn't do that for me.... she made me do it for myself. I'm not sure what I expected from a coach, but I really like how she approaches it. Rather than tell me what to do, she asked me to figure out my own solutions. "So, how are you going to handle that?" or "What are you going to do now?" or "What is your time management looking like now?" No shoulds. Lots of questions that I get to answer for myself.
This is the way I hope to coach, the way I was coached. If you are ready to answer some hard questions for yourself, translate those answers to behavioral change, then you're ready for a coach. If you want a coach who has successfully coached dozens (hundreds?) of clients, then I'll send you to Candy. If you want a brand new coach who empathize exactly with where you are right now because she's been there just a few months ago, then you should work with me. I've done the whole spectrum - followed the plan perfectly, cheated slightly, and had all-out bad cheat days. And I've learned something from each experience.
This is not a program that others can do for you. It's a program that you have to do for yourself, with others cheering you on. It does work, but only if you work it.
Personally, I'd like to lose another 10 pounds to be solidly in the middle of a healthy weight, rather than on the edge of overweight. And a little more sculpting in my arms during tank top season. :D I'm primarly about "healthy" but I do have a little bit of "vain" in me.
Keep on keepin' on.