21 June 2012

My Dukan Diet: My Status and Intermediate Results

This is the third post in an ongoing series, and it intersects with the series on PCOS:
  1. My Dukan Diet: History
  2. My Dukan Diet: the Process
Something I'm happy to say: this diet process seems to work for me. Nothing else has. Thank you, my dear friend (Full Time Wife), for introducing me to the Dukan Diet.

I am in the process of losing 45 lbs. This is a picture of one pound of fat. Gross, eh? When I reach my goal, I will be at a weight I haven't been since high school. I think that's the first time I've admitted that to myself, and it's out here on the world wide internets for y'all to read. Typing this paragraph gave me a whole surge of negative thoughts, to which I won't give voice.

Instead, some things I should remind myself:
  • I have PCOS, which adversely affects most of my metabolic and hormonal functions. 
  • Not knowing I had PCOS until 2006, and then not knowing what to do about the weight gain associated with it after my diagnosis made it unreasonable for me to think I should have been able to do something productive about it. I tried and failed, because I didn't have all the facts. 
  • Calorie counting has not worked for me. I have proven this over, and over, and over again. Strict adherence to a number of calories does not work with my wounded metabolism.
  • Structured diets have not worked for me. I have proven this over and over. 
  • Exercise only works for me up to a point. I am big-boned. I am muscular. I need to not delude myself into thinking I can look like I have a different musculo-skeletal structure. My doctor confirms this.
  • The weight I am working toward is healthy for my height and structure, and it is reasonable to believe that, given the correct plan and execution, I can attain it and keep it. My doctor helped me set this goal. 
  • Healthy is the goal. 
I started the Dukan Diet in January.  I immediately began to see results, and in the first 3 months, dropped 22 pounds. I lost 22 lbs, at a rate of between 1.5 to 3 lbs per week, which is considered healthy weight loss. Now, this is not fast weight loss, nor was it easy. It was VERY simple, though. You just eat unrestricted quantities of protein or protein + vegetables (albeit specific proteins and vegetables, and depending on the day). I can do "unrestricted quantities" of good food. It does, however, get very boring. Like I said, not EASY, but simple.  

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech to a halt. The not-easy part is what hit me as I was starting month 4, mid-April. I hit a plateau, because I had arrived at a weight range I occupied successfully and happily for several years. My body is happy there. This is where my clothes fit. Not just the stretchy ones I bum around in-- the tailored ones I haven't even tried to wear in the last 3 years or so, since I've been a permanent telecommuter. It stopped being simple, because it was easier to be in that comfortable place than it was to keep pushing. At this point, several things happened at once.
  • I began to doubt myself. I doubted that I really needed to lose any more. After all, that would mean replacing my wardrobe, and I absolutely loathe shopping for clothes.  
  • I didn't have any energy. (More on this in a minute..)
  • I was TIRED of dieting all the time, missing out on date night dinners with my husband because it was too expensive and depressing to try to go out and get all meat (at some point, I'll probably say more about this). Eating at home is wonderful, but those special dinners mean something to me.
  • My darling husband was getting tired of me being tired of it all. 
  • We went on a trip, and I just didn't have the energy or time to prepare everything I needed for my diet before we left, so I took the weekend off, while we traveled.
  • My husband told me, on our trip, as we sipped the first glass of wine we'd had together in 4 months, how much he had missed that-- the feeling of sitting together, sipping wine, talking, and being on a date. It broke me. He has always said that he doesn't think I need to lose any weight, and only supports me doing what's healthy. 
When we got home, I struggled for a couple of weeks and managed to squeak out three more pounds of weight loss, so that I could hit the 25 pound mark, and we could enjoy our reward dinner together. It was really hard. For the first time, since starting this diet in January, it was really hard.

One night, I bottomed out. I felt lousy, and felt almost comatose by the time we finally ate something. I had had a good workout that morning, and had gone for a walk with a friend. I hadn't eaten much. It was a little scary to feel that low energy. The next day, I still didn't feel well. I went to a walk-in clinic. The doctor said my blood sugar was pretty low, and that I needed to follow-up with my primary care physician and in the mean time, eat every couple of hours.

Part of the standard treatment for PCOS, as I will be explaining in my next post in that series, is the prescription of a diabetes medication. It has a side benefit of helping with some of the metabolic and hormone shifts that occur in the average PCO woman. I had never had any trouble with blood sugar. I'm not diabetic (PCOS causes diabetes). I'm not insulin resistant (common in PCO women), either. So one of the methods of treating the disease was exposing me to a medication that helps control the rate at which sugar hits my blood stream. When you're not taking in any foods that contain sugar, any carbs (except the 2 TBS/day) which convert to sugar, any alcohol which acts like sugar, etc., and you're not someone who has trouble with sugar-- taking a pill that slows down your sugar metabolism under those circumstances can have an adverse effect. I went to the doctor.

My doctor's response to all of this was to cut my medication in half. Getting off medication is one of the reasons I'm losing weight. I want to be healthy. Healthy, and unmedicated. She did some blood tests on me, and she helped me evaluate and re-set my weight loss goal. She said that 10 pounds lighter than I originally planned was definitely achievable, and that it would be healthy for me. She also said that I shouldn't attempt to go lower than that, because of my bone and muscle structure. She said not to stop this diet, because it's working with my body, instead of against it. She said that we would need to reevaluate my medication as I continued losing weight, but that she was "really proud of me" for all I'm doing to get my health in order.

Much love,

Next installment of this series, coming soon!

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