I’ve been planning this post for awhile. I decided to post today–on Thanksgiving–because I know many of you are stressing right now about losing weight even though your friends and family are telling you not to. When I was obese, I used to pretend I didn’t care, but I did. For a long time, I didn’t have the tools or the support to do anything about it. Losing weight took many steps and years. My final step happened in 2020.
After 120 days of a new plan, I’m down to a weight I haven’t seen since I was in college. If you want to know why it’s spectacular and why it’s a program I plan to continue for years, keep reading. In fact, I wish I had known about this program sooner.
If you’ve ever lost significant weight, you know the last 10-15 pounds is harder than your first 10-15, or even your first 50. Those first pounds fall off once you get consistent, but the final pounds can hang on for years. Decades, in fact.
If you have followed me for awhile, you know I lost about 80-90 pounds and kept it off for over ten years now. I lost it through going low carb, then paleo. I progressed through different ways of eating in the experimental way I do a lot of things. I was keto for years, then carnivore for years.
The carnivore lifestyle was my favorite. It was simple, easy, and kept the weight off effortlessly without leaving me hungry. Ever. I could fast for days. Fasting is a panacea, keyword ENERGY. Best kept secret of those seeking greater productivity and better mood. If this is you, please do some research online and learn how to fast.
However, I was Crossfitting at the same time. Crossfit is high intensity training, meaning it gobbles up glucose for fuel. I loved eating only meat (and therefore nearly zero carbohydrates to be utilized as glucose), but I loved Crossfit. On the other hand, if you do endurance exercise like running, biking, hiking, or even many kinds gym work outs, you do fine without eating carbohydrates. In fact, you may do better.
That Final 15
I resisted changing the way I ate for years. It compromised my progress in Crossfit but was worth it. Still, I decided to try another experiment. It wasn’t just better workouts I was after, but losing a final 10-15 pounds that have just hung out around my middle, keeping me soft and some clothes uncomfortable.
I was unable to effectively get these final pounds off, although I didn’t try hard because, after being obese, 10-15 pounds didn’t seem a big deal. But some fitness friends were really slimming down, and I thought maybe I should make a real effort to get these final pounds off. I found out they were using Eat to Perform. I figured I’d give it a try, so I started with a goal of fat loss. I got two phone apps and a coach who set my daily macronutrients and answered questions anytime I texted. I did all the sign-up through texting and then the apps. No phone calls, meetings, etc. I liked that.
- First problem: I couldn’t eat all the food they wanted me to eat!
- Second problem: how was I ever going to find enough carbohydrates to hit more than 100 grams in a day?
- Third problem: I had never paid attention to some nutrients before that really mattered.
I was used to eating 1-2 big meals a day. I realize over time, I had been eating more fat than protein with these meats. Now, I was focused on the grams of protein, and I think I’m eating more protein with this program than I was on carnivore.
To get down all the food they assigned me, I had to eat 3-4 meals. I had to find carbohydrate foods that I felt good about eating. Nobody needs gluten, and I wasn’t going back down that road. Over time, I gravitated to oatmeal, potatoes, and fruits. Then my coach told me to watch the salt.
There are Many Nutrients Besides Macros to Watch
Eating high amounts of sodium was adding water weight. I could add as much as a pound in one day from eating frozen or canned foods with added sodium.
When my coach suggested I aim NOT for the daily recommended 2300mg but for 1mg/calorie consumed, everything changed, and not just for me. My mother, who has high blood pressure, had been struggling with 4 meds. Her doctor followed the recommended max from the AHA. When she started following the 1mg/calorie like me, she found her blood pressure coming under control. She also realized she had been eating a lot of food with added salt. It’s just unnecessary! She is eating half the limit the AHA recommends and doing much better.
Having to limit sodium meant limiting prepared foods. I had to cook from scratch and buy “no salt added” convenience foods. There aren’t many. Inconvenient at first, but I have a rhythm now.
Then there is fiber. When I added in beans and veggies, I started seeing my fiber hit red (the app gives handy green-yellow-red icons for how you’re doing). So, I couldn’t just load up on one food like I had done as a carnivore. I had to have a little bit of a variety of foods. Inconvenient yet again. But I found in time, small amounts of many felt better than large amounts of one.
And my sugar intake was starting to rise when I ate more fruit and less starches. Fruit provides natural sugar but it’s still sugar, and eating lots stimulates hunger and makes me shakey with the quick rise and fall of blood sugar. This summer I was loading up on grapes and raisins in my oatmeal. Now I eat berries and raisins only occasionally.
The Variety is the Key
In the end, the voodoo the ETP program relies on is challenging your metabolism with change. The coaches cycle you through different 6-12 week eating plans and provide amounts that vary daily. I was losing weight even when they increased my calories in a new cycle.
Each week, the app tells you the macros to aim for. You need to pre-log your food daily if you want to hit your goals. The apps track everything, and you can send questions to your coach. You should be exercising or at least tracking steps. When I was at the height (read lowest calories) of my Fat Loss cycle, they recommended I not Crossfit but get extra walks. Well, I Crossfitted anyway, but I felt the low energy!
My Future Looks Lean and Muscular
I’m transitioning to a new cycle now, one to Add Muscle. My workouts will be changing to hypertrophy so I get more volume. My ETP will be adjusting my macros to get the most out of my work outs. In 3-6 months, I’ll be back Crossfitting.
I’m posting this on Thanksgiving because I was amazed that I fit my feast today into the macros provided by my program. And I know many of you out there are stressing about your weight.
The ETP program is about $50/month. That’s pricey for many of us. But if you can trade for troublesome health conditions or quit some medications, it may be less costly than you think.