Monday, April 1, 2013

My Journey + Leptin Reset Days 1-3

No, this is not me or anyone I know. I was at one time, however, as bad if not worse than the people depicted in this picture. In 1999 after trying everything known to man to lose weight I topped the scales at more than 350 pounds! I don't know how much I weighed because the scale only went to 350. I can't believe I just wrote only went to 350. No "only" about it.

Despite having cholesterol levels that were over the moon, back problems, and just problems in general, I stopped seeing my doctor sometime in the middle of that year. At that time I weighed in at a whopping 347 pounds! That was a gain of 8 pounds over the previous months despite having followed her "heart healthy diet" full of "heart healthy grains." Yes, I followed the diet to the letter. Twelve-hundred calories that were virtually fat-free, but loaded with carbs and had very little meat. My cholesterol shot up too. She accused me of sloth and carelessness about my health--yes, she used those words--and when I told her that I truly had followed her instructions she rolled her eyes and said that I must have been cheating because the "numbers don't lie."

Feeling embarrassed and ashamed, I went home and promptly went off my diet. I figured I'd rather die eating cheesecake than rice cakes any day of the week. I also decided that I would never subject myself to the sorts of humiliation that only a doctor can dish out.

In late November of that year I realized that I needed to buy, yet again, more clothes. I was bursting out of my women's size 26 suits. Horrified at this prospect, I began to search for something else to try; some miracle that would help me to lose weight and regain my life. Then, I remembered something my mother said when we were young..."Eat your fat because fat eats the fat." To which we would always reply, "The fat eats the fat and gets fatter!" See, even back in the 60's and 70's we were already indoctrinated into the conventional wisdom of the day about the so-called evils of fat. This memory, however, reminded me of the Atkins diet and my mother's former love affair with it.

The next day, during my lunch break, I went to Barnes and Nobles and picked up a copy of his book. I read it. I re-read it. I practically read it to rags. It made sense and most of all, it described what had happened to me. I felt vindicated. I felt motivated and decided that after I finished my research (I always check and re-check everything) I would likely start the Atkins diet. Also, since I lived in NYC I would schedule an appointment at his clinic. The soonest I could get in was in mid-January 2000.

The first thing that happens when you go to his clinic is that you get to meet him and have a chat while he explains the protocol. He then sends you to one of his cardiologists for a complete exam. It was at this time that I discovered that I had not one or two, but three leaky heart valves and the strain of the excess weight was causing them to leak and tear. I was so young and the risks, then, were so high that surgery was not even an option. My only hope was to lose the weight and ease the strain.

I had started the diet a few weeks before my appointment with Dr. Atkins, on January 1, 2000. By the time of my appointment, I had already lost enough such that my weight could be recorded on my scale. I weighed 338 pounds, down more than 12 pounds in just two weeks. Honestly, I was thrilled to see this number because it meant that I no longer required a truck scale to get my weight.

The Atkins diet then is not the Atkins diet of today. We had nothing processed. The only sweetener allowed was saccharine and since I hated it I just didn't use any. His faux bread option, while healthy, was horrible so I went without that too. I ate my way down to just under 200 pounds in 11 months. I ate well, too. I even added exercise to my life. Yay!

Early on, I bought an elliptical trainer that I put in my home office. I worked from home most days and my coworkers knew that I would start work super early and that I would likely be exercising around 10 AM and not be available. At first, I could only manage about 3 minutes each day. It was hard. I would be sweating and hurting and breathing hard after just a few minutes, but each day I would add one or two more minutes. In a month, I was able to do an hour with ease on the lowest resistance setting, so I began to bump that up too.

Yet, despite my massive weight loss and improved health and fitness levels, people were telling me how I was going to hurt myself on this diet and that I should be eating low fat and high carb. I would just nod and smile and continue to eat my big salad with grilled chicken breast all bathed in a creamy, high fat dressing. To this day, I am amazed at how people could have said that to me, especially since I had reduced from a very tight size 28W to a 14W.

Once my weight went down to 199, I decided that I might not feel too embarrassed to go to the gym. So, I took advantage of my company's free gym membership benefit and signed up. However, because I had the leaky heart valves and a ruined back (spinal surgeries while in the AF), I knew I would need a personal trainer. I wanted to get stronger and more fit but not hurt myself. They gym recommended a master trainer who had post-rehab certifications. The problem was the cost. One of these guys hourly rates, back then, was about $150/hour. I bought a package of 10 hours (the minimum) and told my trainer, Rudy, that I could do two hours/week.

Rudy knew that I was already doing daily sessions of cardio on my home elliptical so he didn't waste any of my precious, expensive time on that. He had me lifting weights. Hard. I loved it. I was getting so strong and developing so much muscle. While my weight never went below 192, my clothing size dropped down to a size 12 (note the lack of the W next to the number) in a month. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I bought another package of hours, this time 25 hours and bumped up the number of hours each week to 3 and a month later I was training with Rudy 5 days/week.

After 6 months, my weight was the same. 192. I was lean and muscular everywhere EXCEPT my belly and inner thighs. My body fat had gone from 42% when I started weight training down to 18%. I was frustrated because we did so many ab exercises and leg exercises but nothing was getting rid of the fat in those two places.

And then, it happened. 9/11. I suddenly no longer cared about dieting or working out. I thought to myself, "how many people died today after passing up the donut in favor of a healthy, less tasty option?" I also wondered how many of them said, "Sure glad I didn't have that cheesecake this morning." I lost so many friends that day and I went into a deep, severe, depression. I gave up dieting and I gave up the gym. I got fat.

I tried to get back on track after going up to 235 pounds, but Atkins had changed. Now, they say, only count net carbs. You can have sucralose. You can have sugar free candy. You can have all this processed shit that we are making. Well, hallelujah! Not. That was the worst thing that could have happened to the Atkins center. Processed foods. The one thing he demonized most in his book was suddenly filling his cyber-shelves.

Most of you know the rest of my weight loss story, but if you don't, the story picks up again here.

Now, it seems, another phase of my journey is beginning. This time, because I realize that despite all my exercise, my body composition is just a smaller version of my old, bigger body. Too much tummy fat and too much inner thigh fat that just will NOT go away. I am no longer overweight but I'm guessing my percentage of body fat is in the unhealthy range, something I want to fix. I've struggled too hard for too long to get to a place in my life where I feel pretty damned good most of the time, enjoy the foods I eat, and can maintain the weight loss without hardship, to still not look as good as I would like.

Sure, with clothes on I look nice. Naked is a different story and I make no apologies for wanting to look good naked. Granted, only my husband will see me naked, but that's not even why. I want to just because I want to. I don't think I have to justify myself to anyone. Is it vain? Sure. But, looking good naked is also a sign of good physical health and I crave good physical health.

After reading about the Leptin Reset Rx, I decided to try it. As you know, the first attempt was shit. I did it all wrong and suffered for that one day. I have since prepared myself and stocked my freezer and fridge with what I need to do it right. I'm hoping that after I regain leptin sensitivity, these fatty areas will become a thing of the past and I will be at optimal health.

By the way, that personal trainer I mentioned? He's been my husband for the past 9 years.

Leptin Reset (re-do) Day 1:

I really wasn't hungry but I did mange to eat the big breakfast:
One whole chicken breast drowning in homemade mayo AND 2 fat homemade pork sausage links

I stayed super full until almost 12 hours later when I ate more of the same.

That was it for my eating that day. No hunger and no cravings. I did, for some reason, sweat like a pig. All day. Perhaps it was because of the unusual amount of humidity.

I also drank about 6 liters of water throughout the day.

Day 2:

I actually felt hungry first thing. Perhaps it was because 14 hours had elapsed since my last meal. I had a repeat breakfast from the day before, except I added some maca powder to a glass of water for hormonal support.

Again, no hunger for 12 hours. Also, profuse sweating again. What's going on here?? I also drank my usual 6+ liters of water.

Day 3:

I couldn't believe how hungry I was when I got up. Getting down my 50-75 grams of protein was a cinch.

Still sweating like a fiend and I don't know if the diet has anything to do with it. I just hope it doesn't continue like this for much longer. Of course, late March in Arica is a bit humid and still hot, so that could be the cause. I'm not going to worry about it much.

I'm also continuing to drink plenty of fluids. My carbs have been about zero, except for the maca each morning. I made so much of my chicken salad that it looks like I'll be eating it twice a day for at least 3 more days. Then, I'll move on to tuna salad for a few days. As long as I don't have to work at it, I can start eating my breakfast within the prescribed 30 minute window after waking. Furthermore, chicken or tuna salad are two things that I can prepare in advance, in large quantities, and not get sick of eating. I cook my sausages the night before and just warm them up while I'm eating the chicken salad and supervising the dogs' breakfast.

My energy levels are good and I really miss the long daily run, but I'm enjoying the slow strolls while the dogs run and play. It also gives me time to think about the story I'm currently writing and develop good ideas for my writing each day. I'm also one to find the bright side to every situation, and the bright side in this case is that I am not in dire need of a change of clothes and shower like I would have had I run, so I get get to work on my story straight away and not lose that hour tending to those things.

Oh, I also lost 2 pounds.

So, until next time, have a wonderful day!


  1. Admirable, my dear friend Mila....

    I am back home°

  2. thanks, Pochy...
    Think you'll be rested and available Friday? I'm pretty busy during the week and that is my only free day besides Sunday.