Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Ups and Downs of My Dieting Past, And What I'm Trying Now

 Can you handle another post where I complain about weight and diets?  I've started a new plan this week, having been shocked by seeing the highest number on the scale I've ever been at non-pregnant (man I wish I still had that excuse!).  I guess my age and metabolism have finally caught up with me.

Now before you get the urge to tell me that diets don't work and I should just eat healthy and not worry about it so much, that's not how I roll.  I truly believe that when you have a goal, you have to work towards it.  

If I want to run a marathon, I need to train harder, buy the right shoes, and increase my mileage each week.  If I want the promotion at work, I need to stay longer hours, show my boss my accomplishments and play the part of the role I want.  If I want to save up a down payment for a house, I need to create a budget and stop spending $50 a week on coffee and takeout lunches and put that money into the bank.  

If I want to lose weight, I need a plan for how I'm going to eat and workout and get enough sleep.  Now, I don't believe someone should be on a continual diet, because life is short and food is for celebrating.  To me, a diet is the period of time where you are focused on the goal of losing weight and then maintenance of that weight is general life.

What seems to be the case for Phil and I is that we are normally pretty healthy, but when the weight starts to creep up, we take action to get it down then try to keep it steady as long as possible before it eventually creeps up again, and repeat the cycle.  We probably do a diet twice a year for about a month at a time, and that seems to do the trick to keep our weight in check.  The goal is healthy and strong, never skinny, no no no, more like at the highest end of a normal BMI.  We love food and we most definitely use it to celebrate both the big events and the small successes in our lives.  We don't want to turn into people who don't care about food and just eat boring and bland veggies to maintain a certain weight.  Nope, we would rather be chubby and happily eat the ice cream or run 5 miles and then eat pizza.  Balance, baby.  Plus, I don't want to have to buy new clothes and I would like to lower my high cholesterol and reverse my pre-diabetes (thanks genetics).

Here's the list of diets we have been on in the past, and the pros and cons of each...

Weight Watchers

I joined WW after I gave birth to my fourth child in five years and needed some guidance.  I was on it for 3 months and lost 20 pounds, getting down to a really nice happy weight that was still 10 pounds more than my wedding weight but also a weight I haven't seen since.

Pros - Lots of support, weekly weigh-ins in front of WW workers definitely kept me on track, we learned portion control big time, we found lots of healthy substitutions for foods we loved, and technically no food was off-limits.

Cons - Cost money (although my health insurance did reimburse some of it), overwhelming at first learning the points system, and we ate a lot of packaged foods because that was an easier way to track points than cooking from scratch.

17 Day Diet

Pros - All you need to buy is the book, taught us about eating healthy carbs, lost weight in short amount of time.

Cons - Too much green tea, I love yogurt but not plain greek yogurt (unless I'm using it like sour cream), and no red meat but Phil doesn't eat seafood and I don't eat turkey, so it was lots and lots of chicken.

ABS Diet

Pros - Taught me how to eat a protein with a healthy carb to feel full.

Cons - not a lot of food, if I remember correctly.

Atkins Diet

Pros - We could eat as much of the approved foods as we wanted!  The weight comes off really fast.

Cons - Cutting out carbs completely leaves me feeling cranky and it's hard to last long on that diet.  Lots of fake sweeteners in foods and lots of packaged foods.

LoseIt App

Pros - Free!  It's just a food tracker that syncs with your fitness watch and calculates your calories for the day.  It's like more simple version of WW, no points, just calories and macros.

Cons - You have to track every morsel that passes your lips, which is very convicting.

Intermittent Fasting

Pros - Easy once your body adjusts.  We just cut out breakfast.

Cons - I tend to overeat during my "window" because I know it's the only time I can eat.


Pros - Easy to follow (no points, no tracking), big portions of approved foods, weight loss is super fast, yummy meats and butter and cream sauces.

Cons - Bad breath, messed with my cycles, lots of heavy foods and snacks like cheese, pepperoni, nuts, and gross packaged foods trying to fill the sweet craving.


Pros and Cons - Reviewed here when we followed it perfectly and reviewed it here when we added a few "cheats".

No Flour No Sugar

Pros - Very easy to understand the rules, no need to worry about portions, lots of healthy foods.

Cons - Weight loss was slow, ate lots of chips which were "allowed" but not the best choice.

Other books about nutrition that I've read and have educated me but I didn't actually follow the diets per se: 

How Not to Die (spoiler alert - just eat vegan)

Run Fast, Eat Slow (good wholesome healthy recipes from world-class runners)

Zero Belly Diet (never actually finished this one, not sure why)

The Dubrow Diet (Intermittent Fasting + low-carb diet with cheat meals)

Perfect Health Diet (VERY interesting book with lots of good science in nutrition)

Trim Healthy Mama (Some people swear by this diet, but I found it confusing with lots of weird ingredients to buy)

From all of the diets I've tried and all of the nutrition books I've read, it seems to me that the way to lose weight is to eat real food in small quantities and move your body.  But I like to follow a specific plan because it's fun for my Type A personality, so...

The diet of choice right now is....drumroll please...

Bright Line Eating

Pros - After years of not eating breakfast, I get to eat it again and feel like I'm having so much food! Lots of veggies, protein and fruit with a little grain makes me feel healthy and happy.

Cons - You have to weigh your food and eat tons of veggies and a salad at dinner which will get boring quickly, I'm afraid.  Plus the rules never allow for a cheat meal, which I'm ignoring and plan to cheat once a week.

I'm not sure Dorothy, but at least until Easter!  Wish me luck :)


  1. I actually love these diet/weight issues posts you've been doing, because I can SO relate! I, too, love food and don't want to live a life without fun and delicious things to eat when celebrating both the little and big events in life. And I, too, tend to cycle through times of being at a great weight and needing to lose 10-15 pounds. Right now, I'm 15 pounds over my goal weight (which is 15 pounds heavier than what I weighed on my wedding day, but I digress!), and if I don't watch it, it won't be long before I can't squeeze into anything in my closet--and I really, really hate the idea of having to buy all new clothes. I, too, am seeing the biggest number on the scale ever except when pregnant. But the sad thing is that I am only about 7 pounds lighter right now than I was when I was about to give birth to baby #1 back in 1983. I was pretty thin back then and didn't realize it, so I never appreciated it. Now I would kill to be that weight again...well, apparently that's a lie, because I can't even get myself to give up the calories to make it happen! Ha ha!

    Every decade, it seems to get harder to lose weight/keep weight off. Part of me wants to throw in the towel and just go up a size or two. I'm in my 60's, after all! But I guess I'm not really ready to give up yet. So I will be following your dieting journey with interest.

    1. I hear people lose weight naturally in their 70s so there's hope for us ;)

    2. Something to look forward to in old age! 😂

  2. P.S. Love your use of memes and GIF's. :)

  3. Good luck! I hope this plan gets you your desired results!

    1. I hope you have success with the low-carb again.

  4. I was expecting you to say you were going back to Weight Watchers. That one sounds like it was the best of all of them.

    I have never dieted. I can't do it. I also eat almost the same thing everyday, because of celiac disease. I ate oatmeal with cranberries every morning. I could NOT go without breakfast - how do you function without breakfast? I eat a cobb salad every day at lunch and a cherry Greek yogurt. Then I eat dinner and I eat snacks in between meals, like GF muffin from Costco or my granola or protein balls, OH, and I must have a protein shake in the morning. I don't buy much dessert items that are GF, which helps. I do get ice cream without cookies in it sometimes and that's dangerous because I can eat that. I try not to eat much past 5:00 pm, more because I find I don't sleep well as opposed to doing that for a diet. I also do intense workouts daily, or almost daily. I feel more trim when I can run outside, so I am very happy spring is here.

    Man, this all sounds tough. I wish you the best of luck. I don't mind these posts either. I definitely have no clue about portion control, or I know it exists but I have yet to embrace it.

    1. Wow, you are definitely a creature of habit! I am not so much, which is why I keep trying new plans and new meals. I don't think you have to "diet" if you have Celiacs and have to be on a gluten-free diet all day errday. No cheating on that.

  5. Wow, I didn't know there were so many different diet plans around. Years ago I was all about counting calories and exercise regimes so I understand where you're coming from. However now I just eat what I want [which tends to be healthy b/c that's what I like] and accept whatever number shows up on the scale. Seems to work. I've lost 12 pounds during the pandemic.

    1. That would be nice to watch it fall off without too much effort :) Hopefully I'll get there one day, I'm thinking perimenopause may be working against me :(

  6. I hope you do share you experience with this program. I looked into it a few years ago and heard many good things and some negative but when I saw how there was no wiggle room, I decided against it. I spent too many years being very restrictive and I physically and mentally cannot do that anymore. I am glad to read that you will still allow yourself to be flexible and I pray it gives you the structure (not to mention results!) you want. +AMDG+

    1. Yes, the "you just have to eat this way forever no exceptions" does not fly with me. It's a pretty balanced, healthy, whole-foods based diet that seems to be working, even though we cheat every weekend. I read a post by a woman who started the diet and lost 20 pounds and then continued to mostly eat this way but also enjoyed special occasions and travelled, etc. and has been able to stay at the weight for over 2 years so far. Plus, there is a maintenance plan that adds back in more grains and ups the amount of protein and fats once you're at your goal weight. I'm enjoying the plan so far, mostly because I get to eat lots of fruit and breakfast!

  7. I gained 50 pounds in my 40s and 50s. I was not interested in following any of the diets out there. What I did was count my calories for each meal and snack. I recorded everything in myfitness app. I gave myself 1400 calories a day and divided it between 3 meals and 2 snacks. If I was at my limit but still hungry I drank water or coffee or tea. If that didn't do it I snacked on small amounts of fruits and vegetables. After several months of this and gradually losing weight I was able to eyeball the food I ate and had memorized nearly all the caloric amounts of the food I typically ate and then stopped using the app. I didn't eat anything special or leave anything out except I watched my sugar intake. I lost the 50 lbs in 14 months. This was about 5 years ago. I gain 5 to 10 at the holidays because I get greedy but mostly keep my weight pretty consistent. My stomach shrunk so I'm satisfied with less.

    1. Hi Aileen - I remember seeing your weightloss when I was on Instagram! You are very dedicated and it paid off :)

    2. Thanks Colleen but it wasn't easy. I don't know if I could do it again!


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