June of 2015 I returned from a vacation in Italy, proud that I had only gained 2 pounds while away. Then an odd thing happened. About 10 days later, I gained 5 pounds – virtually overnight. A couple of months later, another 5 pounds joined the first set. I’m kind of OCD about weighing myself, so I know these pounds didn’t creep up. They were sudden and actually made my skin hurt from being stretched out. The doctor ran some tests and prescribed medication for an underactive Thyroid gland. Although I felt better and had more energy, the scale wouldn’t budge.
Fast forward to mid-2017 and the 5, then 10 pounds had become 20. None of my go-to fixes that had always worked were effective anymore. Rather, they seemed to pack on additional pounds. A trip to the doctor provided no answers, other than I was probably getting close to menopause (I turned 50 in August) and would have to try harder (I was already exercising over an hour a day and eating a low carb diet) with dieting and exercising.
In the last days of 2017, my sister forwarded info on a metabolic balance program that she had done several years earlier. She knew I was frustrated and the program was discounted through the end of the year. I jumped on it.
Metabolic Balance is designed to balance hormones and optimize health using a personalized nutrition plan with coaching sessions developed for each individual based on results of a blood panel. There are no pills, shakes, or proprietary foods to purchase. The goal is long-term weight management.
My Metabolic Balance coach sent me a general health questionnaire, asked about food likes and dislikes (note: you can’t participate in this program if you are vegan as animal protein is a requirement), and had me take my measurements. I then received a lab order for the bloodwork. Once the labs were back, which took two days, she was able to input my values and prepare a meal plan for the next 16 days.
This is a two-day “relax your metabolism” to prepare for the next 14 days. It includes taking a heavy dose of magnesium, which is designed to clear your bowels. During these two days, you eat half your normal breakfast (mine was one egg and 2 slices of bacon). Lunch is homemade vegetable soup, heavy on the vegetables and an apple. Dinner a large salad with no protein and no dressing. Snacking is not allowed and meals must be spaced out 5 to 7 hours.
How’d I do? Day one I approached like an adventure, sucked it up and drank water when I was starving. Day two I had a headache, was kind of sick of vegetables and looking forward to starting phase two in the morning.
Phase two is a strict 14-day eating plan with foods based on your specific blood work. You eat three meals a day with no added fats or oils. Spices are allowed, but spice blends are not. The plan includes a protein, fruit, and vegetables at most meals. You must eat one organic apple a day. Wasa Crisp crackers are the allowed “bread.” According to my health coach, it’s best to not overthink this part, and now that I’m six days into phase two, I would agree. It’s actually nice to not overthink what you’re going to eat. The plan maps it out for you. I did purchase a food scale as everything during this phase needs to be weighed so you are eating efficiently for weight loss.
How am I doing?: The first three days I was absolutely miserable. I had headaches, I was hungry and I didn’t love my food options. Then it got easier. I started getting creative with stir-frying in vegetable broth, trying new vegetables and baking my apple with a little cinnamon (yes, that’s allowed). The best thing though is that I’m down six pounds in eight days, have lost two inches around my waist and half an inch around my leg.
At the end of strict phase two, I’m down 10 pounds and into a pair of jeans I haven’t been able to wear in over a year and some cute tops that had been gathering dust in the closet.