A Year In Review

2015 was the year of Caitlyn Jenner, Pope Francis, the man bun, and for me, the life-changing experiment that was 12 in 12.  A few days from now, we will unveil 2016, a blank canvas waiting to be painted. I find this both exciting and distressing at the same time. On the one hand I feel the excitement and rush of new possibilities! On the other hand, the uncertainty of an unknown future fills me with dread. The only thing that quells the anxiety is to ring in the New Year with a resolution, which makes me feel like I have some sort of control.

According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, I am one of 45% of the population that make New Year’s resolutions, and guess which one tops the list… weight loss.  Not only does the diet industry know this, they count on it, and they cash in big as a result.

Do you think it’s a coincidence that Oprah not only bought shares in Weight Watchers just before resolution season, but has also become their celebrity spokesperson? And how about all those new diet claims lining the shelves in your favourite bookstore this time of year? With the sheer volume of plans, I could have kept my experiment going until I became a centenarian! And it doesn’t stop there. Not only is the next season of NBC’s The Biggest Loser set to air on January 4th (just a few days into your resolve), but ABC is launching their new reality weight loss show called, My Diet is Better than Yours, a few days later.

“There are thousands of diets promising to help people lose weight, but choosing the diet that will actually work is a different matter. Our new format sets out to narrow the choice by selecting six diverse and revolutionary diet plans and, for the first time ever, testing these methods on TV in a real life experiment.”  

– Chris Coelen, My Diet is Better Than Yours

SOUND FAMILIAR!!!!!  The show is Searching For My After’s 12 in 12 experiment, but with a honking budget and commercials! But I digress…

Where was I? Ah yes, New Year’s resolutions… perhaps you’re looking at adding weight loss to your resolution list. Maybe you too are looking with abject terror at the filled to bursting fitness section in your local bookstore. Maybe this is your first time on this website and you have no idea what I’m talking about. Well don’t worry… I’ve put together a summary of each of the plans I tested during 12 in 12, highlighting my stats, my likes and dislikes, and the lessons learned while I was on them to help you narrow down your search.

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Month 1: The Start Here Diet

Pounds lost: -9.4

% weight loss: -3.70

Liked: Excellent plan to ease back into dieting.

Disliked: Eliminating trigger foods cold turkey.

Lesson Learned: Even a small step is a step in the right direction!

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Month 2: Weight Watchers

Pounds lost: -6.8

% weight loss: -2.78

Liked: No food is off limits.

Disliked: Weighing, measuring, calculating, and tracking, every morsel was tedious.

Lesson Learned: Learned to recalibrate portion sizes.

 

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Month 3: Paleo

Pounds lost:-9.3

% weight loss: -3.91

Liked: Very simple to follow.

Disliked: Got a bit constipated eating protein at each meal. Missed whole grains.

Lesson Learned: Pre-historic (aka pre-processed) rules!

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Month 4: Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type

Pounds lost: -4.5

% weight loss: -1.97

Liked: The app listing your beneficial-neutral-avoid foods was handy when I went grocery shopping, or planned a meal.

Disliked: Still craved foods on my avoid list.

Lesson Learned: One size does not fit all.

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Month 5: The Mediterranean Diet

Pounds lost: -5.3

% weight loss: -2.37

Liked: Loved the social aspect of the plan, and looked forward to having dessert once a week.

Disliked: Pushed the boundaries and ate more cheese, bread, and olive oil than I should have.

Lesson Learned: Enjoying a meal with family and friends makes the food taste better : )

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Month 6: Whole Food, Plant-Based

Pounds lost: -4.5

% weight loss: -2.06

Liked: The most ethical and humane of all the plans, plus I pooped 3 times a day – whoohoo!!!

Disliked: Never felt full.

Lesson Learned: Mother Nature knows best and provides everything we need.

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Month 7: The Biggest Loser

Pounds lost: -5.4

% weight loss: -2.52

Liked: 1,500 calories a day is very doable.

Disliked: Dreaded exercise – didn’t enjoy the monotonous machines at the gym.

Lesson Learned: Progress, not perfection.

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Month 8: The 8-Hour Diet

Pounds lost: +2.8

% weight loss: +1.53

Liked: Fasting gave my body a chance to recharge.

Disliked: Only plan I gained weight on – you can’t tell a food addict they can eat whatever they want because they will!

Lesson Learned: Make time for rest.

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Month 9: The Hormone Diet

Pounds lost: -6.6

% weight loss: -3.12

Liked: My sleep improved tremendously – yay!

Disliked: Most expensive program at $700 for the month (naturopath visits and supplements).

Lesson Learned: We must make adjustments for different stages and phases in life.

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Month 10: Twelve-Step Program for Food Addicts

Pounds lost: -5.9

% weight loss: -2.88

Liked: After eliminating flour, wheat and sugar, my taste buds were alive and food tasted better, and I didn’t get one hot flash when I was off sugar!

Disliked: Restrictive – made eating in ‘real life’ situations (i.e. dining out, meetings, etc.) tough.

Lesson Learned: Live life one day at a time, and meals one bite at a time.

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Month 11: The Gabriel Method

Pounds lost: -2.2

% weight loss: -1.10

Liked: Meditation exercises and being in nature grounded me : )

Disliked: Guided visualization felt like hypnosis.

Lesson Learned: Question and challenge limiting beliefs.

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Month 12: A Course In Weight Loss

Pounds lost: -1.9

% weight loss: -0.96

Liked: With every lesson, I went deeper within myself and reconnected with God, and the real me : )

Disliked: Felt a bit new age.

Lesson Learned: Self-love conquers all – even a plate full of Oreos.

Don’t let the diet industry spoon feed you – test the plans out yourself!  You might find one suits you perfectly right off the rack, or you might have to tailor one by combining your favourite elements from a few of them like I did.

I hope it helps you narrow your choice, and you don’t have to be on a reality weight loss show to find out!

Ringing in the New Year with a Little Less Junk in the Trunk!

I never thought I would say this, but I woke up this morning eager to hop on the scale. The moment of truth…. I envisioned all of you and Tosca Reno, author of The Start Here Diet which I tested in month 1 of my 12 in 12 trial, peering over my shoulder as I stepped onto my lovely new Fitbit Aria scale which I’ve affectionately named, Liar!

I had my iPhone ready to chronical the big moment, but a message popped up saying my memory was full. Rats! I ran to get my iPad and stepped back on. Whaaaaaaaat!!!!? How could I be up 2 lbs in just seconds?! I called my sister who gifted me the scale, “There’s something wrong with this darn thing! Damn, technology!” “What can I say,” she replied. “I’ve never had a problem with it.”

I flopped on the bed and began deleting old photos and a few unnecessary apps to make room for the pics and guess what I learned? My iPad (case and all) weighs, 2 lbs :|. I hear my kids disowning me now.

Drumroll please!

I’m down 9.4 lbs in one month! But not just any month… December!! Freaking December – month of candy canes, Panettone, Zeppole, and Pot of Gold chocolates left, right and centre, December!!! Weight loss in freaking, Ho Ho Ho, unbutton your pants while you face-plant in all the decadent merriment December!!! Call the Guinness people – this has got to be some kind of record!!! And all this was achieved by sticking to Tosca’s three steps:

1. Dive Inward

  • I will continue to dive inward throughout 12 in 12 as it’s important to understand the emotional reasons why I not only gained the weight in the first place, but hung on to it all these years. Uncovering these truths will be pivotal in losing the excess pounds, and keeping them off for good.

2. Uncovering [and eliminating] my Hidden Foods (mine are chips and chocolate)

  • I faithfully stuck to #2, except for indulging in a few slices of my Holiday Hidden Food – Panettone. Take a look at this beauty – this is not Photoshopped!!

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I never in my wildest, baked-goods dreams could have imagined a Panettone this size – 11 lbs of Italian yumminess! My girlfriend Joanna received it as a gift this Christmas and she sent Marianne and I home with a wedge each. I could cry, and I almost did when I took a look at the nutritional content.

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My typical serving size (250g) and the maker’s serving size (83g) varies by 3:1 – YIKES! I had no idea what the calories were and now I’m starting to see volume control will be critical going forward. But how can you just have this much, when my tummy wants this…

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Thank goodness Panettone comes out only twice a year!

3. Move a Little

  • I didn’t do so well on this step. Unfortunately, during the first 2 weeks of the plan, I pinched my sciatic nerve and it kept me up day and night, and my mobility was limited. After a lot of physio and prescribed anti-inflammatories, I recovered and had a full 2 days of relief before I was hit with a cold that has lingered for the last 10 days. But I did get in walks wherever I could, like the other day when I went for a stroll by the lake with a few of my Home Church sisters!
I've got to learn how to take a group selfie!
I’ve got to learn how to take a group selfie!

Areas I need to work on:

  • Re-plating – ensure I balance my meals with healthy carbs, protein and fats
  • Not being distracted when I eat, i.e. stop eating at my desk, or on the go
  • Ramp up the exercise
  • Drink more water

So what plan will I be testing in January, you wonder? I gave it a considerable amount of thought and ultimately let my wallet decide. I affectionately dub this plan the ‘grand poobah’ of all diet programs. This multi-billion dollar conglomerate waives its registration fees in January so those of us listing weight loss as one of our New Year’s resolutions will choose them amongst all the other programs vying for our attention… Weight Watchers – Ta Da!

Check out Weight Watchers’ current ad…. no celebrity spokesperson this time – just regular schmoes like you and me mindlessly stuffing our faces, clearly in need of help.

Depressing, but honest and effective – I see myself in each and every situation. So here we go, Month 2! Let’s see what you can teach me!

For weight, measurements and progress photos, please go to the Measuring Up tab.