Friday, October 12, 2012

One Year Ago - October 1, 2011

Autumn is working its way down the valley in East Tennessee, but this picture was taken along the Appalachian Trail last week at an elevation of more than 5500 feet.

This is a continuation of Part 1 which you can find here.

The road is long, with many a winding curve that leads us to who knows where........

When I left you last, it was October 1, 2011 and I was 36 pounds above goal.  I knew something had to change and held out hope that it would, but I also knew if the change was going to be permanent, it couldn't be forced.   It is certainly no secret to any reader of this blog that I practice Christianity and that my faith is the guiding force behind my life and decisions.  I believe in divine guidance and am 100% confident that God uses circumstances, other people, our own minds, and any other weapon available to guide us daily.   I believe we miss so many answers that are right in front of us simply because we are looking for something bigger or more dramatic.  You may or may not believe the same way I do, but I've met very few people who totally discount the idea of there being something bigger than me and you at work in this world.  

You can read about my "moment" sometime near the middle of November, 2011 here.  Just know that as I sit here looking back one year at how unlikely the circumstances were that I'd be in that place and that time, I am once more overwhelmed at how strongly I feel that divine guidance was in place.  I don't do "diets," I don't read diet books, I rarely go into Barnes and Noble, I'd never bothered with low-carb plans before and still only consider it feasible in certain circumstances as I don't consider eliminating entire food groups healthy.  

But this plan, The 17-Day Diet worked for me.   It is still working 11 months later.   I follow it every day and see no reason why I can't follow it for the rest of my life.  It is second nature much like wearing the pedometer and recording my steps each morning is second nature.  

Following the 17 Day Diet, I lost all of my weight reaching goal (a slightly adjusted goal) while we were in New England this past summer.  It took approximately eight months.  Since that time, I have remained fairly effortlessly within a two pound range.   The permanent goal weight I have established for myself is seven pounds higher than the weight I achieved in 2007 and 10 pounds LOWER than the original goal weight I had set in 2006.  My body likes this weight.  I am happy and content.  

Here are a few of the things I have learned.   If you are struggling with your own journey, please know these things.....ponder them....take them to heart!   In the whole scheme of things, I am a new maintainer, but I believe my long time maintaining friends (who are my current lifeline) will concur.

1)  Patience, patience, patience!  Only through patience will you find the plan that works for you and the courage to follow through with it over the long haul.   The key to finding the right one is by looking it over, getting that sense that this is IT, and knowing from the outset that it is something your body will enjoy and can do FOREVER.  This is why fad diets do not work and never will.  There are very specific reasons why The 17 Day Diet worked for me and I believe that's why I was drawn to it that day in Barnes and Noble.  But I had to be willing and open to looking at something I normally wouldn't have given a second glance.  I was delighted after talking about it in a post to learn that four of you had decided to consider the plan as well.  One year later, I will tell you that one friend followed the plan to the letter, reached her goal weight and like me, is currently maintaining it.  One is following it loosely adapting it to fit her body and still successfully moving toward goal.  One realized quickly it was not for her and stopped.  One is no longer blogging, but during the short time she followed the plan, did not find it to work for her.  See what I mean?   Keep your eyes open, your mind vigilent, but never jump from one bandwagon to the next just because it seems to be working for someone else.  If an eating plan is healthy and working for all your best friends, but it requires you to eat two yogurt servings a day and you HATE yogurt, THAT IS NOT THE PLAN FOR YOU.

2)  I am not a doctor and can tell you that I do not appreciate the "do it my way or you're wrong" approach often found in the weight loss blog arena.   You may or may not believe that our bodies can be carb-sensitive.  It makes no difference to me and I will NEVER argue the point.  You must find for yourself how your body reacts.  Our bodies are like snowflakes - no two are alike!   All I can do is tell you that adhering to this plan severely limited most carbs for me during the first 17 days.  And to my total amazement, once the first 17 days were behind me, I realized that the intense desires for sweets, breads, pastas, etc. no longer existed.  And this is something I still cannot believe.  You'd simply have to experience it yourself.  I am white sugar free and almost totally white flour free.  The sugar I do not miss.  For the most part, I do not miss the white flour either.  I am extremely judicious with eating 100% whole wheat flour as I can detect cravings for more when I've eaten a wrap or something similar.  So for me, carb-sensitivity is very real.  For my husband, it is not a factor and we've proven that to be true.   You have to do the same, you have to give it time and you have to go cold turkey.   For me, it has given me a freedom I never thought possible.

3)  Use every possible and available resource to help you.  Remember that divine guidance I mentioned or if you don't believe in divine guidance, whatever you call on as a source of inner strength?  Some simply call it intuition.  Don't discount anyone, anything or any method that might be placed in front of you as encouragement, method or motivation.  Reminds me of this story which I've heard all my life............

 The Drowning Man
A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.
Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, "Jump in, I can save you."
The stranded fellow shouted back, "No, it's OK, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me."
So the rowboat went on.
Then a motorboat came by. "The fellow in the motorboat shouted, "Jump in, I can save you."
To this the stranded man said, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith."
So the motorboat went on.
Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, "Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety."
To this the stranded man again replied, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith."
So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.
Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, "I had faith in you but you didn't save me, you let me drown. I don't understand why!"
To this God replied, "I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

So yes, be patient.   But patience requires vigilence.  Patience requires action - it is not static.  You are either moving forward or backward.  It is not likely your journey is sitting still.  Open your eyes, watch for rowboats, motorboats and helicopters.  

This journey is hard.  In these last two posts, I've covered six YEARS!   And I read posts every day from people wanting to lose 40 pounds in two WEEKS!   Patience, people!  You are only setting yourself up for an internal sense that you have failed when your expectations were totally unreasonable to begin with.  

This journey is best done in community and with a strong support system, yet it also intensely personal.  If I can do it - you can too. 

I care about every single one of you who happens to read this.   If I can help, please let me know in what way.   In the meantime, if you have made it to the end of both posts, please leave me a comment (even just one word is o.k) letting me know where you are in your journey! 


  1. I'm in the part of my journey where I am higher than I have been since 2001 (and not happy about it.) But I'm also figuring some important things out, and that's worth every step even if it is in bigger pants! ;)

  2. Wonderful post, Sharon. Thanks so much, and I'm truly delighted that you finally found the right fit for your life, your body, and yourself! I feel like I'm moving closer as well, and look forward to the day I can write a similar post!

  3. Hi my Friend, I'm still here and practicing this patience thing :-) Still holding at 200 pounds. Been here a while. Getting ready to put some extra focus in as the holidays approach. I still want to lose during this season of eating!

    So glad you are doing well!!! Keep focused!

  4. I enjoyed reading your post! I'm in the same situation I find myself over and over again. Losing a few pounds then celebrating the loss with food. Sounds ridiculous but for years this has been my strongest weakness in weight management. Your success is inspiring and gives hope to me. It is not an easy road, but is worth continuing on.

    Thanks for sharing your story so honestly.

  5. I do love that story, and do believe God sends help in many ways. You, I believe, is one way he's sending me help. Thanks for sharing your story, and I am trying to work on my patience ;)

  6. He ain't heavy, he's my of my favorite songs.

    Thanks for giving all of us the encouragement needed to stay on this road. You so right about each person finding the right plan for them. That has been a truth I have said over and over to my friends IRL when they ask what I've done to lose weight. I'll gladly share because what I'm doing might be the key that they need, but I stress not to give up if it doesn't work.

  7. I am one of those who was inspired by Sharon to try the 17DD and found it easy to adapt to and love the lack of carb cravings!

    I was holding my own, maintaining my weight loss until the foot problems prevented me from exercising on any kind of regular basis. I have gained a few pounds so have cut back on carbs to drop those pounds and will have to stay lower carb until I can exercise on a regular basis again. I love the carb cycling because it helps me to control cravings, adds variety and is a no brainer.

    I also believe that there isn't one food plan that is right for everyone. I happen to love yogurt and Kefir, which play a big part in the 17DD food plan.

    For me another tool that I find helpful is the free on line food journal called My Fitness Pal. You can track your food and exercise. There is something about seeing it all in print that helps me stay on track.

    Congratulations on your success Sharon!

  8. Very nice, Sharon.. You should write a book... One of the best pieces of advice you give is that each of us is different --and each of us need to follow a weight-loss plan just for US. For me personally, I have never had trouble losing the weight. My problem comes after I am at goal--and relax some with my food. Then I will gain it all back...

    This time, I'm working VERY hard not to gain it back. I still write down everything that goes in my mouth --and that keeps me accountable. I am eating more since I lost 5 more pounds while on vacation ---and my doctor is having fits. I am trying to eat about 1500 calories per day--and at that number of calories, I 'should' maintain and not lose nor gain... We shall see!!!!! This is hard for me!

    Congrats on your weight loss ---and I pray that both of us can keep it OFF....

    Hope you have a good weekend/week.

  9. Hi Sharon!

    You are wise! I think that everytime I read one of your posts! We do need to be patient. I need to be patient. I appreciate your insight so much!

    Thanks for your comment on my last post. I'm glad someone still reads my posts as I haven't been posting as often... it gets hard as my life has been getting busier.

    It would be fab to meet you someday, I agree! I'd love to go on a hike with you, that would be super cool!!

    Take care, my friend!!
    God bless....

  10. Thank you, Sharon...that is wise and wonderful advice, and helpful, I think, to any of us on our own difficult journeys, whether our struggles are with our weight or something else. One of my daily prayers is that I will recognize the help God sends, in whatever form it takes. It's so important to remember that God truly does work in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.

  11. I'm sure it was an oversight, but for #2 you forgot to mention that the no-one-right-way thing applies only if it's not from me. :)

    Seriously, great post with solid PROVEN advice.

  12. I missed this post! For some reason I thought it was the last post, if that makes sense! Anyway, great points. I like your point that patience can be active.

  13. Patience. That's not easy. I've done diets where I've lost weight relatively quickly then gained it back after the diet was "done". This journey is slower but better for me mentally. I don't always deny myself the foods that I enjoy so the weight is coming off slowly, but it is coming off. I'm 35 pounds into my journey with about 70 left to go (depending on if I change my goal when I get closer to it). It's taken about 7 months so far. It will have to continue for the rest of my life, which is why I need to approach it in a way that doesn't deny me all of the foods I enjoy...although I'm learning lots and one of the things I've learned is that I don't enjoy all the foods I used to enjoy anymore.

    Good advice. Thank you :)

  14. Definitely some sound advice here, Sharon.

    As for me, I've been struggling (again). Mentally, I know a low-carb diet works for me ... yet I find reasons to stray time and again. I'm trying a paleo approach right now (but tend to get into that dangerous "screw it" mindset when I'm with the Boyfriend on weekends).

  15. I appreciate the fact that you shared your story. I have been intrigued by the 17 day diet because of your success (and Tish, too). Yes, patience is very important. The whole journey is a slow one, but patience pays off, for you and for me. Congratulations again on meeting your goals.