I'm moved by what all of you are doing. Here is my story so far.
I started seriously on my weight loss efforts in August last year after a not so good blood work (higher cholesterol and primarily triglyceride levels). First I restricted calories severely, about 1200-1300 calories a day. It wasn't especially a low carb diet in terms of ratios but it was in total a low caloric diet which effectively meant low carbs. Plus some level of physical activity -- jogging about 30 minutes on weekdays and about 1 hour on weekends. As you can see it led to weight loss. But this was at a price -- lots of cravings and not feeling so well as I was always hungry. I was always exhausted.
Date Weight (lbs)
The initial weight loss was quite rapid -- 15+ pounds in about 5-6 months. But then it plateaued for the next three. Nothing I did was budging the scale. I finally decided to read more about nutrition. This level of caloric restriction is not sustainable. I decided to switch to increase my caloric intake to a slightly higher total calorie as well as a higher carb diet. Something clicked. I started to have more energy to exercise and mentally I felt better. No longer was I starving. My diet is almost 99% plant based at this point. Lots of fruits (3-4 servings a day), veggies (at least 3-4 servings), beans/lentils/legumes (a few servings), other proteins such as tofu and quinoa, and starches such as oats, rice (both white and brown), bread (whole grain), potatoes (regular as well as sweet potatoes). Fat is minimized thoroughly, some olive oil (less than 1 tbsp), some nuts (plain as well as nut milk). I have almost completely cut out all dairy such as milk and eggs.
Here is what I ate today:
Breakfast -- 1 cup green tea, rolled oat based cereal with 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup frozen berries (blue/rasp/black)
Morning snack -- Apple + 10 blue corn chips.
Lunch -- Salad bar from Natural food restaurant with greens, shredded beets and carrots, quinoa salad, kidney beans, green beans
Afternoon smoothie (make at home and take to work) -- banana, papaya, berries, flax seeds, chia seeds, cacao nibs, water, ice
Dinner -- whole wheat pasta with a little bit of olive oil, lots of garlic, oven roasted broccoli and asparagus.
My exercise amount and intensity has increased. The weight seems to be trending down once again. I've lost another 4 lbs in the last couple months. I certainly feel a lot better with how I look. Clothes fit better. I still have a small amount of weight around the mid section but that will probably be the last to come off.
Last week I was away on a work related trip -- business conference. So many people who were seeing me after a long gap commented on how much better I looked. It was so good to hear that. Normally such trips have been the bane of my mid section. I usually eat badly and can easily put on more than a few pounds. But this time was different. The very first night I arrived, I shopped and got some oat cereal, bananas, almond milk and tea to stock up for breakfasts and avoid the fatty breakfasts at the hotel restaurants. Also, I'd try to eat healthy at lunches, dinners and coffee breaks. Always go for the fruits and avoid the cookies and pastries. Plus, every single day I exercised for at least 30 minutes -- either at the hotel gym or went outside for a jog.
The key part seems to me is that I feel that this is a sustainable approach in the long term. My approach to food has changed. I no longer look on food as an enemy to be kept at a distance. I'm eating more (maybe 1800-2000 calories) but have a small level of caloric deficit -- around 2-300 calories. The best part is that I have stopped counting calories. I eat till I'm full. I'm no longer fatigued.
I want to wish everyone success on this journey. Keep at it. You are worth it.