Intermittent Fasting Series, Part 2: The Yo-Yo Diet Run for My Life

By on January 19, 2021

Thank you for your kind words after our first post in this series. It is tough to open up about a weight loss journey that isn’t what most people would call a success. But never the less, it has been our success, and that is why I am here to tell you about it in this blog series. I appreciate you coming along on this journey of self-reflection.

We have not been featured in any magazines since we were in Woman’s Day magazine in 2014 and I am completely OK with the lack of public attention to our journey. I am sure people whisper and wonder about us. Heck, that may be why you are still reading part 2 in this series because you want to know what happened. I’m OK with that, it’s an interesting story. You may look at what we eat, drink, and think, “How could they?!” I get it.

I have no idea how people live a happy, food-fulfilled life on only 1,200 calories, eating salads and diet coke, endlessly exercising, and counting calories every single day to make sure they don’t go over. I don’t get it. I tried to live that life and I certainly cannot live that way for a lifetime. I love food and wine, oh how I love deep, luscious, red wine. I love cake, delicious and rich chocolate cake. For those couple of years from 2011-2015, I was miserable as a “skinny girl.” Sure, I loved looking in the mirror! But living was a problem. It was things like only being able to eat one unsatisfying slice of pizza, one mini cupcake when I wanted to eat the big one, and one guilty glass of wine that led to finishing the entire bottle because I just wanted to say, “screw the limitations, I need to live!” I was working out to burn more calories to eat even more food. That is what the “experts” say, right? Eat less and move more! Rubbish! I wanted to go on vacation without spending a year losing those pounds I picked up as souvenirs. I wanted to eat without getting fat – period. It’s every person’s dream. But alas there I was, a skinny girl who struggled to live while my hormones continued to rage out of control because the weight started to fluctuate…a lot. Alas, the yo-yo diet run for my life begins again.

Indulging in the mini-cupcake when I really wanted the big one!

I had just turned 40 when this weight loss journey was at its peak. My son was in the United States Marine Corps and I was mad about it. I wasn’t mad at him, he was made for the Corps. He is a warrior in every sense of the word. I hated him being so far away especially when he was deployed overseas. I took out all of my anger at the gym, a temporary motivator. I cannot live well in that constant state of anger. Fortunately, my son came back home safe and life is a bit quieter.

If you don’t already know, you can’t outrun a bad diet. You can move as much as you want but if your diet is a horrible mess, you will be too. I know this all too well. I tried my best to outrun the yo-yo phenomenon. I ran half marathons. I completed several triathlons. I hiked 500 miles across Spain. I worked out 2, even 3 times a day. I wasn’t living. I was trying to outrun the food demon inside of me and I was ticked off it didn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t work but it wasn’t until intermittent fasting (IF) that I learned why it wouldn’t work. We’ll talk about that in another blog post. I promise it’s coming. I have a lot to say about what we have learned on IF.

Here’s what I learned from our “weight loss success” – (1) I hate counting calories. (2) I hate thinking about food unless I am eating or menu planning. (3) I hate thinking about all the foods that are “restricted” because the experts at some diet company deemed them forbidden. (4) I hate tracking my food and therefore having to think about food more often. (5) I unequivocally cannot stand food prep. I hate it more than I hate dieting. (6) In the future, I only want to outrun a bear.

In the future, I only want to outrun a bear.

Also at the age of 40, I had a hysterectomy though I should have had it long before. Unfortunately, the insurance company had too many opinions on what I should do to my body and when I should do it. A rant for another day. My hormones have been a struggle since I was 15 years old, probably even younger. I remember vividly when the OB/GYN told me I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) followed by, “you will never get pregnant.” Yep, you heard that one right. This teenager was just given the license to have sex while dealing with the emotion and devastation at the thought of not becoming a mom. Obviously, that doctor was wrong because I have a handsome adult son. It wasn’t that I couldn’t get pregnant but rather it would be difficult to get pregnant. My son was unexpected at age 20 but he remains to be my greatest blessing in life. In 2020 he and his wife made us grandparents. 🙌🏼

Hormones are the greatest blessing and challenge of being a woman. I am not a nutrition expert, as if you didn’t know that already. I am certainly not a medical professional, again no big surprise. Therefore, I don’t know if I had PCOS because I was fat, I was fat because I had PCOS or something else entirely nor do I care at this point. I have read a lot about PCOS but that is not the point of this blog. What I know is my hormonal challenges only seemed to get more complicated as the years went on and I became more overweight and unhealthy. The yo-yo run continues.

PCOS is just another symptom of a bigger problem. I have struggled with being pre-diabetic, excess hair growth, terrible acne, overall saggy skin, high blood pressure, anxiety, and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2016. Hashimoto’s is an umbrella diagnosis for an autoimmune condition related to the thyroid. I knew my thyroid was a problem because I got that diagnosis in 2006 but it took me a while to find a doctor who could help me put all of these hormone pieces together. Oh, and did I mention I am also going through menopause? Yep, that too!

Are you thinking yet, she is a mess and I am glad I am not her! I wouldn’t blame you. Finding a doctor who could understand my diagnosis and help me take action was amazing. It also meant trying a new medication, finding the right dosage, which meant more weight gain. I remember our anniversary weekend getaway in 2017 when I was trying yet another new medication. I gained 12 pounds in one weekend! Yep, thank you underactive thyroid. We even hiked about 15 miles that weekend. You can’t outrun a bad thyroid either.

Grasping what was happening on the inside behind what everyone could see on the outside is important to appreciate the journey. I think we all have “stuff” to deal with in our progression towards good health. Whether it’s food addiction, hormones, some other health challenge, or emotional baggage. Life is a roller coaster, a yo-yo, or maybe it’s like dodgeball and we are all just trying to not get hit too hard by what’s thrown at us next. If we can just control how we react to it, we’re winning. Right? Sounds so easy (sarcasm). Intermittent fasting is kind of like that, controlling when we eat so we can enjoy more of what we eat. I wish we would have found it much sooner. Sadly, between 2015-2019, Brian and I gained back about 100 pounds of the 254 pounds we lost while rebelling against the restrictive diet we had known all too well. 😔

But I haven’t even begun to tell you what we gained when we found IF on that day in mid-January 2019. We gained enough to make an entire blog series about our journey. We cut the string on the yo-yo all together. Let me make sure you don’t miss this point – Because of intermittent fasting, we threw the yo-yo away forever. In the first blog post, I had a picture of all of our favorite foods. Can we eat all of those foods? Yes and no. We spent two years trying to see how much food we could eat when we were feasting between our fasts. Guess what? In two years we loved life, we lived well, we ate well, we drank well, we fasted, and we didn’t gain any more weight. Do we want to lose weight? Of course, we do! But for two years, this hormonally-challenged woman and her easy-going husband didn’t gain any weight. I could never have said that when we were “skinny.” The story isn’t over yet. Come back next week when we talk about learning to eat again. Subscribe to our blog to get notifications when the next blog post is up.

To go back and re-read post #1 in this series, click here. To read post #3 in this series, click here.



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