Thursday, November 21, 2013

Topic from Dr. Sharma- keeping weight off after a low calorie diet, my connection to Paleo

I usually blog about weight maintenance, paleo food templates, and what works for me.

I don't blog often about the very low calorie commercial weight loss plan I used (I'll save you some time.. I used Medifast/Take Shape for Life).  Disclosure: I get nothing in return from TSFL or Medifast for blogging about this, just my own story. I got a few discounts 2 years ago from a few people in real life that saw my results and tried it.  Also, I am no longer on Medifast/TSFL.

Here's the reason for the topic:
Dr. Sharma, an obesity MD in Canada has a topic today about low calorie diets and weight maintenance. Here is a link to his article. Please comment on his article (be respectful and add to the discussion) if you've had experience with low calorie diets and weight maintenance). We all go through a lot of hard work to lose and maintain using different methods.  All I ask is that we be respectful in disagreeing and agreeing.

I used the Take Shape for Life plan to drop my 70 + pounds in a steady and for me safe way. I feel that I was probably weeks or months away from a massive, life altering event like a heart attack or stroke at the age of 45.

Just MY facts:

I was unable to get into the mind set that I needed to save my own life on the Standard American Diet so I signed up for the plan. It worked very, very well for me for phase 1- weight loss and in phase 2 transition.  I purposly transitioned  to Paleo for long term maintenance.

Maybe woo-woo :
I'm probably alive today because I was able to stay on plan on a low calorie plan and find clarity on being grain free and stop my emotional/binge eating.  I also found my way to Paleo/Primal during this time of clarity.
Big Paleo Breakfast- look Mom, no counting points!

Why am I blogging about this today?   75% of my blog traffic comes from people searching for Medifast/TSFL topics, recipes. About 5-10% of my site traffic comes from those transitioning from Medifast/TSFL to a more Paleo/Primal approach for either loss or maintenance.

Find what works for you and build your own template to your best health. We are stronger together. Sharing what works. Here is the modified comment I posted at Dr. Sharma's. (see below the photo)

Getting my weight loss & maintenance plans lined up in a row like these beach cottages


Hello Dr. Sharma,
Thank you for your work in the field of obesity. I had been overweight since the age of 6 to the age of 45, (I’m now 47) with lots of attempts, large weight losses (60 pounds, with 70 regained). via Weight Watchers. In mid 2011, I started a commercial weight loss packaged VLCD with a loss of 2 pounds per week, I lost 70 pounds. I found this approach very effective for me, but I did not want to maintain my weight on packaged foods.
I transitioned over from the packaged diet to a Paleo food template (95% of the time). I find this food template (once optimized for my own body- I’m post autoimmune thyroid disease) to be very sustainable in keeping the weight off, keeping emotional/binge eating urges to a new time low (I’ve been in long term remission since the VLCD).
Not only is my health great, but I also went completely through menopause the first year of weight maintenance. I have about a +/- 3 pound variance around 115 pounds, I’m 5’1″ so that puts me right in the middle of my BMI range. I walk for 10,000 steps a day, strength train 1-2 times a week, sprint once a week.
I’m now 21 months+ into weight maintenance. Sleeping well, rarely ever sick and feeling like I’m 27 instead of 47. Very few menopause symptoms. If I eat junky food, my hot flashes and scale have a notable uptick. I’m rarely have cravings or am hungry- just normal hunger.
I blog (non-commercial) at and I update my progress with graphs monthly, maintenance photos and blood work/biomarkers when I have labs done. I share my n=1 experiences. Feel free to ask questions. I’m a single parent with a teen aged daughter, 2 hour daily commute, mainly desk job, and I work in health care in a licensed position in a laboratory.
Thank you again for your important work in the field of obesity, weight loss, and weight maintenance.


  1. But if everyone did that, the doctors would be unemployed. The weight industry is in a natural conflict, they require obese desperate people to survive. Keep up the effort, and the weight will stay off. You have done well. Lustig 2.0 show the reason real food, low carb works. Insulin blocks leptin signaling. Keep insulin down, we can see the leptin. When we can see leptin, we do not physiologically need to eat. We still need to deal with conditioned eating, emotional eating, temptations, obsessions, compulsions, impulses, and all those other things.

    1. Hi Fred T, good points. There is a reason why there is a 2 pound weight limit at WW, in my opinion. I stick to a very strict food template and I can only get a +/- 3 pound variance in any one month. Go higher and it's $14 to attend a meeting. That's where the support is.
      The insluin, hormone responses and fat storage signals are not talked about enough. Add in the other neuropathways- it's a lot of work, but I do find the Paleo template easier than the others. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. I also lost over 50#s on the TSFL program about two years ago. In fact, I think I remember you posting on the MF facebook page during your active loss which was around the same time as mine. Maybe?? Anyway, while my views on food and diet has changed since then, doing that restricted calorie plan worked for me when I was REALLY struggling I was so overwhelmed with the amount of weight I had to lose and very depressed. I was literally not thinking clearly. I could not stop the cycle of emotional and binge eating. Eventually, I got to my breaking point. Doing TSFL took the thinking out of it. I was able to go on auto-pilot, eating what I supposed to eat and the weight fell off quickly. When I started feeling better, I started thinking about what to do postMediFast. That is also how I drifted towards a Paleo lifestyle. My health has never been better and I've maintaind my weight loss since that time. I would not change how I got here. Medifast really did help me when I needed it.

    1. Hi Jenn M! I lost between May 2011 to Feb 2012, then transitioned and went pretty much straight to Paleo. So glad you are sharing your success with the Paleo template. I think it's the most underused tool for weight maintenance. Thanks for stopping by. It's good to connect with others that have walked the same path. It took 8-10 weeks on MF for me to even think clearly about stopping the emotional eating. I wouldn't change how I got here, either. Thanks again!

    2. Yes! I was on from September 2011 thru January 2012. Love following your blog! :) Finding other like-minded maintainers is a huge help to me as I continue down the path of health and fitness!

  3. Hi Karen! I read Dr. Sharma's blog, but many of the issues that he suggests don't have good answers, well, we bloggers who have lost and kept off many pounds know the answers! We sure do! We know them *better* than doctors who have no experience with losing and/or keeping off many pounds. Dr. Sharma would be so smart to listen to you. Karen, you do great analysis for all things weight maintenance related. :D

    1. It's soooooo important that we share our stories, Marion. All those weight loss people coming off the weight loss mode don't have structured weight maintenance plans ( my therories- like Fred T said- no money in it, template has to be customized, etc). The plans help with the first phase but not the other phases. Medifast has a good book about the 5 other phases after weight loss, That was helpful to me to get the right mind set, even though I don't use the product again. That and many of the health coaches are long time maintainers, WW leaders, too.

  4. You are a great example of someone who transitioned from a prescribed plan to your own lifelong plan. Congrats!

    1. Thank you Diane! I love that we are all sharing our successes and strategies. I've been short on time, but I read all of your blog posts. Love your stuff. :)