Before Thursday night, Iíd studied all the materials, read all the postsÖ but somehow I wasnít getting the big picture. I thought my success was the sum of my weight and measurements and blood work and how I look and how my clothes fit. That was all great, but I wasnít quite grasping the practical aspects of how this would change the way I manage my weight for the rest of my life.
I donít want to go back to where I was, but I donít want to have to constantly count and measure and make trades and sacrifice my enjoyment of food.
Now I know that I donít have to.
Iím going to paraphrase much of what was shared at the Phase 4 Workshop I attended, led by Dr. Z, a chiropractor/nutritionist/IP regional rep. She is a Type II diabetic, and like me, does not eat meat. She has also lost a great deal of weight on IP, and looks fantastic. Like us!
Itís tough to get out of diet mode, particularly after the rigidity of Phases 1 and 2. Phase 3 is still quite specific, and, incidentally, is an extremely critical part of the programóit is important to do it right, particularly if you are diabetic. (I will post more about Phase 3 separately.) Phase 4 is, by design, much more general. The whole point is that you should eat healthy foods and follow a few general principles that will allow your body to retain the benefits of resetting the pancreas to function more efficiently.
Iíve posted a Phase 4 protocol, but donít get hung up on the measurements or the food lists. Dr. Z said if you ask for those things, she can give them to you, but itís time to go ahead and live your life, which happens to include eating normally. The overarching guideline is to eat healthy. So if your previous version of ďeating normallyĒ was not particularly healthy, donít go back to doing that!
The Phase 4 sheet outlines a healthy diet, if you need some guidance. The key points NOT to ignore are to include protein with every meal and snack before bed, eat your carbs at dinner rather than lunch, and minimize the fat you have with your dinner. Following these guidelines will help your body mimic the way naturally slender people process food: ďeat it and burn itĒ rather than ďeat it and store it.Ē
Beyond that, just make healthy choices. Eat vegetables and fruit. Choose multigrain alternatives. Eat when you are hungry, but in quantities that satisfy you rather than leave you feeling stuffed. These things are easy to remember.
That said, go ahead and enjoy life in your new body. If you miss a meal or eat a sandwich at lunch, your world will not fall apart. But keep some protein foods or drinks on hand if you donít always have time to eat. And if you canít live life without sandwiches, try to have them at dinner or on your cheat day.
The only metrics you need to keep track of are your weight (check 2-3 times a week), and your measurements. If your weight goes up, check your measurements (are your pants getting tight?) to see if you are actually gaining fat. If you are, cut back on the carbs for a few days, and get yourself back on track.
Decide on a weight that tells you itís time to do something more serious. If you hit that number, go back on Phase 1 until you drop down to your ideal weight. Maybe it takes 3 days, maybe 2 weeks. Then do Phase 3 again. If you want, just plan to do 2 weeks of Phase 1 annually; Dr. Z reserves the 2 weeks every year after the holidays to get back with the program.
Cheat days need not be a major production, nor do they have to be an entire day. Consider following Dr. Zís lead. Her ďcheat dayĒ is actually Friday, Saturday and Sunday after 3:00 PM. She eats a healthy breakfast and lunch each day, then has her evening out with friends on Friday, goes to the Saturday cookout, and prepares a nice Sunday dinner at home. Every Monday itís a no-carb dayóeither with IP products or withoutóso her body canít store the fat.
The point here is that you need to find a routine that works for you. If itís not, ďgood during the week and bad on the weekend,Ē then choose another approach. Use your cheat day if you have a special event coming up. Whatís important is that you know how to keep your body from storing the fat, and because your body has been retrained through the IP phases, it is more than happy to oblige.
For me, this is actually the key to the whole IP protocol. This is how I can manage my weight, determine what changes I might need to make in how I eat, and recover if I find that my body isnít burning fat as efficiently as Iíd like it to. This is why IP is billed as the last diet youíll ever need... not because itís a magic bullet and youíll never gain weight again, but because it is now a weapon in your weight management arsenal. IP has to be an unbalanced diet because the human body is not built to lose weight. Quite the opposite: it is built to store fat.
I read all this over and over before and during the diet, but I guess itís like learning a foreign language: if you donít use it, youíre really not going to get it into your head in any meaningful way. Now that Iím back to living a normal life, I see how this can work for me. Iím no longer focused on quantities and weights and trying to remember to eat everything Iím supposed to, when Iím supposed to eat it.
I can easily implement the ďcheat approachĒ Ėitís a French diet, says Dr. Z, and the French love their food and wine... no way would they expect people to make such a sacrifice! I can remember to have my carbs for dinner, with minimal fat. I can remember to eat fruits and vegetables and to not stuff myself. I can use IP or not to supplement my protein optionsóa premade shake before bed or a handful of nuts will do just fine. Do what works for you.
So thatís some of what I learned on Thursday. I will post more later.