I have always been a skinny person, but I actually think of myself as skinny fat. Skinny fat means you look skinny, but if you actually were to put on a bathing suit or anything that didn't hide it well (I'm tall and have skinny legs and ankles especially), then the truth comes out. You're fat! Skinny fat!
All my life, I've dealt with multiple body image issues and disorders, I've gone from bulimic to borderline anorexic, though I never fully accomplish the latter because I love food too much, which is why bulimia is easier, you just overeat and then hurl afterwards. It is true, most people with horrific body image issues are obsessive and controlling (I've been known to be both at times...) and when they can't seem to control this one aspect of their life that is seemingly controllable, they lose it. Such was the case for me at least... all my life I had been pretty skinny (skinny fat but still skinny by most standards, don't go to Taiwan, they all think I'm a giant there), and then when I started to gain weight in my 20's, it was a bit difficult to cope with. Of course, having a Chinese mom who bluntly told me I was looking a little hefty anytime I saw her, who blamed my weight gain on a life full of hedonistic alcohol and late night partying, and wasn't afraid to let me and everyone around her know, didn't help. It also didn't help to live in LA in my 20's with a lot of close friends at the time who also were obsessed with "thinspiration" as we called it. It was actually normal to have the conversation, "I ate too much, I'm going to go puke some out, one sec..." and some friends would just go workout, overeat and then go run 10 miles, but I was never a runner so that solution didn't work out for me. I finally joined a nice expensive gym (Equinox baby) and started to take care of myself physically and truly began to eat better and take care of my body. Shortly after, I left to San Jose for a work rotation and being alone there really helped me out of my funk, but of course, not after eating an entire 1/4 of a sheet cake by myself, yeah I did.. but it was good and so worth it. I started doing barre classes consistently, went to the Equinox in Palo Alto every weekend for a few hours taking classes, and really started to figure out what it meant to make my own sandwiches and salads for lunch and dinner. San Jose was a short but good time for me. It was also in San Jose that I found God, but that's unrelated to my body issues and dieting and for another time...
Flash forward to life now. Well, first of all having three children didn't help. I was good about exercising when I was pregnant with my first. It being my first and me still relatively young then, the weight came off without much effort (you know when people say breastfeeding takes the weight off and you buy into it but really you're just young and it was your first baby...). With my second, the exercising during pregnancy was minimal and mostly consisted of chasing after my firstborn, post partum weight was a bit slower, but it still came off despite the obvious increase in jiggle and inches overall. With my third, I barely could find time or the energy while being pregnant, so I slacked where I hadn't with the first two and exercise became non-existent. I'd start a DVD, do about 5 minutes and call it a day. Slowly, the 5 minutes whittled down to 0 minutes and I just lay in my own slothful pregnancy, dreading the post-partum fight to get back to pre-baby size. It didn't help that I never came back after my second size wise (muscle weigh more than fat!) and we got pregnant by surprise with Dagny before we planned to. The weight after Dagny was the hardest. I was exercising and eating well and it still wouldn't budge, but I was determined the lose the weight. I just wasn't sure how to do it. I signed up for a fancy barre class that was SO EXPENSIVE (the last time I did barre classes, I was single and making good money), and I went every week once or twice a week, I saw my fat tone up a bit, but not enough to really feel good about myself. I was growing tired of the bulge over my pants as I saw down and debating whether or not I should acquiesce and go buy some new clothes that actually fit comfortably.
And then I noticed a girl at Church and how much weight her family had recently lost. I was too scared to approach her about it, I mean it's always awkward, what do you say, "hey, you've lost so much weight!" .... awkward... but I even asked Andy if he noticed and he said yes. At a church event, someone was talking to her and her eight year old daughter about it, and that's when I finally had the guts to ask about it. Turns out it was this program called the Fast Metabolism Diet ("FMD"), a diet I had actually looked up and put the book on my wait list at the local library. I hadn't researched it fully but the restrictions made me nervous and I had given up on it. I had entertained the idea of Whole30 but it seemed absolutely miserable and unsustainable! As for FMD, all I knew was you couldn't eat processed foods, dairy, or soy, and while processed foods aren't everywhere in our home, dairy and soy sure is! While in Idaho this summer, my friend who had done a spout of clean eating kept persuading me to give clean eating a shot because she claimed amminos or Liquid Braggs was actually a decent substitute for soy sauce. Prideful and claiming my Chinese superiority, I had politely declined. But as this 8 year old talked about all the changes she made and how doable it was, I became intrigued. She is EIGHT after all. If she can do it, surely I could too!
So I got on board, bought the book, meal planned, and decided the next 28 days (which included Thanksgiving) would be dedicated to FMD.
My father-in-law, a very active person (he runs marathons ALL the time), also wanted to try it out. He had cut carbs and sweets out of his diet for weeks here and there without much change. We both have these family goals every six months and one of my goals was to lose either 15 pounds or 4 inches off of my waist. So we buckled down, and got ready for FMD over the next 28 day. We figured we didn't have anything to lose, but thing that really convinced us was just how much weight that family had lost. It seemed like we could be success stories too!
Guys... we definitely cheated here and there. We had Thanksgiving dinner where we both went a bit overboard, we had family birthday dinners at Chinese restaurants (lots of soy sauce), but we both came out feeling and looking different.
In the end, I lost 12 pounds, 4 inches off of my waist and 3 inches off of my hips. I didn't measure my arms, but they looked more ripped and skinny than before. It's truly amazing. Haylie's diet is descrived as "Did I Eat Today?" and full of harsh realizations about how much protein I lacked, how much sugary fruit I was over indulging on, and how little vegetables I actually ate (despite thinking I ate a ton!). I also got a handle on portion control which is seemingly my hugest problem since I eat so fast and it takes the brain a bit to actually figure out your stomach is full. I went to a few parties with friends where all I could do was drink water or eat veggies, and having to resist all that great food really helped me build some confidence that I can do it!
Now I get that anything that shocks your body will force change, but mind you I was a pretty healthy person, or so I thought. I ate vegetables, didn't carb overload, and only had processed foods occasionally. I won't even let my kids have fruit snacks or goldfish unless it's Sunday (or grandma gives it to them during the week). We do love some processed foods, but I try to balance it with real fruits, cheese, or deli meat. I don't love chocolate and candy has never been extremely tempting for me (we still have all our Halloween and Easter candy just sitting in a big pumpkin basket) but I do love my nightly ice cream in a cone and cheesecake (I can eat a whole thing of cheesecake by myself). My friends were skeptical, especially the ones who had similar eating habits as me. They wondered if the only reason my friends had lost weight was because their eating habits were so far off. Those doubters... I showed them, eh?!
The best part is.. 28 days later with some cheating here and there... I'm proud to announce that FMD WORKS! And the best part is, I found out that other people in the neighborhood had also done it, and it worked for them too! We got excited talking to each other about what it has taught us, about our own eating habits and that it's sustainable afterwards, and an easy enough diet that you can just hop in and decide to do a week here or a week there with actual quick results. And, throughout the whole thing, we were eating. A LOT for that matter. The only part that kinda sucked was Phase 2 for two days when you're limited to pretty much protein and green veggies. Bleh. But two days is not a huge deal and it passes by slowly, but also quickly.
Anyway, it has been a great experience and I recommend it to anyone looking to really slim down and rev up their metabolism. It SERIOUSLY works. And the food is good (except for Phase 2) and filling, and if you're truly motivated to do something good for yourself, this is it. It takes a lot of money (to buy all the natural stuff and fresh veggies and fruits), detailed planning and the actual execution takes a lot of effort, but the results are so worth it.
I've attached some photos of the food so you can witness it's doable and then, the only photos I took of myself during the process to show some progress.
Phase 1 oatmeal with blueberries
Phase 1 open faced sandwich and fruit
Phase 1 strawberry french toast
Phase 1 turkey chili and pineapples
Phase 1 pineapple sausages with veggies served over quinoa
Phase 2 tuna with veggies (no tomatoes allowed though, I didn't know at the time and messed up)
Phase 2 turkey bacon and broccoli
Phase 2 chicken fajitas with meat and veggies only
Phase 3 chicken curry with spinach
Phase 3 green bean casserole (made with coconut milk and arrowroot powder!)
Phase 3 sweet potatoes made with nuts and coconut and expensive sugar Xylotil
Phase 1 chicken soup
Phase 1 turkey chili
Phase 2 baked chicken with lime and spices
Phase 3 brussel sprouts
Phase 1 omelette with fruit (ketchup has to be natural and without much sugar)