A month ago I made some changes in the macro distribution of protein to fat in my Meal Plan which has resulted in some significant progress in terms of weight loss, as well as inches lost.
I knew that my weight had been decreasing about 1/2 pound a week over the previous several months, and in only the last month I had lost 7 pounds and an inch off my waist since I had increased my protein to fat ratio – that’s more than 1 1/2 pounds per week!
Over the long weekend, one of my sons took a cell phone picture of me when we were at Burrard Inlet, and he took a few to make at least one came out. This was a good thing because I would have thought that maybe it was just one photo or the camera angle that made me look slimmer. No, it wasn’t the camera angle, but the change in my weight over the last few months. It wasn’t until I saw a picture of what I looked like that I could ‘see’ it more objectively.
Here is the photo:
When I got home, I remembered that in October I was out at the same location and had a photo from that day. That was 7 months into me following a low carb / ketogenic lifestyle.
I also had a photo of me from 2 1/2 years ago (taken around the time I first learned about the clinical benefits of following a low carb lifestyle) that was also taken in the same location.
Here are those three photos side by side:
I am not yet at my goal weight – which will be when my waist circumference is half my height, but I am well on my way. For me, changing the ratio of my ‘macros’ (short for ‘macronutrients’ i.e. protein, fat, carbohydrate) has helped overcome a slow and often stalled weight decrease.
Currently, what is working very well is for me is for me to plan my meals around getting sufficient protein and what is ‘sufficient’ is based on research regarding what older adults need to prevent sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) as they age, as well as to continue to build muscle mass which helps improve insulin sensitivity.
Instead of focusing on how much and what types of fat are in my meals, I now set my attention around getting my individual need for 1.5 g protein / kg of ideal body weight. I eat the natural fat that is found in my protein source (skin on fatty fish or chicken, yolk in egg, etc.) but don’t ‘add’ much fat to my meals, except for maybe a little olive oil on salad. I eat the carbohydrates that come naturally in non-starchy vegetables and the nuts and seeds that I regularly eat, up to my carbohydrate maximum (or “carb ceiling”) for the day. For me, based on my significant degree of insulin resistance, this is working very well – but everyone is different.
Something to keep in mind is that having a Meal Plan doesn’t mean it is ‘carved in stone’. Our physiological needs change as we lose weight and for those who are insulin resistant or T2D, as our level of insulin sensitivity improves over time which is why Meal Plans needs to be modified as weight loss progresses. As well, sometimes we benefit by a tweaking of the ‘macros‘ (as I did with mine) to enable a more sustained and consistent weight loss.
Remember that everybody’s journey is different, because we all start from a different place.
As a result of the photo taken of me this past weekend, I have some thoughts about how we can use photos to chart our progress. While clinically, we measure our success in weight and inches lost and improved laboratory test results, often the way we as individuals can best recognize and celebrate our success is by seeing photos of ourselves over time. Don’t get me wrong, when I was obese I hated seeing photos of myself but now seeing them serves as a “sign post” of the progress I’ve made on my journey. Now, the very photos I detested I post on the internet for all to see, because I am now well on the road to much better health; with normal cholesterol and triglycerides, normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels that no longer meet the criteria for Type 2 Diabetes.
I certainly haven’t “arrived”, but today I take a moment to celebrate that progress, as I encourage my clients to do.
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