I’ve been specific about not sharing my weight throughout this diet because I was conflicted about weight loss. If you met me for the first time before my diet you never would have said I was over weight…I’m 6’4″…I hide weight well. My fat had distributed itself evenly across my body giving me an overall feeling a being proportionate. In college I was a twig, weighing in at about 180 lbs. My jeans constantly fell below my bony hips causing me to constantly tug at them and always look like a kid swimming in clothes. After college I averaged about 195 and was still very skinny…but healthy looking. In 2007 I quit smoking and quickly put on weight which I maxed out at about 220 lbs. I played tennis regularly and hit the gym making me into a lean, athletic machine. It was the magical period of my life when people who had known me throughout always said, “Ryan…you look great!” It was the right weight for me. I stayed between 220 and 225 for the next few years though I briefly ballooned up for my wedding. It was the right weight for me. I was healthy. I felt good, both physically and mentally. I was happy.
When I started this diet it was because I was tipping the scale at 244 lbs. That hurt. While that is not a wildly out of control number it was the most I had ever weighed and it was the wake up call that I was heading in the wrong direction. None of my old pants fit anymore. Everything I wore was based on what could hide my beer belly. I hated being in a bathing suit and had begun buying swim shirts to “protect my Irish skin.” I didn’t want to take my shirt off at the beach. Whatever one thinks…I was not happy with my body image and it was beginning to make me depressed. So I set out on this Dukan Diet to accomplish a few things:
- Kill my beer belly
- Feel healthier
- Get back to being 220-225 lbs
This morning the scale read 225 for the first time since 2008. It was a very happy morning for me. I’m about to cross over the 20 lb mark. I’m in my target zone. I am so close to crossing over to phase 3 and the excitement is overwhelming…in fact with Thanksgiving coming up this week I may start phase 3 this Wednesday depending on how friendly the scale stays this week and how I do in the gym. I’m doing 5+ hours in the gym of cardio and resistance training…I had no idea how weak my arms had become. A desk could kill a guy like me, I need to be active.
Will I be having Thanksgiving dinner? You bet I will. Will I be going back for seconds? You bet I won’t. If there is anything this diet has taught me it is to appreciate the purpose of food while enjoying the riches of its textures, smells, and flavors…while respecting what an appetite truly is. I was gorging myself before this diet. It’s fine to have a few chips but demolishing the whole bag during Sports Center is destructive to yourself. My metabolism aint what it used to be and health is going to take a healthy effort from me. Snacks in my house are now carrot sticks and Greek yogurt. The idea of ordering the greasiest unhealthy thing on the menu has been replaced with the desire to order the item that will have the most flavor and satiate me. I’ve learned to stop eating when I am full. Clean plates are not always a good thing, especially in America where over sized portions are the norm. Late night hunger can be satiated with something healthier than Oreos. Golf is easier without a beer gut. Chewing your food slowly rewards you with more flavor, better nutrition, and a higher feeling of satisfaction than scarfing food like Garfield. I’m 32 years old…let me rephrase that…I’m only 32 years old. I am taking responsibility for my health now instead of later. It is easier now to set trends than to try to fix them later when there is more at stake and a higher propensity for failure.
Would I recommend the Dukan Diet to everyone? No. Would I recommend eating healthy and exercising. Absolutely. If you are not happy with your body I do recommend reading the Dukan Diet book and taking what you can from it. I’m sticking to it 90%. I’ve slowed my weight loss process but at the sacrifice of some things I felt important to my happiness such as:
- A glass or two of wine a week
- The healthiest option possible in an airport
- The occasional sauce
- Eating carbs before an active event
- Special occasion meals
I’ve managed to lose almost 20 lbs this way…but the gym has a lot to do with that and my body desires to turn fat into muscle. I was an athlete. I am an athlete. I am back.