Margaret Wertheim M.S., R.D., L.D.N.
Margaret Wertheim, MS RD LDN
Here at Pulling Down the Moon, we are launching our new weight loss program entitled First Line Therapy for Fertility (FLTF). I couldn't be more excited about this program, and in preparation I've been doing the program myself. I'm not trying to lose weight, but simply following the eating plan with a goal of maintaining my weight. First let me tell you a little bit more about how the program works, and then I'll fill you in on my experience.
Once you enroll in FLTF, you will come in for an initial consultation with me in Chicago or with Laura in Rockville. During that consultation we'll review your goals, medical and fertility history and current diet in detail. We will also take your weight, measure your waist and hip circumference and your body composition using near infrared or NIR. The NIR measurement will tell us what percent of your body is fat versus lean body mass, which means muscle, bone and everything else that isn't fat. It will also give us your BMR or basal metabolic rate, which tells us how many calories your burn at rest. That number will be adjusted based on your activity level to a calorie amount to promote weight loss. Don't worry, that's where our attention to calories begins and ends. There will be absolutely no calorie counting in this program. Instead after we calculate your calorie goal, we'll translate that into a certain number of servings from each of the different food groups. We'll come up with a meal pattern that works for you. It's entirely customizable and tailored to you.
So back to my experience. I've been on a weight maintenance FLTF plan for about 4 weeks now and I feel great! I am a Nutritionist who walks the talk, and I've always been a great vegetable eater, but FLTF took even me to a whole new level. Here's what I've noticed while on the FLTF plan:
1. I have more energy and never feel tired after eating. You know that carb coma fatigue you feel after a large meal of pasta or pizza, where all you want to do is veg out on the couch. You won't feel that at all during the FLTF program. The reason is your blood sugar is going to remain so well-regulated that your energy will be steady. The majority of your carbs will mostly be coming from fruits, vegetables and beans with very limited grains and dairy. You will also always pair carbs with protein, which slows the absorption of sugar (created by the breakdown of carbs) into your bloodstream and prevents blood sugar peaks and valleys. The peaks and valleys are what leave you feeling really good 15 minutes after eating candy and tired, cranky, and searching for the next sugar fix after that. Don't be scared off by limiting your grains and dairy. You can do it, and I'm going to help you.
2. Not eating sweets isn't as hard as you may think. This plan has no sweets in it. Many weight loss programs promote jelly beans, “skinny” frozen desserts or other low-fat or sugar-free sweets. Instead I'm going to ask you to pretty strictly limit your sweets, but you'll have fruit as well as sweet-tasting low glycemic index protein shakes to satisfy that sweet tooth. It may be hard to limit sweets at first, but it will get better. Once you cut out those sweets, the cravings will gradually disappear and you'll be so excited about how great you feel and look, you won't want to go back.
4. I'm eating more fruits and vegetables than ever: We are all constantly being told to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve our overall health and prevent disease. When it comes to cancer prevention, the recommendation from the American Cancer Society is at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily. I bet that while doing FLTF you will not only meet with recommendation, but go well above and beyond.
Let's take a look at what I ate yesterday - oatmeal, full-fat yogurt, walnuts, grassfed beef, tomato sauce, spaghetti squash, cannellini beans, kale, garlic, apple, almond butter, grapes, lentil soup, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, blueberries. This day was jam-packed with nutrients and antioxidants! Let's see how I did with eating a variety of different colors - red (grapes, apple skin, tomato sauce), orange/yellow (spaghetti squash, butternut squash, carrots in my lentil soup), green (kale, Brussels sprouts), blue (blueberries), white (cannellini beans, onions, garlic), brown (lentils, mushrooms, almond butter).
Here's something that's very important. Much of this may sound hard. I'm going to ask you to limit some pretty common foods, but I will tell you to always remember the 80/20 rule. What you do 80% of the time is what really matters. The other 20% is less important. Here's an example: I've been doing FLTF, and I went to my sister's house for dinner, and she was serving homemade pizza. Pizza has 2 things that I'm limiting -grains and dairy. What did I do? I ate the pizza, and I enjoyed it. I loaded up on veggies on the side. I'd been sticking to the plan most of the rest of the time, so it's fine. In the beginning, it's best to stick to the plan as closely as possible for maximum benefit, but there will always be meals that you can't control. One meal is not going to make or break anything.
Because I've done and continue to do this program, I know the challenges and I'll be able to give you recipes and tips to guide you through. I know you can be successful and you'll have my support as well as the support of the other program participants. The program costs $210 and includes a one-on-one session with a Registered Dietitian and seven group follow-up sessions.
FLTF launches in Chicago and Rockville on May 1st, so call 312-321-0004 (Chicago) or 301-610-7755 to get more information or to sign up. Can't wait to meet you and guide you through this exciting journey.