I probably don’t need to tell you that losing weight over 40 is HARD. Like REALLY REALLY HARD. A quick recap in case you missed my first post about this topic….two babies in 16 months with a weight gain of about 60 lbs, two years of trying to lose weight with very little success that led to a lifestyle of avoiding public, living in yoga pants and depression.
- I did a body fat loss challenge with my gym and diligently attended hour-long interval workouts 4 days a week for six weeks and lost only a few pounds
- I trained for and ran a 1/2 marathon and over the 16 weeks of solid training I only lost 5 lbs (which I gained back within two weeks after I stopped running)
- I spent 2 months on a ketogenic diet and lost about 10 lbs over a summer but gained it all back in the fall when birthday season came around
- In desperation, I tried cool sculpting because the rolls caused by my bra-line were so difficult for me to look at (no joke the pain was worse for me than unmedicated childbirth….all for nothing, no visible improvement)
If you haven’t had a chance to read the background and first part of this journey to wellness story, you can find that at Fat + Over 40.
So around January of 2018 things actually got worse. I started noticing that I had food cravings that I couldn’t control. Not quite like weird pregnancy cravings but every afternoon I NEEDED baked goods. And it was taking every ounce of strength in me to avoid them. And the torture I was feeling for not allowing myself to indulge got multiplied when the scale started moving up at a rapid pace. My poor hubby made a comment about me drinking a milkshake and I completely lost it.
Side-note: If there are any men reading this, please take my advice and just NEVER say anything to your significant other about her drinking a milkshake. I promise your marriage will thank me for this bit of wisdom.
Around this time I developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot which also had a bunion causing me pain. Shoes no longer fit me well so I was wearing flip flops pretty much every day. My back and shoulder pain started flaring up and some mornings just getting out of bed was excruciatingly painful. I was prescribed a boot to sleep in but because my calves and hamstrings were so tight I couldn’t wear the boot for more than 20 minutes before ripping it off in frustration.
I cried a lot. Kept myself in hiding in the yoga pants that fit me when I was 9 months pregnant and lost motivation to do most of life. As it turns out, a lot of these feelings had little to do with food and my body aches and everything to do with hormone imbalances caused by peri-menopause. And once I had that knowledge, losing weight over 40 was still hard but things were able to start improving.
I had some naturopathic muscle testing done and started taking some natural supplements for thyroid and pituitary gland support. It helped. By June I was starting to feel a little better mentally but my weight was not budging (have I mentioned that losing weight over 40 is hard?).
So in July 2018, I went to Veritas Medical Weight Loss clinic and saw a doctor specifically about my weight. He did a bunch of blood work and prescribed the HCG diet. HCG is a hormone your body produces when you are pregnant and the diet has been around since the 60’s. Essentially the basics of the diet are you take an injection of the HCG hormone into your abdomen each day and then you eat a very low-calorie diet (500 calories) of very specific foods.
I began the low-calorie diet on July 5th and continued with it and the daily injections until July 21st. During this time I lost 18.4 pounds. The next step was to maintain my weight with a combination of healthy diet and exercise and keep my weight within two pounds for four weeks. I started doing some peloton workouts and pilates and tried to stay clear of sugar/carbs as much as possible during the four weeks. I did end up gaining back 3 pounds during this maintenance phase but keep in mind that two weeks of this four week period my family was on vacation and I had less control over food preparation over those two weeks.
I started round 2 of the HCG injections and low calorie diet on August 20th and ended on September 7th losing 17.4 pounds during this second round for a total loss of 33.2 pounds. Since September 8th, I’ve been trying to maintain my weight within two pounds again. I’m back on the Peloton bike, playing golf once a week and trying to make it to pilates at least once a week as well. This time I’m making my diet ketogenic for maintenance because I think that will make the transition back to the low-calorie HCG diet easier when I get ready for round 3 in mid-October.
When I ended the 2nd round of HCG, I was feeling really optimistic that the diet protocol was working for me but I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t seeing myself go down as many clothing sizes as I had hoped. I was wearing 16’s pre-diet and after round 2 I was in 14’s but they were still pretty tight fitting (unless it is a 14W which is basically a 16 but a brilliant marketing tool from the clothing manufacturers because mentally it is so much better to buy a 14W than it is a 16, right?!).
I’ve asked my doctor for my “before” pictures that I didn’t even want to see when they were taken back in July but I’m going to post them here with the round 2 after image as soon as I get them from him. I know I’m going to be mortified but I think it is useful to share how far I’ve come and how far I still need to go.
I still have about 25 pounds I’d like to lose but really it is less about pounds and more about body fat percentage. My body fat percentage is right around 35% and I’d like to get it into “normal” range somewhere around 25%. So my plan is to do two more 20 day rounds of HCG. Round 3 will begin in mid-October and round 4 most likely in January (because I need to be realistic about trying to maintain 500 calories on my birthday or over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays).
One final note…about the time that my 2nd round of HCG was ending, my OB/GYN recommended a homeopathic transdermal gel and I started it on September 8th. I am so amazed about how I’m feeling and how my clothes are fitting in the last two weeks I am actually starting a YouTube testimonial channel about my gel journey and I’m including Episode 1 here.