“The last diet you’ll ever need,” the website claimed.
“Yeah, right,” I thought skeptically. Heavy my whole life, I’d tried just about everything: in groups or alone, I’d counted points; choked down tasteless, boring powders, bars, or meals; skipped meals and exercised hard. I’d lose a few pounds, only to have them find me again (and they brought their friends). Then, in the summer of 2011, when I saw my friend Teresa for the first time in a few months, I was floored! Formerly overweight, she was now lean and trim. “How did you do it?” I asked. “Ideal Protein,” she answered, describing the program.
It sounded really terrific! I immediately found a clinic and coach near my home in Silver Spring, MD, Ruth Siegel, and I began. With Ruth’s patient guidance and knowledge, and the great-tasting, easy IP meals and eating plan, the weight started to come off quickly and easily . . . but just a few weeks into it, a close family member got sick, followed by my Mom’s illnesses and surgeries. Too distracted and distressed, trying to juggle long-distance caregiving with growing work commitments, I lost my motivation. Food became my reward and comfort. I felt so depressed and helpless as I watched the scale’s numbers rise along with my ballooning waistline and hips as my wearable wardrobe shrunk. I contacted Ruth and tried the IP protocol again in Jan. 2013, but I wasn’t ready. More caregiving and stresses that year led to more emotional eating, and I became clinically obese. My doctor put me on blood pressure meds, which she doubled in Nov. 2014 and diagnosed me as clinically depressed. Osteoarthritis pain in my back became almost constant, and I felt tired and miserable most of the time, even as I mindlessly scarfed down junk food in front of the TV each night. I hated what I saw in mirrors.
By Jan. 2015, at age 62, 5’3” and 177-1/2 lbs., I was in real trouble: sick and getting sicker. I realized I had to take charge of taking care of me if I was to continue being of any help to my Mom or anyone else. Ruth welcomed me back—and when I signed the contract on Jan. 5, 2015 committing myself to follow the Ideal Protein protocol, I knew that this time I would be “all in.” For the next 7-1/2 months, family illnesses and other life challenges continued to happen, but I learned a lot of healthy alternative strategies from Ruth to cope (such as substituting wonderful IP Crisps for potato chips when the urge to snack came, or I faced a social event). The wide variety of wonderful-tasting meal options were flexible and easy to prepare. (IP’s Hot Chocolate drink became my favorite breakfast.) Ruth kept me encouraged, inspired, and on track throughout, helping me navigate social pressures, a hectic schedule, and (especially) my own attitude at times. The daily IP videos and blog offered further insights on the science and psychology of the protocol.
The first time I could shop in a women’s clothing section again, I cried . . . and again in March, some ten weeks into the protocol, when my doctor took me off all blood pressure meds. My back pain disappeared, my mood and energy levels rose, I began to sleep better at night, and I was never really hungry. By late spring, I was buying many new, smaller-sized clothes . . . and had to do it again by mid-August, when I reached my goal. As I settle into Phase 4/Maintenance, I am so hugely grateful to Ruth and the Ideal Protein team! I’m now 54 lbs. lighter and have lost 55” total! I went from a size 16/18 to a size 4 pants. I now weigh ten lbs. less than I did when I was 13 (and was three inches shorter), almost 50 years ago! For the first time in my life, I love to shop for clothes, and I smile at myself in the mirror now. More importantly, my blood pressure remains low-normal, my total cholesterol has dropped 56 points. Best of all, I’ve developed such peace and freedom around food, with the confidence that comes in knowing I will succeed in keeping my new weight and size, especially with the continuing support of Ruth and the Ideal Protein team. Indeed, this is the last diet I will ever need!
Started Ideal Protein January 2015
Ideal Nutrition Diet Center – Silver Spring, MD