I have been fighting the weight battle for years (10 to be exact) – unsuccessfully most of the time. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, I ate as much as I did before, i.e. when I didn’t have excess weight, I didn’t eat more than other “normal” (non-fat) people and yet I kept gaining weight.
I have literally tried every diet I have ever come across and they either didn’t work at all, or their effect lasted until I started eating normally. The chrono diet helped me lose 1.5kg in two months, after which point I gave up. I did, however meet numerous people that swore by this method when it came to changing their approach to living a healthy life.
I was becoming pretty desperate. I had more than 20kg of excess weight that I wanted to get rid of as soon as possible and I could not see a way to achieve that. I have then decided to embark on a weight losing journey with 4 of my work colleagues from the editorial department of 24sata.rs (now Noizz.rs – read their work, they are great!) that were having similar issues to mine. We came to an idea to organise a kind of a dieting competition that would last from the beginning of November to the end of the year. The first of chose to the chrono diet plan (and after a whole year, she still looks great – well done, Dragana), the second underwent mesotherapy, the third one did acupuncture weight loss treatment, the fourth one was on the UN diet and I chose “Protekal”, as some of my close friends had very positive experiences following this regime.
The Old Me
This is what I used to look like…
And this was my story at the beginning of my journey, or a few weeks later to be exact (the story is told without any changes).
Kilograms have been my enemy number one for over 10 years. The fight was exhausting at times and even if it sometimes seemed I was winning a battle, I always seemed to be losing the war. But it wasn’t always like that… Until my late teens I was keeping my weight under control, around 60kg, plus or minus 5kg, which was not problematic taking my height of 174cm (5’ 7’’) into account. I was then, due to some health issues, recommended hormonal therapy that caused a weight (and I didn’t take any care about what I was eating at the time) gain of 25kg. That is when the fierce battle started – I kept losing weight and gaining it back. It turned out later I was insulin resistant and since I inherited a diabetes predisposition, it became obvious that this was a challenge I had to win!
My goal was to be completely healthy and not overweight. I reckon – not too much to ask ☺
“Protekal” and Dr Svetlana Pejic Geric, who found a way to deal with a stubborn person such as myself, were my biggest allies in this battle.
“It is time for you to grow up and realize that the food you have been eating so far is not your friend” – she said. And I understood. I don’t know if that means I grew up, but hey, one step at a time.
The examination revealed I had 11kg of excess water in my body and another 11kg of fat on top of that. I was given food and supplements for the following two weeks with a task to show up for my next check up weighing 5kg less.
12 days later the scale showed a loss of 5.2kg. The next visit to the doctor was within 14 days and I had to lose another 4kg. In the meantime I had minor complications with acute discus hernia which made recommended walking and mild exercising virtually impossible. Instead, I spent most of the time lying down and taking painkillers, which however did not make me give up the diet.
The food I was consuming was actually comprised of shakes, but there was a wide variety of them – there were three sweet meals every day (breakfast, morning snack and afternoon snack) and two savory meals (lunch and dinner) with a break of minimum 2.5 hours and maximum of 4 hours. After each meal I was taking prescribed supplements and the biggest bonus was the fact that food preparation took literally a minute (up to a few minutes if, for example, custard needed to be cooled down), which meant I did not have to spend time behind the stove (woohooooo!!!).
The first two days of this diet plan were the worst and because I was hungry, but because, as per usual, I was thinking what and when I would be eating next. After getting into ketosis on the third day, the whole process became much smoother. I hadn’t felt hunger not once since then, nor had I been missing something (OK, I always want a chip or a corn on the cob, but this diet has excellent alternatives for those things as well. Also, I would have really appreciated a glass of white wine after a long day – but there was no substitute for that, so I just had to plough through…).
After about two weeks I came home with a bag full of my favourite junk food, gave it to my husband and said: “There! Eat it, so that I can watch!” Except for that one time, I did not have other episodes – if asking people what they were eating and if I could smell it doesn’t count…
I stopped being bloated in a matter of days and people started making comments that I was “melting away” after two weeks – great reason to keep fighting. First and foremost, I needed to beat myself…and maybe beat the other dieting women ☺ (it was a competition after all).
When we started this challenge I knew – there is nothing to lose and there is a chance of resolving a long term problem. All I needed to do was stick to the clearly stated rules. Yes, it was that simple, someone else did all the work for me.
At the beginning of this experiment, many have warned me to be mindful of losing weight too quickly as it could have been harmful… However, I have decided to believe my Dr, the expert in the field, and she was there to explain everything remove all doubt. Dr Svetlana Pejic Geric was truly my best ally in this fight.
I can’t lie – I had minor crises when I dreamt of eating things I had never thought of before, like cheese – I was sniffing cheese, thinking about the day I would be able to eat it. I felt like eating pickles and have barely resisted the temptation of eating a piece of cake that everyone around me was obviously enjoying. But I made a decision – it was then or never. I was dreading the thought of having the extra 25kg for the rest of my life, which is why the decision was – then! There was no going back.
The idea of eating “powder” sounds horrifying to many, but the truth is that I didn’t feel hunger once and having three sweet meals in a day (along two savory) meant I didn’t miss the sweets either.
My impressions about the different flavors available: since I was picking up a new “dose” of food every two weeks (4 boxes of savory meals and 6 boxes of sweet meals), I had the chance to try everything I was interested in and to realize what was it that I liked and wanted more of. There were of course meals I never wanted to eat again.
I have come to realize that I would always want to eat chocolate custard, even when the diet was over, as it was healthier than the “real” one and it was equally tasty, if not tastier (maybe that was not true, but I was on a diet and there was no choice but to believe in it). Chocolate mousse and muesli were also great, as well as cereal breakfast, lemon custard was surprisingly refreshing, whilst I was not crazy about the strawberry and stracciatella custards. One thing that was always in my shopping basket was a banana split, so it is clear how much I liked it. Chocolate and banana crepe had a great, rounded flavor. I am a huge fan of ice cream and since this frozen delight with strawberry flavor was also available, there was absolutely nothing I was missing.
Savory meals required a bit more thought, as it was somewhat more complicated to prepare them at work, so I used to take readymade Protekal bread that was very tasty. Mashed potatoes required a bit of warm water and voila, which is why it was a great option for long office days. Bacon and cheese crepe was at the top of my savory meals list but it required a pan and a stove, which was often not available. Protekal pizza, even though not as good as the real one, was the only one I could eat – so, it was great! Its flavor was improved with pizza topping (also Protekal) and mushrooms on the top. I had mixed feelings about the soups – the sweet corn one was good, the rice one as well, whilst I didn’t enjoy the chicken curry soup at all. I am not a fan of scrambled eggs, so I was avoiding that, except for a handful of times with a lot of mushrooms – it became obvious to me that I would not be eating mushrooms for a long, long time after completing the diet ☺
There was one great option for a quick meal – crisps, with different flavors (barbecue, chicken, chilly balls…) and they were all great!
The biggest pro of this diet (except for a quick and relatively easy weight loss) was the fact that everything was easily made, without having to do any special prep, nor did it complicate my life in any way. It actually made my life easier. I put an alarm on for every meal to keep up with the break in between meals rule (2.5 – 4 hours). I always had food bags with me, supplements and a water bottle.
This eating plan very quickly became my natural behavior and soon enough it seemed like I was always living like that. I did not miss anything nor was I craving anything, I was just going forward. The scale was handling my weight with more ease every time which in turn made me happier than ever.
How does Protekal eating plan work?
It’s a protein based diet done in three phases under constant doctor supervision.
1. Active phase – reducing the intake of fats and carbs in the diet whilst increasing the intake of protein. This causes dissolution of the fat reserves that our bodies use to create energy. Due to the lower intake of carbs, the level of insulin in the blood is low and fat dissolves on its own. Besides, there is a complete absence of hunger and low energy levels. One looses between 1.5kg and 2kg of fat a week during this phase, which means that the results are visible very quickly which as a consequence increases motivation. I ate 5 ready protein meals in this phase (I ate sweet meals for breakfast and two snacks and savory for lunch and dinner) and fresh salads and vegetables in addition. The meals consist mainly of soups, purees, mashes, shakes, mousses, different flavor custards, crepes and cakes. In the second part of the active phase two ready protein meals are substituted with meat, sea food and eggs.
2. Reeducative phase – it begins once you are close to your ideal body weight. You gradually increase the intake of carbohydrates and decrease the intake of ready protein meals. This phase lasts as long as you don’t see the desired digits on your scale!
3. Maintenance phase – now that you have already changed your eating habits and your lifestyle, all you have to do is not ruin it all. The doctor prescribes the diet plan on the individual basis based on your sex, age and general health condition. If you follow the instructions there will be no yo-yo effect.
The New Me
This is what I looked like on the penultimate day of 2015.
And this was my story at that point (the story is told without any changes).
New year, new me. No, that was not just a phase! I looked and felt differently, I even behaved differently. People who hadn’t seen me for a few months did not recognise me at first (or maybe that was just an excuse not to say hi when we met in the street) and those who had seen me and had known how much I wanted to lose weight, said honestly they thought I was never going to succeed. Actually, I almost believed that as well…
Even though you can clearly see the changes on the photos, I think the biggest change happened inside. I was healthier, happier and I was bursting with self-confidence.
I was adamant about continuing with the new life approach, as I was so used to it that I couldn’t even remember what it had been like beforehand. To be honest, there were difficult moments, but it was so worth it. Protekal remained my main ally as I was aiming to lose another 10 kilograms, even though my doctor thought that would be too much. I was keen on losing another 7kg, at which point I was going to rethink whether I needed to lose the remaining 3kg.
So, at the end of 2015, I was 15kg lighter than at its beginning, as well as than at the beginning of November 2015.
And then something happened…
Until mid-January 2016 I lost another 2kg which amounts to -17kg in total in two and a half months. My blood work was ideal. But that wasn’t the end of it!
In the second half of January 2016 I found out I was pregnant. As mentioned earlier, I suffer from insulin resistance, so this was great news for a multitude of reasons – it was a sign, that following Protekal diet, helped me put my body back in its natural, healthy state. Obviously, I had to stop dieting then and whilst I was really careful at the beginning, I have quickly started giving in to my pregnancy cravings. I was worried whether I would ruin everything I had achieved with the diet, but in the sixth month of the pregnancy I managed to get into a tight, S size dress I bought in January.
I have gained a total of 17kg during pregnancy (as if I was aiming – exactly the weight I previously managed to lose) and two weeks after giving birth I weighed 5kg more than at the beginning of the pregnancy.
Everything would have been great if after that I haven’t started eating anything and everything under the excuse that it was good for the baby, which is why I gained a few kilograms more, but I am not worried – I am soon going back to my trusted pall “Protekal” and to my jeans size 28 (and this post is my way of making myself to make that soon come quicker).
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