After 12 weeks on a vegan diet, I was feeling fatigued all the time and actually gained .6 pounds from my start date (although my weight fluctuated quite a bit over those three months). I don't have the results of my cholesterol test yet, so I don't know if eating vegan impoved that or not, but even if it did, my body rejects a vegan diet.

In my search to find a different way to lower my cholesterol naturally, I found this new diet called "The Plan." It's less of a diet that way to find out if foods are "reactive" for you. The author claims that no one has to deal with constantly fluctuating weight, because you can eliminate the fluctuations by eliminating foods that "react" negatively with your body. She claims that when your weight goes up a pound from one day to the next, it's not from the volume of food you ate, but because your body is having a negative reaction to something you ate, and you're suffering from internal inflammation, which takes a toll on your body.

I was an even 188 lbs when I woke up the morning of my vegan-ending cholesterol test. Over the next two days I was on no particular diet and I ate two bacon burgers, a Choco taco, mayonnaise potato salad, green beans with butter and bacon, and other foods that I had been missing. By this point I had finished reading the new book, and was ready to start the 3-day cleanse on Saturday.

So far, so good. One thing I was skeptical about was that you would lose weight EVERY DAY on The Plan (let's just call it TP from now on). But so far, I've lost weight every day, eating about 2k calories daily. I'm not hungry, and the food tastes good, so I feel it's pretty sustainable, and I'm just on the "cleanse" part, which is the most strict. It's Tuesday morning, and I've already lost over 7 pounds since Thursday. This is one diet that works as advertised, and I'm not taking any supplements or anything, and just eating food that I've prepared myself.

Now, the food preparation does take a long time, because I'm not familiar with the recipes. Once I get used to them, I'm sure I'll be able to knock them out as quickly as I cook anything else. The carrot ginger soup is delicious, the spicy vegetable soup is ok, the flaxseed granola with rice milk is pretty good, especially if you add fruit. So far, I have only lost weight every day, and not gained weight, so no food yet is "reactive" for me. This is not surprising, since I'm still on the "cleanse" and the author has only included foods that are non-reactive for nearly the whole population. I tested raw almonds yesterday, and I seemed to have passed that test. Today is the first non-cleanse day, and I'll test goat cheese, wine, and chocolate. If I can eat those without gaining weight, then they can be a regular part of my "diet".

The author claims that the reason your body is overweight has less to do with the number of calories you consume, but your body's ability to process what you feed it. And as you age, your body can efficiently process fewer foods, but people don't stop eating them. What caught my interest is that some of the problem foods are the very ones that doctors and the media tell everyone to eat "for their health" like salmon, turkey, oatmeal, beans. I eat a lot of "healthy" food, and have not been losing weight. I was 190, my pre-Max baby weight, when Max turned one last year, and now he's two and despite a VEGAN diet for three months, I was only two pounds lighter a whole year later. But now, eating non-reactive healthy foods, I'm down 7 lbs in a few days.

I know, I know, you're all thinking, "harrumph, it's just water weight." But it's kind of the point of this diet to lose the water weight. Your body is holding all this water in the inflammation. When you get rid of the inflammation, the extra water is released. Sure, I'm losing water weight, but there is no doubt it is making me thinner and lighter, and that is the goal, isn't it? The difference with this diet is that water weight gain is unacceptable, since it indicates a digestive problem. If you ever gain weight on any given day, the food you tested the previous day must be suspected as triggering inflammation in your body, and should be eliminated from your diet if you want to continue losing weight. She says if any food has tested "reactive" you can always wait a few months and test again, sometimes if you have a lot of existing residual inflammation (like in the beginning of this process), your body will be more sensitive than it will be once its had a chance to heal itself.

I was skeptical when reading the testimonials of 40-something women who all claimed to lose 10-20 pounds during the first 20 days of the diet. But I'm on that track, and am pretty excited about the results! Bloat was a real problem for me throughout my vegan experiment, so there was something I was eating that was distressing my system. Now is the time to systematically figure out what it is.

I got the Kindle version of TP and it's not a great format since I have several clicks to get from the meal plans to the recipe section and back, but I was able to start reading it as soon as I discovered it (at night after all the bookstores were closed), so that was worth it, plus it was way cheaper as an ebook, about $11. The book is a bit confusing, and not particularly well-written or well-organized, but so far for me the program really works. I have had to modify some meals because the author presumes you have a ton of ingredients on hand or have ready access to them. If I were back in NYC, shopping for ingredients for the evening meal just before I cooked it (there is little room for storage in small apartment fridges and kitchens (pantries exist only for the mega rich), I could do all meals as prescribed. But for me it's a 30-minute drive to the nearest health-foods grocery, so if something is not in my pantry, it's not available until my next shopping day, which is not every day. But when I've had to susbstitute, I've just used a similar food to what I've had before, one that has already tested negative for weight gain.

I've also snacked a little at night-- that is the only time I get hungry, and I've had a handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds and it's done the trick.

Anyway, I'll update the results after I've been on this plan for a few weeks, to see if there is any progress past the initial waterweight loss. The author claims that if you eliminate reactive foods, your body will just steadily lose weight until you reach your goal weight, presuming your goal weight is reasonable and not what you weighed in high school. I've chosen a goal weight that is just over where I was the summer I met Terry, when I was in my mid-20s. Although my figure has changed quite a bit since childbirth, so I might still look fine 10 lbs heavier than I was then, so we'll just wait and see. Either way, I've got at least 30 pounds to go even after my recent 7 lb drop. Wish me luck!