Yes, VEGGIES! Most of you probably think I’ve lost my marbles. Rest assured, I have. 😉

Yesterday was the end of the hardest stage of our diet. While we’ll still be drinking a lot of shakes, and eating a lot of protein, we just advanced to Stage 2 and earned back the ability to include servings of all non-starchy vegetables in our meals. I feel like stage 1 is a crash course on how many of the things humans eat actually contain veggies. You’ve never lived until you’ve actively tried to avoid every kind of vegetable in everything!

Despite what my lifestyle and waistline might suggest, I’ve always been a huge fan of veggies, so stage 1 was hardest for me for that reason. For those that don’t know, my first word was “pickle,” inspired by my Southern grandfather who plied me with dill spears from birth. He used to deliver whole jars to my elementary school at lunch for my adventurous friends and I. (In hindsight, the sodium content on that was probably not wise.)

My family also went vegetarian for a couple of years when I was a teenager, inspired by the then-current belief that a vegetarian diet was healthiest for diabetics. (Now we know that veggies = carbohydrates, which are only good for diabetics if they’re almost exclusively consumed through veggies!) I actually enjoyed the experience, and I still sometimes choose to eat vegetarian meals when I’m bored with meat, which happens approximately twice a week. Ask anyone who knows John and I about our love for mushrooms and you’ll get an earful.

Combine all that with my previous “pregnant diabetic” diet, which was already full of lots of veggies, and well… I can’t properly express how happy I am to have all my old options back. The meals we can make now are quite normal – meat and veggies with small amounts of fat, berries, and the occasional shake to stave off hunger. Aside from tight portion control and avoiding things that aren’t allowed until other stages (dairy, fruits other than berries, carbohydrates other than berries/veggies) I feel right at home in my kitchen. I can actually make lots of recipes that aren’t specific to the program! This is a huge weight off my shoulders, as I was pretty sure that ONE MORE SHAKE after Tuesday was going to hand me a one-way ticket to the loony bin. Even if I don’t get to totally lose them, I’m only looking at two per day instead of three, and that makes all the difference.

Our friendly waitress at the bistro saved my life at dinner last night. After correctly interpreting my slump at the table when John mentioned that we needed to order shakes along with dinner, she suggested a “blueberry cobbler” shake that I’d never seen anywhere on the menu, or in any of the provided recipes. I’ve now shared it with others, because it is AMAZING! A tablespoon of almond butter, half a cup of blueberries, and one little lemon slice is all it took to transform the same old vanilla protein shake I could barely stomach into something mistakable for a dessert-y treat. I’d recommend it to anyone drinking healthy shakes or smoothies – I’m certain it would work with other vanilla protein powders too. Needless to say, we tipped well! If we ever find out her name, she deserves more than a few raises for all the help and support she’s been over the last two weeks.

As for the rest of the dietitian visit, one of us has great news to report, and one of us has meh. John has successfully lost around five pounds since stage 1 began, which is great! He’s done a fantastic job rolling with the punches, especially because his diet wasn’t quite as bulletproof as mine was going into this. Aside from being more tired and achy than he might be otherwise, he’s been able to stay positive, focused, and in general good humor throughout, and I’m proud of him. I’m also proud of Google’s continued effort to accommodate his needs, because he’s been out of work a LOT lately compared to usual. It’s hard on him to let go, and it’s harder for the folks in the office that have to do their jobs without him, but everyone seems to be taking the long view on this. I’m not sure any other employer would be so kind.

Unfortunately, all my luck has gone to him; I’ve lost zip-nada this week, despite this being the “kick-start” phase. This isn’t necessarily surprising (water weight, plus significant weight loss due to diet changes prior to starting 20/20) but nobody’s worried and everyone has seen for themselves how hard I’ve been working. I haven’t gone off the diet at any point and I’m doing everything I should. Next week should be a fairer assessment. In the meantime, I’m feeling stronger than I ever have, Erin keeps increasing my weights and exercise difficulty, I have muscles in places I didn’t before, and my clothes are fitting better than they used to — so SOMETHING is happening. As everyone keeps reminding me, weight loss doesn’t always show on the scale, which I know from a logical standpoint; but it’s FRUSTRATING to see that number not move after a week of tough work!

As we move into Week 2, I’m focusing on continuing to do my best. I’m still keeping a positive outlook aside from rare, brief moments of frustration or exhaustion – alas, I’m only human. I promised myself I wouldn’t focus on the negatives during the program, and that’s been paying off in huge ways. Outside issues have added a lot of additional stress this week, but with so many supportive, kind people in my corner, it’s so easy to find someone to talk to or get advice from. Though I have to continue to bring every ounce of my inner focus and strength to this battle if I’m going to succeed, it’s becoming easier to trust in the process and rely on those around me for guidance. I’ve already done far, far more than I ever thought I could do, and seeing other people respond well to that in turn is all I can ask for. I want to give back as much as I can to the people who are helping me, and that means being the smart, wise, patient, and brave person I am, no matter how tired or scared I might be.

Alarm bells still ring in my head sometimes. It’s not easy to trust this much. It’s not easy to let go this much. It’s not easy to place my life in someone else’s hands, even someone with as much experience and training as these folks have had. It’s REALLY not easy to trust the general kindness of folks coming up to us to chat and cheer us on when they see we’re 20/20 participants. I never thought I’d ever “belong” in a gym – but I’m close now, and getting closer with each step I take. This is a good place. These are good people. If they weren’t, they couldn’t have helped hundreds of people like me get healthy and move beyond their limitations. I’m hopeful that when the 28 weeks end, I’ll be able to keep working with them to refine and perfect the rough edges I know I’ll still have. I’ll never be a superhero, and I don’t want to be — but the best version of me I can be?

I’ll take that.

Side note for next time: I’d love to do a post on the latest state of The Looking-Glass Girl, or maybe Urban Float – something non-20/20! I’m just now getting to a point where there’s room for more in my life than the day-to-day of the diet and exercise. If you’re bored with my current content, rest assured, I’ll change things up soon. 🙂


  1. Carolyn

    Wow. No veggies. I too would find that hard. You know, when I read your descriptions of your Stage 1 meals, I noticed that you didn’t mention any vegetables. But I thought- Surely green vegetables are allowed. Well, I’m glad you are on to Stage 2, and congrats on making it through Stage 1!

    Also- I understand and appreciate your frustration at the scales not moving much. I know that I seek out this number way too often. And yet… I believe you are absolutely correct that that number is far from the whole picture. It really is everything you have written about. -exercising more, eating healthier, learning to be more disciplined, etc., etc. I assume you too have heard the adage that: muscle weighs more than fat. I believe this really is true. So…

    Bravo to you for keeping focused on doing your best, and on keeping a positive outlook while doing so!!

    Sending hugs and love to you both, Mom Carolyn

  2. Cara

    First of all, I’m enjoying your content. 🙂 It’s refreshing to read someone else’s experiences with heavy workouts and weightloss, since that’s something I need to get back to soon too after I have this baby. I thought the first part of this post was funny and fun to read. I would die if I couldn’t eat veggies, I don’t know how you managed, lol! I hope you enjoy all the kale, cauliflower, and beyond now that you can have it in your diet! 🙂 Try not to feel bad about not losing weight. This happened to me the last few years a lot as I had 4-5 hours of workouts 5 days a week plus diet. It is SO sad and frustrating to not see that number move, I agree, but like you said, your body is changing one way or another. You’re probably just swapping fat for muscle, which weighs more than fat and likely offsetting the fat loss. That definitely happened to me because I dropped 4 pants sizes without losing a single pound! Proof that if your body changes a ton even if the scale doesn’t! Plus, gaining muscle is a very good thing because it will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn fat more efficiently in the future. Its like a snowball effect because when you’re at a good point muscle wise and still on a tight well-controlled diet, you’ll start dropping unbelievable amounts of weight at your weigh ins! Keep going my dear!! 🙂 And give Juce a high five for me! So proud of you guys and excited that you’re officially in phase 2! It’s great to hear you’re staying in good spirits and staying focused. Also that waitress was super sweet to be observant enough to see you needed a refresh on the shake thing! That sounds so good, I’m gonna try that recipe sometime! Love to you guys!

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