I just want to say that you're all doing a fantastic job in making the effort to look after yourself!
I don't post very often, but I do read the board when I can. I've been fasting a couple of times a year for a few years and have only discovered this board a few months ago. I did a 3 week fast in January (a combination MC/Juice fast) and have been off it for about a month now. I've only gained back about 2 lbs. since coming off the fast and hope to maintain my current weight.
Just to give you a brief overview of myself....
Around my 30th birthday (12 years ago) I saw a video about the foods we eat and how much fat, etc. most people ate in their diets. This inspired me and I immediately went out and bought a blender and started changing my lifestyle (making smoothies for breakfast, no more fast food, plenty of healthy snacks at hand). At the time I was about 175 lbs. Within 6 mos. I had lost 50 lbs and dropped about 4 sizes.
I must admit I was a bit fanatical and wouldn't eat anything with more than 3 grams of fat per 100 grams. For exercise I walked for an hour (I was too embarassed to go to the gym). I read a lot of books (my most inspirational at the time was "Eat More, Weigh Less" by Dr. Dean Ornish) and cut out red meat.
When I moved to Australia 10 years ago it was hard to find "fat free" foods like I could in L.A. My weight did fluctuate quite a bit over the years, but not to my previous level. When I started fasting a few years ago I noticed several changes within my body and realized that it was something that I could benefit from by doing regularly.
About six months ago I went vegan (no more chicken, fish, dairy, etc) and have really noticed a change. I have gotten some great recipes from "fatfree.com" and have also gotten all of the MacDougall cookbooks as well as many others. I have been experimenting with new recipes (about 3 a week) for the last 6 months and am still going strong.
I can now fit into my old college levis (yes, I held on to them all these years...hoping that some day they would fit again ) and am very happy with my current weight.
To me, it's about education. The more I read about diet and nutrition the more I want to have a healthy diet. The hardest part is dealing with other people who are not on the same wavelength. Aussies always have butter or margarine on their sandwiches and the good old Aussie BBQ is mostly steak and sausages, with lots of oil.
People nod and say they should eat healthier as they stuff another potato chip in their mouth, but until something drastic happens nobody wants to do anything. A lot of people have been commenting lately on how skinny I am now and want to know my secret. But as soon as I tell them that it's a lowfat vegan diet I think they tune out.
I went to a baby shower last weekend and there were about 6 plates of "snacks" on the table. One of fruit (which I could eat), but the rest were all cakes, biscuits, chips, etc.
Most of the time if I'm going to a dinner or BBQ I bring a side dish (which is then my main dish). I also bring my own snacks (vegies, rice crackers, homemade dips) which everyone can share in.
To give you an idea of my daily meals....
I usually have a "Lemonade" as my cuppa in the morning, then have a green smoothie for breakfast (occasionally I'll have toast if I'm still hungry - with hummus, avocado, refried beans or jam). I then cut up my snacks for the day to bring to work. This is usually a couple of pieces of fruit, a carrot, celery, radish, cucumber (whatever I happen to have in the fridge). If I have leftovers from dinner I'll bring that with me as well. I graze all day on these foods and make sure I've got plenty of food so that I won't be tempted to buy "other things". For dinner I try out one of my many lowfat recipes and make extra to freeze. That way on the nights I don't feel like cooking I can just take one out of the freezer. I bought a bunch of those plastic takeaway containers to freeze meals in.
Although my husband does eat meat, it's not often and he has to cook it himself. More often than not though he'll just eat what I cook and only have meat when we go out.
Sorry for the long post, I think I just got carried away. It's nearly 3am and I should be in bed, so good luck to everyone on their journey....I'm proud of all of you.