Anything is possible. I’ve seen it come true. Today, i’m sharing with you this Cohen Diet Testimonial from a close family friend, Vada De Villa Rodriguez. She went under a program of Cohen Philippines: http://www.cohenlifestyle.com.ph
Big from the Beginning
I was big from the very beginning. I came into this world weighing in at 8.3 lbs – a roly-poly bundle of joy who enjoyed milk way too much. My mom never had any problems feeding me because I basically ate anything. By the time I was 3 years old, I was feeding myself without assistance and without hesitation. Time spent with the family always seemed to involve eating and I equated meal time as fun time. By the time I was 6, I weighed 99 lbs – at least 20 lbs heavier than most of my peers. I packed on the pounds as the years went by but for some reason, it never truly bothered me. Life was good – I had a loving family, good friends and food was anything but scarce.
My weight steadily increased over the years and while I tried not to mind it, the limitations that come with being obese became more apparent – shortness of breath, difficulty walking, waking up tired even after long periods of sleep, sweating, etc. It also took an emotional toll – not being able to shop for clothes that fit properly, people staring, not being able to fit in airplane seats or amusement park rides. Thankfully, I was blessed with a good sense of humor. Even at my highest recorded weight of 268 lbs, I was able to laugh the negativity away. I was used to being big and I settled for the lifestyle I had. I didn’t know it could get better.
My family began to worry about my health and encouraged me to try the Cohen diet. I didn’t want to at first but I eventually gave in out of filial obedience. I submitted my initial blood test expecting to receive the individualized eating plan that Cohen bases on your biochemistry. Instead, I received a call from my panicked consultant who told me it wouldn’t be safe to accept me into the program because of my blood sugar level – my initial test results indicated a blood sugar level of 312mg/dl; normal levels range from 70 – 100mg/dl.
Big-time Sacrifice, Big-time Rewards
I had to do something and I had to do something fast. I consulted an endocrinologist straight away and she advised to me to go on a transition diet, incorporate exercise and prescribed insulin and other diabetic medications. I lost about 10 lbs in 3 weeks and was finally accepted into the Cohen program.
I received my eating plan which lists the allowed food (lean proteins like chicken breast, tuna, even beef are allowed; for vegetables – lots of leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, pechay are included; for fruit – oranges, apples, mangoes, among others), the rules you have to follow (like finishing the prescribed portions, spacing your meals 5 hours apart, routine blood tests, etc.) and the proper food amounts (varies per individual based on your biochemistry – this means that my plan won’t necessarily work for someone else and in fact, might do more harm than good).
I was actually surprised because of the variety of food allowed on the program and by the portion sizes – big enough to fill you up without leaving you overstuffed or bloated. The program also allows you to use herbs and spices so you can definitely get creative with your meals! The most tedious part would be weighing your food raw (before cooking) to the exact gram, no more, no less but with menu planning and organization, you’ll eventually get into a routine. Thanks to Cohen, I’ve developed a love affair with lunch boxes, Tupperware and eating good, healthy, clean food. It allowed me to get more involved with meal preparation and nurtured an underlying interest in cooking.
My journey was far from perfect. There was one time that I forgot to bring my baon to school and I tried hard to fight the hunger and wait until I got home but the McDonald’s drive-thru was too hard to resist so I gave in. I also went on a couple of out of town weekend trips that led to diet deviations. It didn’t occur to me then that I could actually bring my own food with me on my trips but eventually that’s what I started doing. I went to Bangkok with my family for a week-long trip and stuck to the plan. I pre-cooked and froze all my meals and hand-carried them on the plane. Deviations on the program slow down your weight loss by a week and it just wasn’t worth it!
Cohen gives you a goal weight range (mine was 116 – 123 lbs) and once you hit it, you go through a phase called Refeed where other foods are slowly re-introduced into your diet. Food amounts are also gradually increased at this point. Refeed, like the Eating Plan, varies per individual and is sort of like an experimental period to see how certain food (like bread, starchy vegetables or new proteins like lamb or salmon, alcohol) affects your weight and body. Refeed usually lasts for about 2 – 4 weeks (mine lasted for 17 days), depending on the results of the blood tests that you take throughout the program.
After 13 months of changing my lifestyle, I had lost around 150 lbs – from 268 to 116 lbs. I like to joke that I lost “an entire person… and a toddler!” but if you think about it, it’s actually quite true!
I’m now in Maintenance, which I find to be more challenging than being on the actual diet. Research shows that you have to maintain the weight loss for at least 2 years to be able to make it ‘permanent’ and statistics aren’t very promising – only 5% of those who have lost weight are able to hit the 2-year mark!
I’m trying out more new food – including occasional sweet treats and chips! – to see how it reacts with my body. I’m still involved with my meal preparation and even bake from time to time using healthier ingredients (like wholewheat flour and soy butter!). I’m currently obsessed with tofu and green smoothies. Spinach, banana, carrots, pineapple with low fat Greek yogurt and tofu is a winning combination!
To help me maintain the weight loss, I’ve incorporated fitness into my life – one thing I wasn’t able to do while on the Cohen program as it discourages heavy exercise . I work out at home with a personal trainer twice a week and do cardio using exercise videos between training sessions (Jillian Michaels is my favorite). I’m also into trying out other physical activities that I was never able to do before – running, (which I am starting to love), boxing (great way to relieve stress) and surfing (definitely not my thing but it was worth a try). The body is an amazing instrument and I want to maximize its potential.
I’ve learned a lot through this experience and continue to learn more each day. Trying to find the right balance is challenging, especially for someone who used to cope with stress with food. I’ve made mistakes along the way but it’s a learning process. What matters is that you keep trying and keep fighting the good fight. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that nothing is impossible with a little determination and a lot of prayer. Losing weight and maintaining is a tough journey filled with road bumps but you just have to believe in yourself and power through. Never forget that you and your health (and all the rewards that come with it) are worth the effort.
*Vada is now on her 7th month of maintenance, still within weight range. She currently has a body fat percentage of 17.6% according to the Makati Med weighing scale. Thank you, Vada, for sharing your story in ManilaFitness.com. We hope that this serves as an inspiration to many.
For more information, contact:
Cohen’s Lifestyle Center Philippines
Medical Plaza Makati (Across Makati Medical Center)
Amorsolo cor Dela Rosa Sts.
Legazpi Village, Makati City
Manila, Philippines 1223
Telephone: +63(2) 502.1090
Mobile: +63 (917) 89.COHEN
Fax: +63(2) 501.5237