22 Pounds Lost in 8 Weeks: Cindy's Day-Off Diet Success Story

Seeing herself in a group photo was the final straw.

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Name: Cindy
Age: 54
Start weight: 345 lbs.
Current weight: 323 lbs.
Time on The Day-Off Diet so far: 8 weeks

What was the turning point that made you want to lose weight?

I had just returned home from a day trip in Sleepy Hollow, New York, with my Outlander friends. There was a group picture at the diner and I saw, very clearly, that I was three times the size of everyone else. I knew my life was on a major downward trajectory unless something jarring occurred to put a halt to this.

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How much weight did you want to lose when you started the plan?

At first, I just wanted to see if I could get the numbers to move in a downward direction. If I could, then I wanted to start moving to below 300, which in itself would be quite a feat.

How did you pick your day off?

My first day off was a literal seventh day of the diet, but I have since been able to adjust it to whatever occasion might've called for it.

What's an example of a typical diet day off (DDO) for you?

On December 10, I attended a holiday party with my Outlander friends at a Scottish pub in Times Square. For brunch, I had a mimosa, a sourdough roll with butter, and a mushroom and cheddar cheese omelette with Scottish home fries.

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What's your favorite recipe on the plan?

I absolutely love the almond butter/Greek yogurt smoothie. Sometimes I mix up the frozen fruit. For example, I use frozen dark cherries. I also use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which was called for in the original recipe I received — not water. Also, l don't add vanilla extract.

What's your favorite MUFA snack?

I love to take a small bit of Trader Joe's Belgium dark chocolate with almonds and 1 oz of plain raw almonds.

What do you like about this plan?

What I like most about the plan is that it's actually working for me. I can't tell you how many times I started a new diet/new program/the latest fad and was completely unsuccessful. In a very short time, I have actually begun to lose weight. I don't know that I would call it easy; rather, I had hit a turning point in my life and completely committed to following the program.

What's been your biggest challenge so far?

The night I brought my mother to the hospital, I didn't have a lot of great food options and bought two candy/chip things from the vending machine. It was in a very stressful week and I didn't have many of the food items that I would normally keep in my own house available to me.

Have there been any times you've wanted to stop, and if so, what keeps you motivated?

There have been a number of times that I have wanted to stop, or rather continue the day-off portion. However, I have recognized that I actually feel much better physically because I have eliminated bread and dairy products from my daily food intake.

Is there anything you would change about the diet?

I do wish something other than olive oil could be included in the diet. For example: mayonnaise or other types of salad dressing. The other issue for me is the lack of fruit variety. But quite simply, I actually did just make changes for that, for myself. I do swap out other fruits rather than just sticking with the blueberries.

Have you had any cravings during the diet?

One of my all-time cravings is potato chips. And on the night that I brought my mother home from the hospital, that's what she wanted to eat and she keeps them in her house. It became an extremely close call for me to tell her that I couldn't bring her the potato chips to eat, because I wanted them too much. I was able to not give into the craving of that moment. It just felt like it would be a signal for me to go down the rabbit hole and I might not be able to find my way back out. I didn't want to take the chance.

Do you have any advice for other people considering starting this plan?

If there's one thing I've learned in over 40 years of dieting, it's that there's no magic bullet/pill/diet. There has to be a mental readiness and a soul deep willingness to take any and all steps necessary to move forward. No one is actually going to lose the weight for you. Sometimes when you feel like you can't do it by yourself, you have to look to other people, like Dr. Oz. And that's where you'll find a support system and a cheerleading section and those willing to say they'll hold your hand through this process and show you the path to go on and reach the goals you want to achieve.

Do you have anything you'd like to add about the plan, the recipes, or your goals moving forward in 2016?

What I have been loving and living through this diet during the last few weeks is that even on the day off, if you go really off, it's easy enough to get right back on the next morning. I find that having the smoothie the next morning signals the brain and body that this is a fresh start. My plans for 2016 are to continue sticking with this plan of eating so that I can calculate through 10 pound increments, a slow and steady way of losing weight.

I don't want to randomly choose a large amount of weight to lose because that makes it feel less realistic for me. But since I can visualize just getting down to the next 10 pounds on the scale, it makes it more palpable and palatable for my brain to recognize — it feels like it's more reasonable to achieve.

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