Love this forum, think it's a great idea!
I started LT on the 3rd of August 2009, 35 weeks ago. The day I started I weighed in at 22 stones 7lbs/ 315lbs, wearing a size 28/30/32. I sit here now weighing 10 stone 12lbs/ 152lbs wearing a size 10 pair of skinny jeans and a size small boob tube (a boob tube haha, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever wear a boob tube again, nevermind a size small!)
I have been 100% throughout. Not a morsel or food or drink (apart from water and shakes) has passed my lips the whole time, and won't until I have reached my goal. I am a stickler for the rules type of person, and I believe that when you commit yourself to something that will totally change your life for the better, then it's best to use it to it's full potenial, and in the way it was designed to achieve maximum results.
My LT journey has benefited me more psychologically more than it has physically. My total abstinence from food and drink has taught me so much about myself. I was a comfort/boredom eater. Food was my best friend. If I had a crisis/upset/stress I ran straight to the fridge or the local takeaway to ease my pain. If I found myself at a loose end with nothing to do, I headed straight into the loving arms of food to ease my boredom. LT and total abstinence has taught me that I don't need to turn to food to help me cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. I don't need to eat and drink just because it's your birthday/Christmas/Wedding/Easter etc. LT has taught me control. It has taught me that food will not take away the hurt/stress. If anything it will hinder the process of healing. I would eat, get fatter, get depressed about getting fatter, thus this adds to the original misery, leading to more stress! Vicious circle!
I've learned to cope with stress/boredom in other ways other than food. I've discovered my voice. If something is bothering me I talk about it. I've gained the confidence to speak up, instead of hiding, eating and hoping the problems will magically disappear. I hold my head up high and face everything head on.
I've been on 4 holidays during my journey, I've been to functions/weddings/birthday parties/anniversary parties/funerals. I've had Christmas/Valentines/Easter. All those occasions we use as an excuse to eat and drink to excess. During all those times not once was I tempted to break my plan. I stayed 100% committed throughout because I want to be healthy, fit and slim more than anything else in this world. I've had swine flu, a stomach virus, a few colds. I've had 2 small operations, been on antibiotics, and not once did I even consider coming off plan (I have been monitored carefully by my wonderful Doctor, Consultant and pharmacist throughout) I have had so many crisis, stresses, upsets.
In a perverse way I feel all powerful not eating and drinking at functions/occasions when everyone else is indulging around me. When people comment on my willpower, focus and determination it makes me feel so proud.
When I started I decided to change my whole family's eating habits. I cleared the house of everything 'unhealthy' I discovered a love of cooking (loathed it before!) I cook healthy nutritious meals every day for my family and they love it. They've all benefited from my being on LT! In a way I changed their eating habits for selfish reasons! I thought that by changing the way I approach food now will help me when it comes to refeed/ maintenance. Well that's my plan, hope it works!
I do not understand people wanting to eat while being on a TFR, as I believe it defeats the purpose. I believe TFR should be exactly that - Total food replacement, where all temptation/ options of food should be taken away. I believe it takes a stronger will power/determination to abstain completely, than to have a day off here and there with food and drink. I believe you can learn so much from 100% abstinence, I know I have. Your palate is completely cleansed and refreshed. Your old life and habits cleansed along with your tastebuds.
There are other great plans out there in which you can add a meal, have more of a variety of flavours etc. LT is boring and bland. That is exactly what I needed! Boring and bland has helped me loose 11 stone 9lbs in 8 months! That's over half my body weight! Boring and bland has changed my life beyond recognition.
There is no doubt that LT works. I believe LT works better if you're 100% committed to the plan. I believe you should use your time on LT to educate yourself about food. Find yourself. Find out why you've had to resort to such an extreme plan. Find out why you eat/over indulge. I was one of these people in denial. Believe it or not I was one of the people who thought I didn't have a problem with food and eating! I believed I could control what went into my mouth, and that I was happy being 22 stone odd! I thought there was no way I had psychological problems in regard to food! Boy was I wrong! Of course I have psychological problems in regard to food or I would not have been 22 stone and banging on death's door!
LT and total abstinence has taught me that food is not my friend. Food is not going to comfort me. Food is not a treat. Food IS fuel! The right foods are a necessity in order for me to live a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.
Don't take on LT until you are positively sure you are going to be 100% committed to the plan. Make sure you want to be healthy, fit and happy more than anything else in the entire world. Educate and find yourself while on plan, and you can't fail.