February 2015. I am 15 kilos (33 pounds) overweight. I have no idea how I managed to accumulate so much fat in the late three years. Maybe I have that idea. Traveling around the globe, interviewing notorious International chefs , curious about street food and a reasonable amount of unnecessary stress I have constantly searched for comfort in food that I must admit, gave me instant happiness. But I cannot say I felt the same on looking at figure in pictures or selfies intended for instagram. I had reached the limit.
In my life, I have never been on any diet because I thought they never worked. To prove it, many of my friends and family who had lost weight in short periods of time had gained it back when I next saw them on social occasions. Until one afternoon in the midst of early Spring cleaning I found in one of my drawers a gift card inviting me to a free consultation with a certified Dietician/ Nutritionist at the F-Factor office on 57 Th. a few blocks away from my apartment. Curious , I booked an appointment to check what those hours could do for me.
The spacious office is bright. On a modern coffee table at the center of the reception, a few green apples, unshelled pistachios, green orchids and large water jars filled with fresh lime looks light and inviting. I ask the pretty receptionist, Amanda permission take a look at one of the books from a long pile displayed on a shelf behind her chair. On the white cover an elegant , slim , raven- haired woman in her thirties smiles next to the title " The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear--with Fiber!" I google the book on my phone and find it on Amazon: " Celebrated nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot knows that when it comes to losing weight, addition is better than subtraction. Her secret? Add the Miracle Carb to your diet so you don't need to subtract delicious, satisfying foods."
From the several offices in the long corridor, doors open wide while high hilled women in tight pants and bustier-shirts head to reception towards the shelf . They quickly grab packages of crackers, plastic jars filled with powdered peanut butter ( from de-fatted peanuts) and super bars as they close doors back as fast as if F-Factor 's unlocked secrets were only meant for their ultra VIP clients and jet-setters to preserve privacy. I am almost jealous as a voice comes to my rescue calling my name:
" Hi Joelle, I am Shana your senior nutritionist , nice to meet you, please follow me" Pretty, in her mid twenties Shana's diamond rings still shining bright, make me assume she's a newly wed. Sharply dressed and slender, her skin glows even on the snowy February day. After exchanging a few polite words about the weather, Shana asks me to count her my eating habits in detail including my food preferences, what I can't live without , what I despise and what I am indifferent to. I share primarily my long time addiction to chocolate, the frequent sugar cravings, my daily avocado needs , the recent milk intolerance, the overall skepticism in regards to weight loss-dieting , my constant tiredness, and my adored unwilling-to-change-life as a world traveler foodie. After having listened attentively to every word I said and without interruptions Shane creates now a pause then asks a peculiar question: " Do you think I have always been so skinny?" " Of course -I reply - you are certainly of the petite type!". She then takes from her wallet a worn out photograph of a chubby little girl at camp with no resemblance to the attractive, married young woman sitting in front of me - " I work hard to keep myself in shape as nothing comes for free Joelle! ". She then asks Amanda on the house phone to bring her ' the brown box ' " Here, have one. Let me know if you like it " She says possibly bribing me with a small and crispy chocolate treat filled with delicious caramel while she puts another in her mouth. " We have a lot of work do and results will not be immediate. Do you thing you could be ready to commit to the weight loss journey?" I find her question unpleasantly tricky and try to convince her that at my age with the change of hormones slowing my metabolism the weight loss is almost impossible" Shana guarantees that her clientele loses weight at all ages and F-Factor doesn't know those obstacles.
One hour has passed and I still prefer to ignore her question. I surrender to her expert hands measuring my tights , waist , abdomen and arms before stepping on the professional scale. The numbers she scribbles on her notebook are shockingly scary: Starting weight: 156 lbs. 71kg Starting body fat: 40% and my reply now is an immediate - "Yes I want to engage". The next twenty minutes Shana educates me without loosing breath on the statistics about obesity in America , how to eat at my favorite restaurant, why the average person needs 26-35 grams of fibers, how those work on the organism , the proven benefit on my elevated cholesterol while achieving more energy and vigor in my life.
I receive now a notebook (also green) Shana calls Journal . My homework is to diligently write on a daily basis the few carbohydrates, many fibers and some protein I will be eating during her absence next to numbers whose nutritional coefficient I would learn in time from the journal back pages. By adding and subtracting those, I would finally reach an expected score lesser than 30.
Apart the intense math work, the simple and effective action plan did not disrupt my life and on my return the following week applying miraculous system, the scale surprisingly showcased to my satisfied dietician, a loss of 3 and a half pound of pure fat. The follow up says Shana is quite simple. I must stick to the suggested fiber-rich menu plans she created with no such a thing as 'cheating'. She hands me a " Choose your food" booklet with more than a 100 original recipes and shopping lists organized in templates for better 'Journaling' results.
As we move forward the amount of weigh loss decreases for reasons I don't understand. At each follow up session Shana analyzes in details my journal while I silently pray like an uncomfortable school student for her approval. Like Sherlock Holmes she searches every meal described on my journal with dedication and perseverance until she spots the weakness… " You have missed the crackers last Monday , had two dairy servings on Wednesday and you ate a mango after 5 PM on Friday. You are not allowed fruits on Fridays nor any other day after 5 PM. Also you don't seem to have drank enough water and by the way you have exercised far too much- This is why Joelle your weigh loss is as I would have expected!"
How could simple behavioral changes make such a difference on that scale ? As weeks passed through trials and errors and some adjustments, I realized that based on Tanya Zuckerbrot's extensive clinical experience as well as her in-depth knowledge of cutting-edge food and nutrition science, the F-Factor method is quite scientific and cannot be fooled. Through different case studies, tool kits for defense against specific food cravings and other obstacles, plus tips and tricks , Shana patiently equipped me with new insights customized to my personal eating habits every time I failed to loose the expected average weight per week. I kept shedding fat in the next few months without ever feeling hungry.
With Shana, I have learned the tips and tricks of reducing the amount of fat I eat daily making gradual lifestyle changes, paying attention to my serving sizes, not to shop when I am hungry , no meals skipping and to be reasonably active. The scale proved her right as I lost 10 kilos in only 6 months. My jeans now size 8 (two sizes smaller) inspires me to go shopping for new bikinis. But Shana not happy yet, says I still have 3 kilos to go. Our goal is 28% body fat equivalent to 57 kilos. Soon I 'll enter the maintenance phase and for now she keeps it as a double-locket secret. My friends and family find me transformed, my Instagram galley is now filled with selfies and soon I 'll be ready to celebrate thanks to my F-Factor super-guru and the miracle of fiber that let me eat more, weigh less, and even add years to my life!
F-Factor : 115 East 57th Street – Suite 1007 New, York, NY 10022 646-442-3904 / firstname.lastname@example.org