Feeling Uninspired

I came here to write because it has been a while (a week) and I really want to keep up the habit of writing.

I also came because there is only one week (exactly) left of April.  Will I see a loss this month?  Surely the last two weeks have not been my best though I did keep trying to be consistent…just got blown out of the water at times.  Right now I have the familiar low level grrrrrrr for anything chocolate going on in my system.  I’m sure it is all the sweets I consumed yesterday (and today) at social events throwing me off.

I don’t want to be this person.  I have so many ideas and plans I want to get going on.  I don’t want to feel that my life has passed me by.

It seems the only thing between me and my dreams is SUGAR (dramatic much??).

A few posts back, I mentioned how I manage the situation when I do eat outside of LCHF; basically expecting the cravings and just waiting them out.

But honestly?  It is SO much easier just to avoid that challenging cycle altogether and just not eat things that trigger me.  I mean look at me…2 weeks on and still not able to gather myself together after a deviation. Generally there are lots of delicious things to eat that fit within my eating plan and I really, really enjoy the clarity and peace with food that I experience when going low carb.

So what I am saying is that I plan on pretty much never eating another sweet thing ever again….don’t know if I will make it and I know it sounds crazy and not do-able…but like everything else in life there are choices.  You literally can’t have your cake and it eat it too (which never made sense to me, but whatever)  One night, my husband and I talked through the tradeoff I was making:

Eating whatever I want (even in moderation) means I am always in a cycle of struggling with food.  I find myself hiding food, my focus narrowing to just food and I pretty much am always considering when I can get my sweet fix.  BUT I get to experience sweet, sweet tasty pleasure for that one minute or so that I eat that thing.  It is an intense, truly (cover your eyes children) orgasmic pleasure so not to be dismissed too readily.

Avoiding that stuff means that  I feel a brief pang when faced with desserts (especially new desserts because I’m such a foodie) but it is easy enough to pass up and I don’t even think about it afterwards.  Also:

-peace with food

-can focus at social gatherings on connecting with and serving others (core value for me)

-lose weight (life long struggle, the impetus of this blog)

-all the energy I focussed before on food and weight loss (very unsuccessfully mind you), can be directed to pursuing things that are so rejuvenating like writing on this blog, continuing to live out my values and finding my life’s passion.  I mean look at all the blog posts I was writing here when the ‘food was calm’…I was writing so much that I could have posted two a day!! And now I was barely inspired to even start a post??  huge difference

-my husband says I’m a completely different person when I’m off the sugar, so much saner and together…and I feel that.  My mind is focused, I’m more purposeful.

-alleviation of depressive symptoms.  When I am going through sugar cycles I feel so tired and my mood can be all over the place…often I feel very down for no reason.

-physically I have so little energy…I just want to curl up in a ball and lay in bed ….thinking (my favourite pastime when I’m on the sugar)

-spiritually, I was experiencing a personal revival which has been so encouraging.  I was getting up at 4 or 5 am and spending time with God and I am so grateful

-I can be a much better mother because of greater physical and mental energy

The question is really what all do I need to avoid to achieve this peace and clarity long term without too much struggle?  (e.g. not giving up too much, but also not having to constantly battle craving feelings)  Clearly for me sugar is the biggest deal…considering how the wheat threw me off…flour should also be on that list.  In the past, too many sweet potatoes and rice got me into trouble.  So there you go, no sugar or flour.  Limited quantities of other grains/starches.

Seems simple enough.  Off to take some small positive steps.

 

One of those weeks?

It was a difficult week from start to finish I guess.  I ended it on Saturday night with a binge on (terrible, gluten free, saw dusty) chocolate chip cookies.  I probably had 8 big cookies.  Seems crazy when I write it down.

What were the events leading up to the downfall?

-Monday kinda started rough and then I had very carby meals for some self-soothing

-that kept going all week and since they were all ‘good’ carbs (except for Wednesday’s cupcake and hot chocolate…just realized that I had those by re-reading the blog…wow, am I ever self deceived!!)…I thought it would be okay

-then I was left alone with a tub of cookie dough on Saturday…and the rest is history

What have I learned?

-maybe others can self-soothe with food…but I need to find something else.  Someone with my history of lacking control over food should I guess.

-if I have a carby meal I should not precede that with more carby meals as eventually I will be faced with sugar and I just DON’t have the power of control when I am cruisin on carbs

Unfortunately, Sunday night was also a binge fest where I had 12 ‘fun’ size choco bars…probs the equivalent to 2-3 full size choco bars.  Yeah, so things are a bit out of control.

What is the plan?  I’m planning to just go very strict LCHF so that I can get off the crave cycle…argh!  Hopefully that will clear my head.

One of those days…

Just in case you thought it was all rosy since going LCHF…I have had SUCH a TOUGH week so far!!  I have just been feeling down and having trouble shaking it off.  Despite the off mood, I was able to keep the eating together (somewhat) for the past two days (somehow!) but today…I went a little bonkers.

I cannot really tell you exactly why either.  I mean I have been eating carbs but not so excessively…maybe it was because I had decided to implement the twice a week 24 hr fast suggested by Jason Fung (renowned nephrologist, based in Toronto, who recently released the book, “The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secret of Weight-loss”) and I scared myself unconsciously.  I mean fasting is pretty easy when you are eating strictly LCHF, but when you are throwing carbs in the mix…well, I was very hungry by 11:30 a.m and started nibbling on my kids’ breakfast (steak and grapes).

Anyway after that it was just anything goes.  I had lots of grapes, cheese, the kids’ lunch (tuna wraps that went under-received), chocolate cupcake (left over of my son’s) and coconut cream spiced hot chocolate, with lots of honey.  The latter is a weakness and one of the few sweet things in the house.  It is so wise not to have a lot of carby, binge-worthy stuff around for those days when I feel like today.  Even as I write it down, it does not look so bad and so I think it is more that old familiar feeling that I had of feeling ‘munchie’ and of control that was disconcerting for me.  I felt like if it wasn’t nailed down and carby, it was going down, baby!

Since 4:00, I have steered clear of food.  I did a quick 7 minute workout, had some time with God and then brushed my teeth.  It also really helped that my husband took over dinner prep and feeding time which is so stress relieving.  (single moms, how do you do it???!!?? all props to you for keeping your sanity)  Also got with our family group at church in the evening and it was just nice to be with adults talking about adult things.  There were delicious cookies and brownies there but I was barely tempted (go figure?!?)  I guess it helped that I de-stressed and even started this post before I got there.

It will always amaze me how doing some simple self-care things like workout (even 7 mins!), time with God, time away from my sweet charges and writing helps me SO SO much to combat food obsession.  I’m sure spending time with adults also helps.

Till next report, friends….

 

Cravings

One thing that helps  me not be perfectionistic when trying to practice my latest eating style (forgive me the uppity euphemism, I kinda hate all the negative connotations of what should be a neutral word – ‘diet’) is knowing that my triggers,  flour, excess carbs and sugar (especially sugar), set me up for cravings later.  Sugar especially is fiendish for this effect.

I used to never understand when people talked about cravings.  I actually thought I never had cravings.  My love for sweet things and almost constant desire for them had been with me as far back as I can remember.  I ALWAYS have room for dessert, ya know what I mean?  It was so much a part of me, that I never considered these desires as ‘cravings’ ….I thought of cravings as something that comes on intermittenly and intensely and then leaves.  What a revelation when eating lchf!  Suddenly I have zero desire to eat more, especially no desire for dessert (not even fruit)?!?  You mean that I was just in a CONSTANT state of craving….?  Here I had framed my desires as greed/gluttony, pleasure-loving, etc. (e.g. I am such a bad girl) and really it seems to me now that my body has just been much more sensitive  (or less sensitive technically) to the onslaught of carbs and thus would drive me to crave more and more….it was a hormonal thing NOT a will power thing.  Man, what an awesome thing to learn!!

So empowering as now if I eat a bit more carby, I know that later I will feel the munchies…and that said munchies, will pass…I don’t have to give into them and that feeling, which I used to own as genuinely my own, will go away.  I can tell myself that I will not always feel this away, that it is just the hormones.

People used to tell me before the same things about healthy living and eating…that things become habit and much easier, that it won’t always feel like major deprivation.  But the problem was that before, I was always trying to moderate every food and it always felt like restriction and having to excercise lots of self-control…and maybe over time that would have been easier, but who knows? I could not  go even 1 straight week with the deprivation and restriction. Only after going lchf and so quickly feeling how incredibly and truly I can feel indifferent towards sweets, did I become a believer. Knowing that indifferent feeling is just a few hours away if I resist the sweet now gives me the strength to resist the hormonal urges and wait it out.  Before it just felt so hopeless and difficult.  Trying to moderate sweets and other carbs  is just a losing game for me.  I was continuously triggering myself and never feeling the complete freedom of low carb.

It is so cool to learn how your own unique system works and work with it in the direction you want to go.  It allows me eating flexibility and power to quickly keep humming along despite stumbles.

 

Ruminations on the Scale

For the recent attempt at weight loss, I had been weighing myself every Friday.  I realized this had to stop.  Here’s why:

I believe one of the reasons for my meltdown this past month while changing my diet, was too much scale checking.  I had read so many wonder stories on the web about people who started lchf and lost a billion pounds in 2 weeks, etc. that I was expecting the pounds to literally melt away when I started the regime.  To see that it was not (although I was losing 2-3 pounds a week which is AMAZING!!), was de-motivating and discouraging.  I started to feel insecure about the dietary path I had chosen and started wondering if I was slowing my metabolism?  was I not eating enough?  was I eating too much fat? etc. etc.  A lot of second-guessing myself when really I had SO much to celebrate such as not feeling hungry while still eating yummy food, being able to stay away from sweets, having energy and ALSO losing weight (just maybe not at the pace to meet my unrealistic expectations).

As you can see, I’m super easy to discourage and the weight loss game seems to be played almost 90% in the head, so I  decided to set myself up for victory by following the advice of Susan Pierce Thompson (Bright Line Eating fame mentioned earlier), and just weigh myself once a month.  She did a vlog about weight loss plateaus and mentions that weight loss is NOT linear.  If watching the scale jump up and down (or not move) is frustrating, she recommends just weighing yourself once a month.  In this way, you should see at least a 2 pound loss every month without experiencing ‘the plateaus’ that get (my) knickers in a knot.

This is great for me in so many ways.  It stops me from having an unhealthy focus on weight since the number on the scale is not actually my goal (it is health, energy, vibrancy…weight was always just a poor indicator of these three).  It stops me from trying to manipulate my weight and see ‘what I can get away with’ (can I eat this tortilla and still be okay (e.g. still lose weight?) and instead focuses me on building and maintaining the healthy habits I would like to build into my life (e.g. carbs are not healthy for me and that is why I will not have that tortilla).  It helps me stay focused internally on what my body is saying to me instead of externally on what the scale says.  It stops me from constantly tweaking my diet and what I am doing just because of what the scale says (which is known to be highly variable day to day, especially for women) instead of deciding on a high level what my plan is and just consistently and persistently applying it.

…and then of course the monthly weigh in is there just to ensure that I am going in the right direction (e.g. at least lost 2 pounds this month).  Thompson says you should at least see a 2 pound loss a month otherwise one should look to tweak the diet if weight loss is the goal.  Now that I have my expectations managed much better with such a small goal, I’m okay with even a 1 pound loss.  For some reason, I was thinking that if I lost so little every month then I was doing something wrong or it would quickly just stop going down altogether (maybe like I said because of all those stories of huge weight losses).

So basically, I will only have an update regarding my weight on May 1st.

 

 

April 1/16 Weigh In

I missed posting my weigh in for April 1st.  Since nobody (literally) reads this blog, I was not called on it (phew!) but I think I should fulfill my weightloss bloggerly obligations and give you the number:  167.5 lbs

There are many ways to interpret this number.  Since March 1st that is ‘only’ a 2 pound loss.  It is my weight right after my period so it is really the lowest I will weigh in a month so darn shouldn’t it be lower?  That’s it after just beginning a lchf regime plus some intermitten fasting thrown in?  Goodness!

BUT…I’m honestly happy because I did have that meltdown half way through the month.  Usually after a meltdown the weight quickly just balloons up again to my original weight and gets stuck there for a while (or even goes up) while I kinda wallow in another weight loss failure.  I am so grateful that this time I have instead tried to take all the many stumbles (and tumbles down the stairs like scarfing a bag of cookies and all the chocolate Easter eggs I could get my hands on!!) in stride and just bumbled (very!) imperfectly along.

For example, even though I have not been sugar free for a good stretch yet (3 days is what I am looking for) by continuing to focus on making healthly meals, I have been eating relatively well in between the imperfect eating.  Usually, if I stub my toe I am one to throw myself down the stairs (analogically speaking of course) but I find it really helps if I keep preparing and having healthy food easily on hand, especially as I hate to waste food.  Even a can of sardines was a saviour one day when I was starving.  So glad I bought that easy protein and kept it in the cupboard. (Of course it was mixed with some rice and lentil stew so not perfectly paleo but see how I’m trying to let go of the perfectionistic thinking that has been my downfall in so many areas? )

So not perfect but good enough.  Good enough to have/maintain a 2 pound loss for the month.  I am grateful.

 

 

 

 

Following up on Crashing and Burning

2 posts ago, I described the big crash and burn that had occurred in my most recent attempt to change my diet.  It was somewhat epic despite me claiming that high fat, low carb was sorta REVOLUTIONARY because I stopped craving sweet stuff  (nothing else has ever helped me with that before).

So what happened?

In two words, ‘arrogance + curiousity’.  You see this new way of eating and how I feel about food through it is just so interesting to me…I have never not wanted sweet stuff or legitimately feel like there is no space for sweets after a meal…(I was all like…’those crazy thin people’ with their mutterings of being full…who can ever be too full for chocolate cake??) so I am definitely curious about what is triggering to me and what is not.  I even do thought experiments with myself like, ‘hey what if there is a chocolate bar before me…would I eat it?”  And honestly I can say ‘no’ (!!) after being a person who sneaked out of the house in snow storms after everyone was asleep to get a sugar fix!!  I lived for the moment I could get that pecan square/butter tart etc. in my grubby little hands.

So this experience of peace and calmness and ‘take it or leave it’ feel about food is just so NEAT and COOL and AMAZING!!!!!   And I want to understand the boundaries and parameters of it (people I am not only a writer but a scientist as well…lolz)  This led to me eating that fateful tortilla and the rest is history.  I am asking myself why the tortilla and I guess I was just wanting to make my meal a bit more interesting (rather than just fried eggs again) and remembering a good food experience with tortillas and eggs.

Susan Pierce Thompson of Bright Line Eating fame (google it:), claims to have found freedom from food addiction first when she adhered to 12 step group “food addicts anonymous'” food plan, which stated that you could never ever have sugar or flour (among other things).  Thompson, a professor on eating psychology, says there is uniquely addicting properties with these specific refined foods and any successful plan to ‘food freedom’ must completely eliminate them.

From this scientist’s meagre and decidedly unscientific experimentation, I would have to agree.

Paleo/hflc (high fat/low carb) also advocate staying away from these foods.  Since so many of the dietary regimes that I am gaining inspiration from and agree with, unanimously oppose the devilish combo of sugar and flour it seems a no-brainer to avoid those bad boys.

That is where my arrogance  comes into play.  When I’m cruising along munching my fat, not particularly hungry, not particularly craving anything, I kinda feel invincible and  self-righteous, to my shame, as I watch the unwashed masses gobble less virtous food items (I know, I know….I’m horrible…can you imagine if I ever actually lost some significant weight?  No wonder the Lord has not allowed it to this point…)

…and I get all cocky….and  tortillas and cookies get eaten because I’m amazing at willpower all of sudden, apparently…and then (womp, womp) GAME OVER.

So it turns out weight loss, like everything else in life it seems, requires a healthy dose of humility.  Pray for me…:)