The Diet Mentality

The short explanation for this post:  The Fast Metabolism Diet is NOT for me.

The long explanation follows.

This latest experiment highlighted for me that I still battle the diet mentality, or the diet trap.  Obsessing about what to eat, when, as if there’s some magical formula that will help me transform my life.  I can eat this… but not that.  I can eat 2 of this, but never more than that.  Or the whole diet is ruined.  If you fall into that all-or-nothing mentality, then it’s a). impossible to stay 100% on plan all the time and b). it’s difficult to recover from slippage.  It’s not a LIFESTYLE.  It’s a DIET.  Aka temporary.

That’s one reason I’m so sensitive/worried about That Man’s salad diet, because I’ve been there.  I’ve starved myself.  I lost weight…for awhile.  And then ended up right back beyond in my worst nightmare.

That vicious diet trap started to rear its ugly head this week, but thankfully I’ve nipped it in the bud before it could cause too much damage.

As I posted, the first week of comparison went well.  I had planned to do another 7-day cycle while still counting my points this week.  However, Middle missed a day of school last week sick, and while I had both Monday and Tuesday off…. I didn’t plan to lay around the house with no energy myself, nor to have Littlest home with me.  So needless to say, NaNoWriMo is not going well right now.

The first two days of the new cycle I did fine.  Then I entered the high protein, low fat, low carb days yesterday.  This is like the WORST of Atkins…without at least the bacon to help you get through all the protein.  I can eat eggs for breakfast, no problem.  I can even do egg whites, although I really hate throwing that glorious farm egg yolk down the drain.  But does it really make that much of a difference if I use 1 tsp of healthy oil to cook the egg?  Taste wise, it’s a huge difference.  I even made egg white “muffins” with sautéed veggies and could barely gag them down.  A little turkey bacon helped but even with 4 egg whites and 2 slices of bacon I was still starving.

Not a good sign.

I soldiered on, even though I just felt like crap.  Littlest wanted soup.  I didn’t have any whole food soup on hand and I sure didn’t feel like making any from scratch.  I SURELY didn’t have phase 2 appropriate soup on hand with no carb or fat of any kind.  Then she wanted mac and cheese.  A traditional comfort food.

I still did okay.  I had my lunch (tuna, a little Dijon, celery).  It wasn’t horrid.  But I was still hungry!  Worse, I had to run some errands to WalMart to stock up on stuff for the sick kiddies, and I missed my snack of cold deli meat.  Ugh.  I did not want cold turkey meat even if it was nitrate free.  No, heating it up wasn’t enough.  I wanted something… good.  Soothing.  Nutritious.  Or at least soothing and good.

You can see where this is going, right?

Yeah, the last bit of mac and cheese met its maker in my belly.

But I got back on track for dinner with a huge plate of plain ground beef and cabbage.  I sautéed the cabbage in a little coconut oil in my iron skillet to caramelize it (a slight cheat).  I even put salsa on it.  And siracha.  And I still couldn’t get it all down.  It just didn’t taste right and it sure didn’t feel GOOD.

Obviously some of that’s the cold speaking.  When you’re sick, you want a comfort food.  So I fought off the cravings, put the leftover cabbage/beef in the fridge, and went to bed.

This morning I was supposed to have the egg whites again.  I tried.  I really did.  But all I could think about was some nice warm delicious steel cut oats with sunbutter, like I’d had Sat.  I wanted it bad.  I started rationalizing in my head about how it probably wouldn’t matter if I ate it today instead of tomorrow.  Or would it?  Back and forth.  I ate the egg whites but I was still hungry.

Still starving.  I’m not kidding – this wasn’t emotional hunger.  My stomach was growling.  I started to get that HUNGER MUST EAT NOW feeling.  Like I’m going to stab someone with a fork hungry.  Maybe part of it was mental, driven by deprivation, but it was physical too.  I needed food.  Good food.

And I suddenly realized I had stepped into the diet trap.  I was excluding perfectly healthy whole foods–not because I have an allergy or real need to avoid certain foods–but because some book guru said to.  I was eating a formula instead of listening to my body and fueling my energy.

Dumb.  I’m sick.  I’m traveling to MN next week and Thanksgiving is the following week (we host, so I have a lot of prep to do).  The last thing I need to do is starve myself with some diet and make myself sicker, maybe even end up with pneumonia again.  DUMB. DUMB. DUMB.

So I made my oats and tracked it all.  And here’s the funny thing:  I didn’t even need a midmorning snack.  I was perfectly satisfied to wait for lunch, and I even ate later than usual because I was working on a production issue.

Whole foods = good.  Clean eating to minimize chemicals, processed foods, artificial sweeteners = good.  I’m not lactose intolerant or gluten sensitive to my knowledge, so there’s really no need for me to avoid dairy or whole grains unless they affect my weight loss.  Whole grains do sometimes make me ravenous unless I have protein or fat with them, so I do try to minimize them for that reason.

I like many paleo recipes and do incorporate many of those beliefs into my eating… but I don’t currently feel the need to give up all dairy and grains.

I’ll continue to use Weight Watchers to help me keep my portions manageable, but I don’t have to be so regimented in staying beneath my daily points.  It’s not a test that I have to pass every single day!  I’m also hoping that as I eat more whole foods and less of everything else that eventually I won’t need WW to tell me how much/little to eat any longer.  But for now, at least with WW no food is ever off limits.  I just have to be faithful in my tracking and measuring, which does get old really fast.

If it’s whole food, I’m not going to put some silly restriction on what day of the week I can eat it.

In summary, I’m grateful to the Fast Metabolism Diet for a few things.

  • introduced me to sunbutter, which I’ve decided I love.
  • reminded me that I love Ezekiel sprouted breads.  (I hadn’t had them since the stint with Atkins many years ago.)
  • if I’m more liberal with the coconut oil, things don’t stick in my iron skillet.  And taste really good.  Duh!
  • I finally found a way I really like sweet potatoes:  diced, cooked in coconut oil until crispy, sprinkled with salt, cumin, and a little cinnamon
  • I can eat well beyond my points a few days a week and still see really nice losses on the scale.

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