Archive for The Plan
I’ve had a bit of a rough half year to eight months diet-wise. I restarted low carb (many times), tried South Beach (lost weight but was miserable, depressed, and for one of the first times in my life, needing help for “transit” issues), restarted low carb again, visited America, ate a bunch of crap, got back home to the UK and that night got the phone call that my mother died. Back to America. More crap eating and trying to keep the comfort eating at bay…
It’s a wonder I didn’t balloon up to where I was before the beginning of my “weight loss journey”. If this is a journey, then let me extend that metaphor out a bit. It’s been a long ass journey, half of it I have been holding on, white knuckled. I am lost most of the time because I have a crap map written by thousands of people. I can’t rely on any inner sense of direction because I have none. Every time I pull over for directions, I get some toothless yokel with a different answer. But I am glad I started it. Grateful every day that I am at least doing something because where I was at the start of this “journey” was a hell of a lot worse than anything I’ve encountered along the way.
So anyway, there has been some backsliding (about 15 pounds at the worst), but I took some of that off, ever so slowly, when I noticed an upcoming date on my calender: my mom’s birthday.
There is no doubt in my mind that my mom’s eating habits killed her at an age that was too young. Before her death, she was old before her years due to her size, her illnesses, and her depression. I am speaking frankly about something I would have never had the nerve to say when she was alive, and for that I am sorry.
And she has passed on her eating to me. Not through genes as we were not blood related (she adopted me when I was two). If anything, I took on her habits with even more skill than she did, but I will be damned if I will let the same tragedy of a short, miserable life happen to me. And I think that there is no better homage I can pay to her than to break out of this cycle.
Exactly a month ago today, I could have recommitted to low carb. I think that most low carb eating plans are very good, healthy provided they are planned right, and promote long term weight loss and general well-being. However, I cannot eat a diet that includes any animal products that I can’t be assured were produced ethically with minimal suffering to the livestock. Because of this, our grocery bill at times could be quite high. And even then with the reassurances, I sort of never felt all that comfortable eating meat.
So, instead, I drew up a set of rules and guidelines to follow which allows me to eat a moderately carb conscious diet but focuses mainly on organic vegetables and some fruit. It’s not a vegetarian diet as we eat sustainable fish and seafood on occasion, but we’ve cut all sugar, refined carbohydrate, and have limited our portions of starch heavy foods. I cut out most artificial sweetener, and my husband has traded his sweets and crisps for fruits and nuts. We’ve started ordering food from an organic produce company, and eat most of our food from the boxes.
My husband, of course, has lost about twice as much weight as I have, but in this month, I’ve managed to drop 8.5 pounds. I am almost at the weight I was before I visited the States.
I am hoping that this blog will help someone out there who is struggling. Or is looking for someone to shout “ROAD TRIP!” when they hear about “weight loss journeys”. Or someone who is willing to give me a pat on the back when I need one. I will try to update it more than I have, including recipes, progress reports, and lame jokes. I am looking forward to it.
I am an expert at losing weight. I wish I had a clinical record of my weight losses over the years. Of course the record would also show that I am even better at gaining weight.
I have almost always been fat. When I was a toddler, I was underweight, but almost as soon as I settled into what would be my childhood family (my biological father, adoptive mom), I started gaining weight.
I also almost always have had an aversion to meat. If it was processed enough, I was fine with it. Anything that was too close to the animal was hard for me to eat. But I loved my starches and sweets. I spent a not insignificant portion of my young adult years as a vegetarian with forays into the more restrictive forms including vegan and raw food vegan.
But throughout my childhood I was given a pretty basic, low flavour, high starch diet. It didn’t taste wonderful, but it did something for me, because I loved to eat. And it showed. We didn’t eat things that were obviously bad for you like chocolate flavoured cereals or many potato chips. We had things like pizza as a treat, and once in a while, my mom would bring us home yoghurt or some pastry treat. We had dessert on Sundays after a roast, mounds of potatoes, and a veg.
When I became a vegetarian, I thought nothing of my health. I simply omitted the meat and ate more starch. Of course, at the time the idea that all complex carbohydrates were body fuel would have reassured me if I had any doubts. It’s the 90s! Bring on the pasta and bagels!
I eventually found low carb and did well on it for a while. I had to fight my inner urge to avoid meat, but I thrived on it. It’s not the only way I’ve lost weight. You name it, I did it (practically). I lost weight by calorie restriction, fasting part of the day (which became part of the week), and exercise. I tended to take things to the extreme however, so the fact that I didn’t have that tendency with low carb made it even more ideal for me. On low carb, I ate lots of veg. I ate meat at most every meal (but probably less than a lot of people would think). I did, however, stop losing weight. I’d stall out for weeks, and this would lead me to going off plan.
On top of my conscience bothering me about eating animals, I also have a problem with the environmental sustainability of meat production. I do think there are ways to make meat eating more sustainable, but most people wouldn’t be willing or able to fund the cost of that. It’s not that simple. I can’t do vegetarian low carb because I need to avoid too much soy, and many other meatless protein sources are too carby or too calorie rich (cheese, I am looking at you).
I’d love to be able to eat some of the refined foods that people eat (and even things like granary bread is refined) and not over do it. There is something about certain complex and simple carbs that is like a drug to me. The British have a word that I never heard in the States. Certain foods are a bit “more-ish”. For me I need to figure out which are like that for me, and stop eating them. One of my favourite uses of “more-ish” was Super Hans from Peepshow said that the crack he was smoking was a bit “more-ish”. Of course, for me some foods are a bit “crackish”.
So I’ve decided to design my own Low GI/GL, mostly plant food based diet for me to follow. It’s a make it up as I go along sort of thing, adjusting when I feel a food is making my blood sugar do wonky things. I will try to keep a bit of a food journal here.
For now, I will eat unsweetened muesli for breakfast, a light lunch of soup or salad with dark crisp bread, a dinner that will be 500 calories or less, mostly focused around a non-meat protein source and many low GI vegetables. No potatoes except a small portion of sweet potatoes or yams (if I can find yams). I will substitute low GL grains like barley or bulgur for rice, and then in small amounts. I will aim for a portion or two of non-tropical fruit a day, eggs a few times a week, no more than one and a half portions of cheese a day (none if possible). After this week, I will aim for moderate exercise every other day and a walk a day.
If I eat something that isn’t on this “plan”, it’s not the end of the world. I won’t have to worry about adjusting back to ketosis or that it will totally throw me. It’s restrictive without being dictatorial, at least that is what I am aiming for.