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Friday, September 16, 2011

Update: How Now

It's been about 3 weeks since I radically changed my food and how I eat (again). This post details what I'm doing, what's happened, and how I feel about it.

What I'm Doing Now
  • I eat about 100-120 grams of protein a day, mostly at breakfast and lunch (I usually don't eat dinner as the large volume of protein pretty much carries me through the day). I also now eat about 70 grams of carbohydrates (either pinto beans or lentils) daily.
  • I eat a lot of eggs and meat--a lot. Breakfast is usually 3 eggs with a 4 oz hamburger patty and 1/2 cup of pinto beans. Lunch is either another 1/2 cup of beans, more hamburger (or seafood--I really like salmon, but also eat cheaper fish and scallops. I don't eat farmed seafood) and lots of vegetables--I was eating loads of raw spinach, avocados, and tomatoes for quite a bit. Now its more zucchini (cooked), or tomatoes and sprouts (raw). I feel a broccoli phase coming on, though...
  • For some reason, chicken doesn't "work" as well for me as a protein source as beef, so I don't eat it (and I stopped consuming soy products a while ago as I don't tolerate them well).
  • I've (mostly) stopped eating fruit (except for blueberries and dried mulberries) as I seem to be extra sensitive to sugar (and more so as I walk this food path).
  • I am now drinking coffee again. I'd stopped as I  hadn't found a good (nondairy) milk replacement, and un-milked coffee is hard for me to take. I now use coconut milk (but religiously check the label, as some brands contain rice flour/powder, and I'm not eating rice.)
  • I've been able to add back small amounts of goat milk products, which is great. I sometimes use goat milk in my coffee, and have been eating a little goat cheese, too.
  • As you can see, the range of food I eat is quite narrow. That is not unlike my food pattern before starting on this path, but the foods are quite different. I'm fine with it.
  • At the end of August (and in spite of earlier protestations), I started capturing in my food journal what and when I ate. I write down the amount of food. It's pretty simple because I'm generally eating the same things most days. 
  • I've set up an Excel spreadsheet, and am slowly entering the journal info. The spreadsheet which automatically calculates (for each food I enter) the protein, carb, fat and calorie counts.
  • I'm now weighing myself weekly. I've logged the info in my food journal these last 3 weeks.
What's Happened
  • The protein and the volume of food have really made a difference. That crushing, aching fatigue is nearly gone, as is the brain fog and sluggishness. I am now marveling at how much I was able to do (not at all well, of course) feeling as shitty as I was for so many months My stamina has improved, too. The ADD also is less dominant. It's easier for me to stay on task, to complete projects, and I get frustrated a lot less easily. All good.
  • My weekly weight loss has ranged from 2.4 to 3.7 lbs in the last three weeks. From July 1 and 30 August I lost about 25 lbs, an average of 2.4 lbs a week. 
  • It's too soon to tell if my food changes are/will affect the rate of weight loss (and I may even gain weight). 
  • I stopped working out at the gym (even walking very much) in July-early August as I just didn't have the energy. I'm pretty sure I'll go back next week as I'm feeling a lot stronger.
  •  The look of my body has changed. My belly is protruding a lot less, my upper arms are smaller, and I could carry a coupla rolls of quarters in each bra cup now. I also am losing fat from my face, so it has gotten saggy. Why does this surprise me? Yet it does. Now my neck looks bigger. Odd. 
 How It Feels
  •  I'm pleased that I'm now more flexible on this path, much more so than when I started in June.
  • The food "data capture" is emotionally challenging. I'm glad I'm doing it (for a lot of reasons, mostly to ensure I get the protein I need), but I miss the alluring fantasy always available in the not knowing. There, I can fill the future with hopes, without having to be so awake, so conscious of the results of my choices. So there's a thrill that's gone, a lost expectation of some kind of future magic awaiting me.
  • As for the rest (and related, surely), most of my meals and days are full of a  feeling of plodding along, and who wants to plod?
  • I feel disappointed (and, curiously, ashamed) that I'm spending time in data capture, particularly about my weight. I want these changes to be about my health, damn you, not the weight. I don't want to be concerned about my weight, would like not to be, but am. And I hate that. But why do I think I am immune--unlike millions of other people--to our culture's praise of/fawning over skinny women, and shaming of the fat ones like me?
    Eleanor Kohlsaat (at the Make Friends With Food blog) captures it well when she writes,
I’ve talked with a lot of people who say health is their number-one priority, but when it comes right down to it, weight loss is what they care about the most. And this is not surprising: in our culture, we equate thinness not only with happiness and success, but also with health. That’s the message we get from our friends, our family, TV, the Internet, and even the medical community. Weight loss will make us healthy. Weight loss at any cost.
So that's where I've been, and where I am.

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