Welcome to the forum Nala. If you want to tell us more about what you eat, we may be able to help.
I've been reading MDA for somewhere over a year, and have finally decided to register, so I can post. I'm a busy middle-aged mom working outside the home. As I entered the 'change of life' I started to gain weight, and became sluggish and somewhat demoralized. I tried many different dietary approaches (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Butterfly Life- yes, ridiculously named program!), most of which worked a bit initially, but none longer-term. At a certain point, I found myself officially obese, BMI-wise. I got so fed up that, a couple of years ago, I made a New Year's resolution that basically amounted to 'I'm going to try something different, or give up and accept being fat.' Fortunately, soon thereafter I stumbled upon various low-carb and paleo/primal books and websites, and found that a low-carb whole-foods eating approach worked really well for me, and basically totally changed my life. I lost 40 pounds the first year, taking me from officially obese to the upper end of the 'normal' BMI range, blood lipids improved, etc. (I know BMI is an imperfect measure, but I think it is pretty accurate as a general indicator for me.) I gradually spontaneously became more energetic, and took up hiking again, then crossfit (albeit only 1-2 times per week, for reasons of scheduling and wanting not to fall apart!), and eventually, even a little running, such that I've now run a couple of 5K races. I don't think this amount of running counts as chronic cardio for me...
So, this past fall, I broke a bone in my foot, and so couldn't exercise as much for a while, and I found myself able to keep off 30 of the 40 pounds, but the bottom 10 lbs tends to fluctuate, and honestly, I'd like to become even a little less fat, and more fit, if possible- although I get too bored if I spend too much time in the gym on machines, etc, so if tons of that is required, it won't be worth it! I don't feel the need to strive for 6-pack abs or anything like that, just moderate improvements.
I feel like I found the biggest factor for me as regards health, at least for now, which was cutting way back on sugar and other carbohydrates. I no longer routinely get that shaking starving feeling, but just might feel mild hunger, etc. However, I feel like, to further improve and avoid backsliding, I now need to play with some other more minor factors. I'm hoping I can avoid outright calorie-counting, as I HATE doing that! but I probably need to work on mindful eating, stopping before reaching overfullness, not eating just because it is a normal time to eat or I'm bored or stressed, etc. I think I've improved a lot in some of these areas, but not enough yet. I sometimes go for weeks with no sweets, but then have phases where I have trouble resisting them...
For example, I used to LOVE Cadbury caramel eggs, and I let myself buy some recently, thinking I'd save them for closer to Easter season. (Yeah, right, that usually works well!) Naturally, after they sat in the pantry for a week, I stopped being able to resist them, and ate one. As I ate it, I realized that I no longer actually like the taste of them- whether because my tastes have changed (probably) or they've been reformulated (less likely?), I don't know for sure. The texture was kind of nice, but the flavor seemed very bland. Nevertheless, I finished eating it, and then ate another one- why? Just to make extra sure I didn't like them anymore??? And then over the next couple of days, I ate several more of the smaller ones. (There are still a couple in the pantry that I'm trying to save for my son, but maybe I should throw them out?!) Probably one of those addictive junk food things going on here? So, trying not to judge myself, but obviously there isn't a good reason to eat something that is both bad for me, and that I don't like!
I'm not sure precisely how I'll use this diary, but basic goals are accountability, seeking suggestions (except I really honestly don't think suggestions to do the exact opposite of what has finally worked for me after years of struggle will be very useful, so don't feel the need to suggest I become a bananatarian or anything ) and support, as I try to build on what I've attained so far.
Wow, I hope this wasn't tooooo long!
Last edited by Nala; 03-01-2013 at 08:40 PM.
Welcome to the forum Nala. If you want to tell us more about what you eat, we may be able to help.
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Hi Hedonist2, thanks for replying. Here are some typical meals
Breakfast- sometimes 2 poached eggs, with some blue cheese or half an avocado. Other times, sausage or bacon (no sugar kind if I can find it, or low sugar otherwise), and sometimes full-fat cottage cheese, often sprinkled with brewer's yeast. I'm pretty sure the latter isn't primal, but I really do like the taste!- a holdover from my long-ago semi-vegetarian days, I guess.
Lunch- sometimes dinner leftovers, other times I'm too rushed or lazy to pack a lunch, and scrounge for food in the relatively poor urban neighborhood where I work- lots of Mexican-type food available there, but I mostly avoid it due to the high carb content. At one local restaurant I frequent with a friend, the waitress will special order me panfried (NOT breaded) chicken with steamed veggies, guac and salsa. I don't know what kind of fat the chicken is fried in, and honestly, I'm afraid to ask, as I figure the answer may kill my last restaurant option near work! Other times, from a stand on the street, I'll get a hamburger with salad instead of bun, or a cobb or chicken salad- although I'm guessing the dressings, and/or the coating the chicken is cooked in, probably contain some sugar, so I think I'm convincing myself as I type that bringing my own lunch is a really good idea...
Dinner- usually, steam-sauteed greens or other green vegetables, or salad, and some type of meat, usually pan-fried or oven-broiled. For the sauteed veggies, I sometimes use olive oil, other times ghee or lard (or leftover bacon fat), or coconut oil. I've realized I can probably cut back on the amount of fat I use in cooking veggies, although generally I do like cooked vegetables much better if they have been sauteed with fat, rather than just steamed, etc.
I probably have a glass of wine with dinner maybe 3 times per week on average.
I'm trying to incorporate more seafood into my diet, but I'm not very experienced at cooking fish, and hate it overcooked (which seems to occur easily for me), so most of my seafood intake is from sashimi when my son and I indulge in that.
A snack I'll often have is seaweed- sometimes purchased, in which case the ingredients are seaweed, a bit of oil, onion and or other spices, salt, etc. I'm trying to cut out nuts for the moment. I'd incorporated them into my diet, but I don't think they work well for me when I'm trying to lose weight, partly as I struggle with portion control, as they are just so good! Although buying raw nuts in the shell does help with the portion control and the super-palatability issue!
I'll stop for now, before I run on excessively again!
Oh, yeah, I do eat some fruit, although not every day. Depends if my favorite fruits are in season/available. My favorite winter fruit that I just love are blood oranges. Other seasons, I appreciate berries and cherries the most.
Give the rest of the eggs to the kid and tell him either eat them now or hide them from you. Or throw them away and buy him a bag at the last minute when he is there with you. Tell him you are buying them for him only on the condition that he keeps you from eating any of them, whatever it takes. Then hand over responsibility to him when unbagging the groceries.
Thanks, eKatherine. Interesting suggestion r.e. it being self-punishment. I'll give that some thought. I'm not sure if that is it exactly, but I certainly have SOME unhelpful semi/subconscious process going on here! I think maybe there is some way I still see these 'treats' as psychological rewards deserved after a period of treat abstinence, even though the reality is that they no longer have the taste to me that I would want from a food eaten only for pleasure. Hmm.
Ah yes, thinking about the carb controversy. I initially tried cutting out sugar, but not lowering carbs, and it had a mild effect, but not a big enough one. For me, lowering all carbs, including sugar and starch, really make the life-altering difference... and then there are folks like scientists Volek and Finney (sp?) who say, and have demonstrated to some degree, that you can even be an athlete and ketogenic (at least some kinds of athlete- more endurance, not so much power, probably?), and others who say you really really need to up carbs if you exercise with any degree of intensity...
Trying to figure out what works best for me, given that the most important thing is that I maintain health, avoid obesity, and stay reasonably fit, rather than needing to be a high-performance athlete. Do I really 'need' carbs after a Crossfit session? There is just such a slippery slope degenerating into overeating and feeling like crap if I go to the carb well too often.
Oh, and a shocking confession- I've never liked sweet potatoes much, and still consider eating them an occasional obligation, rather than anything pleasurable. Even minus the marshmallows often added to them in 'traditional' SAD recipes, I've always found them too sweet! (I feel similarly about carrots.) If I'm going to eat potatoes occasionally, I'd much rather eat regular old white potatoes, as baked potato with butter, etc. That probably happens once every month or 2.