I have written and re-written the beginning of this post more times than I care to count, now. So I’m going to skip the more nuanced introduction and sum it up so I can get to what I’m really thinking about, below: when I stopped dieting, I also stopped exercising, because it was making me crazy, despite my efforts to keep it from doing so. It took 12 full months before I felt like I could think about getting healthier (not thinner, but healthier, and that will be important soon), based on what my body actually responds well to and not based on the latest and greatest “21 Ways To A Fat-Blasting-Workout That Will Make You Look Like [insert celebrity name here] In a Bikini! In Just! Six! Weeks!” workout. (Oh, come on – you know you’ve read them, too.) It bears saying here that in my teens I was diligent about doing some of those – and I always felt SO disappointed that I didn’t look like a celebrity in 6 weeks. But did I ever think that it was unrealistic? Nope. I just figured I WASN’T TRYING HARD ENOUGH. And redoubled my efforts when the next magazine came out. *sigh*
BUT. Ahem. Random tangents aside, I decided this year to work on being *healthier*. This is more challenging than I anticipated. Even after a year “off,” it’s hard not to think in terms of weight loss. I find myself thinking that I should get the scale down from the shelf – just, you know, to SEE. For a STARTING POINT. And then I have to stop and remind myself that if I didn’t lose weight after that, I’d be upset, and that if I don’t want to weigh myself regularly going forward, I won’t even KNOW if my weight changes, anyway. So I’d have to go back to weighing regularly. That’s usually where sanity kicks in again and I think, “Oh. Right. Weighing myself makes me kind of nuts, and I don’t really want to do that.” And I leave the scale in the closet.
I also find myself slowwwwwwwly phasing grains out of my diet. Well. Out of 80% or so of my diet, anyway. I’ve noticed that as much as I love my toast in the morning, I do feel better if I’m fairly grain-free. And I picked up a copy of The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson (blog and link to buy the book here), and realized that I’d been intuitively heading in the direction he advocates in his book. So I made it a little more formal. And I circumvented the Crazy (at least so far) by deciding I would commit to 80%. That sounds like a lot when you think about it, but if you figure that I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks, 7 days a week, that’s 35 “eating times” every week. Eighty percent of those should be grain-free (there are other “rules” to the Primal Blueprint, but that’s all I’m worrying about right now). Twenty percent of 35 is 7. So I have 7 opportunites to eat non-Primal every week. That’s once every day. Now, the reaaaallllllly funny part? If I have permission to do something, it takes away the desire to do it. (Why, yes, I AM a giant 5-year-old.) If I decide to eat grain-free ALL THE TIME, NO EXCEPTIONS, I will immediately eat an entire pound of pasta with cheese sauce for dinner, just to SHOW YOU [me] WHO’S BOSS. On the other hand, if I know I can have toast or ice cream (which is not grain, but is sugar, which I’m getting off of) or whatever else I want at least once a day . . . well, then I don’t really care if I have it today, because I know it will be there tomorrow. I eat more healthfully overall when I’m allowed to eat badly (REALLY allowed – no guilt or anything). Weird, I know.
And the first week or so of actually thinking about what I ate was TOUGH. Because my if-a-little-is-good-a-lot-is-better-brain was off and running: “If grain-free is good, well, grains are carbs, and if I’m avoiding carbs, I should also cut out sugar, and fruit has sugar, so I should stop eating fruit and if I’m not eating sugary-fruit, it’d probably be best if I cut out berries too, and if I ALSO cut back on the fat, that might help, I mean, I know a pound of bacon for breakfast wouldn’t be a good idea, so obviously all fat is bad, and maybe I should also start buying super-lean ground beef, or even better: chicken, and I wonder how many carbs are in nuts, because I know they have a lot of fat, and if they have fat AND carbs I should probably stop eating nuts . . . ” So multiple times a day I had to physically STOP what I was doing, take a deep breath and repeat to myself, “GRAINS. JUST avoid GRAINS. Not fruit. Not nuts. Not even bacon at this point, just GRAINS. And even then, remember that you still have 20% of your meals where grains are ok. (And in fact, you can eat all grains, all the time, if you want to, even if you don’t feel all that good afterward: nothing is written in stone.) So for the love of Pete, CALM DOWN.”
It seems to be working so far.
Next time, exercise!