Remember the Not Crazy diet I referenced in my last post? I haven’t been writing about it, because sometimes when I write about things early on, it’s like the wind goes out of my sails. I just . . . stop. (If you want to know why, go read the post below this one. It’s all there.) So I haven’t said anything. I’ve just been quietly doing it.
You know how some people say that if they don’t change out their shampoo every so often their hair gets “used to” it? (Totally false, btw. It’s just that every shampoo leaves slightly different buildup on your hair, so if you switch shampoos it looks like a HUGE difference because it’s washed away the buildup from the old one.) My brain gets “used to” diets.
If I count calories, then I start off eating really well, but after a while I’m living on frozen diet dinners and coffee milkshakes. (But only [x] calories! *snort*)
If I count other things (limit fat! carbs! whatever else I can think of!) I go one of two ways: either I get TOTALLY CRAZY about it, or I just throw in the towel and binge on whatever I’m not supposed to be eating.
That led me to thinking about restrictive eating as opposed to (what I call) aspirational eating, and the mentality of controlling/depriving vs. helping/nourishing. So I started thinking about what I know my body does well on, and how I could work that into a framework that I could adhere to without going nuts.
I know people who swear by the “cheat” meal once a week (or even a “cheat” DAY), but I have to admit, I can’t do it. I find that I sit down to that meal (or day), and EVEN IF I DON’T REALLY WANT CRAP FOOD, I eat crap food, because this is my One! Opportunity! for the Week! I do better if I just don’t have “cheat” meals/days, except that after a while I either get crazy restrictive OR I get lax (in the name of “normal”) and slowly but surely devolve into an all-crap-all-the-time diet.
(Moderation? What is this word you speak of?)
But I like the concept of a more relaxed meal/day/whatever. I even thought about having a relaxed meal (because I HATE the term “cheat”) every day, because that way I know if I didn’t feel like a bowl of pasta one day, I could have it the next, but the only time in my day I really have for a relaxed meal would be dinner, and dinner is ALREADY my downfall. After 6pm, I binge. So ALLOWING for what would basically wind up being a binge seems like the Bad Idea to End All Bad Ideas. That’s ALREADY pretty much the way I eat: really well, until 6pm, after which – oops.
SO! I thought and I thought and I thought about a way to do this so that I would know I had some relaxed time coming; so that I wouldn’t binge every day; so that I had some time at some point to unplug before the Crazies catch up with me. And I decided on a two-pronged approach.
First, I decided on what I call an Aspirational diet. Meaning, I made a list of things that I should eat. (And I mean things that *I* should eat – not necessarily things that EVERYONE should eat, but what I know makes me feel better.) And then I took those 35 bajillion things and revised and revised and revised until I got the list down to a manageable level: a level I could remember and maintain even if I accidentally left my food journal at home. (Key things? Lots of plant fats. Not so much starch. Among other things.)
The second thing was that in order to stay “on the wagon,” so to speak, I needed a break. I needed to know that I had some time to eat crap food if I wanted to, AND that eating wasn’t going to be a 100% mental effort, but that my body would also have a say-so (that part circumvents the Crazy, hopefully). So I have 3 weeks of “Aspirational” eating, followed by 1 week of Intuitive Eating. I gave myself a full week of IE/relaxed eating so that I wouldn’t binge on pasta and sugar. I have SEVEN WHOLE DAYS AND NIGHTS to have crap food if I want it, so that takes the urgency out of it.
AND. The funny thing is? I’m at the end of the second week now. I think I’m losing weight. The reason that’s funny is because I have NOT been going to the gym (hello, packing to move, and it’s also 90 degrees – no exaggeration – in my apartment!), AND I’ve been drinking 3-4 glasses of wine a night (trying to get drunk enough that I don’t feel anxious about bugs in my room). Not exactly conducive to dropping weight (although I’ve noticed that when I eat a LOT of plant fat, I’m just not hungry – I can’t figure out why it’s not the same with animal fat, but it’s not), and yet. I haven’t been getting on the scale a lot, but enough to know that I seem to have dropped about a quarter to a half pound a week over the last couple of weeks. It’s not a lot, but still . . . it’s different.
I’m afraid to be excited, because I don’t want to make myself crazy. (Because you know – Hey! I’m losing weight! If I made these 10 other changes to my diet and exercise regimen I could lose SO MUCH FASTER!)
So it’s weird. But interesting.