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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The diet game

First off, thanks to everyone who's been stopping by and saying hi, giving me their congrats. It's been a funky few days, so I'm just catching up on blogging now.

Second, and the real purpose of today's post. I've been on a cleanse diet for about a week or so. Now before those of you who know me jump down my throat and say I don't need to go on a diet, let me explain. It's not a lose weight thing, but a clean out my system thing. Last year, I had tummy issues resulting in the removal of my gall bladder. This spring, the tummy troubles returned. The doctor couldn't find anything wrong with me. Based on a number of things, I think it's a result of buildup of junk in my body. I'm working with a nutritionist, and we decided that the best thing for me is a gentle cleanse. The basic principle is that I cut out all bad stuff, then cut out potential allergen and foods that are harder on the body. Once I've cut out all but the most cleansing foods, then I can add things back in and see how my body does. Basically, we're looking at gluten free, dairy free, only a few selected meats, and ABSOLUTELY no sugar or caffeine.

However, it's HARD.

I meant to start last Thursday. I was fine all day except for the fact that I was supposed to meet my girlfriends from work for drinks. Okay... so I had water, which is good. I tried, I really tried to abstain from the platter of appetizers. I had a nibble or two, so that spoiled the diet for that day.

Friday, we had a lunch for my friend's birthday. I'd skipped breakfast (I was busy, I forgot), and starving. Let's be blunt here. Nothing on my diet feels filling. More to the point, I have blood sugar issues, and that plate of bread in front of me was just too much. I caved. I ate a normal lunch. Then, we had a family dinner. I TRIED to order food on my diet, but the "safe" food had a little bad stuff on it. I know, I could've sent it back and asked for what I needed, but I hate doing that. It smacks a little too much of princess for me.

Saturday, I did okay, except I went to a gathering at a friend's house. And of course, they had food. I did pretty good, just had one taste and ate some snacks I brought. Sunday, despite being at a BBQ where they served all of my favorite foods, I stuck to the diet except for one bite of my daughter's cake. How can I resist? Monday through Thursday, I also did great. The truth is, I like a lot of the food on my diet and eat a lot of it anyway.

Then Friday came. Friday began the really strict part of the diet... I'm only supposed to eat rice, fruit, and vegetables. I succeeded for most of the day, but then I got lightheaded because I really need my protein. We went to Costco and I was confronted with my biggest food weakness. No, not the samples. I skipped most of them. Except... they had CHEESE. Not just plain old cheese, but cheeses from around the world. The GOOD stuff. The stuff I live for. I caved. Not hard core, again, just taking a bite of my daughter's sample piece. I have to admit, I felt guilty. I wondered if cheating meant I'd have to start over. I even Googled it. But I can't find anything specific to this cleanse. I can't stop obsessing over whether or not I should call my nutritionist. I admit, though, I felt much better after eating some chicken.

Today, I thought, I'll try again. I remember my lack of protein failure from the previous day and I pack a few nuts with my snack fruit. Did GREAT. I realize I technically shouldn't have nuts in this phase, but I also didn't have the blood sugar crashes I did like the previous day. Then we went to my neighbor's for a party. Wow... the food was INCREDIBLE. But all I ate was the fruit. Yes, I was good. Completely good. It was so hard to ignore the cheese calling my name. Even harder when my kiddo sat on my lap, eating it happily, and trying to get me to have a bite. It was also hard to say no to a very good hostess. I was raised that you don't offend by refusing hospitality. I didn't want to explain about my diet, because it freaks people out.

That said, I did come home and eat more chicken. As the afternoon wore on, I did have a couple of blood sugar issues, so I'm starting to accept that I really can't do the fruit, rice, and veggie thing. Which is okay. It's not like I'm taking any kind of drugs or something that'll mess me up if I don't stick to the diet.

Here's what I've learned in this week. First, this is the first diet I've ever been on. I tried something similar years ago, but couldn't even get going because it required too much of a lifestyle change. I think that's the problem with a lot of diets. They require a pretty drastic lifestyle change. This diet's been fairly easy for me, because I already eat (and LIKE) most of the foods I'm supposed to be eating. The challenge for me, for example, is meals like breakfast, where I don't usually do too bad, but my usual foods are off limits. That seems like it would be hard to maintain for a lot of people.

The next challenge is melding the diet with the world around me. I can't expect restaurants and friends to cook according to my diet. Which means having to have a lot of self control as well as tact in dealing with people who want you to eat things you can't. I've only been to two restaurants, but neither had anything that fit my diet without several modifications. To do the diet right, you really have to eat all of your meals and snacks at home.

And of course, there's temptation. I mentioned my weakness for cheese. I couldn't say no. Believe it or not, I've been fine with sugar. I even gave up my beloved tea. But cheese... *sigh*

That said, I also wanted to share my successes. The most important thing I'm doing is that I'm forgiving myself for my mistakes. With the cheese, for example, I didn't say, "well, since I blew it, I'm going to eat all the cheese I want." I had just a taste. And yes, I did limit myself to that little taste. In fact, every place I strayed from my diet, it was always just a small taste. Rather than giving up because I made a mistake, I continued to follow the diet. I kept going. I know a lot of people who stray from the diet a couple of times, then give up.

The next important thing I do is listen to my body. I knew the fruits and veggies weren't doing it for me. So I chose to keep a small amount of protein. I know it's important to follow a diet exactly, but it's also important to know your body. It's possible that if the foods you need aren't on the diet, maybe you're on the wrong one. Stay focused on what a diet SHOULD be: healthier eating habits and choices. As long as you're not substituting bad foods for the good ones on your diet, you're still doing good for your body.

Finally, be proud of yourself and celebrate your victories. Pat yourself on the back for the times you've succeeded. If you resist temptation, count it as a victory, even if you have to do it several times a day. The most important thing to remember about any diet is that you are choosing to do something good for yourself. Focus on your good choices. The good foods you're using to replace the bad. If you make a mistake, it's okay, just keep going. I know I will be!


Jan Parrish said...

Or you could get a harsh cleanse like I did and get the flu. Yuck.

Kay Day said...

I'm proud of you, too! Good job.

And it is very common to get sick when you do a cleanse. It's from the detox.

Unknown said...

Ah, cheese. One of my favorites, too. So sorry to hear of your health problems. I hope you get it all figured out. I have some friends that swear by cleansing, but they use a whole system. Isagenix, I think. I haven't had the guts to try it yet. Kudos to you for sticking to your diet as good as you have :)

Jan Parrish said...

I tagged you for a meme when you have time. :)

Jan Parrish said...

Stop by and enter my giveaway!