...So, what now?
I started this paleo journey in early August, 2011. I know the rules. I understand all the elements of not eating grains, avoiding sugars and processed foods. I make my own mayonnaise, I buy only organic full-fat greek yogurt and I control my dairy intake. I get out and play. Sometimes I lift heavy things. But what now? Where do I go from here?
I’ve dabbled in all the uses for organic coconut oil. I’ve made my own shampoo (a very unsuccessful venture) and I make my own toothpaste (much more successful). I'm slowly learning how to live a cleaner, less chemical-filled lifestyle.
But where do I go from here? I seem to be veering steadily off-course. It’s winter. The desire to hibernate has set in. Laziness has begun to overtake me. Sloth. I only manage to get out and do something fun and active maybe once a week right now, rather than the 3-4 times I’d like to be out there. And I’m not happy with that, but I’m having trouble motivating myself to do more.
We’re going through a move at my work. The process of renovating a building, coordinating that and the move has been stressfull on everyone (me included), but particularily on the owner of the company. He has this deep, well-meaning need to alleviate this stress through food, and he’s loath to eat alone. He’s taking us all down with him. I have this irrational inability to say no to free food. Never turn down a free meal.... Of course I can’t blame anyone but myself for this habit.
At the beginning of my primal/paleo journey, I promised myself that the once a week lunch/pig-out that we in the front office are privy to would be my one “cheat” each week. That I should not turn it down, that I “earned” it and should be out there with the management of my company. But due to the stress of this move, that once-a-week has ballooned into 2-3x per week. I’m not proud. I’m pretty embarrassed for myself, for my weakness of willpower. For my poor choices and the resulting fallout (bloating, gas, constipation, cravings and the cycle of continued poor food choices). It’s a vicious roller-coaster I can’t seem to get off right now.
Recently, after sparking a debate with Robb Wolf, one that I lost and am not too proud of, I decided to research ketosis, and the multitude of benefits it offers. He suggests it is excellent at appetite suppression. I could use some of that. There’s also a lot of research out there suggesting that it can be used to control migraines (more on that science later, in another blog entirely), and Mark Sisson concurs but recommends a more friendly approach—consuming 50-80g carbs per day, allowing the body to move in and out of ketosis as necessary. Despite "going primal", I continue to have regular headaches and about one migraine per month.
So with this in mind, I have been experimenting with ketosis. Or at least, trying to. In between binge meals and cheat meals. I’ll have a good day, consuming 60g carbs, then go for takeout the next day and spike my intake of carbs to 200g. I may have two more good days, then cave and eat something terrible once again. Yes, I CAN control many kinds of headaches with a low-carb diet. Despite alternating days of hi-carb and low-carb eating, I managed to go 9 whole days without a headache. So there is some truth in there, somewhere. If only I can stay on-track long enough to fine tune it and come up with some conclusions.
Early this week, I stepped on the scale to discover that I'd lost a couple of the pounds I'd gained during this yo-yo month, but having caved and made a bad meal choise thursday, friday, and saturday, I am afraid to step on the scale again anytime soon. I can tell without any scale that I will not be happy with what it has to say. I am not happy with what I see in the mirror already.
I’m committed to eating and living this primal life, but I seem to be falling off the wagon more times than I would normally tolerate. If willpower is learned, then so is weakness, and it seems that weakness is getting a lot more practice than willpower lately. Poor choices are causing me to gain weight, which just increases my stress. The stress will continue for several weeks yet. The move is approaching, but we are not ready for it. Permits and inspections are causing a multitude of delays that are just compounding the stress. This renovation/move also has me working through meals, away from my carefully packed meals at inconvenient times so that I have little choice but to eat something not appropriate, if I chose to eat at all.
But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I should just chose not to eat. Maybe I should just say no. Maybe. Can I say no? In the face of overwhelming hunger, do I have the strength to say no? I like to eat. Often. In fact, despite all the talk of how eating these super-filling “real” foods has allowed other people to go down to only 2 meals/day, I am still eating 3 meals plus a snack. I am still hungry. But maybe I am hungry lately because I keep breaking down and having cheat meals. Maybe I am hungry because I eat until I am satisfied, not until I am stuffed. Maybe I should be eating more at each meal, not less, and therefore eating less often. This is something I will be trying this week. It’s something I have to try in order to understand. Eat more so that I can eat less.
And I will try to just say no. I will practice my willpower, one day at a time, one meal at a time, perhaps one minute at a time if that is what it takes to succeed. Every “no” will be a victory. But I will also say yes to my business lunch. Only this time, I will only say it once this week. These will be small victories. The war will be won one battle at a time.
And how did your week go?