I wrote earlier about how I got to the place where I decided to start this diet. But I didn’t write about what exactly my plan is.
First things first: I do use the word “diet” intentionally. I know online, a lot of people like to refer to it as a WOL (way of life) or WOE (way of eating). I do believe that the words we choose are important in shaping our outlook, but I have a deliberate reason for calling it a diet, which I will elaborate on shortly.
So, what is this diet? Well, from long experience, I know that low carb diets work well for me. I have PCOS, and part of that is that I am insulin resistant. In fact, the PCOS and its attendant insulin resistance are a big part of why I weigh what I do. IR makes you crave carbs, which makes you gain weight, which makes the IR worse, which makes you crave carbs even worse, etc. It’s a vicious cycle.
One of the only ways to break that cycle is with a low carb diet, and that’s probably why they work so well for me. Nate and I have tried South Beach, Atkins, and a couple of others in the past. We know the basic principles, so we’re not really following a particular plan this time.
Instead, we are starting out on a very low carb eating plan, consuming no more than 25g of carbohydrate per day. (And most days, we stay under 20g.) In a month or so, we’ll start slowly adding back some carbs – 5g/day every couple of weeks. Eventually, I’d like to get to 50g-75g/day, as long as I keep losing weight at that level. That way, I can have limited amounts of bread, rice, pasta, and fruit, which are all things I miss.
I will NOT be having any sweet treats, even if it’s a fun-sized candy bar or something like that. I am addicted to sugar. (And yes, I use the word literally. I went cold turkey a couple of years ago, and it was amazing the difference it made. I also did a lot of research on sugar addiction, and it is a very real addiction.) This is not something I can allow myself any wiggle room on, b/c I know it is the first step in my downfall. So sweet treats are fully off the table…for the next year.
And that’s the next point. I realized that one of the major reasons I have failed so many times is b/c my goal seemed so completely unrealistic as to be overwhelming. When you have more than 100 lbs to go, it’s disheartening to see that big number.
So I decided rather than focus on a number, I would instead focus on a time frame. I have told myself that I WILL do this as strictly as possible for all of 2011. That is the only commitment I am making. One measly year. And the older I get, the more I see how quickly those years fly by! I can do that. I survived two pregnancies, and those sure felt like a year! I can handle eating strictly for a year.
Now does that mean I’m going to throw away all the progress I’ve made when 12:00 tolls next December 31st and go back to my old ways? No. I’d surely turn back into a pumpkin, which is the approximate shape of my belly right now. Instead, that is when I will make NEW goals.
In fact, part of the reason I refuse to set a number goal right now is b/c I really don’t even know what weight I want to be at. From this far away, I have no idea what the finish line looks like. By the time a year is up, I’ll be better able to evaluate how I feel and where I want to go. B/c the reality is that I have no delusions of ever being 135 lbs, the supposed ideal weight for my height. I just want to be at a weight where I am comfortable in my own skin and able to be reasonably active without feeling like I want to die. That could be 150 lbs. It could be 160 lbs. Who knows? It could be 190 lbs. The point is that I don’t know yet, and I don’t feel like making a guess. By 2012, I hope to be able to choose a number that will get me to those goals, based on how I am feeling at that weight.
And this is why I choose the word “diet.” Most people eschew it b/c it signals a temporary change, but that is EXACTLY what I want. Because no, I will not be eating exactly like this for the rest of time. And when I think in terms of “forever,” that is a surefire way to overwhelm me. And that is a surefire way for me to shut down and give up.
Finally, I know that I won’t achieve my goal of overall health if I don’t exercise, and that is part of my plan. But I’m taking that very slowly right now. I’ve been inactive for so long and have gained so much weight that even very mild activity has me extremely out of breath. Although I feel like I can tackle my eating all in one fell swoop, I can’t miraculously start doing hour-long exercise videos and lifting weights 4 times per week. My body isn’t physically capable of it right now. So my plan with exercise is to start very, very small: just 10 minutes per day, 4 days per week. Every one to two weeks, I’ll up that a bit.
I’m on the road. It’s a LONG road, and I’m not even sure where it ends. But I’m going to break the journey up into small chunks, and eventually I will get there.