If you have been following my earlier blogs, where I discussed my getting re-addicted to carbohydrates, you will recall my uncertainty. Was I or wasn’t I re-addicted? The answer is much more clear now, because now I REALLY am re-addicted! Unmistakeably so! I am eating a chocolate bar after a cheeseburger, corn-on-the-cob dinner, and potato chips. What the hell happened???? In one word, vacation!
Vacation is when we sometimes throw caution to the wind and eat, drink, and party because of the specialness of the event. And, doing so is not that big a deal if we go right back to our healthy eating habits afterwards. But, in my case, the vacation was a month long. It started innocently, with me studying Denny’s menu for its nutritional content and ordering accordingly. Senior specials, hold the toast. No pancakes. Can I have an extra serving of steamed vegetables instead of the french fries? I was good. I avoided fast foods during the two-day drive to my destination. All went well.
Then, I arrived at my destination, getting re-acquainted with friends who I hadn’t seen for months. Yay! Party time! I drank more wine that week than the entire previous six months. I ate larger servings of food, too. The next morning, for the first time in months, I was not hungry for breakfast so I skipped it. By mid-morning, on the golf course, I got hungry, so I ate a couple of energy bars. Now, it used to be that if I got hungry like that, I would eat ONE energy bar, which is about 200 calories. Because of the wine’s effect on dropping my blood sugar, I needed another energy bar. Now, that’s 400 calories, less than what I usually eat for breakfast, but much higher in carbohydrates. All went well, but now I wasn’t hungry for lunch, since I had just eaten at 10:30 AM. So, I ran some errands and noticed a pizza place from which I had won a coupon for two pizzas. Since it is in a part of town I rarely frequent, I thought it made sense to get the pizzas– after all, I was on vacation. So, I did. As I was ordering it, I was now starved (remember what carbs do to appetite for some of us?). I noticed that they also sold fried chicken. I hadn’t had fried chicken in a year, so why not. I can have the chicken for lunch, and just refrigerate the pizzas for another day. I ordered the 2-piece special. Oh, it comes with fries? Oh well, I’m on vacation. Come back in 20 minutes? OK. So, I strolled about the strip mall while I waited.
I find myself in front of a supermarket. OK– I need some cottage cheese and fruit, good. I’ll do my grocery shopping now. I was now beyond starved, steadily approaching the will-kill-for-food feeling, the absolutely WORST time to shop, and not a feeling one should experience because of too much refined carbohydrate consumption. So, I went in for cottage cheese and wound up buying the chocolate bars, some potato chips, and some cookies. I then went back to the pizza place, picked up my order, and went home. I obsessed about the food, like an addict anticipating a fix. But, it’s OK– I am on vacation.
I got home and was so hungry that I wolfed down the chicken and fries– a generous serving– and ate a small slice to sample each of the pizzas, and topped it off with chocolate and cookies. Then, I wasn’t hungry for dinner that evening (gee, I wonder why). The next morning, I woke up “starved” again. So, instead of eating one egg, I ate three. Hey– It’s OK, I’m on vacation. And, why not make some hash browns to go with it, especially the new recipe I created where I fry diced bacon, then add the potatoes, onions, and some cheddar cheese! Mega-calories? No problem, I’m on vacation.
And so on. The intensity of my feelings of hunger amaze me, as does the quantity of food required to satisfy my appetite. I had broken the carbohydrate addiction for six months, was eating prudent quantities of healthy food, and the memory of all those past years had faded. But, boy has it returned. Deja vu! So what now? Will the 3 lbs I gained be the beginning of gaining it all back? Has this been a wasted effort? Au contraire!
I have been writing about the effects of refined carbohydrates for a year now and will follow my own advice. I will have a big breakfast to attempt to satisfy my appetite, but it will be devoid of sugar, flour, rice, corn, or potatoes– the bad 5. Actually, one could include winter squash, yams, and bananas on that list. Whoa– aren’t these good for you? Yes, but they are borderline on the glycemic index and depend on how well cooked they are, how much fat and fiber is consumed with it, to slow absorption, as well as where one is with respect to their own addiction. I don’t recommend these for the first two weeks of embarking on The Weight Agency Method of weight loss. But, after the initial withdrawal, small quantities of these otherwise healthy foods are fine. It is up to you to determine what works for you. I recall eating half a baked potato and it rekindling some of my appetite the next day, so this tells me that I must be careful with these carbohydrates because I may be unusually sensitive. Only you will know how much you can get away with, and you won’t know that until you’ve abstained from these carbs for 2 weeks.
So, I will probably eat another 3 eggs for breakfast, with some onions, ham, and maybe peppers or other vegetable. I will NOT have any potatoes, or bread. After 2-3 days of enduring the craving that manifests itself as faux hunger, I will begin tapering off on the quantities until one egg and a small amount of ham or other meat is sufficent to satisfy me, and after two weeks will re-introduce small amounts of carbohydrates, being careful with potatoes, rice, corn, yams, winter squash, and bananas. I expect to have broken the addiction within 2 weeks. And, why do I say so with such confidence, because The Weight Agency Method has taught me how to control my appetite– that eating to lose weight does not mean months of feeling hungry and deprived.
You are in control of your appetite! You decide what and how much you can eat and still achieve your weight loss goals. If you find yourself feeling ravenously hungry, think back– I’d bet that you had eaten some refined carbohydrates within the previous 24 hours. So, since feeling hungry is no fun, we wisely avoid the foods that cause the hunger. Remember, though, that it takes 3-4 days of being devoid of carbohydrates to cause your body chemistry to change from glucose (sugar/starch/carb) burning, to fat burning, so the result is not instantaneous but takes a few days. Each time you fall off the wagon, you must be prepared to endure 3-4 days of craving, which manifests itself as hunger and an obsession toward food. And, we can certainly endure that for 3-4 days and get past it. I will, soon. Oh oh– what’s this “soon” crap? Why not right now. Because I am realistic– I have those two pizzas in the refrigerator, another 2 ears of corn, and a golf tournament during which I cannot be in the transition of going from carb-burning to fat-burning. So, I will do this beginning Monday, after which I will have eaten (alone or shared with friends) some of my “contraband”. I know what to do and will do it. But, for now, it’s all OK– I’m on vacation.