My Paleo Eating Journal

Goal Check-In: a healthy relationship with my food

Posted on: June 22, 2011

When I decided to change my eating style I had two main goals in mind. First and foremost I had long suspected that I was addicted to sugar and wanted to kick that habit. I was tired of battling cravings for sweet stuff in the afternoons, and especially after dinner. And the more I learned about the effects of sugar, and then realized that carbs are basically doing the same thing (inhibiting fat burning and increasing fat storage), the more I realized it was just a really unhealthy way to live, despite eating a mostly whole foods diet (organic cane sugar, anyone? homemade bread?).

I’m just over a month into my diet and my relationship with food has changed tremendously. Just this morning as I went to get the butter out of the fridge I saw two chocolate bars there. One is 65% and the other is 70% dark chocolate. I now consider these to be in the “candy” category, so much has my sweetness level adjusted, whereas before they would be something I wouldn’t even bother to eat. What’s more, I can see the bars in the fridge and it doesn’t take over my mind or occupy my thoughts. I have never been able to keep any sweets in the house, even baking cookies was a problem, because I could not stop eating the stuff until it was all gone. My husband used to complain that he couldn’t save his treats for later because by then I’d have eaten them all. I knew it was wrong but I was so addicted that it was almost impossible for me to resist.

I now know what it’s like to eat food and just feel “normal” about it. When I used to eat carb-heavy meals, like pasta or a stir-fry with rice, I always overate. With each bite I got this “high” that made me think of nothing but the next bite. Satiety didn’t even come into the picture. I’d eat until I was so stuffed and then I’d feel uncomfortable afterwards (which I actually thought was normal). Now I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied. I feel that I actually have an intact satiety mechanism again (refined carbs and sugars impair this mechanism through their effects on insulin).

I use the term “addicted” but I should point out a critical difference. People with say, alcohol addictions, can quit drinking but rarely can they ever take it up again, even in moderation, like “normal” people do. However, in my case it was not really an addiction so much as my insulin system was completely out of whack. Stuck on a cycle of eating high carb/sugar foods then crashing a couple hours later only to crave the same high carb/sugar foods had apparently put quite a strain on my system and it was not responding normally anymore. Of course I don’t know this as I’ve not had detailed blood work done, but it’s the theory I’m going with. The theory seems to be borne out by the fact that, doing this diet, I appear to have “reset” my system back to normal. I actually drink tea with no sugar in it and find it pleasant – that would have been unbearable before. I find 70% dark chocolate to be “sweet” and I now classify it as candy (85% or 90% is my regular indulgence) whereas before anything that wasn’t milk chocolate was too bitter.

What’s even better is that not only can I taste low levels of sweetness again but I appear to be reacting differently to them when I do indulge. I ate a roasted sweet potato the other day with some grilled chicken and salad (we had guests so we added the potatoes for their kids). I marvelled at the proportion difference – previously I would have had at least 1/3 of my plate covered in sweet potato and  had less salad as a result. I would have stuffed myself on that, being unable to really stop or eat normally. This time I had one quarter of a sweet potato and that was enough for me. My satiety mechanism kicked in when it should and I didn’t get that “high” feeling from eating it. It’s still a bit early, AFAIC, to bring back things like sweet potatoes. But I feel encouraged that I might one day be able to eat them without experiencing that “high”. That I might actually end up making a batch of cookies and being content with just one or two with a cup of tea. It’s a goal, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get that far, but I know I’m well on my way.

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The Basics

My way of eating is based on a Paleo/Primal diet and is comprised mainly of saturated animal fat (grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, butter), nuts and seeds (almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, coconut, pumpkin seeds) and their oils (coconut oil, avocado oil) and lots of vegetables and fruit. I eat virtually no sugar (other than that contained naturally in fruit), potatoes or sweet potatoes, beans or legumes, and no grains or grain products.

Weight Loss Tracker

Start date: May 13, 2011
Total weight loss (updated every Sunday): 19.5 lbs

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