Sometimes the moments we feel most lost are the ones in which we find ourselves

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Harm than Good

It took me a long time to realize that there is a big difference between being on a diet and being healthy. For the last few weeks, I have been on Nutrisystem. A few years ago when I was at my heaviest, I used Nutrisystem to jump start my weight loss and it was great. It taught me a lot about portion size and making smart choices. For the first time in my life, I was really paying attention to what I put in my body. Because I had such great results, I decided to go back on it to try to get back on track.

What is Nutrisystem, you ask? Basically, they send you a month's worth of prepackaged food, including, breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. You supplement the food with fruit, veggies, and dairy. The kicker is the food doesn't even need to be refrigerated. It is just there, on your shelf. Meals include things like chocolate muffins and pizza and mac and cheese and cereal and fudge brownies. The idea is that the foods contain carbs that are 'good for you.'

At first, I saw some pounds come off. But after about the first 2 weeks, I just started feeling gross. I was sticking to the program, but not seeing results and not really feeling good in general. Having gone from a very clean diet, to a less so but still mostly fresh and healthy one to all prepackaged, highly processed, no expiration date, microwave dinners sucked.

So despite the fact that I seriously have almost a months 'supply' of Nutrisystem food on my shelves, I decided to kick the habit and go all out. Today is my 6th day of doing a strict paleo diet, eliminating grains, sugar, dairy and everything processed. Even when I was at my healthiest I don't think I id this good for this long. I also added in a diet soda or put splenda and milk in my coffee. But I decided to give up all my excuses and finally do what I felt needed to be done.

The funny thing is, I feel great. Yes, it is difficult to eat clean and fresh at times. I don't have a kitchen or refrigerator so cooking is out of the question. But, again, i gave up my excuses and am just making it work. If that means I resort to sardines and steamed zucchini for dinner, that is what I will do. It is definitely more expensive and less convenient for me to be doing this right now, but if I can do it now I know I can do it later in my life as well.

So I am off my 'diet' and on to eating healthy and clean. I have already lost 2 pounds and haven't been obsessing about counting calories. I know what I am putting in my body is good for it, so there is no guilt or sense of being overly indulgent.

I plan to stay 100 strict for 30 days and then see where I will go from there. This means I will finish right before going home for Thanksgiving and will hopefully allow me to make smart choices over the holiday season. Food should not control you, but should fuel you. It is hard work for me to have a healthy relationship with my food, but I am working on it.


a said...

I will always happily lend you my kitchen anytime you want to make an awesome paleo meal! So at least some days you can cook yourself up something a bit more elaborate. ;) Glad to hear you're a paleo badass!

Don said...

A couple of suggestions. Stop eating the sweeteners. As long as you keep eating sweet foods you will desire sweetness. Remove all of it and after a while sweet foods will no longer interest you. Same with salt.

Your main beverage should be water. Or try pure coconut water that you can find in a health food store. Not the sweetened ones in the International section of your supermarket.

Tea is more paleo than coffee. Coffee is not actually a bean, but is a fruit seed. They are not edible raw. Fruit seeds are not supposed to be digested, but to pass through and still be viable. They would never have been a food.

Whichever caffeine you drink you can wean yourself off the sweetener and added dairy. I would suggest a two week period. Each day reduce the amount added by 1/14. You won't notice it each day. At the end you will be drinking it black and liking it.

It shouldn't be hard to eat paleo at Thanksgiving. Usually there are so many food choices that you can pick the paleo ones and skip the non-paleo ones.

Susannah said...

Thanks A! I will take you up on it for sure!

And Don, I have been 100% clean for a week now and am not missing much. I haven't had coffee or any sweetener, real or fake. Water has never been my issue as I drink at least 90 oz a day. I love coconut water as well, and feel like I will be drinking much more of it now. I have gone paleo before, and ate probably 90% clean for over a year, so I know it is possible. I just need to get back into that mind-frame.

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