Weighty Matters

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No Grains, No Sugar

on March 1, 2016

I’m on a two week endeavor to abstain from eating processed grain and refined sugar products.  As I shared in my previous post, I’m involved in a plan created by an endocrinologist/weight loss/nutrition researcher named Dr. David Ludwig.  The book is Always Hungry?  I’ve suspected for a long time that my metabolism is screwed up thanks to years of binge eating disorder, yo-yo dieting, my now post-menopausal self, etc.  The first two years after my weight loss surgery, it feels like all I had to do was think about losing weight and the pounds evaporated from my body.  The last two years have been much more of a struggle.

When I struggle, I do so on various levels.  There’s the whole frustration of working really hard to follow my food plan but then not seeing results.  Plus there’s the whole daily struggle that I have simple dealing with an eating disorder.  There is no cure for an eating disorder.  It will always be part of my life.  However, I have a program and tools that help me cope with it.  Sadly, however, when my physical body does not cooperate, it messes with my head a lot and that makes it much more challenging for me to work my tools and stay on track.  Vicious cycle.

Anyway, when I heard about this book and read it, pretty much all of what he said made sense to me about our body chemistry, insulin production, how our fat cells function and react to different types of food and diets, etc.  After a lifetime of trying every possible diet and nutrition plan – including some that, in retrospect, were incredibly unhealthy or just plain whacko, I don’t choose to try something new or unfamiliar without a lot of careful thought.  So, I really considered this plan long and hard before making a commitment.

This might come out sounding stupid, but I’ll share it any way.  One of the selling points for me on this plan was the fact that I can still eat fruit, nuts, beans and legumes.  For me there is a fine line between when a plan is restrictive to the point of impossibility and when it offers me enough variety to maintain my sanity and still enjoy what I’m eating.

A couple of years ago when my post-surgery progress began to slow, I’d go to my monthly doctor’s appointments and talk about what I was doing or trying to do.  The surgeon was very cut and dried.  On one memorable appointment, he said, “Cut your calories by 25%, increase your exercise.  Don’t eat any carbs or fruit.”

That effectively would have meant that I restricted myself to between 600 and 750 calories a day with very little variety in my daily food.  I was pretty freaked out by the suggestion, and when I freak out like that, I tend to want to console and calm myself with a hot fudge sundae.

There are other very low carb/high protein/high fat plans around that also restrict you on starchy vegetables and most fruits.  I’ve never tried one before.  This plan takes a different approach.

For the first two weeks, Phase 1, it asks one to stay away from grains, starchy vegetables, and tropical fruits.  It also restricts refined sugars (even honey or maple syrup, and sweeteners) with the wonderful exception of the small amount of sugar contained in good quality dark chocolate of at least 70% cacao.  Yep, I can eat small amounts of dark chocolate on this plan.  That enough could save my sanity along with still being able to eat berries, apples, peaches and the like.

After the first two weeks, I can add back in some whole grain products and additional vegetables and tropical fruits.  Basically, the doctor recommends keeping away from white flour products (bread, pasta, cookies, etc.), white rice, white potatoes.

The doctor maintains that the full fat foods help balance out the body’s reactions and also lead to increased satiety, reduced cravings, more stable insulin production, etc.

Starting yesterday, I began the program.  So far, so good.  Let me tell you, I savored last night’s dessert of berries and a half ounce of dark chocolate.  I’m trying to be aware of any cravings.  A volunteer delivered pastries to every department this morning.  Every time I walk into the kitchen, I see them.  If I get the urge, I tap my bracelet and remember why I’m making this effort.

The biggest challenge for me so far is that he advocates preparing a lot of different foods and supplies recipes that fit the plan.  Honestly, I don’t have time to cook so many things, or to cook every night after work.  So, I’m learning to adjust and focus on the key elements – making sure I have quality protein at every meal or snack, and that each meal includes fats and carbs.  Those last two areas are unfamiliar but I’m not freaking out over them.  I want to see how and if this approach works.  In order to do that, I need to commit and follow the suggestions.  I’m doing my best.

3 responses to “No Grains, No Sugar

  1. hoperoth says:

    Sounds like a good plan! 🙂

  2. Mary Stella says:

    Thank you, Dr. Ludwig. I’ll look into the FB community and see if it’s a closed group. Appreciate you stopping by.

  3. Best wishes for your success on the Always Hungry? Program, Mary, and please join our Facebook support community — 2300 strong in just 1 month. https://www.facebook.com/david.ludwig.359

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