Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The First Month
The first step I took on my journey toward 150 was what I like to call "pre-diet preparedness." I think a soft start to dieting produces better results, so I began weaning myself off the most unhealthy foods even before my diet officially started. The first to go was ice cream, followed by fruit juice. Those two things are chock full of empty calories. The next thing to go was bread and pasta. I had already made a switch to whole wheat bread and pasta, but I decided to remove them both from my food options. After a week or so of clearing the house of "bad carbs," I jumped back onto the South Beach band wagon.
I really like the South Beach plan. Yes, it is restrictive, especially in the first phase, but the results are fantastic. There's nothing better than immediate gratification when one begins a life-altering change in eating habits. I lost 20 pounds in the first month. Did I stick to SB the whole time? No. No, I didn't. After a week and a half on Phase 1, I had recurring stomach pain from eating so many vegetables. So, I reintroduced a few grain-based products: whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat sandwich rounds, and an occasional serving of fiber/protein-enriched pasta. I limited the new carbs to once or twice a day, and that eliminated my stomach pain. Then I started cheating after the second week. I didn't stray from my meal plan regularly, but I did occasionally partake of some forbidden food. My transgressions were not without merit. I didn't cheat by eating donuts or chips ahoy. I had quality cheat food. One day I had a bit of coconut gelato. Another day, I had a piece of wonderfully fresh garlic bread. On another occasion I had a few nacho chips. I just love those! The point is that I have every right to eat whatever I want, as long as I do it with my eyes wide open.
Learning to eat consciously was the first step in my development of a mature relationship with food. I control the food, the food doesn't control me. I have acknowledged that there are consequences related to food decisions. Before, I ate whatever tasted good, what satisfied a momentary craving, or even just what was available. Now I query every item of food that I eat. I consider different factors: is it healthy, does it contribute to good nutrition, am I reaching for it out of habit, or is it going to satisfy some need that I cannot satisfy any other way, is eating this item worth the negative stress it puts on my weight loss progress. If I cannot answer truthfully, I do not eat whatever has tempted me. These days, when I eat food, I do it with a sense of awareness; food does not jump into my mouth.