I had a weight gain. I was tired of the extra pounds and decided to go on a diet for the new year. Here’s what happened!
I went on a diet. Here’s what happened.
The apples were all I could think about.
At my child’s school, where I was working, a bowl of gorgeous apples sat on a table, and I couldn’t stop thinking about biting into one and tasting how crisp and delicious it would be.
But it was a low-carb day, and I had already consumed all of my carb allowance.
I felt both hungry and dizzy. But I was also wearing the pants I’d stashed on the top shelf of my wardrobe, ones I didn’t believe I’d ever fit back into (but couldn’t bear to part with).
I was dressed in target jeans. And all I could think about was an apple that I wasn’t allowed to eat.
How did I get here?
I embarked on a diet three years ago, against my better judgment.
It was partially for the purpose of research. I’d given up sweets, attempted intermittent fasting, and gone gluten-free for brief periods of time in the name of research throughout the years so I could write or speak about it from firsthand experience.
And it was partially due to my dissatisfaction with the extra pounds that had accumulated on my physique throughout my forties. I was sick of shopping for new jeans, which had become progressively uncomfortable with each passing year.
So I disregarded the part of me that had given up on diets in my twenties and tried something new: macro tracking and carb cycling. The strategy included using an app to track what I ate each day, according to a protein, carb, and fat gram budget, and having a few low-carb days each week.
The plan’s marketing promised a lifestyle that didn’t seem like a diet, and hundreds of happy women on Instagram seemed to agree.
Even yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. In the past, keeping note of what I ate had just served to focus my attention on food (ps: I also love pasta). This time, though, things could be different.
The Honeymoon Period is when you’re on your honeymoon.
I told a buddy about two weeks into my plan, “I sort of can’t believe how simple it’s been.” I’d been meticulously documenting my meals in an app on my phone, planning meals from a list of “allowed” items that met my daily protein-fat-carb objectives.
It seemed to be working. I’d lost a few pounds, enough to fit back into one whole shelf of my closet’s abandoned trousers.
I subsequently heard that I was in the “Honeymoon Phase” of a diet, which occurs when motivation is strong, weight is tumbling off, and things seem so simple that you wonder why everyone isn’t following this amazing plan.
But, just as a marriage can’t stay in the all-inclusive-Cancun-resort period forever, your eating can’t stay in a tightly-controlled formula forever. And there’s the issue of hunger.
Defending against change
The claim that “diets don’t work” is often thrown about. But this isn’t totally accurate.
Most diets may help you lose weight if you follow them exactly as they are written. What doesn’t always work is keeping it off. The pounds have resurfaced. Feelings of inadequacy sweep over you. The diet is restarted. Rinse and repeat as needed.
Why is it so difficult to sustain weight loss? Most diets are meant to work rapidly, so you’ll see results right away (though truth be told, much of the initial loss, especially with low-carb diets, is water weight).
Diets, on the other hand, must be restricted in order to function rapidly. Restricted diets are also seldom long-term viable. We can only take so much deprivation before we get infatuated with the things we can’t have.
For the most part, this implies we’ll break. We consume the foods we’ve been avoiding, and since we’ve had a scarcity attitude about them, we eat more of them than we would usually.
The body is also Defending against change. After weight loss, your body makes a series of hormone adjustments to rev up your appetite and nudge you to eat more. So at the same time you’re trying to eat less, you’re actually hungrier than you were before, making everything feel that much harder.
The honeymoon has come to an end.
Things began to go wrong around four weeks into my eating regimen.
I was resolved to stick to the diet to the letter and see it through to the finish as a Type A personality. However, I became more preoccupied with what I could consume next and when. I had a lot of trouble on low-carb days, when I couldn’t eat more than 50 grams of net carbohydrates (the equivalent of about two and a half apples).
My stomach turned at the low-carb meal ideas supplied by the plan (three scrambled eggs coated with chopped avocado!). Despite the fact that I don’t usually want meat, I found myself standing in front of the open refrigerator, devouring deli ham slices just to get some protein. I’d had enough of all the fish I’d been preparing. And I was sick to death of eggs.
But I didn’t give up. When I was out with friends for breakfast, I ordered eggs instead of waffles. I served my family spaghetti but just ate salad since I said I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t want my children to find out what I was up to. I knew it wasn’t good to write about dieting or model restriction after years of writing about feeding children.
I also knew I wasn’t getting enough calories since my low-carb days clocked in at around 1,000 calories. My menstruation was late, indicating that my body had switched to survival mode.
I pushed myself to finish the six-week program. I’d been a model student by all accounts. I’d dropped a few pounds and inches. I also had the impression that I was hungry.
The diet’s termination coincided with Christmas, and there were cookies everywhere. I’d had enough of counting grams and denying myself what I want. It was the ideal storm, and I bounced back quickly.
I ate beyond the point of fullness many times during the following several months. I was nearly crazy at moments about eating all the things I’d been missing.
My target jeans were returned to the top of the closet shelf, and my pants became tighter. I regained what I’d lost and then more, just like so many others before me. I had joined the yo-yo dieting club.
I couldn’t stop myself from feeling embarrassed. It’s a shame I didn’t believe my intuition and left when I became obsessed. It was a shame that, despite my education and experience, I’d fallen into a trap that I’d cautioned others against. It’s a shame I’d treated my body this way.
What I discovered
I’m not sharing my tale to get you to go low-carb, attempt macro-counting or carb-cycling, or even try to lose weight. I think you have the right to be content (or dissatisfied) with your body and to modify (or not change) your eating habits. (For further information, see Let’s Talk About Weight.)
I’m sharing my experience because it taught me a lot about myself, and you may find something useful in those lessons as well.
Food monitoring is a triggering experience for me. Although some data suggests that persons who watch their eating (or fitness) are more likely to get fixated on their diets and limit their consumption, other study contradicts this. To put it another way, it’s unique. I’m quite aware that keeping track of what I eat keeps me concerned with food, which isn’t good for my health.
Lesson #2: Low-carb eating makes me unhappy. As a nutritionist, I’ve come to realize that various eating styles work for different individuals. A ideal plan for one individual may be an exercise in restriction and denial for another. Some individuals do well on a meat-and-vegetables diet. However, many of my favorite meals, from berries and oatmeal to pasta and cookies, are high in carbs. I don’t want to live in a society where such delicacies are only available on “cheat days.” (I’d rather not live in a world where I had to “cheat.”)
Lesson #3: No jeans are worth it for me. Walking around in my target pants, longing for an apple, was a new low for me, and one I don’t want to experience again. Following this event, I resolved that this would be the only “diet” I’d ever embark on, the last time I’d make drastic adjustments.
As I grow older, I’m sure I’ll continue to change what and how I eat as I learn out what works best for me. But being able to wear bigger jeans and eat things I like without worrying about the number of carbs in an apple or a piece of cake is a trade-off I’m ready to make.
Having said that, I know that my objectives were purely aesthetic. I had no intention of weaning myself off diabetic medication or lowering my blood pressure. I recognize that some individuals are changing their eating habits for health reasons, and I appreciate that.
This is my message to you.
This was my own personal experience. It’s possible that yours will be different. No two people are alike. It’s perfectly ok if something works for you but not for me. It’s OK if something seems good to your closest buddy but horribly wrong to you. If your experience differs from someone else’s, there’s nothing wrong with you.
It’s also OK to give up on something you believed would be beneficial but ended up being detrimental to your mental or physical wellbeing.
My philosophy has always been to share what works (and doesn’t) for me and my family so that you may make the best choices for yourself.
But I will advise you to be kind with yourself. This involves treating your body with respect. It’s considerate to eat when you’re hungry. It is nice to nourish oneself so that you have energy. It is nice to enjoy your meal. It’s not a good idea to starve yourself.
The “best weight loss program 2021” is a blog post that details the author’s experiences after going on a diet. The author discusses how they lost weight, what happened to their body, and how they felt during the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when you suddenly go on a diet?
A: Your body starts to use up fat stores for energy. This is called ketosis and causes weight loss.
How long does it take for your body to adjust to eating less?
A: It takes about a month for your body to adjust to eating less. By the time you hit two months, your metabolism will have slowed down significantly and itll be easier for you to stick with this new way of life.
What is the hardest day of a diet?
A: The hardest day of a diet is the first one. Its when youre most tempted to give in and binge on junk food, which can set your weight loss back weeks or months.
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