For as long as I can remember, my most favorite meals inevitably all ended the same way: with food remorse.
I don’t know if this was due to my food addiction, my fear of never having enough (money, food, safety- you name it), or if I was legitimately grieving the loss of this THING I was enjoying so much. All I know, is that at the end of a good meal, those last few bites were almost always wrought with the same pain and loss as losing a loved one. Saying that out loud makes me feel about 2 inches tall. Losing my dad was NOT the same as finishing a piece of cake. Yet, the immediate response in my mind is that they are more similar than I care to admit.
I have known for a while that I have a sugar addiction. It is what it is. Starting my day with a piece of fruit usually wrecks me, and the cravings for more and more sweets don’t stop until I go to bed. I tried, for a while, to tell myself that as long as I was still eating gluten free, I was still nourishing my body well, but it was a lie.
It was all a lie.
In a fit of desperation, after I annihilated an entire chocolate Easter bunny, I decided to bite the bullet and make a change. I recently had heard a couple interviews on my favorite podcasts an awesome man named John Kiefer (or just Kiefer) talking about his books Carb Nite and Carb Backloading. In college I had done the low carb thing, and had awesome success, but after a while I couldn’t take the exclusion of the things I love and the thought of not partaking in them anymore was stressing me out more than food ever should. I was testing my ketone levels neurotically- 3 and 4 times a DAY. I was unable and unwilling to continue. After returning to the standard American diet, I put on everything that I had lost and then some. That back sliding is what got me to my highest weight and worst health situation ever. (You can read more about my story here).
I looked back at my various ventures in diet (noun, not verb) and I had the most success with Paleo and LowCarb- two things where you (either intentionally or by circumstance) consume way less sugar than the average American.
I’m not going to get into the logistics and chemistry or science of the book (Keifer does a way better job) so if you are interested in learning more, check out the book then come back to this blog!
Anyhow, back to the remorse.
So the first nine and a half days of reorientation by eating ultra low carb went well for me. It was a lot like sliding back into the Atkins world, with the caveat that, in a very short amount of time, I would get a brief reprieve. When that night of carbs came around, my husband and I were excited. Knowing that for 6-8 hours we wouldn’t have to say no and we could choose things that we enjoyed greatly made both of us happy like children on their birthdays. It wasn’t even so much sweets we were looking forward to- it was the fruit and yogurt and bread (which my gluten-sensitive self will address in another blog…) and baked goods that had us all twitterpated.
We went on a date night, which was fantastic for us as we had a very stressful week- the kind that would send most folks careening off into the ditch. We ate and enjoyed each others company. Towards the end of our 8 hour eating window, we picked up our last little goodie of the night and took it home. We sat in the living room and finished off our snacks and I realized something…
I was not sad that it was over.
I started to cry, with happy tears, as I felt freedom for the first time in a very long time. I wasn’t grieving the end of my meal, I wasn’t fearful it wasn’t going to come again. I was just done eating.
Like a normal human being.
I can’t even begin to explain how it feels to not feel like I was caught in the grip of darkness- to feel whole and complete without the substance. I had no problem waking up the next morning and getting back to my ultralow carb eating- it was all foods I loved anyway. I didn’t crave the sweets, breads, or fruits from the night before. My body and mind seemed to be on the same page, for once. It was liberating.
At this point, I don’t even care (mostly) if I get the outcome of fat loss that the book promises, because the freedom that I felt that night is worth more than anything else.