Monday, February 1, 2010

A new mindset

I am not one for new year's resolutions but I do frequently make big changes around my birthday, probably because I tend to reflect on my life as I approach being another year older. An example of this was when I went gluten free on my birthday four years ago. That was a positive, life changing choice.

I now hope to make another one.

I have posted a lot lately on being frustrated about not losing more weight. I struggled (and lost that struggle) mightily over the holidays. I have screwed around with tweeks - dairy or no dairy, all beef, etc. I have perused other blogs looking for other tweeks that might work.

It finally hit me this last weekend that what I was doing was dieting! Despite my protestations to the contrary, I was still focusing on losing weight only. I still entertained occasional thoughts about relaxing ZC when I got to goal.

I think the daily weighing was keeping that alive. It was all about getting that lower number to show, despite knowing that a scale is terrible way to actually see what is going on in my body. When I wouldn't see a drop for awhile it made me want to do something different in an attempt to get it going the right way again. A month of beef and water with no loss made me question zero carb.

So - what I have decided to do for my birthday is to quit dieting. I have packed away the scale. I will stop counting the days that I have been ZC on my blog. I won't track my average weight any more.

I have to admit to myself that zero carb is what I have to do for my health - for life. I know there is a "one day at a time" mentality that is important to have but I have to realize that if I want to keep lifelong digestion problems at bay as well as keep feeling better than ever, this is what I have to do.

It is just like when I went gluten free four years ago. I didn't go into that thinking that I would go gluten free for a while and then add a little back in when I felt better. I just knew that my body didn't tolerate gluten and that was it. I know now, after attempting zero carb for ten months, that my body doesn't tolerate plant carbs and sugar either and that is it.

I didn't really struggle with no gluten but I did go through a mourning period. I don't expect to not struggle with carbs though and I imagine that there will be a mourning period, too.

For me to be successful at this, it can't just be a matter of not eating carbs because I feel a flatter stomach and don't want to lose that. That also keeps the diet mentality alive because I tell myself that if I eat carbs, I can just jump back on zero carb and lose anything I might gain by a foray into carb eating. Being zero carb, like being gluten free, is living in a way that maximizes my health and well being.

I have had so many improvements in my health since starting ZC, despite my occasional failings. I have effortlessly lost a bunch of fat. My blood pressure came way down. I have next to no inflammation in my body. My joints stopped hurting. I sleep better. I seem to muscle on faster. Some scary symptoms, like shortness of breath at times, went away. Very importantly, my stomach stopped hurting all of the time. None of this is worth giving up for chemically tasting ice cream and candy.

So, at the risk of sounding like I am still in diet mode, here is where I am now.

I have lost being in tune with my body. I have been eating pretty much the same thing at the same time every day - a hamburger bowl at first hunger and a steak at dinner. Charles says over and over that our bodies have different energy requirements each day so I am going back to really paying attention to my hunger and eat only when it shows up. If it means not eating dinner because I am not hungry and then getting up to eat at 2 am because I get hungry then, so be it.

The various issues that crop up when I eat cow's dairy are very annoying, so that is out again for now, except for butter. Because gluten intolerant people frequently also have issues with casein, I am thinking that I am sensitive to the casein and it is keeping my cravings alive. In fact, the reason I feel better on dairy, despite the other issues I have with it, may be because of the opioid effect that it has on those sensitive to it. A bit of the "hair of the dog", so to speak. In the future, if I decide I want some form of dairy, I will experiment with goat cheese as it doesn't have the same form of casein.

Going for now on the possibility of a bovine serum albumin (BSA)/casein sensitivity link, I am also going to add more variety of meats back in. Since it looks like BSA is denatured with cooking, I will cook my beef a little more too.

I am also packing away my tea for now. I don't drink it very often (2-3 times a week) so it isn't a big deal. However, my goal is to feel the best I possibly can, so I want to strip the extras away for now.

Feeling the best I can should help avoid those moments of carb weaknesses. Eating gluten for me is like introducing glass into my intestines. If I am feeling great on zero carb, introducing carbs should have similar effects on my well being, fat gain or loss notwithstanding. While I would love seeing my abs at the age of 46, remaining healthy into my later life is getting to be increasing important to me. I have full faith that zero carb is the golden ticket for keeping (and regaining) my health.

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