It was about a month ago that I wrote my "confession" post and got serious again about not succumbing to the cravings. I have done fairly well through that time but it has been a frustrating time as my weight has not responded at all. I had assumed that I would return, at least, to my pre-"carb bloat" weight of around 172. Instead, I have been stuck fluctuating between 176 and 178.
Because of this, I spent alot of time soul searching about whether to stay zero carb. As Kristina and Karen have both mentioned, the thoughts of "why am I doing this if it isn't working" keep rearing their ugly heads. I also read a lot of low carb and paleo blogs and most of them are pretty adamant that you don't have to go to zero on the carbs to be healthy. That works on you, too, when things aren't going your way. I'll have to admit that I have strongly considered going a more paleo route.
With all of the soul searching, I keep coming back to something that is a foundational belief for me - for me to lose weight and be healthy, I [b]must[/b] eat only small amounts when physically hungry. Anything that interferes with that will keep me from my goals. With that in mind, here is what I learned over the last year+ (actually more like eleven years+):
Carbs, even "paleo" carbs like nuts and low starch veggies, screw up my hunger by making it harder to stop eating when satisfied.
Caffeine masks my hunger signals, making it harder to tell when I am physically hungry.
My body doesn't seem to take well to consuming calories in liquid form. Even if I wait until I am hungry to take in food that way, like cream in coffee, it messes up my hunger signal the rest of the day. This is true even with decaf coffee or if I do a shake (cream and egg), so it isn't just the caffeine from the coffee.
Dairy doesn't mess me up unless it's in a liquid form and I eat it with eggs or meat (the raw form seems to help with the sinus issues but I am talking hunger signals here).
Too much fat interferes with hunger frequency. It takes longer to get hungry and I get tempted to do things like eat with my family when I am not hungry. If I eat the right amount, I tend to be hungry mid-morning and then again around dinner time. I am not talking about low fat but just stuff like not snacking on the butter while cooking my steak or draining a little of the stuff that cooks out of the hamburger. I assume that my body will let me know if I don't get enough fat.
With all of that in mind, it is obvious what I have to do to get to where I want to be. Eating only when hungry is paramount and zero carb is the tool to achieve it. The health benefits are nice but they aren't my main concern at the moment, to be completely honest.
Since tomorrow is May 1, I am going to consider it as Day 1 of phase 2 of my zero carb journey. I spent the first 13 months screwing around and learning what worked and what didn't. Now it's time to implement all of that knowledge and actually do it. I am not eating carbs or anything like that today; it's just that May 1 is easier to remember than April 30.