I mentioned yesterday how the Roman culture is based on one meal a day. This is a culture actually based on fasting. Fasting means to go a long period of time abstaining from food. When I think of fasting I think of Gandhi or prisoners who are protesting by the use of self harm. But really the definition of fasting is based on not eating for a period of hours.
But actually a lot of people fast without thinking. If you get up in the morning and only drink coffee and don’t eat until lunch time, then you are fasting.
The teenage culture these days are based on fasting, for example; they go to school without breakfast, don’t eat lunch, and then go home to eat a snack and then dinner.
Let’s take a look at what I eat (I am in the action stage of my lifestyle) compared to Dr. Laurie (who is in the maintenance stage of hers).
What I eat now,-
Sometimes breakfast consisting of 2 eggs and tomato.
Lunch- Tuna salad
Dinner- Low carb meal
Dessert- Grapes and cheese
Compared to what I used to eat recently, which was anything at anytime at anytime I wanted.
What Dr. Laurie eats-
Lunch- an egg or meat
Dinner-small low carb portion
Dessert- Grapes and cheese
On the weekends or holidays Dr. Laurie will have breakfast or eat something special and outside of her diet.
The difference between our eating habits is that Dr. Laurie found what works for her in regards to keeping the weight maintained. I on the other hand obviously have some work to do as I am still having a hard time grasping that I DON’T need three square meals a day.
Some people are adamant that they need to follow the three square meals a day rule. They don’t realize however that they are overeating their energy output.
For example Dr Laurie recounts;
Once upon a time, there was a mom. She weighed at least 300 pounds. The 300lb mom had a daughter. The daughter was overweight by at least 60lb’s. When the daughter went to high school her eating habits changed. She stopped eating breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately the mom was so based in eating three square meals a day that the family was at war. So the daughter started to hide her uneaten lunches under her bed and in her drawers in her room. This became the start of an eating disorder.
Fasting is actually based in listening to your body for when you are actually really hungry. Not when you hear a gurgle, or feel a little uncomfortable, but when you are HUNGRY. Your body will let you know.
You might be thinking “well this isn’t right! We need a constant flow of calories and substance to survive!” This is really only true for children or very active adults. Children need three meals a day because they have so much energy to extol but as you grow older you become more sedentary and therefor can handle less calories each day. Do you need as many calories to sit at a desk as a kid who is growing, and running around, and screaming, and wriggling around all the time? No. You don’t. It is hard for me to get how few calories I need each day too.
3 squares a day.
What has been pressed into our minds is the notion that we need three square meals a day. So that got me wondering. Why do we need three square meals a day? and where did that come from? Generally speaking, the term is thought to come from the 1970’s in a time when the navy served their meals on square plates. It was thought to be a military term. The truth is the term actually came from the 1800’s with the word ‘square’ actually meaning proper. Three proper meals a day. With the end of World War 1 the government in the USA wanted to promote “good nutrition” so they picked up on this term in order to promote good eating. In 1910 the corn flake was created and so the government did a big propaganda push to promote breakfast cereals in order to support American farmers. With the advent of farming, ‘early to bed and early to rise’, became the mantra. Farmers rose with the sun and so food consumption was based upon daylight hours. With the advent of electricity and corn flakes, machinery, and industry, the notion of only eating during daylight hours started to change.
So the idea of three square meals is actually based on American culture. So lets compare American culture to Roman culture. Roman culture dictates that people eat once a day; during lunch. One big meal a day. The thought was that if anyone eats outside of this period of time that they are glutinous.
So basically, three square meals a day is based in a time when North American farmers worked really hard because they had to do everything by hand. In a time when there was no machinery, there was the horse and plough, they milked cows by hand, and they used a huge amount of energy to do so.
Dr. Laurie recounts her husbands uncle, who ate three square meals a day consisting of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and pie. Because his daily activity was based on only eating during daylight hours and being out on the land everyday. That’s the amount of energy he needed in order to maintain his thin physique.
Times have changed since then. We stay up till all hours, food is plentiful, as well as processed, and we are sedentary; compared to having to plough a field. So basically food intake is based on cultural norms and our cultural norm became the corn flake.
Taste! Season! Taste! Season!
After a while of being on the diet I have discovered experimentation with food. I used to try to replicate full carbohydrate dishes but after many failed attempts I decided to give up all together.
So now I experiment with different types of ingredients that I would never have thought of before. For instance, yesterday I made tortillas using pumpkin puree and you know what? They were delicious.
One part of creating your own recipes is that you feel such accomplishment when you have a product that tastes great and belongs to you. This process is important because when you create your own recipes you feel a stronger connection with the diet as it is satisfying to create a worthwhile dish that you will want to eat again.
But on the other hand when you are experimenting with food you have to keep tasting to know what to add and what to snuff out what doesn’t belong. After a while of tasting you will realize you have basically eaten the equivalent of a full portion.
So appreciate a spectacular dish and the nibbles that when into it.
(you can find this recipe in the recipe section of this website and I will include a picture below)
I bet you’ve all seen the commercial on TV where the dad comes home, looks in the fridge, can’t find anything he wants to eat, and so the next thing you see is several pizzas arrive at the door. What a cop out. I get it, you get home from work, you’re tired, you say to yourself I don’t have time or energy to make anything and everyone is hungry. Or perhaps you live in the city and you have a small kitchen, and the city culture is more about eating out and ordering in than it is about cooking. So what this means is you have to develop a joy of cooking. I used to work in a restaurant. Before I worked in the restaurant when I cooked I became extremely angry, but after I started working at the restaurant, I learned how ridiculous it looks to freak out over food.
So now that I am experimenting in the kitchen with the purpose of creating low carb good delicious food, I concentrate on taste and creativity, this is my opportunity to eat right and feel good.
Food is essential to life. A tremendous source of pleasure, and is fundamental to our health. The goal is to eat well because you enjoy it. You like the way taking care of yourself makes you feel. When you cook low carb, you eat for pure pleasure and to nourish your body when you’re hungry. Not for comfort when you’re lonely or upset. There is no better place than around the dinner table to teach the people that we love about wholesome foods.
I mentioned yesterday how I’m afraid of informing other people about my change of lifestyle because I have no idea if they are going to be supportive or not. So today I thought I would talk about creating that supportive environment for yourself.
I also mentioned how I am completing the addictions work book that Dr. Laurie gave me as part of the Emotionally Focussed Eating program. I completed the third chapter and what was interesting to me was how there was a contract. I had to sign it and have it signed by a witness, holding me to my word of the environmental changes I needed to make. So this contract is significant because it’s just not to do with me and my behaviour but it’s also to do with how my environment needs to change. This change requires the support of family and friends to help facilitate my new behaviour. Health related behaviours are highly influenced by the people we surround ourselves with so when a change is required, what is ideal is that other key people in the social circle make the the same decision and if not they all require clear instructions, says Dr. Laurie. The key is removing temptations as well as triggers as much as possible. So what is important is that I am not alone, I have some of my family members working with me to find the best choice of foods possible. And for the others who would like to stay the way they want be, we have created clear boundaries so that there is a distinction between what is important in regards to maintaining the new lifestyle while for others they have a choice of adding in or buying foods to meet their needs.
The key for me is that the lifestyle change has to make sense to you, if it makes sense to you then you are just going to live it. It would be nice to have a positive supportive environment with other like minded people around you so that you do not feel isolated or alone. Friends are like minded, meaning that you have things in common. If you find that you end up in power struggles or conflicts or you find that someone is purposely trying to sabotage you then it really is important to take care of yourself and make sure that you keep repeating the same message over and over again. If you waiver, then they will become confused and once that happens you are actually giving them permission to continue to set you up for failure.
I know that personally I can be easily influenced by friends. Whether it’s one friend or ten, I struggle with making healthy choices and sticking to my lifestyle. If it’s eating carbs with them or drinking beer, I always find an excuse to make bad choices when I’m with them.
So here’s the thing, a friend of mine is coming down from Toronto, I haven’t seen her in over a year and she’s staying with me for a few days.
You might be thinking,
DAYS?? HOW IS SHE GOING TO STICK TO HER NEW LIFESTYLE FOR DAYS??? WHAT’S THE PLAN??!!
Well that’s exactly it, there is a plan!
I know that I love eating pizza and snacking when I’m with my friends so guess what? I’m making low carb snacks and pizza so that when we are watching movies or talking or whatever I will always have something I can fall back on.
It’s good to make a plan, prepare everything in every way you can to set yourself up for success with this plan and then, most important, stick to the plan.
And something else, and I know this part is hard because I’m scared of it just as much as anyone else, but here it is; I’m going to tell my friend about my new lifestyle.
I am always afraid of telling people, even friends, of being on an emotionally focussed diet. You know, if I had an allergy I would have to say it. And I do not handle carbohydrates well. I am not allergic, I have an intolerance. So this is different, this isn’t something I’m doing for a week or two and then off, this is forever. So when she comes to stay I am going to be open with her, “My friend, I am not eating carbohydrates. I have set up some fun meals we can have together and if you don’t like these then we can by all means go to the store and get stuff you like. Unfortunately, I just can’t eat it.”
I know my friend, she isn’t going to be upset or anything, in fact, I believe when I tell her she is going to be extremely supportive. But I know other friends that I have, if I told them this, they wouldn’t understand and may even become defensive or offended at the thought that in some way I am changing, or they may think that I am trying to change them in someway. But luckily with the girl that is visiting me, I know she will be open minded at trying cauliflower pizza crust. You would be surprised at how upset just suggesting a cauliflower crust can be for some.
Anytime when a person tries to change it is important just to remember that a natural response would be “change back”. And that is okay. Don’t get offended, don’t get upset, as long as you recognize that everyone in their own mind has a definition of what they consider to be “normal” and anytime when it is that you are not being “mainstream” you are going against the grain of society and that means you have to be willing to defend it, reminds Dr. Laurie. So for the first time I will be ready to defend my new lifestyle choice.
I mentioned a little earlier how food can be an addiction. The other day Dr. Laurie asked me to work through the Emotionally Focussed Addictions work book. I am now on chapter two. The addiction work book focusses on any kind of compulsion or obsession which includes eating. It’s a twelve step focus, covering many topics and I am on the second step. The first step was admitting that I am not in control, defines what addiction is and determines how severe your addiction is; mine is mild. The second step dives into feelings that I have been carrying around with me.
When I started the first chapter, and even when I finished the first chapter I was still under the mind set of “yeah right, like overeating can be an addiction.” But as I continued onto the second step and was confronted with a list of emotions that I was tasked with expanding on I realized that I was carrying a lot more feelings that I didn’t understand how to express or articulate. I realized I was minimizing my problem, avoiding it, avoiding the bad feelings of it, recognizing it, I started to realize “wait a minute, this is all starting to make sense now”.
Because we believe there is something wrong with us we disown our personal experience and we blame ourselves for failures instead of looking at all of the things that can strain us and all of the forces that are at play that shapes how it is that we do life. What we end up doing is internalizing oppression which keeps us exactly where we don’t want to be.
I still feel critical of my body, but I’ve gained some compassion for myself as I begin to address my pain as a result of my eating problem I am working on integrating this new program into my personal life and work. It’s important to make sense of it cognitively and I need to make sense of it emotionally in order to be able to feel like I’m actually in control, trust the process, so that I can let all of those emotions go so that I can focus on moment to moment awareness of being present to my emotional needs as well as physical needs.
I think it’s getting easier for me to work through the emotional side of this process because I am now approaching twenty pounds of weight loss. This almost accomplishment is a great way for me to stay motivated on my journey to healthy living, even if shedding weight means shedding some emotional baggage as well.
So it’s New Years resolution time!
In days gone by I have made a new years resolution to do with exercise, and lifestyle. I actually bought that Insanity Workout Program. I think I lasted doing it for about three weeks and I got sick. It went back in the box and is now sitting somewhere on a shelf in my basement. So as I have been noticing all these Christmas decorations I have been thinking about my 2019 New Years resolution. Now That I have begun an actual program that I plan on continuing for the next year with the hope being that I am somewhere around the maintenance faze by this time next year that my New Years resolution is to achieve just that. In order to be able to facilitate change, we really need to improve self efficacy, says Dr. Laurie. “Self efficacy is the belief that you are capable of being able to do what you need to do in order to attain your goal. If a person has high self efficacy, they view a difficult task as something to be mastered. For people with low self efficacy they have had failed attempts which lead to self blame and therefore, the task feels like it needs to be avoided.”
Also, who wants to be stuck repeating the same old painful task over and over again? Not me. Short term weightless strategies do a pretty good job getting you into manipulating your food or exercise habits for a while. But that’s all they really offer, which leads to low self efficacy and the cycle continues.
I am no longer forcing myself to work out. I am no longer blindly going forward declaring ‘diet’ with no idea how to do it. No more eating stupid rice cakes when I’m desperately wanting a stupid doughnut, only to find out now that they’re actually both a joke! One fooling me into thinking I’m doing a good thing, and the other fooling me into thinking I should be happy now. God damn it!
My usual diet and exercise declaration had a huge problem, and the problem was it doesn’t work. Which is a pretty big problem if you’re like me and when things don’t work out it’s extremely upsetting.
How many of you have dieted and exercised with passion only to regain the stupid weight? It isn’t because you didn’t try hard enough it’s that the contributing factors of your misunderstanding of food and your emotional subconscious were not completely under your conscious control.
So what I have committed to doing over this next year, which I have high self efficacy about, is to learn how to trust and honour the Emotionally Focussed Weight Regulation System long term.
A really great way to start your journey is to look at the pros of not eating compared to the cons of eating badly. So lets talk about eating at night. I have mentioned several times that in my families past we all connected by eating together after supper. I mean, if one family knew how to eat excessively, it was mine. We ate dinner, then dessert, then sat in front of the TV and maybe ate more dessert, or chips, or chocolate, or whatever. It was a feast every night at my house. I mean, this was a two to three hour process. Now that I am participating in the emotionally intelligent eating program I am not able to eat all that crap and it is forcing me to change how I spend my evenings.
Lets look at the pros and cons of my journey. So the pros of not changing is that I get to eat what I want and be extremely comfortable with not only dinner, but dessert, and then sitting in front of the TV, eating chips and chocolate, or a second helping of dessert, really just constantly eating.
Now lets look at the pros, by the way, another three pound weight loss, and that is a pro of changing, because not only do I realize what it was I was doing, which was overeating, making myself extremely uncomfortable by not changing. I actually really feel how food choices effect my body now. As well, I feel more positive about my sleep patterns and how I feel about myself. Now that my body has gotten used to the lack of carbohydrates I am taking in daily I feel energetic, quite literally not weighed down. Looking back on it now, I realize that because of the amount of what I ate and the concentrated carbs in what I ate I was feeling extremely sluggish. I loved to sleep all the time, now I am able to get up every morning. Just doing this makes a whole lot of difference in the way I feel about myself because I know that I have accomplished something; that I am really actually making a change in who I am.
Research has shown that across different behaviours we don’t change until we see that the pros of changing outweighs the cons. Dr. Laurie states that we don’t add secondary information to our primary knowledge base unless that new information is impactful. It has to be bright, loud, bold, or significant in someway to us, in order for us to adopt a new way. For me it is the correlation that I can see and feel between looking at food as just sugar and the decrease on the weigh scale. So now I have a way to look at my food diary, make an equation with my daily weight, and it makes sense. Grabbing a hold of my need to comfort myself with food has required for me to be more focussed on how I am feeling. The point is to not negate the feeling but to still feed the feeling, only with low carb choices. Another pro for me for not eating sugar at night is that I end up in the winner category of feeling that I am making an achievement and that I am no longer in the loser category of how I felt about myself and my lack of control over my eating and my weight.
Stages of change
So one way to get yourself to move from the pre-contemplation stage to the preparation stage is to actually start to sit down and think about the pros and cons of change. The pre-contemplation stage is where the person is totally not thinking about any kind of change whatsoever. But I’m making the assumption that if you’re reading this change is on your mind and so you might be in the contemplation stage. The contemplation stage is where you are totally ambivalent, you can see the pros and cons of change but your not ready to change. Or you might be in the preparation stage and that is where you have decided to make a change, but you are building up confidence and resources in order to actually take action to change. I am in the action stage. I am actively in the process of change. Dr. Laurie is in the maintenance stage where she is just maintaining her hard work and has been there for quit some time now. It is good to recognize that all stages of change include what is called lapse and lapse is when you fall off the wagon. So what most people do is they have multiple tries at change, eventually get into lapse, give up, and then have to start again.
The goal for the Emotionally Focussed Eating program is to overcome the emotional drive to eat while gaining an understanding of what food really is and the combination creates the opportunity to be able to maintain and when lapses occur, you know exactly what you need to do to hop right back on the wagon the very next day. So the fist thing to do is to identify the problem as well as need and commitment for the ability to change. So lets start.
What is my problem?
My problem is that I am tired of only being able to buy old people clothes, clothes that are designed to make old fat people feel ‘cool’ and ‘hip’, but if you are a young person trying on these clothes you know certainly not. Also I am tired of wanting something that looks cute but just doesn’t look right on me because no matter if it technically fits, it’s just not pretty.
I’m tired of being desperately hungry and spending all my free time either thinking about food, looking for food, being sad I can’t eat food, when I want to eat food. I’m tired of people making a negative comment about my body, and then because I’m angry that I am the way that I am, I eat to stay the way that I am. I am tired of starting to change and then giving up and not understanding why I don’t see any changes. I am frustrated with the fact that I look the same now as when it was I was a kid and bullied for how I looked. I am tired of when people say ‘you have a pretty face.’ and then smile awkwardly.
So what do I need?
I need to really be able to ‘get’ food. I need to be able to overcome my emotional trauma from my past and all of my lapses of failure. I need to be able to see myself as a success and look in the mirror and be proud.
So what is my commitment?
I am committed to dedicate myself for this one year to achieve my goal of finally ‘getting’ food, dealing with my emotional trauma, and through my participation and the Emotionally Focussed Eating Program committing myself to my weekly food journal, weekly meeting with Dr. Laurie and learning how to manage my emotional attachment to food.
Even though I said earlier that weight loss is not dependant on exercise I decided to take on stationary bicycling for heart health and circulation.
Even though I previously stated what I learned from Dr. Laurie is that people have a tendency to overdo, they either hurt themselves or make themselves sick. So yesterday after my second day of exercising… I threw up. Now, you have to appreciate that I am not a good thrower upper. When I throw up, any time, every time, I throw up ALL the blood vessels in my face burst. On my cheeks, my forehead, my chin, my neck, and yes, even my eyelids. I am red and disturbingly blotchy for at least 48 hours. I repeat 48 HOURS! When my dad came home he was telling me about his day and then stopped abruptly and said ‘what happened to your face?’ thanks dad.
I needed to find out why this happened. The Keto diet, which is defined as a low carbohydrate and high fat diet is from the word Ketogenic which is the process that causes your body to burn fat faster.
Definition of Ketosis: Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. The body starts to burn body fat.
Eating carbohydrates prevents ketosis which is an accumulation of ketones. When you are on a low carb diet, that amount of ketones can cause nausea and other negative reactions like throwing up. So ironically I did exactly what Dr. Laurie said not to do, I over exercised.
The lower your food is on the glycemic index the less glucose it will deliver to your blood stream and therefore the less insulin that your pancreas must produce to transport the glucose to your cells. So the less insulin you produce the less likely that you are going to store fat. That is the point of the Keto diet. Ketosis being a good thing. With the change in the amount of carbohydrates I am eating now, my experience yesterday outlined how I need to do my exercise in moderation, for now at least.
So today, I backed off on my exercise. No throwing up. Yay!