I have a lot of issues when it comes to food. That sentence probably applies to a significant percentage of women, I realize, and I don’t think my issues are particularly special or unique. Food is comfort, food is a reward, food is stress relief.
From basically Thanksgiving until New Year’s, I ate pretty much everything in sight. I didn’t track my calories, I eased up on my workouts, and I was completely self-indulgent about eating whatever the hell I wanted, whenever I wanted. Cookies at midnight? SURE! Why not? Miraculously, I didn’t gain any weight during the holidays, although don’t ask me how because I honestly don’t know.
I worked really hard in 2013 and lost a lot of weight, and I have a pretty big fear of regaining it and undoing all that work. So my plan had been to allow myself that time of indulgence, with the knowledge that after New Year’s, I was going to start a detox diet and get back on track. It’s not even that I’m trying to lose more weight, because I’m actually pretty happy with where my weight is right now – sure, I wouldn’t complain if a few more pounds magically disappeared, but my size 10 jeans fit comfortably and I’m pretty ok with that. The detox plan was more about hitting a mental reset button, so I don’t continue these bad habits of eating junk food all the time.
I started the detox on Monday. This basically means all I’m eating is meat, vegetables, and fruit. No sweets, no carbs, no processed foods, no dairy. It’s really hard.
And because a few people have asked, this is sort of what a typical day looks like:
* Breakfast – a few slices of turkey bacon and a piece of fruit (today was grapefruit with a little Sweet & Low).
* Lunch – a big salad with some kind of meat (usually grilled chicken on it). I don’t use dressing. Oil & vinegar would be allowed, but I hate that, so I just put a little salt on it and I’m fine.
* Dinner – some kind of meat/veggie. Piece of salmon and roasted asparagus. Steak and steamed broccoli. That kind of thing.
If I want to snack between meals, it’s basically some kind of vegetable (like a handful of raw baby carrots) or an extra piece of fruit.
So, yeah, that’s a little intense, right? And it isn’t sustainable in the long-term, believe me, I know that. The idea is to do this for 3 weeks (although if I last 2 weeks, I’ll be happy), and it sort of changes how I think about my daily meals and makes me more mindful about the foods that I’m shoving in my mouth. Like, no more polishing off the kids’ leftovers. And no more grabbing some quick sugary treat because I just happened to walk past the kitchen.
So yeah, I started it on Monday, and by Tuesday afternoon, it dawned on me that all of that eating I did over the holidays was not, in fact, just a fun little self-indulgence, but was actually how I was coping with some pretty major stress issues in my life. Most of which falls under the category of “stuff I can’t blog about,” but mostly involves my kids and all of the changes we’ve been dealing with lately. I’m not the most adaptable person in the world, I lack the “go with the flow” gene, and those kinds of major life events tend to really stress me out.
The thing is, though, take away my comfort food? And there is no comfort. Which is how I ended up sobbing my eyes out all over Chris’s chest on Tuesday night. (To be clear, he didn’t do anything to make me cry. He just happened to walk in the door and ask me how my day was. Poor guy had no idea what a loaded question that was.)
(Oh, it probably goes without saying, but there’s no alcohol allowed on the detox diet either, which is fine because I hardly ever drink anyway, but man, if there haven’t been a few times this week that drinking my feelings sounded like an excellent plan, since I couldn’t eat them. Damn.)
And I’m sure this is healthy, forcing me to talk about my worries and fears and confront them, rather than bury them down with another handful of potato chips. It’s just weird that dealing with the emotional side of it parallels the food that I’m eating: it’s good for me, and I know it, I just don’t like it very much.