Sunday, January 27, 2013
Goodbye Carb Cravings!
So, I've been doing this Atkins thing for two weeks now. I call the first two weeks of any new diet plan the "honeymoon stage", because that's about how long I try to convince myself that I like the program and that I can stick with it. But, from experience, we all know how it really goes much past the two week mark. I start to get crabby and fussy that I'm not allowed to eat this and that, start being a little rebellious, and it's Game Over.
And to be honest, two weeks ago, I didn't think it would take very long before carbs were softly calling my name back in to their lure...because, come on, who can really live without bread, pasta, chips, etc?
It's no secret that three weeks ago, I was a MAJOR carb addict. Like, I couldn't go a couple of hours without wanting to stick my hand in to some bag of potato made something or other. It wasn't possible for me to eat a meal without a side of pasta or rice and a half a loaf of whatever bread was being served. Cupcakes, cookies, or donuts up for grabs? Oh, yes please!
As much as I wanted to believe that I could take a swing at trying to live on nothing but meat, cheese, and vegetables - there was always this little alarm going off in the back of my brain wailing "YOU CAN'T DO IT! YOU CAN'T DO IT!"
But you know what? I have done it. Not only have I done it... but I'm not trying to convince myself anymore that I like it. I actually really like it. Seriously. Stop laughing. I'm not joking!
Don't get me wrong, I haven't been 100% perfect throughout these two weeks. I ate a tiny piece of cake and a few crackers at a baby shower my first week. On Thursday, I ate mini angel food cupcake. And after eating both, I regretted it and wished I hadn't.
What has blown me out of the water with this whole experience, though, is the lack of carb cravings.
Everything I've read about Atkins has prepared me to wage war on my carb addiction. I'd have to be strong, fight hard, possibly deal with nasty side effects from carb withdrawal. I've been waiting for the headaches, the lack of energy, the crabbiness. Waiting...waiting...waiting....and? Still waiting. They just haven't come.
I've sat back for two weeks watching those around me consume the foods I previously adored, and not a twinge of jealousy or rage has swept over me. It's been very easy to replace the mashed potatoes with cauliflower florets or mac & cheese with broccoli and cheese. I haven't felt like I'm missing out or being deprived.
Something else that has totally blown me away? I actually LOVE the Atkins products. The shakes, the bars, the frozen meals...all of them.
Now, as a self appointed diet plan professional, I have tried them all. Slim Fast, South Beach, Lean Cuisine, Smart Balance, Healthy Choice, Special K....seriously, tried them all. Every weight loss shake that has entered my mouth is like drinking milk mixed with sand. Every bar is like eating granola dipped in protein powder. Every frozen meal is like eating two bites of an OK meal and being done...because that's about how much food I was given.
But not with Atkins products.
The shakes are delicious, and don't have the slightest texture of sand or the after taste that I've grown so accustomed to with other diet shakes. The bars are like eating my most favorite candy bars without the urge to eat 6 more when I'm done. The frozen meals? Oh Em Gee... Real food! Great portion size! Full when I'm finished! Can this be?
And no, unfortunately there is no money coming my way to say what I'm saying. I actually mean it!
So, tomorrow I step out of my honeymoon period. I will be starting week three. I've made it longer on other diet plans, but with some forcing. The third and fourth weeks are usually the big test....will I still be as happy and content then?
I sure hope so. Because the truth is, I'm enjoying the foods I'm eating, I'm enjoying not being coerced by carbs, and I'm enjoying this refreshing feeling that I'm not being restricted or restrained...even though I totally am.
I think it all comes down to my mind games that I'm playing with myself. Rather than picturing myself eating a muffin and being told "STOP! PUT DOWN THE MUFFIN! EAT A PIECE OF CELERY INSTEAD!" I'm hearing "STOP! YOU DON'T WANT A MUFFIN BECAUSE YOU CAN EAT A PIECE OF BACON OR A HARD BOILED EGG!" So much nicer to picture. I'd never give up a muffin for a piece of celery... but I'll gladly give back the muffin for a piece of meat, a stick of cheese, or even a protein bar that's covered in chocolate and filled with coconut and actually tastes great and is good for me.
Every diet plan I've tried in the past hasn't necessarily taken whole food groups out of my diet, but the restrictions have always been there. Cut down on the meat, cheese, and dairy. Eat less complex carbs focusing only on whole grains. Say no to sugar.
But, the problem is words like "cut down" and "eat less" just don't work for me. I can eat only one piece of bread - but then I want more. I can eat only 1/2 cup of whole grain pasta - but then I want more. I can eat only one of something... but the fight comes from not wanting to eat more. And it's a fight I always end up losing. When the food doesn't enter my mouth AT ALL, somehow it's easier for me to stay away from it.
Call me weak or naive or whatever else you can think of.. but it works for me. I have somehow managed to convince my naysaying brain that I can do without complex carbs - for the time being. Of course, it's still so early in the game that I can't predict that I'll feel this way a month from now or even a week from now... but the honeymoon stage is over, and I'm still going strong with a sense of accomplishment and no sense of deprivation. That's a win!
I can't wait to see what the scale says tomorrow morning. If it's gone down? Great! If it hasn't? OK, time to monitor and adjust. For the first time ever, I'm not depending on the scale to determine if I stay on this plan or not. I'm actually enjoying it - and will stay with it as long as I keep enjoying it.