Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just Say No... to Cheese

Today is day 6 back on Medifast, and I've gone from 209 back down to 203 as of this morning. I have to admit that while I am proud of myself for getting back in control, it is also disheartening to see those relatively big numbers and know they represent a *loss.* It is one thing to be eating too much and see 203 and be distraught and use it to fuel yourself into a change; it is a whole 'nother ballgame to see 203 and know you are "supposed" to feel happy you lost weight, when in reality you feel really bad about being in the 200's again. Ah well, part of the journey I guess. Hopefully I will be back out of those 200's next week never to return. I know there will probably be regains again in my future, but I need to get a lot farther down the scale before that happens to that even if I gain ten pounds I am still under 180. Or 170. Or something.

Yesterday was interesting because I forgot to eat a meal. I had to make it up later in the day, but you know, I am not one to forget to eat! I know I must be in mild ketosis now with my carbs staying under 100g/day for 5 days in a row. That's what helps get rid of the hunger and the food obsession. It works. And I will say that days 1-3 were hell. I feel like I have finally dragged myself out of that hellhole I was in with the sugar cravings, the food thoughts, the constant headaches with nausea and have come out the other side. It was painful to get here and I never, ever want to go through it again. No cookie or cake or candy bar is worth that. Now I find my mind freeing up to think about other things. My energy is back. I am out of the sugar fog. It feels great.

Now that sugar looks like poison to me (and I hope it stays that way!), the "issue" I have low carbing is making myself stick with the allowed portions of any given food. I normally weigh out my 5 ounces of beef or 6 ounces of chicken or 7 ounces of fish, I measure my olive oil and my vegetables and my condiments. But on days that I am hungrier or just FEEL like eating, in the past the problem has been mainly one food: cheese. I think, "oh, cheese has little to no carbs. It has protein. It won't throw me out of ketosis. It's allowed on Atkins! I can have that and be okay!" I cut a slice of cheddar or grab a piece of American and eat it. And then I want more. I have always loved cheese and it is hard for me to quit. The problem is, on Medifast full-fat cheese is not allowed. I *can* have low fat cheese (a measured portion) for my Lean, and sometimes I do. And I am okay with that. It's when I start giving myself permission with excuses to eat EXTRA cheese or full-fat cheese that I get into trouble. Because while it is true that even an extra 5 ounces of cheese won't throw me out of ketosis, it still has a lot of fat and calories and I will not lose weight eating like that. Plus, it seems that cheese is a "gateway drug" for me. If I let myself have one slice, I want more. But I also want something to go with it, or after it, like green olives, or slices of ham, summer sausage, turkey pepperoni, etc etc. And again I can rationalize eating those non-carby things because I won't go over my carb limit for the day, but calories also count. And once I indulge in the cheese and meats and olives and suddenly realize I have eaten 2000 calories for the day, I get frustrated and annoyed and go buy a bag of potato chips.

So my next step in building healthy habits it to just say no to cheese. Silly, yes. Serious, also yes. My new rule is, if I want cheese I can have it, but ONLY as my Lean portion, low fat and measured. I can have my cauliflower pizza or my cauliflower mac and cheese for dinner. Fine. But I CANNOT just grab a slice and call it an optional snack, because it isn't. I can't just have a slice when I get hungry. No longer an option. I have learned to know my triggers, and if I can get this under control it will go a long way in helping me stay on plan for the long haul.

What about you? Do you have a 'gateway drug' food?

31 comments:

Dawn said...

I'm someone who would, if I allowed myself go for carb/fat mixed food as a choice. I'm not that attracted to sugar although used to eat too much sugar.
Bu show me chips, fries, bread and butter and I would have to walk away and not let myself touch them. I just love cheese. I know the pull of a slice of cheese
Dawn

Meghan said...

I'm new to your blog. It sounds like you do a lot of work with your eating.

Have you ever just counted calories? You could eat the cheese and be happy. :) I don't want to give up foods so I just count calories. It works!

Anonymous said...

You missed a meal, why did you have to make it up? People don't have to eat three meals a day with snacks in between. I think that is a heavy persons mind set, we are intitled to eat. When really it wouldn't hurt any of us to miss a meal or two and move on.

But my question was a real one: what made you make up that missed meal?

Deb Willbefree said...

I know. To all of it, I know.

One does not want to be ungrateful for a loss, but when that loss also reflects a failure, it's tough psychologically.

And the cheese/"but it's low-carb" issue. sighhhhhhh.

Like I said, I know.

BUT you are decidedly back on track! You are heading in the right direction on the scale! Wahoo!!!! I mean it---> WAHOO!

Me? Well, I'm on day #1....again. Here's hoping I join you in seeing the days pile up.

Deb

matilda deathstar said...

congrats on getting back on track! I lost over 100lbs on MF and I know how hard it is. My gateway food is popcorn. Even though I am technically in transition/maintenance and popcorn is allowed - I cannot stop with one bowl. Even though it is the 100 calorie stuff - I eat so much of it it might as well be the 4790850 calorie movie kind :)

Cheese as lean was my lifeline to sanity on MF. I would make cheese crackers (bake med-low fat shredded cheese on parchment for 10 minutes at 350). Serve with veggies or a salad and you are full and happy. Good luck!

LHA said...

The most tempting foods to me are things containing white flour and sugar. Candy is nice, but a cupcake is heaven! Frosted sugar cookies...yum! Donuts are another occasion for sin....they have the added goodness of tons of fat too.

I know these foods are very hard to control once I start eating them. I have stayed away from sugar and white flour entirely for over two years once, but was unable to make that a permanent habit and they crept in again. I was so starved for them that I couldn't stop eating them once I started! Now I make them "rare, special occasion foods" and that seems to be working. They seem to have lost their hold on me somewhat. I hope I can keep them in their place!

Good luck, Lyn. Congratulations on taking control and feeling so much better!

Lyn said...

Meghan~

I did count calories for the first 2.5 years of my blog and did lose weight, but stalled for a *long* time. I am doing Medifast now.

Anonymous~

I made it up because I am only eating 900-1000 calories per day, and going lower than that is just not healthy. I also needed the nutrition.

Gloriason said...

Lyn, it is funny that you call it "gateway drug" food because that is exactly how I think about it too! Anyway, mine is any sugar item, but especially chocolate kisses. They are only 20 calories apiece and for me, they don't quite satisfy, so once I wake up that sugar need, all I can think about is getting what I really want, which is bakery goods, cookies, cakes, etc. None of that can be kept in the house, which is what keeps me on track. Thanks for your blog, I love reading it!

Lori said...

I totally get it. I ate hot ham & cheese dip last week with a spoon saying it was OK because there were no carbs!
Lori

Forty Pound Sack said...

I cannot eat sugar in moderation. If I choose to eat something with refined sugar, I go in knowing that I will keep eating it until I am stuffed. Not a pleasant thought, but sometimes I do it anyway.

Belle said...

One word.....Pasta!
That is all.

Melanie said...

I always relate so strongly to your posts!! Like you sugar is a huge problem for me. Cheese is too. For now, I very seldom eat cheese. I think it may be something that I will be able to eventually add back in moderation, unlike sugar which I don't know if I'll ever be able to add to my eating plan.

timothy said...

have you tried the packaged string cheese, that way it
s portion controlled. you're doin great just keep on keepin on darlin! xoxoxoxoxoxo

PaulaMP said...

I'm Sicilian, so it's pasta. I don't believe I've ever eaten a small amount in my life. Tried the whole grain, would rather not eat it than eat that.

Shayna said...

I'm the same way about cheese. It's funny when I'm on medifast, I crave completely different things. I found myself obsessing about cottage cheese the other day.. Totally bizarre. I think it's my body trying to desperately hang on to its fat reserves.
I'm glad you're feeling better :)

Anonymous said...

I have a very odd trigger; condiments! For some reason things like ketchup, mustard, miracle whip or even salad dressing will set me off on a binge. Maybe it's the sugar or sodium in these items.

Dinahsoar said...

I have to be careful with crunchy carbs....like tortilla chips or graham crackers. My trick is to measure my portion before I begin and when it it gone I am done...otherwise I will crunch away until I have eaten 3 servings. One serving is better than multiples because I can eat one serving and feel doubly good...but if I eat too much I feel doubly bad and and deprive myself of any real pleasure. It feels SO good to eat one serving and remembering that feeling is gratifying enough to help me limit myself.

Diandra said...

Nope, not that I am aware of.

Be careful, it seems you are saying "no" to more and more foods as time goes by...

Mrs. Chupchake said...

Bread. Last night my husband put a plate of warm garlic bread in the dining area and I ate practically the whole darn plate.

On my journey to drinking less I have realized I can do with smaller food portions too but that bread....it got me and it got me good.

~Mrs. Chupchake

moving under skies said...

Lyn
I'm doing a similar programme to you but in the UK (low carb, meal replacement, but with one "normal" meal a day) but with a really useful addition - weekly "meetings" that are basically therapy session that help deal with issues of overeating. So the diet part of it is just the part that gets rid of the weight, the other stuff is what should keep it off.
I'm not perfect at it, and am still struggling, but I have learned so, so much from these sessions. One of the things was me telling our counsellor about how I would eat nuts or cheese - not allowed on the programme, but should still keep me in ketosis.
And do you know what she said to me? That I sounded like an addict - seeing what I could get away with. Imagine a drug addict saying that they could have certain legal types of painkillers, because they weren't heroin or cocaine or whatever it is what their "real" drug.
So yeah. Just say no. Cheese is fine for most people for someone who has a problem with overeating... I know I have to be so careful with foods like that, because I just cannot allow myself, my life to be dictated by anything but my own rational self.

To Be Determined said...

never be disheartened with yourself for getting back on track. I find that I will beat myself up over the good things I do, too. Gain one...lose two...beat myself up because I lost that one pound twice...Doesn't that just sound wrong? I am 18lbs down and plugging away but still have 65lbs more to go to get where you are. :) Cheese is plain evil...sugar as well. YOU ARE AWESOME...remember that you probably don't know how much all you have done inspires others...even when you don't feel all that inspired yourself.

Claire said...

Gateway drug: NUTS. Primarily almonds. Once I eat a handful of almonds, then it's the whole jar, then I've blown the whole day so I can have cheese (all varieties: ricotta and cottage included, along with mozzarella), which then leads to too much of everything else. Yep.

Anonymous said...

Nope. Sugar, cheese, chocolate, white bread, it's all very good, in small amounts. Since I have no reason to feel guilty about it, I have no reason to throw in the towel, and grab a bag of chips.

I wish you luck losing the rest of your weight, and even more luck going into maintenance, and coming to terms with food - the real kind.

Anonymous said...

On The Biggest Loser a couple of weeks ago, a Dr. David Linden visited and shared some really interesting stuff about food and pleasure. He showed images of brain scans of an obese person and a lean person being presented with desirable food and then after eating it. The obese person had a lot more pleasure anticipating the food than eating it, while the lean person responded less to the anticipation and much more to the eating. Dr. Linden said this shows why obese people can't stop eating certain foods: the pleasure center in the brain just doesn't light up as much as it expects to from anticipating the food. So people eat more, to try to get that pleasure response they want.

Meanwhile a lean person eats a normal serving of the desirable food and feels satisfied because their pleasure center responded more strongly to the actual food than it did to the anticipation. Thinking about eating more of the desirable food does not trigger the same pleasant feelings that eating the food did.

He said that our brains CAN be rewired to respond like a lean person's -- more pleasure from the actual eating than from the anticipation -- and that it takes weeks to months of eating healthful foods. Unfortunately it only takes days to a week to undo the rewiring if you eat a lot of the wrong foods again!

Polar's Mom said...

Ice cream...once I hit the ice cream all bets are off and nothing in the fridge or pantry is safe. I figure there is no saving a day's diet after ice cream!

CatherineMarie said...

To the last Anonymous. That is fascinating. And it started me wondering if maybe that is why there is such a pull from fast-food..you get the advertising that links in with that anticipation reflex....

I've found that one thing that helps me enjoy a meal is setting the table, putting music on, maybe candlelight... doing other trappings to be able to make it a more pleasurable experience in general.

Lyn, not to seem critical, but one of my doctors (in the past) had suggested Atkins for me, but I actually ended up losing using just moderation, using healthy recipes like Kathleen Daelemans and Jane Brody. Doctors don't have a lot of experience with nutrition/etc. I'm also worried that you seem to be saying no to more and more foods. If I do that kind of thing, I end up with a backlash...and a binge. The only thing that I have given up is gluten (because I have to..healthwise).

Karen said...

Frosting, ice cream at home, sugared cereal, jellly beans and candy corn and all hard candy, chocolate bars and chocolate chips, tortilla chips and other salty chips, pisatshisos, peanuts in the shell ( when combined with salt)

Gotta say no, just like an alcoholic does not take one drink. Food sobriety and abstinence is soooooo worth.

Councelor told me to think of processed sugar and wheat and any other food that triggered as an allergen.

Not my fault, but as an adult, I'm responsible for my choices.

Exited to live my next 45 years food sober!!!

Brenda said...

My gateway, I now believe, is wheat. I've been on Atkins many times and lost some but couldn't maintain it so gained more than ever. I'm now starting a new health recovery based on wheat allergy = we'll see, but I'm hopeful.

Lyn said...

I agree. Many doctors have no clue about nutrition nor preventing disease. That is why I changed doctors about six times and looked very carefully before settling on my doctor. I also take an active role in my own care by making sure I get copies of all lab tests and reports such as the metabolic panels and nutrition assessments my doctor orders. All the labs look great. We all should take an active role in our care.

Also, if you don't trust your doctor, it is time to change doctors. And I don't mean blindly follow. I mean TRUST and find it easy to work together and communicate.

Sarah said...

I'd love a link to your cauliflower mac & cheese? :)

Lyn said...

Sarah~

sure! Check at the very top of my blog, over on the left side. There's a link called "recipes" and the cauliflower mac & cheese is there in the low carb section. Hope you enjoy it :)