Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Thought

I often wish I didn't have to eat. At all.

I think that is part of what I loved about Medifast. I could just drink shakes every 3 hours if I wanted to, and only *had* to eat one meal of real food per day. Some days, I loved my dinners... full of fresh baked salmon or a bison burger and lots of steamed veggies or a salad. I got pretty creative with my menus, eating cauliflower pizza and zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo and things like that. And then other days, it was *such* a hassle to eat that one meal. Sometimes I would just puree a bunch of spinach in a blender full of Greek yogurt and Crystal light so I could drink my dinner and stay on plan. But real food? A lot of times, I just did not want it. I liked the absolute lack of concern about what I would eat. Drink a shake, move on. So easy. No more food thoughts, no food obsession. That is how I reached 175 pounds.

But you really can't live like that long term, not in real life with a family and all. And your body needs real food. So I eat. And the mindset swings back to wanting to eat all the time.

Why is it either wanting NO food or wanting to eat everything? Why not a happy medium? It's something I have struggled with all my life. Today I went grocery shopping and I wanted SO BADLY to buy a bag of Cheetos and a half gallon on ice cream and some Snickers bars. I wanted a deli sub on white bread and some Kettle chips and a bag of trail mix that has M&M's in it. I wanted a bottled sugary coffee drink and a frozen French bread pizza. But I knew... I KNEW... I would regret it. I knew looking at that bag of Cheetos at home on the counter would make me feel ashamed and burden me with guilt, because I was buying crap not only for myself, but for my children. I did not want my children sitting around eating Cheetos, but I did not want to hide the bag and eat them all myself in secret, either. So I just didn't buy them.

I got myself a nonfat, sugar free latte on the way home (160 calories). I thought about how nice it would be to just drink liquid meals all the time. I think I would be content to drink shakes and lattes and not eat food at all. After a few days low carbing, you just lose all appetite. At least I did for awhile. I miss that. But, maybe there is a happy medium in here somewhere. Maybe while I am counting calories, I can get my carbs low enough to kill the cravings somehow. Maybe.


Anonymous said...

You likely already know this but, a non-fat sugar free latte, may only be 160 calories but is not low carb. Two of these a day, depending on size, and where you get them, and you could already be over the number of carbs, most lower carb plans would promote for weight loss. So if low carb is where you want to go...It may work well for maintaining and that is clearly better than gaining.

Lyn said...


yes, the latte has 25g carbs. I am aiming for 100 grams or so per day. Aside from the carbs of 2 lattes a day, there is no way I could afford that kind of habit! I might have 2 a week. Sometimes I make them at home using water and half & half instead of milk, which makes the same size drink have 2 grams of carbs... much better choice.

MargieAnne said...

Hi. I continue to admire your honesty. You've taught me a lot about being open and admitting struggles even to myself.

One thing that comes to mind as I read about your food visualisation, cravings, fantasies.... whatever you want to call them.

Think of some foods that are acceptable on your healthy eating plan and keep them in your head.

I was amazed to find myself visualising a pan fried fish meal recently until I just had to go to a restaurant and order it. Aside, I'm not a big fish eater and I dislike cooking it.

Just a thought - you might like to consider. I believe this is a technique used by addiction counsellors ... replace the non-acceptable with something good.


Patty said...

My mom was such a great example for me as she taught me how to balance every aspect of my life. I feel very balanced too now because of that! It takes a while to get a handle on everything. We as moms have to balance so many things - it's not easy, but you're on the right track!!! I do the same thing in the grocery store!! lol

Claire said...

I think this all.the.time. Food addiction is like no other; we can never completely stop eating, where smokers, drug users, alcoholics all completely walk away from their addiction. I'm not saying it's easy, but it is final, unlike food addiction.

timothy said...

100 is a LOT of carbs. i think you should use carbs low on the glycemic index as they dont tend to trigger that insulin induced craving monster. it's easy enough to google the list but way too long to leave in a comment. just keep pluggin away sweetie, knowledge IS power and the more you know the easier/better it will be! xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I SO hear you, Lyn. It's a daily struggle, and one we have to face every single day. I really envy people who eat whatever they like when they're hungry, stop when they're full and move on. Food is just an aspect of life they don't have to think of. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I read an article that said a way to start forming a more positive mindset about foods and to feel more empowered is to say to others and yourself when faced with trigger foods or wanting a certain food is to say "I DON'T eat Cheetos" instead of "I CAN'T or I SHOULDNT eat Cheetos." Dont means a choice.....Cant means a restriction. . Mindset is so important. I dont have a blog so have to be anonymous. My name is Lynn too though. Thanks for your blog, Lyn. I am a long time reader but rarely comment. I admire how honest you are.... And your blog helps many people!

Anonymous said...

I could never eat as low carbs as you do. I think I eat around 200-250 g carbs daily. But I am eating regural foods and not even trying low carb. I hope you can find balance with your trigger foods. That is not easy.

Diandra said...

I couldn't imagine living without real food.

Have you considered trying green smoothies as snacks, or maybe for lunch sometimes? I really enjoy them every now and then, and some people I know swear by them.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. You CAN live like that long term. If you are prepared to stay in ketosis as a permanent (note, NOT diet) way of eating, then you can live like that. yes, if you want to eat carby stuff you can't. Personally, I choose the bliss of non-hunger and lack of obsession all the time.

I also agree with Timothy - 100g is a lot of carbs! In fact, I don't think that is even classified as low-carb it is so high. You should be looking at 50g and lower I would say.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you don't just eat the meals that you did when you were on Medifast? I'm talking about the one meal you could have of "normal" food not the packaged stuff.

Plus a non-fat sugar free latte most likely has artificial sweetners which can actually cause more cravings for sugar. I'm not sure I would want to waste 160 calories on a drink anyways when it won't fill you up and has no nutritional value.

I personally don't beleive in the whole "everything in moderation" when trying to lose weight. Maybe once you get to your goal weight but even then "moderation" can easily lead to gaining the weight back.

Amy said...

Yay for you, Lyn!!! It is no small victory that you overcame the power of the Cheetos and opted for the Latte! The way I see it, that latte is nothing in comparison to what the Cheetos would have been!
Well done!

Anonymous said...

Here's my reaction: the foods that you listed as craving - "a bag of Cheetos and a half gallon on ice cream and some Snickers bars... latte" - are non-foods. What I mean is that highly processed foods require no real effort to eat - you have to chew the peanuts but even the cheetos basically dissolve in your mouth. Compare that to eating a carrot or stir fry or even brown rice - so. much. work. for so few calories.

Also - highly processed/ white foods tend to be much sweeter than real foods, which makes it difficult on your taste buds.

Lyn said...

re: the carb level being high~

I chose that carb level because that's what I was eating on Medifast: 85- 100g/day. Usually I was right about 100. That was usually enough for me to get the benefits of mild ketosis, no cravings, no hunger, and weight loss. I could go lower but would there be additional benefits?

re: latte nutrition~

I agree drinking calories is not usually a good choice unless it is something like a protein smoothie, but a latte does have nutritional value: 16 grams of protein. It does satisfy me for about 2-3 hours. The rest of the junk that I didn't buy, but craved, was stuff that would be harmful to my body.

Sometimes I get cravey and since I don't usually have junk at home, I overeat the healthy things I have on hand like fruit, nuts, nut butters, avocados, light cheese. I have these things not only for me, but for my children who rely on them for good nutrition.

I like green smoothies but *any* smoothie I make needs plenty of protein, and I have trouble getting a smoothie to taste good without adding something to sweeten it, whether it be juice, ripe fruit, or Splenda... and then we have too many carbs or the artificial sweeteners.

Lyn said...

p.s... if anyone has a good smoothie recipe please leave it! I would love to try them.

PuffsPlus said...

I have been eating around 150 grams of carbs a day, but limiting sugar to one treat once a week, and also I gave up diet soda and anything artificially sweetened (including toothpaste!).

I found the latter step is what really has made me stop craving sweet things, even during PMS, when traditionally I had a super-sweet tooth.

Maybe try giving up artificial sweeteners and see how that makes you feel? Just something to consider.

Anonymous said...

I think going lower (ito carbs) would definitely make a difference! At 50g a day, I still have cravings. At 20 - 30 g a day, food is the furthest thing from my mind and I only eat when I'm truly body-needs-food hungry - it is just effortless.

You should look at the carb scale on mark's daily apple.

Claire said...

Lyn, have you heard of the video Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? If you put the title into Google it will bring up the site. A full length video to watch, plus plans, forums, blogs, etc. This man from Australia did a 60 day veggie/fruit juice fast to heal his body. Anyway, it's pretty close to amazing and there are a lot of people who are doing this in some form, whether it be full fast or modified where you would drink your breakfast and lunch and then eat a dinner.

When I read your post this morning I just thought this plan might really fit you. Lots of fresh veggies and fruits, very healthy eating.


Beth said...

Have you considered doing the Whole 30? It's only 30 days and can give you the boost you need to get your eating on track.

InWeighOverMyHead said...

When I went to a Medifast consult before surgery they said on the 5 and 1 program you are less than 50 grams of carbs per day.

Lyn said...


They were mistaken; each Medifast meal has 10 - 15 grams of carbs, so even with the shakes which are 11-12g each, you'd already be at 55-60g carbs per day. Maybe they were talking about one of the other plans, such as the one for diabetics which uses diabetic shakes. I think those are 8 g carbs each.

Lyn said...


I have considered Whole 30. I am not so sure I could stick to it. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

That website Marks Daily Apple blew my mind. Look in the success stories for the man named 'David'. This 'primal' plan is protein, fat and low carbs..low enough to avoid ketosis. The results are staggering!! I am going to do this pan for 3 months and then re-evaluste where I am. Bought the recipe book too. I found MDA site here on Lyn's blog and I'm a grateful reader Thanks Lyn :)

Beth said...

I am on Day 10 of the Whole 30. The first few days took some diligence and self control but now it is almost easy.

You said: "I am not so sure I could stick to it." Just determine you are going to do it and then do it. You are stronger than pizza.

Vb said...

I've mentioned many times I think the Whole30 would be great for you. Many commenters have me ruined the whole30. 1)it's only 30 days. 2) it's not a diet, it's an experiment in finding out what foods work for your body. 3) the plan involves eating only real foods, as much as you want, no counting calories. 4) if you can't find it in you to devote 30 days to your body, don't you think something else might be going on, and maybe you just aren't mentally ready to tackle weight loss? Paralysis by analysis is an easy trap to fall into. When we start over thinking things, we just seize up.

Kristine said...

Your carbs are on the higher side. I would shoot for 50-75. One thing is for sure you HAVE to ditch the junk. PERIOD. You are still having those cravings for bad food because you have not eliminated all the junky stuff yet. By eliminated I mean completely gone, even your sugar free latte spiked with chemical sugar. Until this stuff is completely gone you will crave these things. You will probably have a hell of a first week but after that you will feel great. Just remind yourself that these things are what made you obese.

Anonymous said...

I think what is important to remember about the carb level (~100g) with Medifast is that you were eating 5 mini-meals each of which had 10-15 carbs and Protein grams that would equal usually 85% of carb grams. Because each mini-meal had an equal amount of protein (almost) and 15 or less carbs, you wouldn't experience blood sugar swings from those mini-meals. Even if those carbs were pretty much frankenfood carbs supplemented with vitamins and minerals, that wasn't as important as the fact that they were slowly processed because of the protein that accompanied them and the small quantity in each serving. (= no blood sugar swings). You CAN recreate this long term with a lot of different whole, local, natural unprocessed foods and I think you would be best served by sitting down and really trying to create an extensive list of mini-meals that you could create and then making a batch and then portioning them out for FROZEN mini-meals. You've got to make it easy for when you are on the go, or when don't feel like cooking.

The problem (as I see it) is that when not on Medifast, the tendancy is to eat larger meals less often that have a larger number of carbs and not enough protein, which leads to blood sugar swings and thus cravings. A long term solution has to be a way of eating that prevents cravings / binges. It is SO easy for some of us to regain (quickly) everything we've lost.

Some mini-meal ideas:
Veggie/Meat Stir-Frys
Veggie/Meat Quiche Muffins
SMALL sandwich on low-cal/carb bread
soups (homemade or canned)
smoothies (with protein powder, cottage cheese, or greek yogurt to increase protein)

I think it was a blessing for you to try Medifast and find that there IS a way to eat that eliminates cravings/hunger/binges. How can you use that knowledge to create your own long-term meal plans?

It can be done. It isn't easy. But really, is anything worthwhile ever easy? =)


Vb said...

*sorry, many commenters have MENTIONED the Whole30...silly auto correct.

Lyn said...

Jo, yeah, you're right, I have been mulling that over for some time. I even have a list going of such mini-meals that are real food and meet the Medifast meal nutrition stats. I think that would be doable.

Raina Singh said...

Why is it either wanting NO food or wanting to eat everything?

This is why, I personally feel, people who haven't struggled with their weight/nutrition/activity aren't in a position to say 'just stop eating'.

A smoker, an alcoholic, a drug addict - they all can continue to exist without that particular vice in their life. However, what if we told the smokers, the alcoholics, the drug addicts that instead of giving up their vice altogether, they had to consume their vice 3 times and 3 times ONLY per day - no more, no less. It would be more palatable for society to accept that THAT would be torturous.

That's how dealing with food is - we need the right food, though it's easier to actually go without because of withdrawals/cravings/etc. Of course it's not insurmountable, but I think it's as plain as day as to why people struggle here.

Theresa said...

A wise weight watchers leader interrupted a group of people who were arguing about carrots, onions and peas and if you should eat them, too much sugar. Blah blah blah.... We all know that discussion. The WW leader kindly said "I've never met anyone who's gained weight eating peas and carrots"
One of the other posters said don't over think it or it stops you from doing anything at all. I completely agree that a complete divorce from junk for a specified period of time will help get the focus back. Thirty days seems like a great goal. That's my goal starting July 1st! I think we should do a challenge. 30 days of clean eating. You pick the start date and give it all you've got!

Jac said...

This might be of some interest to you in figuring out your proportions of carbs/protein/fat in your daily calories: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-to-the-primal-eating-plan/#axzz1yi36n5HE

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about "resetting" your system with The Whole30? (http://whole9life.com/2012/06/iswf-page/) It's all about eating whole foods and real foods and it's only for 30 days. No grains. No dairy. No sugar.

I would also suggest coupling this with intermittent fasting. There are different methods, but basically stop eating after dinner is over and skipping breakfast for a regular or late lunch. This would mean one less meal to worry about (eating or putting together.)

Just a couple ideas from a long time reader. As always, I always wish you the best of luck with your health.

Anonymous said...

Eh, this is a weak excuse. Sure a smoker or a drug user can stop using and can walk away but don't think they don't make the conscious effort every day not to use. Or make the effort to not buy a pack of smokes when the stress of life becomes over whelming. You're right, we HAVE to eat, but we can make the effort to not eat what's bad for us or what will harm our bodies and keep us fat.


Anonymous said...

I hope you will consider doing it. (Whole foods/ homemade medifast like nutrition (carb/protein ratio + calories). I think you may find your long term solution by doing so. I hear you repeat over and over that you don't want to give up fruit. So don't. By eating 1/2 a medium banana WITH 90 grams egg beaters (raw weight) you would be meeting the 100 calories 14 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams protein.

You could cook up meats and portion them in baggies that would provide ~10-12 grams of protein and then eat them with carb foods that provide 50-60 calories (12-15 carb grams). Eating a lower carb plan to me usually means forcing myself to eat meat. I think if you had the meat portion cooked in advance and in little ziplocs in the fridge it would make it a lot easier every 3 hours to say to yourself what 12-15 gram carb item would I like to have now? Per Dr. Bernstein, you should eat the protein 1st as it slows down the absorption of the carbs.

Anyway, I think it could be a long term solution for you.

Good luck!


Lyn said...


That makes a LOT of sense. Thank you very much for that. I hadn't thought of it that way at all! I will try it.

Anonymous said...

I echo what so many, many others have said over and over again.

You should avoid all processed foods, sugar, and decrease your carbs. Look at low glycemic index foods or the Whole 30.

Bottom line (and I'm not telling you something you don't already know) is you need to make your health a priority. It doesn't mean ignoring your children or not attending to their needs. It means don't eat junk (lattes are junk) or other foods that are nutritionally poor. This is where looking at the Whole 30 can help.

Anonymous said...

Seems like there's a lot of discussion on the sugar free latte! I enjoy these at least twice a week, but I always get a tall. I noticed that for the nutrition stats you posted (assuming you buy sbux), you seem to be getting a venti?? Maybe instead of cutting it out all together, you could view it as a treat and get the small one instead of the large. Another great option is a misto, which is half coffee, half milk (vs. espresso and milk)-- tastes almost the same, but about half the calories and carbs!

Lyn said...


No Starbucks here anymore! I switched to a small local shop. I get a 16 oz latte. I am not sure why people think it is 'junk' when it is just skim milk and espresso. I do sometimes get a shot of sugar free flavoring, which might be considered junk, but sometimes I just drink it plain. Iced coffee is good too and I make those at home! Yes, and 12 oz would cut the calories a bit, I do that sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I would be really curious to find out... using the technique described above (eating the 10-12 grams protein as a basis for your mini meals) and then shooting for 12-15 grams carbs if you would even be able to control yourself around say an old binge favorite of yours - hot dogs. (1.5 oz of cooked chicken breast (1st) = 45 calories/9g protein then eat 1/2 a hot dog bun = 55 calories/1.5 grams protein/10 grams carb, with 1/2 an Fat Free oscar meyer hot dog 20 calories/2.5g protein/1.5g carb

Total for this meal of 1.5 oz cooked chicken breast followed by half a fat free oscar meyer hot dog on a half hot dog bun (I will assume ketsup and mustard would be "condiment" quantities) would be 120 calories/ 13g protein/11.5 carb. Ketsup and mustard are going to add a little to the final calorie/carb count... so lets say 135 calories/13g protein/14g carb.

So basically a medifast meal in regards to calories/protein/carb intake.

I would be really curious to find out if once you were "on plan" (meaning enough on plan to not be having blood sugar swings), if you could eat this old favorite (although FF hot dog), and not have it trigger you in to a binge. My guess is it would work. I REALLY believe that your binges are more physiologically based than emotional.

Perhaps there could be a long term way for you to eat where you ate small portions of your favorites (meeting the medifast 100-150 calorie/12-15g Carb/10-12g Protein goal and still not going off the deep end with a triggered binge.

My strong guess is that this would work. (Eating the protein 1st of course).

Ideally you would be eating a nutrient dense fruit or veggie for your carbs at each mini-meal... but I think you could fit in things that you seem to crave... hot dogs, cheetos, part of a snickers bar. I also think that eating in this manner might make you feel less likely to binge... thinking that in only 3 hours you could eat the other half of the hotdog if you wanted.

I don't know. Maybe your food issues wouldn't allow you to do this, but I think it could be worth testing. Testing would probably have to involve eating medifast meals for 4-5 days until you felt you were in the mental zone... or eating a non binge carb accompaniment to the protein (cabbage or low glycemic fruit for example), until you felt you were mentally in a good spot to test old trigger foods.

Anyway... I would love to hear about it if you chose to test this method of eating in the future sometime. =)

Good luck in whatever you decide. Coming up with a way of eating you can stick with long term is tough. (Trust me, I know!)


Anna Down Under said...

I honestly think it's because most of us don't eat the right foods - our bodies were designed to eat starch, and instead we tend to eat lots of animal foods. We're the only creature on the planet that doesn't eat what we were designed to eat (other than our pets because they eat what we give them) and hence we're the only creature on the planet with weight problems. Not only weight, but all the diseases of western society, which are brought on by our diet. When I eat properly, e.g. mostly starches, I don't get hungry and I have no cravings. Consider giving it a try!