LCC is Right- and also Not Correct- about Low-Carb Cheat Days

Low-Carb-Confidential posted a very moving quote (from himself? A famous author? I don’t know) that spoke a lot of wisdom in regard to relationships. I have been pondering it, with gratitude.

As to the eating of high-carb foods and the theory that it’s OK to splurge and then come back to low-carb, I both agree and disagree. I agree that a religious OCD mentality about dieting is not only unhealthy but also impossible to maintain long term. It can alienate those who feel insecure about their own eating habits, and confound those who eat normal diets, complete with all types of carbohydrates, who maintain their weight.

Where I disagree with ‘a little won’t hurt’, is where some addiction theory begins. As I have referenced in my previous posts, there is increasing science to support the idea that certain foods trigger unnatural eating behavior in some people. (Watch Super Size Me for another supporting theory). There are certain foods that have been especially crafted to cause us to crave them. Others just do so not so much by clever conspiracy, but rather chemical makeup.

For those of us who are unaware, or prone to addictive tendencies, food is a powerful force that goes beyond simple enjoyable nutrition, but becomes a genuine addiction, but it is rarely acknowledged as such. Changing one’s diet and exercise regimen  might be the catalyst for weight loss, but if it is so easy, why does America alone spend over 33 billion dollars a year on weight loss products and services? (MSN.com)

The answer is simple. Many of us simply need to cut down on portions. Many more simply need to make a few small changes to the daily routine, and add a little regular exercise. Then there are those of us with a unhealthy relationship with food. Some might call it gluttony, idolatry, addiction, or abuse. It is when we have let our appetite for the feelings that certain foods or eating patterns bring us control our behavior. It is no more amusing, nor less dangerous, than an alcoholic’s dilemma. We already are aware of what America’s increasing love affair with food is doing to our health- both emotionally and physically.

Just as the recovered alcoholic need not usually be too careful with the dash of cooking wine in food, or the accidental ingestion of alcohol- if that could ever really happen- the sugar addict need not worry much about the hidden sugar they accidentally ingested in some food they thought sugar-free, or the one bite of cracker. But to boldly walk into the proverbial lion’s den and purposely choose those old favorite treats to eat with abandon might be for many, akin to the recovered alcoholic going to the bar for ‘just one margarita” . Some people can, perhaps go back to a life of moderation, still enjoying treats as exactly that- treats. But there may be some of us who can never ‘go back’. So, as I contemplate my birthday, I anticipate one of the following possibilities. First, I will eat what I want, not gain weight for a one-day splurge, and feel confident. I will continue to want the pizza and chocolate, and my healthy fear will be diminished. Perhaps the next splurge will be that much easier…and I begin the slide down the slippery slope. The next possibility is that I enjoy my birthday treat, laugh, love, and be merry, and go right back to low-carb the next day, none the worse for wear.

I know myself. And instead of dinking around and playing with the fat-burning furnace I worked so hard to create, I’ve decided to keep the splurge to a modest enjoyment- I will eat a few of my favorite things, but I will not focus on food for my birthday, as if it is a reward for ‘good behavior’. I am living the reward, and the nay-sayers, like some of my family, be damned. I mean that with love, of course.

Advertisements

It’s Not Dieting- it’s about Self-Mastery

Taking myself too seriously has been a lifelong hobby of mine. Most importantly, I hate being a slave. But I have been a slave to many things. Cigarettes, sugar, and the tendency to go all or nothing with beer, with smoking when I did, and now with nicotine gum. I have always been this way. That’s why moderation scares me. I know it’s the right way, but it’s so much harder for me than all-or-nothing. At the end of the day, I want to be able to enjoy my food in moderation, and without restrictions. I want to be able to enjoy food, even pasta and bread, potatoes and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but not to be obsessed with any of it. I do believe that I will achieve that goal, and the TRUE test of ‘self-mastery’ is to be able to partake of all that life has to offer (no, not illegal drugs, etc.,) without being possessed or controlled by the craving for it.

Why do we crave food when we aren’t hungry? Why does a junkie need a fix? More importantly, why do we have the need to escape?  Is this a reflection of our high-stress lives? The modern world? Could it be our own dysfunction that we can’t deal with? There are probably more questions than answers, but I subscribe to a simple theory that much of the dysfunction is just bad habit that’s been ingrained. We can learn new ways to respond to the challenges life throws at us. We can rise up, or we can suck lollipops. We can go to the gym, or we can go for the quick-endorphin producing bowl of ice cream. There’s nothing wrong with ice cream, eaten and enjoyed. The problem begins when ice cream, or any other thing, becomes our crutch, our reason for living. I have an inner glutton that will never be satisfied by any of the materials I try to stuff into myself. The hunger I am seeking to fill comes from learning to be content in the moment, without one more thing added. I have everything I need to lead a productive, happy life, already inside of me. Giving and receiving love, in all the many ways that manifests itself, comes right under having my “Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs” met. Chocolate donuts are not necessary for my happiness.

Giving and receiving love. Releasing others from the perceived hurts and pains they have caused us, laughing with abandon, tossing away worry and fret- these are the freedom and peace bringers. Think about it, we all only have a brief span of years, in the grand scheme of things. If we are here to learn, serve, and love, there isn’t enough time for anger, worry, and numbing ourselves to our own ugliness and pain. It won’t work- the bowl of ice cream-to fix the buried memories of rejection, abuse, fears, pains, and loneliness. The meth won’t make us more productive at work, and the heroin won’t transport us to another, better reality. Beer buzzes don’t bring me to an enlightened state of being.

So, low-carb dieting is much more for me than fitting into smaller clothes, or looking better. It’s even more important than health, and feeling great. It’s truly about kicking false idols to the curb. I haven’t completed that journey, but at least I am on the road.