Ye-ha! I’ve reached the halfway point on the Blood Sugar Diet. My hormones have settled back down again; my step-count is continuing to build; my resistance exercises and HIT training are going well… I’ve lost another 3.5lbs AND dropped a dress size!!!
In the original research by Professor Taylor for this diet, the average weight loss at the 4-wk stage was an amazing 22lbs (10kgs). My 16lb loss is therefore NOT average… but then I was never destined to be average!! Taking into consideration my PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and Hypothyroidism, I’m very pleased with my results so far.
And dare I say it I think my wretched leg cramps and muscle weakness are at last starting to wear off.
So at the 4-wk stage, Dr Michael Mosley encourages you to retake the Carbs Crazing Quiz. He heads up the quiz with the question “Are you addicted to carbs?” Now, whether you can be addicted to carbs or whether you’ve just learnt to use them as your coping mechanism of choice is a debate I’m currently having with myself and anyone else who’ll debate it with me!
The quiz is listed on pages 84 – 86 of the BSD book, but here I’ll summarise my (very honest) pre-diet and Wk4 answers:
|1) Do you get an instant ‘hit’ as soon as you eat sweet, starchy or refried foods?||Yes||Yes|
|2) Do you eat 5 or more portions of carbs most days?||Yes||No|
|3) Do you often drink sweetened or flavoured drinks?||No||No|
|4) Do you often snack or graze between meals?||Yes||No|
|5) Do you eat 3 or more portions of fruit a day?||No||No|
|6) Do you usually have generous portions of carb-rich foods with most of your meals, getting over 30% of your calories from starchy & refined carbs?||Yes||No|
|7) Do you often eat to make yourself feel better?||Yes||No|
|8) Are you eating large portions?||Yes||No|
|9) Do you often feel unsatisfied, even soon after finishing a meal?||Yes||Sometimes|
|10) Does the sight, smell or thought of food often stimulate you to eat, even if you’ve just finished a meal or aren’t hungry?||Yes||Sometimes|
|11) Do you often lose control and eat much more than you meant to, particularly when eating snacks, junk food or sweets?||Yes||No|
|12) Do you often justify eating by thinking “Just this time”, or “I’ll eat better later”, or “I’ll burn this off later”?||Yes||Sometimes|
|13) Is food much on your mind? Do you often think about food during the day?||No||No|
|14) Do you sometimes eat in secret?||Yes||Sometimes|
|15) Do you sometimes snack late at night or during the night?||No||No|
|16) Do you often feel guilty or ashamed about what you are eating, yet find yourself eating it again soon after?||Yes||No|
|17) Do you often crave carbs or feel shaky, irritable, anxious, or sweaty without them?||Yes||Not so much now|
Many of these questions will really hit home hard if you, like me, identify with emotional eating. As I said in last week’s blog though, this diet is not just about losing weight and food; it also covers exercise and mental stability.
Last Christmas at a friend’s request, I drew up a list of 23 things which I’d changed in order to improve my lifestyle and general well-being. It’s a good practice to do as, like keeping an Activity Log, it helps you to see how you’ve progressed on an emotional and spiritual level too.
Dr Michael talks about ways he’s changed his lifestyle around to help him. I’ll end this week’s blog by discussing a few of his and my changes.
1) Be mindful of what you eat, when you eat it, and where you eat it.
MM aims to sit down at the table for each of his meals. He also eats slowly, often putting his knife and fork down between bites. I now try NOT to eat in the car. It used to be my favourite place for binges – and like all habits have a trigger, this is one that I can break. If I don’t eat in the car, then the association with a binge is not triggered. The last four weeks on this diet I have purposefully tried to enjoy every mouthful and savour the different flavours and textures. Eating more slowly also allows the food time to get to the part of your stomach where ‘full’ hormones are released that tell you it’s time to stop eating. If you eat too quickly, you’re stuffed before your gut hormones have had a chance to kick in and send their vital message to your brain.
2) Keep tempting foods out of the house.
MM has his kids well trained not to leave chocolate lying around where it can be spotted. I live alone at the moment, so don’t have the problem of other people sneaking ‘naughty’ food into the house. Friends know not to bring me chocolates etc. I much prefer flowers and good coffee!!
Three years ago I was at an Eating Disorder seminar and got very upset having to walk past a table laden with different chocolate bars available to purchase by us attendees. I wanted the goodies removed. The speaker Helena Wilkinson sat with me and we talked through why I was so upset. She explained that, just as my physical muscles needed working on to make them strong, so did my emotional muscles. She encouraged me to realise that every time I walked past that temptation AND RESISTED buying anything, that I was indeed strengthening my emotional muscles.
A similar scenario / method was suggested in a Horizon ‘Right Diet’ programme in 2015. Manufacturers and market forces would have us buy food all the time if they could. There are adverts all over the place, and tasty goodies placed at hand and eye level everywhere you would wait in a queue. The trick is to get defensive. Tell yourself that you’re not going to succumb to their ‘game’. You CAN resist the food, but you need to plan strategies and practice them to stay successful.
3) Do not shop on an empty stomach.
Since starting this diet, I write a list of the food shopping I need based on the given recipes, and buy only what’s on that list. I ignore BOGOF ‘bargains’ and special offers. I have a mantra which I repeat under my breath whenever I feel tempted walking round the supermarket and notice the cravings for food not on my list. Ordering your shopping online is one strategy which you can adopt to help you stay on track.
Another habit which I’ve had to break is ‘buying something nice’ to eat in the car after I’ve finished shopping. Again, it’s identifying behavioural triggers and coming up with a strategy to break them and provide yourself with a healthier ‘reward’.
4) Keep busy
As I said in my Week 1 blog, I’ve got a ‘distraction list’ which I use when I find myself thinking about food and trying to convince myself I need something nice to eat. Doing something instead of thinking about food / eating is a good way to break the cycle of eating every time you feel like it. Our thoughts are just that! They’re thoughts, not commands. We don’t have to act on them – we can just acknowledge that they’re there, and then let them pass away again.
5) Write a daily gratitude list
For anyone who has any knowledge of 12-step recovery programmes, you’ll be aware that this is a part of Step 10. Last thing at night, going through your day and making a list of things you need to do the following day, what you need to make amends for, and things you’re grateful for, all help to create a good perspective on things. When we focus on only the bad stuff which we’ve done wrong to others or had done wrong to us, our outlook becomes very negative and vengeful. Staying positive and accountable helps us.
Being more mindful in everyday life is not about saying that I’ve got it all together, that I’m doing great and don’t slip up – I most certainly do slip up, and certainly haven’t got it all sussed – but what I’ve found to work, I share with you all here.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite passages in the Bible which echoes what I’ve just said:
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life. Summing it all up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from Me, what you heard and saw and realised. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.”
Philippians 3: 12-17; 4: 3-9 (The Message)
See you next week!!