I'm trying to think of it as, "I've found something else that doesn't work for me."
The problem is it didn't work for me the other two times I tried it, but I did it again anyway *sigh*.
In acknowledging that what I'm doing isn't working, and that what I've done many times over and over again isn't working either I had to sit myself down and figure out some stuff.
First, I started thinking about the more recent times I actually had lost a significant amount of weight...
There was MediFast, super strict food control and quite a bit of exercise (I was doing triathlons almost every weekend) 50+ lbs of weight loss that lasted.. almost no time before I was heavier then ever.
Leanness Lifestyle, super strict food control and quite a bit of exercise 50+ lbs that time too - I 'maintained' a few months while I tried to lose more weight before I lost the 'fight' and gained all the weight and more back again.
Body for Life, strict food control and daily exercise again I lost a lot of weight 40 or 50 lbs but weight loss slowed and then reversed an a very short amount of time.
Then there was that one time, I ate what I wanted, hardly exercised at all lost a lot of weight and kept it off for a year....
My brain keeps going back to those days -- what was different!? I wasn't at my goal weight but I was pretty happy with how I looked and felt, and it was effortless. The only thing that was 'different' about that time then any other time in my life was, I was single, I was living for no one but myself, I was happy.
Now, losing 50 or 100 lbs isn't worth getting a divorce over -- BUT that time at least gives me something to think about and shows me that I have it in me to lose weight and to keep it off for more then a day.
So next I started thinking about what WOULD my ideal diet plan look like. I've realized that the strict dieting I've done in the past has lead to horrible rebounds and I've suffered from "famine brain" as Martha Beck calls it in her book. I also knew that 'free eating' didn't really work for me (except for that one time, but as I said I'm not willing to leave my husband to lose weight) I started a list and here's what I came up with.
My ideal weight loss program:
- Generally low carb because this seems to be the plan that makes me feel the best (meat, cheese, nuts, veg)
- Low calorie is ok, but not so low that I feel terribly hungry all the time
- The ability to have a treat now and then without it blowing out my program or preventing me from losing weight for an entire week
- Some flexibility (can eat at a friend’s house or restaurant easily)
- 0-10 minutes of prep time required for each meal.
- Not huge amounts of pre-planning required
- Can lose weight without doing hours and hours of workouts (though will support these workouts if I choose to do them)
- No requirement to eat constantly - as few 2 meals a day if that's all I have time for.
Body for Life was probably the closest to these - so let me check out the pro's and cons
Six meals a day is really too much work and too much thinking about food. I hated constantly watching the clock waiting for my next meal time to pop up.
The planned free day is exactly what I'm looking for as far as 'allowing' treats. I think I got into trouble when I started trying to justify "two free meals" or some other form of 'allowed' junk foods. I also hear my inner wild child, or my feast beast or my famine brain saying.. "But what about when they serve cake at work, if you only get one free day, then how do you get to have your cake?"
But then if I just say, free food anytime you want it, I'm not dealing with emotional eating
So I'm trapped between:
Super strict dieting sets off the feast beat - I can only keep it caged for so long before I snap and eat everything I can get my hands on for days on end (or longer). And I'm stuck on a yo-yo of losing a few pounds then putting them back on again plus a few friends.
No food restrictions means that I eat whatever I want whenever I want. While my binging episodes go down some, I still have the unhealthy habit of eating my emotions and I slowly and steadily gain weight...
The simplicity of, "Eat a palm sized portion of protein and a fist size portion of carbs" is really close to what I'm looking for - no food logging! Who couldn't walk into a restaurant or a friend's house and figure what to eat with those simple rules. But that simplicity also lead me to eat a very boring diet. Every night I would come home and throw some chicken in a pan, put some veggies on top of it and stir fry that with rice. Every day at lunch it would be a salad with some chopped chicken on top. There has to be a way to have these same rules but modify them in such a way that I don't have to count calories or carb grams and still feel like I'm eating for my goals.
There was also the fact that I started really undereating - only eating around 700 calories a day in fact -- that of course lead to a really big binge/rebound eating.
Anyway... I've picked up some new books and I've dusted off some old ones to try and figure this out and put a new lifestyle in motion.
The two I'm using to set myself up an eating plan are "Flexible Dieting" by Armi Legge and "A Guide to Flexible Dieting" by Lyle McDonald. I'm hoping these can help me get some insight into creating a plan where I can limit intake enough to see progress, but not so much that the wild child starts going crazy and takes over my life (again).
As an aside here - remember when I talked about how when I was single for that year my weight loss was effortless? Well one other answer to that could be because I let my wild child out a LOT back then. She got to have her way in so many other ways that she didn't have to resort to food as her only outlet for having fun.
I'll come back and post more when I have a more solid plan!