Tuesday, January 31, 2012

230- Five Stages

My post on Sunday was a little dramatic ("2 months of no weight loss and 1 month of no inches lost") forgive me, I came down with a cold shortly after writing that post, and my brain was most likely distracted.  While that statement is true, looking back to my numbers from August when I started this year, I've lost 10 inches and at least 11 pounds.  *Insert commentary about slow and steady winning the race here.*  I still find the need to be a little introspective on this past month, and how I can improve upon the next.  There was a lightbulb moment of sorts last night when the bf deluxe was trying to push cold medicine on me.  "Just take some, you'll feel better."  "No thanks, I don't want that stuff in me."  *Bf deluxe eyeroll.*  I said "I feel when I take that stuff, I suffer less, but for a longer period of time.  I rather suffer a whole bunch for less time." 

Apparently that is a true statment for when I have a cold, but not much else.  I took a step outside myself, and realized I have been suffering a little for a long period of time.  This revelation led to another. 

When we lose something dear to us, there are said to be five stages of grief.
1. Denial, Isolation
2. Anger
3. Bargining
4. Depression/sadness
5. Acceptance

I know it may seem ridiculous to some people that I may be deep in the process of grieving for the loss of---Food.  Believe me, it sounds ridiculous to me.  But when I look back at my 1.5 years of learning to eat Paleo, I see the five steps almost crystal clear.  Well, at least, I see that I've at the very least made it to step 3- Bargining, and this is where I believe I'm stuck. 

After my first 8 days into full fledged Paleo, I felt so amazing.  Life was sunshine and puppies and bacon.  I knew at that moment that I wanted to eat this way (and feel this way) for the rest of my life.  Not only that, but it felt as if it was the way I SHOULD have been eating all along.  My first real test came two days later around day 10, when I had to take a trip to California for my cousins graduation.  I knew it was going to be tough facing my family (who can't do anything without planning the meal first) and also being away from my own kitchen and support system.  I had momentum though.  I was new to Paleo, excited, and ready to take on all of the "don't you miss bread?  You LOVE bread?" and "can cavemen eat this?" and "you sure are eating a lot of fat."  The comments rolled off me like water off a ducks back.  However, I still found myself telling myself was happy eating my chicken and salad with olive oil/balsamic dressing while they were stuffing their faces with red velvet cake and pulled pork sliders.  Like if I said it enough times, it would become more true.  Somewhere after these 30 days or so, the momentum became tough to hold onto.  I found myself saying no to events that I wished I could attend, but might lead to annoying questions, or put me in close proximity to dangerous foods.  I definitely felt alone swimming against the tide.

This step gets tested over and over.  I see my fit friends eating all sorts of crap, and it makes me so angry.  Why can't I eat a plate of pasta and wipe the plate with bread like a normal person?  This usually leads to some sort of cheat, which may lead to one or more, which leaves me feeling like crap.  Then I get even MORE annoyed that its true.  I can not eat certain things (wheat, gluten, refined sugar).

Ah, yes.  The compromise.  I am a master at the compromise.  Oh, its gluten free?  Sure!  That will work, just this one day.  I bet I can find a "paleo" dessert/pancake/bread recipe!  This my friends is the stage in which I'm suffering less, but suffering longer.  By allowing more items to be on the table (corn tortillas, dark chocolate, paleotized items), I feel more "normal" and therefore suffer less thoughts of feeling sorry for myself.  However, by allowing these questionable items to become commonplace, I'm slowing my bodies progress towards insulin regulation and weight loss, therefore suffering longer.  I know why I'm stuck here.  I'm still holding onto the thought that one day, if I do reach a weight that is more suited to my body, I can eat the off-limits foods.  I hope everyone sees how messed up that thinking is.  I do.  But that doesn't change it.  Even more so, that thinking has prevented me from reaching the next step- depression/sadness because just as I get to the feeling sad for all the things I can't eat anymore, I bargin my way out of it and eat a paleo waffle, or some Juanitas tortilla chips and Emerald Valley Salsa.

I must figure out a way to allow myself to mourn my old lifestyle without turning this stage into bargining.  While I can say it over and over to myself that I just can't eat certain things ever again, it has yet to really hit me to the point of me being sad and mopey about it.  I need to recognize the sadness coming on, and let it hit without numbing it with 70% chocolate or a handful of raisins.  This stage is absolutely necessary for me to get through, since after sadness, I can enter the best stage of all.

I don't think I'll have any problems once I get here.  I will proudly eat the discarded chicken skin off your plate, and pass on the bread and cupcakes.  There won't be any need to justify my actions, the way I look will do that for me.  I will no longer waste my breath trying to explain my choices to people that will never accept anything except what they are doing.  When I get here, I won't be on any diet or part of any crazy cult.  I will just be Paleo.

I don't think I can force myself into the sadness phase, but I do believe that recognition is the first step.  Now perhaps when I find myself contemplating bargining thoughts, I can determine if I'm bargining to avoid sadness (or something else).  Chances are, I bet I will be!  When I find myself between stages 3 and 4, I'll remind myself "I rather suffer a large amount for a shorter period of time than suffer a little bit for an indefinite amount of time."

This post was adapted from and inspired by Robin Strathdee, a contributer to the Whole9 Blog: original post found here:

1 comment:

  1. I've always found the paleo versions of bread/waffles/pancakes/desserts to be a little odd. Like it is just a short step back to eating the non-paleo versions. Luckily I don't really eat a lot of that in grain forms so I also don't feel the need to have them paleotized. In fact, last night I got Subway and ended up just eating the meat right out of the bread. And I've found that I love something like blue cheese rolled up on salami or something way better than I like it with a cracker.