My chosen approach for healing and the resulting elimination of excess body fat is nutritional ketosis, within Paleo guidelines. It's the only approach that supports my body in releasing excess fat. If you want to know more about this you can read here:
CICO Shove Off! 'New Kid on the (Nutritional) Block' Hits Mainstream
The upside of Paleo nutritional ketosis is that it allows me to feel better than I have ever felt in my entire life (even as a child), and it allows me to live the life I want and to which I feel called.
The downside of Paleo nutritional ketosis is that it requires an unwavering commitment to a specifically proscribed way of eating that doesn't easily adapt to social situations.
For the most part, this isn't a big deal for me. I don't struggle around food I choose to avoid (I've made complete peace with the chosen specifics of my journey). I don't battle with food cravings. If there isn't any food available which fits into my chosen plan I easily and happily fast until my next meal.
Regular "cheat meals" have never been part of my fat elimination strategy... not because of any real sense if virtue, but because I really feel no need to eat off plan for the sake of doing so. If I do stray off plan, it's with full awareness and within a very small margin... usually to adapt to a social event or celebration, and always with some basic 'rules/guidelines' still in place. I don't see the point, nor do I have the desire, to limit social engagements because of dietary needs. Everything has ceased being about the food. I've even discovered that I enjoy social engagements MORE now that food isn't really part of the "entertainment."
Most recently, however, I ran up against a situation that defied my usual tactics to stay on track. We purchased very expensive tickets to a fund-raising event that featured a gourmet meal. I went into the situation with my eyes wide open, knowing full well that I would have minimal control over the food provided. I did take what steps I could to minimize the potential damage: at the time we purchased our tickets we were allowed to specify gluten-free, which we did. Additionally, we were provided the menu ahead of time, so I called the event venue and spoke to the Chef (very nice fellow) to make sure that my meal was gluten/grain-free, and devoid of all other obvious foods to which I'm sensitive. Based on what he had to say I felt that the meal would be low-carb enough to allow me to stick to keto macros, so I didn't elaborate any further.
The meal served was truly AMAZING in every respect... and important to note, much to my surprise, I was eating the same meal that everyone else received! The chef designed the entire menu to be inclusive of all the guests, and with respect to any/all food sensitivities. Not ever in the last seven years has this happened! So, I was very happy to:
---have soda water with a slice of lime instead of a cocktail, or wine
---enjoy my bacon-wrapped steak tips appetizer
---have my half-cup of tomato bisque without croutons
---enjoy every bite of my field greens and pomegranate salad with vinaigrette
---leave the HUGE serving of potato gratin untouched on my plate... the two small carrots and two asparagus spears were sufficient, along with my brie and spinach stuffed chicken
---eat only half my chicken... and melt extra butter over all of it
---taste only one forkful of my cheesecake
...all in all, a very successful evening, I thought.
Despite my planning and care, and the Chef's very thoughtful consideration, I still woke up the next morning inflamed (every joint hurt and I was puffed right up) and completely out of ketosis. Even worse, my blood glucose was stupidly high. There was nothing visually in my meal, or by taste that could account for the metabolic drama which ensued.
...and despite the fact that I was right back on plan with my very next meal, it's taken me a whole week to regain all of my lost ground, and my sense of well-being.
Today... FINALLY... I'm once again cautiously optimistic. After a week of struggling to get back into ketosis, it seems I'm finally where I need to be for consistent elimination of body fat, and for feeling my best. There's even been a dip on the scale.
More importantly, my fasting blood glucose is finally back in normal range, and it's stayed there all day, and my ketones are finally rising. If I'm still in this place tomorrow, I'll consider this week-long metabolic ordeal over, LOL. The positives for staying the course despite how I was feeling include:
---no weight gain despite high inflammation and even higher blood glucose
---visible body composition changes continued
---as well as no diminishing of all the other health gains achieved in the two weeks prior to the dinner.
The best thing TODAY is that for the first time in over 10 days I feel terrific once again, and the benefits I look forward to with ketosis are once again evident:
---deep refreshing sleep
---my gut feels GOOD
---hunger is an afterthought, and were I choosing to eat, I'd be in complete control of what and how much I eat.
...all of which lead me to my pondering over the past week: 'cheat' meals... are they really worth it?
My current opinion for myself is a resounding... NOT one bit.
Before I even figured out how to eliminate excess body fat, I realized that whatever I did to eliminate the fat, I had to be willing to do for the rest of my life. Anyone who is successful at the elimination of excess weight, and keeping it off, has to come up with their own list of lifestyle "rules." Weight loss doesn't magically maintain itself, and it's wise to put some time into discovering what your own guidelines need to be. So...
I'm also continuing to ponder how to handle social engagements without derailing my progress. The usual everyday stuff is easy... I simply fast until I can eat food that fits my plan.
This event that completely threw me off is another matter. Had I not eaten the meal, others would have been very uncomfortable. I suppose I could have been even more particular when I spoke to the chef, but I so hate being so high maintenance. "Diva" or "food nazi" just isn't my style.
I don't have any answers on this one just yet (maybe some of you will have some to offer), but I am continuing to weigh these thoughts in the context of crafting my own realistic lifestyle... because getting to a healthy BMI, healing all of my chronic health issues, feeling my best all of the time... these things are NOT negotiable (less and less so as I age)... and I don't appreciate the social pressure to put these considerations second to social convention, fitting in, other people's opinions/agenda/comfort level, being (supposedly) polite/gracious/kind.
(people have been offended at my disinclination to eat certain foods, or even my choice to abstain from food in certain situations)
So, I have to figure this out within a social climate that prioritizes differently than do I.
I wonder... should we be serving social constructs, or should social constructs serve us?
(I suspect that social constructs are at least in part responsible for our obesity epidemic)
I wonder... do I have the courage to attend an event such as the one that started all of this and simply not eat (the food isn't the problem... I can leave the food, the people are)... or perhaps push the food around on my plate and hope no one notices... though... that feels dishonest and wasteful, and I don't like that any better.
I wonder... is it okay to simply take care of myself without apology, and simply leave people to struggle with their own reactions?
...and while I wonder, tomorrow I'm meeting with friends in the afternoon at a restaurant, and I'm choosing to do what is best for me (continue fasting)... and looking forward to seeing how it goes.
Perhaps it's simply the truth that will set me free....
From my friend, WATERMELLEN:
"I like the life I can enjoy when I diet."
To Life!! Yes, Even Life "Sentences"!!
Why I'm Still Here... my SparkJourney Saga
No more Mrs. Doubtfire... or Picture UPDATE at nearly 100 lbs. ELIMINATED!
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Losing a Lot of Weight
How I Am Eliminating 'EXCESS Weight'
(ponder this some and you come to see this SPARKjourney in a whole new light)
As of three weeks ago, I've once again recommitted to eliminating body fat, and I'm making progress (even though life is still annoyingly chaotic, even though inflammation is still a problem, even though distractions abound). I'm no longer "faking it until I make it." I'm all in and feeling great to have my head truly back in the game. Three weeks of consistent investment and I'm moving forward again. Now I just have to get over being annoyed at having to re-lose a few pounds, LOL.
(It occurs to me... next to my marriage, and raising my daughter, this is the longest I've been committed to and invested in anything... I don't know if this an inspiring, or sobering thought...)
I'm journaling the specifics of my keto/fasting journey here, if you're interested:
Isn't it funny how self-care seems to be foundational to meaningful change.
(I started my journey at 250 lbs. & over 50% BMI... Obese Class III)
(...it's best to never forget from whence you came. Those who don't acknowledge history are doomed to repeat it.)