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Monday, January 27, 2014

Choosing an eating plan

By now, the motivation from New Year's has probably worn off.  You either found an eating plan that works for you and are sticking to your new habits; or you fell off the wagon and chucked the whole idea of eating well.  What happened?  I think we unfairly tend to question our dedication and willpower.  As a group, those of us that struggle with our weight, beat ourselves up too much.  Most of the "professional dieters" I've met are extremely focused and dedicated.  Our mistake is in not choosing an eating plan that fits our lives and works for our bodies.

I am diabetic.  One of the reasons I chose to have weight loss surgery was that it can put diabetes in remission.  I heard story after story of people who came out of surgery and never took diabetes medication again.  This was not my experience.  My body has a unique chemistry.  Generally when people eat less carbs, their blood sugar goes down.  For me, if I eat too low carb, my body stops producing insulin all together and my blood sugar goes up.  All of my doctors are stumped and think this couldn't possibly be true, but for me it is.  If I eat the way bariatric patients are told to eat, it is not the healthiest way for me.

In order to choose the right eating plan for you, you need to listen to your body and find what works.  Instead of seeing a setback as a failure, we should evaluate why it didn't work for us.  Was it too strict?  Did it eliminate foods that you aren't willing to give up?  Did the chemistry not work for your body?  Did it not fit into your lifestyle?

Before my surgery I tried so many plans with varying success.  If I pay attention, I can realize that each "failure"  told me something about what works for my body.  Weight Watchers has me eat too many calories, Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem don't allow me to experiment with recipes, raw vegan was the wrong chemistry for my body, Atkins and paleo had too few carbs and too much fat.  Ideal protein was too restrictive.

It's taken me a lot of effort to find the sweet spot of diet and exercise.  Heck, I'm still not sure I have the right combination.  Currently, I am working with a dietician to tweak to right numbers.  I know I hate counting calories so I structure it differently.  I count carbs, protein, and fat for each meal instead.  I know I have trigger foods like cheese and chocolate, so I limit them to one day a week.  I know I need some carbs, but they need to be high fiber.

Give yourself permission to play around.  Don't beat yourself up over perceived failures.  Evaluate after a few weeks.  Tweak.  Repeat as often as necessary to find what's right for you.  Don't give up on your health!