Sunday, December 9, 2012

Atkins & the Carb-aholic

If I had to sum up the last few days, I'd say I'm tired and I feel like crap. Matt and I decided to do the Atkin's diet, which is a pretty big deal for me--and it was my bright idea, ugh! Matt did it before, he stayed in Induction (phase one -- 20 net carbs per day) the whole time, and lost more than 100 lbs. It worked really, really well for him. Unfortunately, every time I've tried it, I've collapsed into a heap of tears within the first few days. Turns out carb addiction is a very real chemical issue. It's like trying to get off of caffeine and it sucks. Try not eating carbs for, like, two seconds (hyperbole, much?), depriving your brain of the much loved serotonin overdose, it's not pretty. At least, it's not pretty for me. It's painful and I'm not well equipped to handle painful. The saddest part is that I've been so hooked on carbs that the serotonin, which is supposed to make you happy, does nothing for me. Awesome.

So, Atkins is a low-carb diet that allows only certain foods and asks you to stay within 20 net carbs (total carbs - fiber and sugar alcohol = net carbs) per day for the first two weeks. After that, you slowly add more carbs back until you've reached your weight loss goal. Since we've just started two days ago (today is day #3), the foods we can eat are limited to lean proteins, eggs, a little bit of cheese, and some vegetables. That's it. No bread, no milk or yogurt, no pasta, and no fruits. I've done a lot of reading and apparently, despite appearances, it's actually not unhealthy. I only agreed to give it another shot because they have shakes and meal bars, which allow me to eat something other than meat for every meal, especially since I'm not much of a meat eater (understatement of the year!).

So far, I'm feeling like total shit. Last night, I almost broke down in tears, I shouted at Matt, and I almost folded and ate mac and cheese with hamburger. The only thing I could think about was how it would taste, and, strangely, what I could add to make it better... like fresh tomatoes, which are a fruit and high in carbs. It's literally all I could think about. I couldn't focus on anything else and every time I tried I got frustrated. You know, the kind of frustrated you feel when you can literally feel the blood pumping through your veins, heart pounding, pressure in your head? Yeah, that. And Matt was going to let me eat it, because he doesn't want me to hurt. Isn't he sweet?

Ultimately, I just folded in and willed myself to think of something else, anything else, until the craving passed. In time it did, but what gave me the strength to try was Matt. He's recently quit smoking and he's doing beautifully, even though it hurts him and he still wants it. He's about 46 days quit now, he hasn't had a cigarette in 46 days--and he feels better, despite his struggle with cravings, he can breathe and has more energy. His strength in the face of an addiction he's been with since he was 12 years old made me want to reject my petty desire to scarf on carbs until I exploded. Don't get me wrong, typing this is making me want it again, but I'm trying to stay strong. I want to lose the weight and feel better, like he does since he quit smoking.

Really, the only thing that's kept me from ditching this diet, the only thing that makes me believe it'll work, is my own history. When I cut out sugary carbs, last year about this time, and stopped eating so much sugar, I lost 40 lbs. All I had to do was stop eating so much carb-filled junk and I lost weight. So, I'm excited to see what'll happen when I cut out most other carbs, too. Maybe I'll lose another 40+ lbs! That's the goal, anyway (big stress on the +).

Also, I'm somewhat motivated, again by Matt, but this time not because of something positive he's doing. Rather, because of my own insecurity. I see the way he looks at the smaller girls, even though he's fairly discreet. When I mentioned it to him he said, "have I ever said anything discouraging about your weight?" Of course, he hasn't, and he tells me he thinks I'm beautiful, which I think all wives, all women, like to hear. Still, I feel so frumpy these days, and part of that is my weight. I want to make a change. I want to go places with my husband without feeling like everyone around is wondering what he's doing with me.

So, I'm sticking to it, at least for now and hoping the scale give me a reason to be this miserable. Fingers crossed.