It has been two weeks since I started my diet. There have certainly been some ups and downs, both physically and mentally. The first two days of the diet I was tasked with consuming 5000 calories each day. This was to trick my metabolism into thinking that this was a normal amount of calories for me and put the fat burning into hyper-drive. At first this was fun. I went to the grocery store and bought all of my favorite junk. Ice cream bars, jalapeño poppers, mozzarella sticks, Danish pastries, Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches…the more fat, sugar, and calories the better. I learned by about three in the afternoon on the first day, that this was going to be more difficult than I imagined. I still needed to consume about 2000 calories by the end of the day, and I was completely full and not feeling great about all the garbage food in my belly. I resorted to milkshakes. Did you know that one Jack in the Box Oreo Cookie shake has almost 1200 calories? I’ve never been a calorie counter, so it was an eye opening experience to tally up a full days worth of gorging. By the end of day two I was done with my calorie loading phase, and I felt horrible. So much sugar, so much fat.
On day three, a Monday nonetheless, I began the reduction phase of my diet. Fasting until 11am and then only eating two meals between 11am and 5pm. Just lean protein and vegetables for the meals with some other “free foods” anytime in between. I also started taking a bunch of natural/organic vitamins and supplements that helped with the hunger cravings, digestion, and energy. That evening I was hit with one of the worst headaches I have ever had in my life…with exception to a brief period in my 20s when I suffered from migraines. It was intolerable. I took a straight shot of salt water and a bunch of ibuprofen and knocked myself out. Salt water actually works pretty well to relieve a headache that is due to electrolyte deficiency. Just be very careful not to use too much salt in your shot of water…especially when you’re at work the next day as your stomach will immediately reject it and you will have to sprint across the office to barely make it to the public restroom in order to projectile vomit all over the bathroom stall.
On day three and day four, I actually gained weight. I guess this wasn’t surprising since I had pigged out so hard on day one and day two. My peak weight was Tuesday morning at 194.4 lbs. Then I started losing weight. By day five and six my headaches were less intense and it felt like I was starting to get into a rhythm. I can honestly say that I haven’t strayed from the plan or cheated at all, and this morning on day 15 I’m down to 179.8 lbs. I feel good. I’m not starving. My energy is up. I’m getting out of bed much earlier than normal and I’m not desperately trying to find caffeine. It’s encouraging.
The most profound thing, perhaps, is realizing that so much of my lifestyle previously revolved around food. Our leisure time, date nights, vacations, business lunches, social drinking…..it’s hard for me to think of much about my life that hasn’t been directly connected to overindulging in food. I’m not hungry on this diet so I don’t physically crave these things, but psychologically I have struggled…although, it’s a hopeful struggle. As Drew and I have been thinking through practical issues like budgeting, meal times, intentional time with the kids (you know, all the things that families might do together), we’re now encouraged by the idea that we don’t need to be lead by our stomachs. We’re hopeful that this change will give us room in our lives to be lead by other things…Good things.