I take my vacation every year in October, and this past week was it. I have enjoyed the time off, doing things around the house that needed to be done, as well as homework for school as well.
This is the first time that I haven’t been concerned about cheating during my vacation. On other diets that has been a huge stressor for me: what if I go out and the temptation is too much? I haven’t had all that much temptation on this diet, and when I do start to crave something, I know that I’ve eaten something that I probably should have.
Case in point: On Friday my boss called me around noon and told me that she needed me to sign something that she had to fax to corporate that afternoon. This was a totally inconvenient time for me, but I went ahead and left the house. I hadn’t had lunch yet, so I was thinking about what in the world I should stop and get. I decided to stop at Hardee’s and get a low-carb thick burger with no cheese and no ketchup. (Ketchup has so much sugar in it, and I’m really sensitive to sugar!) Well, after I ate it I began to crave things like ice cream and pastries, which hasn’t happened for three weeks, since my body got over its sugar tantrum. The cravings were manageable, and I went on with my life.
On Saturday I went out again, this time with my daughters, around lunch time without eating lunch. We had a birthday party to attend at 2, and we left the house around 12 with the intent to buy a gift and our Halloween costumes before the party. The kids were hungry, so we stopped at Wendy’s and got chicken nuggets for them and a single with no cheese, no bun, and no ketchup for me.
After I ate that burger the cravings were ridiculous! I was on my way to the grocery store after the party, plotting out how I was going to see if they had coconut milk ice cream in the freezer section because I was craving ice cream like nobody’s business. (I had already talked myself out of going to Cold Stone.) I have told myself that I wouldn’t get that ice cream before, because it is sweetened with agave nectar, and I don’t know how my body will react to it. But apparently I don’t need to be getting burgers from fast food joints, either, because my body isn’t acting to positively to them.
A lot of places, especially fast food restaurants, use fillers in their meat. I was already aware of this, and it was in my head the whole time I was eating each of the burgers. I feel that sometimes it is okay to experiment, though, so that you will know how your body will react to certain things. I know now that I should probably stay away from fast food burgers. I hate arguing with myself about eating anything. I have certainly not focused on food like I used to; it doesn’t occupy nearly as much of my quality thinking time as it used to. Yesterday when I found myself arguing with myself about ice cream, I was shocked to realize that this is what I spent a lot of time thinking about before I started eating Paleo. I would think about eating muffins from Lowe’s Foods (MAN those things are good!) or Chinese for lunch from the Panda Express, or ice cream from Cold Stone, or other things that I loved to eat – and I would fixate on that, as well as my justification for eating those things and spending the money on them, for hours until I had acquired the food that I was fixated on! I realized yesterday, in the midst of what could have been the coconut ice cream meltdown, that I haven’t had these fixations in weeks. My mind has been free to think about my job (which I love to think about) and my school work (which is connected to my job, so I also love thinking about). I don’t find my thoughts about these things that I love to think about being interrupted by thoughts of food, because my total thought process has changed. And it has changed because my body is happy with the food that I’m giving it, and it doesn’t need or want anything else.
This is a really good realization to have, especially since there will come other times when I will eat something that my body doesn’t get along with. Knowing how I am going to react, as well as the thought processes that I will go through, will help me get through those times – hopefully relatively unscathed. But for now, I am proud that I didn’t succumb to the pressures of my cravings for ice cream because at the time of this writing (which is the morning after) I am not craving anything. I am enjoying my first ever completely black cup of coffee (I ran out of coconut milk, but I don’t think I need it any more) after waking up from a really good sleep (the great sleep I experience while on Paleo still amazes me).
Speaking of sleep, I used to be an avid napper. I would take a nap at the slightest provocation, and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Especially when each of my daughters were very small, I felt that the greatest sleep was from naps taken with them. One day this week I was driving somewhere and it was about the time of day that I usually love taking naps. I thought that maybe I would when I got home. But as I took a step back (figuratively – remember, I was driving) and evaluated how I felt, I realized that there was no way on earth that I would be able to get to sleep if I laid down in the bed. This has been the case for about three weeks now. I don’t have an afternoon slump, or a morning slump, or any time of day slump. I power through each day, and when I get around two or three o’clock I am constantly amazed that I still feel like I have energy to make it through the day. The only exception to this has been when I’ve gone to the gym. Weight lifting always seems to take it out of me, but still I haven’t felt like napping. It is amazing the boundless energy that I have experienced to get through the day. And every evening – usually around 9:30 – I can feel my body start to shut down for the night. I get so incredibly tired that it is almost impossible to keep my eyes open. So I go to bed and I wake up in the morning absolutely refreshed and ready to tackle the day again.
That was something else I noticed after I ate the burgers, though – particularly the one from Wendy’s. I felt incredibly sleepy after I ate them. I would probably use this information to guess that Wendy’s uses more fillers than Hardee’s, but that may be unfair to both. In either case, I will not be eating any more of either, because they obviously do not work well with my body. After I ate the burger from Hardee’s, I visited my fiance while he was on his lunch break. I can remember sitting there yawning while he was talking, afraid that he was going to think that I was incredibly bored with what he had to say. Nope, not the case! I was just suffering from the effects of eating something that I shouldn’t have eaten!
I do want to say in closing that it is absolutely wonderful to be able to think about food – or not think about it – in the ways that I have been able to for the last three weeks. It is complete and total freedom to me, and that freedom has translated to freedom to use my mind for other, more productive things. And that is one of the best gifts I could have given myself.