When I’m feeling good, I love to cook. I love to taste as I cook, and eat again when it’s done.
A semi-paleo exchange plan works pretty well, when I’m feeling good.
However, I don’t always feel good. I have a multitude of health issues, and much of the year (Midwinter through early Spring and Midsummer especially) I feel cruddy more often than not.
When I feel cruddy, I don’t want to cook, but I do want to eat. Boy! Do I want to eat… carbs, carbs, and more carbs (with fat and salt on top).
David Kessler’s book, The End of Overeating, taught me why. The fat, sugar, salt combo is a euphoric - part opiate and part stimulant, a perfect storm of pain reliever, mood elevator, stimulant, antidepressant, and sedative.
I found that carbs took the edge off arthritis, fibromyalgia, and menstrual pain much faster than tylenol or prescription pain medication. They didn’t suppress the pain as well, but they had the advantage of working almost immediately (and gave me something to do, waiting for the pharmaceuticals to kick in).
On bad days, I don’t like to cook, measure, track, or count my food (I don’t always want to do so on good days, either, but on good days I can usually suck it up and do it anyway).
On bad days, craving carbs (for medicinal purposes only - well primarily…. ok, partially) and not wanting to cook or count, I nibble. All freakin’ day.
Even paleo nibbles like jerky, fruit, nuts… add up very quickly. And I don’t always stick to paleo nibbles, because hubby’s carb stash (hubby doesn’t eat paleo) of carby snacks starts looking pretty good to me. Maybe just a little, and then a little more. I can’t heeeeelp it, I’m tired and booooooored (and whiny like a 6 year old with an earache).
So, what does any of this have to do with meal replacements or “The Simple Diet” (based on the book by J.W. Anderson and N.J. Gustafson)?
Well, I ran across talk of this book on the 3fatchicks.com website several months (maybe almost a year) ago, and I didn’t think much of it. Pretty much a poor man’s HMR or Nutrisystem: shakes, soups, puddings, bars plus fruits and vegetables.
Lots of processed foods, “Not my thing,” I thought.
Then I gained 35 of the 109 I had struggled eight years to lose. It felt like three years wasted, and I feared it would take three years to catch up.
I reread “The Simple Diet,” and the meal replacement and prepackaged meal forums on 3FC. Maybe this was a strategy worth considering.
So here I am, using “The Simple Diet.” On good days, if I feel like cooking, I’ll make a recipe that fits the book’s guidelines and if I make extra, I’ll divide the leftovers into containers to freeze. I’ll make high protein yogurt (made with nonfat milk and whey protein isolate) about once a month. I work on recipes that will be easy for hubby or I to throw together in minutes.
I also buy frozen dinners, soups and protein bars, because I don’t always have time to make my own.
The Simple Diet isn’t a perfect solution, but it is a simple one, and simple is what I need right now, and the results have been good so far. In six weeks, I’ve lot 20 of the 35 lbs I gained (2 years ahead of schedule).
The speed of loss is encouraging, I haven’t lost this rapidly in more than fifteen years. Maybe the gain was mostly water retention, or maybe I’m finding it easier to stay on plan, because the plan really is so much simpler.
Only time will tell, but the experiment has gotten off to a promising start.