Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 5 begins...

Am I writing this out of frustration?  Am I writing this because I have come close to quitting already?  Not in  the slightest.  These are merely some thoughts that have occurred to me recently...

Well, not much to report as of yet.  I have been diligent with the diet (though still lacking the optimal choices...) by sticking to the recommended foods and completely avoiding those not allowed in Phase 1.  Granted, it has only been 4 full days, but this is really the hardest part to get through.

Four days just isn't enough to:
  1. See any measurable results
  2. Truly break any bad eating habits
  3. Have any real experience with what is good and what isn't
Let me elaborate on those points.

1.  I think the hardest thing about sticking to a new diet is not knowing if it is truly helping.  It is all about faith at this point.  Thanks to the book and the internet (as I personally don't know anyone that has followed The Maker's Diet for any period of time), I have several testimonials of its efficacy. My own experience with the diet is just too short to see any quantifiable results.  Any positive feelings (more energy, less intestinal distress, etc.) could simply be a placebo effect at this early stage.  Any change in weight (remember, this is not a diet primarily intended as a weight-loss program) could be coincidental and is not likely to be significant enough to indicate any true benefit (though a significant change either way might actually be indicative of a serious problem!).  Please, do not take this as discouragement on my part.  I am merely pointing out that one true motivational aspect of dieting is seeing results.

 2.  Breaking a bad habit is not the same as avoiding one.  Four days of avoidance is simply not enough to truly break a bad habit.  It is made even more difficult when the influences for the bad habit are still readily available.  As any smoker knows, it is extremely hard to quit smoking when you still have half of a pack of cigarettes.  Similarly, it is really hard to avoid eating processed foods when the kitchen is full of them.  Mind you, we have always been health-conscious and have avoided foods that are unhealthy by any standard.  The problem that I am currently facing is that some of those supposedly healthy foods are not allowed on The Maker's Diet for one reason or another - at least not on Phase 1.  As well, though it is somewhat easy to avoid most processed foods, there are lots of foods that are not seemingly processed yet include ingredients that are.  Refined sugar, bleached flour and rice, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, soy protein isolate, and the list goes on.  So, it is a matter of picking the varieties of foods that do not list these ingredients over the ones that do.  For instance, tomato sauce is allowed during Phase 1 as long as it does not include sugar and other processed ingredients.  If you make it from scratch, you know exactly what you put into it.  If you bought it in a jar, you need to read the label - and not just the one that says 'all natural.'    Like the smoker that wants to quit, it is really hard for the dieter to stop eating the foods that he thought were healthy when they are readily available.

3.  Although I have a decent short-term memory, repetition certainly strengthens my recall of what I can and cannot eat.  As such, I keep referring back to the book and the lists of allowed and forbidden foods.  The funny thing is that as soon as I able able to recall all of the Phase 1 restrictions, I will have moved into Phase 2!  Fortunately, though, this only means that there are fewer foods on the restricted lists.  At only four days into the diet, I am still in the first week of Phase 1.  Constantly needing to refer to the book can become frustrating.  Is this factor enough on its own to influence somebody to quit following the diet?  I don't think so. 

In fact, each of these factors taken individually should not have a significant impact.  Taken together, it can be daunting.

Fortunately, The Maker's Diet is not really that hard to follow.  Some of the allowed foods are foods that other diets would disallow.  Beef, lamb, and eggs (whole eggs, not just egg whites) do not show up on the approved lists of too many diets.  Most other diets would recommend veggie burgers over ground beef - not The Maker's Diet.  One of the biggest differences is that The Maker's Diet recommends butter over margarine.  Butter is natural, margarine is not.  Most margarine is made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil - though, that is changing as the dangers of trans fat are becoming common knowledge.  As a result, some of the allowed foods - even in Phase 1 - are truly enjoyable!  For instance, last night I had a hamburger grilled with onions (grilled in a cast iron skillet, no roll) and a fresh salad (lettuce, cucumber, carrots, celery) with homemade salad dressing (olive oil, cider vinegar, spices) with a glass of organic whole milk.

There is also the old saying, 'The end justifies the means.'  In this case, the promise of restored health along with a return to natural eating makes it worth continuing for me.  Referring to the book until I am able to recall all of the allowed/disallowed foods is not that hard, especially when the disallowed list shrinks over time.

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