Note: I read and enjoy every single comment. At the moment, though, the blog isn't letting me reply to them. I hope to resolve that soon!
I guess I'm one of those people who have to relapse a few times before my internal conflicts settle into one behavior pattern that works for all of me.
Here's the summary of my recent past. I followed a fairly rigorous regimen (whole foods plus coffee, butter, cream and cheddar) for a full year, with many physical benefits. However, I really did that on willpower and still had the binge eating disorder whispering/screaming about how great it would be to eat wheat again. Each and every day during that year was a personal battle to do what I thought best rather than what I wanted.
Then I slid ever so slowly down that slippery slope of asking myself if I could safely eat limited quantities of wheat--because I desperately wanted to. And wow, what a surprise, I started to binge and gain weight with the added "benefit" of feeling really awful.
After 3 cycles of going onto-off wheat, getting sicker and fatter each time, I very naturally and calmly started buying only whole foods plus coffee, butter, cream and cheddar. In other words, I went back off wheat and there was no willpower or effort involved.
All the other times I went off wheat, I set a date in advance as a deadline to make the change and I then dreaded the approach of that date. This time, there was simply no thought of buying wheat because that stuff is toxic for me. I may be slow but I can learn if you whack me with negative consequences enough times.
I'm now a month in with no subconscious whispering or cravings or wishes.
Without wheat, even though I was eating to satiation each day, I immediately started to lose the weight I gained during my relapses. I'm again morphing from apple to pear shape, with about 2/3 of the regained weight back off. I'll be posting a new mug shot on the blog in the next few days. I've already experienced 2 opportunities to gauge my mental status and I'll describe them.
Event #1: About 2 weeks ago I attended a pot luck dinner. There were lots of great foods that were legal for me and there were lots of foods containing wheat. I very calmly took the non-wheat foods and enjoyed visiting with my friends.
However, this is not a fairy tale. The truth is that I found the event emotionally unsettling. When I returned home, I did in fact have a strong urge to eat even though I was not actually hungry. The good news is that the urges weren't for wheat and I did not eat any wheat. The facts are that I ate some sugared jello with rinsed mandarin orange segments and whipped cream.
So I was naughty, but I did not abuse myself with wheat. The next day I calmly resumed my comfortable routine of whole fruit, low-carb salad and meat. Note: On alternate days, I vary my routine with "veggie roasts" of tubers and other veggies. That day happened to be a day I'd planned to eat meat vs. tubers. So I followed my plan for the day and I continued to feel great and lose weight.
Event #2: A few evenings ago, I attended a large buffet with friends. We began by giving our server our beverage requests and I asked for ... a Coke. Go ahead, scream No!!!, but keep reading. I ate some pieces of chopped fruit, a nice salad with vinegar and their oil (I'm not assuming it was EVOO but it did seem close) and some roast beef, baked salmon and one small wing of fried chicken.
When my friends went to get desserts, I happily sipped my Coke. As they ate their desserts, I happily sipped my Coke.
This time when I returned home there was no emotional backlash. There must have been a little flour in the fried chicken breading, because I was a little bleary and had mild congestion the next morning, but I just resumed my normal routine and I felt fine by afternoon. I seem to have lost a little more weight in the few days since.
Other than 1 or 2 family visits, I don't expect more social events as my winter friends have headed north to their summer locations. So I have a clear path to continue eating in the way that makes me feel great and allows me to lose weight without dieting.
For fun, I'm calling it easygoing paleo. Hope things are easy for you!