The dark night of the dieting soul

I am wrapping up the 12th week of my keto diet, going from 207 to 189, a total of 18lbs.

I’ve never dieted before but it has been pretty easy, mostly a matter of avoiding sugar and starchy foods, though I do count calories too. Turns out I am much better off on a low carb diet: I am no longer tired after meals, and suffer less acid reflux and gas. I also don’t need to eat as often: now when I am hungry I don’t feel lethargic, irritable, or fixated on food. I just get hungry, and I can ignore it for a couple hours rather than having red alarms go off in my head screaming “food!”

The rate of loss has slowed down over the last few weeks. It might be a matter of indiscipline on my part (I’ve been eating out more and went way over my carb limit at a few social events) or it could be because I have reached a natural stopping point: I am now at about the shape I’ve have been for most of my adult life, with maybe a little more muscle then, say, ten years ago.

My new goal is 175. Losing the next 14lbs will be harder than the last 18. I am going to have to first get more disciplined (again) about social events (since when did I become such a social butterfly?) and stop eating out as often (my credit card will appreciate the latter) and if that does not work maybe tweak my calories some more.

Here are the real obstacles:

  • Getting tired of dieting: I am not sick of my new eating habits, how can you be sick of pork chops, fish, beef and bacon? I love green leafy vegetables and am not particularly impressed by potatoes, rice, and pizza. What I am getting sick of is vigilance and tracking everything I eat.
  • Impatience: I doubt I will reach my new goal of 175 by the end of summer. I will likely reach it in fall or early winter. I didn’t think it would take this long (i.e. I had not thought I was this fat). It is disappointing.
  • Distractions: I’ve been looking for a new job lately, and some prospects I have would require me moving from Worcester to Boston, turning my idyllic life upside-down. (I’m a small-town guy at heart). Nothing concrete has materialized yet, but it does cause a certain uncertainty. It is harder to project into the future, and therefore harder keep habits at the moment.

So if those are the new obstacles, what should my reaction be?

  • Humility: I was carrying 30+ excess lbs of fat, not the 15 that my male vanity had convinced me I was carrying. That means getting lean will take longer, but getting lean is still the goal for my long-term health… who am I kidding, for my looks.
  • Patience: this is at least a six month project. Accept it. At least I am halfway through (I hope).
  • Objectivity: it isn’t that bad. So I keep eating foods I enjoy in portions that might be a little smaller than I sometimes want, and the payoff is feeling better. It is a good deal, I should stick with it.

 

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