6

votes

Getting 30 days under one's belt: go for 100% perfection, or allow a lesser-evil outlet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

Hi - My first question here, though I lurk often and think this is an amazing place. (It's remarkable, really, how consistently civil and sane discussions among paleo/primal folks tend to be, relative to the tone of the discourse elsewhere online.)

Okay: So I'm a T2 diabetic, not taking insulin but with a pretty handicapped pancreas. Most of my 20s, I was 200 lbs. Now I'm 40 years old, 125 lbs. I'm 5'2" (female). I lost 50 lbs before diagnosis using various approaches. Decided with diagnosis to try to manage with low carb and exercise. It seems like the natural progression for so many low-carbers is to wind up paleo when we seek to improve the quality of our food. I first started making changes in that direction at the beginning of this year. Mostly switching meat and fat sources, and easing back on dairy, and going no-grain instead of not-much-whole-grain, etc.

So, I love eating this way. I love my pastured eggs and my avocados and the grass-fed beef shares I get and the farmer's market lamb and my precious, precious coconut, etc. But: I do have a history of binge eating disorder, and sugar is what triggers it. As a diabetic, I am fully conscious I can't dick around with that. But picture me: grilling poor waiters at really nice restaurants about every single thing on the food I order. Then someone offers me a bite of their dessert and I'm all SURE! Then enough "bites" of other people's dessert and basically I've had a full dessert. Or, starting to eat faileo foods/low carb products in moderation and then winding up on slippery slope to binge city. If I were just paleo for the weight loss aspects and saw it as a diet, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I don't have a problem maintaining my weight loss (though I still have fat to lose). But as a diabetic...like I said.

My question!

Based on some recent tests, I either need to 1) seriously consider insulin therapy or 2) no more dicking around - give this a good 30-45 day commitment and see where my pancreas winds up - and possibly still wind up at 1 but maybe not - I won't know until I do this for real. After years of dieting and dealing with disordered eating, I know there are kind of two ways I can approach this:

  1. Total perfection (which for me would include some dairy). Go all-in and be strict and just see it as a challenge and adventure. The risks: Creeping sense of deprivation or that I'm going to fail, and if I eat one wrong bite encountering the WTF-effect...i.e. keep getting 6 or 7 "perfect" days under my belt, then be imperfect, freak out, and binge, etc. and start over at day 1 constantly.

  2. Think of it more as an attitude change/lifestyle commitment that I'm starting NOW, with no "detox" or "induction"-style time period first, and give myself grace for the occasional "paleo" homemade baked good made with real foods, as an outlet and stay against feeling deprived and anxious about perfection. Go for 30-45 days of 95% compliance (80% not a good option for me as a diabetic). Risks: be in denial about what 95% looks like and not get full benefits of changes, keep alive a sense that comfort or pleasure = something baked or sort of sweet, not really give my pancreas the R&R it needs, always wonder/suspect I could be doing it "better".

(Also, today as I was putting a bunch of "sugar-free" treats in the garbage I realized how insane it is to eat something made mostly of chemicals instead of half a sweet potato or other starchy whole food or even a normal amount of tomato. Yet that's what I do. ["Oh I can't eat starchy foods! And tomatoes are kind of higher carb! But I can eat this maltitol on a stick!" Absurd, right?] So maybe baking with almond flour and eggs and a little honey is really just fine now and then - certainly better for me than frankenfoods - even WITH diabetes, and it would help in those 1-bite-of-6-desserts moments because I could know I have a little coconut flour muffin waiting at home.)

Any thoughts or experience on all of this? Benefits and drawbacks of being drill-sergeant strict to build a great foundation vs. just kind of going, this is how I live now and x,y,z are okay for me but 1,2,3 are absolutely never"? I'm especially interested in hearing from those with eating disorders. Perfectionism, I know, can be a problem. But so can being too easy on oneself.

This is long. Sorry. Thank you!

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 04:01 AM

It can sort of do both - helps with reality check, but emotionally I can let it plague me for days with anxiety and beating self up, no matter how much self talk I do. I actually had a bout of depression earlier this year over numbers, so I have to work on the balance.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 03:58 AM

Ok yes I am making those. (and thx texasleah - it blows my mind that I've lost 75 lbs, but it was over course of 10 years with lots of plateaus so sometimes I forget what a dramatic loss it is)

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on July 06, 2011
at 02:47 AM

Not too long at all Sara.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on July 06, 2011
at 01:48 AM

Well if you "cheat" and take a reading does that help or hurt?

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on July 06, 2011
at 01:19 AM

For me, giving up sugar was the hardest thing I ever did. And then five months later I was back on it.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:45 AM

They are simply fabulous akd! Pumpkin, almond butter, honey, vanilla and egg. Perfect!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:44 AM

melissa you have posted those bfore and i meant to bookmark them and i didnt BUT HERES MY CHANCE!! im not going to squander it this time!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:37 AM

One of my favorite "Paleo" baking things is Pumpkin Almond Butter Brownies: http://thisprimallife.com/2009/10/primal-almond-butter-pumpkin-brownies-only-5-ingredients/ They only have 5 ingredients and none of the almond/coconut flour stuff.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:35 AM

When you are working on the parameters, give yourself ranges, not drop dead numbers. It makes things a little easier from the perfectionism angle.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:31 AM

This is smart. Though I do have a fraught relationship with glucometer. A good number can make me feel like I have permission to have a "treat." a bad one can lead to despair... (yes, I have some issues with all or nothing thinking). I DO write down everything I eat in a day in a pocket notebook. I find that incredibly helpful in many ways. Tying that info to bg logginh has also been good when I am being sane about numbers.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:28 AM

Just out of curiosity : where were your health indicators at DX, and also when you started paleo? Like a1c, etc. And do you take any oral meds? If you don't want to share, no worries!

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:26 AM

Thank you, makes much sense. I think I need to decide what my parameters are for what I'll be uncompromising about and what isn't such a danger zone.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:24 AM

Yeah, my husband is not paleo, so I can't toss everything. Fortunately he doesn't eat jink, either, and I'm not really tempted by his version of healthy eating. (and, yeah, these food issues will always be with me...learning to not let them control me SO much, though) Thnks for your thoughts !

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:10 AM

I know a lot of people really believe in the getting rid of everything you shouldn't eat approach, but my family is not Paleo. They don't have weight or food issues. I think being surrounded by foods I had to choose not to eat on a daily basis made me stronger.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:08 AM

wow Sara! Congratulations on the weight loss \o/ Bravo!

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4 Answers

2
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on July 06, 2011
at 12:08 AM

This is a constant battle I had with myself during my entire weight loss journey. There is no right answer. You have to do what works for you.

Sometimes perfectionism can lead to falling off the wagon because if you make one mistake "the day is ruined" or the weekend or the month and you can find yourself constantly re-starting.

Being easier on yourself can also create issues with one non-Paleo item leading to more sugar/carb cravings.

I had to find a happy medium. I am a counter. So I usually fit my items that aren't on my protocol within my ratios for calories, fat, protein an carbs. That makes me feel more comfortable with it.

My suggestion is to come up with goals for yourself. Do your best to fit your choices into those goals.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:26 AM

Thank you, makes much sense. I think I need to decide what my parameters are for what I'll be uncompromising about and what isn't such a danger zone.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:35 AM

When you are working on the parameters, give yourself ranges, not drop dead numbers. It makes things a little easier from the perfectionism angle.

2
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:05 AM

Do it.

Or don't.

If you approaching this with the expectation that it will take "drill sergeant" dedication, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

It sounds like you have some issues you need to resolve with your relationship with food. I know no better way to do that than to throw away pretty much every "bad" food in the house, stock up on good foods, and allow yourself to eat as much as you want (this works on the high fat/low carb train, your mileage may vary if you decide to do otherwise).

I have personally discovered that it's very, very difficult to binge on higher fat meats and non-starchy veg drenched in butter. Add simple starch to the plate and I'll eat until I'm sick... it completely turns off my "I'm full" trigger.

It's 30 days. There are much harder things in the world than giving up addictive drug-like foods. 30 days.

I say you go for it. The sooner you start, the sooner it becomes just 29 days.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:10 AM

I know a lot of people really believe in the getting rid of everything you shouldn't eat approach, but my family is not Paleo. They don't have weight or food issues. I think being surrounded by foods I had to choose not to eat on a daily basis made me stronger.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:24 AM

Yeah, my husband is not paleo, so I can't toss everything. Fortunately he doesn't eat jink, either, and I'm not really tempted by his version of healthy eating. (and, yeah, these food issues will always be with me...learning to not let them control me SO much, though) Thnks for your thoughts !

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on July 06, 2011
at 01:19 AM

For me, giving up sugar was the hardest thing I ever did. And then five months later I was back on it.

1
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:13 AM

Well you know yourself best, and it sounds like you have good reasons to doubt the very strict approach. On the other hand you have good health reasons to try strict.

You might want to consider creating a shorter and more concrete feedback loop to focus on your goals. So in your case you might consider monitoring your blood glucose after meals and make it a game to see how low you can get the bump. You can't fool the monitor but putting a high mark on the chart is penance and you can go back.

That might help you by shortening the feedback loop between making a change aand seeing the effect of that change.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on July 06, 2011
at 01:48 AM

Well if you "cheat" and take a reading does that help or hurt?

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 04:01 AM

It can sort of do both - helps with reality check, but emotionally I can let it plague me for days with anxiety and beating self up, no matter how much self talk I do. I actually had a bout of depression earlier this year over numbers, so I have to work on the balance.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:31 AM

This is smart. Though I do have a fraught relationship with glucometer. A good number can make me feel like I have permission to have a "treat." a bad one can lead to despair... (yes, I have some issues with all or nothing thinking). I DO write down everything I eat in a day in a pocket notebook. I find that incredibly helpful in many ways. Tying that info to bg logginh has also been good when I am being sane about numbers.

1
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:11 AM

I vote for option #2. I am a T2 diabetic, when I decided to get my butt in gear I went off SAD cold turkey and jumped into paleo lifestyle with both feet and an open mind. I literally threw away / gave away all the food in my house, bought a deep freeze and went shopping and have not looked back since. Do not stress out about being perfect, it is amazing easy to follow this lifestyle if one is prepared to for the right reasons. My blood glucose is all but normal, I can not even remember what junk food tastes like no do I even care to remember. Just commit to it and it will all fall into place.

E7ecb3a116f6057ab505e1315bdc93d5

(30)

on July 06, 2011
at 12:28 AM

Just out of curiosity : where were your health indicators at DX, and also when you started paleo? Like a1c, etc. And do you take any oral meds? If you don't want to share, no worries!

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