breaking free from six decades of tyranny

Posts tagged ‘diet failure’

Addiction and Why Paleo People Don’t Eat Wheat

Last year, I mentioned a fact about my appetite to several people I’ve known all my life. These people have never had a weight problem. One belongs to an older generation, so she grew up on real homemade foods, and is an excellent cook. She does not eliminate any foods from her diet, but eats responsibly. The other is my age and has been vegan for many years.

I mentioned that no matter how much I ate, I never felt full. And along with that, I never really felt hungry. My appetite-o-stat was non-functional. I thought they would nod and say, “Yeah, me too.” I thought it was normal.

Nope. They looked very puzzled. Neither had any idea what I was talking about.

Those two moments started me on my quest to understand what was going on with me. I knew my weight fluctuations weren’t good for me, but I had been around lots of people who were on the same roller coaster as I was … hence, the feeling that there was something normal about it.

After reading about Wheat Belly I am wondering if MyBrattyTasteBuds were victims of a wheat addiction.

I did love bread. Breads. All kinds. One piece easily led to another. Sandwiched between episodes of bread eating was dessert eating. Sweet breads were my special delight. I won’t list them here because that would be kind of like remembering them in a worshipful way, which takes me to a dark place.

So perhaps MyBrattyTasteBuds didn’t really have a chance. Or really a choice. Once the wheat hit the system, it was BingeTime.

Dr. William Davis, in “Wheat Belly”: “For some people, wheat is addictive. And, in some people, it is addictive to the point of obsession… Understanding that wheat, specifically exorphins from gluten, have the potential to generate euphoria, addictive behavior, and appetite stimulation means that we have a potential means of weight control: Lose the wheat, lose the weight.” (page. 44).

[There is a lot more information about properties of wheat that apparently wreak havoc on our bodies in Dr. Davis’ book. On his blog, he makes this disclaimer: “Nothing here should be construed as medical advice, but only topics for further discussion with your doctor.”]

I am not totally wheat free, but I have cut dramatically down on wheat products. Like last night when cooking spaghetti for the grandkids, I taste tested a strand for done-ness. And I used a corner of a piece of bread to soak up some of the Paleo spaghetti sauce. But neither of those activities triggered a binge or even the desire for one. I admit to one piece of Ezekiel bread a day, but no binge trigger there either.

One payoff of eating Paleo for me? For the first time in my life, my appetite-o-stat is working. It feels AMAZING to feel hunger, eat the right amount of the right foods, and feel satiated afterwards. Understand, this is a new feeling for me.

And I’m *almost* a Paleo person who doesn’t eat wheat. Now I have a better idea why Paleo people don’t eat wheat.

The Weight Watchers Years

If you want to see how something can grow and change over time, study Weight Watchers.

My first introduction was via a work friend’s roly-poly aunt. I was 18 and thinking I was plump. I worked at a typesetting job (sitting) for eight hours a day, with breaks to amble next door to the Jack in the Box [the original building that was indeed a box with a Jack coming out of the top]. After I started the Weight Watcher’s plan, I ordered my hamburger with mustard only and choked it down with a diet soda. Oh, and there was tuna salad with mustard only on cold lunch days. And, I believe, lots of carrots, celery and meat with no condiments, perhaps half-slices of bread, and very, very little fruit. I could be wrong about what the actual plan was, but that’s what I remember eating. I did not go to any meetings, and I dropped the (maybe) 15 pounds I wanted to lose pretty quickly. Whew! That was easy!

Fast forward to birth of first daughter. NOW I am not just thinking I am plump, I AM plump. Very plump. And I’m here to tell you that breastfeeding had the opposite effect on me than it apparently had on every other nursing mother I knew, read about, or imagined. I stayed plump. So when the baby was 15 months old [and well-weaned] I ambled back to Weight Watchers … but the right way: meetings, booklets, weigh-ins, pep talks, hints, sharing, cheering, food plans, can’t eats, must eats, should eats, food logs …

And I lost weight. And kept it off. Until daughter #2, when the whole thing repeated. Back to Weight Watchers and now there were Points, and a different food plan, with more can eats and a few less can’t eats, the same should eats, and a better organized exercise component. And I lost weight. And I kept it off.

Until son #1. A big strapping ninepoundfiveounce chunka boy that made me a chunka mom. I gave it the usual 15 months to see if the breastfeeding myth would reverse itself for me, sighed and headed back to WW [by now we were on nickname basis]. I already knew the drill: there would be new booklets, a new food plan, I’d have to relearn Points [got a special WW Points calculator this time], learn the new can eats, get out the food scale, weigh and measure, get weighed, get cheered on … and exercise.

Which I did. And I lost weight. And I kept it off. Until my final “baby”. I became a teacher. With three children at home, 25 more at school … and no time to weigh and measure and exercise.

I put on about 5 pounds per year while teaching. I taught for 22 years. If you do the math, you will see how I got to the very precipice of 200 pounds. H…E…double you know what … I WAS the freakin’ precipice!

Brats, behave!

It’s beeen said before. The older you get, the harder it is to lose weight, to get in shape. In my previous efforts to drop pounds, it was hard at first, but soon I’d get over a hump and it got easier. Not that way so much anymore.

Every ounce has been residing comfortably in my body for decades, aided and abetted by my bratty taste buds. Every ounce wants to stay, make no mistake about this. The longer I let them stay, the more stubborn they become.

There is some good news. I am making progress with my bratty taste buds, but the battles continue. Just as I tame the sugar-monsters, the salty-dogs rise up to cause trouble, sneaking in when I’m not looking. I don’t see them coming. Plus I tend to underestimate their power.

Bratty Taste Buds, give me a break here!

A little history …

My five pound, some-odd-ounce birth weight did not foreshadow a petite physique. My bratty taste buds started getting me in trouble early on. When I was seven, I got a little brother who needed to be fed. He was kind of like a doll who could sit up in his Baby Tenda and open his mouth for incoming baby food. Or not. If not, I’d eat the spoonful. Soon I could easily eat the jar of Fruit Dessert, sparing him a few slurps along the way. I was fired from feeding duty. No more Fruit Dessert for my bratty taste buds.

My bratty taste buds (MBTBs) started with small victories such as these, but quickly moved on. They demanded, cried, wrung their little tentacles and pitched fits. And I got sucked into their game … just fed ’em whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it. The junior high school chefs made glorious deep fried cinnamon rolls the size of my head; eating one every morning after breakfast kept MBTBs smiling. After lunch, an individual pecan pie satisfied the brats. After school, I would get off the bus in front of the 7Eleven, head in and blow my allowance on convenience store cuisine; MBTBs wanted that haul before dinner.

My bratty taste buds were verrrry sly. I didn’t even know they were there. They just waited quietly in the wings like a predator waiting for prey: anything with sugar. And fat. And a little salt. Well, they didn’t always just wait. Sometimes they controlled me like a robot, sniffing out prey and moving me into range for the kill. There was no escaping MBTBs in a feeding frenzy. None.

But finally, the day came when the world discovered Twiggy and I discovered my bratty taste buds. I wasn’t exactly fat. But I had heft. Like a fool, I thought I could beat MBTBs into submission easily. Oh, I had no idea what I was in for!

Brattiness defined

Some people call some children brats. When they want their own way. When they think only of themselves. When they can’t listen to others. When they don’t give a dime about anyone else’s needs. Brats make life difficult, bump up a smooth road, throw gale force winds into a restful mood, irritate and anger friends and enemies alike. They must have control and they will get it through demands, manipulations, pity parties, tears, whining, screaming, tantrums, and at times even (gasp!) flattery!

My taste buds are brats.

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