I was talking with my friend (and frequent guest-poster) Betsy recently about Tim Ferriss’ new book The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman.  One thing he advocates is sticking to a “slow carb” diet 6 days/week and eating whatever you want one day per week – a cheat day, basically.  A woman who had great success on his slow carb diet kept a notebook with her throughout the week, and every time she craved a particular food, she wrote it down.  Come Saturday, she could have anything she wanted from that list.

I mentioned this to Betsy because I liked the idea of recording my cravings, knowing I could give in to them if I still wanted to on Saturday.  Betsy wisely voiced a concern that this method might create a mindset of deprivation, which as we all know, can be the death knell for any diet.  Here is my response:

Your thoughts about whether the once a week “cheat” day is creating a mindset of deprivation are good ones.  I don’t know if that is how the once per week thing would make me feel.  The reason given in the Ferriss book for doing it that way is that you eat a particular way the rest of the week and then shock your body with a higher calorie day, and in his tests, that has allowed people to lose weight and/or maintain an optimal body weight without TOTALLY cutting out the foods they love.

I think part of why I’m intrigued with the book (and with the Paleo diet, too) is that I am looking for something that will be EASY for me once I reach my goal weight.  I do not want to count calories (or points or anything else, for that matter) for the rest of my life.  I want to maintain a healthy body weight without having to think about it ALL. THE. TIME.  So the 4-Hour Body “diet” is attractive, as is the Paleo method of eating, in that many people have had success at maintenance on those diets without counting everything/anything.

That being said, I realize that part of why I’m casting around for something like that is that I am scared to trust my body.  Or, more accurately, I doubt my ability to trust my BODY instead of letting my MIND (as per your post yesterday) overrule my body in the choices I make.

In other words, now that I have found a weight LOSS method that works for me, I know I will reach my goal weight.  Whether that is in 2 months or 2 years doesn’t really matter to me anymore.  What matters is figuring out, along with the weight LOSS, the healthiest way for me to maintain that weight loss once I reach goal.  Whatever “goal” is.  (As with you, I am divorcing “goal” from a number on the scale more and more, partly because I have no idea how 140 or 160 or 180 will look and feel on my body.)

But I digress.

So, is it a “bad” thing that I am looking for a “method” of maintenance other than simply eating intuitively and trusting my body?  I read a blog post the other day that took issue with the whole intuitive eating idea.  Her thought?  Evolutionarily we are “programmed” to eat as much as we can when we can because of the historic scarcity (or feast & famine) nature of our food sources.  So is it realistic to expect that we can reprogram our brain, which has been programmed for centuries to feast when the opportunity exists, NOT to feast and to instead eat only what we need in that moment?  I don’t know the answer to any of this.

I guess what I AM learning is that I can’t rely on other peoples’ experiences, opinions, and ideas to craft a strategy that works for me.  As MizFit says often, I am the best expert on my body.  And while it is VALUABLE and good to learn from others, at the end of the day I have to trust MYSELF to choose that which is good and healthy and right for my body.

Some days?  That just feels like a big effing responsibility.  And the part that scares me is that I have spent the last 16 years of my life “failing” in this responsibility, so learning to trust myself again is really, really hard.  And did I mention it’s scary?!

So yeah.  That’s where I’m at.

Honestly?  I don’t really have anything to add to this post.  I wrote this straight from my heart and mind onto the screen.  It’s a really honest look at part of what I’m grappling with right now.  And in the spirit of my post yesterday about being thankful, I am…I am actually thankful that this is what I’m struggling with right now.  Because one of the alternatives is that I could still be stuck in my analysis paralysis, stuck in my old habits, stuck in feeling helpless, “stuck” at 250+ pounds with no real, genuine hope of ever losing it.

That being said, I am realizing that a large part of the “work” I have to do to reach my goal weight and maintain it remains to be done.  There are no “easy” answers.  There isn’t one thing that works for all of us.  And that’s not a revelation, really.  Just something I am realizing anew.  And I am embracing it.  I remain committed to doing what it takes, for me, to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

And I’m going to share the process with all of you, because you help me.  You challenge me.  You love me.  You get me.  And maybe, just maybe, this will help someone else out there.