Diet Musings #3: Eating like an OC Cave-Person

3 Jul

After six months in a workplace with lots of treats, plus having a partner who shares my philosophy that no plate go uncleared, I had become noticeably heavier. With my first half marathon in over a year coming up, I was a bit alarmed. Normally I would cut down on meat, but my partner fervently believes a meal without meat is incomplete.

That’s when I stumbled upon the Paleo Diet. It requires meat, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and fruit. I would never, ever try it in the Bay because of the risk of alienating and arguing with my numerous veggie friends. But it won me over because it is something my partner could do and you’re not allowed sugar or processed foods, which I support. We tried it for 30 days back in March.

No more bread, rice, cereal, pasta, tortillas. No soy milk, soyrizo, tofu, or vegan ice cream. No treats at work like donuts, yogurt, creamer, dark chocolate, or birthday cake. No peanuts, beans, or corn. No more cheese. Eating out was painful and mostly avoided because all I could order was a depressing salad with grilled chicken. No dim sum, pizza, lattes, burritos, or french fries.

Naturally, we lost weight.

The first two weeks were surprisingly easy. I replaced my usual oatmeal with an indulgent breakfast of two hardboiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, and half an avocado. I always eat salads for lunch, but I got rid of the dressing and added a can of tuna. My partner replaced his usual marinade of soy sauce, ketchup, and sriracha with a rub of different spices. We ate a lot of pan-seared fish and broiled chicken paired with different veggies. Fruit for dessert.

Week 3 was torture. I dreamt about breaking my diet no less than four times. I mean, I literally dreamed, at night, about eating things that my dream self knew I wasn’t supposed to be eating. One night it was yogurt. Another night it was a bagel and cream cheese. At the same time, I started upping the mileage on my training runs for the OC half marathon. After a 7-mile run, my body was screaming for carbs. After an 8-mile run, my body rather indelicately flushed out all the meat and veggies I had eaten afterwards as if to prove that I needed bread to line my empty stomach first.

The results?

I lost 5 pounds for my race. It wasn’t my fastest race, but it’s the race I felt the best in. In the 2 months since then, we gained back some of the weight, so we tried it again. Only, this time, faced with waning willpower, we developed an elaborate cheat system with rules, cards, and prizes. The irony is that I made a big fuss about outing the fact that I’m on a diet only to realize that we’re not actually dieting; we are just trying to cheat less than normal. Which isn’t a diet, it’s just better food choices. Who could’ve guessed that as soon as I could own the idea of a “diet”, I no longer needed it?

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