Anyone who knows me knows I'm not the poster child for weight loss. It's been a lifelong battle, fueled by twin issues of a medical condition and an unreasonable fondness for fast food.
I've done WW several times; each attempt has worked long of enough for me to drop 10% of my body weight, by which time I am So. Done. with counting calories/exchanges/points that I fall off the wagon and into the nearest vat of Ben & Jerrys. But I do feel that I need a structure of some form, so it's a catch 22.
A few months ago my doctor, in an effort to diagnose yet another medical issue, put me on the most severe diet I've ever dealt with. This wasn't weight related, it was all about eliminating suspected allergens. My list of off-limits foods was extensive:
Sugars, including honey
Mushrooms / fungus
White flour, white rice
Fruit juice, except lemon
Processed meats (hot dogs; anything with nitrates)
I was allowed whole-grain anything (so long as it did not contain yeast), fresh whole fruits, fresh (not canned) veggies and lean meats.
I thought I was going to die the first week.
I developed an intense craving for breakfast cereal - something I just don't eat - and was pretty much in tears at the grocery store when I realized that they don't MAKE yeast-free cereal. (It turns out that yes, they do, but it's very hard to find in a traditional grocery store). Finding food - any processed food - without yeast, sugar or vinegar is equally challenging. They put yeast in things you would NEVER believe if you weren't looking for it.
Tony and I - who ate out all the time - suddenly had to start cooking nearly every meal at home. I developed a few staple recipies for breakfast (cereal) and lunch (chicken breast, hummus and salad greens in a yeast-free wrap), and we experimented at dinner. We found a lot of really great recipies, and had a lot of fun with it, but it was SO HARD to not be able to eat like a "normal" person. To just go do a restaurant and order anything I wanted. To pop through a drive-thru when I wanted a snack, instead of having to plan ahead and pack food. The small handful of times we went out were just not worth the effort - I felt like I was having to play "Lets Make a Deal" with the chef to get a meal I could eat, and the resulting meal was usually regrettable.
But I lost weight. A surprising amount of weight, actually, and I felt much better than I have in years. It reminded me of my experience returning home from Europe after a long vacation - processed American food made me ill for the first few weeks.
I'm off the diet now (but waiting for some blood tests to come back to see if I have to do another round), and I've gained almost all of that weight back since I've returned to my "normal" eating habits. I've also noticed that I eat more food to feel "satisfied" than I did when I was on such a restricted diet, and that I'm really not enjoying the "forbidden" foods as much as I thought I would when I couldn't have them. The whole "empty calorie" thing is definitely true in my case.
As much as it's going to drive Tony crazy, I've decided I'm going back on "The Diet" once we get unpacked in the new house and have a kitchen to cook in again - at least for the meals I eat alone. There's nothing unsafe about that food plan, and it really did help me to feel so much better.