The Accidental Nutritionist

3 Eaters, 1 Mission

Notes From Jamie – Week 17

“As we round the corner this last week before the mission hits its first check-in, what are things you wish you knew from the beginning that would be helpful to have known?”

(Herb Chicken and Collard Greens with Sweet Potato Steaks and Squash – pic by Charlie)

Overhauling a diet is kinda like renovating a kitchen. It’s always more complicated than it seems at the outset, and inevitably costs more (in time, money, or emotional strain) than initially budgeted for. It’s also often (usually?) worth it. 

In your new kitchen (once you can consistently remember where the baking sheet is now stored), your efficiency will improve, and your enjoyment of the space will skyrocket.

On a diet like Charlie’s, which is not a fad but a whole new way of eating and thinking about food, once she recalibrated her brain and palette, new flavors and cuisines opened up (somewhat ironically, as her ingredient options shrunk), and staples like cauliflower rice set up shop comfortably where white rice used to sit.

Weight loss happens naturally on this diet, which is to say: slowly and (on a week to week basis) inconsistently. Taken over time, however, the loss of weight is steady and (since a variation of this will be Charlie’s diet from here on out), stable. This can take a lot of the mental games out of the weight loss equations. You can weigh yourself each day or week, if that’s encouraging or motivational for you, but it doesn’t change anything. You don’t eat less or differently if you find one week your weight has gone up by a pound. Fluctuations are a natural part of a healthy body. You make your mental note and eat the same meal you would have anyway… and sure enough, the weight will continue to come off.

It’s hard to prep for this at the beginning of the journey because it is so different from what we’ve been taught about diets and losing weight. Personally, I fall into the “never weigh myself” category because I find it messes with my mind and causes me to equate some kind of personal value with the number on the scale. Which is silly. So instead, I track my “weight” by how my jeans fit, giving myself grace one week every month (periods have real effects on our bodies), and otherwise eating the food that I know to be good for my body. 

Charlie, Drew, and I were dumped into this quite unceremoniously. We all pulled together because Charlie needed it. It proved to be an effective way for us to learn. So if you, too, have been dumped into a lifestyle overhaul with no warning, take heart! It’s absolutely doable. Come on in, the water’s fine! 

But I’d also say, from this perspective, that I can see a smooth path for some people incorporating this kind of eating into their lives in a smaller measure. Especially if you haven’t been a big home cook before. Maybe picking one or two meals off our meal plan every week and dipping your toe in the water. Give yourself time to learn some techniques and pick up speed. It’ll never be as fast as, well, fast food. But you will see a definite improvement over time.

~ Jamie

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