This post is a long time coming, but I am actually glad I waited over a month to write it. Though it was not my original intent, having 6 weeks on-diet and 6 weeks off- has helped hone and crystallize some of my thinking about why I started the diet, what happened while I was on it, and what I’m taking away from it.
I am glad I did the diet. I surprised myself with how dedicated I was to the process, and the fact that I barely cheated was pretty remarkable, given my love of gluten-y food. Even discounting the health benefits I experienced from the diet, just having the sense of accomplishment of completing the thing is reward enough.
But! Besides being proud of myself for sticking to something for six WHOLE weeks, there were the actual, measurable results of the diet. To wit: I am not sensitive, intolerant, or allergic to gluten. THIS IS HUGE. When, like me, you always have a handful of general-malaise-health-complaints floating around, you wonder if there is some larger issue at play. I admit I was sort of terrified of discovering a gluten problem through the diet. A life without pizza and crusty french bread is not a life worth living. When it came time to cut out the gluten, though, I didn’t notice a huge change in my health at all. PHEW.
Then there’s the 12 pounds I lost. Some of them have crept back since I finished the diet, which is to be expected, but it was still pretty dramatic. I think the bulk of the weight loss is due to cutting sugar. Seriously, people? There is so much sugar in everything, ever. I was astonished at how much I had to cut right from the start; even before the diet eliminated gluten, dairy, etc, I had to avoid almost all breads and baked goods, crackers, dressings, sauces, cereals… the list goes on and on. Unsurprisingly, it was eliminating sugar that made the biggest impact on how I felt and my energy level.
Which leads me to the without-a-doubt biggest takeaway from all of this is basic mindful eating. I learned that I need to think about everything I put in my mouth. Where did it come from? Why am I eating it? What is in it? How will it make me feel? I am a HUGELY emotional eater, so this is really key. I think doing the Revive diet helped me to realize that the momentary feel-good euphoria of bread and ice cream and pizza quickly turns to feeling terrible both emotionally and physically. And beyond the emotional eating issue, just being aware of what goes into my body is so, so important.
From here on out I plan to:
- Pay attention to what I am eating, generally.
- Avoid sugar as much as possible, specifically.
- Watch the dairy effect. I’m still unsure about whether I am actually sensitive to dairy, or whether the vehicles through which I consume the most dairy (pizza, ice cream, cheese pig-outs) are just unhealthy generally.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. Move my body at least a half hour a day. Sounds so much easier than it is in a job when I often can’t leave my desk.
- Keep abreast of food news. (haha, abreast)
I’m also doing some preliminary research into low glycemic index/glycemic load diets and their effects on hormone levels. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 7 years ago, and while I probably need a whole other post just to explain what it is and why it sucks, suffice it to say that I’m interested in whether a low-glycemic-whatever diet will impact insulin resistance. More to come!
Anyone out there able to stick with the best parts of a diet after the initial however-many-weeks? I worry I’m being naively optimistic here.