Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Back on the Horse

I've been reluctant to write this post for several months. This blog has been untouched for over a year, during which I lapsed. Now, I weigh at least 10-15 pounds more than my former maximum weight. It's horrible and it's my fault. (More here if you want to know my personal background.)

Look at the success stories of people on the paleo/primal/evolutionary/whole food diets, especially those doing Intermittent Fasting (IF). They are strong evidence of what works.

My success doing that diet, and then my failures not doing that diet are also strong evidence of its effectiveness.

Here are the mistakes I made:

  1. Skipping my workouts, from a few less workouts to none in a matter of a couple weeks. That is crucial because exercise helped tremendously to keep me feeling good, full of energy, and less hungry.

  2. Stopping Intermittent Fasting (IF), since workouts go along with that.

  3. Not cooking for myself for all my meals. Sometimes had one or two healthy meals, but started substituting fast food (at first, throwing out the buns on a hamburger, the tortillas for tacos, and such.) Fell into old patterns of just eating fast food as is--maybe not for every meal, all the time, but enough to sabotage the meals that were healthier.

  4. Indulging in junk food snacks for dessert or late-night snack. Big Mistake! Ice cream was my Achilles Heel. Cookies, candy, pastries came soon after. Said screw it, thinking I could give them up any time and go back to sensible eating. (Sounds like an alcoholic or drug addict, huh?)

  5. Fell prey to addiction to junk food. Willpower became less effective, which was maddening. Had stupid pity parties, wallowed in guilt, and tried (ridiculously) to eat my way out of stress. It's a vicious cycle, in which my stupid choices kept making it harder to escape.

The short version: I stopped being active and ate junk.

Excuses excuses: My diet failure is my fault and only I can fix it. Sure, a few things were made worse by external stressors (job security in a time of big cutbacks where I work, frustrating, melodramatic tensions between us and our teenager, a few illnesses and a tonsillectomy). But most of it was directly or indirectly because of my poor choices. At least on a previous diet over a year before I tried paleo+IF, I had one good excuse: medicine I took for a few weeks (unbeknown to me) dramatically increased hunger and that didn't wear off after I stopped taking it. I don't have that excuse this time.

Doing the paleo+IF thing made it much easier to deal with hunger and was actually enjoyable, rather than drudgery.

At this point, I could continue to feel guilty, self-destructive, gluttonous, and pitiful but no amount of excuse making will stop this. I've got to make a change now before it ruins my health (I've already got pre-hypertension).

I've been trying to eat paleo (or paleo-ish) meals the past few days, which could be the start of another round of losing multiple tens of pounds, getting below 200, and feeling physically and mentally better. The next step is to exercise, which is tough to start, but quickly beneficial to curb temptations. Now, this blog ought to be called My Diet 540°, to be more accurate.

I also plan to blog here to record how things are going. If you read this and don't see me posting, please feel free to send me e-mail to ediafono at the gmail dot com address. Any words of encouragement would be more appreciated that you can imagine.

Diet Yo-Yo

This post is mainly for my own benefit. You can skip it unless you're really curious. I'm tired of trying to do math in my head to figure out what years I did what sort of diet and exercise programs.

I have another article in which I try to analyze my diet successes and failures as a part of identifying lessons learned. I've taken the details out of the other article and put them here, which I hope makes the other post more interesting to readers:

Late 70s, early 80s

Jogging a mile or two several times a week. Included sprinting. Usual PE and playground activities at school. Cycling and exploring woods for fun.


Started smoking. Would continue until 2004, though I did quit for months at a time.

Mid-Late 80s

Got lazier and lazier. Ate more and more. My friends and I would have contests to see who could eat the most pizza at a buffet.

Late 80s, early 90s

Cycled occasionally. Lifted weights occasionally. Played racquetball and softball. Too sparse to make much difference.

Early 90s

Ocassionally cycled on trails and steep inclines (upper Hudson valley). Joined weightlifting club for many months. Played racquetball occassionally. Only the weightlifting had an appreciable benefit.

Mid 90s

Drank, smoked more, ate more, did nearly no exercise.

Late 90s

Quit smoking for longer periods (used patches and gum). Joined gym and did aerobic machines and weightlifting machines. Played racquetball. Learned how to swim enough to do laps, so I could swim multiple times a week. Weightlifting, again, had most benefit. Swimming also helped quite a bit. I estimate I lost about 10-25 pounds, but I honestly don't remember the numbers now.

Early-Mid 00s

Smoked, drank, got very little exercise. Ballooned in weight and struggled to do basic activities. Tried Atkins for a couple weeks, but had trouble dealing with hunger.


Struggled with quitting smoking. Succeeded in Mar 2004. Increased hunger, unfortunately.

Feb 2006-Jul 2006

Lost almost 50 lbs. Walked miles most every day. Reduced caloric intake. Avoided sweets and other junk snacks (mostly). Tried (ignorantly) to limit fat. Fasted for short periods of time and felt a bit of a "high" from the ketosis, in a good way.

Aug 2006-Sep 2008

Medicine I took for a few weeks made me super hungry (which I didn't realize until later). Threw me off track. Walked only occasionally, ate more and more junk food. Gained back weight.

Sep 2008-Mar 2009

Paleo/evolutionary/whole food diet with Intermittent Fasting (IF). Lost 45 pounds and felt wonderful. Did not struggle with hunger as with other diets. Felt alive.

Mar 2009-Mar 2010

Tapered off diet. Gained back the 45 pounds, plus 10-15 more. Occasionally tried to restart paleo diet, but resumed no-exercise, unhealthy food lifestyle each time.

Mar 2010-early 2011

Restarted paleo/IF diet again. Lost about 45 pounds again.

early 2011-Apr 2012

Tapered off diet, gained back the weight.

Apr 2012-May 2014

Had several bouts of illness.  Was bedridden a number of time for up to several weeks. Lack of exercise resulted in more weight and loss of stamina.  In Feb 2014, blood tests indicated prediabetes.  Dieted inconsistently.  Lost perhaps five pounds.

Jun 2014

Focused on diet and lost additional 15 pounds.  Mid-month, hemoglobin A1c was in type 2 diabetes range.  Put on medication. Took it for a day and a half, then decided to stop until I could consult doctor about side effects.

Continued with primal diet (with dairy), strictly cutting out gluten. Skip meals occasionally. Portion sizes are getting smaller and I am dealing with hunger much better. Have lost about 25 pounds by the end of the month.