Friday, February 8, 2013

Punch me in the back of the head, please. It's for a good cause.

When your head hurts, do you ever feel like you want someone to punch it repeatedly? Just me? For some reason when I get headaches isolated to a certain part of my head I always want to press or tap really hard on the part that is throbbing. The helmet people should invent a compression helmet that you wear when you have headaches that squeezes and releases over and over again. I would totally buy that.

Apparently I am in the phase of my Whole 30 program where my body is retaliating against me for depriving it of crap. It's been mostly angry about the lack of wine and PB&Js. This is the time in the detox phase when I am likely to have headaches and want to ninja kick people.

This is going to sound a bit contradictory, but other than the headache I actually feel pretty dang good. I can tell my energy levels are changing (don't worry, I'm still tired - I actually fell asleep during physical therapy yesterday...don't ask). I slept pretty well last night. My skin is looking pretty good and my fingers appear less pudgy. Even my jeans seem a tad looser. We're only on day 3 but I can see where this is headed and I like it. I'm praying for strength to keep it up.

At first Jason referred to this program as my "hippie" diet. But, he said he would do it too to support me, nice guy that he is. I've been throwing some of the concepts that I read in the It Starts with Food book at him and his tune changed a little because it really does make sense. His tune really changed when he stepped on the scale this morning and he's already down 4 lbs. (I am not going to weigh myself until the end of the program, per the recommendation of the authors.)

I wouldn't do a hippie fad diet. I've tried Weight Watchers and it worked really well for me, but this time around I didn't want to have to count points or calories. This just makes sense to me.

I'm going to list some of the concepts that I learned from the It Starts with Food book not just to give any Mutherford readers some insight into my new approach to food but so that I may bookmark this post and reference these concepts later on my iPhone. All concepts listed below are either lifted verbatim or as a summary from the book.
  • Food either makes you more or less healthy. Those are the options.
  • We are genetically adapted to the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, and that genetic disposition hasn't changed much in the last 10,000 years - which means we are not genetically suited to our modern, industrially-produced, agriculture-based diet.
  • The food we eat should promote a healthy psychological and hormonal response, support a healthy gut and immune function, and minimize inflammation.
  • Dieting doesn't work long-term because simply reducing your calories isn't likely to change or alleviate your food cravings, even if you do lose weight. It is key to eliminate the cravings.
  • Unhealthy foods have an unfair advantage because they are designed in a way that messes with your brain, makes you crave them and experience trouble giving them up.
  • Pleasure, reward, and emotion are all interconnected in our brains. Reward circuitry is integrated with parts of the brain that enrich a pleasurable experience with emotion, making it more powerful, and easier to remember. The combination of pleasure, reward, and emotion pushes you toward rewarding stimuli - including food that has been overprocessed and filled with ingredients to make it supernormally stimulating.
  • The repeated release of opioids when you eat supernormal food turns a want into a need - you don't even have to be hungry because it's not about satisfying your hunger, it's about satisfying your craving.
  • Hormonal troubles arise from "overcarbsumption" - the chronic overconsumption of supernormally stimulating, nutrient-poor, carbohydrate-rich foods.
  • If there is an overabundance of sugar, the sugar takes precedence over the fat as a source of energy in many metabolic processes, and stored fat doesn't get burned for energy.
  • You cannot "out-exercise" poor food choices and the resulting hormonal disruption.
  • Simply eating less of the same foods isn't going to improve your hormonal responses. In fact, cut calories too much and you'll make your hormone situation even worse.
  • If your body has an adverse response to food you're eating, your immune system will kick in to prevent or repair damage. Systemic inflammation is the mobilization of your immune system. Your food choices should support immune function and minimize inflammation.
  • Bad things happen when you confuse or overwork your immune system. It can't do it's main job, like fighting a bug that's going around, healing your injuries, or preventing plaque buildup in your arteries.
  • If you're overweight, you're also systemically inflamed.
  • Genetics play a role, but only when those genes get turned on. A gene that isn't turned on doesn't do anything. It's the intersection of your environmental inputs and your genetics that is truly relevant to your health. "It runs in my family" is not an excuse.
For the above reasons, I am removing sugar, legumes, alcohol, dairy, and grain from my diet for 30 days. Then, I will reintroduce each individually for short periods of time to see how my body reacts. Once I know how my body reacts, I can determine if I want to permanently reintroduce these food/drink groups and in what amounts. Am I never going to have wine again? Heck no. I'm actually going to have a glass on my birthday, March 8th, which happens to be the much-anticipated Day 31. I'm also going to have a cheeseburger again. And some ice cream. But, my goal is to detox from these items, see how good I feel, reintroduce these items, so how good/bad I feel, and go from there.

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