I've been wanting to reduce my wheat and sugar intake a bit and do some experimentation. But needed a good way to force or convince myself to do it. A mind hack.
Mind HacksI love a good mind hack. To me it's something I setup as a quasi constraint (ie a constraint totally made up by me!) that helps me towards a goal or something I want to achieve. It's like setting artificial deadlines.
FastingOne of my major mind hacks is fasting. Some of you may know that I've been doing my version of 5:2 where I fast two days a week and eat normally on the other 5 days. Usually a 5:2 diet will allow up to 500 calories on the fasting days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays (or days starting with "t"), I fast. This doesn't include any coffee or tea or hot chocolates even! And every so often I'd have a banana or yoghurt in the evening if I felt I needed it. I've been doing this well over a year now. And it's fairly easy. I love the binary nature of it. And I must have saved a tonne of money as I eat a lot less. And a lot more time is saved as I don't need to cook and clean up those days! But there was one stage where I would overeat ice cream and chocolate on my days where I wasn't fasting. Not good. The fasting is somewhat for weightloss but mainly because I'm trying to do little things that can help me not get cancer. My mum and dad have had cancer. So genetically I'm pretty screwed. But there are things I can do to minimise my chances of getting cancer. Fasting is one of them.
Not so good things about fasting:
- bad breath! Maybe due to ketosis?
- feel cold. I think the lack of food makes my body just feel cold on the days I fast.
- can get tremors -- I use to get this and feel really weak. Makes sense if I'm not eating that I feel that so often I will just a small something that day to tide me over. I'm not super strict as you can see. But I would say I'd only break a fast once every 4 fast days.
- Save money and time on the days I fast!
- mental clarity during the days I fast
- generally I feel my health is better (more later)
- I realise just how little food I need! Get a good sense of how much we generally overeat.
The big question I'm sure many people have when they hear I fast 2 days a week is if I have lost a tonne of weight. No. Whilst I will lose weight on those days when I fast I have pretty much stayed the same for ages. And yes I'm still overweight. ☹️⚖
Since I've been feeling that I overeat on the days I can and that I have a small ice cream addiction I wanted to try and break the habit. In May I decided that I would tell everyone that I would do "Dry July" by having no sugar and no wheat. That would eliminate things like ice cream and chocolate but also cakes. It's just too easy to snack on things or accept that piece of cake that is on offer. Normally people give up alcohol in July but since I don't drink giving up sugar and wheat seemed like a good idea.
The 'rules' were no sugar, no wheat and no sugar substitutes. So basically no 'sweet' food. Again I'm a non extremist so if there was a bit of sugar in a dish when eating out I would still eat it. But I would not seek it out. I was already such a foodtard I didn't want to make things worse for myself.
Thank goodness my work colleagues are foodtards too and tend to understand the crazy food options we all have eliminated from our diets. Our smallish team has an autoimmune diseased meat eater, a self induced vegan, a semi-vegan, a few dairy intolerant peeps, and a smattering of other special food needs.
The start date was also shifted to be 2nd July as the Sunday before hand I was going to a baby shower with lots of yummy sweet things! And I ended on 30 July. The 31st was a Tuesday when I was meant to be fasting which should be easy but in the evening I went out with Richard after work to Newtown and had a couple of tacos (that's OK) but then wanted to try the vegan ice cream place. Probably not worth it but at least I know I've tried it now. (The ice cream is fine but since I'm not that lactose intolerant and Messina is down the road...)
So all up I ended up doing no sugar, no wheat for 29 days! Yay me!
No Sugar No Wheat -- was it worth it?
So what do I think? I think it was a success! I felt a lot better not eating wheat. I'm not sure why. I don't know if it's the wheat or the yeast that was eliminated from that side of things that made me feel better. I know I did feel better for it. More that I didn't feel bloated.
As for the sugar, I'm glad I did it because it broke a bit of an addiction. How do I know? Well I went to ALDI and didn't feel compelled to buy all the chocolate or ice cream! During July I also had a heap of fruit. I could tell that the lack of sweet foods was having an affect when I had to give away my pineapple to someone else because it was too sweet. Before it was just apples that would do that to me. But now pineapple too.
I don't know how long this control over sugar and wheat based products will last. But it's been a good experiment and I think I will try and incorporate it every so often if I feel that I'm getting addicted again or having excessive amounts of either sugar or wheat.
But to the ladies out there... you should try it out. Why do I say this? because I had the best red week ever! 3/4 days. Unheard of. And not heavy but not spotting either. I believe the culprit is sugar and not the wheat as much but I am not sure. All I know is that I do pretty much what I do normally but with a cup of raspberry leaf tea for the first two days of my period. But that's the only other 'different' thing I would do compared to normal. I have been on my other supplement regime for over 2 months so that wasn't it. Must be the sugar/wheat thing.