So this post is really more for me than you. Usually I share recipes or something I hope you will find interesting or useful. Today I’m just getting something off of my chest. Perhaps you will find it interesting, or possibly useful in a “what not to do way” but either way, here it is.
I did something stupid last week. I fell off the low carb/gluten free wagon. Actually, that’s not accurate – “falling” implies that it was accidental. It wasn’t – so I guess it would be more accurate to say that I jumped off of the wagon. The thing is, it’s not like I snapped and just decided I had to have some carbs. It was more insidious than that. I was presented with an opportunity to develop some recipes using some challenging ingredients in creative ways, and I got excited about it. The problem was that none of them were low carb or gluten free. I decided that I would just have a few cheat days, get all of the recipes out of the way, and then go back to my healthier way of eating. Seems reasonable right? I had a good reason and a plan – what could go wrong?
Here’s where the wheels fell off though. I am a gluten/carb addict. When my body gets ahold of gluten based carbs (bread, pasta, cake, cookies, brownies), in spite of feeling lousy, I want more. Period. And this time was no exception. As soon as that door was opened, I started craving more carbs – and junky ones at that. Since I was of the mindset that it was a cheat weekend anyway, I thought why not indulge? I didn’t binge in the sense of eating ridiculous amounts – I was pretty moderate actually, and I cut back in calories in other areas so I wouldn’t gain weight – and I didn’t. But I felt puffy, bloated, sick, and just lousy. And all I wanted was more crappy carbs. I was aware mentally in some part of my brain that it was happening, and knew that it was my body and it’s addiction driving me, but I didn’t care. So I ate more carbs. And hated myself for it. Cookies, brownies, crackers, wheat bread – why yes, don’t mind if I do! After all, it’s just a few days, right?
Three days later, I could feel myself undoing all of the hard work I’ve done since January 2012, and I knew I had to cut it out or end up right back where I started, which was frankly, horrifying to contemplate. It was the wake-up call I needed though, and I’m grateful that it happened before too much damage was done. Yesterday was my first gluten free day, and I had a raging headache since about noon. I drank tons of water. Today I still have the raging headache, crippling joint pain, and horrible, horrible nausea. All for 4 days of eating gluten-based carbs that didn’t even taste as good as they should have. It wasn’t worth it. What’s worse? I didn’t even get a chance to work on the recipes that inspired me to cheat – so it was all essentially for nothing. I wish I could turn the clock back and make a different decision but I can’t. So now I have to gut out the detox until the gluten is out of my system, which hopefully won’t take more than a day or two or I might die. Or at least wish I would.
What’s the moral of this story? After almost a year of eating low carb/gluten free I should have known better. No matter how long you’ve been eating healthier, you are always just one or two bad choices away from slipping back into old, unhealthy habits. Know yourself. Count the cost. Be prepared to pay the price, and make sure it’s worth it before you go off plan. Nine times out of ten the answer will be no. No, it isn’t.