Sunday, February 7, 2010

Finding My Best Diet...How's It Going?

Hello there,

I'm really pleased to say that I am doing SO MUCH better than i had been. As you all know, I am a morbidly obese binge eater [I've lost 150 lbs] and I've been talking about my binge eating since the inception of this blog. I'm 42 and have been binge eating since high school, and i've been hospitalized 3x for Binge Eating Disorder.

When i was 100% raw these past 3 years, i was binge eating on gourmet raw. When i began eating some cooked food, it wasn't too long before i was binging on vegetarian junk food like donuts, pizza and spring rolls. I gained 38 lbs doing just that in only a short time. Previously, i'd gain 20-30 lbs binging on gourmet raw, and then i'd lose it by 80-10-10ing. It was 'fun' alright, but the resulting weight gain was devastating. Up and down. Up and down.

This last episode gaining almost 40 lbs felt DESPERATELY out of control. Cooked vegetarian binge food is EVERYWHERE...on every corner: french fries, fried onion rings, donuts, pizza, chinese food. I couldn't stop...and i didn't WANT to. I was desperate to find a solution.

I tried many things including going back to 100% raw gourmet several times, then i fell off into cooked vegetarian junk food again and again, before feeling entirely hopeless and contacting Carlene Jones of

Carlene has lost 140 lbs and is maintaining her weightloss eating a mostly raw diet, which includes lots of fruit, little fat and salt and cooked vegetables. What else she eats i'm not sure of, but what i DO know is what she told me, "I know what i can eat at home, i know what i can eat when i go out, and i know what i must never take in the house." Coming to a place of such control is what i want, too.

Carlene has found her way, remains in control most of the time, exercises daily, and now tries to help other women overcome obesity and binge eating using a low fat, low sodium diet, yet remains 'realistic' about binge eating. Carlene says, "Even skinny people binge. I've never seen a Sandra Bullock movie where she doesn't take a cake out of the fridge and eat the entire thing." The key, she says, is to confine the binge eating. For me, my interpretation is that if i'm going to binge, i'm going to binge, but i can learn to binge on zero calorie cooked veggies.

Because Carlene is high raw many of her clients choose high raw diets or half raw, and some, no raw. I had to ask myself,"What's healthier, staying fat and binge eating gourmet raw for the rest of my life and never losing another pound, or maybe including some low fat cooked food to help me lose weight and at least...confine...binge eating?" It's easy to eat a huge bowlfull of steamed veggies without dressing, but a giant plate of raw broccoli not drowned in cashew thai sauce? Not too appetizing.

Carlene still runs a website called, which promotes an 80-10-10-like sodium free almost fat free raw diet - 100% raw, all fruit, greens and barely any fat. Many women, in fact, have lost over 100 lbs on her 'bootcamp'. The sad fact, is that ALL of them gained it all back.

Carlene now runs a program called, "Find Your Best Diet" taking women slowly through small diet additions and changes, allowing THEM the freedom (within limits) to figure out what works best for them. I am working with Carlene now to find MY best diet.

We started out with a 2,000 calorie limit and i was 'allowed' to eat whatever i wanted. It really didn't work too good as i fell into binge eating immediately. Back to square one. I went back to 80-10-10 for a few days under Carlene's guidance. The first day was SO HARD!!! I had such tremendous cravings, i didn't think i would make it. After i got through that first day, it was smooth sailing.

On the third day, we added in home cooked veggie lentil soups with zero fat and zero salt. I was surprised they didn't make me 'compulsive,' being cooked. They are bland, but warm and comforting and filling. So all and in in addition to these soups daily, I've been eating lots of fruit, lots of smoothies and green smoothies and some dry salad, and i've lost 17.5 lbs with not too much struggle, and ZERO compulsion to BINGE. Pretty awesome.

As for the soups, they really seem to 'work' for me. I get to eat so much of them. Carlene and I have made peace with the fact that as a binge eater, i am a VOLUME eater, by nature. That's just the way it is. Making peace with that is actually FREEING. We now KNOW that, and can plan foods that FILL but are low fat and low salt, like the soup i make. And, Carlene is also a volume eater, so she understands. And it's so great that I get to eat high volume this way - with NO FAT and NO SALT - eat like a pig, but lose weight!!!!

To make my soup I blenderize veggies with water in the vitamix, add them that to a big pot, add in lots of chunky veggies and 1 cup of orange lentils and cook about 10 minutes. With the top on i let it sit for a while. An entire pot of soup is probably no more than 500 calories. So each serving is minimal calories and maximally filling. I'm basically doing the Dr. Fuhrman program. His program cures people's cancers, too, so these soups can't be THAT unhealthy.

And I've also been walking an hour a day. What a joy that is! After the first 15 minutes, your legs are happy, you're happy, and when you're done, you're empowered. The best thing to do is not to THINK about it too much. Just DO it. It's become just a simple fact: everyday i must fit in 1 hour of walking. And i do. Even in a blizzard. I just bundle up. I'm so grateful Cliff joins me. I love that man dearly. Our walks are so bonding and energizing not only to our bodies but to our relationship.

More on finding my best diet: Just the other day, Carlene suggested another idea to add to my repertoire perhaps 2x/week, if desired: an eggwhite omelette. As a former raw foodist, I sort of cringed at the idea, but, i've decided to branch out. Losing weight and stopping binge eating is HEALTHIER than what i was doing before, even if i was all raw, I was eating so much sodium and fat. That's just not healthy for anyone. I'm now eating food that is considered 'toxic,' but it's all a big experiment and I can go back to 100% raw if i want. I just really want to see if i can find a diet where i can lose weight, stop binge eating and be happy for the rest of my life. When i find it, i'll know, so i'm open to experimentation, under Carlene's guidance.

I made one of these eggwhite omelettes last night that Carlene suggested, and REALLY enjoyed it. I was shocked that 4 egg whites with 1 whole egg with no salt and barely any fat (1/2 tsp oil) could actually taste so amazingly good. I added tons of veggies - mushrooms and tomato and leeks. It was so good. What's amazing is that being over one week off of salt, everything tastes good!

The strange thing was...i snored last night after the egg whites omelette. As a cooked food 425lbs woman, i used to snore so LOUD that you could literally hear me down the hall with the door closed. As a raw foodist, i stopped snoring completely! And eating cooked veggies and lentils didn't bring back the snoring. But, the eggs did. I told Carlene I'd keep the egg idea as a treat because of that. It's nice to sleep with my honey and not keep him awake.

Yet today when we went out to eat, i was a little stuck on what i could order and ended up with eggs again. I saw no fruit salad, no fruit cup. I saw a hummus platter. That would have been a luscious vegan choice, but, it's too high salt and high fat for right now. I saw lots of wonderful vegan choices - grilled portobello mushroom sandwhich, veggie quesillas. Everything had salt and fat. If i were in a raw restaurant, i'd have confronted the same issue. Everything would be fatty and salty, except for fruit or dry salad. I was REALLY hungry, so i ordered the Ceasar Salad with no croutons, no olives, no dressing, but the egg was okay. It arrived as a plate of romaine, a few tomatoes and 2 eggs cut up. I ate one of the eggs and took the yolk out of the second. I didn't feel compulsive afterwards, but i'll snore again tonight. Best to limit the eggs i think. My body obviously doesn't consider them the 'best' for me, otherwise, it wouldn't become inflamed from them.

But, after my one hour walk, i was hungry again. A Larabar at 230 cals, zero sodium, but 12% fat seemed like an okay option. The cashews are fatty, but it's not that much that it would set me compulsively, and in fact, it didn't. I was very hungry and this compact caloric bar may not have been ideal, but it was a fine choice.

See, i'm learning to make CHOICES now. I'm restricted to 1600-1800 cals a day now. I've limited myself most days to zero fat, but i am allowed to have 30% of my cals at fat, and i've also limited myself most days to ZERO sodium, though i'm allowed to have 3,000mg of sodium daily. Making choices is SO empowering! I'm in control. I write everything down on fitday and Carlene and i talk 2x/week and we email daily. It's actually going really GREAT!!

I've noticed some other things, like the snoring, that aren't as great since eating some cooked food, though. My poops are not as fabulous as they were when i was eating raw 100%. For a few days, i was even constipated, but my bowels have seemed to adjust now. And i wake up every morning (even though i'm eating zero sodium) with a puffy face - puffy cooked food face. I had really enjoyed waking up beautiful as a raw foodist. Also, after eating the eggs, i felt like i could sleep forever!

Many a time on this journey of "finding my best diet", i've had to ask myself if i ALREADY had found it before....when i was 100% raw! I obviously needed to make some adjustments to it, however.

What's so much easier, though, is to eat LOWFAT with cooked veggies and LOWCAL. As a raw foodist, unless you are going to do 80-10-10 and eat only fruit all day, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to eat LOWFAT and LOWCAL. Salads without dressing are really NOT that enjoyable. And nuts and seeds are also high in fat. Soaked seeds are probably the best option for weight loss. I mean, look at Angela Stokes-Monarch's diet. She hardly eats ANYTHING. She drinks most of her calories or takes supplements. There aren't many lowfat options unless you want to eat fruit all day. And Angela doesn't believe in fruit, considering it only for highly active people. So what are you left with? She mostly juices. I've never been so much into juicing. Maybe someday... I'm just not 'there' yet.

Nevertheless, my BIGGEST 'Ah-ha' moment in this work with Carlene has been the realization that i am a FAT and SODIUM ADDICT. Realizing this, finally, has made me so very very conscious of what i eat because I know now that if i eat too much salt and too much fat this giant big COMPULSIVE BINGE MONSTER awakens in me - my cravings completely reawaken and i'm out of control again.

I always assumed they were EMOTIONS that drove us to binge. But i don't think so anymore. I think it's the food. If you don't pick up too much salt and fat, miraculously, you're just forced to deal and cope. And i do!

So, even with eating COOKED eggwhites and COOKED veggies and lentils, i'm NOT COMPULSIVE, I assume, because they are LOWFAT. I always assumed wrongly it was the fact that food was COOKED that made me compulsive. But, i don't think it is. It's really the FAT and SALT content that's really the problem.

So, no matter if it's raw or cooked, if it's FATTY or SALTY, it's going to cause problems. If i were to have a nice huge mound of raw toona or chick-un salad, that monster re-awakens. Also, if i eat cooked french fries or onion rings, it reawakens.

It usually re-awakens at work when i dig into the raw bread. Well, what is raw bread? Fat and salt, basically. At 130 cals per slice (i worked it out on, that's 1,000 cals for a tray of 8 and lots of salt and fat. No WONDER i couldn't stop that stuff once i started. And no wonder i couldn't lose weight on gourmet raw. I invariably ALWAYS overdid it on whatever i ate. It just never stopped calling to me.

Carlene has stated that there are foods that just SHOULD NOT BE ON MY REPERTOIRE AT ALL. Any food that is more than 30% fat or high in sodium should just be off limits. Why? I won't want to stop. Raw bread is one of those foods.

So, this is only a little past week one of this fascinating journey into finding my best diet, and i'm just so glad to be losing weight again, to be exercising again, to be so hopeful, and to be much more aware of the impact of salt and fat in my diet and in my binge eating issue. I'm glad to be looking better, glad to have Cliff proud of me and walking with me and loving me. It's a happy time. I know as i continue along this road, if i continue to stay aware, i'll be able to refine what my idea for my best diet is. So...onward i day at a time!

xoxo michelle joy

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