The New Life – New Diet Challenge

I am once again speaking to you as an expert in failing at losing weight.  I’ve dieted frequently, often with limited success.

However, I do have to say that my most recent failure was probably inevitable.  With my brain bathed in cortisol for so long, and with us being in survival mode during the two months we were packing, and then with all the family visits that involved GREAT, sinfully sugary food, I don’t think there could have been any outcome other than me gaining a significant amount of weight. 

So, now that we’re settled in and no longer under such a tremendous amount of stress, I thought it would be a great time to focus on eating healthier.  There are plenty of nutritional theories out there, so no two people are going to agree on what “eating healthier” is.  I have spent a lot of time reading, and trying to find the one perfect way to eat.  Of course, involving the word “perfect” invokes perfectionism, so I would immediately give up, if I slipped up and deviated from my “perfect” eating. 

But maybe, no two people’s bodies are exactly alike.  And maybe we would be better off viewing nutrition in the same way we view philosophy and spirituality–that there are multiple roads to good health.  So I am going to pick and choose, from the knowledge I have and from my own experiences, and find the road that works for me.  I will share my ideas and experiences with you each week, but do keep in mind that your road might be slightly different.

So, here is what I am doing:

1.  My blood sugar tends to run high, so I usually feel very good eating a low-carb diet.  I will use my usual low-carb diet as a base, then gradually add to it, to increase nutrition.

2.  Fats affect my mood, in a huge way.  I am avoiding trans fats, as they cause me to have depression symptoms (they are also just horribly unhealthy), and I am choosing oils that are not high in omega-6’s, since those are far too prevalent in the Western diet.  I’ll fry in butter and coconut oil (omelets made in coconut oil are delectible!), use olive oil for salad dressing, and eat lots of nuts and avocados.  Fatty meat is fine too.

3.  We’re going organic as much as possible.  We are fortunate that organic produce and meat is readily available and inexpensive in Houston.  If that is not the case where you live, I would recommend going organic with the “dirty dozen” vegetables and fruit, and not worrying about the rest.  Actually, back in Michigan, lettuce was the only vegetable that I obsessed over getting organically.  I had read about Monsanto’s genetically modified “Round-Up Ready Lettuce,” and that grossed me out enough to only buy organic leaves.  My biggest priority, however, is meat and eggs.  Not only is organic healthier, but animals in factory farms are treated so cruelly. 

4.  I friend of mine recommended the Perfect Health Diet, and I would like to incorporate more of that into my diet.  It is more sustainable than a low-carb diet, since it includes the nutrients that are missing, when carbs are reduced significantly.  I plan on introducing one “rule” from the Perfect Health Diet, each week.  I will deviate from it only in my number of servings (since I would be forcing myself to eat more than what is comfortable, if I followed it to the letter) and my handling of grains (PHD bans all cereal grains, beans, and brown rice, but soaking or fermenting them eliminates the toxins that are the reason for their banishment.  We will avoid gluten though, when we get to that “rule”).  For more information on soaking and fermenting, I would recommend the book Nourishing Traditions.

5.  I will not adhere strictly to the “rules.”  One “cheating” meal will be allowed, per week. 

So how are we beginning?  The first rule for the Perfect Health Diet is to eat four fist-sized servings of “safe starches” (ie root vegetables, rice, and squash).  When I tried to eat four servings, I found that all I had room to eat were starches.  So I’ve reduced it to 2-3 servings.  For the higher glycemic veggies, such as potatoes, the book recommends boiling them with vinegar.  I have found that this does get rid of that “sugary” feeling after eating them.

So far, I have been eating this way for three days.  I am feeling more energetic, and my mood has been improving.  Add to it the fact that I have lost two pounds already, and I would say things are going well!

healthy food cartoon characters

19 thoughts on “The New Life – New Diet Challenge

  1. Bethany! Doesn’t it feel great to be focused on diet? What could be more important than what we put in our bodies? You have some great ideas here and seems like stuff you are likely to be able to stick with.

    We are excited about some new plans for our weekend diet which was getting a bit lax. Have a groovy one, Bethany!

    • It’s so wonderful not to be in a food desert anymore. I was pretty wide-eyed and giddy the first time I went to the Kroger in Clear Lake. A HUGE improvement from the small selection of wilted veggies that we had to choose from in our old town.

      • Hey Bethany, tried to comment on your Aug 11 post related to this one, but, getting an error message. Hope you are well and I am glad for the improved selection at Kroger. HEB is our fave if you have one near you, we have no complaints about Kroger either.

        • Isn’t it annoying when comments go into the great abyss? I’ve had that happen a lot lately.

          Haven’t tried HEB yet. I’m sure there is one near here. There is EVERYTHING near here. BIL and wife like to start at one and then go to the other, getting whatever is on sale.

          You just reminded me, I will have to leave a comment on your blog. We tried bonanza bowls for lunch today!

  2. Sounds like a great plan. The 80/20 rule is a great way to allow yourself to ‘not feel defeated’ if you slip up or need an occasional treat, but don’t use it as too much of a crutch. I started with the 80/20 rule and later improving it to about 90% as I grew to love my new healthy diet. An occasional ice cream sure hits the spot though!

    Dan @

    • Yup, I figure that allowing one “cheating” meal a week will give us a chance to explore all the interesting restaurants in Houston. And sushi is allowed, which satisfies my biggest craving!

      It’s nice to have a diet, where I actually can’t eat all the food I’m supposed to. 😉

  3. Having access to fresh produce will probably be the biggest factor in your diet, how exciting! I was recently talking to someone who lived in the same area of CA as we did, and we were talking about how we missed all of that fresh produce. Not that I have problems finding it here in Cleveland, but the fact it’s more local, more often, there was really nice. Not that it’s enough for us to retire there, but the food was great(as was the wine 😉 ). I need to get back to reorganizing my diet. Not so much for weight, but for my moods.

    • Food affects my moods a LOT, so I hear you there. Sugar, processed carbs, trans fats, and omega 6’s seem to have a particularly bad effect on me, mood-wise.

  4. I am not bothered by mood swings to much of the foods you mention, but bread and heavy meals to make me sluggish and fatty meals make me crave more. I agree that we each have different needs. Being born with a bad kidney I have to avoid animal protein to prevent illness. Congrats on finding something that works for you.

  5. Sounds like a good plan and following it will definitely brings you the desired result. All the best for your weight loss program and I liked your tips of adding coconut oil to omelete, would like to give a try on this recipe

  6. Good luck on changing your eating habits. My biggest recommendation is to just change one little bit at a time. Big changes are almost impossible to sustain.

  7. glad to hear that you are working on your diet and making an attempt to eat healthier. I have been a vegetarian for several years and I cannot believe the change in my body but of course it is not for everyone. I do have a question though, are you gluten intolerant? Is that why you’re following a gluten free diet? Just curious

    • Nope, I’m not gluten intolerant. The Perfect Health diet calls for the elimination of gluten, so I thought I would try it and see if I have more success than I have in the past. Bread is kind of my downfall, so it can’t hurt!

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