Hi friends! Thanks for coming back to read my update on my true. Weight Journey program experience.
My first week on the VLCD was, well honestly… hell. Anyone who has been on a diet knows the first week is always the worst. When I say I was cranky, I feel like that’s putting it too lightly! On day 2, Dr. Egan reached out to me to ask how I was doing, and I was honest. I told her I was having a really hard time and I felt like I was dying. (Yes, dramatic, but that’s how sugar withdrawal feels!) It was so nice to have that touchpoint with Dr. Egan and have her give me advice through the app.
After the first 2-3 days, I didn’t feel so hungry anymore, but the cravings were still there. When I feel myself start to crave something and I’m hungry, I will have a shake and the craving isn’t so strong anymore after I feel “full.” So far, the cravings have been the toughest to overcome during this process. I feel like there is this voice inside my head that is constantly chanting “Burger. Fries. Brownies. It will all make you feel better!” It has taken so much mental capacity to deny those cravings. I think that is part of the reason I was so cranky – there was just no space left in my mind to tolerate people because all of my mental power was focused on thinking “You are not going to die if you don’t have that food.”
Creating boundaries with my support people
I spoke a lot about those feelings to my therapist in one of my appointments and I think it is super important to acknowledge boundaries during your own weight journey. On day two of the diet, I had to have a conversation with my co-workers where I basically said that I couldn’t talk about the diet or how it was going because I was so focused on getting through each day. I also had to set a boundary with my mom because she started offering to cook me chicken and veggies or help me with meal prep, and I just had to tell her, “I appreciate your willingness to help, but I have to do this on my own.”
If you take anything from reading this, know that your weight journey is your own and you don’t need to apologize for setting boundaries.
At my weekly appointment with Dr. Egan, we talked about my plans for the weekend and I let her know about a wedding I had on Saturday. I asked her what her thoughts were about food and “cheating.” Would eating something not on the plan set my progress back really far? Dr. Egan told me to try a bit of cake and really see how I feel about it. She compared the bites to merging onto a freeway and the speed of a car. She said, “The first bite always feels like going 0-60 really fast and you are feeling so good. The second bite is still great where you go 60-75, then it starts feeling less exciting. The third bite is more like 75-80 and you might start to be like, ‘meh’ and you have to listen to that feeling. The more bites you take, the less exciting it feels.”
So, I took that advice to take a few bites of a cupcake at the wedding, and I remember thinking “Meh, this isn’t that great. I don’t really need anymore.” I ended up throwing it away after a couple of bites. I really had to tap into the logical side of my brain where I knew that I didn’t really like or enjoy it so I had to put it down. Before starting my weight journey, I feel like I would have probably just finished it for the sake of not letting food go to waste. Now I feel like I have the power to pace myself and know when it’s time to stop.
Reframing how I think about food
So much of this experience already has just been a reframing of the way that I think about food. I feel like I’ve started to look at food with a value attached to it. Thinking about how much energy the food will give me as opposed to how I’m going to feel when I am eating it. I feel like for so long, I have just been focused on the flavor and the comfort of food rather than the actual purpose of it. It feels good to know that my perspective and view of food have changed. I am trying to learn how to self-soothe without using food as a coping mechanism.
Learning to pay attention to my body
Overall, I am definitely feeling more positive than in my first week. I don’t feel like I have lost all control over what I am eating. I feel like I am in control of my food choices, but I am just deciding to make better ones. I think the most important thing I have learned so far is to really tap into what my body is trying to tell me. When I have cravings, generally it is worse when I feel myself getting hungry. After having a shake, the cravings diminish, so I don’t feel like I HAVE to have something. I am just trying to take it all in day by day and am trying not to think too far into the future because it is easy to lose focus on the present. I think you could compare it to running a marathon. Focus on each mile as it comes and not the full 26 miles! 26 is just too big of a number to comprehend when you’re only on mile 1.