I’m Baaack

If I didn’t have ADHD, there would be at least another half a dozen posts here by now. Alas, I get distracted, overwhelmed, busy trying to make a living and then embarrassed because so much time had passed without my realizing it. Yes, typical excuses all, and that is just the point.

When I first learned I had ADHD, I dove into learning about it — read all kinds of books, joined support groups, found doctors and therapists — thinking that once I understood it I would overcome it and it would go away. Nine years later, I understand the general phenomenon of ADHD and specifically my ADHD; and, sadly, I have come to accept that it will never go away. My brain is my brain and I have no more control over it than I have over my heart, lungs, liver or pancreas. I will always unintentionally get distracted. I will forever, without warning, forget what I was in the middle of doing and what I was about to do. My thoughts will always race faster than I can find the words to articulate them and I will forever speak in incomplete sentences, expressing pieces of thoughts a few paces behind the conversation that is taking place around me.

No, I will never quash it. The most I can do is understand how it shows up, hope that I remember my coping strategies when it does, pray that good people will not abandon me because I do not measure up to the standards of one who does not have ADHD, and be kind to and accepting of myself when, in my ADHD moments, I feel less than. If you are still reading, I thank you for sticking it out with me.

The good news is that since my last post I have maintained the animals, vegetables, eggs eating program and lost about 12 pounds. My cholesterol is down. Blood sugar, not so much, but the nutritionist thinks it may have been a false reading and we put in for a retest (because we know I am not ingesting carbs). The underlying dietary principles: eliminate all starchy carbohydrates (specifics are in my last post). Initially, the goal of this extreme eating program was to clean out my system and “reset” my blood sugar. It was supposed to last for two to four weeks. It was so successful for weight loss that I insisted on continuing with it for as long as I could stand it. (Hello, ADHD. Can you say perseveration?)

I will not deny that it has, at times, been grueling. My nutritionist permitted me occasional “cheat windows” (as opposed to the wildly popular cheat days that typically cancel out all of one’s previous abstinence). With that, I allowed myself a few mouths full of this or that — stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie (in a one-hour window) on Thanksgiving; and, blue cheese and brie on gluten-free crackers on New Years Eve (more like a 3 hour window). That was pretty much the extent to which I went off plan (aside from eating nuts a few times a week with no ill consequences), until now.

I should not be surprised then, that in the past month or so I have hit a wall. The weight is still coming off but lately I have been less successful in adhering to such strict limitations. While I think I’m content to consistently lose a pound a week, I find I am losing patience, particularly when I remember that I have another 30 pounds to lose which means another eight months or so without pasta, rice, cookies (even if they do have to be gluten-free), ice cream and bread.

Of course, truth be told, I can never go back to eating those things the way I used to. If nothing else, this experiment has proven that carbohydrate restriction is the solution to my weight problem. And, truth be told, this is the case for many people. That said, since I have made food the center of my professional life as well as my personal life, I have been doing some serious thinking about not only what to eat but how to continue to make my living cooking without simultaneously making myself sick and fat. Fortunately, there isn’t a single diet that is right for everyone and this type of diet is right for some. And this type of diet doesn’t always have to taken to the extreme to which I have taken it. Some carbohydrate, two or three times a week, should be okay. My body should be able to tolerate that without gaining weight. Most people should be able to tolerate that without catapulting to obesity.

In that spirit, and because I miss certain foods and textures so very much, I am, on a very limited basis, going to add some carbs back into my diet to see how I react to them. A little gluten-free pasta here, a little ice cream there (home made, low-sugar, of course). If I start gaining weight, they’re out — at least until I’ve lost another 10-15 pounds. By then, my insulin resistance may be reduced (please, please).

Also, (full disclosure), it has not been as hard to maintain this diet as I have made it sound. After all, I am a trained chef and life-long culinary enthusiast. I make many low-carbohydrate dishes that rival those with carbs. If I didn’t have ADHD, many of those recipes would already be posted here. If I can figure out — and remember — a new strategy to keep up with blogging, they will begin to appear on these pages shortly.

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