Bright Line Diet, Week 1 – 2: Like a Prison, but a posh one
My daughter has a favorite show – the cartoon series Avatar. In one episode a character, Boomie, was encased in a metal container, much like a casket – only his head stuck out.
The Bright Line Eating diet was much like that.
I thought I was tough – now I know better.
It started out okay, but got worse each day. Day 5-14 completely sucked.
My long term aspiration has been to work up to eating at least half my food as vegetables/fruits. I think it’s a great thing to aspire to. Most people would get adjusted to this much fodder over time. Not me, I become progressively less able to tolerate fiber. With eating only at 3 meal times per day, a proscribed amount, dictated by the ounce of protein, veggies, grains, or fat, there is no leeway in this plan.
My long term aspiration has been to work up to eating at least half my food as vegetables/fruits. I think it’s a great thing to aspire to. Most people would get adjusted to this much fodder over time. Not me, I become progressively less able to tolerate fiber. However, my first problem with this diet was that I cannot eat that much vegetable matter without severe GI repercussions. If you’ve followed me through this blog, you know that I have a GI issues; I love veggies, but I can’t tolerate them. That is a problem.
On this diet, we are meant to eat 20 ounces of vegetables a day – including a half pound of salad. In addition, we are supposed to eat 12 ounces of fruit. That is 32 ounces of “vegetable matter” a day – Two pounds! Everyday.
I tried a half pound salad. I was trying to be a good girl. Do you know how much a half pound of salad is? They sell those bags of salad in the grocery stores …. and they are only 5 oz. Eight ounces fills a huge bowl. It’s what I would make for dinner for a family of 4. It’s a ridiculous amount. Needless to say – I spent the next 3 days regretting this venture into ‘rule following.’
In the past, I ate a salad every day for years – but no longer! I just can’t do it. I am irrevocably persistent, however: I tried having a small salad, about 1 1/2 – 2 cups, but doing so every other day. The first salad day was okay. The second lead to 3 days of cramping and regret. So – no salads every other day! Unless you spend $600 for the ‘boot camp,’ there is no way to get further advice.
I traded the ½ pound daily dinner salad for a 4 oz portion of whole grains. My intestines thanked me.
The second, and more disturbing problem was the 3 o’clock craving. I started out not hunger at all, but over the first 5 days, those overly large meals weren’t sticking to me – I was getting hungry. I started having to eat right on time! Starting on Day 5, however, my body seemed to completely betray me. Each subsequent day, at 3 o’clock, I would get severely hungry, until I felt crazy man, crazy! On Day 5 through 9, I would have done just about anything for a snack – a healthy snack. An apple.
We traveled on Day 10. That’s when the sugar cravings hit. It felt like an addict without their drug. I went in to a gas station to use the restroom, but rushed out, because all the food displays were making me crazy. While my family got Subway – I sat in the car and fantasized about what I could sell, or do, to get sugar. I wanted sugar more than anything in the world. It would just make me feel normal again. Instead, I felt jumpy and itchy and crazy in the head. I was grumpy, too. My breath smelled and I had no patience or resiliency.
A family with 3 kids got out of a nearby mini-van. The boy hit the girl, pretending to be a ninja….. I thought to myself – I could teach one of the kids how to really hit …. for a bag of M&M…..Even a small bag….
There was some part of me that realized my cravings, and the actions I was willing to at least consider, were totally crazy, and that it was fortunate that I was still sane. However, I felt would have done almost anything to relieve my cravings. Fortunately that was not true. There is a difference between “doing almost anything” and “doing anything” to relieve your addiction. I felt like I could really empathize with addicts. It’s likely a short walk between one and the other. And hell – this was food! We are supposed to eat food!
I decided to give myself an optional healthy snack, if I was hungry at 3 pm: an apple or 2 rice cakes. It really helped!
Things got better suddenly on Day 13. I no longer felt like a junkie. The sugar cravings had only lasted a few days. I had altered the diet to include a 100 calorie, healthy, 3 o’clock snack (an apple or a rice cake and a cutie), but only if needed. Suddenly, I did not need them. I wasn’t hungry between meals. All was well. This is how the diet is described. However, the reality of how intense the simple hunger, much less the sugar cravings would become – that was definitely not mentioned!
The calm didn’t last. Every week or so, I go through a few days of intense 3 o’clock cravings. Then it gets better for a few days. Then worse.
I know it’s not awful, but…. It is sometimes awful. The fact that there is no leeway on “what” you eat (ex. 6 ounces of vegetables at lunch and dinner), makes me call it a prison. It’s posh, because there is actually a wide range of fruits, veggies and proteins you can eat. While I get enough to eat, (Posh – I guess), there are no snacks (prison). The meals are so huge (posh) and there is supposed to be no eating except at meals (prison).
I understand the reasons for all these rules. However, I have rarely done anything as hard in my life. This is noteable, because I do a lot of really hard things. I would say, this diet is not for the faint of heart. As things ease up, I am curious about what the future holds. So – onward I go!
by Tama Cathers – Learning all the time. Sometimes it hurts.
Photo Credit: I cannot give a photo credit, but wish I could.