Grainless = Brainless

I know that theories on this are mixed.  Even my own thinking is mixed.  But one thing I can say for myself for sure:  sometimes abstinence is much easier than moderation.

Last week’s challenge goal for myself was to go grainless several days.  I had been struggling to get my head back in the game.  Because my head was going all sorts of places I didn’t want it to go and one place was filled with cravings for grains.  Crackers and cereals and breads and the list goes on.  But once I committed here and, more importantly, to myself, to cut back or cut out, I didn’t really think about them again.  Taking them off the table, so to speak, took them out of my head.  Now I would be dishonest if I said I never thought about grains at all or never ate any in the past week.  But almost:)  And it was easy.  Really.

I have shared in the past how I seem to really struggle with moderation.  And bread products.  And a whole slew of trigger foods.  Actually, I have shared how I struggle with lots of things!  But with your help and trial and error on my part, I am slowly learning from these struggles and from my mistakes missteps and sometimes I am just smart enough to put that learning into action.

I know that many of you can eat a piece of bread.  Or one chip.  Or a few M&Ms.  Or one Oreo.  And go on with your healthy lifestyle.  Right now, I can’t.  At least not at home.  And often, not NOT at home.  But someday maybe.

But someday doesn’t matter right now.  What matters is that I did what I set out to do last week, met exceeded my challenge goal (eating only two whole wheat flatbreads), and confirmed something for myself in the process.  What matters is I feel better this week than I felt last week.  What matters is that I am stronger than bread.  What matters is that life, today, is about more than bagels.  And crackers.  And cereal.

What matters to you today?  Have you learned anything about yourself lately?  Abstinence or moderation?

My challenge goal for next week is not food related.  It’s all about exercise.  My strength training partner, my mom, is traveling for two weeks so I am going to set a goal to work on strength training without her.  At least twice this week although maybe more.  And I want to work on my core at least five days.  And, yes, I intend to keep limiting the grains.  Gotta go with what works for me.

 

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68 Comments

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68 responses to “Grainless = Brainless

  1. Miz

    and that whole BLOCK QUOTE THINGY at the end is my goal too.

    not my mom but the husband (hes here but slacking :)) and for sure the core.

    I shall nag you,errr, happily keep you accountable with me.

    • Karen

      Ah, my husband is pretty good about cardio and that’s all we do together. Now the food thing… having him on board with that would be a big help!

  2. Great job with your goal last week! I’m a sugar addict but I’ve learned to be moderate with everything. I don’t know if I could limit my carbs like you but if my weight stalls, I will definitely look into this option!

    • Karen

      Kudos on being able to moderate. Wish I could. I hope that someday I can add things back in now and then without them sending me over the edge.

  3. As we’ve discussed before, we are together on this one. For me, there is no “moderation.” It has to be abstinence. There is no “just one to satisfy the craving” or “just a taste.” The craving is never satisfied and just a taste is a set-up for a binge.

    Great job last week and recognition of how going grainless made you feel better. I know that feeling and hope one day the knowledge of the feeling will be stronger than the desire for the temporary satisfaction from eating the grain/sugar.

    • Karen

      I agree with that last part. And also, that the knowledge of how I feel after I go on a bender will deter me from doing it again!

  4. i can’t eat just one and i’ve learned this so i can not keep chips or candy in the house. Bread on the other hand i’m better with if i keep it to whole grain then i’m less likely to go overboard because it’s not my favorite.

    • Karen

      Used to be I could have whole grain here too, since I didn’t like it much. Funny how my tastes changed. Both a good and a bad thing, I guess.

  5. I can “moderate” if someone else controls the portion, otherwise, I’m at it until it’s gone. Sigh. Even after all this time. But I try to let go of what I “should” be and just be who I am and who I am can’t really frolic amongst the breads. Wish it were different, but it’s not. I try to treat it not so much as a character defect but as an “allergy”. My health is affected in a negative way if I am exposed to too much grain. Good luck with your challenge this week – you’ll do great!

    • Karen

      I think I have evolved to similar thinking, Roxie. I don’t feel deprived so much anymore as I realize that bread is just not my friend and I am happier without it.

  6. Great Idea… what do you do to strenthen core I need to work in this area too much sitting at the computer… is not a great idea:-)

    • Karen

      Here’s one thing for you – if you sit at the computer at home, swap out your chair for an exercise ball. It forces you to work on your core muscles just to sit! My husband has one but I don’t because it would be too low for me to reach the keyboard comfortably.

      I like (but really hate) to do planks. I read once that they are the most effective core exercise. I also do crunches on the ball. And bicycles. I try to mix it up.

  7. Amy

    I hear you on moderation/abstinence. I’ve only recently learned to say “no” to a 4th piece of bread, but it is hard. I am a former carboholic so I do the same sometimes and just completely cut it off for a while.

    • Karen

      I think one of the telling signs for me is that the more I eat the more I want and the less I eat the less I want. The tough part is switching from more to less:)

  8. Karen, I love that you kept trying to find what is right for you & if it is just staying away from the trigger foods, than so be it – whatever works for you! 🙂 CONGRATS!

    I certainly can bug you about doing weights & core! 😉

    • Karen

      I wish I had the same drive you do for strength training. I tend to find my motivation for that from someone else, either my workout partner or a class if I take one.

  9. Moderation is hard for me too. For now, I’ve got to go with abstinence. Moderation is one of those things I’ll have to work on once I get to my goal weight.

    Good luck with this week’s goal.
    Lori

    • Karen

      That’s what I think too. But, not to be pessimistic, I have reached my goal weight before and never handled moderation well and then regained. So, no idea what I will do!

  10. In the short term, abstinence is most certainly easier. For me though, I think the long term goal is moderation… without a doubt. It’s about learning how to manage my own emotions and impulses rather than avoiding the situation. I’ve done abstinence for sure, but it never lasts as long as practicing moderation.

    • Karen

      I still in the back of my head think my long-term vision probably includes moderation. But, then I remember how many times I have reached my goal weight and gained it back. And how much easier it is to just not eat some things. And I wonder if I will, at the end of the day, be happier and feel better if I just don’t eat certain things. Not sure yet.

  11. What matters to me this week is like you, keeping the exercise up, but also, staying close to 1200 calories. I want a grand slam by my BD!

    • Karen

      I was just thinking, yesterday, that you have a bday coming up too:) I’d sure like to be a couple pounds lighter by mine.

  12. I can’t eat just one of any of my trigger foods, either. It would be a perfect world if I could, but I can’t and that’s that. Do what works for you and so glad to see that you are talking about ‘today’. That is how I’m taking things lately, too. Seems to be less overwhelming that way.

    • Karen

      I think you are right, focusing on the present is better. It is easy to imagine eating no bread today or this week but somehow to say I won’t eat it for a year or ever is pretty daunting sounding. Except when I type that I wonder if I would want it, knowing as I do that it tends to make me crazy. Bread is a tough one though since it can be hard to avoid sometimes, outside my own home.

  13. Jan

    Grainless is good – or at least it’s certainly OK as humans do not need grains. Avoiding trigger foods until (if ever) the trigger is controlled is just fine. One day I might eat ice cream, but probably not. There is no reason to do so, and ice cream is full of memories of yo-yo’ing and out-of-controllness(?). At least I am to the point that I can stare it down without cringing now.

    • Karen

      I can relate. Used to eat a lot of ice cream. We mostly don’t even have it in the house anymore. Just easier that way. Every now and then my son asks for it and I am thankful his favorite flavors are not mine. Now that whole self-serve yogurt shop fad… tempts me.

  14. Ohhh definitely abstinence for me is easiest. I just have no control once I start. 🙂

    Good luck with your strength training. YOU CAN DO IT!

  15. Like Jody said, hey, you gotta do what works for you, and that’s great! It’s an individualized journey for each of us. I have learned through trial and error that total abstinence is not a life-sustainable choice, so I’ve learned the fine art of portion control. But whatever personal journey works for you, is great! Congrats on such a successful week! 🙂

    • Karen

      Yep, I think it is learning for us each and for everyone it might be different. We’ve certainly talked about this before and I am amazed at how you can moderate chocolate:)

  16. I’m glad you asked this question, because I need to reinforce my answer and put it into action. Here we go… I am NOT hungry when I leave work, but by the time I get home I want to be snacking on all kinds of crazy stuff before dinner. It can really kill my whole day’s effort if I let it. I think the solution is to allow myself that pre-dinner food item, but something I’ve already predetermined it will be way before I arrive at home – something healthy (not an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers). I will work on making salad my pre-dinner go-to item. Thanks for this “exercise”. Now I’m excited! 😉

    • Karen

      Good idea! Here’s another: what works for me if I am going to be out and know I will be hungry when I get home I pack a healthy snack for the car. Usually something like cut peppers or grape tomatoes, veggies, since that helps me eat more of those at the same time it helps me keep from eating something else when I get home.

  17. Roz

    Hi Karen, I admire you for knowing and acknowledging what works best for you and sticking to it!!!! Have a great week, good luck on your exercise challenge!!!

  18. Abstinence is way better for me. The only problem is that it sets me up for all or nothing thinking and if I fail in abstinence, my fall back position is not moderation.
    That has to be the route.
    I believe in moderation, but I need abstinence to get me going.

    I’m so glad you had a good week and that you feel the difference!

    • Karen

      Oh yes, I know that all or nothing mentality very well. I suspect it is part of why so many others think this approach won’t work. In the back of my mind I think my vision of the future includes moderation. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come too it and hope I don’t fall off it and crash again like in times past.

  19. You can do it! Twice a week isn’t bad at all 🙂

    Overall I abstain as much as possible but now that I’m on hiatus I’m enjoying a few things I normally don’t- but not too much cuz like you I can go overboard!

    • Karen

      Good for you, moderating, Bee. I was happy with my two times this week. Seemed pretty sane to me. And… actually it was moderation as opposed to eating none at all, now that I think about it.

  20. *nods head*

    I can’t have bread in the house because I just can’t say no to it so i understand completely where you’re coming from here

  21. Kudos on achieving your goal! We are alike in many ways but as you know, in this we are exact opposites. Tell me I can’t have something and my inner 2-year old has a hissie fit. Tell me I can have this or that on Friday or next week or even next month, and I’m on my merry way. Go figure.

    We’re alike in that I’m having a core week too! I’m still lacking a gym membership and core is super easy to do at home.

  22. Rae

    We all need to do what works for US – who cares what other people can handle. We’re only accountable for what we can do, acknowledging what you can and can not handle is great!

  23. I have a hard time too with moderation. I’m better at it if I plan for it. If I want to have a treat and plan a day around it, there is something about the delayed gratifcation and incorporating it into my daily intake that helps, but it’s spontaniety that kills me. If I eat an unplanned brownie, it’s too easy for me to say, what the hell and reach for the bag of chips too. It makes no logical sense, but I have to at least acknowledge that it is a problem right now. Good luck!

    • Karen

      Oh … I definitely reach for something salty after something sweet! I read about lots of people who plan “cheats” and it works well for them.

  24. Sometimes I do great with moderation and sometimes things that I usually aren’t a problem can be a trigger for more! I just go with the flow, if things start to be a problem I pull back from them.

    I think you have made huge progress! Keep it up!

    • Karen

      Your life seems filled with lots of amazing food, whatever you call it. I so admire that about you. Wish I liked to cook and had a skill for playing with recipes.

  25. I’m not so definite in my thinking when it comes to what is right and wrong in the dieting world, as I’ve learned that everyone is different and what works for me may not work for someone else. I am in your camp–it is best if I just don’t try to eat just one of something that is a trigger food for me. I hope to be able to do that one day, but right now one leads to way too many. It’s sweet that your Mom is your strength training partner! Good luck this week making your goals–you’re doing great!

  26. Carbs are a real issue for me too. I can’t just eat “one” either. I’ve been know to eat a whole row of Oreos in one sitting. I try to keep them out of the house.

    • Karen

      Funny how so many of us are different with what we “can” and “can’t” moderate. I suspect Oreos would be a problem for me too but haven’t had them around in a long time. Bread, that’s another story.

  27. Great job the no-grain challenge!! You’re right, sometimes it is easier to say not at all that to eat things in moderation. It’s too easy to talk yourself into just a little bit more, but if it’s off the table you can’t do that.

  28. In theory, abstinence works best for me on certain things…if I can go a week without sweets, then my cravings go away. But start up again and then I’m on a roller coaster where sometimes moderation is fine and sometimes it is impossible. 🙂

  29. I am with you on the grains – one is never enough. I wonder if I will ever manage the moderation thing – it will mean such a major change that I can’t yet conceive if it.

    I need to get back to the weight training – for some reason I have let it fall away from my excerise routine and I used to really like it…

    • Karen

      Honestly, I don’t like weight training any more than any other exercise. Mostly I just put up with it all and then enjoy that I have done it when it’s over:)

  30. When it comes to sweets & naughty food things, I cannot tell you how much I agree with the abstinence over moderation philosophy. I really think that eliminating these things eliminates cravings. That’s my stand and I’m stickin to it! 🙂

  31. Like you, abstinence is way easier than moderation for me. Right now I’m struggling with grains too. I’m thinking now, as I read your post, about going abstinent on grains for a week (one day at a time) to see how it feels.

    Your ability to put these issues into words is so outstanding, Karen! I’m so grateful you write!

  32. Well, I’m still in my program (nearly 11 years!) and still maintaining my weight so I definitely have to go with abstinence. But I couldn’t have done it for even one day if I’d spent anytime WANTING the stuff. I’ve never actually wanted any of it again.

    What I’m working on is a different area. Trying to do a few book-related things a day to publicize and all that.

  33. I find that I miss grains less than I thought when I reduced them. Of course, I still eat them, but just not daily.

    I have found that wheat in particular gives me really bad cravings for sweet stuff.

    • Karen

      I’m always intrigued when I read about what you are eating. You have many concoctions, like your muffins. Seems to me you have found a great way to make a change.

  34. I gave up gluten for Lent (no, I’m not Catholic), and I won’t go back. Abstinence worked well for me.

  35. You are doing what Kessler recommends in his book that you didn’t seem to like when you reviewed it. Perhaps the student is ready 🙂

    I feel “The End of Overeating,” is the best book of its type currently available.

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