Muse #163 - why is it so hard?
One of the sustainable behavior changes that I am working on is diet changes. And it has been a struggle. Pre-heart surgery I was on a 40-40-20 diet. That is 40% fat, 40% carbs, and 20% protein. And it worked for me for over 8 years. As the carbs were low, it helped with my 30 years of Type II Diabetes keeping my HbA1C at less than 6 for over 10 years. And it helped me with a weight loss of over 60 pounds. And brought me to a more active lifestyle from a hugely sedentary lifestyle. And helped me get away from my CPAP machine. Lots of good.
But yet, life caught up. My heart arteries clogged. Is it co-related to my genetics? Or my 30 years of diabetes? Or my diet? Or my lack of exercise in my early years? One would never know, but it did get me into a major surgery this year from which I am still working to recover.
One of the recommendations is to change my diet. Add more healthy carbs back. Increase my carb intake to 55%, reduce protein to 15% (I am not working to be an athlete of any measure), and reduce fat intake to 30%. Along with it, I also have the micro-nutrient goals of at least 50 grams of fiber a day, less than 50 grams of sugar a day (natural and added sugars), less than 25 grams of saturated fats a day, and reduced sodium.
And it has been hard. Reducing fat and protein has caused major cravings in the body asking for more carbs. And sugar. I also substantiate my diet with 12-hour fasts most days switching my eating when I turn my app “Zero”. This kind of helps me set a micro-switch in my brain somewhere that helps me stop eating (anything but water)
It seems to be easier to feel satiated with more protein, not less. And the fat stabilizes my glycemic load. In the last month of June, I overate the first three weeks of June due to these cravings overshooting my food limits more than 50% of the days. But then I put my foot down (ah, willpower) and have been staying with the limits. My transgressions are down to just 1 day in the last 12, so things are getting better.
I am talking about this today because establishing a new pattern takes time. Some say that habits are formed if one persists for at least 17 days. Or 21 days. The jury is still not out. For me, it takes me six months or more for something like this to become the norm. In that time I slowly lose interest and taste in some food groups and classes and start craving more for the food that I actually now eat. Ditto for other habits too. Like writing, which is getting to the six-month mark in a couple of weeks.
Unfortunately for me, I am still a “live to eat and love to eat” person rather than an “eat to live” person. Why? I know not. But, I am still working on it.