SCD is not a diet in the ‘traditional’ sense – ie, depriving yourself of calories in order to lose weight. By now, most of us know that dieting for weight loss isn’t effective in the long term. Sure, you can deprive yourself to five, ten or even twenty-pound weight loss, but the minute you start eating normally again, the weight will come back – and usually it brings its buddies too.
Yes, the specific carbohydrate diet has the word ‘diet’ in its name, but it’s not ‘a course of food to which a person restricts themselves in order to lose weight’ (to paraphrase the dictionary). Rather, it’s a way of eating designed to help heal intestinal damage caused by GI disease.
That said, many people with weight issues – on both ends of scale (pun not intended) – have used SCD to great success in maintaining a healthy weight.
As someone who spent years starving herself to be super skinny (and just to put it in perspective, at my heaviest I was 60kg – that’s 132lb – and my lightest, just 49kg or 108lb), I have a deeply ingrained yet completely warped sense of calorie intake and ‘healthy’ weight.
This means that since the age of about 20, I haven’t given myself the freedom to simply enjoy my food without guilt. For the past 10 years, until SCD, I was either starving myself or bingeing and mentally punishing myself afterwards. If only gnawing guilt burnt calories!
Eat more; lose more
When I decided to embark on the SCD, I decided that weight-loss would be a nice bonus, but certainly not a goal. After all these years of crazy eating, I’d done enough damage to my system, and I realised I needed to work hard to move away from the harmful binge/starve cycle I’d created.
During the first few weeks of SCD, I lost some weight. It didn’t surprise me because I wasn’t eating much (I simply couldn’t stomach intro food). I fully expected to gain it back when I introduced more foods.
But I haven’t. In fact, I’m eating more than I used to, and my weight isn’t creeping up. Before SCD, I never used to eat lunch. At some point in the past 10 years, I developed this irrational fear of lunch. I can’t explain it, but I think I started associating it with hot, calorific food. Whenever I was invited out for lunch, I’d panic. I’d literally start doing the mental calculations of how much I’d have to starve myself prior (usually I’d eat nothing before lunch) and how little I’d be able to eat afterwards, for the rest of the day.
I improved a little over the years, and my mom and I would meet for lunch when we both worked in the city centre. I’d have a muffin or a salad, but never without guilt.
Clean food = clean psyche
On this diet, I’ve given up most of my old, warped ideas (it’s a slow process!) and I’ve realised that because I’m eating clean, I can eat pretty much what I want without putting on weight. And when I do overeat (YES, it’s possible on this diet!) I feel so uncomfortable that I don’t want to keep doing it. BUT I don’t feel guilt.
These days, I have eggs for breakfast, bananas, vegetables and meat for lunch, and the same again for supper. I’m snacking on nut yoghurt (since yesterday) and drinking juice that has actual, real calories in it. Prior, I wouldn’t even walk too close to a drink that wasn’t calorie-free (wine and cocktails excluded, ironically).
The point is, I never feel hungry on this diet. I eat when I want to, I eat full, proper meals, and I eat whatever I want (that I’ve already introduced, of course). I never feel deprived. I always feel satisfied, and unlike my diets of yesteryear, when hunger pains made me think YES! I’m WINNING at weight loss!, I’m now managing to avoid that all-consuming food obsession; the constant tummy rumbling and the exhausting guilt, worry and shame.
The effect of my disordered eating on my GI tract
Sometimes I am prepared to admit to myself that I had some sort of problem with food. And I certainly recognise the effects that it had on my body, and its resultant, probable contribution to my ulcerative colitis. Which is yet another reason I’m so, so thrilled to have discovered this ‘diet’.
Each day, I’m filling up on good, nutritious food that is helping to heal my body. Best of all, I’m eating whenever I want to and I’m maintaining a healthy weight – right in the middle of my lowest and highest. This is a complete psychological revelation for me, and proves that I’m doing the best possible thing for my body.
And of course, it makes sense that when you’re eating pure, quality food and cutting out the crap, your body will respond in a positive way. It seems pretty impossible to become overweight when you’re eating this healthily!
Apart from a midnight snack last night at about 1am (okay, most of my bad habits are dead, but not all of them – yet!), I haven’t eaten any bananas in TWO days! Guys, this huge and I MISS them. But I think it’s helping my belly a little, and it’s definitely helping me to test the effect of the yoghurt, which seems to be good so far.
If I had the self-restraint to eat just two or three a day, it wouldn’t be a problem, but if this post has shown you anything, it’s that restraint is not my strong suit 😉
What I’m eating now
Right now, I’m eating a range of veg (gem squash, butternut, tomato, garlic, green beans, spinach, zucchini, carrot), most types of lean meat, pears and bananas (usually), and eggs. Plus there’s the yoghurt, as well as pure fruit juices, tea and coffee, and wine and vodka. so my diet is feeling nice and varied, and definitely satisfying.