The Treat Day That Wasn’t

In my review of some nutrition books I’ve been reading I mentioned that I’ve been experimenting with my diet to try to avoid having to take medication for PCOS.  For the past month, I have cut sugar and refined carbs, eating mostly lean meat, eggs, vegetables, and legumes.  I have to say I was feeling pretty good.  I was never hungry, I had a lot of energy, I felt clear-headed, and I didn’t gain weight (I was concerned about gaining weight after I weaned Sarah).

So I decided to try a little experiment.  Cue “something scary is about to happen” music.

In the 4 Hour Body diet program (the reviews I’ve read of the book itself are a little weird, but you can read the chapter on the diet program free on Gizmodo – a friend of mine is following the diet and recommended it) the author advocates taking a skip day once a week, breaking the diet deliberately every seven days.  In fact, he says you MUST do this.  I knew my body handles insulin weirdly (I have blood sugar drops; I’ve been known to faint from low blood sugar, etc), but I had NO IDEA what a “treat day” would do to me.

I think going off of bad carbs for a month served as sort of an elimination diet for me, like you’re supposed to do if you suspect a food allergy, so that the effects of adding those carbs back in were extremely noticeable.

I ate my normal breakfast: two eggs and two egg whites, some sauteed spinach and 1/2 cup of black beans.  I felt fine like I normally do.  After church we went to Costco and I had a strip of tortilla around some chicken, one potato chip, and a bite of protein bar.  The kicker came when I got one of those big Costco pizzas for us to have for lunch.  We brought that thing home and I took one small piece.  I didn’t even get all the way through it before I felt like my insides were shaking.  And I started feeling kind of ill and weird.

During the kids’ naptime I ate a grapefruit.  I was hungry and shaky and felt like my head was in a fog.  I couldn’t focus; I couldn’t get anything done.  I was irritable and tired.

That afternoon, we had my in-laws over for a dessert the kids made.  As I ate the dessert, again I felt like I was shaking inside, like I couldn’t think straight.  I started getting a headache.

In short, the “Treat Day” was anything but.  It was actually kind of horrible. I have absolutely zero desire to feel bad like this again.  Although I knew the only-good-carbs diet was better for me and was making me feel good, I didn’t realize how BAD the other foods make me feel.

I throw this all out there because nutrition is something I’ve been reading and thinking about more lately, and I do think it’s fascinating how different people react differently to dietary changes, and how our bodies process foods and hormones differently from person to person.  It seems like the key to finding nutritional balance is to try things and see how they work.

If you’re interested in books about diet and how cutting sugar and bad carbs can help a variety of things, you might be interested in the following books and links:

Last week commenter Bethany recommended another book, Eat Fat, Lose Fat, which I intend to read too.  If you’ve done other reading on nutrition and insulin issues, I’d love it if you’d pass suggestions my way!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

4 thoughts on “The Treat Day That Wasn’t

  1. eat fat, lose fat is on my list, too. next time we can get to the library i plan to check it out. i’ll have to add the other books you mentioned as well.

    i have been cutting out most carbs from my diet, too. at first i was doing it for purely vain reasons — apparently it’s more difficult to lose the baby weight after kid #2 — but i started feeling a lot better, too. more energy, less crazy mood swings (i have blood sugar issues and get really crabby when my blood sugar drops) the first week was hard with craving carbs but after that first week i lost 5lbs and i don’t even want carbs anymore. i’m pretty sure if i had a “treat day” like yours i would experience similar symptoms. even the other night i made popcorn and couldn’t even eat very much of it, because i just didn’t feel good eating it.

    anyway, i have heard that taking a “treat day” is good for revving one’s metabolism, and followed this practice back when i was young, in shape, and skinny (so before kids). i just ate more of what i normally ate and/or splurged on something i really had been craving. i think it’s mostly psychological, kind of like budgeting “blow money” so you don’t feel deprived all the time.

    1. You know, what’s weird is that I don’t feel deprived at all. It’s weird because I always have felt deprived on other diets. I think part of it is that I normally cook bean, meat, vegetable, spice dishes and just put them on rice, so all I’m doing different is putting them on spinach instead. Also, eating legumes makes me feel more full than just celery and chicken breasts (go figure) and yeah, the cravings were totally gone. Very strange. I guess I shouldn’t look the gift horse in the mouth. 🙂

  2. Random question for you after reading this post about your body’s response to your “treat day”…have you ever researched reactive hypoglycemia?

    My husband has a really severe case of it (really severe – as in two different dieticians have told him “I have never met with anybody who has this as severly as you). He has most likely had it his whole life, but didn’t discover what it really was until 11 years ago. It is all about what he eats, how much he eats (over-eating is just as bad as eating the wrong thing), and when he eats (not sticking to his schedule is also just as bad for him). And because it is genetic, we are really careful with our kids, too.

    Anyway, reading how your body responded to your “treat day” flashed “hypoglycemia warning lights” in my brain because that is the world I live in. 🙂 Feel free to email me if you want to chat more about this!

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