I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while now. I was reminded of it after a conversation with Josh LaJaunie. Josh will never understand how much our conversations and interactions mean to me. For over 3 years I have felt like I have stumbled around to find how my body works on the most natural level. I have learned so much but I have a ton more to learn. Many of the lessons and new ideas that run through my head are almost identical quotes from Josh and we just recently connected. It’s weird because until I started getting connected with Josh and other like-minded people, I felt like I was on an island that no one could possibly understand. The most important thing that he understands is that this is so much more than food choices. In the end, it’s about living life to its absolute fullest and enjoying each and every breath with gratitude. The reality is that I went into this to try and live another year. Changing to a plant-based way of eating and getting off the couch has literally flipped each and every aspect of my life. To steal Josh’s words, “Josh gets it.” Last week Josh said something like this, “we are both fat guys, we are always looking for loopholes in the plant-based diet.” He nailed it.
See, for me, I will always be an addict. There will always be a 400 pound guy lurking close by. The truth is that sometimes when I run and want to quit I picture my old self about few paces behind me. Actually, I’m pretty comfortable with this idea. He will never be completely gone but I am determined that every single day I wake up I will make the decision to move forward enough that he can’t catch up. I have resolved myself to the thinking that I will never destroy the fat man but you can bet I will out last him. I have no idea how many people can relate to that idea but I’m betting everyone can relate to the “loophole” idea. Here we go.
Loopholes, hacks, easy road, shortcut….. call it what you will but we are wired to find the easy way out of the loophole. It is significantly imperative to our survival, well….. it was. The society in which we live today doesn’t really match our survival skills of years past. Simply put, we have it way too easy.
As I made the transition to a plant-based diet the initial change was fairly easy because of the dramatic results. If it was a plant, I ate it. I ditched meat, dairy, and processed food and everything else was fair game. This worked perfectly for the majority of my weight loss. I didn’t give up the coconut oil yet though. I knew how terrible it was but I had convinced myself it was the last thing and I am not giving up the “last ” thing. Turns out there are an unlimited number of “last things” but that’s for another post. I ended up ditching the coconut oil and to be honest, I seriously don’t miss it at all. My food actually tastes better without a tongue coated in oil and I can have an entire potato for the calories of 1 spoon of oil so it wasn’t a tough decision.
The high calorie loophole: As my weight loss slowed down I had to re-assess. I had let the fat man inch back into my diet. I could buy a can of cashews and before I knew it I would polish off the entire can for lunch. Sunflower seeds, nuts, avocados, coconut, nut butters and dried fruit became my new burgers, bacon, cheese, pizza, and chicken wings. These foods became my loopholes. Although I never really gained weight back it had completely stopped the weight-loss. There is nothing “wrong” with these foods per say but they should be used sparingly and in moderation AFTER you have reached a healthy weight. For me, I know I can’t turn the switch off when I have a 1/2 pound of almonds in front of me and I also know I am not at the weight I would like to be at. For now, they are a very occasional treat at best and I won’t buy any of those things in bigger quantities. While it’s true they are plants, they are also very calorie dense. I know, I know, I was never a fan of counting calories and I’m all about listening to your body but these are foods that bring the fat addict out in me. Josh refers to these as “yellow light foods” which is an absolute perfect description. He got this idea from Dr. Greger in this video (click here) If you don’t follow Dr. Greger, you should. His link is on my home page in the “my favorite links” section. I have recently started to get a handle on these foods and have closed up the loophole somewhat but there is definitely more work to do on it.
The volume loophole: ummmmm let’s just assume anyone that’s in the 400 pound range is a volume eater. I have found this loophole to be the toughest to plug. I’m on consecutive apple number 4 and ready to bust into another when it hits me, I’m not even hungry. So why I want to eat another? My answer, because I “can.” Well, I “can” do a lot of things. I “can” hit myself in the head with a hammer, my head, my hammer. But why? Why do I do this? Why do I eat when I’m not hungry? Like Josh said,I’m a fat guy and that’s how fat guys think. The real problem with the overdose in volume is that now it doesn’t necessarily mean I will gain massive weight, actually, it may mean no weight gain at all and that’s the problem. I am too comfortable because I know I’m a “normal size” guy now. I’m not huge and I’m not skinny, just “normal”. Here’s the issue though, I have always hated normal. I believe each and every one of us was made to be extraordinary. Being normal sucks. I want 30 more pounds, I want to be lean, I want my body to become a machine that is anything but normal. Why? because I “can”. It’s just what I want to do. So I need to plug this loophole, I need to start eating more consciously. I still fully believe you should never be hungry while you eat a plant-based diet but you don’t have to be stuffed every time you leave the table. There is a line between eating until you are satisfied and eating until you can’t eat anymore. I need to work on this and I will figure it out, it’s just a matter of how many strategies I use until I find one that suits me. When I was searching around for info in this topic I stumbled on one of Dr. McDougall’s earlier articles that nails this topic. Give it a read, it will only take a couple of minutes. (click here)
So at the end of the day here’s the deal: The journey, transformation, lifestyle change, or whatever else you want to call it has no finish. No matter where you are in your journey you have choices and those choices have consequences. It really makes no difference if it is contemplating a BLT sandwich or an extra apple when you are not hungry. The goal is to get to the place where you conscientiously realize that everything you eat is making you healthy, killing you, or holding back your progress. The mental struggle is real and at times it seems impossible to fight but it is one I am willing to wake up to every morning and fight again. I know it’s worth it and I trust the process. Like anything in life you have to be in this for the long haul. The trials and struggles still happen just as they did when I was 400, maybe the kinds of struggles change but they are just as real as they were 4 years ago. It’s not easy, but it certainly is not impossible. If you really want something you will figure out a way to get it done. (at least that’s what I tell myself)
I was out for a run yesterday thinking about this post before I publish it. Before I wrote this I was curious about what a loophole exactly was. I learned that it is a small “slit” in a castle or wall so you could engage the enemy with weapons without being completely exposed and so the enemy could not gain access to the inside through such a small opening. Then this idea smacked me in the face. The enemy I face is not on the outside. The enemy is already in the castle and its me. See, there’s really no need for these loopholes so it’s best to seal them up and do battle on the inside. Fighting anywhere else is just a waste of energy. Ya know, it is actually pretty silly to go through all the trouble to switch to plant-based and then look for loopholes anyway. It’s kinda like filling you gas tank with all of the money you have and then drilling small holes in it.
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“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday😉 ”
Until next time,