Tag Archives: 40 Days No Bread

40 Days No Bread

Easter was last Sunday which meant my 40 days without bread is officially over. I thought I was going to lose my head and go nuts, perhaps doing an Easter brunch binge but strangely, things are different.

I did eat a lot of rich food, and I felt gross….

I’ve had the option of eating bread for four days now and I really haven’t gone overboard. And honestly whenever I try to go overboard, I can’t. Robert bought me a box of girl scout “Thin Mint” cookies that have been in my desk drawer for the majority of Lent. After having a bowl of chicken gumbo soup for lunch, I opened the box around 3pm because I was feeling a little hungry. I had five cookies (a serving is four) and put them away. I didn’t feel deprived, I was just done.

Last night, I went to an event and when I got hungry, instead of splitting a plate of onion rings with my friends (even though they looked delicious!) I went home and made an omelet.

They say it takes 21 days to make/break a habit. 40 days later I think I may have curbed my bread addiction.

This is weird.

40 Days No Bread (Week Two): Mood Swings

There’s a scripture, in Matthew I think, that talks about fasting being something that’s between you and God. It basically says that one shouldn’t walk around making a big deal about their sacrifice to everyone they see. “No food for me! I’m fasting… I would love to go to dinner with you but, I’m fasting!” Obviously Lent is a little different, because a lot of people are fasting during this season, but in the back of my mind I assumed that I would be able to do this No Bread thing semi-privately. What I’m learning is that even if the people I’m around don’t know what I’m doing, they sure are seeing the effects of it!

Like last week during girls night out when the tofu and eggplant with black bean sauce that I ordered for dinner was no match for the red wine that followed and I almost fell asleep at the table after one glass. Part of me wishes that my low alcohol tolerance was the only thing that gave my lack of carb intake away, but sadly its not.

For the past two weeks, I could be sitting at my desk and a fleeting thought would make my eyes well up with tears. Waking up in the morning I would sometimes feel like the world was crashing down around me. I keep double checking my calendar to see if Aunt Flow is due to visit because I have been an emotional wreck. It all came to a head last Thursday when some people from my office met up for karaoke night at our favorite bar. As most of you remember, Robert and I work for the same company, so he was there.

I had to work late, so I was one of the last people to arrive. I scanned the crowd for some of the girls that I’m cool with, but before I could get to them Robert jumped off of a bar stool and offered it to me. “Do you want a cosmopolitan?” he asked, I gave him a small nod. Although Robert and I are close, I do my best to keep that separate from our work life. He slid my drink over to me and I sat on the bar stool while Robert, his boss and another guy from their department stood around me. We spent the evening talking, laughing and getting up to sing and when Robert noticed my glass was empty he would order me another.

When he handed me my third cosmo, I knew I was in the danger zone. I put my hand on his arm, “I don’t need anymore after this,” I said. By that point I think it was already too late, I had this strong desire for Robert to just hug me and not let go. At the same time I hated myself for wanting that since I’m doing my best to move forward with Kevin. By the end of the night, although I continued to “have fun” with my coworkers, I was in an emotional abyss fueled by an abundance of alcohol. People started to leave and I saw Robert settling our tab. I knew it was melodramatic, but I quickly threw on my coat in an attempt to leave without him. I rushed outside and let the crisp air fill my lungs. Do. Not. Cry., I told myself. I took about five steps towards the train station when I felt Robert beside me. “You ready?” he said.

We rode the train in silence. Robert did his best to make conversation, but I (little miss social butterfly) was in no mood. He asked me questions: Are you okay? Why are you so quiet? Did I do something? I was in so deep I could barely see him through my emotions, “I’m fine. Just tipsy,” I replied with a forced smile. All the frustrations, hurt, anger, confusion and my feelings for him were overpowering me and I knew if I opened my mouth to say anything more, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight. I knew he was getting frustrated but I was in self preservation mode. If you can make it home without breaking down… I thought to myself, You’ll be alright.

I didn’t make it home without breaking down, I got off the train and sobbed while I walked the five blocks from the train station to my apartment, but at least I made it away from Robert. When I woke up the next morning with a head ache from crying, I was concerned. I called my friend Maya, “I’m usually pretty in touch with my emotions,” I told her, “but last night was way over the top.”

“Well you’re dealing with a lot,” she replied. “not to mention you haven’t had any carbs in… how long?” Hearing her say that made me wonder if there was a connection between the lack of carbs and my wacky emotions. I typed “No Carb Mood Swings” into google and found that: Low-carb dieters are susceptible to mood swings, according to MIT researchers. The issue involves serotonin, the “feel good” brain chemical (found in breads/carbs) that elevates mood, suppresses appetite and acts as a natural tranquilizer… It’s not unusual for people who are changing their eating patterns or embarking on any kind of diet to experience episodes of irritability. However, according to Psychology Today, many who are trying testing low-carbohydrate regimens are reporting unusually high feelings of anger, tension and depression. Dr. Wurtman claims that that it’s a very well documented response-she calls it the “Atkins attitude”. –Geneva Health

“Anger”, “Tension” and “Depression” were most definitely in effect that night and the alcohol didn’t help. The Robert situation is what it is, but my emotional episode was terrifying. After seeing some of the comments from “BrooklynShoeBabe”, “The Thirty” and others on the PCOS entry last week, I’m pretty confident that I’m not going nuts (*fingers crossed*) but that my emotional roller coaster is due to to the lack of serotonin.

I’ve been eating more nuts, hummous, broccolii and cauliflower in an effort to give my meals a more hearty foundation and my emotions feel like they’re starting to stabilize. I just never would have predicted these intense mood swings would be a side effect.

40 Days No Bread Week One: PCOS

Its been one week since Ash Wednesday. One week into the Lenten Season. One week since I’ve had any bread.

Giving up bread for Lent is something I’ve wanted to do before, but I was pretty sure that I would fail miserably. I’ve tried the jump start portion of the South Beach diet (where you don’t eat carbs for two weeks) and fell off the wagon in four days.

For years I didn’t know why I needed carbs so much. Then when I was in high school I mentioned to my doctor that I only had my period every three months. That, combined with my weight and some other issues (that I’m not quite ready to discuss here) made her run some tests. A few days later she diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Poly-what?

Yeah, I know. Most of the people who know about this are the ones who have it. And if you do have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) you know its a random condition that can cause a myriad of issues from acne to infertility… oh yeah it also causes weight gain and makes it very difficult to lose weight.

My relationship with bread (and carbs in general) runs deep. Its quite literally in my blood to crave carbs. Another symptom of PCOS is insulin resistance, which means your body is toying with the idea of being diabetic.

“Insulin allows glucose to travel from the bloodstream into the cells. When we eat foods high in refined carbohydrates, insulin levels surge to remove the sugar from the blood and get it into your cells. This mechanism works very well for the most part. But if insulin spikes too often from a diet rich in the high-carb foods that trigger insulin secretion, your cells respond by decreasing the reactivity and number of insulin receptors on their surfaces. Eventually, this prevents glucose from getting into your cells, leading to high blood sugar and depriving your cells of the energy they need to function. This is why many women with insulin resistance experience carbohydrate cravings, fatigue and weight-gain — their cells are literally starving for energy, even when plenty of glucose is available in the blood. Down the road, your body’s capacity to generate insulin appropriately becomes depleted, and the result is type 2 diabetes.”Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP

So, here we are seven days without bread and if I didn’t understand the brevity of my sacrifice when I started, I am beginning to. All the salads, grilled chicken and omelette’s in the world will not satisfy me 100%. There have already been two birthday celebrations in my office with all the chocolate and red velvet cake a girl could ask for. But I’ve wiped the drool from my chin and remained strong!

This had nothing to do with weight loss, I really wanted to give up something for Lent that would encourage me to pray and depend on God more. (Um, yeah… I’ve definitely whipsered some lunchtime LORD, help me’s this week.) There have been some other interesting side effects that I’ll get into in another post, but for now I’m just trying to eat small meals and healthy snacks so that I don’t get super hungry and do something crazy like eat a muffin in one gulp. I think this would be hard for anyone, but the PCOS just adds another element for me.

P.S. Have any of YOU been diagnosed with PCOS?