Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reader Advice Day: Help, I'm Going through Detox

Good morning Troupe!

I received another urgent e-mail from someone new to a plant-based diet, and she needs our help!

Hello Healthy Girl,
My name is Emily (name changed to protect privacy) and I started the plant strong diet 7 days ago. I have been struggling with a few things. Maybe you can help me with some side effects I am experiencing on plant strong.
1. I am drinking only water but I am having some awesome headaches.
2. I feel really hungry a lot of the time.
3. Sometimes I don't have time to take the time to make something so instead I will just not eat even though I'm hungry.
4. I lost 12 pounds in one week....that seems like an unhealthy amount.
5. Once I almost passed out.
Am I doing something wrong? I feel like I am...maybe I need to plan better b/c I am enjoying what I eat and for the most part I even feel better but when I get hungry I feel weak and out of control.

Here is what I wrote to Emily:

Okay Emily, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I will tell you what I think about your experiences. If you really feel like there is something wrong with you, go to a doctor now, but don't let them tell you to go back on your old Standard American Diet. That would be criminal.

12 pounds is probably okay if you have a lot of weight to lose. It will slow to 1-2 pounds per week when you are on track for a while.

Your headaches are from the detoxification of your body. Is it possible that your diet prior to this was really crappy? Thank god you found this now or you would have been on your way to some pretty horrible health problems!

Feeling "hungry"? Or feeling lonely, bored, angry, tired? Oftentimes we mistake hunger for a host of other emotions/feelings. It is very important that you learn to distinguish between real hunger and all of the other stuff. This takes years of practice. You must read The Beck Diet Solution and The Pleasure Trap and probably Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman.

You should be eating a large volume of plant food, so you should never feel starved or that you have nothing to eat. You should actually be eating a higher volume of food than you ever have, but the food will be totally and radically different. Remember caloric density when you are trying to lose weight. Vegetables have 100 calories per pound, fruit 300 calories per pound, whole grains 500 calories per pound, beans 600 calories per pound, animal meat, 1000 calories per pound, refined carbs (white flour stuff) 1400 calories per pound, junk food, 2300 calories per pound, nuts/seeds, 2800 calories per pound, oil 4000 calories per pound. Staying on the lower end of the caloric density scale is key to weight loss.

It is very typical when you struggle with food addiction to overreact to the thought that you are hungry. I know this very well because it was me for 38 years. When I would feel "hungry" (real or not) I thought "oh my gosh, I must eat right now or I am going to pass out or get a headache." We experience hunger as an emergency! This is how it was. But it can be different. Naturally thin people say to themselves, "Hmm, I feel hungry." And then they look at their watch. If it's not time for a meal, they say to themselves, "Oh, lunch time is in two hours. I'll be eating then." And they don't stress out about it. And they get busy with whatever they have to do and the feeling of hunger passes. And before they know it, it's lunchtime, and they eat. Not an emergency. You need to make friends with hunger, it's not an emergency.


What advice would you give to Emily? To read/leave a comment(s) please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).
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