Food Diary – Conclusions

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Conclusions from keeping food diary. Updates afterwards.

For what I wanted to learn, the timing of my food diary couldn’t have been better.

Problems I was trying to solve with a change in diet:

  • Being tired in spite of enough sleep
    • Falling asleep as soon as there wasn’t something pressing to do
    • Wasting my weekends because that’s when tired combines with less pressure and I would nap through the weekend and not do the fun or productive things I wanted to do
  • Constant effort and willpower needed to avoid over-eating
  • Pain/inflammation in knee

Timing was great because:

  • I wasn’t at work for most of it. I took Thursday and Friday off for a home project. So I had a very long weekend.
    • Sleeping too much and overeating are much bigger problems on the weekend. During the work week the set schedule, teams who need me to set their work, my own deliverables, etc., help control eating and sleeping.

The other really good thing about when I did the food diary:

  • I was NOT getting enough sleep
    • Much more likely to take long naps
    • Much more likely to overeat in my quest for energy

Which made the result more compelling:

  • In spite of actually not getting enough sleep and being tired
    • I didn’t take long naps
    • I wasn’t hungry outside of mealtimes and didn’t overeat
      • Did not need snacks!
    • I did things!

Experiences after the tracked food diary:

  • Added cheese – delicious but not good for energy and hunger.
  • Over-indulged somewhat purposefully on Halloween and day after – very bad for energy and motivation. Don’t feel like doing anything. Napped and watched TV. Only productive thing I did was this post.

Diet that I have success with:

  • Plant-focused, gluten-free, pescetarian, reduced dairy, reduced sugar
  • Tracking what I eat and how much I sleep
    • How much of my success was simply the focus that I gave it?
  • Primary:
    • vegetables – they are delicious, healthy and I think the large volume really helps to create a satisfying meal without too many calories
  • Secondary:
    • nuts, seeds, oils, sauces, grains, beyond meat, soy, fruit
  • Additions:
    • eggs, fish, yogurt
  • Limit
    • Cheese: addictive – leads to overeating and eating outside mealtimes. I seem to do ok with a little cheese topping on a purchased meal, but not ok having access to cheese in my fridge.
      • Instead: peanut butter, avocado, beyond meat – those seem to hit the spot otherwise filled by cheese
    • Sweets: addictive. Also, I think the spike and drop of blood sugar leads to being tired and napping instead of doing things.
      • Instead: antipasto – it’s not sweet but is a treat that makes me feel spoiled. Or dark chocolate, fruit, nuts
  • Avoid:
    • Gluten, especially wheat. Experiment on this one isn’t done until 12/25/20. That will be almost 3 months without gluten to see effects on energy, hunger, knee pain and mental clarity. As of 11/1,
      • Energy and hunger: I’m doing so much better now that I’m not eating gluten. I’m not hungry every 2 hours. However, that could also have been caused by sweets and cheese.
      • Knee pain/inflammation is still a problem
      • Mental clarity, focus and mood seem to have already improved. At work: better able to focus on topics I’m not interested in and to complete my tasks. Less irritable.
    • As of 1/9/21:
      • Knee pain is not a problem! I haven’t been running much because I’ve been busy, the weather, etc. But when I have, knees were fine. And I jump rope without issue and that had been a problem before. Looking forward to spring for more running – see what happens when I add more miles. Right now I’m focusing on learning to ice skate.
      • I did eat gluten a few times around Christmas for about a week and a half. Nothing awful happened; I ate a lot and felt tired – fine for a lazy holiday.. but I definitely feel better without gluten. Planning to be gluten-free from now on with maybe a few exceptions for holidays or social occasions.
      • Focus/willpower: still WIP. Diet solved problem of avoiding food not being a constant struggle. But still working on increasing productivity. To help with that I’m trying gratitude, meditation and doing novel/exciting/scary things.

Some specific foods to eat:

  • Starchy vegetable
    • sweet potato
  • Vegetables
    • broccoli, onion, peppers, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, kale, green beans, pea snaps, cooked tomatoes
    • vegetable chips
  • Grains
    • organic/ancient corn tortillas and polenta, rice noodles, quinoa, ancient grain pancakes
    • chia and quinoa chips
  • Nuts and seeds
    • pecans, cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts
    • chia
  • Protein
    • Beans
      • broad beans, black beans, red beans, chickpeas
      • peanut butter
    • Beyond Meat
      • burgers, sausage
    • Soy
      • tofu, soy milk
    • Fish
      • salmon
    • Eggs
  • Dairy
    • yogurt
  • Fatty fruit
    • avocado
  • Fruit
    • grapefruit, apples, blueberries
  • Antipasto
    • olives, stuffed olives, marinated mushrooms and peppers, sundried tomatoes in oil
  • Oil
    • olive, sesame, coconut, canola, avocado
  • Dressing/Sauce/Spice
    • apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice
    • salsa, green chili, Thai peanut
    • olive oil spread
    • mayonnaise
    • salt and pepper, cinnamon, pumpkin spice
  • Beverages
    • water, coffee, wine
  • Treats
    • dark chocolate square
    • nuts
    • fruit, stewed apples and cinnamon, grapefruit with red wine vinegar and nuts
    • yogurt plus fruit and nuts
    • coffee plus cinnamon or pumpkin spice

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