The Dreaded Experiment

Don’t get me wrong – I love to experiment.  AP Chemistry was one of my favorite classes. When I even hear the word “experiment” the geek girl in me giggles excitedly and rubs her hands together in glee.  And I do experiment with mundane things all the time like clothes, hair, makeup, etc.  I suppose you could also say that every diet I’ve ever been on was an experiment.  (All of which failed.)  But the experiment that I’m about to embark on could be potentially disastrous. 

I’m talking about tracking my nutritional intake.

Laugh if you must, but this could actually push me over the edge.  For nearly my entire life I have been fighting a war on two fronts:  my weight and my OCD.  To be fair, there have been a tremendous number of occasions in which my OCD has been extraordinarily beneficial.  I have a tendency to get fixated on things that are educational.  As a result I taught myself a host of things that have benefitted my life.  The problem, however, is that while I am fixated on learning the latest “thing” everything else goes to hell.  I stop cooking, cleaning, and sleeping.  Oh yeah, when I’m in that mode – “going off the rails on a crazy train”  is my theme song.

Going Paleo, however, seems to be one of those things that is supported by my OCD.  The cooking, cleaning, and sleep are huge parts of what I’m actually fixated on so in this case they’re working in concert.   Here’s the thing though – I’m compulsive when it comes to lists and charts.  I have spent a great deal of time forcing myself NOT to write everything down because I get so freaking insane about it.  That’s one of the reasons Paleo has worked so well for me – it doesn’t require the weighing and measuring of food to obtain results.

So why do it?  Well, the one thing that has not gotten better for me since going Paleo is my energy level.  I’m not collapsing at the end of the work day anymore, but I’m still so tired at the end of the day that I can’t do much more than fix something quick to eat and then I’m down for the rest of the evening.  It’s so bad that it’s fairly common for me to take cat naps sitting in my car in between driving from one location to another for work. 

I understand the calories in/out dynamic and it occurred to me that perhaps I wasn’t consuming sufficient amounts to sustain my activity.  (Especially when I look at how much I ate before!)  But when you’re trying to lose weight you really don’t want to think about eating MORE.

Hence my dread.  I need to start tracking things to make sure I’m getting what I need, but I’m terribly afraid that I’m going to get so wrapped up in the minutiae of detailing everything that I’ll slip into bad old OCD habits.   So what I’ve decided to do is just track it for one week.  I’m not even going to change the way I cook.  I’m just going to weigh my actual portions and estimate oils, etc.  And I’m not going to do it on a daily basis.  I’m just going to write everything down in a journal and at the end of the week I’ll input it all into FitDay and see where I stand.  I’m afraid if I do it daily I’ll end up adjusting things and won’t get an accurate look at my intake. 

My goal is to have enough energy to do some kind of activity, even if I can only muster enough for two or three days a week.  Exercise is part and parcel of the Paleo way of life and if I can just get started I know that it will then supply more energy.  But when you have to rest in your car at the end of the day just to gather the strength to walk into your house – it’s not a question of motivation.  There’s something else going on and I aim to find out what it is so that I can fix it. 

I suppose this is just my next big obstacle.  Time to chalk up and climb over it.


3 responses

  1. v

    i hate to track stuff. if you are worried you are missing some nutrients, why not try a multivitamin for a month and see how you feel? how about your iron status? do you have heavy periods? this can cause anemia, which i had. if you do have heavy periods, get your ferritin level checked- that is the iron storage hormone.

    professor de vany recommends supplementing with magnesium in the beginning of paleo. i had to recently start taking 200mg a day, even though i’ve been paleo a year, since i started to get calf cramps. the magnesium seems to have worked.

    i know bipolar and sleep habits are linked. can there be chemical imbalances caused by the OCD that are affecting your sleep so that it is not restful enough causing you to be tired during the day?

    good luck!

    December 27, 2010 at 9:01 am

    • v

      oops- re ferritin, it is not a hormone i don’t think. i don’t know how to classify it. but measuring it is the best way of assessing whether you are low on iron or not. measuring hemoglobin is not ideal.

      December 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

  2. I was afraid I was missing something due to the lack of energy, but as soon as I realized it was stress the symptoms went away. Stress is a killer!

    January 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm

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