I started following HCLF way of eating in the middle of August 2014 so I think I can say that I'm 9.5 months in.
I came to this lifestyle after I've gone vegan 2 years ago but then started restricting for about 1.5 years and exercising till exastion and then binging/starving on vegetarian food for half a year. In this period I regained my weight that I lost during the 1.5 years of restriction and overexecising
Making the story short, I have gained weight, about 10 kilos as I started eating in abundance. I know that it was inevitable, it was really hard mentally and caused a lot of discomfort physically. I went through an extreme hunger period that lasted for about 5 months. I ate up to 5000 cals and didn't exercise because I just couldn't. Firstly physically, I work full day and that time studied in the evenings also my energy levels were absolutely depleted despite eating so much. Secondly, I just couldn't workout mentally. Everytime thinking about exercising almost made me cry and moan.
As the extreme hunger period passed and I started to forget what restriction feels like because I was packed with nutrients, I started noticing how much weight I gained. That was an emotional roller coaster. I started wanting to eat less again but at the same time I knew that this lifestyle is all about consistency. I didn't want to betray myself and the lifestyle. Battling really hard for 3 months with thoughts of restriction that flooded me from time to time, I unfortunately gave in and relapsed into the eating disorder. I still ate HCLF (as I believe it is the ultimate best way of eating) but implemented intermittent fasting and eating too little for my body to function properly. I wanted fast results because I couldn't take myself anymore. And that's regardless of losing 5 kilos from the ones that I gained initially.
Actually, I have to admit, that it was a good experience that gave me a very important lesson. I do wish I didn't do that but, otherways, I wouldn't have made the crucial conclusions.
I behaved this way for about a month. After ~5 weeks of living this way (I don't know how I lasted so long). I started "binging" as I perceived it on huge amounts of food. HCLF vegan food. The body protested against any kind of restriction. I even wanted to eat cookies. That's when a revelation hit me. Enough of this s**t.
I can't explain properly but one morning after a "binge" I woke up and I woke up. I recognised the behaviour pattern I wanted so much to get rid of. It happened so that I watched several youtube videos of Eathling Nutrition and Fruit Living and stumbled upon Nia Shanks' site and it felt as if this information found me when I was ready. When I was the most vulnerable and open.
You know "fake it till you make it" principle? All these encouragement slogans, self acceptance mantras etc. "Love yourself as you are" stuff and so on. I used them but I didn't feel them. I know the time would come when I will accquire a new vision. And this new vision hit me hard after falling off the wagon. I received a chance to compare these two different ways to live. And I finally understood.
As soon as I started eating well again my energy restored. I want to cry and laugh because I am so happy. I took up sports again: DDR, skating, calisthenics, lifting... And I actually want to do them all, I have energy and excitement pumping in me and looking forward to any physical activity during the day. I used to perceve exercising as a burden, now I wonder why people don't exercise each time they have an opportunity.
This time I know that I will never go back. I even don't care about my weight anymore because my body is capable of doing so much and I will focus on that. I am focused on my performance and pleasure that I get from getting stronger.
Something switched in my head, I see myself differently, I see the situation I'm in totally differently. I don't have any thoughts of weight loss or weight gain when I am eating now. I'm eating because I'm hungry. It's so liberating just to eat without any emotional noise in the background. I'm just eating and enjoying my food! I eat a lot and I live a lot. I ditched salt, skales, started eating 90/5/5 anytime I feel like eating (averaging 2500-3500), drinking more water and moving and it feels like I'm slimming down or becoming more firm, I don't know. It feels like I'm becoming stronger not skinner as I wished in the past and I want to cultivate this feeling, it makes me very happy.
I don't know how this period of restriction will affect me in metabolic sense but it has changed my vision completely. I am thankful for all that happened and, although we learn though our own experience on our own paths, I hope that somebody will gain something useful from my experience. Don't be afraid of falling. Once you tried what truly living feels like, you will inevitably get back on track.
Sites I mentioned:
http://www.niashanks.com/archives/ - good articles on self perception
wow! respect! what a path..love it<3
Thank you very much for the feedback.
I am doing really good now, no thoughts af relapse whatsoever. Still carrying on with my journey. I eat whatever amount of high carb whole foods and try not to bring myself down. It happens sometimes but less and less the longer I am on this lifestyle.
I read recently that it takes on average 5-7 years to recover from the ED. I am celebrating a year this week so it's still a beginning.
I also decided that if I will become fat eating this way then whatever! There is no other way to keep my sanity but to give up and follow my body. I haven't gained that much, got back to the point after losing half of initial weight gain, just as it was before a relapse. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want and how much I want and carry on with my life.
I wish you to overcome any challenges you might face on your way because it will all pay off.
I eat high carb whole plant foods, eat raw or cooked throughout the day regardless of time. I also can mix cooked and raw and don't feel bad. Like a watermelon after a pot of rice for example.
The thing I noticed is that your physical body and mental energies are greatly interconnected. I was feeling really down the last week and even though I was eating enough, I couldn't make myself do any physical activity. My mood was draining everything out of me. Even longboarding seemed terribly unappealing and all I wanted to do sleeping.
I suppose that this aspect of energy accumulation is greatly underrated and we should pay more atten tion to our mental state.
But in general: eating enough, drinking enough and sleeping enough should be a basic triad of high energy levels.