Wow! I can't believe it's already been three weeks! I can't say I followed the Virgin Diet 100%, but I gave it a good faith effort and would say I was 90% compliant. :)
I didn't lose any weight or notice any significant changes being off the 7 forbidden foods of dairy, gluten, eggs, sugar, corn, soy, and peanuts, but I gained valuable insights from this food exercise so I'm glad I tried it out.
The biggest gift from this experiment was increased mindfulness and consciousness of what I was eating and how it affected me. This is a skill we'd all benefit from and well worth the aggravation of being without some of my favorite foods.
I caught that I had developed a habit for having a "sweet treat" after I ate. It didn't matter if I was completely full, not hungry, or just completed a very satisfying and fulfilling meal. Within minutes of cleaning up I was craving a bit of chocolate or other sugary delight. It was amazing. The most surprising being how unconscious I was of this habit I had developed and how strong the craving was to fulfill it.
Because I was consciously choosing not to eat the 7 allergen foods I had to consciously think about my choices, what I was eating, and pay attention to how I was feeling. Previously I would have considered myself a very healthy eater and conscious of my food choices and the effects of food on my mood, energy, and overall well-being. I was surprised at how many patterns and subtle habits had developed over time that were keeping me less than present while eating or making my meal decisions. I also discovered I do a lot more snacking than I was aware of! A handful of nuts, a bit of chocolate, or some fruit. It all adds up, but is easily discounted when you're not paying attention.
The second biggest insight was how difficult it is to do a "diet". I've never been a big fan of diets in general, but even doing this with the re-frame of calling it a healthy food plan, lifestyle change, or food experiment, psychologically it still had some of the negative effects of being on a "diet".
Anytime you try to create change by denying yourself something you want, or like, your subconscious is going to kick back like a two-year-old having a temper tantrum. It doesn't like being told it "can't" have something even if consciously you know the change will be good for you.
Staying away from the seven foods was a challenge, merely because I wasn't suppose to be eating them!
This experiment reminded me of the importance of defining your food choices in empowered re-frames of "I choose to eat this", "I choose not to eat this", or "I don't eat this", rather than the victim or powerless re-frames of "I can't eat this" or "I shouldn't eat this". This subtle but powerful self-talk and perception of your power around your food choices can be the success or failure of sticking to your desired food plan.
I did noticed some negative reactions re-introducing gluten, dairy, and sugar including mood swings, fatigue, and increased cravings within hours after eating. These may need to be on my black list of foods I don't eat any more.
Overall I'm glad I did this three week experiment and I have a re-newed commitment to be mindful and conscious about my food choices and how foods effect me physically and psychologically. But now it is my choice not to eat something, rather than the diet's restriction, and that is a powerful state of being. :)
By Carolyn Almendarez