Any diet I’ve ever been on has, no matter how successful, ended up at a point where I feel deprived, frustrated, and ready to give up. Then, I give up. Often times it’s nothing major that precipitates it. There’s no binge or explosive moment. Usually, I’m just tired and pick up something that’s not on my plan. Then, all bets are off and I can’t right the ship. A pinprick hole can still sink a boat if left unattended long enough.

No matter what terminology I use for a diet (to trick my brain into not freaking out about being on a diet) it doesn’t work. Eventually, the food starts calling to me and the overwhelming desire to eat it, to taste it, over takes and, again, I can’t right the ship.

This time, it’s different.

This diet I’m on is a diet. I’m not tricking myself by using the term “food plan” or employing any other such semantic game. It’s a diet. It’s designed to make me lose weight. It’s working. I’ve lost 12 pounds in three weeks.

At the same time something else has happened… my brain has cleared. The fog is gone. My short temper is gone. My feelings of despair, frustration, and anger are nearly gone. I’ve mellowed. I’m feeling more calm and peaceful. Something is clicking here.

I know what it is.

I’m not eating any carbohydrates. There, I said it.

No, I’m not doing the Atkins Diet.

No, I’m not loading myself up with fatty foods that will trip me up later.

This time there’s a plan for after I lose the weight that doesn’t involve being left to my own devices and rebounding and yo-yoing back up the scale.

Best of all, I’m not making it up on my own.

This diet isn’t making me feel deprived.

This diet is full of tasty options that make me feel full and satisfied.

I’m calm. I’m peaceful. I’m mellow. I’m, dare I say it, feeling happy and optimistic?

So why am I so sad?

I know why. I am so sad because this diet is proving to me something that I have known for years: it’s not just refined sugar that makes me have difficulty mentally and emotionally. It’s all refined carbohydrates.

I know from experience, from 13 years of Overeaters Anonymous, from 25 years of dieting, that when I eat bread, pasta, cake, – anything made with flour and sugar or even just flour, I gain weight and I get anxious. Then, I eat those refined carbohydrates to make the anxiety go away. It does go away for the moment that I’m eating and then it gets worse.

The very thing I’m eating to help me manage my anxiety is the thing that causes the anxiety.

Again, from experience, I know that I can eat rice, potatoes, corn and not have a problem as long as they are in their whole food form. Whole food grains don’t seem to be my problem. It’s processed grains. Oatmeal? Quinoa? No problem. But grind them into flour and turn them into pasta or cookies and it doesn’t work for me anymore. I lose my stability.

Fruit, not a problem as long as I’m peeling and eating a fresh peach or eating blueberries fresh from the farmers’ market. But throw in sugar and flour and bake them into a pie? Make them into sauce for ice-cream? No luck. I’m gone.

My husband says this knowledge should make me happy. It should make me feel liberated. I know what I need to do to be sane, safe, and happy. No more refined carbs. Period. Freedom.

But I’m mourning. These foods aren’t calling me today, right now, for this moment. I have no interest in eating those things today. But I’m spiraling out in my head a little bit with the idea of NEVER. It’s sounds so final. So painful.

These foods, I tell myself, bring me joy and I don’t want to be deprived of that.

These foods, if I’m honest with myself, are poison that deprive me of my sanity and peace.

How can any sane person be willing to trade sanity and peace for poison?

But I’m not sane.

I am an addict.

Would I expect an alcoholic to drink a glass of wine with dinner and be a normal drinker? No.

So why oh why do I hold onto the dream – nay, the delusion – that I can be a normal eater?

I’ve been nicer to my kids, my husband, and myself in the past three weeks since I started this diet. No cranky dieter here. How can I want to trade that for the possibility that someday in the future I get to eat cake?

This is where I have to channel my program. Stop thinking about someday. It is JUST FOR TODAY.

Just for today I will not eat refined carbohydrates.

I can not speak about tomorrow, it isn’t here.

Today I will continue to mourn but remind myself that from this loss I can recover and with recovery I will win.