The Emotional Side of Living on a Liquid Diet.
Per my previous post, I have been on a primarily liquid diet for the last seven months. I had to resort to this option when my weight hit rock bottom and I felt as though I was in crisis. The product I use is called Absorb Plus, and it has been very beneficial to me because it is a protein powder that is considered elemental, which means it’s pre-digested. So, no real work for my intestines. They simply need to absorb.
With the help of Absorb Plus, and determination and will and discipline, I’ve gained 19 pounds in seven months as of this writing. When you consider I did nothing but lose weight for seven solid years, it’s pretty much a miracle.
But miracles come at a cost, and chewing is the price I’ve paid for mine. Well, most chewing, anyway. I do eat real food for dinner each evening, but other than that, the only things that go in my mouth the rest of the day are water and Absorb Plus. Literally.
It was tough at first. So hard to sip while others chew. And of course there’s the social aspect. For me, going out to lunch means watching others eat while I sip from a mason jar. Snack time is chips for the family and a mason jar for me.
Do I sound like I’m complaining? I’m not really. Just framing the reality of my situation.
And then there is the emotional aspect. It’s scary to know a liquid diet is the only reliable way to maintain life.
But let’s put that all aside for a minute and talk about my experience. First, after about two weeks, I noticed a dramatic decrease in the GI symptoms that have dogged and tortured me and made my life a living hell for the last seven years. Then, ever so slowly, the scale started going up instead of down for the first time in years.
The more I sipped, the better my GI tract felt and the more weight I gained. And the less I cared about what I wasn’t putting in my mouth.
Now, seven months in, I can see the situation with complete clarity. I can eat food and feel badly and lose weight, or I can sip Absorb Plus and feel better and gain weight. I’d say that’s a pretty easy decision.
Is it easy every day? No. Is it easy most days? Absolutely. In fact, most days I don’t even long for food during the day. I’m just so happy to not be miserable. Food is an afterthought. Or a non-thought.
However, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say there are two things I really struggle with. The first is I really miss crunchy things. I’m on a Paleo Diet (primarily fruits, veggies, healthy fat and animal protein), so even when I eat dinner in the evening, there’s not a lot (or any) crunch. As such, I tend to struggle when people eat chips, etc. in front of me. I would never ask anybody not to eat something because I can’t, but it is hard to watch sometimes. I try to accept this as my reality.
The other time I struggle is at the end of the dinner hour. When all has been eaten, the dishes washed and the leftovers stored for another day. That’s when it occurs to me it will be a full 24 hours before I put solid food in my mouth again. And that’s when I get the urge to put something, anything in my mouth. It’s really not about hunger. It’s about wanting to feel the sensation of eating. Of chewing. Of taste and texture.
Sometimes this feeling is big, and sometimes it’s not there at all. Sometimes I put something in my mouth just to do it. Other times I just deal with the emotion I’m having and realize it won’t be improved by eating a random bite of food. I remind myself I’ve eaten. I’m satiated. I don’t have physical hunger. My hunger is emotional, and that’s best fed with compassion rather than food.
All in all I’d say the emotional price I pay for being on a mostly liquid diet is much smaller than the price I paid when I was constantly worried about my ever shrinking frame. I could see bones I never knew I had. I could count each rib easily. My abdominal area was hollowed out.
I don’t want to go back to any of that. So, if being on a liquid diet is the ticket out, I will gladly punch it. Every day.