The diet I want VS The diet that makes me feel best.

My ideal diet is Pescatarian or Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. It’s inexpensive, the food is delicious and both are kind to global resources. I want to be a Veggie for the rest of my life.

However, I do not feel so healthy on a Veggie diet. As a matter of fact, it makes me a little bit sick. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, so I went online and looked up optimal PCOS diets. They are all low-carb. Some say moderate carb (South Beach & Sugar Busters!) works for them, but many (like me) were unable to lose weight on any diet but very lowcarb. I have a lot of mixed feelings about that.

First off, when I eat low-carb, I mean really low–Atkins Style–low-carb, I feel great. I mean I feel better than on any other diet. I don’t especially like the food. I don’t especially like meat. But WOW do I feel good. I have a ton more energy. I can do more during the day, and I don’t get sleepy in the afternoons. I lose weight too. Easily, almost effortlessly, the pounds melt off.

All the meat is kind of icky. It’s a struggle for me to turn the meat into meals that are appetizing to me. One of the ways I do it is by including lots of veggies. I miss fruit. During the weight-loss phase of Atkins fruits are limited. After weight loss they are added back in moderate amounts, like in a diabetic diet.

I have moral concerns about eating a lot of meat. It’s selfish of me to hog up a bunch of resources for myself and my family, when so many people are hungry. But I also have an obligation to my family to give them the strongest, healthiest Wife & Mother & Human Being that I reasonably can.

The cost is scary to me too. Eating up to a pound of meat a day for just one person isn’t exactly cheap, although like any diet, there are ways to keep costs down. It’s a lot of work though, while a Veggie diet is easy to keep low-cost.

So anyway, I’m entertaining the idea of spending several months (not sure how many yet) giving Low Carb the big try and doing my best to adjust it to my family’s eating habits and budget. I’m not sure how to do that yet. Not completely sure I want to do it yet.

What I do know is that I am sick of being obese and I’m sick of having full blown PCOS. The weight I’ve lost did lessen my symptoms some. And if there is a method that will allow me to attain a normal size and put the PCOS symptoms in dormancy, then I think (although I’m not yet completely sure) that I should go ahead and give it a try. I’m still working this out in my mind. I’m not completely convinced one way or another.

What I do know, and it’s not so much, is that I like having energy and I like losing weight. I know of only 1 method that has ever been successful for me. A method that doesn’t suit my ideals or my dietary preferences. I have given up dietary preferences because of economics many times in the past. I wonder if I can, or am willing, to set these preferences aside for my health and for the worthy goal of weight loss.

I’m not sure. I’m not sure about any of it. Like in 12 Step Programs they say that thinking about a lifetime of changes can be intimidating and stall us to the point of inaction. So I think what I will do is think of this in terms of one day, one week, maybe even one month and see what happens. I hope to share some of this stuff here on the blog as I go about it. I am reluctant, but I am going forward anyway, in the hopes that there can be relief from the pain and discomfort of obesity and PCOS.

When commenting on this post, please realize that my weight and attempt to find a healthy diet is a tender topic for me. I still feel ashamed for allowing myself to get so fat; frustrated and bewildered that it happened at all–even though I now realize it has been due to metabolic issues as well as my own behavior. I understand that there are many methods of weightloss that have worked for other women, but I haven’t had any other method work for me personally. Additionally I know there is plenty of controversy surrounding Atkin’s style diets, and I would prefer to avoid controversy of this nature.



Filed under Budget, Low-Carb, PCOS

25 responses to “The diet I want VS The diet that makes me feel best.

  1. Could you do a white meat diet? By that I mean fish and chicken and no red meat. I ate that way for about 3 years. I think your body craves protein when I was not eating red meat I dreamed of hamburgers. When they test your kids at school they say a protein breakfast helps their brains think. Without eggs, cheese or milk and no meat protein I wouldn’t make it. Even if I eat a small bowl of FF plain yogurt with some frozen blueberries I feel different.

    I will be praying for you wisdom on your diet.

    Eating from scratch adds lots of carbs, I found that out. But if you eat the right type of carbs you can still lose weight. Don’t be ashamed we all learn from our mistakes.

  2. angie davis

    I would love to be a vegetarian also. I have moderate rheumatoid arthritis , however, and I have found that when I abstain totally from meat (especially red) I start to feel horrible. I’m thinking that maybe anemia is a side effect of RA that a vegetarian diet may be compounding that causing me to feel so exhausted and lethargic.However during the vegetarian diet my irritable bowel syndrome almost completely resolved itself so its like a catch 22.

    I think that finding the optimum way to nourish our individual bodies is a constant work in progress, so thanks for all your faithful research and insight!!

  3. Me

    I, too, am struggling with this issue. I have tried, over and over, to minimize the amount of red meat I eat while eating only WHOLE grains and fresh fruits and veggies. I just realized earlier today, that I always gain weight this way. Coincidently, I discovered today a book that helped me come to this conclusion. It is entitled “Perfect Weight” by Jordan Rubin. It has has some great insights that might be helpful to you, should you choose to look at it. Good Luck. Thanks you for your willingness to share your struggles and successes with all of us. I am sure you will be able to help many with these entries.

  4. Bless you, my dear, on your quest. I know how very unkind people can be when it comes to weight issues.

    You are in my prayers.

  5. You are very sweet for sharing your weight loss journey with us. I too lost a lot of weight on Atkins but I had the opposite reaction you did….I felt lousy and had no energy. You’ve made me reconsider my diet options because I have fibromyalgia and wonder if there’s a connection…..

    I’ll be praying for God to lead us in the right direction.


  6. turtlemoma

    As with Amanda, I too have fibromyalgia and I don’t do well losing weight with the Atkins diet. I have found no diets my family and I can stick to that help me lose weight, so I finally gave up and became happier with myself. My husband loves me the way I am and i have learned to love myself more too. Funny though, about that time, I began to worry about the antibiotics and other crap they put into our food and we decided, no matter the cost, that we would limit our consumtion on “processed foods” I began making all our breads, snacks and such. We eat more beans and almost totally organic. In 7 months I’ve lost 40 lbs without trying! Changing to organic, non processed foods in a very big change and is hard on the mom who has to make all the foods you eat, but it has been worth it for us. I hope you find your way too!

  7. Jennifer in MD

    I have pcos as well. I get sick of the meat too, but I can’t deny that lower carb diets suit me much more than one low in fat and higher in carbohydrates. I try to mediate the meat issue by mixing all kinds of different meats and of course adding in plenty of veggies. If I can cycle through chicken, turkey, beef, sausage, and fish it helps me to tolerate. I also try to get eggs and make them different ways, as well as canned tuna with mayo which is easy, cheap if you buy it on sale, and low carb. I also try to add all the seasoning I can without using anything with sugar or carbs in it. LOL hello garlic!
    Best of luck to you with whatever approach you decide to use.

  8. you dont always have to have meat, u can have tofu, spinach, lentils, legumes, black beans, pinto beans. no chick peas though. but yeah, theres heaps of low cost options. ive been trying to do the slow carb thing, its interesting how i really dont feel like eating proteinish foods in the mornings, i really love my cereals and muesli’s but im trying to adjust. i mean who wants to eat beans in the morning, ekh!

  9. oh but good luck. you give me inspiration to keep moving and pushing on. even though i fully didnt follow my new eating plan that i just started yesterday, but slow and steady wins the race 🙂

  10. AZMom

    Maggie, thank you for sharing your struggles so openly. This is something I struggle with as well. I recently picked up a book at the library called “Carb Conscious Vegetarian” by Robin Roberston. It has a lot of great ideas for eating lower carbs while on a vegetarian diet. This is something I’ve been reading more about lately as I have CFS and need to lose weight as well.

  11. Di

    I’ve been vegetarian for 17 years. If you’re feeling sick on a veggie diet you’re doing it wrong! lol! Any diet to me that says no fruits is insane! People need to stop thinking about weight loss and focus on HEALTH. It’s not healthy to eat meat on a regular basis. People need to look at the actual protein recommendations. A portion is VERY small. Why do people associate a veggie diet with high carb? Its not. ANY eating plan should be well balanced.
    If you feel sick eating ‘carbs’ maybe you’re glucose/wheat intolerant? Most people when introduced to a veggie diet eat lots of breads. I’m actually sick when I eat breads. Yet I thrive on indian flat breads.
    My suggestion to anyone with food issues is a food diet. You can find your trigger and avoid it.

  12. LaVonne

    I also am not crazy about eating a lot of meat. And I think I may have PCOS but I am to sick of doctors to find out for sure.Anyway if you try a search for vegetarian diet for PCOS you should find some information.I stumbled across a website while looking for something else but I cant remember what its called.Hope this helps.

  13. Hi Maggie,

    I guess i view the weight issue a little differently…having been anorexic in some of my younger years i don’t especially long for thinness now, even though i’m overweight (previous anorexia wreaks havoc with your metabolism). Now, i see fat as a rather soft and feminine and nurturing feeling thing really, unless it goes so far that it makes your life more difficult. Sometimes i think its more the judgements we have about our weight that zap our energy rather than the weight itself. Anyway, that’s my personal view, i know things maybe be different for others. But i do think eating right and living healthy are what to focus on rather than what size you are…there are plenty of unwell thin folks and healthy overweight ones. So maybe its ~how~ we got where we are that’s the thing, don’t know. The studies out there saying it’s fat that worsens conditions, i dont buy them really…i think rather its the ~lifestyle/eating habits itself~ one has that efffects your health, not your size. A subtle difference there, but a big one.

    But i definitely see what you mean about the conflict between eating what you know you do best on and what you can afford (or feel ethical about). That’s been the reason i try and be more frugal in other areas first before the food area, so there will be as much to use for the food area as there can be. Maybe that might be a way to look at it….maybe really maximizing frugality in other areas (either deepening there or realizing you already are deepened there) maybe one can then feel better about “splurging” on low carb. Honestly, i really go back and forth on this one too.

    This isnt for everyone, but here is what me and my finace have done: He does just fine on high carb and i do much better on high protien, so when we eat together he takes a higher helping of the carb part of the meal and i of the protien part, that way its not as expensive as it is if we were both doing high protein. Again, i know that route isnt for everyone, but just thought i’d mention it….

    Peaceful Day, Wendy

  14. LOL, thank you Wendy, loved your comments. I’m really thinking about this–>>>That’s been the reason i try and be more frugal in other areas first before the food area, so there will be as much to use for the food area as there can be.<<<

    I will be doing things of this nature as necessary. I’ve always economized as much as I could on food, but I will have to economize more in other areas as I learn how to keep my food bills in order.

  15. JDM

    Hmm. I admit that I like my carbs, and I happen to be vegetarian, and that I don’t know nearly enough about PCOS. What about the Low GI or South Beach diets? What about tofu, nuts, beans, and veggie burgers? Barry Sears wrote “The Soy ZONE”, which is available on Amazon for a single penny (plus S&H)–comes out to US$4.00. It might be usable.

    Now on to cost and recipes, just because I dislike it when I read about something and the individual involved doesn’t give price quotes. 🙂 Tofu is US$1.09/lb at the local (Seattle-area) Trader Joe’s. I can pick up 16 big Original Boca burgers for under ten dollars at Costco, and I hear they’re less expensive at Sam’s. Plus, there’s also TVP…! As to recipes, there are tons of recipes out there, but it’s always difficult to find recipes online without being overwhelmed (I think, anyway). The site has a recipe for an open-face feta omelette that looks like it would be excellent with half a grapefruit. 🙂

    These are just thoughts. I hope you don’t have to go fully carnivore, Ms. Maggie, but I understand that a person has to look to their health first. Good luck to you!

  16. Hey honey,

    You know I am totally with you on the PCOS and carb thing. I speak your language. Remember…it can be done!

    Don’t forget the mighty egg…it is a wonderful food! And lots and lots of green stuff…

    Watch the soy, though…in my body it turns straight into estrogen…not good.

    Much love,


  17. Gilana

    You and your family’s health and well-being comes before the labels of what is an “optimum” diet. Just do what you can. You’re going to be OK. You are already ahead of the millions of us who spend one tenth of the time considering what we put into our bodies than you do. It will work out. Just do what works for YOU.

  18. Leta

    Well, in the interest of full disclosure, let me just say that I have been a pescatarian for 12 years, for all the reasons Miss Maggie listed, plus a few more.

    I feel better eating this way. I tried going vegan, and I can say in all honesty that it didn’t work for me. I felt sluggish. My diet became very starchy and oily.

    We are all unique. What works for me may not work for you. You have to solve the puzzle of your own body.

    I will say, though, that if I had PCOS and it resolved itself via months/years of an Atkins style diet, I might try hopping back on the veggie wagon and seeing how it went. But that is as unsupportive/judgmental as I’m going to get. 🙂

  19. Terrie

    Hi Maggie,

    I know all too well about that PCOS roller coaster. I also understand the frugality issue. It is just so much easier to buy grains & legumes. But I don’t feel my best eating the vegetarian way. I first tried the low-carb option while my husband was gone TDY(short deployment) to Florida. I lost 10 lbs. in 2 weeks, and had unbelievable energy. I even used butter! I also used Stevia instead of all sugar, but put a tsp. of raw honey into my morning tea. The cookbook I used is called “Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way”. The food is actually pretty good, and my picky eater daughter ate every bite. I didn’t eliminate grains like others do though. I gave myself a limit of up to 5 servings a day. I did no more than two servings of carbs per meal. My carbs were grains and fruit. I ate as much vegetables as I like, except the starchy ones. No potatoes, but I replaced them with rutabagas, turnips, and cauliflower in some recipes. I know some people need to eat even less carbs than this, but I hear that you’re suppose to take it slow. You know, knock off 10 carbs a week until you find a level that works best for you. We also have to exercise. But that doesn’t have to mean a gym membership. Just walk for 30 min. a day, six to seven days a week to start. A good goal is work up 90 min. a day of exercising. That 90 min. will help you not only lose the weight, but keep it off. Oh, and make sure you stretch before walking. I still finishing up the heeling of my knees, because I wasn’t stretching first.

    OOPS! Sorry so long.

    Well, you just hang in there. You are doing great!

  20. Hi Maggie :):) I’ve heard that about soy too, so I’m being careful about it. I do enjoy soy, so for the moment I’m trying it in moderation. One day I’ll eliminate it for a couple of weeks and see how I feel. Cultured soy products are supposed to be better, like soy yogurt and tempeh. Thanks so much for the support sweetie. Hugs & Love 🙂 M

  21. Kerri

    Hi Maggie! Thank you so much for sharing !

    I wanted to share with you too about my doctor’s appointment today. I have fibromyalgia and today, I saw an M.D. who specializes in holistic medicine (my first visit) in Cambridge, MA. We talked about my diet and how I have such difficulty losing weight. I really focus on eating well, legumes, whole grains, lean protein etc. I don’t like to sit down to a hunk of meat and tend to use it as an add-in instead. But, I get really hungry and eventually end up eating more than my low calorie plan, or giving in to cravings, and I end up maintaining my too-high weight instead of losing.

    He then asked what my blood type was – and when I said O, he told me that I may be eating the wrong foods for my blood type! He said type O’s tend to feel better on a higher protein diet & wants me to see the nutritionist on staff. What I also found interesting was that he is also a type O and he said that he doesn’t eat beef or poultry, but lots of fish and other proteins. I am very curious to talk to the nutritionist and find out more. I will keep you posted, as it sounds like you need a higher protein diet, lower carb diet, but also don’t favor sitting down to a hunk of meat on your plate.

    I am going to stress to the nutritionist that cost is an important factor in whatever plan we choose and spend time with her talking about specific foods that can be substituted for higher cost ones. I’ll write back and keep you posted after I meet with her, probably a week from Friday. Take care, Kerri

  22. Sounds great Kerri, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  23. mellifera

    Thank you for this entry! I’m right with you in the diet decisions. Low carb evens out my blood sugar, but I’d rather be a vegetarian. I decided a few days ago to add back some good carbs, and this morning my blood sugar was up. Back to the low carb drawing board. Thank you for this site–it’s such an inspiration!

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  25. Hi. I think what your doing is very commendable. I think you should consider a Paleo Diet. That is what I am on and I have lost a lot of weight effortlessly. Also the focus is on eating lean meats with plenty of vegetables and fruits! Something that should appeal to you. Its still low carb but not as low as Atkins. Also Im pretty sure its known to help improve many conditions because its the diet we evolved to eat.

    As for the environmental thing. Eat grass fed beef. That way your not damaging the environment. The conventional way of growing crops is awful for the environment. It strips the soil of nutrients and just lays it to waste. So by eating grass fed beef you are not buying as much of these dirty crops (especially if your buying locally) and so helping the environment, and you know the cow had a good, healthy long life, right up until those last few seconds anyway.

    Grass fed beef is very low in saturated fats and high in Omega 3 – which is VERY good for you. So all this hate on meat should really be focused on grain fed beef not grass fed beef.

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