When you finish the 500 calorie + injections phase of the HCG diet and move on to the maintenance phase, you're supposed to feel a great sense of relief. You're supposed to have so many more food options open to you, it should feel like a feast after a famine.
But you still can't eat carbs or sugars. And so I'm finding that I feel almost as deprived on this phase of the diet as I was on Phase 1. Just not as hungry. But deprived isn't all that far from hungry, I'm discovering. Think about it. You can't have cereal for breakfast. Or pancakes. Or oatmeal. Or waffles. Or toast. Or any of the other wonderful breakfast foods you'd normally eat. What does that leave you? Eggs. Yes, and bacon, sausage, ham and all the breakfast meats. But you can't just eat breakfast meats for breakfast. And an egg without toast is not that enticing. Even if you can choke it down, you can't do it day after day. So what do I end up eating for breakfast? A strawberry smoothie. Same as before.
Then there is snack time. What would you eat for a snack normally? Some crackers with cheese? (No crackers allowed). A granola bar? (Guess again). Chips and salsa? (Ixnay on the ipschay). Seriously, it is HARD to think of stuff to snack on! So far I've come up with nuts. A handful of nuts. I should feel grateful that I can eat nuts. But I'm so used to thinking of them as fattening, that even though they're allowed on this phase of the diet, I am paranoid about eating them.
And then there is meal-time. I still eat my lean meats--shrimp, fish, chicken, turkey, steak. But I can't add carb-based side dishes to them. No potatoes au gratin, no rice pilaf, no noodles, no bread, no fries. So what can I eat with my meat to meet my daily calorie goal (1500-2000 calories)? More veggies? For real??? A couple of fruit choices that I couldn't have before? Whoopdeedoo. I'm not joking, people. Not eating carbs is freaking HARD!
I don't mean to be such a whiner. I know I should be grateful that I can have cheese now. And nuts. And full-fat dressing. But either I'm so paranoid about eating them because of the fat, or they just don't offer me any kind of satisfying feeling. Because I still find myself obsessing about carbs and sugar. Way worse than any diet I've ever been on before.
Which explains why, today, when I had a complete lack-of-sugar meltdown, I made cookie dough and ate three heaping spoonfuls of it, plus two cookies, and sucked them down with the same fervor and joy that a person would do to water after wandering in the desert. It was like I was eating for the first time in years. That's how it felt. It was AMAZING.
The aftermath? I'm sure it won't be pretty. Despite a lot of exercise today (walking a mile while picking up trash with the Scouts, playing volleyball and Frisbee golf, washing the cars) I may see a big gain tomorrow. But for right now, while the memory of brown sugar and butter and flour and chocolate chips is still lingering on my tongue, it was heaven. And it was worth it.