There are some themes I notice here. I watched a debate between recently, Taubes and Guyenet
recently and they were more or less shouting at each other from opposite ends of the spectrum. We go astray when we buy into beliefs (and both of them have done that to some extent, but Guyenet much more than Taubes, whose long-term position is actually that we need more research.) From my point of view, both brain function (G) and endocrine activity (T) are involved in the processes that create obesity. What we think matters, and from my training, the words we use matter as well.
We are addicted to food, in various ways. Modern foods have been designed
to be addictive, for obvious economic reasons. Now, that something "is addictive" does not mean it is "bad." That depends on context.
We can be -- and often are -- addicted to behaviors that are, in some contexts, useful and in others, harmful. Were we not addicted, we would stop the behaviors when they are harmful. How to address this?
Alcoholics, in general, drink to medicate themselves. It is entirely possible that an alcoholic saved his life by becoming an alcoholic. But, then, the "medicine", continued, will kill him or her!
One thing you will never hear in Alcoholics Anonymous, not from any alcoholic deep in recovery: "I will never drink again!"
Those words will trigger memories, of how great it felt to drink, which will trigger longing and pressure to "come on, just one drink!." Instead, the saying in AA is "one day at a time." and "just for today...."
Right now, the OP is in induction. I urge her to focus on today
, and on how to feel satisfied today
, letting tomorrow take care of itself, as it will. "Never again" is a useless thought, and it obviously distresses her, so . . . why think it?
Ah, but can we control what we think? Yes, we can, but we first need to understand the context, and how to program this magnificent instrument, the human brain. Instead, mostly, we just careen from one reaction to another. This is absolutely normal!
We are all different, some more than others. Some people may be able to handle high carb diets and not gain weight, others not. Key to a long-term plan is actual testing and monitoring. Some find they like a keto diet so much that they lose the desire to do anything else. But core, for now: learn what it feels like and what happens when you stay in ketosis, regularly burning fat for fuel, instead of glucose. Many of us have never experienced this!
Once keto-adapted -- and there are ways to measure this if you care -- what is the body's response to a high-glycemic index meal?
(I.e., sugar and other processed carbs, but this also can include "good carbs," like whole grains)
To digest the carbs, pytalin is released into saliva, to convert starch to glucose, and also the body prepares to handle the entry of substantial glucose into the bloodstream. Insulin is released, which converts circulating glucose, storing it as fat. (High glucose levels are toxic.) In a normal person, running glucose metabolism, insulin clears the glucose from the blood, producing a "crash," or fatigue and hunger. To an extent, ketone (fat-burning) metabolism reduces or even shuts down, and it can take days to establish it.
How much this happens will vary with the person. However, in a sane diet, i.e., Atkins pre-maintenance or maintenance, one monitors two things: carb intake (much easier than counting calories and balancing them with exercise) and weight.
One increases the carb intake, watching the weight. If the weight goes up, then the carb intake is reduced a little. If the weight goes down or stays the same, one again increases the intake until the maintenance level is found.
One may be able to go above that level for a meal, if this is compensated by reduction in other meals. Maybe. What actually happens?
There is no substitute for this experimentation, no "one size fits all."
Most people, though, can tolerate a carb level that will allow them to eat almost anything, if they restrict how often and how much they eat it.
The only way to find out is to start from a weight-loss carb level, which one gets to through induction, and if 20 grams a day doesn't cut the mustard -- or the fat -- then go lower!
Carboyhdrates are not necessary for human nutrition, but that's a complicated subject. If you are paying attention and are in communication with a good doctor, you will not harm yourself by going even to zero carbs, but that is probably not necessary. Find out!
This is an adventure! Look at the people who post on this forum. Notice how much fun most of them seem to be having. That's a clue!
Instead of imagining a future where you are deprived of what you might think are your favorite foods, imagine a future where you thoroughly enjoy what you eat, and you easily handle whatever cravings come up, not by "toughing it out," by "will power," but naturally, by having so much fun that you don't really care about that piece of wedding cake.
(Ah, wedding cake: they used to say to me, "have some cake with your frosting!" Frosting is fat and sugar. Which part is more important? For me, in the end, it was and is the fat. Sugar can be replaced with, say, splenda or stevia, but fat? Olestra? No thanks!
Fat is an essential human nutrient. Low-fat diets were doomed to fail, with rare exceptions. People have lived -- entire cultures have lived -- with zero carbs. So learn what that is like! It is an adventure, and what you will learn is priceless.
From AA: "Keep coming back, it works!" That's about keeping up communication with others with similar issues. If you make some mistake, communicating with others will allow you to recognize it. Otherwise you can die with it, alone, not understanding why. If I'm wrong, here, I trust that I will find out, and so will you.