OK. Here are the pertinent instructions from section for doing the Stage 5 reducing reward experiement.
This level reduces variety, which is another reward factor (4). This is something that you attempt at your own risk, as there may be downsides to eating the same foods every day. I think the risk is small if you choose your three foods carefully. I wouldn't recommend doing this indefinitely, but rather as a short-term strategy to lose fat, followed by a more relaxed maintenance phase.
Pick three foods, and eat nothing else. Try to pick foods that will provide a relatively balanced diet. A starch, a meat and a green vegetable is one possibility. For example: potatoes, broccoli and beef. Again, cook everything gently and add no seasonings to your food whatsoever, including salt.
Some people have lost fat simply by avoiding carbohydrate or fat. I've heard people say that a low-carbohydrate diet in particular curbs their cravings and allow them to have a healthy relationship with food again (although others have developed strong cravings on low-carbohydrate diets). I believe this is mostly, if not exclusively, driven by the fact that carbohydrate and fat are major reward factors.
I believe that all things being equal, it's best not to restrict any macronutrient to an extreme degree (there may be some exceptions, such as diabetes). That being said, as carbohydrate and fat are major reward factors, they are additional tools in the toolbox that you can use to further reduce reward if you choose.
Don't be a Drill Sergeant
Ultimately, for any diet to work, it needs to be sustainable. It's probably a good idea to allow yourself a meal or two a week that you really enjoy. Just don't indulge in the worst offenders-- foods that will stay on your mind, and reinforce your cravings for days or weeks. You know what your own trigger foods are. Don't even put yourself in the vicinity of those foods if you can avoid it. If your diet is balanced and nutritious, your cravings should subside over time, and you will become more satisfied by simple food.>
Now, he says he believes it is best not to restrict macronutrient groups, but from my reading of it, this is not an absolute.
"That being said, as carbohydrate and fat are major reward factors, they are additional tools in the toolbox that you can use to further reduce reward if you choose."
I think each individual with be obviously a bit different. In your case, you have written about the need to greatly restrict calories and to not be able to eat to satiety - to have to endure hunger to some degree on an ongoing basis.
I believe that you could specifically target these two issues with this experiment.
The other thing is, he writes re: avoiding trigger foods. Much like you, for me to do a potato of any kind is a major treat event and occurs, maybe twice to three times in a typical year. A potato, as I want to eat potatoes is a major trigger food and if I were counting calories, a caloric nightmare.And of course, it is a starchy carb and I don't do them with any regularity. However, a potato with NO salt, NO butter, NO sour-cream, NO bacon bits...NO NOTHING...I can say without skpping a beat that that naked potato would in reality, most likely, be hard for me to even finish. (Trigger GONE - detriggered potato!) If I did the experiment, I'd go with the white potato as it has rock bottom palatability for me.
I think I would do better with a sweet potato, (as in gagging it down!) but it would still really have negligible reward value for me.
I also want to suggest that you consider doing it for maybe multiple, but shorter periods of time. I think 2 weeks, for instance, solid, could get you alot of noticeable bang. I am actually betting that a solid seven days could yield real results.
I have been considering doing it for 5 days to a week at a time as one of my change-it-up rotations...ongoing...
Given your response to black coffee, I think there is no reward value, there, lol! So, I think it fits fine. If you began to want to throw down an escalating number of cups for a caffeine blast...you'd experience and know this.
Lastly, Stephan is really very accessible via his blog. He responds to comments and questions regularly.
I really admire you. ALOT. No, not for contemplating just this specific experiment, but for the amazing journey you've taken and are on and the degree to which you share your experience, and not in a "yes - woman" way. You put your truth out there. You smack people in the face with the reality of your experiece, but in the most articulate, graceful and often compassionate way. And I believe that is worth far more than you will ever know to so many, especially women, who read your posts.
Thank you. (Write your blog!)