Monthly Archives: June 2015

Slow and Steady Healing

It’s been 25 days since I’ve eaten sugar or flour.  I haven’t had any physical cravings at all since the first week. Probably because I’ve been eating whole foods that fill me up more than ever. I have never eaten this much food before.  I remember years ago when I was on WW, I would try to fit in the ‘good foods’ with my points, basically eating less to keep enough points to eat ice cream later in the day.  But that sacrifice did not provide the appropriate nutrients to keep me healthy. Yes, I lost weight, but I didn’t necessarily do my body a favor in the long run nor did I learn the right way to eat to sustain a healthy body.  The WW program has since changed significantly which probably was because so many other people were doing the same thing. I didn’t think about it back then, I was just thinking about getting in those foods I craved the most, cookies, cakes and ice cream because I was addicted to them.

Without those foods, I’ve been feeling good, losing weight and it’s been nice to feel ‘in control’ again.  For roughly 2 years, I had given up on my health because I wasn’t seeing progress. I would go on a diet, lose a few pounds, stop losing and then nothing. I would become frustrated and binge saying to myself, ‘Nothing works!’.  This time around, I have so much more hope because I’m taking things very slow and seeing a difference. My first order of business was to get off sugar and flour, focusing on eliminating the cravings for those foods I was addicted to and so far it’s been nice. I even forgot to eat lunch one day!!

However, handling emotions is key.  Things have been occurring in my life where the emotions come on strong. In the past, I would quickly reach for food and binge to alleviate those emotions to feel better quick.  Lately, I haven’t been doing that, so I’ve had to come up with new ways to work through them.  The good news is because I focused on improving my emotional intelligence for the last few years, I’m noticing a difference in how I’m handling them than I ever have in the past.  It’s a new concept for me.  Since I’m not eating to deal with the emotions, they are significantly heightened and I have to face them now.  I’m not going to say I’m a 100% there, but I’ve definitely come a long way. It’s a little overwhelming, but I’m taking things day by day. Thankfully, I have a support system of friends and family I can call on and it helps.

As I continue healing, I will take it one step at a time. In the past, the perfectionist attitude would have me take on so much at once that there was no other option but to fail. This time around, I’m doing things a lot slower. Focusing on a few things helps keep it all manageable. Yes, I’m sure there are so many other things I have to do to heal, but for right now, this is working. So I’ll continue to focus on that and forget the rest (for now).

Progress Fuels Motivation

Progress Fuels Motivation.  It’s been 18 days since I’ve eaten any sugar or flour.  It feels good. The first 10 days were tough. I had headaches, pains and strange things going on with my body. Although now, I feel a lot better.  If I drink caffeine though, I don’t sleep as well and I can feel it the next day.  I’m still somewhat tired in the afternoons but I don’t experience the typical sugar crash which leads to eating carbs or sugar.  I’m not experiencing cravings either which feels great. The key for me is I have to eat all that I planned to eat for the day otherwise I’m hungry and that’s when I can get into trouble.

Yes, I’ve lost about 7 lbs so far and there have been a couple of people at work mentioning it to me which I was surprised given it’s not really dramatic, yet.  Their compliments made my day and it feels good physically as well.

However, here’s what really hit me hard.  Yesterday, I had to present to ~80 ppl.  Typically, these types of events cause me to stress beforehand to the point where I can’t focus on anything else. But yesterday, I prepared ahead, went through the presentation material and felt really good. What really made such an impact on me was my brain. We’ve all heard a poor nutritional diet causes brain-fog, and I was the poster child for this symptom for years. I’ve had brain fog for a while but it didn’t really impact much when I was younger so I didn’t think it was a big deal (a.k.a. I was in denial).

I knew I was smart, but there would be times where neurons weren’t firing correctly and I wasn’t thinking fast enough to articulate what I needed to say. It was frustrating but I brushed it off because it wasn’t such an issue then.  However, after hitting 40, I noticed it more and more. As a result, I started not trusting my ability to articulate or think clearly. I know that sounds crazy but it’s the truth. I was very hard on myself and I knew deep down inside it was related to my poor diet of sugar and processed foods. I didn’t want to admit it because I was so addicted to those foods and didn’t want to give them up. In the meantime, my self worth was going down fast because I wasn’t processing mentally like I used to and yet I was denying the truth. It’s like a car that ages and if you continue to abuse it by not servicing it, going for oil changes or using the correct octane of gas, it deteriorates slowly.  You don’t notice because it’s slow, until one day when it breaks down.  It’s the same thing with our bodies. Most of us don’t focus on it until the doctor comes to give a diagnosis and we’re sitting there saying, ‘How did this happen?’ when in reality, we know what caused it.  Years of abusing our bodies.

Yesterday proved to me yet another reason why eating a healthy diet is so important (not that I didn’t know this already, but actually ‘KNOWING’ it is something different).   I was confident going into the presentation.  Thoughts came to me easily, I felt comfortable about what I was saying and honestly, those in the audience could feel it. I received a lot of positive feedback afterwards and it was exhilarating! I knew at that moment, this is why I’m taking the time and the effort to clean up my diet. I spent 20 years eating garbage and it’s going to take time to heal this body, but I now know this is right track.

I’ve done so many diets, so many fads and failed consistently because of cravings and deprivation.  I cannot say I’m deprived now because I eat more food then I ever have in the past.  I haven’t experienced cravings which caused me to fail in the past.  I’m also listening to lectures and books on why sugar and flour is causing the ‘diabesity’ in our country and it keeps me motivated.

I will continue with preparing ahead of time, creating menus and prepping foods for the week ahead.  It takes work, but it also takes work to think when you’re brain isn’t operating at full throttle, it takes work to get in and out of a car when you’re severely overweight. It takes work to walk up stairs.  I provided a lot of excuses as to why I continued down the unhealthy path, ‘It’s too hard.’ ‘I’m too tired (my favorite one).’ or ‘I’ll do it next week.’ These were all helpless/hopeless lies I told myself to feel better, to justify why I couldn’t do it. Honestly, I can say, if you have help, you can do it. If you don’t have friends or family support, hire someone to help you or start a support group at your local library which is free, to create that support for yourself.

I strive to be the example we can all live a happy, healthy life if we take the time and effort to move forward and refuse to give up.

Making my health a priority

It’s been an interesting week.  BFF is here and on time as usual. It explains my emotional roller coaster last week.  I’m on day 11 not eating sugar or flour.  I feel okay but it’s hard to say how much it’s impacted my health because it’s so early.  I’m not experiencing physical hunger. The food I’m eating (whole grains, veggies, lean protein) keeps me satisfied for the day. I was feeling very tired yesterday and believe its because of BFF right now and why I ate some ‘Mary Gone Crackers’ (flax crackers) last night.  I didn’t have it planned but it satisfied the ‘crunch’ that I was looking for all day.  I’m wondering if those types of cravings eventually disappear with time.

Time – that’s the key.  It took me 20 years to get to this point, I know it’s going to take time to get used to eating this way for the rest of my life and ultimately ‘reset’ my body to where it’s supposed to be.  I may have to give up caffeine but I’m not doing it just yet. I have made a huge shift and I think if I add another major one it will add too much at once. It’s going to have to wait until I get used to this initial shift first . But, I noticed when I drink caffeine, my skin gets agitated.  It’s got to be the acid. I’ll look to drink decaf at some point. However, for now, I’m going to continue to be aware of what’s going on with my body.  I have lost some weight, although I feel bloated this week because of BFF, but overall I feel good.

For so long, I’ve been ‘waiting’ for the right time to ‘work on my health’. It’s funny because back in 2011, I made a major move to ‘work on my health’.  But I never realized it had to start with my mind. I was so unaware back then (and it’s only been a few years). I thought for sure I would figure out what I needed to do to lose weight, but what happened was so much more and for that I’m eternally grateful. I learned about my mind and my feelings and how they are connected. I learned how my thinking was causing my current reality.  If I never learned all of that, I wouldn’t be where I am today which is facing reality as to why I’m overweight, how it began, how my thinking and resulting behaviors contributed to an unhealthy body.  If I didn’t gain that knowledge, I would be on another diet again, failing and wondering why I’m gaining and losing the same 10 lbs when I have over 50 to lose.

This is the focus in my life right now. Everything else is on the periphery. I’m okay with that because I have been wanting to focus just on this and yet, things seemed to get in the way. Not this time. I’ve got weight to lose and a body to transform. I cannot do that when distracted with so many other things in my life.  Of course, those distraction were cause by me making those other things a priority over the true priority which is my health. I also know, doing this will help me achieve one of my other goals – being a role model for my son which I believe is going to be the case as I go through this transformation.

 

The journey begins…

This week, I decided to  go off sugar, corn and flour.  I have done this before and it’s difficult because sugar and corn are in just about everything (i.e. bread, bacon etc.) and flour is in most processed foods.   In the past, I was on my own and was super strict. I didn’t eat dairy or any grains.  In fact, all I ate was veggies and protein. It was very limiting and probably why I only lasted 3 months.  I have to say for that short time, I did feel better than I ever had in the past.

This time around, I am eating whole grains and dairy.  I’m not using to eating like that, it’s a lot of food. But I believe it helps with the physical cravings.  After day 3, I was craving pizza and I caught my thoughts about it and was okay. I was emotional too but I opted to go for a walk and that really helped.  Other than that, so far it’s been okay.

I felt intimated about doing this again because I had failed in the past.  I haven’t been able to stay on a lot of diets for a significant amount of time except Weight Watchers.  However, even while on WW, I was frustrated because I would lose and gain back the same weight for years, hence why I stopped all together.

Now, I’m looking at this as an abstinence decision instead of any diet. I am choosing to eat healthy natural foods. I’m recording a video diary that at some point I’ll edit and post on YouTube so others can see my progress.  It will take time both physically and mentally to break the sugar addiction that some scientists say is like a drug.  That being said, I know practicing abstinence is key. Check out this 60 minutes story on sugar:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n29ZIJ-jQA

For me, sugar, corn and flour have altered my metabolic profile.  This means my body has changed so much, it needs serious change to ‘reset’ and function normally.  If not, the chances of weight gain and medical problems increases significantly.

Sugar, in particular when eaten in mass quantities (which is easy to do in the American diet), causes the body to crave it more. It’s like caffeine, after a while, your body processes the caffeine much quicker and it needs more coffee to get the same effect. Sugar is the same. After consuming so much of it, your body has become ‘immune’ to it’s impacts so you have to eat more to get the same feelings of pleasure (couple that with intense cravings).  However, with sugar, consuming more and more not only increases weight, it starts to change the body’s endocrine system (think belly fat) ultimately leading to diabetes, heart disease and potentially cancer.

The fact is, I gorged on sugar for over 20 years.  It’s the reason why I am where I am today.  In those 20 years, the volume of those junk foods increased over time because it took more of it to experience the same feelings of ‘fulfillment and satisfaction’. Unfortunately, the cravings intensified to the point where logic and reason were no longer dominant. It seemed like the cravings would always trump my reasoning when making better food choices.

When I’m off sugar, I feel like a different person. I’m able to think clearly, make better (and more confident decisions) about food and of course lose weight.  It’s going to take time to get there, however, it’s what has to be done if I’m going to change my body to live a longer life. Over the last few years, I have grown personally and a lot of the affirmations and meditation I’ve been doing consistently have really help during the tough times.  That includes the healthy habits I had identified and incorporated into my routines for a while now which I believe has prepared me for this journey…

sugar abstinence, weight loss, hormones