My Health Journey

Six years ago I learned how to be healthier and that running isn’t the devil. But so much can change over time, mindset, metabolism, schedule and motivation. I’ve found what works for me, what foods or moods can trigger me. That just because I know how to make better choices when it comes to my health, it doesn’t mean I will or want to.

The things I have learned about my body over these six years are numerous. I will continue to learn more as I get older. I’ve learned what I don’t want just as much as what I want.

Why I Don’t Stress My Weight

It’s not that I don’t care that my weight is where it is today. At my “ideal ” weight, I was the least joyful. The process of losing weight was easier in some respects than maintaining my “ideal” weight. Losing weight, I had a goal to meet. It’s the same as when I did Whole 30, I also had a goal to meet in doing that. I do well with goals it seems, especially if they are public ones too.

But maintaining an “ideal” weight that in the end isn’t so ideal isn’t healthy either. Nor is letting my continued apathy towards where I am right now. How will this look in my life as discover new goals? I honestly don’t know yet. But I do understand better that ideal isn’t necessarily a number on the scale.

Where I am today and where I would like to be has a ways to go.

Lacking Motivation

I also lack the motivation to do what I need to do to get there. When I lost the bulk of my weight, I was doing two intense workouts a day, seven days a week (I learned later on about rest days). It wasn’t something that can be maintained in the long run.

I also don’t want to stop eating the way I have been. There, I said. It’s been a stressful time with my move and moving into a new role at work but it’s also been my choice. It’s not that I eat nothing healthy but ending each day with ice cream doesn’t help that.

A New Start

I know what I need to do. It’s about owning the choices I have made to get here. To understand why I have chosen to eat the way I have ( tastes good, makes me feel good, convenient).

Previously as I posted about healthy eating or a motivational picture, I was not always following my own advice. That is the reality of blogs, social media et al. It’s not the entire story.

The reality of getting healthy is that it’s something that can fall away. I didn’t believe I would end up making the same choices that have lead to my weight gain when I was in the midst of losing it. But here I am and the reality is at times it can feel easier to fall back into the habits that I know. Instead of habits that are good for me.

This takes routine as well as motivation. But life doesn’t adhere to routines, at least not for long. Things shift, an illness, a change in jobs and *poof* it changes. Sometimes it’s easier to get back into it. Other times it takes longer, or even not at all.

This is where I’m at right now. Trying to make the better choices, owning when I don’t and meeting myself where I am. And most importantly, not comparing myself to others. The other day as I went out for my run/walk, a gentleman ran circles around me at the park. It hit me that I too had been at the point where I could run laps nearly non-stop. One day I may be there again but I have to want it and work up to that once again. That’s what I mean by meeting myself where I am.

Wholly Reintroduction

In my previous post I wrote about my Whole 30 journey. After thirty days of pulling back from dairy, legumes, sugar and grains it’s time to reintroduce it all. I learned from my friends to not go out and stuff my face with ALL THE FOOD!

My stomach would not respond well to that to say the least.

So I began the process of introducing each of the foods one by one. The better to see how each of them affect me. I began with legumes, the next week were gluten free grains, dairy and finally grains.

I reintroduced dairy and grains in the same week. I had gotten away from as much meal prep and my job got busier. What I noticed most is that I feel heavier when I become full. These foods especially grains tend to sit in my stomach. Making me feel uncomfortable. There was one morning where I bought a breakfast sandwich. It felt like a brick sitting in my stomach.

Doing Whole 30 taught me a lot about food and my eating habits. The reintroduction showed me that how sugar sneaks into my diet. Whole 30 gives me a base to return to again and again.

As the demands of my job and life have increased I have fallen off the wagon so to speak. Once my life settles down a bit I plan on another reset. I now have the tools to better what triggers me ( HELLO STRESS!) and choosing the easy options.

I have struggled with my relationship with food most of my life. Whole 30 isn’t a cure all but it has given me the tools to use in the future.

Yet Another Whole 30 Post

I first heard about Whole 30 from friends who were doing it. And I thought it was nuts! Why in the world would anyone WANT to do this thing? Removing all grains, legumes, dairy and sugar from your daily diet. How much work is that?!

You know what? It is nuts. I admit that. It is alot of work to put into food. Where usually there is minimal thought put into what goes into my mouth. The time I learned about this program I was not in a place to participate.

Fast forward a year later and I find myself joining a group of friends in a FB group. The intention was to encourage each other through the group and meet weekly for a pot luck. Well, we managaged one pot luck at the start of September. Then Hurricane Irma blew through my hometown and my Whole30 Journey.

Promising myself that I would finish what I started, I began again ( somewhat on my own) in late October. I finished my 30 days just before Thanksgiving. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about cooking ( that my skills in this area have come a long way) and I enjoyed eating it. This was crucial to being successfull. Food is meant to be enjoyable.

Thanks to my friends who are veterns at Whole 30 I got some great advice that helped me along the way.

1- Figure out the Why behind doing it. Everyone has a different reason for trying it out. My why was to see if I could do it but also to better understand my relationship with food. This is an area that I have had trouble getting a handle on.

2-Figure a time that works for your life. This is 30 days of a lot of cooking, planning what you will cook, how you will eat. Seriously, if you wake up each day not knowing what Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be then you will fail for sure. Double up on recipes, you can portion it out, freeze some for later etc.

3- Prepare to stock up your pantry ( I suggest start getting things a few weeks out so you don’t end up having to spend a lot all at once). Some of the items can be pricey but worth it, especially the Light Tasting Virgin Oil, Coconut Aminos, Dates. I did not buy all the oils because I could not afford it. For instance for some recipes I substituted apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar. Ghee I used a few times and hardly used the coconut oil.

4- Prepare your loved ones. They will need to understand there will be some limitations to what you eat ( especially for family gatherings). But also let people you live with know whats up. You will need space in the fridge and pantry for your food. You do not however need to tell everyone. Face it when the work place donut, cake, pizza comes around all I had to do was say No Thank You. Or as my boss persisted in offering me food I found saying I had eaten sufficed.

5- Get a support system. The FB group fell apart after the craziness of the storm but I still had a few friends I checked in with through out my journey. For other questions I googled Whole 30 forums. As always accountability helps to achieve goals. Having to report where I was at made me want to succeed even more.

6- Read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig. This helped prepare myself mentally.

7- Have grace for yourself. You will forget to read all the ingrediants, realize that meal planning was only enough to get to halfway through the week. OR life will happen and you aren’t able to continue.

I am by no means an expert on Whole 30, and I am sure there are those out there who would say I did this or that wrong ( which I am sure I did). But I did my best, I enjoyed cooking and trying new things out. I am now in the reintroduction phase ( more on this later). But I now feel as if I have a foundation to return to when I find myself getting off the rails. That to me is the most important thing.

Grief

My Five Year Check In

Five years ago I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle. In that time I learned that my body is capable of so much more than I had ever believed. I learned how to eat healthier and how to have a new mindset when it came to food. Exercise, once alien to me became near second nature. Dropping the weight was exciting, scary and hard. Hard not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well.

On my walk/run the other day I began to think about my journey. Five years ago, I was in the best physical health of my entire life. Mentally and spiritually however I was a mess. So much of the why I was doing it had to do with my desire for approval from others. Deep in my heart I believed that being loved and accepted meant meeting other peoples idea of who I should be. That by not meeting those ideas, I was a failure.

Losing weight revealed a lot of things that God wanted to shake me free from. It has been more than learning how to care for my body in a better way. It also been letting go of so much that I held onto over the years. Food and being overweight hid so much I hoped to keep hidden. Losing weight, being left without a place to hide left me vulnerable.

I got down to what was supposed to be my optimal weight but I was also miserable. For the most part I did not feel as if my body belonged to me. Today, I’m not at that optimal weight and I am so much happier. I am happy with my eating habits ( some days are better than others) and exercise routine. It has taken me these five years to get here too.

There were and are places I needed to grow, to learn, to be cared for in order to get to this place I’m at now. A much healthier place, physically, spiritually and mentally. I’m still a bit of a mess, but I know in the mess, God is there with me. Losing weight has long term consequences, not only what can be seen but what happens internally. Happiness does not come from the numbers on a scale, or a label size but where one is at on the journey. This is a journey I will be on for the rest of my life.

Mid Week Motivator : Sleep

I have never had problems sleeping. I am also a deep sleeper, it often takes a lot to wake me up.

Sleep is important but it may also not come easy for everyone. If you have issues sleeping please seek professional help. This article is aimed towards people who choose to sleep less.

There seems to be a contest in this country about who can sleep the least. Bragging rights belonging to those who get “by” on X number of hours. The X usually being the least amount.

Getting the sleep we need is vital to overall health. Our bodies and brains need the maximum hours of rest each night. Without it our bodies work hard to compensate. One is food. The body is lacking energy, food creates energy, which leads to overeating.

Another is getting sick. By not getting enough sleep, the body has not had time to repair itself. Cells have not been able to repair themselves.

 

 

Mid Week Motivator: Ups and Downs

My relationship with food is rather complex as it so often reprensents comfort to me. As it does for so many and in times of stress is easy to run towards.

Which I did. Barely working out or not at all. Eating whatever came across my way.

Why? Because life had become busy and stressful. Eating all the bad stuff felt good, for a brief moment. Not working out made feel like I did skipping school as a teenager. Another brief moment of being bad but then comes guilt.

Getting back into the routine is hard. The body adjusts just as quickly to bad habits as to good ones. The good news is that now I long for the good habits. To eat better and exercise.

While there may times when we get off the health track, it does not mean we can not go back. Don’t allow a bad day or week to prevent you from being healthy. There will be ebbs and flows, ups and downs.

Keep going, keep moving. It’s worth it.

 

 

Mid Week Motivator : Kitchen Intimidation

In last week’s Mid Week Motivator, I covered eating well on a budget. Today, I am talking about getting over that kitchen intimidation.

The hardest part about cooking is the  fear of failure. Julia Childs taught me that there can be no fear in the kitchen. Now, I am nowhere near the culinary genius of Mrs.Childs, but I do hold my own I must say.

Eating well means getting to know your skill level. Start with your favorite recipes, modifying them to make them healthier. You will be surprised to find that swapping out one item for another is pretty easy.

Play with spices and different kinds of vegetables. Healthy doesn’t mean you lose taste, it just means you find in a different way. Learn about meal prep, sure setting aside time to do it may seem a pain but so can be workouts.

Sure, some experiments may fail. So what? It just means you know better what works for you and your family.But again as Julia Childs also said, “Never  apologize for your food.”