Saturday, November 29, 2014
I have made huge changes in my lifestyle during this year. On January 1, I gave up soda of all kinds and all artificial sweeteners. In May, I began following the Whole30 plan of eating and have continued with it, more or less, since then. I am not perfect with it, but in general I eat no processed foods, no grains, no dairy, no sugar, no beans or legumes. My diet is largely meat/fish/poultry, fresh or frozen vegetables (with no additives), healthy fats (avocado & its oil, olives and olive oil, coconut oil -- I recognize that this one is challenged as healthy by our focus on unsaturated fats), fruits and nuts. I do consume alcohol and typically have more of it than is recommended by this plan.
In the past two months I have also made big changes in my workouts. Where for years, I have been very focused on cardio, especially walking and hiking, and I struggled greatly with ST, I have definitely branched out. It began with adding intervals to my cardio workouts, which immediately brought about weight loss. Then I began doing more ST with my own version of a plank challenge (I am now up to 4.5 minute planks) and have branched out into regular and nearly daily ST workouts.
These changes have brought me back to my lowest weight of my life since my early 30s. (I had reached this weight two years ago, but put weight back on when my husband became ill with cancer several years ago.) I am back into all of my clothing, I am as happy as I can be given all that is still occurring in my life and I have tons of energy. Additionally I just experienced my first Thanksgiving EVER where I had no interest in the food other than in finding what I could eat that was healthy and tasty. I had no food cravings and the food, itself, held no power over me. My mother had prepared 3 homemade pies and I ate a 1-inch slice of one that was a new recipe and I did it in order to not offend her (I'm clearly not completely free of concern for what others think of my food choices.) I then spent another full day in her home and never touched any of the pies or other things that I had avoided at the Thanksgiving meal. I just had no desire for it.
This is all really amazing to me as I have been "controlled" by my cravings and desires for food for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I have overcome those desires, but those desires were never just GONE. Whole30 claims that you will be free of food cravings if you follow its plan. I had completely forgotten that until I re-read it in the book this morning, so clearly I wasn't subliminally bringing that about on my own. It is working for me and I am incredibly grateful for having discovered it and for having discovered SP and all of my friends here!
Sunday, June 01, 2014
After waiting for a month for the Whole30 book (It Starts With Food) to come in to the library, I finally picked it up yesterday and began to read it. At the very beginning of the book one of the authors, Dallas Hartwig, talks about his first attempt to test this method of eating and how prior to that attempt, he had been suffering from tendonitis for several years. After a month on this plan, his tendonitis was gone.
Reading that, triggered in me the fact that I somehow injured my upper right arm in early February. At the end of February, I finally went to see an orthopedic surgeon who examined me and took xrays. She was uncertain what was wrong and said it could be anything from a muscle strain to a muscle tear and wanted me to see a physical therapist. I passed on PT because on March 1, I entered my health insurance plan year and had a large deductible. I knew that I would be paying out of pocket for every cent of that PT and just couldn't spend that kind of money. I have babied the arm ever since. When I must use it for something (like when I painted the closet just last week) it aches afterward and the one thing that I absolutely couldn't do was lie on it. In fact, that is how I first knew that something was wrong with it. I always slept on my right side, but when I would lie that way even for a few minutes, my arm would ache terribly.
When I read about Dallas's tendonitis, I thought about my arm. I realized that the last time it had bothered me was about a week ago and then it didn't bother me too much. I turned out the light and rolled onto my right side, where I slept soundly for much of the night. This morning my arm feels fine!
Saturday, May 31, 2014
I just completed my 30 days of WHOLE30 and thought I would share what I discovered I learned about myself during this month.
1. I learned that the scale is too much of a force in my life. Without it, I tuned in to the fact that I was overeating in the first weeks on the program just by the way my body felt. I was able to make the necessary changes without stressing over a number and feeling a lot of guilt or self-deprecation.
2. I learned that I could feel completely nourished and satisfied without grains and dairy in my life. I never deprived without them. There were several times when I would encounter some food that I was giving up and feel a pang of desire, but it quickly passed. Also, there were so many foods that I love and usually deprive myself of, such as nuts, dried fruits, almond butter, etc. that I was permitted to have on this plan that I could always find a treat if I wanted one.
3. I learned that I do not need wine or beer at the end of the day in order to relax or to treat myself (though I do still enjoy it and will drink it occasionally).
4. I learned that I can control the amount of food that I eat based upon how my body feels rather than by counting calories or limiting myself in some other way (even though it took awhile for me to get it). I feel more in touch with my body and its needs than ever before.
I am not yet certain how this has affected my arthritis. I am still aware of pain, especially in my knees on stairs or inclines, though I think the pain is decreasing. I don't really expect 57 years of damage to be repaired in 30 of eating differently.
It was vital for me to stay off of the scale during this experience. I realized that I was overeating at first (I think it was in response to my feelingemotionally deprived initially because of all that I was giving up.) and I definitely gained weight because I felt larger and my clothes were tight. Because I didn't focus on a number, I was able to focus on how I felt and adjust my eating accordingly. That only happened in the last 7 - 10 days of the month, so it definitely took me awhile to adjust. Despite the initial gain, I ended the month down 4.2 pounds without ever counting a calorie or feeling deprived.
My mood is great. I feel very upbeat and motivated -- more so than I have in a long time.
I also think that my allergies are milder than they have been in months.
Overall, I think this has been a great experience for me and I am not ending a program, but beginning a new phase of my life.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
I returned late yesterday afternoon from a 3-day hiking escape. It was incredible, energizing and relaxing all at once. We got in over 12 miles of hiking on each day, Monday and Tuesday. I came home ready to make a change in my eating habits. Of course, real life is often very different than the reality we imagine when we are away from home.
Prior to leaving for my trip I determined to take on the Whole30 eating challenge upon my return. I am still committed to that, however, I walked into my house upbeat and ready to make this big change and found real life waiting sullenly for me. I was quickly reminded of what my real day-to-day existence is like.
There were moments lying in bed last night, unable to sleep, that I wished I had never left. Somehow being here day-in and day-out, I have adjusted to this. Going away for more than a day, freed me of what has become normal in my household. It made my reality so obvious that it felt like I was hit in the face with it when I came back.
It is clear to me that whatever I do, will be a real struggle. It is hard to remain motivated and determined in the face of what seems hopeless on many fronts. This process may well be taken on one hour at a time. Here I go ... trying to make a change in myself in the midst of a life that feels like it is lived in quicksand.
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