About 9 years ago I began a journey to health-nutdom. At the time I was a college student, working full time with no benefits. I was getting what has been common amongst my mom and sisters... gall stones. I wouldn't be able to pay for surgery without insurance, so instead I thought I'd put it off a while and just not eat the things that were aggravating the symptoms. In a joint effort to lose weight, I began a life eating Vegan-ish. No meat, no dairy, no sugar, and no white flour. The pounds fell off me, of course, which gave me the drive to keep going and keep eating restrictively. I lost A LOT of weight and felt GREAT about myself. I had been in sizes I hadn't worn since jr. high! The 'high' lasted for a few years, and then I became slowly dissatisfied. This was always my worry when losing weight. Even though I had lost about 50 pounds and looked great, I began to see the little imperfections instead - the vain ones. I was almost as unhappy skinny as I was 50 lbs. larger. Unreal, isn't it? It makes no sense! I also began to feel the restrictions of my food intake more acutely. I got mad when at a restaurant with friends and I couldn't eat what they were eating, or when I went to a family dinner and there was nothing that I could eat. The thing is, I was putting these restrictions on myself and I could take them off at any time. My worry was I would get headaches from the sugar, and stomach aches from meat I had not had in my body for so long. Well, one day, feeling rebellious and ready for a change, I caught a whiff of a pot roast, and oh boy, I never looked back! Everything came back into my diet, some things slowly, but eventually I consumed it all like never before!
There is a sort of animal-like ravishing that happens to me every now and then. I am not one of those that can eat just a couple of m&m's or one bite of a candy bar. The taste of it, the crunch, it all hits me and I consume things in minutes. I have no concept of eating things in moderation. I have tried, believe me.
Needless to say, the weight all came back slowly, but surely. I was back at my old weight within about two years. All of that hard work only brought me back to where I was before. Was I happier? You bet I was! I wasn't living by restrictions anymore. I ate whatever I wanted to when I wanted to. BUT, like the high from losing weight and looking great, it too wore off and I began to feel unhappy about the way I looked. It was no longer freedom that I felt for being able to eat anything anytime, but rather feeling a slave to the habit.
We all know the diets that are out there; the things that help us lose a little here and a little there. Enough to appease us, right? I have fallen into those more than a few times. I lose weight for a little while, then I gain it. Which then puts me on the prowl for yet another diet that might work. It is a never-ending cycle for most of us women.
This brings me to the title of my blog entry. First, some wee background. My dear brother Sean and wonderful Bri are getting married mid-May. They have been engaged since December. And since their engagement, I have had it in mind that I was going to have a major body over-haul. I figured I could lose 5-7 lbs. every month and would be just where I wanted to be by the time the wedding came around. Friends, I am two pounds over where I started. Depressing? Yes!
Last week at church I happened to mention this to my good friend Marcole. Telling her that I only had a few weeks left to lose any weight at all, she very easily mentioned getting off of sugar and white flour. I thought that might be something I could do - at least for a few weeks. That night before I went to bed, I downed some of the last of the Easter candy I had stashed away. It was 11 pm, but I bid a quick farewell to those Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and began getting ready for bed. Just as I was about to lay my wee head down, I began seeing the spots. THE SPOTS. I have been seeing these spots since I was in 8th grade. It was the beginning of a migraine headache. I get them frequently, so it's really nothing new. How odd that it would come right after I downed the Reeses, right? I tried not thinking much about it and thought I'd just be able to sleep off the headache. Monday morning came and the migraine was more painful than ever. Curse the Reese's! (my first thought) I then began to spy a link to the migraines I have been having for years. Could my sweet tooth cravings and indulgences be causing all of these headaches? That morning I began my day without sugar and white flour (as an experiment mostly), and have been six days without it. Am I losing weight? I have no idea. I don't want to go near the scale for a few more days anyway. Have I had any more migraines or any kind of headache for that matter? Not a one! If for nothing else than to have relief from these migraines, I am going to stay this way. Caffeine is another thing I've been avoiding. The results from my 'experiment' are the following:
Better sleep at night (I usually toss and turn)
More energy throughout the day
Obviously exercise helps with these things as well. Dave and I try to exercise at least a few times a week together. I think I may also add yoga to my regimen. Yoga always makes me so relaxed.
I don't know if there is any great point to my lengthy blog here, but I've just had a lot of thoughts about this lately. Ultimately my goal is not to have to 'diet', but to feel good about myself at any stage of my life and any weight, and to eat things that are good for me and make me feel better physically and emotionally. As women we put way too much pressure on ourselves to look 'this' way or 'that'. We even talk about each other negatively when we don't look 'that' way. Why is that? Terribly ridiculous. We do it to ourselves, and we do it to each other. Let's not, eh? Today I'm going to embrace the love handles, the jiggles, and the cellulite! Today I am going to love my body in any way, shape or form.