Sunday, May 05, 2013

And the food journey continues...

I always feel hesitant about posting things about diets or clean-eating because I don't want to bore you to tears or leave the impression that I've got it all mastered.  At best I have a philosophy that I believe in and am on a lifelong journey of applying knowledge to wisdom to self-discipline.
If you've been with me for a while, you know that at one point I lost over 100 pounds on Weight Watchers.  I've, sadly, gained back almost 60.  Still, I learned lessons that remain with me and although I am obviously not sticking to the WW plan, I'm not as heavy as I once was.  I have returned to WW a few times since my weight started increasing but somehow, it just didn't speak to me as it did the first time.  And I suppose, that's what I'm thinking about today.
The weight loss I am speaking of happened over about 3 years and with strict almost obsessive adherence to the WW points plus plan.  I lived, breathed, spoke and ate only numbers and points.  I didn't wiggle for holidays.  I don't know how people could stand to be around me!  They must just have loved me enough to tolerate my craziness and knew it was ultimately good for my health.  To maintain my goal weight, I had to maintain a daily caloric intake of about 1,000 calories.  Frankly, I was hungry all of the time.  Hungry enough that after maintaining that weight for a few years, when the pounds started creeping back I was almost relieved and willing to deal with the larger size on my jeans.  Of course, I am not criticizing Weight Watchers.  It's a wonderful program and if you need help with weight, you should go there right now because they will hold your hand every step.  I'm also not claiming that 60 extra pounds is ok.  It's not pretty, it's not healthy and it's not ok.
My weight loss method was a formula of low calories and high intake.  In other words, I depended heavily (pun alert!) on those 50 calorie snacks, sugar free jello cups, low fat/low sugar and substitute items like Sweet & Low and non-butter butter.  Those are some of the methods that I have come to realize aren't good for me in the long-term.  The positives?  I increased my water intake and have maintained it ever since-a permanent change.  I don't do as well as I should with fruits/veggies but I'm aware and make an effort to do better-permanent change.  I learned the calorie counts of most items and I know the impact on my daily intake-permanent change. 
A few years ago, I felt the Lord (yes, the Lord,) impressing on me that I needed to consider the WW methods a part of my journey but not my destination and so to walk away from that plan instead of rejoining and starting /stopping constantly.  I took up baking (of all things when a person needs to lose weight!) and we eliminated baked goods from the grocery store.  When we want a sweet treat, I make it at home.  I learned to make bread and love that as well but with working more than 40 hours a week, right now, it's not feasible.  Why bake at home?  Just pick up a package of Chips Ahoy and read the ingredients.  That's why. 
A year go, again the Holy Spirit spoke wisdom into my life by bringing my attention to my chronic headaches.  I assumed I was a head achy person and that was just my cross to bear.  But what if it wasn't true?  Almost immediately I realized I needed to eliminate artificial sweeteners from my life.  I didn't really use them that often.  Diet soda occasionally and in iced tea once in a while.  Still, I knew that this was the Lord trying to get my attention and so I obeyed.  My chronic headaches disappeared.  By chronic, I mean every single day and all day long.  I took 800 mg of Motrin in four doses almost every day.  Now?  I still need that Motrin 2 days a month during my cycle but that's it.  On the rare occasion that I cheat I will notice my headache returns after less than half a glass of artificially sweetened drinks. 
As the "clean-eating" movement gained popularity, I realized immediately that this was the true wisdom needed for health.  I never doubted it, it was one of those "Aha!" moments Oprah talks about.  So why have I not immediately changed my foolish ways?  Lazy.  Undisciplined.  Path of least resistance.
Finally three weeks ago, enough of my heart was submitted and opened to the Holy Spirit's wisdom that I make an official declaration that I needed to eat clean and to commit myself to providing this kind of diet to my family.  Will I hang in there for the rest of my life?  I'd like to hope so.  If I don't, it will be a matter of flesh overwhelming spirit; the same reason I make any self-destructive decisions.
Today I begin my week four of eating clean,  and there are some changes which keep me motivated.  My ulcer is significantly better.  I've been able to re-introduce tomatoes and bell peppers to my diet.  My (brace yourself) chronic constipation is resolved.  I am not experiencing the mid-day energy lag at work I used to.  And something that I find really interesting, on my birthday the Mr. brought home pizza and antipasto salad as well as a birthday cake from a bakery.  I indulged because life is a matter of balance and not the obsession I mentioned earlier.  P.S., it was delicious!
The next morning, however, I could feel the difference from the mornings I had been enjoying.  I felt puffy and dehydrated and guess what?  Yup, my ulcer was grumbling.  I don't say this in remorse, I appreciate the awareness of the difference.  What I found very encouraging was that  instead of craving another piece of birthday cake with my coffee, I craved the infused water I had in the fridge and a cup of Greek yogurt.  Notice, I craved differently.  In my WW days, my cravings never changed.  I just figured out ways to satisfy them with unhealthy options.  I was completely satisfied with my pizza and birthday cake dinner and didn't desire more.  I ate my yogurt with flax seed sprinkled on top and drank a glass of melon/cucumber/ginger infused water. 
And within an hour of awakening, I was feeling a return of energy and wellness.  The bloated feeling quickly resolved and just one cup of coffee was enough.
I find this exciting and encouraging.  I feel not prettier but stronger.  At my goal weight, I felt much prettier but not stronger.  In fact, I felt in battle and not winning a battle. 
This is a pretty lengthy post for someone who doesn't want to shout from her soapbox.  But it's truth for me and it's where I am today.
Most importantly, it's a very good day.

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