Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 180: Never underestimate the power one week can bring.

This past week I cut out a few items in my diet: salt, man-made carbohydrates and sugar. It always surprises me how quickly my body changes if I'm persistent, even for a short period of time.

Salt: the first day I didn't add salt to my cooking, I felt like I was sacrificing a lot and was surprised that it's easier to give up sugar than salt.  Everything I ate tasted bland, and I had to actually put some mental effort not to grab the salt shaker--at one point, I noticed I reached for the shaker without thinking.  I had no idea I had become such a salt fiend.
Surprise: After a day or two, I started to discover the flavor of foods. Things tasted differently to the point that I didn't even miss salt.  Scrambled eggs, homemade salad dressing and sweet potatoes taste fine without salt.  I'm shocked that I noticed a difference after a day and am considering putting the salt shaker back with the rest of the spices in the cupboard.

Man-made Carbs: At the beginning of the week I had a bit of a challenge wrapping my head around finding carbs that were not man made and gluten free.  Bread, we take that for granted.  It's super hard to find gluten free bread that doesn't look dry and cardboard tasting. I plan on making some with rice flour one day soon.  (Note: gluten free is only for a few months to rule out a gluten sensitivity.)
Surprise:By the end of the week, I found that I needed heavier carbs for my energy.  Not being able to grab bread or tortillas or a bun, I noticed that fruit alone wasn't enough carbohydrate load for my body's need.  Adding sweet potatoes, beans and brown rice did the trick.

Sugar:  This is a no brainer.  When is sugar ever a good thing to put in our body?  Sure, it does so much for the soul, but really, we can live healthy without it.  At the beginning of the week, I noticed I did have cravings and I actually took a bite of something the kids were eating, but that was it.  (I won't spend much time on this since I have oodles of other posts on my thoughts and struggles with sugar.)
Surprise: By the end of the week, I once again found the strength to be stronger than the cookie.  We went to a Arrow of Light Cub Scout Ceremony last night and there were some wonderful desserts I would have liked to have a plate of.  I was shocked that I didn't look twice.  (Okay, I'll be honest, I did.) I was ecstatic that I actually took a moment to visualize what I would feel like if I indulged.  I thought about the sugar coated throat I will feel after eating my weights-worth, and I found that a simple whiff of the gooey goodness of Smore brownies was enough to satisfy me.

I feel good.  I feel empowered.  A week ago I felt a bit out of control, like I couldn't say no to the things I loved and that brought comfort.  I honestly started this hormone balancing program with severe doubts since the first month is a bit strict, for obvious reasons.  In weight loss, it's not just about your brain making the decision, it's the way your body reacts to the food you feed it.  Just removing three things from my diet, I can feel my body responding, and this helps when my brain is weak. I am honestly surprised that I feel strong enough to make changes that are going to better my health, only after a week.  Never underestimate the power one week can bring.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 176: Programs vs Pills

I don't like programs. As much as they have worked for me, even more have failed and left me frustrated.  I'm a black/white thinker and a perfectionist, and  it can help or hurt me when doing a program. It can be ugly at times since I can sabotage my efforts with, "Since I messed up on lunch, I may as well blow the rest of the day and start fresh tomorrow."  
I was very successful when I did Weight Watchers after my second child. I hit Lifetime (at the highest weight I could be to qualify) and I maintained until I was pregnant again a year later.  But after my third, the program no longer work for me.  Circumstances in my life had changed (husband's shift changed, favorite leader wasn't there, gym got expensive, etc. etc. etc.)  What was there for me to make it successful the first time, wasn't there for me the second time.  I failed. I kept sabotaging my efforts, because I could.  For me, I got into the habit of thinking, "What's the most amount of food I can have for the least amount of points?" Answer: Heaps of fake food. With fat-free this and sugar-free that, it's amazing what you can eat for low points. 

But what's missing in this type of thinking? Nutrition. Nutrition is everything.  It's the whole reason for eating in the first place, to fuel the body so it can work effectively.  This is why I don't like programs.  They often have me thinking about everything except what I should be focusing on.

After my last child I made the decision: no programs, just nutrition and healthy habits. I was successful. I firmly believe the more pure a person's diet is, the better they will feel and the better their body will work for them instead of against them.

Avoiding chemicals gives a body a better chance to stabilize and balance itself.  I try to use natural remedies first.  Often they work, but when they don't I will take the medicine that is needed.  Bodies are a miraculous thing. Have you ever really thought about the healing process?  Ever heard of homeostasis? <--I already looked it up for you. :) It just makes sense.

So what is this post all about? Well, I'm on a new program. Now wait.  Before you start thinking I'm a total hypocrite, please let me explain. ;)

I have PCOS  and I'm just starting to get symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Science doesn't know how or why a woman gets these ailments, so they simply treat the symptoms. There is a prescription for every symptom and if I used them for each one I have, I'd have a cabinet full of little orange bottles.  I'm also the lucky one.  I don't need any meds for my heart or blood sugar at this time, but many who have these ailments do.  If I don't get this weight off and balance my hormones,  I'll have to use medication in the future just to avoid a heart attack or deal with type 2 diabetes. 

So, I have two choices.  Follow a program for a few months in hopes to balance my metabolism and endocrine system naturally through food & lifestyle changes or take necessary medication in the future.  Since I prefer to be natural in all things, I'm going with the healing program. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 166: WTHeck is going on?

I LOVE donating blood.  I've been doing it for years and try to do it whenever I can.  I'm nearly to the two gallon mark--maybe I've passed it already? I need to remember to check so I can get my license plate holder saying, "I'm a 2 gallon donor."  Call me a weirdo, but I like having that on my car.

Needless to say, I've never had an issue when donating.  Actually, I take that back.  When I was in college, I had an incomplete donation.  Turns out, if it's hot and you are a little low on water before going in, your blood can be too thick and stop flowing...right in the middle of a donation.  Yeah, that happened once, but I've never been turned away...until today.

I sat down behind the private curtains with the lady and she checked all my vitals.  Blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, all normal, and then she pricked my finger.  Normally, the tech has to squeeze hard to get a big enough drop to fill up the glass vile.  Not this time.  I noticed she was sucking it up as the blood drop slid down my finger. That caught my attention, but I didn't think it was a big deal.

"Do you usually have a problem with this?" she asked, as the little ball of blood didn't sink in the blue liquid.

"Not usually, but it usually hovers for a sec until in falls to the bottom.  Why?"

She walked over to a machine that was out of my sight, I heard it whirl behind me as I waited.  Soon, it beeped and the tech came back and told me I couldn't donate today but that I could come back in three weeks and try again.

This has never happened to me before and I'm a little frustrated with my body right now as it's freaking out on me.  I have noticed that I've been extra tired lately, I just thought it was the heat and my hubby's snoring.  Guess it was something more.  I've also been a bit more stiff and sore than usual too, I need to research Fibromyalgia more thoroughly.  I'm SO grateful I have the habit of working out every day or who know how I'd be feeling like right now.

Now more than ever, I really need to be stepping it up.  I need to be more balanced in my eating and adding more to my exercise regimen.  It's a reminder to never get complacent.  Health is ongoing and how we take care of our body needs to adjust as our needs do.  It's my journey and I now have an unexpected detour. No worries though, it's all a lesson on adjusting to the unexpected.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 162: Hormones

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned I was reading books by Diana Schwarzbein and that I would share things that were interesting?  Well, here's the first post regarding my reading.

In my last post I talked about my youth and how my eating habits in high school, namely low fat/protein eating  caused problems.  In my reading today, it totally talked about it.

"Your hormones are the messengers between the different cells and systems of your body...for you to remain healthy, you need to keep your hormones balanced so they can communicate effectively with each other and with your cells, thereby keeping your metabolism working efficiently.

"In order to produce new hormones, you have to eat food that has the necessary material for your body to make them.  Because hormones are mainly made from proteins, cholesterol and essential fats, eating a balanced diet that includes these nutrients is essential for life balance."

Is it any wonder why a low fat/protein diet is so damaging? I'm of course not advocating a high fat or high protein diet. No way!  It's all about BALANCE!! You can't eat imbalanced portions of the macro-nutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) and expect to be healthy.  It's impossible.  Sure, you might lose some weight, but at what cost? If you damage your metabolism, it will come back to bit you in the bum. Literally.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 160: Why is just as important as what.

Photo Credit
As I laid in bed this morning thinking about my current state of health and how frustrated I was, a thought occurred to me.  The same thing that is happening now, happened in my early twenties, nearly twenty years ago. (Yes, I just leaked my age, oh well...I tend to be an open book) Yep, at one point, I gained 40 pounds in 6 months during a time I was the most active in my life.  Noticing the similarities, I continued to analyse the timeline of my life.

I was a teen in the 90's.  I remember the HUGE craze then was a low-fat, high-carb diet.  I was in high school and I was very rigid with my eating.  I was also a size 6 who felt like I was a size 26. (If I could go back in time and kick myself, I would.) I remember eating very little fat, if any, and a whole bunch of carbs and Diet Pepsi. I remember my cycle was messed up and the Dr. gave me medication to fix it.  So during a time where my endocrine system and metabolism was developing, I was doing everything to work against it.

A body needs good fats to help build and strengthen every system needed to be alive and healthy.  I gave my body none, or at least I didn't give it the healthy kind when I had treats or a snack.  I also flooded my body with chemicals from soda and medicine.  What's sad is if I had been eating a balanced and healthy diet, I wouldn't have needed the medication to begin with. No wonder my body rebelled when I was 20, my endocrine system and metabolism were toast.  I had abused it without even knowing and it was ticked.

Now, twenty years later, I'm still dealing with the damage I incurred while I was developing in my youth.  I'm grateful that now I know better health habits so I can teach my children not just to eat better but why they would want to eat better.  I personally think the why is just as important as the what. You need to know what to put in your body so you can be healthy, but if you don't understand or know why, it's easy to make excuses.

I'm tired. * I don't feel good. *  Just this time. * It's a special day. * Tomorrow I'll do better. * Monday.

For me, when I know the why, the why will squash the excuses and reveal how lame and flimsy they really are, giving me a better chance of winning.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 159: Catching up after a few weeks.

Hello! Just thought I would pop in real quick and catch up with my blog.  I feel like it's been months since we've connected. ;)

During the last few weeks things have been crazy.  My husband's mom lost her battle with cancer and we had a quick trip to Utah for the funeral.  It was a sad time, but also a happy one as family from all over the states gathered together and had a few days to catch up.

As for me personally, I am uber frustrated with my body.  I feel like it's waged war against me! I'm very grateful for the ability to workout every day with my elliptical and I fear what I would look/feel like if I wasn't.  As I mentioned in the last post, I have had PCOS for most of my life.  When I was first diagnosed, the biggest concern was that I would never be able to have children.  Now looking back as a mother of four children, I know it was through my diet and a little help from the medical world with progesterone, I was able to get pregnant after a year of effort.

One thing I learned from my OB/GYN was that PCOS disappears while pregnant. Over the last 12 years, I was pregnant about every three years and I didn't really see a lot of my PCOS symptoms. It was actually easy for me to lose weight, especially when I was breastfeeding.

Our youngest is 2 1/2, in the past, this would be the time I would typically be having another baby, but since I'm not, something else is happening.  My PCOS is coming back in full force!  According to the scale, I'm up 7 pounds from last week.  SEVEN POUNDS in a WEEK???? The sad thing is that I didn't do anything to bring this on! No binge, no buffet, nothing but regular eating and exercising.  Part of me wants to curl up and actually do the binging I've already gained the poundage for, but I'm not.  *tempted* But I'm not.

So what's the plan? I am going to wear sun dresses now that it's warm. I refuse to go out and buy larger sized clothes, it's depressing.  My current clothes are snug and the way it feels makes me want to eat to comfort myself, which isn't good since I'm already tempted. (see above)  Sun dresses are cute and comfortable.  I don't know how I'll look, but at least I can feel comfortable while I make some tweaks to my lifestyle.

I've read a few chapters of my Schwarzbein and the science always fascinates me and supports my own thinking of health.  No chemicals, all natural, nourish your body and eat WHOLE foods.  The reason I LOVE to read these books is because of the science.  Over time, I forget the details of the science that shows me WHY I want to eat/live this way.  (For instance, I forgot just HOW important stress reduction and adiquate sleep was to endocrine system health--oops!)  Dr. Laura Schwarzbein is also an endocrinologist which means she has specific suggestions to help with endocrine issues, which PCOS is.

Weight loss and total health is a journey! Right now, I've hit one of the bumps and that's okay.  If it weren't for the rough spots, the happy times wouldn't be as exciting. :D