Do you ever feel, like Eeyore, that there’s a cloud hanging over your head? I do! I turned 40 this past summer and have since spent a great deal of time in introspection. “Am I truly happy?” “What do/don’t I like about my life?” “What can I change?” “Where do I see myself in 5 years?” “Where do I WANT to be in 5 years?” I don’t think of this as a mid-life crisis. I’m just re-evaluating my life.
One thing that has become startlingly clear is that my relationship with food HAS to change in order for me to have a healthy life. After three decades of abusing food (sugar especially!) as a compulsive overeater, I was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes. I have tried diet after diet (Weight Watchers, Nutri-system, Atkins, a 12-step program, etc…) since I was twelve, all with no long-lasting results. I even checked into bariatric surgery, which I ultimately decided was not the right option for me. What could I do differently? I began to think about the subject, a lot.
This winter, the opportunity to participate in a “Biggest Loser” type competition through a local personal trainer arose. I decided that exercise needed to be part of the solution because my body frequently feels like it is much older than it is. I took personal training sessions for half an hour a week and took other fitness classes, schedule permitting. This was difficult for me initially. I had a lot of negative self-talk going on in my head. “They’re all looking at you!” “You’re too fat to be exercising in public!” “You’re going to make a fool out of yourself!” I pressed my internal mute button and made myself do it anyway. As a result, I discovered a that I LOVE the physicality of kickboxing! There is NO better release for me at the end of a frustrating day than to hit and kick the crap out of an inanimate object! I’ve even decided that there’s another class that I want (GASP!) to try: kettle bells.
During this time, my blood sugars weren’t great, even with medicine. So, my husband and I decided to begin the Atkins diet again because it works for us, with regard to blood sugar levels, ease and not obsessing about food all the time. However, as has happened in the past, after a few weeks, I found myself craving fruit, whole grains and a wider variety of vegetables again. In the 10 weeks with this program, I lost a total of 23.8 pounds and over 6 inches from my middle. Not too shabby!
Recently, something happened. Something that has made me re-evaluate everything I know about healthy eating… I watched the documentaries Hungry For Change, Food Matters and Forks Over Knives. WOW! I was blown away! Have you seen them? If not, the bare basic premise is that given the (natural) foods it needs, whole in vitamins and minerals, the body runs more efficiently and will heal itself. This reduces the likelihood of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If one or more of those conditions already exists, it drastically increases the chance of reversal of the condition. -Now I’m thinking: “Is this why my body always ends up craving produce and grains when I’m following an Atkins diet? Imagine eating in a way that gives my body what it NEEDS rather than just what looks/sounds appealing to me in the moment. Would I still struggle with eating compulsively? Would I still crave sugar? Would I be able to not only control, but reverse my type 2 diabetes? Would this way of eating allow my endocrine system to begin working again? Could I dare to hope that my body would heal itself and I might go medication free?”
I wanted to talk about it with EVERYBODY! I put it out as subject for discussion on Facebook, tried engaging co-workers, encouraged friends to watch it. All with no immediate results. I knew I especially needed to talk to my husband about this. If I know anything about myself, it’s that I tend to be a wee bit gullible. I know that I can’t always trust myself to discern the truth. I wanted to know what other people thought of the ideas presented in these shows. I REALLY wanted to see what my husband, Mr. Analytical, always the skeptic thought. Surprisingly, he found “Forks Over Knives” to be an interesting documentary, worthy of further consideration.
After further consideration, my husband and I decided that it IS worth pursuing a whole foods, plant-based diet. You might think, “Oh, she’s going to eat like a vegetarian.” (That’s what I thought at first too!) Nope. I’m not going to eat anything with a mother, no dairy (KILLING my Wisconsin-ness!!), no fat, no nuts. This will NOT be easy! In the 20 years that I’ve been cooking, EVERYTHING I’ve cooked and baked has had fat in it. It will challenge all my cooking skills, my creativity in the kitchen and my desire to do what is right for my body. But I HAVE to try. Time will tell if the “proof is in the (proverbial) pudding”. I hope to share my recipes, struggles and triumphs with you along the way, all the while making my own sunshine.
Has a change in perspective sparked a major change in your life? If so, I’d love to hear about it!