Tag Archives: Self Help

A Week of Challenges and Surprises

Standard
Cover of "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disea...

Cover via Amazon

I did it!  I “survived” a whole week on a whole foods, plant-based diet!!

Yes, I’m being sarcastic to a certain degree.  However, it wasn’t that long ago that my husband and I had the following (at the time, somewhat serious) conversation. 

Him: “If the doctor told me I had to quit eating cheese (fat/dairy) or die, I’d choose death.”  Me: “I agree, I couldn’t live my life fully without cheese.  I’m from Wisconsin for Pete’s sake!  I eat cheese ALL THE TIME.” 

Last night sitting around the kitchen table, we marvelled that we don’t miss it.  We haven’t thought about it at all.  No staring longingly at blocks of cheddar, trying to catch a glimpse of the mayonnaise jar, or sniffing at my co-workers yogurt containers.  Honestly, we just don’t miss any of it.  It’s surprising. 

My biggest challenge this first week has been cooking.  My husband is a foodie.  He is always on a quest to try new and interesting flavors and combinations of food.  He loves exotic and ethnic foods as well as American classics, as long as they’re well prepared.  While being married to a foodie has its perks, I have found that cooking for him can be a bit intimidating.   You see, my husband tells me the truth about the meals presented to him.  “Please don’t make this again,” was a comment heard often early in our marriage.  While some women may have burst into tears or thrown a pot at his head, I came to appreciate his honesty.   I never have to wonder if he is telling the truth to spare my feelings.  And when I do make something he likes, he praises me for my accomplishment.  I feel like a million bucks!  –On a side note, I will have you know that my husband prefers my homemade spaghetti sauce over that of his best-friend, who is Italian and a professional chef!  THAT blows my mind!–  Now that you have that background information, you can imagine that trying to cook for my foodie, fat addicted husband comes as a huge challenge when trying to eat without added fats and salt. 

I cook 96% of all our family’s meals.  I would consider myself to be an average – good cook overall.  However, like most folks, I do have particular dishes that I excel in making.  I take pride in making a good deal of my meals from scratch too.  This week was a trying one in the kitchen for me.  My husband made our first two meals upon embarking on this endeavor.  Then, I took over…   After one particularly unappetizing dinner, which I attempted without a recipe,  we mutually decided that I should stick with the recipes that come in Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure or from the online recipes at www.forksoverknives.com until I get the hang of this way of cooking.  So it may be awhile before I am able to share any edible good whole foods, plant-based recipes with you. 

The recipes that we have tried thus far have been pretty good.  (My personal favorite thus far is an African stew!)  We can actually taste the individual foods in our meals.  For the first time in my life, I ate naked corn on the cob.  (No butter?  No salt?  It doesn’t need it! – SHOCKING!  I know!) 

I’ve adapted to sauteing my vegetables in a non-stick pan with vegetable stock instead of olive oil.   It tastes a little different from what I’m used to, but it’s still good.  I’ve removed the salt shaker from the stove top and put it in the cupboard.  We’ve used many strong spices (coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, onion, cilantro) in our cooking to give some “oomph”, as recipes call for them.   I even discovered a new spice, which I was shocked to find in our rural area…  Asafoetida.  (Have you heard of it?) 

One challenge I’m not facing is a lack of variety or quantity in my food intake.  I eat until I’m full, which is a new sensation for me.  In the past, I’ve found eating healthy to seem very restrictive.  All this yummy fiber tells my stomach loud and clear when it’s full.   I thank God when I get that sensation because I know that there are too many in the world who do not have such an experience each day. 

My blood sugar levels have been okay.  I don’t always remember to take my Metformin or Glyburide with my dinner and my numbers haven’t been so terrible without.  (150’ish in the morning.)  I submitted some blood work on Saturday morning.  I should be getting those results back this week.  I’m anxious to see my cholesterol, liver enzyme and blood sugar levels and if/how they improve over the next 3 months.   Eventually, I’d love to be able to get rid of ALL my medicines all together!  One step at a time though…

All in all, I give this week two thumbs up, way up!  I’ve experienced food in a new way…  One that makes my body happy.  I’ve eaten a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to my satisfaction without weighing, measuring or counting a gosh darn thing.  Physically, I feel pretty good.  I have plenty of energy to do what I need to accomplish and I haven’t noticed any negative side effects. There is one more positive side effect:  I lost 11.8 pounds!  (I’m doing a little happy dance!)  I am very excited about this, but I don’t want to give the numbers on the scale too much emphasis.  This isn’t JUST about weight loss for me.  It’s a quest for improved health and overall well-being. 

I hope you’ll find little (or BIG) ways to make your life better so you can make your own sunshine too!

One Of The Keys To My Success

Standard

key to success

About a year ago, I was in a pretty bad place.  I was really struggling with the fact that my life seemed to be crumbling down around my ankles.  There were so many aspects of my life that I wanted and NEEDED to change, but I had no idea how to go about it.   God answered my fervored prayers in this endeavor.  No sooner did everything start to go to hell in a handbasket when amazing opportunities started to pop up.  One of them was access to a wellness coach. 

A local woman was completing her training to become a wellness coach and was looking for folks to work with… For free!  Immediately, I knew that I wanted and needed to work with her.  I was pretty desperate and would grasp any helping hand put in my path.  I was all too happy to be a guinea pig!  Kristin was the answer to prayer in more ways than one…  I will forever be grateful for her presence in my life and the skills she taught me.

Upon our first meeting, she asked me to envision the life I wanted to have.  What kinds of things would I be doing?  What would be different from what I’m doing now?   How would I feel physically, mentally and emotionally?   From there, we worked our way backward, creating long, mid and short-term goals.   For me, this was crucial.  After a time of any effort to address it, I had always taken one look at the overwhelming amount of weight I have to lose and think, “I just can’t do it, it’s too much, it will take too long.”  Then put my head back in the sand, hoping it would go away. (-That never worked, by the way.)  However, by breaking goals down into much more manageable chunks, I was able to see how ALL of my goals could and would be achieved.  I committed to these goals with enthusiasm and we accessed my progress as we went along.  With Kristin’s never ending encouragement, I was able to gain some pretty significant ground.  This continued, past the time that she finished her certification, until my life was actually in crisis. 

Now some people might think, “Wait a minute!  I thought she was helping you…  How did you end up in crisis?”  For now, I’ll just say that the crisis was a long time in coming.  My work with Kristin helped me to have the strength and courage I needed to make some very difficult and painful decisions, empowering me to take action where action was needed.  She helped me through the most critical time, when I needed support the most.  Fortunately for me, Kristin has taught me a life skill:  How to think clearly about and set goals that are realistic.  Unfortunately, I let myself get derailed during my time of crisis.  

Fast forward eight months and I am grateful to be in a better place.  God has shown me, through His grace and mercy, the many ways in which I am blessed.  I still have a long journey ahead of me, but possess some great skills to help me along the path.  I hope to continue adding to my collection of tools as I encounter hurdles.  I’ve recently become aware that there is one key to success that is missing.  A tool that I must have in order to reach any goal I set.  Accountability! 

While I was meeting with Kristin, I would almost always complete my goals for the week because I didn’t want to disappoint her.  I learned that I didn’t like disappointing myself either!  It was a great self-confidence builder.  Regrettably, when I stopped being accountable to Kristin, I found that it was far too easy to stop completing my lists because nobody would know the difference anyway.  (In my therapist’s voice, I hear: “Ah, but YOU know the difference!  Why doesn’t that seem to matter as much to you?  What are you telling yourself here?”)  You see, it is too easy to fall back in the pattern of putting my head in the sand and hoping it will all just disappear.  Eventually, I let go of my short and medium term goals, leaving my long-term goals out to flap about in the breeze by themselves.  

This week, I am going to recapture my long-term goals and set some new mid and short-term goals to help me achieve them.  Then I’m going to be super brave and put them out here as a way to keep MYSELF accountable.   I am coming to terms with the fact that while other people’s opinions matter to some extent, my goal shouldn’t be to please them.  It should ultimately be to please God. Since I am solely accountable to Him, I need to be accountable to myself .  As long as my goals are in line with what He wants for me, I believe He’ll bless them.    

I’d like to challenge you to ask yourself, “What does my ideal life look and feel like? (NO LIMITS!)  How does it differ from the life I’m leading today?  What can I do to get to that ideal life?”  Perhaps you’ll be inspired to make some goals to help you take action.   If it does inspire YOU, I hope you’ll share that with me!