After I got home from the doctor, and talked with my WONDERFUL husband, he sensed my defeatist attitude and distress and came forward with lots of hugs and kisses and assured me that I had the ability to get through this, and that we would work together to change things. Feel free to love him as much as I do. 🙂
Back story: My husband was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease in January 2008, which means when wheat, barley, rye and even some other GLUTEN containing ingredients enter his digestive system, it is literally like poison and his body creates and releases an almost immeasurable amount of antibodies to rid his body of it and in the process kills off the villi in the intestines. The villi in the intestines are how we get most of the nutrients from our food into our bloodstream, so without them, my husband suffers malnutrition, immune dysfunction, and gets a myriad of other symptoms including migraines, poor weight management, and bowel discomfort. It takes over 6 weeks to 3 months to rebuild the villi and eliminate any traces of the gluten once it enters- and it can enter in the form of anything as small as a crumb from a piece of toast, a double dipped knife in the butter, a wheat noodle accidentally dropped into his bowl of soup, etc. SOOOO— we have become very attentive to what our food is made of, who makes it, where it came from and I have become quite the gluten-free chef and “know-it-all” since then. (And we are very sympathetic to others with food allergies and dietary needs.) BUT- its my husband who is the champion of the whole ordeal- and has not ONCE “cheated”and constantly exhibits a positive attitude by taking it as a personal challenge to “bridle his passions” and learn self mastery in yet another area of life. I love that man. A lot.
I also put a facebook post on that day that outlined what I was feeling and the answers I received from the doctor and the response was unexpected.
SOOO many people responded with words of encouragement. Words of “you can do this” and “you can beat this” and items of that nature. And as much as I appreciated the positive support and love, I thought that they didn’t understand that it was a life-long battle I would facing- not something I could “beat” or be done with at some point, and that it was an honest misunderstanding. Boy would I prove myself wrong and then some! But that came later.
I have always been one to be open to new ideas, wanted to know the details, and understand why things are they way they are. So, that makes me a natural researcher. And no, that doesn’t equal “google or wiki addict,” I actually go to the library and have subscribed to professional journals online and on University research websites etc to find facts and both sides of the coin. I know- call me a nerd or whatever- but it’s true. I gotta know! I also include prayer, scripture reading and my moral beliefs when making decisions, and they too had a role in this that I’ll talk about later.
So I went to our local library and picked up about 12 books about diabetes, eating right, eating clean, longitudinal health studies, exercise science, and watched a few highly recommended relative documentaries from some professionals in the field. After just a week of all the reading and double checking facts and double checking them again with different sources, I knew I was discovering something that you won’t find published in many places. Something that even the doctors didn’t tell me about. Something that most American’s would like to keep under their beds and forget about.
It’s a little thing called food addiction.
I’m not kidding.
In the beginning I found so many fallacies with my way of thinking! I thought comfort food was normal. I thought drinking powdered food was a great option for me. I thought I had control over my feelings about food. I thought that food didn’t really matter to me. I even thought that people that ate paleo, or vegan, or worked out more than 3 times a week were nuts and hadn’t done their homework about health.
After realizing how uneducated I was, I absolutely devoured more information. I literally took notes, compiled them, started writing a paper about it, and even talked to a few friends who are MD’s, my Chiropractor, a few friends who had lost weight recently and how they “did it” and found that this new information was linking things all over the place.
The bottom line? Food makes ALL the difference in your overall health. DIET alone can change your weight. DIET alone can change your mental health. DIET alone can change your spirituality. DIET alone can affect your relationship with yourself and how you feel about yourself. And way too many people, myself included, are becoming addicted to foods that are not the best for us and don’t want to break the addiction, go through real-to-life withdrawal symptoms and CHANGE. It’s just too hard. Talk to anyone who has quit smoking, or quit pornography viewing, or quit hard drugs. It IS hard. Really hard.
But guess what- hard things are ok. This particular journey kept this fresh in my mind!
After learning all about diabetes, I knew I needed to up my exercise amount to use up the sugars I consumed since my liver was damaged and would no longer work at full capacity, and I also started eliminating sugar from my diet when possible. Then I talked to a qualified friend about calories and how that fits into health and figured out what I needed to properly function and started counting calories to be sure I was on track in that aspect of this weight-loss journey.
I also had read a really great book called “Reversing Diabetes.” And in it, the author suggests a 21 day challenge to eat only 100% plant based foods, no white sugar, and not increase your exercise, just to test how diet alone can change your health. After reading many positive testimonials about this challenge, I took that challenge, and marked out 21 days on my calendar and went into it with the book in hand with all the suggested foods and correct nutritional tables for eating vegan healthily (cuz I’ve known many vegetarian people who do NOT eat correctly and I wanted to do it right).
Not only did I go through honest to goodness withdrawal from sugars and my comfort foods, but I discovered I had a real relationship with foods! When things weren’t going right, I craved sugar and crunchy food. When I felt elated I craved breads and cakes and smoothies. When I was sad and angry I craved fatty foods and salt. When I was just hungry (I know, eating when your hungry— weird.) I often chose healthy foods (gold star for that one!) I learned that I leaned on food a lot to help soothe my moods and that food was my natural go-to when I needed a boost or to celebrate a good time. When those foods were not part of my challenge, I had to learn to cope without them. I started calling my sister’s that don’t live near, or reading a book, or and chatting with my kids more when I felt a hard urge to eat when I wasn’t hungry. And learning to cope in those ways in and of itself became a blessing to all of us!
I had to learn to recognize when I was really, naturally hungry and only eat then, and then learn to stop -not when my plate was empty and I was satiated mentally- but when my stomach felt full. And to drink a LOT of water.
I was changing. I could feel it. After only 7 days changing all these things I felt lighter. I felt my stomach start to shrink. I felt my exercise sessions becoming easier and even craved a heavy physical challenge. I was thinking clearer, and even experienced less seasonal allergies! Wow. Who knew??? So after the 21 days, I was convinced that this was a good thing. I stepped on the scale and I had lost 10 lbs. I measured my waist, thighs, hips, bust and arms and had lost 12.5 inches. Ummmm….. ya…..
Stay tuned for PART III!