Forward

It has been a really long time since I have posted. A lot has happened since then. And I need to say this up front: If anyone who has an ED is reading this, there is triggering language in this post.

If anyone has been following this blog for any amount of time, you may have noticed that the title has changed. And the sub-title. And the content of this post as opposed to the ones that came before it. There are several reasons for that. Let me share them with you by telling you my story.

This blog started as a way for me to highlight my weight-loss journey. I’ve always been self-conscious about my weight. It started in elementary school. I’ve always been a little heavier than my peers, and it doesn’t help that I am short; that weight gets distributed differently when you are short. I had several girls that I looked up to when I was in school, mostly the cheerleaders. I wanted to be skinny and athletic and have it all together like them! One girl in particular I idolized. She was tall, had the most amazing personality in the world, had the best hair, and was the fastest and smartest. I wanted to have what she had! She loved sports and was really good at them. She was a cheerleader and a basketball player. This is not to say that I wasn’t athletic. I loved participating in sports. I played tee ball when I was little and softball when I got a little bit older. I loved riding my bike. And I loved playing basketball. But I always felt slow and incompetent next to girls like her. It didn’t help that some of them were very judgmental toward me. I think now it would be called bullying, but I didn’t recognize it as such then. I was too busy idolizing them.

During my seventh grade year the basketball team would practice during our gym class. I wasn’t on the team so we were given a different task. The jr./high school had an obstacle course that wound its way completely around the campus, and we were charged with running this obstacle course every day. There were only a few of us that actually did it every day. I was one of them. Before long I could tell I was getting stronger.

One day we were not told to do the obstacle course for some reason. We were allowed to run drills with the team. We were doing a running drill, running the length of the court, when I noticed that I was running ahead of everyone. I didn’t know what to do! No one could know that I was running ahead of them! That would bring attention to me, and perhaps more judgment and ridicule! I purposely slowed down so that I would not be at the front of the pack. The fact that I felt the need to do that still haunts me to this day. I had conditioned myself to think that my place was at the back of the pack, no matter what my ability actually was.

Fast forward to high school. I had moved to a place that was worlds apart from where I grew up. The group of girls who had the body and the friends and the personality was much bigger, and the pressure to be like them was bigger too. I developed an eating disorder the summer before my senior year, losing 50 pounds in a month. I remember when we went back to school in the fall and everyone telling me how good I looked. I started dating a guy who was super hot and on the football team. I learned that when you are skinny, doors open for you. I never made it to the in crowd – I couldn’t really relate to them on any other level, but other things were happening.

The ED has been with me my entire life, and I feel like most of my attempts at dieting have been to try to either control the ED or get skinnier. My brain has always said that the doors will not open for me when I am not skinny. Now that I am older I don’t forget about the chubby me that played softball and basketball and enjoyed moving around, but I have developed a belief that since I am fat I can’t accomplish the things that the younger me did.

When I started this blog I believe that I was on Weight Watchers. I started the program in an attempt to curb the ED that had been plaguing me, as well as lose weight. I figured if I was counting points I would better be able to control what I was consuming and I wouldn’t go on a binge. The opposite happened, though. I would count the points and feel really good about my progress for a few weeks or a month, but then I would feel deprived and go on a huge binge that lasted for weeks, and then feel worthless and like a total failure. This cycle would go on over and over again, and each time I went through the cycle I vowed that I would do better, that I would have better self-control, and I would finally work my way to being the skinny person that I knew was inside me. Each time I failed.

In 2011 I discovered the Paleo Diet and fell in love. It was simple and easy – no counting points, no restrictions other than I couldn’t eat any grains, sugar, or dairy. Of course, I’m over-simplifying it for the purposes of this post, but I really fell in love. Most of the posts on this blog are Paleo related. Most of the hits I’ve gotten on this blog have been Paleo related. The first six months I was on the plan I lost 50 lbs without even really trying. I was simply focused on what I was eating. For five years, I stuck to my own very strict version of the program. And while I was on the program my ED seemed to disappear. Meats and vegetables do not cause as much bloat as grains, and the bloated feeling has always been a trigger for me. But in the five years that I did the program, a new ED seemed to appear. I became more and more restrictive with the program, cutting out anything that did not help me maintain the new “healthy” feeling that I had. I developed an irritable bowel and constantly seemed to have digestion issues, as well as energy issues. I was constantly pushing for a way of eating that helped me maintain the massive energy boost I had at the beginning of my Paleo journey, as well as the wonderful sleep that I had. Toward the end of the journey that was all I was doing was trying to get back into that feeling that seemed to become elusive. Not only that, but in those five years I had gained back every pound of the 50 I had lost, plus some. No amount of tweaking would get any of the weight off. And I was constantly tweaking.

And then, in 2016, I crashed. It was a hard crash, and it began with an experiment. I was really starting to worry that I had developed orthorexia through my restrictive habits, and began slowly introducing foods that were off plan in an attempt to see how I would react to them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Around that same time, a huge load of stress entered my life and I began eating anything indiscriminately. Enter the ED that I grew up in, and I was in a heck of a mess. I tried in vain to get back on the Paleo wagon to curb the ED, but the plan was so restrictive and my stress level was so high that I couldn’t climb back on. I tried for several months. I went to see a counselor, but stopped going when he said that the once a week schedule that we’d had was going to have to change to every two weeks. I tried other things, such as vegetarian/vegan, in hopes that I could calm the ED, but the cycle of self-control/crashing and the continued emergence of the ED through the crashes made it impossible to feel good about anything that I tried. I even tried Weight Watchers again. It simply made the cycle worse.

Then, a friend of mine blogged about her ED journey. Her story touched me because it was similar to mine. She spoke of the Body Positive Movement and how it has helped her to see herself as more than a body, as a person. She talked about how she has a better acceptance of who she is right now instead of trying to change herself to fit the mold society has created. The post and subsequent conversations with her have led me on my own journey to self-acceptance. Granted, she only posted her story a week ago, but my mindset has changed so much in a week. I feel like a new way of looking at life has opened up to me, and I don’t have to be ashamed of my body or my journey.

One thing that I thought about the Body Positive Movement before I started this journey is that the people that are part of the movement don’t care about their health; they just want to justify being fat. Nothing could be further from the truth. These women and men are tired of trying to fit the societal mold of what a healthy person should look like – thin, six-pack abs, long blonde hair, white, etc. Men’s advertising is just as bad as women’s. They are doing what they can to gain fitness through exercise that excites them, and are doing what they can to promote acceptance of all of the other body types that are out there besides the ones promoted through the advertising industry. They recognize that the diet industry is failing everyone through their promotion of these “ideal” body types, and want everyone to know that all body types are to be celebrated. Just this recognition has lifted so much stress off of me, especially the stress of trying to conform to the expectation to be thin. It has led me to believe that there are better avenues to health than the cycle that I have been on for years. It is time for me to break that cycle and be proud of who I am and what I can accomplish. While I am still struggling and will continue to struggle for some time, I am reaching for resources that I didn’t know existed that are helping me feel better about me and are helping me realize that I don’t have to be ashamed of who I am or what I look like. It is that shame that led to the ED, and it is the building up of confidence through these resources that will help me move beyond the ED and into a better, healthier frame of mind.

 

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What Am I Doing?

Okay, so a month ago I posted that I was doing the ketogenic diet. I was really excited. I weighed myself for the first time in a few years. I had it going on.

And then I didn’t.

I was so excited about what I was doing and I did it well. I kept track of everything for a while. I ate fat like it was going out of style, which is hard for me because I don’t eat cheese, butter, or other high fat dairy things. Fat, yes. Dairy, no.

I went on vacation in the middle of October, and during that vacation I wondered what would happen if I started eating dairy. Vacation is a great time to find out, since I can sleep off any negative effects. I got some cream to put in my coffee (I was trying to do the bulletproof coffee but that stuff is so nasty) and cheese to eat. I basically OD’d on cheese while I was on vacation, which totally threw my ketosis off. I spent the next couple of weeks figuring out how to get back on track with dairy in my diet, since I didn’t seem to have any ill effects. It was nice to be able to eat cheese again.

After that, my fiance began to read a book about low-carb diets and what they ultimately do to your metabolism. The ketogenic diet is extremely low-carb, even more low-carb than most low-carb diets. There was a chapter just about the Paleo diet, so I read it. I had to at this point. Nothing I was doing was working out that well, and apparently I was doing something majorly wrong since I gained back pretty much all of the weight I had lost. I was pretty frustrated, but the chapter was enlightening. It reminded me of what this whole thing is about – eating real food. It isn’t about the fat that I eat or the carbs that I eat or any of that. It is about eating real food, period. I have been demonizing carbs this whole time, and it hasn’t helped anything. Weight hasn’t been falling off and I haven’t gotten any healthier because of it. Its all about real food.

So I started adding carbs back in, in the form of vegetables. I don’t care what this book about carbs says; I will not go back to eating grains. I already know how I would feel after I eat those, so I’m not even going there. I’ve upped my carb intake purely through adding a lot of vegetables into my diet. I’ve been doing this for about a week now.

On top of that, I decided that it was time to get serious about getting some more activity into my life. This sitting on the couch thing that I have been doing for so long isn’t cutting it. Yes, I’ve been doing yoga fairly regularly, but it isn’t enough to see any lasting change. What I need to do is get out of the house, move around more. I looked into a gym, one that seemed to have a pretty dedicated, supportive staff. I figured I could get some really good personal training and actually make some progress. And then I got an even better idea.

I got a dog.

I have been wanting a dog for quite a while, years even. But this is the first time that I’ve lived close enough to home to be able to take a dog out on my lunch break. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve had this low stress level in my life. This is the first time that I’ve thought that I could probably handle it.

I didn’t want just any dog, though. I wanted a beagle. I have wanted a beagle since I was young. I think they are the prettiest dogs. So I started looking at beagles, and I found the perfect one. When I was a kid I had a stuffed animal beagle that I named Roxy. I have always wanted to have a real beagle that I could name Roxy, ever since that stuffed animal. When I was searching for the perfect beagle, I came across one that was perfect in every way, including the name. Her name is already Roxy. She is completely house trained and has been a joy. She is an amazing dog. And the best part is, she is motivating me to get out of the house and walking around. She loves being outside. I have been motivated to track my steps ever since she came along, and she is definitely helping me be more active. We have gone for walks twice a day ever since I got her last weekend.

So two life-altering things: I added in a lot more vegetables to my diet (by the way, I’m not nearly as hungry all the time as I used to be, and that seems counter-intuitive), and I’m a lot more active since I have a really good reason to be. In the last seven days I’ve lost seven pounds. I don’t know what is up with that, but it is interesting. Probably water or something, but it is still awesome. I even had someone comment and ask if I had lost weight today.

I know, this whole journey has been more about health than weight, but when you lose fifty pounds in six months and then, without really changing how you eat, you gain it all back, it is frustrating and my tendency is to focus on that. But I’m gaining healthy habits from my quest to lose weight, so I’m not going to beat myself up too bad. I just hope that I remember what I’ve learned as far as the food stuff goes: Adding more vegetables is the way to go. More updates to come.

Going Ketogenic – Week One

Wow, it has been a year since I posted on this blog. I have had a busy year for sure, but I’m back for this post, mostly because I am going through some changes in my diet and I wanted to share them. I have been eating Paleo for four years now, I believe, and it is working very well for me. I still love it, and I wouldn’t change it. However, after my initial amazing weight loss of 50 pounds, the weight loss just stalled, never to get back on track again. And honestly I was too stressed and worried about so many things to even worry about it anyway. I even stopped going to the gym and canceled my gym membership because I was so stressed.

Since then I have started a new job at an amazing place, stopped working on my side business, and generally just tried to add some simplicity to my life. I feel much better and much less stressed. But I’m noticing a really bad trend. In the first two years that I was eating Paleo my weight stayed pretty constant. During the second two years my weight has been steadily creeping upward, until now I am almost at the same weight that I was when I started – but I’m still eating Paleo. That is troubling, but nothing that can’t be corrected. I was flipping through my Instagram feed one day this past week and I ran into an ad for an app called LifeSum, which can track food for you for several different types of diets. The ketogenic diet is one of the diets that it tracks. I have always wanted to try a ketogenic diet but I have never found a tool that can help me track my macros like that, so I decided to give it a try.

Well, I have to admit, I love this app. It lets me track my water and all of my food, tells me how many grams of each macro-nutrient I have left for the day, and even does calculations based on any exercise that I do for the day. It is amazing. I do have to say, too, that I am not getting paid to say this. They wouldn’t even pay me anyway, since my two readers wouldn’t amount to much to them! (But I love you guys for sticking around through the dry spells!)

So, my results so far: The only reason why I stepped on a scale when I found the app was to give me a baseline to work with. I don’t weigh myself as a general rule, especially with the eating issues and body insecurity that I have had in the past. I don’t want to do anything to go through that again. So I am going to weigh once a month. However, I have already noticed a difference in how my clothes are fitting, but that is probably just water weight dropping anyway. A lot of the websites that I looked at to research this said that water would be the first thing to go as your body gets used to processing fat instead of carbs for energy. I got some Ketostix to use to test and I was doing pretty good until this morning. I don’t know what happened with that, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. I’m sleeping better already and waking up less during the night. I had a little bit of carb flu on day three, which surprised me since I don’t eat bread or anything. I guess you can eat too many carbs no matter what you eat. Anyway, I am in this for the long haul since I love the app so much, I need to not grow out of these jeans, and I paid for a three month subscription in order to be able to track this diet. Yes, you do have to pay in order to track the Keto diet on the app. You can track the standard diet for free, but who wants to go back to that? Not me! I will never stop eating Paleo, and I love the fact that I don’t have to track calories on this diet – I simply have to figure out how to eat enough fat.

I’ll try to keep you posted on the rest of my progress. I’m looking forward to this journey.

Yoga Challenge Revisited

Well, here I am. I got farther with the original yoga challenge than I thought I was going to, but I don’t remember what day I stopped at. I may have to check my Facebook to find out because I logged most of my workouts under #100dayyogachallenge. I didn’t make it to 100. I think that day 100 would have been sometime this week, but this week I simply started over. No hashtags, no counting. I’ve simply been trying to make an effort to get on the mat every day. Except tomorrow. That is my rest day unless I change my mind and just try to stretch out a little.

I’m trying to figure out how to tap into that motivation that I had when I started eating Paleo. I blogged about it a lot on here in order to see how far I had come, but I just did it. Every day I did it. I didn’t whine about how hard it was or about how I didn’t want to cook (ok, maybe I did that). I didn’t focus on how hard it was or how crappy I felt at first. I looked forward to the results. I looked forward to all of the positives that people said would happen and that helped push me beyond the initial icky carb flu and lack of energy so that I could get it done.

I guess I’m in icky carb flu stage with the yoga. And as out of shape as I am, I’m not sure how long that stage is going to last. I have made some changes in my life that might make it easier. I quit my stressful job three weeks ago and found a job that I love that is much less stressful. Still in childcare, so still very much a part of my passion. The lack of stress has made it that much easier to get on the mat in the mornings, because I am more confident that I can push through this tiredness to the end of the day. Before I had to bring my A-game every day to work, and I got no support. I still have to bring my A-game, but I have an amazing support system now that I didn’t have before. It helps a lot, and I can tell that it is helping a lot with my transition into this next phase of my lifestyle.

And maybe that is a difference, too. I always looked at Paleo as my lifestyle, especially after I experienced the benefits. Maybe instead of looking at yoga as a way to get back in shape or get stronger, I need to look at it as part of my lifestyle. Part of how I live my life, because I know that if I don’t do it my life isn’t the same. And it isn’t. When I don’t do my yoga I get cranky and stressed and my muscles feel tight and everyone around me knows that I haven’t done my yoga. When I do it I feel calmer and stronger. Tired, but relaxed. I can take on the world, because I had that little bit of time in the morning to connect with me. Or maybe I can connect with the world better because I have taken time to connect with myself. Maybe that is why I feel less stress and more connection. Either way, the benefits of getting on my mat are greater than what I get when I don’t. It is time for commitment to this next part of my lifestyle.

100 Day Yoga Challenge – Day 3

Who would have thought that the day after I publicly announce my personal challenge would be the hardest one so far for me? I almost talked myself into staying in bed for an extra 15 minutes. I didn’t, though, and I can honestly say that I am glad that I made myself get up. One of the things that I have always loved about yoga is its ability to make me feel great when I am done. Sometimes it is hard to see that when you are sore and tired and just want to sleep, but that is part of what this challenge is about – kicking myself in the butt so that I can get to this feeling. So here I am, day three done.

In the interest of being totally up-front, I should also mention that I am in the middle of a sugar detox of sorts. I usually steer clear of sugar on a daily basis because it tends to affect my energy and mood, but this time of year I let myself have a little leeway because berries are in season. Well, I found out that my ginger-in-a-tube that I was using in my eggs in the morning had dextrose and fructose in it, and I was using it every day! No wonder my sleep started getting messed up and I started getting crabby during the day. All if that is sorting itself out now as I go through this sugar detox. My sleep is starting to return to the wonderful Paleo sleep that I love, and my mood is starting to stabilize as well. Now that I have that sorted out, I figured it was the perfect time to get into this challenge. I seem to feel more motivated to move when all of my food-oriented stars are aligned.

I guess we will see what tomorrow brings!

Yes, I Have An Allergy

I went to Five Guys for dinner tonight. I love Five Guys. I am so ridiculously strict about what I eat that I won’t get a burger from anywhere, but I can tell that Five Guys doesn’t use fillers in their meat. But I always get my burger lettuce wrapped, and I always tell them that I have an allergy.

I went to a different burger place that was similar to Five Guys back in the winter and ordered a burger without a bun. I didn’t say that I had an allergy. They brought the burger to me with a bun on it, and I took it back. They said that they had gluten-free buns, but I am so strict that I am not going to do the gluten-free. I ordered it with no bun. After waiting forever, they gave me a new burger. After I ate it I was sick as a dog for a week.

Now I ALWAYS say that I have an allergy. And I don’t go back to that other burger place. I had been there several times previously and never had a problem.

On another note, I have decided to start a 100 day challenge. A yoga challenge. I know, I know, every time I post I say something about how I am going to move more and how I need to be more active. Well, I do. I haven’t figured out how to make it work yet. I bought that bike, rode it a couple of times, and it has been sitting on my patio since the weather got hot. I will probably take it out again in the fall, but for now it is holding up my patio railing quite nicely. I figured, though, that I need a goal. I need a measurable goal so that I can track how I am doing. What better goal than to commit do doing some yoga every day for 100 days? I am not specifying what I am doing for the yoga. Usually, even if I didn’t want to do the yoga to begin with, I always end up feeling better and glad that I did it in the middle. I have done two days so far. The interesting thing will be to see how I make it work when school gets back in. Right now my schedule is different so I have time to make it work. I may not have that in a month and a half, but I will work something out, because I want to get through the 100 days. Especially since I am not saying that I have to do any specific poses or anything – I just want to do something for 100 days. If I want to get more experimental or try new things, I can. My first step is to just do it. And that is what I have been doing for the past two days. Tomorrow will be three. Yay, me!

Grapeseed Oil Is Not Paleo

This has been an interesting week. I have made it my mission to do at least thirty minutes of activity a day so that I can get in better shape. Plus, I am hoping that doing this will get me out of the habit of hibernating during the summer. I used to not care if it was hot out, when I was a kid. Now, I can’t stand to be in the heat. But maybe if I try to be more active, try to get my kids outside more, that will help me get over that. There is a lot we can do outside, and perhaps I need to invest in some tank tops or something. That way I won’t feel as if I am dying every time I try to go outside and do something. Today I took the kids to the park. We played catch and the little one rode her bike. We went for a hike. I attempted to fly a kite but there really wasn’t enough wind. Plus I wasn’t feeling like running around trying to get the kite going. It was pretty warm out there. I don’t complain about the warm when I am taking my class outside to play, but when it is me outside on my time, I guess I’m complaining about it a lot. 

Earlier this week – Thursday, actually – I had a great yoga session. I was very proud of myself. Then on Friday on and off throughout the day my ankle was hurting. I didn’t connect the two until Saturday when I tried to do some more yoga. I tried to go into Upward Dog and I couldn’t do it because of my ankle. I’m not sure if I didn’t rotate my thighs right or if I just put too much pressure on my ankle, but I had to stop because I couldn’t put much pressure on my ankle like that. I tried to do a search about why my ankle would be hurting from doing that, but most of the posts I saw talked about back pain coming from doing Upward Dog wrong, not ankle pain. 

Saturday afternoon saw us at a gathering for my fiancé’s aunt’s 90th birthday party. I was a pretty cool gathering. I made sure that I ate before we went, but I didn’t eat a lot. There was NOTHING Paleo at the event, but since I had eaten I didn’t mind. I don’t get hung up on whether or not there is stuff for me to eat at events because not everyone eats how I do, especially here in the south. But when we left the event I was starving. We went to another the house of another aunt of his, and she had stuff for me to make a salad. She offered me grape seed oil and vinegar, and I gratefully took it. However, I found out pretty quickly that grape seed oil is not Paleo. That stuff was doing a number on my stomach. I looked it up yesterday, and grape seed oil is just as processed as canola and vegetable oil. It was good in a pinch, but I’m not sure I’ll ever try that again.

I don’t have any new recipes right now. I am still trying to get used to having time on my hands, since I’m not in school. It has been nice to be able to get out with the family and do things, and not be so stressed out that I don’t want to do anything. Taking some time out and re-evaluate where I am standing and what I want has been great, and I have come up with some new directions for myself. As far as this goes, Paleo is serving me well. Especially this past week when I have been increasing my vegetable intake and decreasing my protein intake. I have felt great! I think I feel a difference in how my clothes fit, too.