Wow, it has been a REALLY long time since I have posted! I must apologize to my two loyal readers out there, and say that the only excuse that I have is that I have been extremely busy trying to start my own business. Now don’t go getting all excited – the business is related to education, not nutrition. I have been having a ball putting it together, but I have been busier than I have ever been in my entire life.
In passing earlier this week I realized that it has now been a year since I switched to the Paleo lifestyle, so I figured that I’d take a break from my hectic schedule to post a reflection piece about the past year. I mean, I have learned so much about myself in this past year. I have dealt with a lot of stress, a lot of highs, and a lot of lows, and my lifestyle change stayed intact through it all. I have lived the benefits of added energy, great sleep, and a genuine feeling that I can accomplish anything because I have done this. My focus is such that I can’t physically keep up with all of the ideas that my brain has thought up related to my new business, and I can tell when I have eaten something that I shouldn’t have because that focus disappears entirely. I have learned to plan ahead with my meals, and I have learned more about cooking and spices than I ever thought I would. I have tried new foods and made up recipes on the fly. I have learned about my body and what foods affect my moods, my wellness, and my sanity. I have learned what it takes to keep myself in my own optimal zone. It takes a lot of planning and a lot of cooking, but it is well worth it in order to feel healthy and have the focus and energy that I need to do my job.
One thing that I recognized early about this lifestyle change was how much I actually enjoy it. I never thought that it was possible to enjoy a “diet” (as my friends still call it). I never really feel like I am dieting at all because the food is so good and I feel awesome. I am never hungry throughout the day. I have never been able to say that about any other diet that I have tried.
Throughout this year I have tried (without being too forceful about it) to convince others that my lifestyle choice is healthier and well worth the effort of cutting out breads, pastas, and grains, but when people hear you tell them what they are giving up, they go into preservation mode and violently hold on to these things with every last ounce of their being. I have heard it all when it comes to why people won’t give up these items, and I have tried to refute them all. I have tried to help friends with diabetes understand exactly what is killing them and why. It seems as though no one wants to hear it. But then I remember that in the end, the only person that I can really affect change in is myself because that is the only person that I have control of. Everyone around me has seen the changes in me in the past year, but if they refuse to see what is right in front of them, then I can’t help them. I can only go on doing what has benefited me so greatly. Which I plan on doing.
A lot of people ask me how much weight I have lost in the past year, and I can honestly say that I don’t know. I know that I lost 50 pounds, but after I became comfortable with myself I stopped measuring any of that. I am glad that I lost the weight and I feel better because of it, but I am not stuck on the scale or even on my measurements. I haven’t pulled a measuring tape out in at least six months, and I stepped on the scale for the last time a few months ago. Those numbers seem so meaningless compared to the general feeling of wellness that I have, and that feeling is much more important to me than what a scale says. I have recently (within the last four or five months) tried to start exercising, but even that is more about feeling healthy and fit rather than about the scale and measurements. My job and the business are both high stress right now, and anything I can do to temper that stress and enhance my focus is a good thing.
What I wish people would carry away from my experience is that it really isn’t that hard to achieve a general feeling of wellness. Yes, it takes work. No, it isn’t always easy. When someone suggests that you should go out to eat and you know that there isn’t much of a chance that there will be items on the menu that you should eat, or you know that food additives affect certain aspects of your wellness, it is really hard to say no (especially if you are tired and really don’t want to cook). For me, the key has been remembering how I felt after the last time I ate those foods. Maintaining my focus and feeling of general wellness has been the biggest motivator throughout this process, because I get so much more accomplished when my focus and wellness are intact. And whether I hurt someone’s feelings or not, I have learned that it is better to say no in order to keep myself feeling well and focused than to say yes and kick myself for eating something that results in two weeks of feeling tired and unfocused. When you are doing something that is important to you, you don’t have two weeks to waste simply because of convenience or a moment of weakness.
I guess what I am trying to say is, it has been a great year, and I am looking forward to several more!