Let's talk about weight.
It’s a subject that haunts the majority of us and affects most of us. It can cause a roller coaster of emotion, body aches, and health problems that only gain momentum the older you get, and all this leads to you being a frequent flyer at your doctor’s office and having medications loaded into your medicine cabinet. That road goes nowhere good.
I’ve struggled for years with weight. I can exercise, hit the gym, and run—which I absolutely dislike, and that’s putting it mildly—but what happens is that I end up putting on muscle over fat. I’m fit but not really shrinking. As you get older, your body starts to break down, and I was noticing things, aches I never used to have before, brain fog. All of a sudden, I had a problem with my hip flexor. It’s agony if I sit too long, and getting out of bed in the morning, I limp because putting weight on my leg hurts. Then the joints in my fingers were starting to ache, which was affecting how long I could write. Then there was my stomach, which has been a source of grief for me for so long. I can go on and on, but I finally got to the point in the summer where something had to change. It took until the holidays for me to realize, hey, this isn’t good. My body was starting to break down, and that’s a one-way road I’m not willing to go down.
Food is my Achilles’ heel. I love fried chicken, lasagna, anything Italian, Greek, curry, creamy whipped mashed potatoes, roast turkey and gravy, bacon cheeseburgers with fries… I could go on and on, and just writing about it has my mouth watering. Some people may be vegetarians or vegans, but I will never be that. When someone suggests that I add tofu or eat less meat, my big old stubborn streak kicks in, and I know that’s not ever going to happen, so I had to figure out a way to change the way I was eating that would work for me.
The biggest problem I encounter is not eating enough and letting myself get hungry because I’m writing and lost in my story, working. Then I realize it’s like three o’clock and I’m starving. When you get to that place like I do, you want to eat everything. Then there’s the time between four and six p.m., which for me brings a different hunger. I learned that this type of hunger is often actually thirst, so I’ve bumped up my consumption of glasses of lemon water especially during that time.
The key is not to diet. As soon as you tell yourself you’re going on a diet, you’ve already lost. There are some amazing strong-minded people who can do that, but I can’t. What I did do was restructure things and cut out key foods I’ve been told are the source of so many ailments in the body, things such as dairy, sugar, and simple carbs, meaning bread, grain, rice, and pasta.
I now start each morning with an alkalizing shake, which is not a powder you can buy! It’s just real food and generally includes celery, cucumber, avocado, parsley, spinach, and green apple. There’s more you can add or switch out. The apple I will cut out eventually, but the key for me is making sure I don’t get hungry. I drink tons of lemon water, and yes, I still drink really good strong coffee and am not ever giving that up! Vegetables are complex carbs, so you can add seasoning, herbs, and (good) fat for flavor, then sauté them. I never cut up a bunch of raw vegetables to eat. That’s just boring and tasteless. The key is to make food taste great and look great! I still eat meat with no gravy, as gravy needs a simple carb such as flour or starch. Make your food look good, appetizing!
Where am I now? Ten days in. Yes, the first two were the hardest, especially when my daughter asked, “So we’re not having macaroni?” Thirty days without, I said to her, and she actually has a calendar and is marking off the days—not for my sake but for hers! Not only have I shrunk, but my clothes that were tight are now loose. How much weight have I lost? Not a clue, because I tossed my scale in the garbage over a decade ago. It’s too easy to obsess over that pound you haven’t lost, and then your head goes down that dark road of wondering how your efforts aren’t working. Then, if you’re like me, that frustration can lead to you saying, “I’m out of here, and I’m going out for a burger!”
You know what is the biggest win for me? My head is clearer, and I’m sleeping deeper and all night. I’m not waking up, my stomach doesn’t bother me anymore, I have no more aches in my fingers and joints, and my hip, which was giving me so much trouble, hasn’t given me a moment of grief in seven days now since I eliminated all dairy, all sugar, and all simple carbs. I’m not just getting the weight off. I’m taking back my health!
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