Thursday, June 21, 2012

i have been feeling a bit moody lately.  this is the 3rd time i have tried writing this post, and i have made numerous changes every time.  seriously, i just could not decide what to write.

earlier this month i was really concentrating on getting back on track after gaining some weight and the numbers on the scale started to move back down.  then, i became distracted, made some bad food choices and now am back where i started at the beginning of june.  

it is very difficult for me to not be hard on myself when i fall short of the expectations i have set.  i don't necessarily think they are unrealistic (most of the time) but i do become very critical when i fail to accomplish my goals.  it becomes very self defeating, and i struggle with that a lot.  i tend to lose sight of what i HAVE accomplished, and i focus more on my perception that others have succeeded where i have failed.

life is not a constant stream of successes, though.  what i am beginning to grasp is that even when there is a perceived failure to meet an expectation, be it realistic or not, there is an opportunity for learning.  i have learned which foods are healthy and which are not.  i have found that i need to exercise both my body and my mind.  i learned many years ago that i need to eat breakfast, and that my breakfast must include protein.  i have known for a long time that my sugar intake can quickly spiral out of control.  i have no problem giving up grains or beans, and i can even live without dairy.  sugar, however, in one form or another, is the thing that seems to sneak in when even when i am trying my hardest.  

i think what happened is that i gave myself permission to eat some treats after my month of total sugar abstinence.  it was the first time in my life i had ever gone that long without sugar, and i was amazed that my sugar cravings were pretty much gone.  i felt like i would finally be able to have a reasonable treat, then be done, without triggering that feeling of "i need more!" 

WRONG!!!  that old feeling of needing more sugar, especially when distracted, bored or anxious has come back with a vengeance.  i am not eating anywhere near the amount of sugar in my diet as i did before paleo, but the fact that the cravings have returned have confirmed to me that it is an issue.  i was reading a blog post the other day that was written by a self-described sugar addict who has also gone paleo.  i finally felt i was not alone, that someone else out there understood what it felt like to be totally focused on finding something to satisfy that craving.  

so now what do i do?  at the moment, the thought of giving up conventionally made treats seems sad and impossible to me.  but then again, a year ago, the thought of losing over 40 lbs. seemed impossible.  i did it, although not  overnight.  i am not perfect,  i may not change overnight, but i want to be healthy.  so here i go again.  and one of the things that spurs me on is looking at these pictures:

                                                                 taken in november, 2010

                                                               taken in june, 2012

over 100 lbs. gone between the two of us.  we feel better, move easier, and sleep better.  so many benefits that make giving up unhealthy foods (like those containing sugar)  worthwhile.  

today is a new day.  i am in control of the choices i make.  i choose to be healthy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here We Go Again . . .

so, it has been a couple of weeks since my last post.  in that amount of time i have pretty much stayed away from wheat and i have not had any soda pop.  i did make waffles using a bit (about a 1/2 cup) of spelt flour, and last weekend i made chocolate chip cookies using a cup of white wheat flour (the rest was coconut flour).  i was asked not to make them that way again!  over the past couple of weekends i  also had my beloved homemade hot cocoa, with whole milk AND whipped cream.  it was heavenly!   i have also indulged my craving for chocolate -- not just dark chocolate, but specifically M & M's. then last night, we went out to dinner at a favorite restaurant that we had not been to in years.   we had cheese fondue with chunks of bread and sausage.  for my entree, i had chicken jagerschnitzel (chicken breast that has been pounded thin and then breaded and sauteed.) with mashed potatoes and a sourdough roll. for dessert i had a bowl of sweetened strawberries with whipped cream.  over the past two weeks i did not keep track of calories, and my activity level has dropped.  i am still exercising and walking, but my seasonal part time job is done until august, and it is a very physical job that keeps me moving and standing most of the day.

as you can probably imagine, i am now seeing the consequences of my choices.  my stomach was unsettled a for a few days earlier this week.  i have been extra sleepy.  my hands are puffy and my tummy is bloated. and after last night's dinner, i could not sleep in bed -- i had to sleep sitting up on the couch because i was so full.  i was popping tums all evening.  the worst consequence of all is i have gained 8 lbs.  in 2 weeks.  in the month of april i lost a total of 11 lbs.  then i lost an additional 5 lbs at the beginning of may.  in the last 2 weeks, i have gained 8 lbs, and that is with skipping lunch now and then because i wasn't hungry.  i am upset that my sugar cravings came back. thankfully, i am still down a full 8 lbs. from where i started on apirl 1st, so i feel good about that.

what does this experience tell me?  first, i CANNOT be trusted around sweets!!!  not even 72% dark chocolate.  also, i am one of those people that must stay active to keep the weight off. and even after all this time, i apparently still cannot accurately judge how many calories i am eating without recording them.

so what happens now?  my husband and i have decided to do another 30 days of fairly restricted eating (he also gained weight in may, and he is way more active than me!)  our anniversary is this month, so we are giving ourselves permission to have anything we want for our anniversary dinner.  i will probably allow myself to go ahead and use butter instead of restricting myself to ghee, but other than that, i will again be avoiding dairy, sugar, legumes, wheat and other grains.  i will keep track of my calories most days.  i will increase my exercise.  most importantly, when the month of june is over,  i will NOT be giving myself permission to add unhealthy foods back into my diet.  i made a commitment to myself a year and a half ago that i would get healthy.  i keep saying to people, why would i want to eat any other way when eating paleo makes me feel so good? more than that, i feel WELL.  for so many years i have felt less than well.  eating "clean", eating "paleo", or whatever you want to call it, makes me feel well, and even if that is the only benefit (it's not the only benefit, trust me!) that makes it worthwhile.  i say again, when i can eat healthy protein and fats, all the veggies i want and some fruit, lose weight and not be hungry doing it, why would i NOT want to embrace that lifestyle?

i am not perfect.  i stumble, i make mistakes, i do things that i know better than to do.  and yet, every day is an opportunity to start fresh, to learn from my mistakes, to take one step forward instead of two steps back.  that day for me is today.  starting fresh and giving myself permission to be healthy!