So having decided to write something about the "food relationship" the question is, where to start? The history? The context? The current situation? Any one could be a good jumping off place, and any one could give me pages and pages of things to say. I think for today I'm going to stay in the here and now and talk about why I'm thinking so much about my this whole thing right now in the first place.
In July of this year I started a 12-week program to learn about a new and healthier way of eating. Over the last year or so I'd been feeling kind of crummy on lots of levels. I was noticing more and more aches and pains, my energy was low, I wasn't sleeping well, and worst of all I was anxious pretty much all the time about pretty much everything, and nothing. It was just a low, grumbling, free-floating sort of thing, a kind of "doom is immanent" sense that infected just about every corner of my life. On a good day it hovered at a about a two, and it could get kicked into high gear, ramping to a seven or eight by just about anything - having to drive in bad weather, feeling I had done something upsetting to someone, worry about a job issue, random thoughts about things done and undone. And yes, it was definitely affecting my spiritual life as well as everything else.
Because of all this "meh" I had become pretty insular, isolating myself and narrowing life down to the "have-tos" pretty much. Work, errands, the occasional outing with Rick or a friend, the Sunday routine of church and breakfast at our usual spot, and otherwise you could find me on the couch with a book or a screen just passing time.
Sounds pretty dull, right? It was! And it got to a point that it even bored me. So bit by bit over the summer I started looking at ways I might start creeping back toward some kind of activity again, and I started at a place that felt pretty safe, with some yoga. I went back to some classes at the studio I liked, taking mostly restorative and yin classes, and then signing up for some individual consultations with a teacher I like to talk about her take on my situation from an Ayurvedic perspective. She was really helpful and gave me hope that there might be some answers in changes in diet if I was patient and persistent.
Right about that time I "happened" on the announcement that a local nutrition program was opening a branch in the very same yoga studio where I was going to class. They were starting a 12 week program focusing on nutrition to level out blood sugar and heal metabolism for weight loss by eating real healthy food, and it started in a couple weeks, so I signed up.
So here's what's been going on. Since July 28th:
I have had no soda, diet or otherwise. I have eaten almost no processed food (on purpose anyway). I have had very little sugar, no white flour, and since August no gluten to speak of. I am trying to limit oils to olive, coconut, or if others, to cold or expeller pressed if I have a choice, I AM eating grass fed beef, free range chicken, eggs, organic butter, lard, cream, lots and lots of vegetables and occasional whole grains in limited servings. I eat three meals and two to three snacks (the idea is to eat every three to four hours to keep a level blood sugar), I am never hungry, have had very few cravings and really don't miss the stuff I used to eat and thought I could not live without. I have been to a Mexican restaurant and watched people drink margaritas and eat nachos without a qualm, I've been to parties and not even been tempted by the cake and cookies (my former nemesis). One ounce of dark chocolate is a permitted treat so that is a go-to if there is a need for something that feels "treat-y." I have fallen off the program a total of three times in three months, once with an overindulgence in ice cream (which in itself is not off limits as a once in a while treat as long as it's the "good stuff" made only with cream, eggs, sugar and no chemicals and eaten in a very moderate serving) and twice with wine (which, well, has few redeeming qualities on a program whose goal is to regulate your blood sugar!) Otherwise my main struggle has been to eat enough protein (4 oz per meal and 2 per snack).
As a result of all of this, these are the things that have happened since July:
My aches and pains are reduced by a LOT!
I have way more energy than I used to.
My hair is growing and it's thicker and shinier than it has been in years.
My skin looks better.
Cuts heal faster.
I am not cold all the time and I even generate heat (for those who know me this is nothing short of a miracle!)
I am sleeping again. Almost every night for a good six or seven hours without even waking up! And then going right back for a couple more. When I wake up I am ready to get up and go.
The anxiety is almost negligible. And when it crops up I can use coping skills to deal with it.
My husband tells me that in general I am a much nicer person to be around. (That is BIG!)
I have lost two pounds and two inches. Yep that's all. In three months And yes this was a weight loss program. Am I disappointed in that part? Oh yeah, most definitely. I wanted the usual results one gets when "dieting," you know 1-2 pounds a week! Well, my nutritionist tells me to be patient, it will come, that I have a lot of "healing" to do. That was kind of a shocker to me. Healing? Yep, healing from the mean and nasty way I had been treating my body in the name of losing weight for the last several years. I think I'll save that chapter for another day.
Right now, I need to make sure I have everything packed up for my week's lunches, have the fruit thawing for my smoothie snacks and generally have myself organized. That's been the biggest change in this whole thing-I have to THINK about food a lot, but not in the same way that I used to think about food when I was obsessing about having some. It's a mind shift that at first I wasn't sure I liked. I had to shift into thinking about all of this as a way of nurturing myself, taking care of me at least as well as I took care of everyone else. And that, too, is probably a whole other blog post for another day. This is enough for today.