Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Long Slow Road to Getting Healthy

Nearly one year ago (July 2nd, to be exact) I joined a Body Camp Challenge at Sumner Crossfit.  I never guessed that it would lead me to making lasting, long-term, life-changing changes.  But here I am, nearly one year later, 40 pounds slimmer, and two sizes smaller.  And I'm still going.

I'm running--currently I can do a 12 minute mile.  Yes, it's slow.  But I'm out there doing it.  I'm trying.

I'm biking--currently my record is 16 miles in one sitting (ouch!)  No, it's not a lot.  But I'm still trying.  In fact, we've planned a camping trip around a 20-ish mile ride to Dash Point, a local campground.  That's happening in August, and I will be ready.

I'm watching what I eat.  This is the Single. Biggest. Change. that I've made.  I've gone from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to low carb/high protein to Paleo to Whole30 to my current Just Eat Real Food diet.  (Really, it's just that.  I don't follow a typical "diet" I just try really hard to eat organic, non-GMO produce, and free-range, grass fed meats.  Easy peasy--ha!  (Currently I'm in the midst of an elimination diet at the request of the naturopath and due to several food allergies.  I'll elaborate more below.)

Over the course of the year, I've learned several things about my body:

1.  I have pretty typical hormonal issues stemming from having children and eating the SAD for the past 7-10 years.  Also, Type 2 Diabetes runs rampant in both sides of my families.  It doesn't have to be inevitable for me, and I can change my body to be at less of a risk.  I need to break the cycle so my kids and their kids and their kids' kids don't need to worry about it so much.

2.  I have several food allergies/sensitivities that I wasn't even aware of.  After completing my first Whole30 I followed their recommendations for adding back foods to see if you are sensitive.  Our first item was dairy, and OH BOY did that wreck my system!  I was sick for about two weeks with awful flu-like symptoms.  Not fun.  That prompted a trip to the naturopath to find out what exactly I was allergic to.  (Cocoa Beans, Sugar Cane, Oats, Pecans, Cranberries, Corn, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Onions, Bakers and Brewers Yeast, Clams (I have an actual allergy to shellfish, like the difficult to breathe swelling mouth kind, but a sensitivity to clams in particular) and Dairy (every part of it, including yogurt.)  Since cutting out my sensitive foods, I'm feeling great!  I'm on track to start re-introducing them on a rotation diet (officially--there have been some, ahem, slip-ups.)

3.  I am an emotional eater.  I get stressed, I eat.  I celebrate, I eat.  I'm hormonal, I eat.  I'm tired, I eat.  Yadda yadda yadda.  I'm slowly working my way through this.  I am conscious of what I put in my body.  If I need a treat, then I try to make it the highest quality treat I can.  I have managed to break a lot of habits.  And I've noticed that the longer I stay away from my triggers, the less I feel that I need them. I don't really want Coca-Cola anymore.  I don't crave chocolate cake.  I can do with one chocolate chip cookie instead of three.  But if I slip up (sh*t happens people, just keepin' it real here) I just acknowledge that it happened, work my way through that emotion, and MOVE ON.  It's not worth beating myself up.  

4.  If I don't track calories, I don't lose weight.  I read about people who lose all their extra weight after a few months or years of switching to a Paleo or just plain clean diet.  Doesn't happen for me.  I can exercise and eat clean, but if I have more than 1200-1400 calories a day I will not lose weight.  Doesn't happen.  (I don't gain weight, which I suppose will be helpful when I do eventually reach my goal weight.)  I use myfitnesspal.  My user name is elmo9697 if you want to join in.

5.  I have to move my body.  I have a goal to get moving for at least an hour a day.  That can be a walk, a bike ride, a trip to the gym, gardening (the heavy lifting lots of raking or digging or lots of squats to pull weeds kind of gardening,) or running around the backyard with the kids.  (Hula hooping, jump roping, and hopscotch are all fun things that the kids and I can do together.)  I've done crossfit, TRX, cross training, high intensity interval training, 30 Day Shred with Jilian Michaels, yoga, zumba, killing myself in the weight room (not really--I've actually had lots of instruction from my instructors) and aerobics.  My favorites are bicycling with my family, and going on solo runs.  The simplest things always win for me.

6.  I'm trying OH SO HARD to love my body so the boys have a positive roll-model.  I want them to remember their mama as a beautiful, confident person.  I want them to love their own bodies.  I want them to love their future partners' bodies.  And I want them to have a healthy relationship with food.  With Eamon's Sensory Processing Disorder and his subsequent feeding therapies, we have a lot of issues with food in this family.  

7.  My friends and my family keep me going.  I post on facebook all my little victories and set backs, and my supporters are right there to offer advice, support, or cheers.  

In the beginning, I set a one year time limit to reach my goal weight.  That's just not gonna happen.  I have 100 pounds total (60 left!) to reach my goal weight (a healthy target set for me by multiple doctors.)  It's probably not going to happen this year.  But that's ok.  I'll get there.  In my own time, and in my own way.  I'll continue to learn new things about my body, and about how the food I choose to fuel myself with, and the exercise I choose to challenge my body with, and all the mental and emotional heart-ache that comes with completely overhauling your diet and giving up your emotional crutches.

All this to say that I'm proud of myself.  I'm not perfect.  I love chocolate cake.  And ice cream.  And chocolate.  But I'm trying.  And while it's slow, I'm getting there.  

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