Oops! I’m so embarrassed! It’s been nearly 3 months since I’ve posted an update on me and my weight loss journey. How is that possible? I’m sorry everyone. I’m still here. I’m still going! It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 months since I started this journey
I took a bit of a “break” in March and April. Since October 2014, I spent every day following my plan perfectly. I very rarely cheated. I went to my weekly weigh-ins each week and saw incredible results. Commitment pays off and I certainly learned how my body could respond when I really buckled down and followed a plan.
The truth is… by March, I was getting so bored with my food options each day. I couldn’t couldn’t take another day of chicken and veggies. My meals plans didn’t vary much and I started to get burned out on even the healthy foods I loved like vegetables, avocado and chicken. I didn’t want to eat and when I did eat, I wanted foods I shouldn’t have. It wasn’t really a typical craving. It was more like I missed certain foods. I missed saltiness once in a while. I missed the sweetness of fruit. I missed the creaminess of cheese.
Around that same time, we hit some unexpected financial obligations that made my monthly fee at my nutritionist something that was now out of means all of the sudden. I was terrified at the thought of stopping my weekly appointments because I didn’t want to lose the accountability that they required of me. It’s what kept me going each week to stick to my plan, but I had to do what I had to do. The money wasn’t there anymore and I had to make a change.
A Much-Needed Break
I had learned so much since October about how to eat, what to each, and mostly about my own body’s chemistry and what it needs to thrive and stay at a healthy weight. My view of food had changed and I knew my lifestyle had too. No, my love for unhealthy foods didn’t magically disappear, but I had learned the consequences of those foods and my body had learned to response naturally (and negatively) when I did consume them. My lifestyle HAD changed after 6 months and I knew I could continue to do this on my own.
In early April, I went on a trip to Europe that my mom and I had been planning for months. It was perfect timing. I needed a break from my daily food routine and what better way to do it than in Europe! I decided to go into my trip with the intention of enjoying myself when it came to foods and drinks, but not to go overboard. Yes, I was going to eat breads, enjoy the sweet pastries at the local bakeries and enjoy European cheeses. But I also was going to enjoy plenty of local produce. I wanted to find a healthy balance in Europe and that’s exactly what I did!
I was in Germany and Denmark for 10 days and had the time of my life. I continued to drink tons of water and eat a healthy variety of foods. We also walked a lot! To my surprise, I gained only 2 lbs on that trip. Even though it was a gain, it was SO good for my mental health. I learned that I could enjoy more variety, with boundaries, and still maintain my weight. The trip also rebooted me mentally and made me excited to jump back into my weight loss journey when I got home. I looked forward to the healthy foods that I loved again and knew I could do this on my own.
A Fresh Start
I’ve lost about 7 lbs since I got back at the end of April, and all on my own! I have added in one piece of fruit a day, a little bit cheese some days, and even a square of 72% cacao dark chocolate every few nights. I still control my sugar very strictly, but do allow some natural sugars (like fruit) in and the occasional chocolate square at night. I still follow the guidelines of my nutritionist’s meal plans: a low sugar protein shake in the morning or eggs/veggies, protein and vegetables at every meal and snack, and very limited sugar. I have 1-2 snacks a day depending on my appetite and drink 3 L of water a day. I’m allowing myself any “real foods”, but still avoiding grains, white starches and simple carbohydrates (as these turn into sugar in our system’s).
Lesson Learned: The Effects of Sugar
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past 8 months is the terrible effects that sugar has on our bodies. I’ve read that it’s more addictive than crack and I truly believe this is true. I know many people that cannot have it at all in their diet because having more and more is all they can think about once they have some. I trying hard to train my system to be okay with a little taste, once in a while. I love chocolate and love fruit and miss it so much if I keep it out entirely. I’m not perfect, but so far I’ve been able to keep my portions healthy (most days!).
Here’s a look back to Week 2 and what I learned about sugar and our bodies. It’s nasty stuff and I do all I can to avoid it now:
One of the things I was most surprised to hear was that I have an above-normal insulin level and likely a fatty liver. Apparently a fatty liver is caused by sugar and carbohydrates in the diet. And this is not just white sugar, but too many flours, high-fructose corn syrup, natural sugars, grains, starches, fruit or anything that turns into sugar in our bodies. When you eat carbohydrates it causes your blood sugar to rise. This tells our pancreas to release insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal. Insulin helps glucose get into your cells so your body can use it for energy. High insulin can lead to problems with glucose control and even Type 2 Diabetes. (That was a scary word to hear!)
Sugar also sends an automatic response to our liver to start creating fat. When you are consuming too much sugar, the liver creates too much fat causing it to become congested and fatty. Having a fatty liver leads to more inflammation in the body, just as a food sensitivity can. The inflammation causes increased insulin levels which tells your body to deposit fat all around your organs and belly, not just in your liver. It’s all quite technical and fascinating how the body works, but in the end, I can determine exactly how it works based on what I feed myself.
In these past 8 months, I’ve had multiple readers and friends also learn recently about the terrible effects that sugar has had on their bodies. Many have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, as I nearly was. I continue to encourage everyone to cut sugar from your diet – all of it. Cut it out for a least a month and see how good you feel. You’ll feel terrible for awhile, but let your body readjust and after about 10 days, you WILL start to feel great. Cut it ALL out: that means all fruits except strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries (yes, just temporarily), all white sugar, all sugar-sweetened foods (yogurts, snack bars, packaged foods, frozen foods – it’s in nearly everything packaged!), and even flours/grains (as these turn to sugars in your body). It is HARD in the beginning, but you will feel the amazing effects if you stick to it completely. And you might even reverse the beginning signs of unknown diabetes and fatty liver – it can all be done with REAL FOOD!
I was thinking it might be fun to do a Q&A Facebook Live Broadcast where I can try to answer any questions you might have about my journey or how you can start. I’m NOT a doctor or nutritionist, but I’ve learned a lot and would love to help you get started. Is that something you’d enjoy participating in?
Again, I’m so sorry for the delay in updating you. I’ve struggled the past few months. I’m human. But the struggle has been GOOD for me and set me out on a track that’s even healthier now. As of late last week, I’ve lost a total of 55 LBS and am down from a Size 20 to a Size 14! I’ve never in my life lost that much weight. I think I have about 20 more to go but we’ll see how I feel each step along the way. It’s not about a number on the scale to me, but how I feel inside and out.
I’m still posting lots of great tips in my Real Food Challenge group. We post recipes, share our daily meals/snacks and other interesting articles to get us making some changes. Let’s make changes together! Remember, I’m always here if you have questions or want help getting started. Just email me!
Do you want to continue to follow my journey as I discover how to live with food sensitivities, see how I will adapt to this new lifestyle and how my weight loss journey goes? I hope you will! Follow my posts HERE! Stay tuned as I continue my Journey to a New Me series!
Do you have questions that you’d like to bounce off of me in a Q&A? Let me know if you’re interested in the comments below.
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