As part of the Whole9 30 Day Challenge I have just completed, we were asked to write 1000 words on our experiences. Yes, there are prizes, but the biggest prize is my health gains. Thought some folks here might appreciate reading this!
I accepted my fat a long time ago. For as long as I can remember I have been overweight. I now see photos of myself as a child and think I was not that overweight. I was active and we ate meat and three veg most nights.
As the years rolled by my weight fluctuated. I believed I was a number on a scale and had to see it lower every day. At times I could never understand why it wasn’t- I was eating low fat foods, I sought out frozen items with the Heart Foundation Tick.
Through life’s ups and downs I saw my body shape change. This corresponded with numbers on a scale that doctors seemed so fascinated with. A few years ago, as part of a mental health plan to help deal with my anxiety, I was referred to a dietician. Here I first learnt of low-carb eating.
I joined a gym. I enjoyed pumping weights and saw my body shape change again. But it was still covered in fat and nothing seemed to want to shift it. I tried Bodytrim- the low-carb program where once a week you can eat whatever you like as long as you only eat protein the following day. I lost some weight. I was extremely constipated! As soon as I stopped the weight came back. And some. Around this time I decided I needed to accept my fat. This to me now is another diet myth. There is nothing wrong with accepting yourself as a beautiful human being, but I will not accept an unhealthy me.
Early last year my GP noticed my blood pressure was a little high. In November I strapped myself to a blood pressure machine four times a day for a week. Two thirds of the readings were high. In December I sat down with my GP and we talked about medication. He told me that he wanted me to see if I could make some lifestyle changes over the next three months to see if I could lower my BP without medication.
One Saturday in the new year, my partner and I visited the Paleo Café. We were both a little sceptical about what it was all about. Staff explained the basics of Paleo to us and we bought a book (Rob Wolfe.) MIML™ read it first and told me the next day I had to read it. I did and could see it made sense. We bought a couple of other books and booked ourselves in for the Whole9 seminar.
In the lead-up to the seminar we sort of tried to eat Paleo, however at the seminar it was clear that what we thought was 90% Paleo was really only about 50%!
Come 1 February I was determined to give it 110%. The first few days were tough. My head ached. I was so thirsty. But I stuck to it. I also committed myself to going to the gym at least twice a week. I found myself reading the sides of everything in the supermarket. I was shocked to discover that cartons of chicken stock list sugar as one of the first three ingredients! I changed the way I cooked a little bit, but also discovered that I did not need to change a lot. Of course there are things that I used to cook that I would not dream of cooking now, but there are also lots of new dishes I have discovered that have become family favourites.
In week two and three I still found the Paleo lifestyle challenging. I went to lunch with a girlfriend and she ordered a hamburger and chips and I ordered a steak sandwich without bread or cheese! I found it easier to tell her I was gluten and dairy intolerant. Another day Crawford and I went out for brunch at a different café. Again I ordered a steak sandwich with no bread or cheese. The waiter clarified and said that I basically wanted a steak salad. I agreed. A gorgeous looking plate appeared full of quinoa! I ate the steak off the top, making sure the quinoa had been brushed off, and salvaged a bit of rocket and watermelon, but left most of it. The staff were really apologetic. I could hear my mother chiding me over the starving children in Africa at the same time being so proud of myself for putting my body first.
In week three I also noticed how pleasant moving my bowels was! It was like shitting silk! I couldn’t remember the last time I was so regular and also so consistent.
Week four has been when it has fallen into place. I baked cupcakes for my son’s birthday without licking any bowls, spoons or fingers or trying any. Yes, they smelt nice and apparently his class loved them, but they had little appeal.
As for me, the 30 days seem like the beginning. The destination is not 2 March 2013, it is the rest of my life. I have so much more energy than I did 30 days ago. I feel alive for the first time in years. I no longer have weekly breakouts (perhaps they were because of hormones, but not the ones I originally thought!) and I have not had a migraine or severe headache for the whole time. MIML™ tells me my moods have been so much more consistent and my anxiety levels are so much lower.
Last Thursday at the gym, my trainer took my measurements. Since he took them on 8 January, I have lost 10 kg. That number didn’t impress me. It was just a number. I have lost cm off my bust, waist, hips, thighs and biceps. Again, not that impressive to me- I don’t need numbers to tell me how good I am feeling. The measurement that struck me the most was my blood pressure. On 8 January it was 140/99. Now it is 112/82. We took it three times to be sure!
I am not expecting to stray too far from the new lifestyle I have found. It is like something has been switched on deep inside me helping me feel the best I have in years! 30 days was not a challenge for me. The rest of my life will be, but it is one I am embracing with all that I am. I am so fortunate to have the support of MIML™ and the wonderful Paleo Café staff.
Writing this has been very cathartic and I am going to pin a copy to the fridge so that I can read it in the months ahead and remind myself why I have made these changes. I no longer see my journey as one of weight loss, but rather health gain.