For more than twenty-five years I lost and found the same twenty pounds several times! It seems like I was either dieting, or I wasn’t. And I tried them all; from Atkins to Weight Watchers, and they all worked….until they didn’t. Food journals were meticulously kept along with tracking my exercise, water intake, the mood I was in while eating, and where I ate. I watched my four older sisters struggle the same way with their relationship with food, and I learned from an early age that being thin was “in”. So what has changed? Six years ago, I found myself approaching 50, still struggling with my weight, my energy level was non-existent and was basically a pretty unhealthy woman. I had come to a crossroads in my life and some decisions had to be made. Doctors confirmed that my numbers were all off the charts, and I felt terrible. In my usual “that’s the way I roll” reaction, I dove head first into a full-blown vegan lifestyle. Going organic, juicing and a morning green smoothie became the norm. Kris Carr and Kimberly Snyder became my gurus, most processed food, animal protein, and dairy became verboten. A walking/running routine was incorporated and booze entirely eliminated. Maintaining this way of eating was fairly easy for about two years. Then boredom set in and the planning and preparation it took to maintain this lifestyle started to become stressful. The exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve.
Working out on a regular basis also had me craving protein. I know there are some amazing vegan athletes out there that would beg to differ. But I’m a firm believer in listening to what your own body is telling you. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to health and fitness. So, I incorporated some goat and sheep’s milk cheeses back in to the program, as well as wild caught fish and organic chicken. Fresh organic fruit and vegetables (especially avocados!) are a joy for me, and small amounts of organic dairy feels right. Alcohol is not part of my life for several reasons, but mainly because it just stopped serving me. I’ve always fought against my sweet tooth, and felt guilty if I indulged it. Limiting processed sugar, and trying to make healthier choices when the urge strikes, like dark chocolate, dates or fresh fruit has helped alleviate the angst I felt. Making peace with the emotional struggle of my choices is part of the process. It’s about…and here comes the current trendy buzz words…self-care.
Eating from the earth, eschewing processed junk food that is laden with unhealthy fats, sugar and salt from my diet is the plan now. The goal is to keep the body in an alkaline state and avoid inflammatory foods about 80% of the time. It’s not a game of perfect. When indulging, I try to enjoy it fully then let it go and move on. Finding a healthy food balance, and freedom from guilt, has been a rewarding experience, both emotionally and physically. Prayer, meditation, tons of reading and research have helped guide the journey.
Here’s to hoping you have found, or will find, your food balance too.