Eat This, Not That!

“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Yesterday I mentioned that I was overweight while in elementary school.  I wasn’t significantly overweight, but I wasn’t thin either.  I wouldn’t say I was average weight either.  I was just pudgy.  I struggled with my weight most of my life.  I tried almost every diet out there, and I exercised all the time.  But the weight just wouldn’t come off.

While I was pregnant with my daughter, I was very strict with what I ate.  No junk or refined foods and lots of fruits and vegetables. I felt good, and the pregnancy went smoothly.  She was born a healthy 8lbs.  One week after she was born, I weighed less that before I was pregnant with her. Almost one year after that, I weighed 215lbs!!!  What the heck happened?

My hormones went out of whack, stress and coping with being a new mom is what happened.  I tried dieting, fitting in exercise while she slept and starving.  It didn’t work.  So I went to see my GP, and he sent to me to a diet clinic for people suffering from Metabolic Syndrome.  This term is a catch-all name for a group of risk factors that may occur together which increase your risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.  Some of these are signs that point to metabolic syndrome, and the most important ones are carrying weight around the middle and upper parts of the body (which I didn’t have – I’m pear-shaped), and being insulin resistant (which I wasn’t either).  What I did have was: I was getting older, hormone changes, and lack of exercise.

I didn’t care that I was being sent there, I was just happy that I had help.  I was put on a strict eating plan where I was only able to eat dark green vegetables and protein during the first phase – which seemed to last forever.  The second phase allowed for some fruits, some grains, and a bit more protein – which I rarely got to be on.  No sugars were allowed, only artificial sweeteners.  I became obsessed with food, because I saw the results and I was loving it.  I was exercising and eating well and the weight was coming off.  I felt good.

Then I decided to start running, and within a year I went from not knowing how to run, to training for 10k races.  I was still on the eating plan, and when I went in for my weekly appointment, I started getting lectured because I was no longer in ketosis.  I wasn’t being heard when I stated that I needed more complex carbs in my diet because I was training, and I was feeling weak and dizzy when I trained and strictly followed their diet.  I knew what was right for my body, so I stopped going.

Fast forward a few years to today.  I still managed to keep the weight off, and I’m running again.  I have struggled with food a bit, but overall I’ve been ok.  I admit, there was a time period where I’ve made extremely bad choices and have paid the consequence for it.  I’ve been trying to get back to eating clean for not only my sake, but also my daughter’s, especially since the scare we had earlier this year.  But I just wasn’t sure how, and I felt like a failure.  I previously enrolled a Fitness Leadership program at school, and have placement left in order to graduate.  I know this stuff, but why am I having so much trouble?

And then I figured out why.  I watched Dr. Robert Lustig on CBS and then googled him and found a more in-depth lecture as well. These were real eye-openers for me.  The information I learned was horrifying.  And it all finally made sense!  I couldn’t understand what was happened to me and my daughter.  Sure, we didn’t eat well all the time, but we certainly didn’t eat horribly.  And now I could see how what was hidden in what we were eating led to her condition.  Poor thing was doomed from shortly after birth from when she was put on formula.

I became angry, and this led me to develop a strategy.  To get her to understand the importance of food servings and eating clean, we have food charts on the fridge which we mark off every day – how many servings of fruit and veg, grains, dairy etc.  And we are limited to junk food only one day a week, and we have cut out all sugar/fructose from our diet.  I was worried about how my daughter would handle this, and to my amazement, she loves it!  She told me that she has noticed a difference, she “feels better” as she says. She also has turned down cookie offers at school from other kids because she doesn’t want to feel awful. I see that she is no longer bloated all the time, she has lost weight, and she is more energetic (which means I’m more exhausted haha).  I feel wonderful as well, and when I have anything with sugar, I find it way to sweet.

I still can’t help getting angry when I think about what is being added to our foods.  Sugar and fructose are deadly to our body, and those people know it.  I have reverted back to cooking and eating like our ancestors did.  It takes more time, granted, but it’s much better and tastier.  I get to be more creative with the foods I make, and I am proud of what I do now.  We aren’t meant to eat these highly processed foods.  Our bodies aren’t designed that way.  It took me a while to figure this out, but I finally have done so.

My rule of thumb to live by, eat your foods as closely to their natural state as possible, and you will be fine.

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