A little over a year ago I got sick with a little virus called the Flu. The full on actual flu. It was awful and the most sick I have ever been in my life. I know that the flu is a virus but I believe that I was more apt to get the virus being that I was working in a school environment, my school year had been very stressful and I was feeling very, very overwhelmed. I was neglecting my self-care which I would learn to realize is something you should never put off.
I was diagnosed with the FLU and was on leave from school for a week. During the week I never really felt like I was getting better. I went back to the doctor and found out that I had high blood pressure. I was put on medication. The medication made me horribly depressed and I couldn’t get myself to get out of bed. I went back to the doctor. I asked for a different medication. I was put on a few water pills that didn’t manage the blood pressure. I was put on yet another medication where I tried a few different dosage amounts until one finally stated working. Through this whole process I keep thinking…I don’t want to take medication. I never take medication. I’ll never remember to take it! I hardly took the medication after I had my c-sections I just can’t be one of those people who is sick enough to be on medication. But you know what? I was one of those people. The doctor suggested that I lose weight. If I lost enough weight, and exercised I would be able to get off the medication.
So my journey stated with ending my relationship with Diet Coke. I had read an article outlining the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners in diet sodas and decided that I was going to quit drinking them. But why stop there? I knew that regular soda had a lot of calories and decided I would just quit soda all together. And I did. And oh was it a hard long road. I quit right as I went back to school and let me tell you I lived In a fog for at least three weeks. On top of that I don’t drink coffee so I had given up caffeine without a replacement. So what did I replace it with? SUGAR. Lots and lots of sugar. I was eating donuts and drinking frappes from Starbucks and not even thinking about the sugar and calorie contents. I needed the pick me up from the sugar to get me through the day. Do you think I lost weight? Of course not. But in my mind I had given up a really substantial part of my diet and I deserved a reward. Why were the pounds not falling off? Well I failed to realize that diet soda has zero calories and what I replaced it with had hundreds of calories. So, what happened???
The scale went in the opposite direction! I was getting discouraged. So I jumped on the next bandwagon and decided to get rid of meat in my diet. I went cold turkey. Lets just say this was a hard time. I was never happy. I watched my family eat and really resented the idea that I had to give up these things while they carried on with their regular lives. Mind you this was all my own doing. No one had made me give up these things. I watched every documentary Netflix had to offer. These people really had made a difference in their lives. They had lost substantial amounts of weight and really looked happy. Why was that not working for me. I toyed with the idea of becoming vegan. I even somewhat ate that way for a while. But I just kept having the mindset that it wasn’t fair that I had to take medication and give up my favorite things while everyone else got to live and eat however they pleased.
I went back to meat. Eating less of it but back to it all the same. The scale was not moving either way. I was starting to feel obsessed with the scale. Weighing myself far to often to admit and wondering why nothing was happening. I do remember having a thought one day that I was consuming too much sugar. But I brushed that off because hey, I deserved to have something good left right? I started to go to the gym. I was going Monday through Saturday and working out 30-45 minutes a day. NOTHING HAPPENED. I bought new running shoes. Good ones from a running store. They really felt like heaven on my feet. I tried to run and couldn’t. My shins were having unbelievable pain even from running only a minute. Discouragement set in. I was never getting off those pills. I felt depression coming back. I really wanted off those pills. It was sometimes the only thing I thought about. More documentaries came out on Netflix. I watched them. By now I had watched every opinion there was on food and plant-based diets. I just wanted to feel better! I went back to the doctor. This time I asked for a water pill because I felt I was retaining water and that HAD to be the reason I wasn’t losing weight. But then the doctor said to me, why don’t you try to cut down on the amount of “hidden” sugar in your diet? I honestly didn’t know what that meant. He suggested I eat only the recommended amount of sugar a day which is 24 grams a day. Let me repeat that…24 grams a day. Let me just tell a person could breathe and take in that much sugar. Everything has sugar in it. The only saving grace was that fruit sugars did not count.My friends and family confused this with not eating carbs. I had not gone on a diabetic diet just a limit of sugars. I still ate carbs but by cutting the sugar out I had forced myself to eat healthy carbs instead of bad carbs.
I did start to see a drop on the scale. A pretty rapid one at that. After about a week I really wasn’t craving anything anymore. I ate when I was hungry. I never limited myself other than the sugar intake and I felt better than I had in a long time. I have been eating this small sugar intake for about a month and have another month to go before I have lab work done. I feel great. Why this long story? I read a great article on Facebook today https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-18/you-don-t-need-to-go-full-vegan-to-get-the-vegan-benefits
talking about how you don’t have to go full vegan to get the benefits of vegan. It made me realize that my small steps are a process to healthy living. My journey didn’t happen overnight but it is happening. Out of all the documentaries I watched on Netflix my favorite was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 1 and 2. I loved the people on that journey. This was the only documentary I tried and continued with. I don’t juice all the time but I do try to make it part of my diet daily, usually for breakfast. Small changes warrant a longer sustainability and ultimately become a lifestyle change. Wherever you are on your journey in life make a change today for the better, be it great or small, to the path you hope to be on. Don’t give up. A flower doesn’t shoot up out of the ground after one watering. It takes time, day after day, little by little for a seed to become a beautiful flower. So it will be for your life and mine.