Hello to all you peeps out there in the internet world! Well, I have written many different blogs, mostly of either a spiritual or political nature and one relating to health, but this one is going to be different. This one is about figuring “me” out. What are my specifications? How can I live a life that is more healthy, physically and emotionally? I began to think about this one day and I realized that if I bought a car I’d want to know what grade of fuel it used. I’d need to find out what kind of oil to put in it. I’d want to know when the tires needed rotating and when it needed to be serviced. All cars are different and so are all people. We are all unique. One day that realization really hit me. I realized I didn’t even know my own specifications. What makes my mind and body perform optimally and for longevity? I didn’t have an answer. It was obvious that I was aging faster than I should and that things in my body were malfunctioning. The truth is, I had little love for myself, you might even say I had a mild “disdain” for myself. So, “I” was not a big priority in my life. At some point I had adopted this co-dependent, “martyr” kind of mindset and “I” was not even a consideration. The sick part about this is that I took pride in that and thought that was how a good “Christian” wife and mother was supposed to be. It’s made me feel righteous to put others before caring for myself and it was wrong and completely out of balance. I came to a place where it was very evident that a price was going to have to be payed if something did not change. In my mind I saw myself riding in an airplane. The plane was going down and the cabin was rapidly loosing pressure and rather than put an air mask on myself, so I could survive, I was busy trying to put them on everyone else. So busy, that eventually, I just passed out, unable to breath. There is a reason for that sign that says, “secure your air mask before attempting to help another.” Well, I didn’t know how to do that, but I am learning. If you don’t include “self care” in your life you will be no good to anyone.
You see I have spent most of my adult life trying to help others by figuring them out. Trying to crack their “specifications” so I could help them. That was my “role”. I did this even as a child. I think I was programmed that way. I worked in the medical field for many years. Then I worked in the alternative health care field for even longer! I served in ministry working with women and children. I was a foster parent then became an adoptive mother of two young children one of which has special needs. I am a mom to two biological adult children and a wife of 26 years to a great guy who has “surfed” this crazy wave with me. All these “good things” supported my warped mindset and helped me support my dysfunction. Somewhere in the mix of all of this……. I lost me. I looked in the mirror one day and had to face painful realities that I had been neglecting to accept about myself. Living out honesty and truth, in everything, has been something I began to commit to a few years back and I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. I had violated my conscience enough over the years and it needed to stop, right there, right then. The truth is, it has always been easier to attempt to “fix” others, then to deal with me and my malfunctions. As it turns out the only thing I will ever have any chance to change or fix is me. It’s not possible to fix others. Our only influence is one of being an example to others. That’s it! And I was not the “example” by any stretch of the imagination. I have lived under the delusion for a long time that my influence was greater than it really was and that it was all positive. I guess deep down I had a lot of resentment and convoluted thoughts related to my emotional and physical dysfunction and I developed all sorts of coping mechanisms to attempt to deal with those emotions and symptoms. It goes deeper than that, and it’s fairly complex, and I believe through this blog I will be exploring that from time to time, but I don’t really want to go into all that right now in this introduction. I just figured it was time to be honest with myself and if others wanted to learn about my journey, cheer me on or read just out of curiosity, that would be fine. I am game. Plus, writing for me has always been a joy and therapeutic. So here we go…..
So, back to the mirror. Here are the facts: I am a food addict. I have been obsessed with food and drink most of my life. I had 45 lbs to loose (I have recently lost 10, making that 35 now). I had been afraid of the scale and hadn’t weighed myself in 5 years. It was safer and I thought less painful to keep my head in the sand. I have a history of bulimia. I have insulin resistance. I have adrenal fatigue. I am gluten, dairy and soy intolerant. I have a history of poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and fatty liver. I have had severe depression on and off for the past 9 years and I just recovered from Lyme’s disease not too long ago.
OK, so to get an idea of what a big hypocrite I have been let’s review: I spent most of my professional years working in healthcare. I have a lot of knowledge about the anatomy, chemistry and physiology of the body and I still continually study, learning more all the time, because it’s endless. There are no such things as experts, sorry, our bodies are way too complex and frankly a little mysterious, no matter how much one thinks he or she knows or what kind of paper they have on their wall. Where I currently find myself is the result of bad behaviors and habits (except for the Lyme’s, that is the tick’s fault) and all of it is wrong and unacceptable because I was completely out of balance. I could say that I have been a victim of my circumstances, as I have had some tough ones, but the truth is I made all those choices. No one forced me to overeat. To be fair, I didn’t know how to make better ones at the time. I wouldn’t claim complete consciousness. I was definitely manipulated by my cycling, out of control emotions and an inability to cope properly with the stress I was dealing with. I have been in the last 25+ years a committed vegan, vegetarian, Atkins adherent, raw food-est and a health educator. I have done it all, and I am always 100% committed to what I am doing, but I have lived in denial about that fact that none of these things were helping. In fact many of these things were making me worse. When I was a vegan and a raw food-est I had great digestion but I was as weak as a kitten and my immune system plummeted. When I was a vegetarian I put on weight and my periods became more irregular than they already were from the PCOS, which is rooted in insulin resistance. When I was a Atkins adherent I saw some really good health improvements, hormones were more in balance (enough for me to conceive my daughter), energy and neurological function increased, but it wasn’t sustainable for the long term. I think the healthiest I felt was on Atkins, because it was the only time my blood sugar was stable, but I wasn’t getting enough micro nutrients and dairy was making me ill most of the time so it wasn’t ideal. I have milled my own wheat, made fermented foods and cooked everything organically. I have taught a lot of others to do the same. Now, not everything I did was wrong, but I want to give you an idea of my level of commitment here. Or shall we say, obsession. That is probably more honest. I did all these things and I OVER did them and I did them for others, for the approval of others and not me. It was never about what my body needed. I don’t think I ever even considered that at the time. I was about as disconnected from my own body and possibly my mind at times as one could get although you would never know it. And when I became stressed, which happened often, my philosophy about eating was “if a little was a effective in calming my nerves a lot must be better.”
My biggest problem wasn’t my diet, although what I was eating or not eating was not helping, especially the quantity, it was between my ears. Until something began to heal, there, in my head, nothing else was going to get better. Almost 3 years ago that began to change. I had come to a place where my eye was twitching uncontrollably and my heart pounded unpredictably and I was having trouble breathing. Sleep was horrible. I frequently broke down and had a hard time functioning. Something needed to change, quickly, or I was going to lose it. Most people didn’t know this about me. I am very good at putting on a front and don’t forget the person I wanted to deceive the most met me at the mirror every morning and she was pretty deluded. My life was far from ideal. I had lost a lot of friends due to another congregational fiasco (a series of long stories I won’t tell here) and I felt very isolated and alone, no longer having a community. I was very depressed and because I have a emotionally ill child I faced a daily barrage of unpredictable behaviors that I had no idea how to deal with emotionally. I had no support from anyone except my husband and older children and just a few good friends that had always stood by me and understood our life’s challenges. Life became too much. I was sick, emotionally and physically. Through a series of circumstances, none of which I believe are accidental, I found a person that taught Judeo-Christian meditation. In Christian circles, for the most part, the word “Meditation” is a little like a swear word, even though it is found through out the whole of scripture, and that is mostly because most Christians don’t know what it is and they think it is some “weird New Age thing”. To put it simply, it’s not praying, it’s getting quiet on the inside, so you can hear Him. I was honestly done with praying at that point, because it didn’t seem to be helping me and I was tired. So I gave it a shot. Oh boy, did I begin to hear, slowly. It was good. It was painful. It was cleansing and it was and is healing. It was and is a lot of things. But, one thing is for sure, the world became a lot more clear to me. “I” became a lot more clear to me and although that was painful it was very liberating. Since then the realizations have continued to come and recently I realized that it was time for me to learn my personal specifications and start to love me and take care of myself.
I don’t want to tell anyone what they should eat, how they should exercise or how they should live. Not anymore! I am done with that. Take care of yourself. Hack yourself! Find out what your specifications are. Find out what makes your body feel strong and capable and makes it function like it was created to. I need to figure “me” out first and that is what I intend to do. So, that is my journey.
I will be sharing what I am doing, consistently if I can do it, and I’d love to hear what you are doing, so please comment but keep it encouraging. There is enough ugliness in the world and we don’t need to trip one another up. We are all different and my “specifications” are not yours and yours are not mine. I am learning to be mindful of the subtle clues the body puts forth and I recommend everyone do the same, when they are ready. It took me three years to be ready and to learn to connect to my body and most importantly to learn to start to love it. It’s now time.
These are the improvements I have noticed over the last month since I started this: A loss of 10.5 lbs in 25 days, brain fog has cleared considerably, depression has lifted, anxiety is decreased, positive mental outlook is more the norm than just an occasional occurrence, cravings are mostly gone, no cramping before period (huge improvement), bleeding decreased, energy improved so now exercising consistently, skin condition improving, rashes decreasing and digestion is very regular.
Here is my protocol, which I will be continually adjusting as I monitor my body’s changes:
My macros are 80% good fats, 15% protein and 5%carbohydrates. I strive to hit these daily and sometimes I do, but I am close enough, daily.
Plenty of fresh clean water!
I am in Nutritional Ketosis, meaning my body is burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates and as a result I am secreting ketones and losing weight. I think it took me about 3 weeks to adapt. I felt like crap until I did. Just being honest. I had what is known as the “keto flu.” It went away with the help of sea salt and magnesium. Then a fog lifted and I felt like a new person. Everyday is a little better. My blood sugar now remains very stable in this state.
I eat A LOT of leafy green organic vegetables and cruciferous vegetables, no fruit (for now), healthy fats such as ghee, coconut oil, mct oil and olive oil and proteins such as grass fed beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and eggs. I do not eat pork or shellfish as they are very toxic. I drink only water and herbal tea and sweeten anything I need to with stevia. I do not eat nuts. There are good well thought out reasons for these choices that I have made for my body. The choices never end. I am constantly tweaking this or that.
I practice IF or intermittent fasting occasionally.
I take Chaste Berry, St. John’s Wort, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K, a Probiotic, Beef Collagen, Magnesium and Himalayan Sea Salt.
I drink a cup of bone broth every day. It provides necessary minerals that I need and helps keep my electrolytes balanced.
I walk and sometimes run the dog 5 days a week, do TABATA 5 days a week and Pilates once a week. 25 days ago I was completely sedentary.
Most importantly, I meditate consistently. Studies have shown that the blood sugar elevates when a person is stressed, regardless of diet, and meditation is not only straightening out my thinking it has been pivotal in my healing. It is also preventing the stress-> cortisol->insulin cycle that is the root cause in many of the physical problems I have been dealing with. I have more good days than bad now.
What I am doing doesn’t fit a “category” that I am aware of. I am combining data and methods of success from all sorts of diets and eating styles to come up with what works for me personally. So, please don’t think that because I am in ketosis that I am an advocate of the mainstream ketogenic way of eating or paleo or primal. I am not 100% committed to anyone’s prescriptive way of eating. I have certainly borrowed from all those, but this is and continues to be unique to my own specifications.
So there it is. A rather long introduction, I know. My other entries will be shorter, to the point and communicate the process I am going through for me to see my progress, remain encouraged and hopefully it will encourage you too on your journey.