Welcome to The Speedy Spatula blog! As you all know, I usually post delicious, fast and easy recipes, but I wanted to take one day out of the week to connect to you all with some real talk. So let’s get to it!
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve recently embarked on a journey (that makes it sound so glamorous and important! ha!) to learn how my body works and specifically what foods make me “tick” so to speak. I have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and high blood pressure due to weight gain while carrying my now 19 month old son. All of these things coupled with the fact that I am a cancer survivor and already at risk for various health problems have caused me to really delve into the world of healthy eating.
My primary goal in changing my eating habits is to become healthy and get my high blood pressure and hypothyroidism under control without the aid of medication but a close second to that goal is to lose weight. I need to lose 53lbs total in order to be back in my healthy weight category. So far I have lost 14lbs by eating a more Paleo diet as well as counting Smart Points using the Weight Watcher program.
Those of us who are currently dieting or have dieted in the past know that with that can come a load of negative emotions that can create a really unhealthy self image in our minds if we’re not careful. Today I want to share a little bit of my story with you and also share how I have changed my mindset toward dieting.
I have always struggled with my weight, usually feeling as though I constantly needed to lose 10-20lbs, therefore as a result I have been a chronic dieter. I have tried counting calories and had great success a couple years back when I lost 25lbs. I have jumped on the low carb bandwagon and lost 20lbs right before I graduated high school. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and hate what you see and just wish you could be someone else. I have felt that I was never “small” enough, the numbers on the scale were never low enough and the size of my clothing was never “perfect” enough. I have lived my entire life feeling as though I was not enough. Without realizing it, I made the number on the scale and the size of my clothing my identity. I felt as though I was that overweight number or that too large shirt. My self confidence suffered, my quality of life declined and I became miserable. So with that misery growing daily, my go-to solution was always to jump on another diet fad. I would work hard, lose the weight, and then my old (and bad!) eating habits would come back to pay a visit and I would slowly decline back into what was comfortable for me which in turn would cause weight gain and once again I would find myself in that downward spiral of being miserable, beating myself up for my “failure” and once again, hopping on another diet bandwagon.
I would probably still be in that vicious and destructive cycle today if it wasn’t for the birth of my son 19 months ago. My mindset really began to change when I became pregnant. My first response was a slight sense of panic because I knew weight gain was inevitable, but instead of allowing that thought to consume me, I determined to eat healthy, exercise when I could for as long as I could (in a safe way) and do my best to give my growing child the best I could. I just embraced the journey of motherhood and found a peace in embracing life in the moment that I had never found before. I was able to maintain a healthy pregnancy and walked regularly until the end of my second trimester when I started experiencing some premature labor and my doctor advised that I stop regular exercise until my last trimester. That’s really when my pregnancy weight gain took a large upward spike and I gained the majority of the 35lbs that I ended up gaining during my pregnancy.
In spite of that weight gain, I was able to have a healthy pregnancy with no complications and delivered a healthy baby boy. However, when I came out of my pregnancy, I found myself at my highest weight I had ever been. The old feelings of depression begin to creep back when I lost all but 15lbs that were still hanging on. When I went to my doctor the first of this year she came back with some less than exciting news – I now had hypothyroidism and high blood pressure. She attributed the high blood pressure to the pregnancy weight gain and assured me that if I could lose back down to a healthy weight for me I would probably be able to get the high blood pressure under control without the aid of medication.
So with all of that being said, that brings us to where I am today. It would have been easy to leave the doctor’s office full of fear and discouragement and just start blindly and mindlessly dieting once again but I knew now that solution was not really a solution at all because when the “diet” is over, the weight always comes back.
I determined to change my way of eating and living FOR GOOD and stop the vicious cycle that I know would eventually not only destroy my health but my peace of mind. I started out joining Weight Watchers since that was a program my doctor recommended and have been doing that for several months now but found that counting my Smart Points was too closely related to “dieting” and counting calories which brought back some old negative feelings for me so here recently over the last month, I have adopted a more Paleo lifestyle and have been striving to eat intuitively and really learn how my body works and what foods I process well and those foods that I can’t handle. Just in this last month of self-experimentation I have learned so much about my body but what is more valuable is that I have learned alot about my own thought process and those emotions and feelings that surround the concept of “dieting” and losing weight.
One thing I have changed during this process of learning is that I don’t use the term “diet” anymore as a reference to a weight loss program or regime. Now, when I say “diet” I am simply referring to a way of eating. Although my goal is to lose weight, I am giving myself time to learn what works for me and what doesn’t and I’m really not focusing on the number on the scale. While I do still weigh-in and monitor my weight it’s more of a way to see what is working diet wise and what isn’t than to see if I’m losing weight. I am making changes in my eating habits now that I intend to maintain for the rest of my life so I am taking time and allowing myself to make mistakes and learn from them in order to find a way of eating that is sustainable for me and that will not only improve my health and quality of life but will also allow me to lose weight and maintain the weight loss.
This post is becoming rather lengthy and I still have so much to share so I will close for now and resume this conversation in a different post but I wanted to leave you with this bit of advice: don’t confine yourself to one diet plan and one form of eating and feel that is the only way to go. I had resigned myself to counting calories or points for the rest of my life because it does work, however, I have quickly discovered I can not live the rest of my life counting everything that goes into my mouth. I encourage you to find what works for you and stick with that. Let’s have fun on the journey and be kind to ourselves in the process because after all, it really is a process!