January 5, 2014

New Year: Healthy Choices in 2014

Fact: I'm not one to make New Year resolutions.  But... I have been missing Zumba, and I do want to find ways to be more active (especially now that it's sooo cold outside).  And... I do want to eat healthier foods, and I need to have more energy.

Thing is, I've struggled to figure out what is actually "healthier" to eat.  As is usually the case for me, a lot of different influences have come together to change my life for the better.  The end result is that I'm starting to eat and feel better, and I have so much more energy! 
The key concept I keep coming back to again and again is BALANCE.

First though, I want to address having a healthy body image.  I recently read "Babies Ruin Bodies" and was inspired by her perspective.  N'tima ends with "My body is only a vessel for my spirit. An incredible vessel. It is strong, well, abled, and undefeated. My body is full of life. My body is powerful.  My body made me a mother. If anything, I was ruined by the world before I knew her (daughter) & she made me whole again." Also, I recently saw this great interview of Robyn Lawley on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Robyn is considered a plus size model, even though I believe that her size is typical of the average size for women.  She emphasizes not nit-picking the little things but accepting "our natural size."  Robyn says she wishes more people would say "I love my body" because of the positive impact it can have on your life.  She also states that "Food is not the problem, it's society."

You have to determine what is healthy for you and your own body.  Do you have a healthy mindset about your body?  Do you have a healthy mindset about food?  Again, I come back to balance.  A balanced mind.  We have to feed our mind and spirit, and our body.  Food is good, with balance.

Here's a little background regarding my health: After a miscarriage in 2008 and a beautiful baby boy in 2009, I had a hard time finding the time to get back to my pre-baby weight.  I tried to make little changes here and there, but, in February of 2012, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  Right away I started a prescription drug, but I stopped after a month because I didn't find the relief beneficial in light of all the side effects.  I continued care with a great PCP, went a little more often to an amazing chiro, and explored supplements and diet changes.  With the help of the most amazing Physical Therapist I've ever met, I was almost pain and fatigue free within the next 12 months.  Through lots of reading and personal experience, I've figured out my main symptoms and triggers, and I've been doing great.  Spring 2013 we moved out of state, and I only had minor stress-induced set backs.  Suddenly though, in the Fall of 2013, I started having episodes of extreme fatigue without noticing any triggers.  I'm familiar with having to ration my energy output (see The Spoon Theory if you'd like more info), but I'm not exaggerating when I say the fatigue was extreme.

Also, during this time, our family had tried to move from a "meat and potatoes" diet to eating more fruits and veggies alongside whole grains.  We've been excited to start "clean eating"... but these changes haven't helped me to lose any weight.

Isn't it frustrating when you think you are doing your best to take steps forward, but you don't see any results?!

Breakthrough: Balance!  We didn't just need "good" food... We needed a good variety, good combinations, and good balance in our food.  We needed to stop centering every snack and meal around carbohydrates.  We may have been eating more veggies, but they were starchy veggies like potatoes and corn.  We may have been eating more whole grains, but these cereals, crackers, breads, and pastas were in each and every snack and meal.  And yes, I may have decreased treats, but sugar was still consumed daily whether in treats or hidden in other foods.  I started to make the connection that my energy would dramatically drop about 3 hours after a carb-filled meal or sugary snack. 

Around this time I had started reading a book that a friend had mentioned.  In "Trim Healthy Mama"  two sisters (about my age) talk about their experience with food fads and how they had a breakthrough.  The book explains my two main problems very clearly:
Problem 1: Too many carbs lead to an insulin spike.  Why is that a problem?  What goes up must come down, and I was either too high and then too low or way too high and then way too low.  That would explain my lack of energy and times of extreme fatigue.
Problem 2: You need to avoid the fat and carb collision in a snack or meal.  Why is that combination a problem?  I had way too much glucose, which my body couldn't burn through, and then the excess was being stored in addition to the fat that was also being stored.

This book is a self-described "common sense guide to satisfy your cravings and energize your life."  I'm still not finished reading it and have just started trying some of the recipes, but already I have seen a major improvement in my energy just by having only one fuel source... either fat OR carbs.  What did I do different?  Balance

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...