Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Gluten Free Adventure - One Year in the Making

365 Days - That is how long it has been since I have changed my life style choices and made a real and honest attempt at healthy living.

365 Days - That is how many days I have woken up in the morning feeling better than I have in years. You read that right, Years, with an S!

Like so many women in America and the world my day to day lifestyles and beliefs have been manipulated and molded by the media, society, family, co-workers and my own views of how 'I' should be. People pigeon hole individuals into categories and life experiences that don't always indicate the best choices for one another.

August 12, 2013, I took my life back. I made a goal for myself and I busted my ass until I couldn't take it anymore, and then I started over. I took my life back!

Being an overweight woman in this day in age is very hard. Sometimes, it's so depressing you don't want to leave your bed, home or your pajamas to get out of the house and fight the day to day tasks. Being overweight in America is an easy trap to fall into. One that far too many people I know and see get hung up on.

Here are some realities that I faced, that pre-gluten free (I'll just say P.G.F. in the future) used to make my whole demeanor worse and my desire to get healthy less.

-Infertility - This kept me up at night so depressed that some mornings I didn't even recognize myself.
-Weight - That damn Wii Fit scale went up every time I stood on it. I was encroaching on pounds that I would be so ashamed to even admit I had on to myself. It was horrible.
-Depression - Anyone who has this knows it can be the #1 enemy to getting a better life style.
-Financial Worries - I don't think there is one family in America that can say they have never stayed up at night worrying about one thing or another related to money. Some people deal with it on a grand scale and others on a smaller one. Either way, we all deal with it.

For those that go through similar issues in life you know that each of these issues make your own lives worse. It is a cycle that you just cannot break. One that, kills you. One that, eats at you like you cannot believe. One that slowly makes it almost impossible to recognize yourself at any given moment.

So what changed for me?

Honestly? My Step-Mom.

Step parents always get a bad rap. They have the short end of every stick. Not only are they competing with everyone else in the family for attention and love from you but they are also competing with your birth parents. Most of which you still have relationships with and are very much involved in on a regular basis.

That was no different for my own Step-Mother and I.

In 2000 (or maybe it was 2001) my Step-Mom (Let's just call her SM from now on, okay?) My SM gave me a book. She had been working with me over the summer 3-4 times a week at the local YMCA. She paid for me to have a private trainer, took me to the gym, encouraged me and pushed me. All with the hopes that when I started college I would be closer to 150 pounds. A more healthy weight for my height and build. Alas - it never worked. At most I would lose 10-15 pounds, on a good day weighing in. It was very discouraging and extremely disheartening.

As a child/teenager I used to think that my parents pushed me to lose weight because they were ashamed at how I looked. That I was an embarrassment to be seen with. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized it had nothing to do with being embarrassed to be seen with me but had to do with the fact they wanted me to live a long and healthy life.

As an adult, I look back, and I am thankful. Thankful they gave a damn. Because not all parents do.

So the SM gave me the book, Insulin Resistance Diet and what did I do? I read two chapters and tossed it in my drawer. I still have the book. It sits on my shelf with the pages tabbed the same as I had it that summer when I was bored one day. As an adult, I have read the book in full, but as a teenager I didn't care. I blew the SM off.

And that is something that has cost me an entire decade of happiness.

You see, looking back it's easy to do this, had I just listened to her for a minute a lot of my issues I faced in my 20's would have been eradicated. Or at least, I would have had a better chance at fighting against them and being happier earlier in life.

My 30th year sucked. I had gotten in a car accident that left me nothing but a pain in the ass, I wasn't happy at my job, my hubby and I were fighting over the stupidest things because I wasn't happy with myself.  And my weight ... it had toppled the worst of numbers and I finally felt like I had hit rock bottom.

I mean, it couldn't have gotten any worse than that, trust me!

My family and I had taken a trip to New Orleans to visit my grandparents and I had excused myself to use the restroom. Inside, there was a scale. I slowly placed my feet on top of the grey device and my heart started to speed up its beats. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I exhaled I looked down and my stomach dropped out of my body.

That number was looking back at me. God, that was the worst moment. Knowing I had let myself go so badly that now, now I was ashamed to even walk out of that bathroom.

After I shed a few tears and cleaned off I returned to the family gathering where my Dad and SM had begun talking about this book she had been reading. The Wheat Belly Diet. She said that she really believed that a lot of the health issued my husband and I had experienced in the last decade seemed to stem from gluten and we should really look into it.

This was the last week of July. I said I had a convention to go to the second week of August but I would give this GF deal a try.

So I went to Vegas. I enjoyed as much good and unhealthy food as I could guilt free because 'Monday' I was giving it up.

And I did.

Now am I 100% GF 100% of the time? No. I'm being honest here. About 90%  of the time I maintain the lifestyle and I feel so good for that. And every time I cheat and have something I know I shouldn't, I feel the pain of it. Either in indigestion or lack of sleep or overall feelings of unhealthiness. I feel the difference.

August 12th, my husband and I started this journey. At the same time my Dad and SM were trying out the GF 'fad.' My dad and SM lost 10-15 pounds I think. They are pretty lean individuals as it is. I think my dad said he stays about 80% of the time GF.

But the hubs and I ... yeah. GF was the way to go.

By February 1st he and I had done amazingly well. He had lost 40 pounds and I had lost 35. I felt so good, I slept so much better. And I was actually happy!

And all I did was stop eating wheat flour products!

My co-worker said I wasn't losing the inches the way I had wanted too because I wasn't working out and I should really consider it. So, Feb 1st, I joined the gym. Now before work Mon-Fri unless I am not feeling well (or I sleep in past the alarm and have to rush to work) I am at the gym working out from 5:10-5:45.

It feels amazing. I love it. There is never a better way to wake up and start your day then a nice  drip of sweat running down your body. Knowing that you are doing something to better yourself.

Soon I gained 10 pounds right back and I freaked out. FREAKED! I was like OH MY GOD NO!!!! Thank god it was just muscle mass! But two weeks later, I started going down. And not just in the pounds but in inches.

Now I waver between 50 and 55 pounds total and many inches from my body. I was a size 26 when all of this started. Now I can fit into some of my size  18, 20, 22 clothing. Just depending on the cuts of the material.

Believe me when I say I am fitting into cloths that I have not worn in YEARS.

Now I know the next step is for me to completely give up Dr. Pepper, not the half assing it like I have been doing for a year. I know that once I do that, then it will really kick into gear.

My goal for these 365 days was to lose 100 pounds.

I know I fell way short of that goal, but did I fail overall? No way. I am doing something people dream about. I am losing weight, I am happy, and I am healthy. And I am NOT taking any drugs to do it or to maintain my weight loss.

That's the other part that people tend to forget about. Anyone can find some way to lose weight but keeping it off is the real goal. Because who wants to put it back on when we just got it off right? I am so proud of how well my husband and I have been doing. I think the real key is to switching things at a slow pace. That way you get the hang of it. And giving yourself permission to fall off the wagon without sending yourself into guilt trip hell.

So what do I do now? Well my 'new' thing for these past few weeks has been organic food. I found an online grocery vendor who sells only organic materials from local farms in Houston. The best part, they freaking deliver! Bye bye grocery store, hello more time to write.

This is great though. Not only is it practically a guarantee I stay on my budget (as I get the same foods at each of the deliveries I have pre set out) it is free of chemicals. The chemicals that infested the wheat grains and caused so many Americans to have an intolerance to Gluten.

I am learning to bake GF foods. I have home made recipes for pancakes/waffles and cobbler. I want to work on home made bread. I miss meat pies and I really want to make them again but I have to work on the dough.

So here is to a happy and wonderful 1 year celebration of the Gluten Free lifestyle. I hope all of you stop and look what it is you are putting in your mouth and think about it.

Is that bite worth it?

Also, food for thought ... now days people are very quick to label kids with ADD, depression, bi-polar, etc... Did you know the chemicals in all of these typical foods can cause mood disorders? How much better would your family be if instead of popping pills to level your sons mood out you just simply bought foods with no chemicals.

In the end - I am glad I finally listened to my SM. Because she saved me from myself.

I just wish it hadn't taken a freaking decade to realize that sometimes your parents know best. And you know the part that made it all perfect? Once I became happy with myself, with the help of the SM's push for GF - the rest of my life, worked itself out.

And now, I know what true and honest, happiness is.

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