On February 7th of 2000 I began a diet. Fast forward 20 years, and it is truly not only a lifestyle, but a career. Never did I imagine that I would be successful on a weight loss plan much less make it a lifestyle and career! A lifestyle? Now that was a new word to me. I must admit, in my lifetime, I have never followed through with anything except childbirth and that, only because I had no choice.
Hey, I just wanted to lose weight! I wanted to be thin, and I wanted it now! Unfortunately, this attitude was the precursor to every other diet I had been on which resulted in yo-yo dieting.
I have been on many diets in my lifetime. Interestingly enough, many of my childhood struggles were finally figured out through my weight loss journey and nutrition education. I think this might be the most valuable self discovery I have ever experienced in my lifetime.
Childhood Questions Answered Through Diet
Let's take a look back so you have a better idea of this discovery I speak of. This is important to me because if I can help you, your child or someone else understand the value of optimum nutrition, it is my hope that one less child will be medicated un-necessarily, garner self esteem, focus, complete projects, express creativity in a controlled manner and blend in just like the rest of the children. Yes, I was that child. I can take this a step further though and share with you not only did I have at that time Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms but as well, a slight tic and some compulsive behavior tendencies.I am not nor was I ever officially diagnosed. This was the early 1970's and while I did see a therapist off an on, I can honestly say it did not contribute to any success for me.
As an example, my tic consisted of shaking my head just enough for others to notice. As a sufferer of compulsive behavior, all I can share with you is the need to shake was there and the amount had to be consistent, even numbers. With this, a Doctor thought it a cure to remove me from class every hour, send me outside so I could just "do my head shake thing". Anyone who has ever suffered an OCD or other compulsive disorders knows that there is no schedule for a tic and in fact, as a strep throat sufferer, I may have suffered a viral side effect. It could have been a B deficiency, magnesium deficiency and/or intestinal permeability since I was on quite a few antibiotics as a child.
All this remedy did was...
Give me a headache
Distract me further
Make the need to shake my head even greater
Humiliate me in front of an entire class of peers
Food Issues and Cognitive Function
I had an average childhood, loving parents and plenty of activities to prevent boredom. It wasn't enough though to keep me busy, hire tutors or trips to weekly therapy. Fortunately, medication was never introduced and as far as I remember, never even discussed though I'm sure in retrospect, that would have been an easier route for my Mother. As I entered my teen years, I became more interested locating the fun rather than focus on my school work.
I would get so behind from the beginning of a semester all the while telling myself and my parents "I'm going to work hard this time to pay attention" though I never followed through and became a statistic with a teenage pregnancy. I often wonder what drives a child to constantly seek the wrong path or the wild side of decisions? I was that child and I cannot, for the life of me tell you why the need to make the wrong decision always outweighed the right decision but what I can tell you had I had a higher protein diet and had the physicians run some labs, it may have been discovered that I had a thyroid that was not in optimum working order.
You may be wondering at this point why I've decided to go so deep into my childhood rather than just give you my diet story but my revelations have been so great that this is in fact an integral part of this journey of self discovery, weight loss and the path to better health and greater cognition. The real key to my story is my constant thoughts of food as a child and the direct correlation between proper nourishment, behavior and cravings. They are all in fact tied together through "chemical imbalance."
I was about 15-20lbs. over weight for most of my childhood. My Mother was conscious about not only her weight but mine as well. We went on diets frequently but they were always forms of fad diets to lose weight only to discontinue it after several weeks or upon arrival of an event we were preparing for. My best memory of dieting was the TWA Stewardess diet that was quite popular in the 1970's. What do I remember most? I was always hungry. I remember constantly thinking about food. A box of candy, a plate of fudge or cookies, I would try to eat as much as I could as frequently as possible. If it was in the room, it was constantly on my mind.
As a child, I remember fainting a couple of times and other times, feeling out of control all while feeling constantly hungry and consequently, irritable.
I had fluctuating blood sugar issues along with dis-regulated hormones and never realized this until I began studying nutrition! Frankly, I constantly wondered what was wrong with me? Unfortunately, even after more than 12 years on a healthy eating plan, I still had hormonal problems that I had to figure out. Many physicians, many tests, no answers until one very humble researcher led me on a path of self diagnostic discovery.
Vegetable Oil Era Damaged Family
For 3 Generations
Fast forward several years, many diets and still, I am unfocused, a smoker and weighing in at 215 lbs. on a 5' 4" frame. I guess it was time once again for Weight Watchers. I was successful with this plan after my third child but never without the assistance of diet pills. I had what I thought was a ravenous appetite but most importantly would consistently chastise myself for a lack of discipline. I can't say "nothing worked" or "that diet failed me" because truly, I never really completed a plan to a goal weight I would be happy with and never was I ever focused enough to complete an exercise program that others might say would garner great results. As I mentioned earlier, follow through and perseverance are not virtues of the ADD person unless there is a great deal of interest and when I mention the use of diet pills, the ADD person is also more inclined to become addicted to substances such as appetite suppressants and most particularly "uppers". Yes, I was that statistic. We all have our dirty little secrets to try to achieve goals and I find that if I share mine, somehow I will help you to realize that there is an easier, more efficient, healthier way, a balanced approach that feeds the metabolism. I was starved for fat, not dangerous vegetable oils.
My husband and I always shopped together, tried to make healthful choices usually serving chicken and some form of vegetables but it was always either low or non fat choices and plenty of bread. As most parents, we did the best we could with the information we had. My children to this day are not fans of chicken pasta and vegetable medley's as this was their staple for a few years. These were the years I followed the USDA food pyramid and low fat diet advice. I even tried a stint in vegetarianism! White rolls and loads of vegetables I figured out didn't feed me efficiently though Dr. Mc Dougall had me convinced that this was the right diet for the human frame. I now know better! Dr. Mc Dougall did not live in my body that was suffering from blood sugar control and a lack of fat. The food pyramid is politically driven not scientifically driven. In fact, in my journey, I've also learned that a study most always benefits the funder and not the general public.
The Plan is Introduced!
In December of 1999, my oldest daughter just a Junior in high school, heard me comment on a neighbor who had shed several pounds on The Atkins Diet. Now, at this time, nutrition was not a word I was even vaguely familiar with. I knew that many vegetables and fruit were healthy but the extent of which I consumed vegetables were minimal and high glycemic fruits & vegetables were always my first choice ie: corn, peas and bananas. I'm not a huge fan of vegetables now and choose those that I enjoy that I know are providing me with the nutrition and phytochemicals needed without forcing something I don't enjoy.
Enter my daughter at Christmas and my very own copy of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. As I had done with every past choice in my life, I only read the first few chapters and began the diet without first completing the book. The only books I had ever completed were Danielle Steele novels so why would anyone expect I, the typical ADD person would finish my copy of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution? My current library is extensive and I'm now the "geek" which I love.
Real People, Real Advice
Fortunately, we had also purchased our first computer that year and we were on-line! I am so thankful for the internet because I attribute my success to the access to bulletin boards directly devoted to the Atkins and other blood sugar regulation diet plans. I had Real People giving me personal advice! While I don't currently follow the Atkins plan, it's a great start for one truly interested in transitioning to a whole foods lifestyle with weight loss as a fabulous benefit.
My losses were great, the food was filling and for the first time in my life I was losing weight without diet pills or starvation! I was elated. I have never looked back, I have not gained and I most importantly, have discovered the secret to my constant hunger and cravings. It was all in my head and I figured out how to fix it. I had blood sugar issues and consequently, a fatty acid and amino acid deficiency!
Learning About ME
It hasn't been an easy road, I did not slide right into goal rather I made many mistakes along the way. These mistakes and stalls have allowed me to learn new things about myself, the food I was consuming and the choices I was consciously making. While it was frustrating during a stall, I knew there were changes I could make to get that scale to budge. Sometimes I made those changes and sometimes I did not. I knew though that I was eating and I was eating well. Maintaining wasn't a bad thing, it actually assisted me in realizing what my body would sustain on. Never did I count a calorie or carbohydrate rather I would eat intuitively which was a control that I never once had previously. Interestingly enough, what I also discovered was, frequently it wasn't actually the diet that was preventing the weight loss but my lifestyle and hormones.
What I have realized is that when one is properly nourished, sleeps well and manages stress then one does not have cravings or impulsive food thoughts. It's almost miraculous the control I now have over my food choices. Never did I ever think I would be that girl at the party who was able to confidently say no to dessert!
Never had this been the case previously and as a matter of fact, I would try to get as much desert as I possibly could.
The Need to Learn More
While I learned a great deal about food and nutrition on my own, I had a need to learn more. A desire to help others discover the secret of my success! With much thought, I decided that I needed an education in this new found passion. I enrolled in my community college and Nutrition 101 here I come! Well, 6 weeks into this mundane class, I decided studying the USDA Food Pyramid was not my gig. It had not worked for me in the past why would this course make it any different? Though I wasn't educated in nutrition, I knew these conventional teachings did not work for me and that there had to be something different...something that wasn't driven by those who had a financial stake. This lead me to my formal education at The Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition. I finally found what I had been looking for. Answers to 40+ years of struggles with weight, Attention Deficit Disorder and the slight OCD I had suffered so many years. I discovered the relationship between a healthy mind, body and holistic nutrition. It was interesting because many of my text books were published as main stream books for the individual. The Diet Cure for example written by Julia Ross was a wealth of valuable information for me.
While my text books were an important part of my formal education, my informal education consists of reading every diet book out there. From CAD, Protein Power, Atkins (most editions), Neanderthin, Skinny Bitch, You on a Diet, the list is extensive! Nothing touched me like the following three books; The Diet Cure, Know Your Fats and Eat Fat, Lose Fat. A Recovery Specialist, and a Lipid Biochemist have in fact poured over and put many previous studies into question. Yes, these were the misconstrued reports of fat and its relationship to heart disease. There is no relationship...that was the final conclusion. If you have any interest at all in anything I recommend, I highly recommend you grab a copy of both The Diet Cure and Eat Fat Lose Fat.
It could change your whole life! Should you desire more biochemistry and physiology, I like to follow Dr. Ray Peat.
Low Carb isn't a panacea for health
After 15 years, I realized that my low carb diet was failing me. All of the carbs I passed up, the fresh fruit abundance in favor of vegetables, always saying no to dessert, the phrase uttered "don't even offer, she won't eat it"...Yes, the "good dieter" was broken and it felt humiliating. My weight loss journey and svelt body were quickly halted by menopause and stress. How was I going to explain to my clients that I can't seem to help myself? That was the most frightening part of my journey. Some very personal family struggles and menopause just about killed me. My body wasn't able to adapt to the onslaught and as I became more stressed, I restricted my diet even more. I began a gut healing protocol because the stress had caused leaky gut syndrome and with that, I became the shell of a person I once was. Gone was my energy and my vitality for this depressed, frumpy individual who could now sleep for 12 hours a day. Migraine headaches, swollen feet & ankles, IBS, drawn face and an onslaught of other symptoms that resulted in auto-immune scares. This felt like a disaster and probably one of the greatest lessons of my journey. The body is dynamic and if we don't fuel it based on the ever changing fluidity of life, we will most certainly suffer. What I didn't realize at the time was the physiology of the essentiality of carbohydrate for thyroid function and cellular respiration. I'm now more energetic than ever before and while my body is different, I'm happy. I'm learning how to accept this post menopausal body, supplement to maintain hormonal balance and began picking those weights up now that I have the strength and energy again. This was the point in which mineral balancing became my passion. Once I ran my own labs, I realized exactly where I was personally suffering and determined that my adrenal and thyroid output were suffering terribly. No wonder napping became my favorite past time! Unfortunately, I was relegated to diagnosing myself because one ND, a Chiropractor, Cardiologist and MD failed me. With an inflammatory marker that might kill a horse, I was at my wits end and my husband was scared to death.
Wish I Knew Then...
Had we known about good nutrition, my mother, myself and all 3 of my children could have struggled less with greater academic success. This is certainly the classic case of "Wish I knew then what I know now."
I do know now and consistently share with my children and look forward to sharing with you for healthy weight loss, nutrient balance, immune modulation, stress reduction and elevated health. It is my goal to lead you on a journey of self discovery through self diagnostics.
Take back your health and start enjoying your life!
In Good Health!
Your Coach in Wellness
“If we learn to see problems in terms of a general disorder of energy metabolism, we can begin to solve them.”
Ray Peat, PhD.
"Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older."