Fat Fridays: Week 16 Finding the New Normal

Here we are again, another week has zoomed past and I’m stopping to take some time to reflect on what theme stands out from this week. This week has been one of those weeks where I really questioned whether my diet is actually doing me any good. My weight loss seems to have slowed down. I have had a couple days where I’ve been really tired, two mornings where I’ve woken up with a really bad headache. My blood sugar has been dropping really low at unexpected times, where I find myself shaking and needing to eat immediately. And of course I blame it on my diet. I’m not getting enough protein, I’m missing out on some key nutrition, I’m doing this wrong somehow…

I was starting to feel really discouraged  two days ago and then I thought about it and got some perspective. First of all, not only do I have a giant diet-change going on, I also stopped nursing my toddler. Cold-turkey. He’s over 2 years old. I never meant to nurse him this long, it just kind of dragged out. He’s our last baby and I wasn’t in a hurry for him to grow up. But then the nursing was starting to get really annoying. He was getting up every night and then wanting to nurse and being whiny all day about it. I was complaining about it to my husband last Thurs and he said, You need to wean him! And I agreed. And we just stopped. One week later, he is sleeping through the night, has stopped pestering me all day and seems a lot happier. It was definitely the right time. But, as I have blamed my diet for making me feel weird this week, I conveniently forgot about the fact that my body is going through the shock of not nursing anymore. And it’s an even bigger shock because, aside from about 3 months back in 2010, I have been nursing or pregnant for 19 years straight. I think I need to have a little grace for this poor body as it tries to figure out what is going on and get adjusted.

The other thing to take into consideration is all the toxins in our environment. Toxins that get inside of us and then get stored in our fat cells. And then, when you lose weight, those toxins get released into your body. That might account for some of my headache days I’ve been having. I woke up with a headache this morning so I took some chlorella which helps flush your system of toxins, and drank a bunch of water and the headache eased off after about an hour.

I wish that I knew exactly what was going on inside my body since I’ve changed my diet. If some of you readers have articles to share that teach you exactly what is happening hormonally and on the cell-level when you change over to a vegan diet, I’d love to read them. Share a link in the comments. I have always been one of those people that need to know Why? Why do I have a headache? Why am I sick? What is going on exactly in my body? What is this medicine actually going to do inside of me to make me feel better? My mother is Physician Assistant, and I remember as a child, when I was sick, I always wanted in-depth explanations of what was going on in my body, and she was always willing to take the time to explain it to me. I still want that in-depth explanation.

In the end, I think this week has been about my body trying to find the new normal. My hormones trying to adjust to no longer supporting another life, me trying to figure out exactly what I need to eat, and how much in order to keep my blood sugar steady, my body trying to drop weight and having to deal with some negative side-effects from that. I think it’s going to take a while to find this new normal. But, knowing that I’m going through an adjustment period, instead of the diet failing me, helps me to not be discouraged. I’m not giving up! Onwards, towards the new normal!

Goals for this week: EXERCISE!! Since I’m using this blog as a sort of accountability, I will make myself confess that I, once again, did not exercise much this week. Aside from a walk to the park with a bunch of kids that involved me pushing a very heavy stroller up a very long, steep, hill…I have not exercised.  THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE!!! Cause it’s getting embarrassing to keep having to tell you guys that I didn’t exercise. That’s it. This is my only goal besides sticking to the diet. See you all next week!

Fat Fridays: Week 9 Diary of a Sugar Detox

Last week I wrote that I was going to fast sugar for a week. But not until I had finished eating my Valentine’s chocolate. Well, Sunday night I had one more chocolate left. I toyed around with the idea of hanging on to that last chocolate for an indefinite amount of time so I wouldn’t have to start my fast, but finally decided to stop dragging my feet. Besides, I had developed a tooth ache and sugar wasn’t sounding very good anyway. I gave my last chocolate to my husband and decided to start Monday morning. My end goal is to break the sugar addiction so that sugar becomes an occasional treat instead of a daily necessity. I ended up keeping an informal diary…

Day 1: First day without sugar. I don’t think this is going to be a problem. My teeth are hurting so badly that I don’t want to eat anything except lukewarm soup. Maybe some soft bread. I reached for a grape in the fridge and then thought about biting into the cold fruit and how my teeth wouldn’t like that and I immediately returned the grape to the fridge.

Day 2: I’m proud of my breakfast. A bowl of chicken vegetable soup, some toast and an orange. Breakfast is always the hardest time of day for me to avoid sugar. How do I live without cereal, or oatmeal with brown sugar, or pastries, or sweetened yogurts, or muffins? I’m starting to feel a headache coming on which always happens to me when I cut sugar out of my diet. I’m going to exercise and drink tea and lots of water and hope it doesn’t get too bad. I keep finding myself thinking, maybe I’ll have a granola bar..wait no sugar.. Maybe I’ll make some caramel popcorn for the kids…wait no sugar…Maybe I’ll put some strawberry jam on my toast..wait no sugar.. I think it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.

Day 3: Today has been my grumpy day. I woke up with a mild headache and felt a bit queasy. Either I was coming down with something or my body was struggling to adjust to the lack of sugar in my system. All day I gravitated towards sugary food only to have to remind myself, NO SUGAR! This evening I had to go to Walmart. It was 9:30 at night and I was tired. I pulled into the parking lot and I thought, hmm, I should get a nice donut. Wait. No sugar. Then I wondered why I wanted a donut..and that would be because I’m tired. I needed a boost to get me through this last push of grocery shopping and getting home and putting groceries away before I could finally collapse into bed. I’ve never been big on caffeine, but instead I think I use sugar to give me that jolt of energy I need. I tried to think of what I could buy that would do the same thing, but didn’t have sugar. I saw a bag of fresh, crisp, green grapes and that looked good so I put them in the cart. Then I was walking past the cookie aisle and I saw the sugar-free cookie section. Yes! Cookies! Without sugar! Perfect! Of course, I had an inner voice lecturing me about chemicals and additives and fake stuff that wasn’t going to be any better for my body, but who cares, cookies sounded good. I finally got out to the car, put the groceries in the back of the van and pulled out both the sugar-free cookies and the grapes and brought them to the front of the van with me. I decided to experiment. I ate a grape, savored it for a minute. Then I pulled out a cookie, tried to savor it. It was a bit gross. Just a bit. It was definitely sweet, but did not deliver that oomph that real sugar does. It was actually pretty unexciting. I put the cookies away and continued to munch on the grapes. Maybe this counts as a small victory.

Day 4: For some reason, this has been the hardest day so far. Isn’t this supposed to be getting easier? I woke up with a headache (about the only time I get headaches is when I make major changes to my diet). I’ve felt tired and listless and just want to stay in bed. I’m feeling disappointed because it seems like I should be getting more energy. I’ve been exercising from 30 minutes to an hour every day for several weeks now and I still feel sore and achy at night. I was hoping that getting off sugar would give me more energy, but apparently I’m not at that stage yet. Right now my body seems to be in shock and can barely drag through the day. Three nights in a row now I have laid in bed exhausted and wide awake, my dear friend Insomnia paying a visit. It kind of makes you pause and think, what on earth have I been doing to myself? What is this drug that I’ve been drowning myself in? And yes, you might think, well maybe this has nothing to do with sugar, maybe you’re just fighting a virus. I might be tempted to think that, except that this has happened every single time I have taken sugar out of my diet ( I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve done that, and yet I still always go back to eating sugar). I’m thinking I’m going to have to extend this fast for another week just so I can get it fully out of my system and start reaping some of the benefits.

 

Well, three more days to go before I’m officially done with the fast. It’s funny, I always flippantly think, Oh, I’ll just stop eating sugar, or white bread, or junk food. I forget how hard it is to change your course, your path, the normal way you do things. I’m glad I’m doing this whole healthy thing slowly. I don’t think I can handle more than one change at a time. Hopefully by next week I’ll be sugar free and boasting about how much energy I have. We’ll see. See y’all next week.