How to focus on food without becoming obsessed

Hi everyone!

It’s been a busy past week for me.  We’ve had a bit of a snowstorm in Virginia and that is very exciting (even for a Michigan girl who doesn’t think we really got a lot of snow).

In the past week, I’ve made a decision to severely adjust my diet to see how it affects my body’s healing process.  I was digging around my study and found a lot of my notes from the 17 day diet that I did a couple of years ago.  It made me think that I could probably adjust it to a new way of eating without grains and dairy.

That’s when I realized that I could do my own food cycling eating plan to see how my immune system responds.  Test out the inflammation response.  See if it helps with the weight gain.

This is all an experiment anyway, right?  I need to figure out what works best for me.  Just me.  I’m reading a lot of stuff on Hashi’s and hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, and Paleo eating.

While we all know I need structure, if it’s not right for me, I don’t want to follow a specific plan.  Yeah, I could go all auto-immune protocol, but is that necessary?  Do I really have issues with nightshades?  I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure I don’t.

So I’m making things up as I go.  Trusting my likely leaky gut (another post for another time).

I’m going to try the 17 day diet again, but I’m doing it a little differently.  Instead, I’m going to try modifying my way.

For 17 days, I am going to do the no fruit after 2pm deal, but I’m doing no grains and no dairy as well.  This means that I am pretty much lean meat (no red meat right now), fish (no shellfish right now), fruit before 2pm, and veggies.  I figure if I can eat really clean (no snacks with sugar, which is a great way to detox off my beloved meltaway candy  canes) and alcohol is off too, I can try to figure out my food culprits.

Here’s my meals for the this week, if you are curious.  While in theory this seems really restrictive, it’s actually not too bad.  Would I like some popcorn?  Sure, but not right now. I have amazing will-power, a finely tuned skill I’ve developed over the years.

On the way to work, I drink my 16 ounce hot water with 1/2 lemon.  This week I added in an additional water bottle with 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar.  I’ve actually grown to like the taste.  It’s very refreshing.

Breakfast is 32 ounces of my green juice.  This includes a grocery bag full of kale, 2 green apples, a romaine wedge, a bunch of celery, cucumber, one lemon, parsley, and a big bit of ginger.  I fill up two 16 ounce water bottles and drink this throughout the morning at my desk.  It’s very filling and probably more nutritious than what 90% of my co-workers ate for breakfast today.  I’ve decided not to avoid goitrogens, as I mentioned before.  I believe that if I do have autoimmune leaky gut, then I’m likely not absorbing a lot of nutrients anyway so the juice is super good for me and I don’t care if people think I’m weird.  If I don’t get both bottles drank by lunch, I finish the second bottle with my lunch.

Lunch this week has been chili (no legumes this week).  Lots of lean ground turkey and chicken sausage with carrots, peppers, and onions.  I used a large can of crushed tomatoes and a lot of spicy diced tomatoes.  I would have added squash and stuff but I’m avoiding starchy veggies in the first 17 days.  I’ve been eating 2 cups of this at lunch.  It’s delicious.

Remember that I have to take afternoon pig now, so I set my alarm for 2 hours after lunch and then take the pig.  Then I wait another hour before I can eat again.  This three hours is pretty hard for me because I have to be really strict about my lunchtime and get all my food down so I can have a normal dinner/pre-yoga snack if I go to the 7pm class.

During the afternoon, I drink a lot of water (still getting in the 64 ounces a day at work).

For dinner this week, I’ve been doing a small tilapia filet (unbreaded) with olive oil and pepper.  Then, Kevin’s made me a huge batch of roasted veggies and garlic, which is a meal on it’s own.  He halves up brussel sprouts and chops in peppers, onions, and grape tomatoes.  Again, would put squash in this but not right now.

While this doesn’t seem like a lot of food, I’ve been doing really well with this.  I have done this now for three days and I’m feeling really good.  Sure, I would like a rice cracker or popcorn.  I’m probably detoxing from holiday sugar too.  But all in all, I feel really good.

Erin, one of the instructors at the yoga studio asked if I could tell any difference in my practice since going dairy or grain free.  I told her that I can’t tell any difference at all.

In two days, I’ve lost 2.5 pounds, which is obviously water weight.  But, this is encouraging because it’s feedback.

So how do I focus on food without becoming obsessed?  How does someone do this and weigh in every day?  How does this become normal?  These are all great questions that I’ve had from people in the past month.

The answer is simple.  It’s about the experiment.  It’s about rehabilitating myself from the inside out.  It’s about healing.  It’s about reclaiming my health.  It’s about finding out what makes me feel better and what hurts my body.

Unfortunately, inflammation for me isn’t an upset stomach.  I wish it was.  I’d probably do much better if I had a negative feedback loop.  But I don’t.

I have a silent autoimmune disease and a body that holds onto water when it’s inflamed.

So the experiment is like this:  I eat, I yoga, I try supplements.  I weigh in.  I notice if I lose weight.  I track.  I make notes about how I feel.

By making this all about my recovery, I don’t give food the power to make me feel like a failure if I don’t lose weight.  I avoid becoming obsessed about the scale when I weight myself every day because I look at it from a critical, almost scientific viewpoint.  It’s data.

I have to admit, this seems very contrary to what most people would think is healthy.  Throw away the scale!  Love what you’ve got.  Embrace the curves and throw all worry about the numbers out the window.

I wish I could.  Oh, how I wish I could.

But I can’t.  I have to continue this process for my health.  To reclaim some sense of normalcy.

I’m doing this because I DO love what I’ve got.  If I didn’t love my body, I would not be going through this crazy process of reclaiming my health.  Because for me, the weight isn’t normal.  It’s a warning sign.  It’s my body’s way of telling me that it’s sick and stressed.

Will I ever be able to do dairy again?  Maybe.  If I do, it’s probably going to be goat cheese (which I love).

Will I be able to do gluten again?  Not really.  This isn’t even on my radar anymore.

Will I be able to do other grains, like corn, rice, etc.?  Probably.  I plan to experiment when I’ve had some time of avoidance and can properly assess any reactions to it.

Will I eat fruit again after 2pm?  Sure!  But not right now while I’m trying to get this all under control.  You better believe it will be by the time cherries come in season again.  I am a fool for a bowl full of cherries after yoga class.

What makes all of this different this time around? I’ve asked myself this since I saw Dr. Gent a couple of weeks ago.  Why go through all of this?  Why not just take the pig and wait it out?

Because deep down, I believe we all know when our bodies aren’t right.  And I know mine is not.

I didn’t go through all of the trouble last year finding Dr. Gent to be a passive participant in my health.  I really, really want to be responsible for my recovery.

I want to inspire other people to feel like it’s okay to act a little cray cray when it comes to food.  For people to understand that just because I don’t eat the Standard American Diet that doesn’t mean that I’m headed down the street to Eating Disorder Lane.  I want to feel empowered by my decisions that I know are best for ME.

A few years ago, it was about The Book and the Bikini.  I didn’t know what was lurking around in my body.  I was just trying things to try things.

Now, I feel like I really have a purpose.  It’s kind of exciting.  I am planning my garden already specifically around the idea that I will be eating more veggies in the summer.  Instead of chips and salsa, I can easily have sliced peppers and salsa.  It’s just a vessel to get the salsa to my mouth, it crunches, and it’s tasty.  I plan to get more herbs in my garden in the hopes that I will become more adventurous with my recipes.  I want to try some heirloom tomatoes instead of the normal Beefsteak tomatoes that Kevin tries to grow every year.

I want to look at food from a perspective of curiosity, rather than punishment.  And that’s how you focus on food without becoming obsessed.

So come along with me, if you’d like.  Feel free to ask me questions.  I won’t get offended. I want to share.

Hopefully, it gets you thinking about your own meals.

After all, if you aren’t outside your comfort zone, you really don’t progress in life, right?

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