I have been thinking about how much I’ve learned since I started blogging and it actual amazes me the knowledge I’ve gained since January. I considered myself quite knowledgeable in the area of food and nutrition just as a person who likes to be well informed and enjoys learning. However, I have never learned so much about food and nutrition so much as I have just in the past nine months alone. I considered myself one of those people who knew what I should be doing but just wasn’t doing it. I was too lazy or my willpower just wasn’t good enough to compete with “healthy” eating. I have felt that way since the beginning of high school when I saw a doctor as they were concerned that my thyroid may be under active and that my numbers were a little bit under what was considered normal. I vividly remember the specialist doctor asking me what he thought would be eye-opening questions (which he of course asked in a very condescending way) “do you know how many calories are in a Big Mac?” I gave a pretty darn close to right on the money answer and he looked at me like okay let’s try this tricky question, “Do you know how many calories are in an orange?” I again gave the “correct” answer and he proceeded to ask me, “Do you know how many calories you’d burn playing tennis for an hour?” I aced that question too. The whole time this specialist was asking me these questions I kept thinking it’s not that I don’t know this information it’s how do I do what I need to do to in order to be successful in my weight? The only answer I was given was that it was a will power issue.
I remember dieting as early as 6th grade, going soda free for a whole year and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t see much of any results. I drank “healthy” juice instead and yet I was still heavy. In high school I used the money from my after school job to buy “healthy” groceries like Lean Cuisines and Lean Pockets and I exercised more and still not much of any changes occurred. That is certainly discouraging. I felt I was doomed to a lifetime of being the heavy girl. Luckily my personality is just too positive to let it hold me back from living life (for the most part) but my weight is and has been on my mind every single day for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried Weight Watchers, I’ve tried restricting my calories to 1,000 a day plus 60 minutes of exercise, I’ve tried this diet and that diet all without any real or lasting changes in my weight. Which in turn makes me give up and just eat whatever. I’ve watched my weight climb up and up. Until the beginning of this year when we wanted to start a family and my body wouldn’t allow it. So I started a mission for myself to finally figure this out and I started the blog as a way to remember my experiences and keep me motivated.
In the past months as I have read other’s blogs, watched documentaries and TV shows, listened to podcasts, and read books and articles I’ve become angry. Like outraged angry. Our government has been making us sick by allowing us to believe that the products we are buying are healthy for us when in fact they are making us sick. “Heart Healthy” “Low-fat” “Whole-Grain” these are words designed to make you think that what you are eating is not only safe but good for you. And this is all done in the name of making more money. All my life I’ve felt that I alone was the failure in my health and weight. And this past year has opened my eyes to the fact that it hasn’t been solely on me. That I was a clueless sheep just following my shepherd’s guidelines. If you are interested more on this topic I recommend the following documentaries which are all available on Netflix: Sugar Coated, Fed Up, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, and Cowspiracy. I’ve also enjoyed Abel James’ podcast The Fat Burning Man and his book, The Wild Diet. Now there is some disagreements about a meat diet versus a vegetarian or vegan diet but one thing they do agree on is that processed food and sugar are poison and really shouldn’t be eaten much if at all. And what is the end result of all this processed garbage? Skyrocketing health care costs and symptom based medical care instead of root cause care. But what do many of the doctors tell us? That it is our fault that we are weak, that we are simple minded folk who just can’t figure out basic input output math. Like my doctor in high school who made me feel humiliated and ashamed and that I was to blame. When instead he could have been the first one to realize that I had the beginning signs of PCOS and a metabolic condition that is affected by the sugar in my diet. But doctors aren’t to blame they are doing as they were taught and are a cog in a much bigger broken wheel.
Now I am not saying that we don’t have control over what we put into our mouths but when you put much of any amount of added sugar into your diet (which is constantly subliminally pushed at you by big foods) you are essentially addicting yourself to it. Sugar has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine. Makes you realize why it really is impossible to have just one Oreo. Sugar addiction side effects include low energy, and feeling HUNGRY (crazy that something you are eating is actually making you feel more hungry). On one hand you have the food industry pushing you to eat more of their crap food which makes you fatter, sicker, and addicted and on the other hand you have media and advertising using models that are make-uped and airbrushed to the point of unrealistic beauty “standards” and it’s no wonder we all feel like epic failures. Life in the 21st century ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The question becomes, “Now what?” We’ve identified some of the real problems (not the perceived ones handed out to us in a line of bullshit) and while those problems are pretty substantial there is still something that we can do. It sounds radical and hippy if you will but you’ve got to cut out the crap. In a dramatic way. M and I started the Wild Diet two and half weeks ago and while I am most certainly not an expert I am an expert on what I know about myself. And I know that cutting out 90% of the refined sugars and carbs that I had been eating has already changed my life. I have more energy and I don’t sit in front of the TV every night vegged out like a zombie. I am already happier in a way that I have a hard time describing. I was happy before, I have always been a generally happy person, but since cutting out those foods I feel more connected to myself. I’ve been able to listen to my body, really listen to when it’s actually hungry and full. I don’t have much of any cravings anymore. I haven’t eaten out once and that doesn’t even bother me. I cook at home. I spend quality time with my husband talking about our health. I get out in nature as much as possible. I go for walks when I’m on the phone instead of sitting on the couch. These are big changes to happen so suddenly and I attribute it to cutting out the crap. Currently we are still meat reliant as we transition into clean eating but our eventual goal is to be much less meat/animal reliant. For me that decision came from an environmental point of view as the sustainability for an animal based diet has been called into severe question. Of course that choice is personal but if you’d like more information or a starting point to that topic of conversation I recommend watching Cowspiracy.
I was watching Fat Sick & Nearly Dead the other night and what started as an OK documentary into one man’s journey to health changed in the middle unexpectedly to another man’s journey whom he had inspired. Phil Staples was on the verge of death when he happened to run into Joe Cross a man with the same medical ailment that he had. The movie quickly becomes insanely inspiring. Something that Phil said that made me connect with him on a profound level was he said that he wanted to be Phil again. Not fat Phil, not big guy, not whoa Phil…just Phil. I want to be just Kristina again. I currently see myself as fat Kristina. While my family and friends have always treated me as just Kristina I know that I feel like myself, my true self when I am not carrying around all this extra weight.
As for an update in my personal life I have been busy long-term subbing which has been a positive experience but I still love subbing more than running my own classroom (a decision that has been hard for some people to accept). It will be bittersweet when I leave though as I have loved having the same sweet kiddos every day. Last weekend over Labor Day we got together with my mother and father-in-law over on the Easatern side of Minnesota near Duluth. Usually that means foods containing a lot of refined flour but after talking about our decision to no longer eat those kinds of foods they respectfully worked with us to plan a menu that was both delicious and clean. Usually when we are at the cabin we drink a lot of alcohol and sit at the table playing cards for literal hours upon hours. I was never a big fan of that and with my increased energy and desire to be outside I asked if we could go explore. At first we were told no that we could go alone and maybe they’d come next year but when M held his ground and said that’s fine we are still going to go they decided to join us. We had a lovely day traveling along the North Shore of Lake Superior and eating wild caught smoked fish and drinking a glass of organic wine all while walking around different marinas we drove by. When we got back to the cabin that night I wanted to sit outside on the porch in the beautiful fall like weather and they all sat with me. Then we had a bonfire and visited. And while we all missed Mike and Ashley we were able enjoy the day with just the four of us.
This weekend my older sister and oldest niece will be coming to visit and I can’t wait to see them and hear all about her first day of school. M is going to take Ellery rock climbing. She is our own little Jillian Michaels as we lovingly call her. She’s been an exercise and play enthusiast for as long as she could walk and she loves trying new things. I’m excited to watch her and M pursue their passions together.
Have something to add to this topic? I’d love to hear from you and your point of view in the comments below!