Friday, April 29, 2016

This challenge.

In my own head, I am considering this the 'challenge of a lifetime'. I know that I'm being a bit dramatic, but it feels like a REALLY BIG DEAL. I was raised on processed foods and drinks. You know, like probably every single child born before 2000. There seemed to be some sort of shift around that time towards free-range, grass-fed, organic such-and-such. It was a small movement at first, but it's garnered a lot of support over the last several years, and people are finally starting to realize that they probably shouldn't be eating, and feeding their kids, the crap we've all enjoyed for decades. That's why this is the 'challenge of a lifetime' for me. You'll find me sipping on a can of soda with cheese balls and icing smeared across my face in pictures from 1994. This was great. Seriously, what kid wouldn't love that? But as an adult, it has created a serious health struggle for me as I've tried to kick the sugar addiction and discourage ever developing one in my own children.

That's why during the month of May, I am going to be doing the Whole30 challenge. The idea behind this is very simple, but the implementation of it will be much more difficult. To give you a quick rundown of what this actually entails, it means that I stick to whole, real, non-processed foods - meats, veggies, and fruits. Some have dubbed this the "dinosaur diet" or the "caveman diet". 

In simple terms, it means:

-no added sugar
-no legumes
-no dairy
-no grains
-no seed oils
-no alcohol
-no carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites
-no trying to "cheat" by making junk food with approved ingredients

The hardest part of this will be the no sugar rule, followed by the no dairy rule, followed by no alcohol. I drink a couple of times a week, so no addiction there, I just enjoy it. Sugar and dairy, however, are everyday (like all day, errday) things. It will be interesting, no doubt.

As far as why I am doing this, well, I have a long list of reasons. A few of these are:

-weight loss. That seems obvious, right? I hope that through the detox of the unhealthy stuff from my body, I will shed 5 to 10 lbs.

-kick the sugar addiction. It is in everything, and its addictive property is why I have a lifelong habit of snack, snack, snacking all day long. 

-more restful sleep. Hand in hand with dropping the sugar habit, I hope to achieve more restful periods of sleep that will have me waking up much easier (before the earliest rising kid, perhaps?!). 

-longer periods of sleep for Lyric. This is not backed up by any science (at least that I have heard or researched), but I feel like if sugar and dairy and grains can cause me to have restless sleep (which IS backed up by science), then surely the same could be happening to my breastfed infant. She wakes up 2-3 times on average, but sometimes more, and she has never been a good napper. More restful sleep for the baby could be life changing for the whole household.

-learning actual hunger cues and the feeling full sensation. When my body learns to operate the way it is actually supposed to, I look forward to knowing what it feels like to be full because your body has taken in the appropriate amount of nutrition, and not full because my jeans suddenly feel tight and I'm starting to sweat. ;)

-decreased or eliminated joint pain. When I am properly nourished, I look forward to greatly diminished aches and pains in my back and knees.

-increased performance and results from exercise. As a result of a healthier body, and less joint pain, I cannot wait to see how this plan for nutrition will affect my performance in my Beachbody workouts. I have high hopes, and I don't think I will be disappointed!

-diminished or eliminated tinea versicolor. I have splotches across my abdomen and neck that I've had since puberty. They sort of come and go a little with pregnancy, but overall, are always present in some form. I'm curious to see if the Whole30 will reset my body to a point where this could potentially be eliminated.

Other than the general difficulties that will come from a drastic nutritional change, like finding compliant meals and snacks, planning ahead for times when I won't be at home for a meal, and lots & lots of meal prepping, I, somewhere along the line, thought all of this didn't sound difficult enough, so... I am also taking my 4 & 6 year old children on this journey with me. My 4 & 6 year old very picky children. Like, when I say "picky", I mean like PICKY. I offered my 4 year old son a beater from the mixing bowl to lick when I was making a gluten-free Oreo & cream cheese cake about a month ago, and he looked at it in disgust and said, "no way, yuck!". My kids are weird. They are stubborn and frustrating when it comes to new or healthy foods. However, I feel like there is no better time than right now to instill better eating habits in these kids. My hope is simply that I do not pull all of my hair out in a screaming, raging fit after day three because my children are on a hunger strike. They won't be 100% compliant as I plan to be because we have 4 kids and a very busy lifestyle, so sometimes I just need to be able to throw a pouch of applesauce into my dauhgter's lunchbox and call it good. I do however plan to completely eliminate the sugary crap they so often eat, and the non-compliance will be severely limited. Chances are, they will spend the whole month of May in my home; however, if they do end up at their father's house, I know full well they will not at all be sticking to this plan. That will only be for a day or two, tops, though. My 4 & 6 year old children have celiac disease, and occasionally still experience stomach issues or low energy levels, as well as joint pain in my 4 year old son. I am hopeful that this will be severely diminished or completely eliminated on the whole30 plan.

So, that's that, folks. That's about the long and short of it. I am nervous, and I am excited, and I am pretty damn determined to see this thing through. Wish my family luck! I plan to document our journey at least weekly, if not more, and I look forward to our final update at the end of May. Peace & good health to all. :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The thought of failure

The first thing that I would do would be to finally sit down and start (and finish) writing a novel. And then, it would be getting it published. The thought is terrifying. It is daunting, despite the long lasting desire I have always had to do such a thing. But even more than those things, the idea that I could do that is thrilling. I think that I am a good writer, and I wonder what sort of story I would pull from my brain if I dedicated the time to actually writing. 

Secondly, I would eat healthier. I would rid my body of grains and rely solely on meats, vegetables, and fruits - ya know, the dino way. I took gluten out of my diet and saw many positive reactions to my body, but I am a human who oftentimes has little self control, and I have cheated myself with food on multiple occasions. 

I would pursue Beachbody coaching more fervently. I believe in the products and believe that I could help people turn their lives and their health and their bodies around, but I do not believe that I am capable of handling the negative responses I would get if I did such a thing.

I am unhappy with my current position in life, and I know that I am capable of changing that, but I am scared to try. I love my husband. I love my children. I am hopeful for the future, but I am disappointed that I have no direction. Mostly, I would find that. I would find my direction and I would go wholeheartedly towards wherever it led me.

These things. These are the things I would do if I could not fail.