Getting healthy is no easy feat. These last four or five months have challenged me and caused me to intentionally create new health habits. After I was diagnosed with PCOS and Type 2 Diabetes, it was game over. PCOS was a shock, but diabetes scared the hell out of me. I was not ready and I refused to claim that for my life.
My doctor prescribed me a drug and called it in to the pharmacy. When I went to the pick up the medicine, the pharmacist told me I owed $2. $2? I got the drugs and went home. But, I couldn’t get $2 out of my head. I felt in my gut that in order for this drug to be so cheap, it had to be a go-to instead of a last resort. I started searching the Internet for alternative options and a fellow blogger told me about a low carb and high fat diet. She suggested I pick up the book, Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. I did and my life has changed forever. I decided not to the take the meds and started the low carb and high fat diet instead. Two months later, my A1C went down from 8.5 to 6.5 (6.5 is pre-diabetes, but I’ll take it).
As I continue to travel this road to a healthier life, I am changing as my body changes. I often hear people say that things are either a blessing or a lesson, but I feel that my weight loss has been a blessing laced with many lessons. Here are eight things I have learned so far:
Mindset is EVERYTHING. When I started this journey Summer of Dirty Floor Diaries gave me a great tip. She suggested that I not tell myself what I couldn’t eat, but CHOOSE not to eat certain foods. That has been the greatest factor in changing my eating habits. I CAN eat WHATEVER I want, but I CHOOSE to eat low carb foods.
My fat is directly attached to my emotions. When I look at the big picture, my childhood was okay. I was fed, housed and clothed. But, my family (I use this word very loosely) set-up was all fruckered up. After having my nurse print out a list of all my weigh-ins going back as far as she could go (2006), I could literally see my emotions on paper. I can tell you what was happening to me with each spike and drop in weight. It was an eye-opener. Although I’m still dealing with my emotions and seeing a therapist, this time around I choose to eat low carb snacks or walk when I feel myself getting emotionally overwhelmed. A walk and a great playlist works wonders for me.
It’s okay to love my fat self. I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from low self-esteem. There have always been things about my body that I didn’t like, but they are my fat rolls, stretch marks and dents. Love me or nah, but I love me. Recently I had an exchange with a childhood acquaintance. We were discussing me traveling to Barbados next spring and my wearing a two-piece swimsuit. This acquaintance went on to ask what would I do if the string got caught in my butt. Da hell? I guess every two-piece swimsuit has to be a string bikini. But, what an unthoughtful remark from a person who has always been a size negative zero. Like really? But, guess what? I’m still going to rock my two-piece and love every piece of fat that I put in it. Oh, I’ve ridded myself of that person. They aren’t worth my time or presence.
It’s okay to change. Piggybacking on the above story, I had to give myself permission to change. I don’t have time for the fat jokes because it’s body-shaming. Plain and simple. And body-shaming is not okay, I don’t care how cool we are. Previously, I would throw shots and jokes back after a fat joke, but I ain’t got time for that. I gave myself permission to release people from my life and welcome those who appreciate and love me. Fat and all.
I have to trust the process. I am in many low-carb and PCOS related groups on Facebook. Oftentimes, group members will post before and after pictures. At one point, I found myself getting down because I don’t lose as fast as some people. However, I snapped out of it. I had to remind myself that 38 is more than 37 and 38 less pounds on my frame. I’m still winning. I treat my body right and in return, she’ll treat me right. It may not be on my time but it will be right on time.
Everyone won’t cheer me on. I have friends who cheer me on constantly. They’re always checking on my progress and giving me words of encouragement. Oh, let me shout out my boo thangs Brandi and Mandi, they are the best at it. I don’t think they know how they keep me going some days. But, I have realized that not everyone is excited for me and that’s really okay. Maybe because I’m serious about it. Maybe because I’m actually doing it. You know, succeeding at it and sh*t. Maybe it’s just me and not them. Whatever it is, I feel the shade keeping me cool from the sun as I embrace my accomplishments and those who cheer me on.
Meal planning is heaven-sent. I have found that to succeed at this, I have to prepare accordingly. Every week I write out the foods that I will eat for the next week. Then I list all the ingredients, check the pantry for what I have on hand and then make my grocery list. Now I know that some people cook all their meals at once, but I like fresh food. That isn’t for me, but I do marinate my meats ahead of time if needed. Most days I eat chicken that I can throw on the George Foreman grill and toss on a salad or prepare some quick veggies. Check out my favorite new salad, Chicken Avocado salad. I do make this a day or two ahead of time.
I still love cake. Don’t get me wrong. My daily goal is to eat 20 net carbs or less per day. But, I still love my cake. It just makes my soul swoon. While listening to What I Know for Sure by Oprah, she talked about her love for chocolate and that she reminds herself that one bite is enough because there is plenty more where that came from. For my niece’s birthday, I ate the cake. It was good, too. But I only had one piece. It’s important to know that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that you won’t desire to eat the foods that you once loved, but it’s important to stay the course and start each day new.
My journey is still in the beginning phases, but I started. Everyday isn’t easy and some days are just hard. But, I buckle down and I do the damn work. My goal each day is to be better than I was the day before and living a healthy life is helping me with that. More so, I’m really looking forward to the lessons, the blessings and joy of it all.
Are you working to get healthy? Have you recently made any drastic health changes? What lessons did you learn in the process?
*Disclaimer: This post isn’t intended to be referenced for medical purposes. Please see your physician before beginning any new health regimens.