HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahahahahahaha. Ha ha. Ha.
Okay, but really. I really thought I could do it. And I even said I was dead serious. Because I was. I really wanted to change. But, cheeseburgers. And Ranch. Hashtag: EPIC FAIL. I think I made it an entire week. Seven days. Then I quit. Why do I suck at this so much?
An entire calendar year has passed since those posts and I've thrown the towel in on eating unhealthy again. And I'm not even going to make any promises this time because....well....because you've seen how that works out. I feel like a broken record every time I tell the farmer "I'm on a diet". Bless his heart, he doesn't even react anymore if those words come out of my mouth because he knows it's most likely going to be a short lived jaunt down diet alley filled with hormonal imbalances, "hangry" tantrums and just plain starvation. Diet pills? I've taken them. Lemonade/juice cleanses? I've tried them. Being vegetarian? (excuse me again....hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha) I've tried it. Paleo? Yep.
So what now? How is this time different? This time I really think it's actually going to be different. #knockonwood
This time I've armed myself with knowledge. I have decided to take all the failures of my past attempts and learn from them. Every year around December - on the heels of a new year - I decide the week of my birthday I'm going to indulge and eat/drink whatever I want and after that day, I am starting fresh. In that respect, this year was no exception. December 14 came and went and on December 15 I began my "fresh start". I hate New Year's resolutions because - let's be honest - no one keeps them anyways! So I always resolved to a "new" me on December 15.
Last time I tried this I dropped everything at once. I went from Taco Bell drive thrus and Starbucks latte's and hot dogs, nachos, mac n cheese and highly processed everything in one day, to strictly veggies, lean protein and water the next day. I pretty much just set myself up for failure. So knowing what I know now, I've decided to take baby steps into this new food paradigm.
Baby Step 1. GLUTEN
I decided to go gluten-free on December 15 and I haven't looked back. I actually don't miss it, and I'm being completely honest! In addition to taking cues from my past failed attempts I've taken the time to read and learn about what impact the food we eat has on our bodies. Blogs have been the most helpful as well as some friends who are gluten free. And though it sounds complicated because gluten is in a lot of things - it really hasn't been that hard at all. I started with this helpful post on how to transition to being gluten free. It suggests to, rather than buy things that are "gluten free", to just eliminate things with gluten all together. And honestly, I think that's the best approach. Because you can have corn tortillas with your tacos, you really don't need bread, and you can have rice instead of pasta. Being gluten free has also helped me to cut out most processed foods and most importantly, fast food. Because of this, for me, gluten was a good first choice.
I have, on occasion, indulged in a little gluten. Fortunately for me, eliminating gluten is not a medical necessity, so there were 3, maybe 4 occasions in the past month that I have indulged in gluten - and boy did I pay for it! It's amazing to think that something that is in so many things could have such an impact on the way you feel. I realized how big of an impact gluten really had on how I felt only a week after giving it up. It was the week of Christmas and I figured I would splurge. I was at Starbucks and ordered a vanilla latte and a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was delicious, but entirely not worth the horrible cramps, gas and bloated feeling I had for hours following it's consumption. I mean, seriously....it made me a believer in this whole gluten-free movement. The other two occasions were social functions where I didn't want to be a rude guest and reject the awesome food that had been provided by the hosts. I indulged a little each time and one time I really paid for it and the other time it didn't seem to effect me as much.
So what does being gluten free look like for me? I have carved out a space in my pantry just for my gluten free foods, which really aren't that bazaar. I have some gluten free granola (that I found on clearance!) Larabars, soft corn tortillas, Arborio rice, Chex (yes, some regular food is naturally gluten free!) and tortilla chips (see?). My guilty pleasure snacks are Snyder's Gluten Free Onion and Mustard pretzels and chips and salsa. I made these 2 ingredient, gluten free, Nutella brownies and they hit the spot if I'm craving something sweet (which I rarely do, in all honesty). For starches I eat potatoes and black beans. Gluten freedom has helped me to cut down on processed foods (no more cheez its, frozen pizza, mac n cheese, jar sauce, etc) so it's been like giving up lots of things with only really giving up one.
Baby Step 2. MSG
In deciding to only give up one thing at a time, I've found freedom in indulging when I want to (ice cream, french fries and chocolate) and it doesn't make me feel like I'm suffocating beneath a pile of frozen diet meals and green tea pills. The more reading I do about the toxins found in processed food and drink, the less I want to eat/drink them - no matter how much I've loved them in the past. Literally the key to success is knowledge. When I read about how horrible and gross MSG is, I wanted to never eat it again. I've done research and found the names of ingredients that MSG hides in and I've become a label-reading Nazi!
Maybe this seems a bit extreme. But that's the beauty in these baby steps. Inevitably there's going to be a day when I'm not going to be able to read the label and I'll probably eat things with MSG in them many more times in this life. But if I choose to avoid it when its in my control, then I'm much better off than I was when I just ate whatever I wanted because it tasted good. Which is another funny thing, because things I thought tasted so good - just a few weeks ago - I now find to be repulsive. I splurged at lunch yesterday and had beer battered perch with french fries. It was so good, and totally worth the gassy, upset stomach I had at bed time last night. But I figured with my splurge I would have a Coke. I loved Coke ... it used to be something I drank without thinking twice. Now I consider it a treat. Well, yesterday I couldn't even drink a glass of it. I made it through half of my glass (with ice - so probably only like 6 oz of soda) before I just switched to water because it tasted like straight poison. No lie. So I pretty much just took myself to the next step without even trying!
Baby step 3, SODA/JUICE
Juice isn't that hard for me because I didn't drink a ton of it before, but now that I've cut out soda I have been drinking a bit more of it. But what's wrong with juice as long as it's 100% juice, you say? Well there's just so much sugar in it, even if it's naturally occurring sugar, it's still unnecessary. So that's it really. Water is really my beverage of choice these days and I don't mind at all. I still have coffee on occasion, but that's probably going to be my next baby step. But for a girl who's drank coffee regularly since the ripe age of 4 (yes, four), that's going to be a tough one. I've cut back considerably, but to give it up altogether will be pretty difficult for me.
Well, if you made it this far, thanks for reading the inner thoughts of my crazy. This has been an interesting journey to say the least, and I'm so excited about my progress and my ability to stay on track this time. If you're interested, I've actually dropped 9 lbs since December 15 - part of this lifestyle change has also had a weight loss goal. My clothes fit better, my gut feels better and I'm more motivated to keep going than ever before. I am by no means an expert on any of this. I've been meaning to get to the library to take out a few good reads on the subject. Wheat Belly and Grain Brain are a couple books that have been recommended to me by friends. I'm excited to learn more.
My next baby step is regular exercise and physical activity. I've purchased a couple yoga/Pilates and cardio work out videos, I just have to keep reminding the farmer to hook up the DVD player for me. That's on this week's "to do" list....to really help kick-start my weight loss.
Until next time (judging by my last post should be sometime in April),
The Farmer's Wife.