Whoa, My Journey – Two Months Later

The last two months have been a whirlwind of small, achievable changes that have become a new lifestyle of healthy habits.

20131230-215156.jpgThis was me in 2013 when I started this blog and began practicing yoga. At that point, all I wanted was to FEEL better and move my body.

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This was me in May 2017. Thinner, healthier, but alternating between starving myself and meals where I ate too much. Just a few months later, I would end up in the hospital for a week with gastritis and uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. I will admit for the first time that between January and August 2017, my bulimia returned after about 20 years in remission. I was probably actively purging 3-5 times a week. I was also drinking too much and not exercising or practicing yoga. I did ride my horse Beau, but not regularly.

fullsizeoutput_3aebThis was me in January 2018. Healthier, stronger, but still with blood sugar that had to be controlled by medicine, sleeping poorly, needing a lot of caffeine to get through the day, with erratic eating. I had fully committed to returning to yoga and was practicing 4-5 days a week. I had mostly stopped purging. But I was not healthy.

This is me now.

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What did I do?

A bunch of things.

First, I started adding strength training to my yoga practice because I want to be able to press into a handstand. I still can’t press into one, but I can get my toes off the ground. I can also balance on my hands away from the wall if I use the wall to get up. Because I’ve spent two months building my shoulders and my abs.

Second, I joined an on-line workout group. I show up every day in my group and share what I am doing. Where I am struggling, how I am falling down, how I am succeeding. I ask questions. It has been a HUGE help for me.

Third, I made changes to how I eat. Let me stress, I am NOT on a diet. I eat differently.

Here is where I will get on my soapbox. I know that sugar is bad for me, because if I eat it and take my blood sugar 2 hours later, it will be high and stay high until I workout enough to burn it off. I know that my stomach cannot handle most dairy. BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN ALLERGIC TO IT MY ENTIRE LIFE. Despite the fact that I ate very little dairy as a child, when I became an adult, I ate a lot of dairy. I ignored every message my body gave me about how bad dairy makes me feel. I ignored that it was the easiest food for me to purge because my body wanted it OUT. I ignored that once my gall bladder was removed in an emergency surgery in 2014 my body could not handle high fat foods. I would take enzymes, protonix (super strong acid reducer), and zofran (anti nausea medicine), but I would still eat it. Finally, I know that MOST gluten is bad for me, because after I eat it, I have GI problems. I will occasionally eat pasta with gluten in it at night but that’s it. I FOR SURE do not eat bread in it. And if I do? It’s that same round of enzymes and prescription medicine. And often? Dairy and gluten are both bulimia triggers. My stomach feels enormous and my body says GET IT OUT.

Fourth, I dramatically cut back alcohol. I still drink wine a couple nights a week, but I almost never drink vodka or bourbon or mixed drinks. Now, I KNOW that vodka has fewer carbs and calories than wine. But my body hates it. It reacts just like it does with dairy and gluten only times ten.

Don’t I feel deprived? Don’t I feel sad about what I don’t eat?

Nope.

I will, occasionally, have a treat. Almost never sugar, but occasionally I will have a kid’s size ice cream or when I was at the Kentucky Derby, I had this vodka drink I love. The Lily.

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But I KNOW that I am going to feel awful after I eat or drink it. I will probably have to take medicine and enzymes. So it better be SO FREAKING GOOD to justify feeling sick. I also know that dairy, gluten, caffeine, and sugar can all trigger migraines and I HATE spending a day in bed in extreme pain.

I also don’t feel deprived because this isn’t a diet. This is how I eat. I invest the time, money, and energy into buying and making really GOOD healthy food. I know the places I can order food that makes me feel indulgent but not sick. I eat every 2-3 hours so that I am never hungry. I shop at whole foods and healthy markets (which I can afford because I don’t eat out a lot, I don’t go out to lunch, and I have cut Starbucks down to a couple of times a month.

Fifth, I cut out Starbucks and lunches out. Because I wanted to control my sugar and dairy intake. So instead, I buy good cold brew coffee and use it with my favorite vegan superfoods shake and I have my own, made at home frappucinno. This was maybe the hardest, but as a side benefit, it became a LOT easier to cut sugar and dairy. Because Starbucks was my number one “it’s only two pumps of flavored syrup and skim milk it doesn’t matter” place.

Look, I have big dreams for my life that I have not achieved and I want to LIVE long enough and healthy enough to achieve those dreams. For me, it’s about my mindset. If I know I can eat all of these amazing, delicious, healthy foods that make me feel good and do 90% of the time.

The final thing for me was to pick a workout program that REALLY pushes me. It feels good to be pushed. To work hard. To sweat a lot. To have that feeling of accomplishment when I finish it. To know that 80 days of this workout is getting me closer every day to my handstand goal. To have a trainer in my own home who pushes me to lift heavy, have good form, and increase my cardio intensity and endurance. Every day in this program is a deposit into my future yoga practice.

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And I can see my stomach size shrinking and my abs emerging. So now two months in, I have lost five inches off my waist. I’ve lost 10 pounds and 24 inches total. But more importantly, through a series of small changes and goals, I have transformed who I am, what I eat, how I eat, how I workout, and how I view my health.

And I am no longer on blood sugar medicine, stomach medicine, or a host of enzymes. Just one super food shake a day.

This is not a diet.

This is my life.

 

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