Stories about people who have lost 50,75, and 100+ pounds are so awe-inspiring. The struggles, the overcoming of so many obstacles, that one moment where they realized they were headed for certain death and made that life altering decision to change. We all love to see the before and after pictures. I have a few friends and family members who have undergone these amazing transformations and I am SO proud of them because I know it wasn’t easy. But I can’t relate.
I’m not overweight, and I really never have been. I gained a TON of weight with my first pregnancy but I was extremely young and it seemed to just fall off. After my third baby, I hovered at around 140-145 for a couple of years, but I’m 5’6″ and am broad-shouldered, so I carried it pretty well. So, where’s my big inspiring story? My before and after? Unfortunately, it can’t be shown in pictures. Yes, since making the decision to take better care of myself after baby #4, I have dropped that 20 extra pounds and am now “skinny” by the average person’s description. Yay, me.
So, what about US? Those of us who are average weight, no real need for a “diet and exercise program” per se? Why should we care what we eat? We have good metabolisms, and are in decent health, right? What does any of this have to do with us?? Well, how do you FEEL? Are you experiencing the “normal” aches and pains of getting older? Do you have skin issues? Are you tired and always using caffeine as a crutch? Do you have depression or anxiety?
There was a time I was being treated for depression. With meds. It was short-lived because those meds made me into a zombie, and I wasn’t having it. I was also having nasty pain in the knee that I injured when I was 18 causing me to be in a toe-to-butt cast for 8 weeks. I had acne for the first time ever after my 3rd child. I had insomnia. I was a ferociously moody bitch…If you caught me in a good mood, we were best buddies, if not….well, it wasn’t pretty. You know, the ‘normal’ aches and pains and crazy hormonal changes that happen to us as we get older and have babies. NORMAL.
What does any of that have to do with food? I didn’t know it until this year, but it turns out, EVERYTHING. After reading and researching and talking with MANY people who had switched to the paleo lifestyle, I tried it for myself. I lost a few pounds. My face started to clear up. I WANTED to work out. I had energy. I felt GREAT. Woo freaking hoo! I was EXCITED!!! I wanted to tell the whole world – everyone I knew and everyone that they knew – that THIS was the thing to help them. But there are no before and after slideshows with dramatic music and amazing presentation. There’s just “skinny little me” preaching on about good health. What the hell do know about anything, anyway? I get a lot of “why are YOU on a diet, anyway?” I ‘m not on a di….ahh, nevermind.
Then there was this weekend – a HUGE eye-opener for me. I guess I never realized how deeply nutrition affected the whole person. I occasionally have a treat here or there, and it never really sits well, but this weekend I dove off the deep end and belly-flopped. Friday night my husband ordered Pizza. I had 3 pieces along with 2 bread sticks, and it was freaking delicious. It’s not like one night will cause me to be overweight. My tummy hurt all night, which was completely expected. It was worth it. Sort of. It’ll be gone by morning. However, Saturday morning, I woke up “on the wrong side of the bed”. I was PISSY, and for no particular reason. The sun was shining too brightly through the window. (I live in South Florida – this is not a new occurrence.) The bacon was frying too loudly. My hands and feet were so swollen they hurt. My stomach felt like someone kicked me between the ribs. I was making everyone in the house miserable with my mood, so I finally decided to get my workout in, and it SUCKED. I felt like I was in slow-motion. We went to Red Robin for lunch and I had a bunless burger and water, and I was beginning to perk up. Then, while we were walking around the outdoor mall, I spotted a Kilwins and INSISTED we get ice cream. What the hell? I already ate pizza last night anyway.I never do this, it won’t hurt me. I’ll start over Monday. It’s Thanksgiving week anyway….all the justifications in the world. I had opened up the flood gates and my addiction to carbs was back with a BANG. We ended the night with a nice steak and salad, but continuing on my binge, I had to add in a couple of Hornsby’s hard apple ciders. Why not? They’re gluten-free! (nevermind the 21g of sugar each). So here I sit, on Sunday morning, hands so swollen I can barely type, stomach in knots, annoyed that I’m even awake. I found out this weekend that although I didn’t gain a single pound, my poor husband is about ready to head for the hills and my body wants to leave me and go with him.
What’s the point of sharing this with you? The point is, hormones do control just about every aspect of you. What we don’t realize is, those hormones are changed dramatically by what we stuff into our faces. Mood swings, that “PMS” effect, bloating, inflammation, depression, aches and pains are all DIRECTLY RELATED TO OUR INTAKE. So, we don’t have 50-150 pounds to lose, or some of us even 20. But those things we’ve come to accept as normal ARE NOT NORMAL, and we don’t have to put up with it. I encourage you to read “Primal Body, Primal Mind” by Nora Gedgaudas and “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf just to start. You will be amazed at how much our biochemistry depends on what we eat. Like momma said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Good luck. I’d love to hear your non-dramatic “before and after” stories!