Sunday, January 25, 2015

Can't You Just Knock Off 5 Pounds?

I know someone who is very focused on her weight and is always in the process of trying to knock off 5 pounds. She sees weight loss in very black and white terms: eat too much, put on weight; eat less, lose weight.

When I was still ill, I was carrying about 15 extra pounds. Every time I tried to "go on a diet" and eat less, I became sick. This person would say " can't you just go on a diet and knock off 5 pounds?"

When I learned I had systemic candida I began to understand that there was an overgrowth of a certain type of yeast in my body that was quickly reproducing. These multitudes of yeast were basically eating the food that I was ingesting. They happily fed on the wheat, sugar and dairy products that I was eating and made more of themselves who, in turn, needed to eat more wheat, sugar and dairy products.

The food I ate was feeding them instead of me making my body think it was starving. A starving body won't give up any of its precious fat stores. Also, because I was eating less food, some of the yeasts were starved and subsequently died, causing what is known as "die off". They die off results in cold and flu-like symptoms as the body tries to rid itself of that dead material. Now I understand why I got sick every time I tried to knock off 5 pounds. What was going on was much more complicated then simply eating less food.

It took many years to find the right balance of practitioners, healing modalities, treatments, and diets (not the weight loss kind) to heal the candida and leaky gut. Even when those ailments were mostly resolved, I still wasn't quite well. By that time I no longer trusted that doctors could understand my situation. However, at the suggestion of my husband, I saw a holistic MD, who diagnosed the gluten intolerance and other food sensitivities.

Changing my diet, yet again, yielded incredibly healing results and to my surprise, I lost those 15 pounds and without dieting. The way I see it, the foods I tested sensitive to, and had been eating, were stressing my body. Taking them out of my diet eliminated the stress and allowed my body to come back to a natural and balanced place. Only then was my body able to easily let go of that extra weight.

Now, nearly 10 years after the gluten intolerance diagnosis, I'm baking breads and cookies for sale. When I was perfecting the Sprouted Almond Cookie recipe I had to taste it, a lot, yum yum! These power cookies gave me so much energy that I had some after swimming exercise as well as for my midday snacks as well as for dessert after lunch and dinner. Course, I wasn't used to eating dessert, just occasional treats. Sooooo, by the end of this summer I put on 5 pounds!

                                           Sprouted Almond Cookies

Those words came floating back to me: Can't you just knock off 5 pounds?
I knew I had been eating more than I needed, so step 1 was to stop eating more than I needed. I also slightly shifted the proportion of grains to veggies in all my meals. (a bit less grain, a bit more veggies). It was an easy change and the weight came off in a month.

Then I developed my Chocolate Sourdough Bread and had to repeatedly taste-test until perfection. Yum again! Whoops again! another 5 pounds.
                                        Chocolate Sourdough Bread

Back to eating what I need and the pounds are getting knocked off, 2-3 more to go.

I feel fortunate and deeply blessed that I found a way through the maze of healing possibilities and now have a healthy body and lots of energy. One of the hardest challenges I faced was to maintain hope in the face of very slow progress. In the beginning and even the middle of these healing journeys, progress may be barely noticeable.

I wish everyone who is working through any health challenges:
  • patience with yourself and your body
  • to focus on what works for you, not what works for the masses
  • to maintain your hope and faith that there is a path to your wellness and you will find it if you keep at it