Tag Archives: nutrition

When you don’t feel “good enough”

I haven’t been writing here lately, because I don’t feel “good enough”.  Not in the sense that I’m unwell, or unhealthy, just imperfect.  And imperfection seems like exactly the opposite of what people want to read about.  I want people to see someone who has it all figured out, is working on their process and making huge strides in the right direction.  Apparently, that’s not me.

There has been some turmoil in various areas of my life, personal and professional, this past year and every time I sat down to write about what I was going through, it felt too raw, too exposed, too broken.  Mostly that I didn’t have it together enough to be good enough to share with people what is going on.

Perfection has always been something of a demon in my life.  I was taught early and often that I needed to be “a lady” at all times and that excellence was the only thing that mattered.  When I stumbled and fell down on my face, it was because I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t trying hard enough.  Or worse, that there was just something wrong with me on a base level that was impossible to overcome.

I’ve been working very hard with my nutritionist on my need for perfection around food.  It’s okay to be imperfect and have a set back or even a complete break down around food and order something from a drive thru.

We have been focusing hard on the 80/20 principle, as described in the Slow Down Diet book, where 80% of what you eat is whole, good and real and then there is some wiggle room with that other 20%.  A few weeks ago I told her I was afraid I would be 75/25 or 70/30 and ruin it FOREVER!  She asked me, as she was looking at her notes, where I thought I was even close to going over the 80%.

With tears  in my eyes, I said that sometimes I like to have some brown rice, or other whole grain with my dinner.  And I miss eating breakfast with an english muffin.  And crackers.  I sure to miss crackers.  She just smiled and asked me why I thought those weren’t part of the 80%.  I said, “Because, CARBS!!!”

She smiled and once again drew me the familiar picture of the ideal plate.  1/2 fruit and veggies, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 carbohydrates.  Then she underlined the carbohydrates.  We had a talk about how carbohydrates are brain food and give us energy and that as long as I’m choosing quality, healthy, whole carbs, they are fully within the eating plan.  I nodded at her, but inside I was still saying “… but carbs.”

But I went to the grocery store and looked for products that were free of preservatives and chemicals.  I bought some delicious whole wheat english muffins and read the ingredients on what seemed like a million boxes of crackers.  Who knew that triscuits were going to be one of the better options out there.  I took them home and worked them into my meal plan for a week.  I lost 3 lbs that week.  I know!  Complete madness!

During that week, I allowed more room for that 20%.  I wanted some ice cream after a difficult work project.  I went out and found the very best ice cream I could find and savored every single bite.  I paid attention to how it tasted and how it made me feel, both physically and emotionally.  And for what seemed like the first time in my life, I realized that I had eaten enough before I was trying to lick the bottom of the pint container. 🙂

Now I’m trying to work that 80/20 rule into other areas of my life.  I admit that I can’t be perfect.  The best I can hope for is to do just a little bit better today than I did yesterday.  And when I can’t, that’s okay too.  I’m trying to find a way to embrace imperfection in all it’s messy glory.

All of us human beings are a constant work in progress.  There is always a lesson in everything we undertake and every experience teaches us a few things we didn’t know before and can use to be better the next time around.

So, from my mess to yours, allow yourself a little freedom of imperfection.  Embrace the mess!  It’s YOUR mess.  And maybe tomorrow it will be slightly less messy.  Baby steps.  Baby steps.

When you’re sick of being sick

I’m so sick of being sick.  I have these periods, sometimes as long as a few months, where I start to feel like I can see myself getting better.  But then one minor issue and I’m back at square one again and I find myself feeling like I’ll never climb out from under all this illness.

The nutritionist, E, and I talked about the food allergy panel and we’re trying a few changes, but nothing dramatic.  The big change is that I’ve been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and prescribed a CPAP Machine.

They tell you that it may take some getting used to.  What they don’t say is that you will feel like you’re suffocating, even though you aren’t and your body doesn’t want that thing blowing in your face all night.

After a week, I think I’m getting better sleep, but it’s been quite a struggle.  I wish the doctors had prepared me more for how difficult it could be and that I may have some sleepless nights for a couple weeks.  Why?  Because I’ve got some other health issues that are greatly exacerbated by not getting quality sleep.

Add on top of all this, some family drama and stress with my father’s health and my parents moving across the country in short order and their need to have me come visit them 1000 miles away to help.  Well, that was enough to tip me over and send me back into the adrenal fatigue again.

I’m jittery and have trouble regulating my body temperature.  I can’t sleep when I lay in the bed, but I fall asleep quickly when I sit down on the couch with the laptop.  I can’t think and have absolutely no appetite, even though I recognize that I’m hungry, no food looks or tastes good to me.

My husband and sole support system is leaving town to visit his family for a long weekend and I’ve got my trip to California coming up quickly and I can’t seem to get going on any of the million or so things I need to do between now and then.

My health team has been great at giving me guidance on the best way to take care of myself, but the hard work is all mine.  And frankly, hard work is the last thing I want right now.  All I want to do is sleep.

The last two nights I’ve managed to get good quality sleep, with about 5-6 hours on the CPAP.  I think that’s helping, but I’ve got a deep hole to climb out of here.  All I can do is take it one day at a time and do the best I can to care for myself.

And that’s the frustrating part.  I hate feeling like the “broken girl” or the “sick one”.  I want to be able to exist and live my life like a normal person, but that’s not happening right now.  I know I need to be intentional and patient with myself, but I still hear that inner mean-girl screaming, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?! GET IT TOGETHER!!”

All my team members are trying to remind me that I’ve already come a long way, but when I feel sick, I just can’t see it.  I feel like I’m back at square one and I have to start all over.  I’m just so sick of being sick.

When Nothing Makes Sense

I struggle a lot when nothing makes sense to me.  I consider myself pretty logical and smart, but when I can’t make sense of something, I immediately want to toss it out and forget about it.  That isn’t always the best solution.

I took a food allergy test with my naturopath a little over a week ago.  We have had some suspicious about certain foods being less than ideal for my body and I was curious.  So we took a blood draw for the “E95 Common Food  Panel.”

For about the last year I’ve been avoiding gluten, sugars, high glycemic index fruits and the like.  I’ve been focused on proteins, especially eggs, yogurts, kefir, etc.

So imagine my surprise when the test came back and all the wheats are fine, but the big reactions were from egg whites, egg yolks, whey, garlic and sunflower seeds.  I wasn’t too surprised to see bananas on there as I’ve never really liked them and they seriously spike my blood sugars.

But let’s talk about that Whey result.  Okay, I can accept that dairy  might be a problem for me and I’m more than willing to experiment with my nutritionist to see if it makes a difference to remove it from my diet.  But as I read the test further, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that none of the other “dairy category” foods had a high response.  All the other milks and cheeses are in the low category.  How is that possible?  Isn’t whey in milk?  Shouldn’t they be “avoid” foods too? I find myself getting frustrated and screaming into the ether, “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore!”

I am seeing my nutritionist today and she promised to work through this with me, but I’m finding myself having a bad attitude about the whole test.  If I can’t make that whey result make sense to me, then maybe I should just throw the whole thing out and forget about food sensitivities altogether.

Or is that throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath-water?  Do I just need to look at the information in this test as a starting point and road-map to explore with my nutritionist and see if cutting back on dairy and eggs helps me to feel better.  My rash decisions are not always the best ones, so I’m trying to take a deep breath, be patient and let E help me figure it out over time.

Meet The Team: Nutrition

Last week I told you about how much I loathe the idea of diabetes nutrition classes.  I just would roll my eyes when my doctor would suggest this place called Passionate Nutrition to help with what I should be eating.  My doctor would swear it wasn’t that kind of place, but I was deeply resistant.

What finally tipped me into booking an appointment was that I was tired of taking pills.  If “normal people” could get fuel and maintain health through nutrition, I wanted to also.  There had to be a way to sort through all the insanity surrounding food for me.  And getting off all these pills was going to be my first step.

After an intake appointment with the founder of the company, I agreed to schedule with another nutritionist who had more free time in her schedule.  That was “M”.  She has a name, but I’m going to say things about her, so… better to just call her M.

I love M with all my heart.  I didn’t always, but after two years of working together, we sort of developed a relationship.

The thing I appreciate most about M’s feedback was how she was always able to find one positive thing I could hold onto and look at when I was feeling like a failure or feeling weak.  She always believed that I could make this change in my life, even when I wasn’t able to believe it myself.  (That is a powerful gift, right there!)

She also helped me by normalizing so many things I thought were just crazy old me.  I was so ashamed to admit finding myself walking to the kitchen for a 3rd handful of cookies and having a dialog in my head that said, “Stop walking!  Where are you going? Don’t you eat more cookies! I know you hear me. STOP!” followed by nom nom nom… mmmmmm… cookies. 🙂  Apparently, I’m not the only person who has ever done that.

She focused our sessions on learning about the benefits of eating whole foods, as close to grandma used to eat as possible.  She also introduced me to mindfulness and the idea of mindful eating.  I had no idea how often I ate on auto-pilot before this.

She introduced me to the book: Slow Down Diet, by Marc David. I highly recommend it to help you take a look at how you eat.  Each week, you can take on a new chapter and work on a new skill for mindful eating.  Just paying attention to how food tastes to you and how it makes your body feel, is the first step on the road to recovery.

Why I Dislike Diabetes Nutrition Counselling

diabetes nutritionI was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2000.  Since then, about five different doctors have referred me to diabetes nutrition counseling of some kind.    Every single visit has been the same frustrating experience for me.

The first 15 minutes consist of you sitting down to do a bunch of paperwork.  Then I am taught how to test my blood, use a log book and what a carbohydrate is.  I get some copies of a handout about counting carbs and a blood sugar log book.  When asked, “Do you have any questions?” I always want to scream, “Uh, DUH!”

If I ask “What am I supposed to be eating for blood sugar control?” Or “What exactly is diabetes nutrition and why aren’t you teaching me that?” I am handed a few recipes for things like Kale Salad, Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” and something requiring an ingredient not carried in any grocery store, anywhere on Earth.

When I ask how to determine how many carbs is good for me on any given day, I’m told to just count, test, and stay within the range.  But some days 45 grams of carbs is okay and other days it will send me to bed with crazy blood sugar swings.  How can there be an arbitrary number that is the same for all diabetics?  Hint:  There isn’t.

This would be the reason that it took so long for me to take the referral my doctor gave me to a nutritionist when I would ask food questions.  I really didn’t want to do another diabetes nutrition class and suffer that frustration again.  But I sure was in a corner.

I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  I ate all the “diet” things I was supposed to.  Often, I’d skip breakfast as I’m rarely hungry in the morning.  Lunch would be a quick, “healthy food” like a Lean Cuisine in the microwave.   I’d cook a dinner for my husband and I, but after dinner, I’d be hungry and constantly putting carbs into my mouth.  (Hmm.. no wonder I felt icky!)

What I needed was someone who wouldn’t prescribe some packaged cleanse or put me on some fad diet.  I need someone who could make sense of all these weird ideas I have about food and put me on a track to eating for fuel and health instead of this crazy chore about counting, measuring and worrying.

I found that person.  More in the next blog entry!

Choose Your Food Wisely

quality food
Choose food wisely

The small changes you make to your diet make a huge difference. Just look at the difference between the bay leaves from the traditional store shelf brand and the ones I got from the bulk food department at my natural grocery store.

And surprise! I paid less for the ones from the bulk food department per ounce then I do the ones in the prepackaged container. Just add your own mason jar and a label and you’re all set for cooking healthy meals.

Cooking with quality ingredients is an easy step we all can take to better our diet and our health .

I’ve Been On Every Diet Known To Man

grapefruit diet It all started when I was a kid, around 10-11 years old. I clearly remember a day at swim practice when my mother was talking with another mother on the side of the pool as we did laps. I’d catch snippets of their conversation as I swam by.

Lady: You’re brave to let your daughter swim on the team. Aren’t you worried she won’t get a good husband if she gets swimmer shoulders?
Mom: Hmmm…
Lady: After all, she’s already kind of chunky.

This lady had expressed her many husband-related concerns to my mother before. Because I’m tall. Because I’m “big boned”. Because I swim. Because I’m a tomboy. Because I don’t like HER daughter. It went on and on. This is also the same lady that blew huge clouds of cigarette smoke on us as we were doing sprints in the pool. If only my mother could have seen how crazy that lady was. I seem to recall this all happening on the next day, but it may have been a short time later. One morning, all the snack (ie, junk) foods had been moved to a locked cabinet in the laundry room. On my plate at breakfast was not a big bowl of cereal with sugar, but a half a grapefruit, no sugar.

Mom, with her own half a grapefruit, happily announced that she and I were going on a diet together. “Absolutely EVERYONE is doing Scarsdale and it will be good for us.” As I choked down that grapefruit, I scanned through the book and quickly realized:

diet = punishment

Clearly I had done something very bad and I was going to be punished. This was going to suck.

And that was the beginning of a long road of dieting. I would notice pants that were a little too snug (okay a lot snug, it was the 80’s) or a particularly bad photo next to a skinny friend, and I would be off to find a new diet. And this time for sure-It was going to work! There was Scarsdale, Grapefruit, Cabbage Soup, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Dexatrim diet pills by the handful as a teen, the Hollywood diet, more grapefruit, starvation, cayenne pepper drinks, expensive shakes, Atkins, South Beach, diets, diets and more diets. With each “diet”, I would restrict my eating severely, lose 10 lbs, and over time, gain back 15.  I’d lose 15 and gain back 25.  I’d lose 25 and gain back 40.  And so on, and so on. To 351 lbs. You know how it goes! If I had a time machine, I would go to that poor girl right now. I would grab her by the shoulders and tell her, “YOU ARE NOT FAT!!!” You are beautiful just the way you are. Your mother has some issues that are not about you. AT ALL. Because it wasn’t about me. It was about my mom and her taking what that crazy woman said and actually thinking her 11 year old daughter needed a diet when she was swimming 10 hours a week. What it was doing was laying the groundwork for the massive infrastructure now in my brain to set up all kinds of rules about food. Good food. Bad food. Evil food. Food to make you happy. Food for when you’re mad. Food to make it all go away. And plenty of punishment and suffering when your body image isn’t quite right.

But I was also setting up a relationship with an idea that wasn’t my own about what it means to eat a “healthy diet”.

You see, if diet = punishment, then a doctor telling me to adjust my diet to manage my diabetes means, “never eat anything fun ever again”. Nobody can maintain that, so I was setting myself up for failure again and again and again.

Does this sound familiar to any of you?