Tag Archives: Health

My New Beginning – The Whole 30

iPhone Pics 207Well, it’s safe to say that I’ve backslid quite a bit. I’ve been in California for a year now and I think I basically threw everything I had learned out the window once we got here. We left Germany the first week of June, traveled to Florida and Texas to visit family for the whole month, then arrived in Cali the first week of July. During that month, we were forced to eat things we don’t normally eat mostly because we were not able to cook for ourselves. So, we ate fast food (yuck) and ate whatever was available at families’ homes. It was disastrous.

Fast forward to just a couple of months ago and here I am, I’ve crept up about 9 pounds (I initially lost most of the 15 pounds I had gained during the month of June once we got back to cooking our own foods) and I’ve started to have trouble with GERD again. It began with coughing after I eat. I knew something was not right.

The acid reflux got really bad again and I was feeling pretty miserable. I knew it was time to go back to the doctor to address my digestive issues, including the hiatal hernia I did not have corrected while in Germany. Bummer.

Of course, the first thing my doctor tells me is, “I need to put you back on the Nexium.” I was heart-broken. I’ve been off of that stuff for two years and really fought hard to not have to do it. But in the end, I conceded. And of course,  I’m also being referred to a brand new gastroenterologist. Sigh.

PaleoBookI had read not too long ago about a program called Whole30. If you aren’t familiar with the Paleo diet, then this will be a real eye-opener. I’ve been dabbling in the Paleo diet/lifestyle for several months and have really noticed some differences when I’m doing it right. It’s been an amazing discovery for me. I’ve learned a lot from the book, The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Phd. You can find it here.

I’ve also been following some awesome blogs on the Paleo diet.  I found blogs like Mark’s Daily Apple, and Rob Wolff. I love to look up recipes by typing in “Paleo diet” or “Paleo (insert food item here) recipe” and tons of recipes pop up! I’ve discovered awesome sites like Nom Nom Paleo and Melissa Joulwan’s awesome site full of the coolest recipes. And in the process of all this searching, I discovered The Whole 9 Life. This site, created by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, is devoted to an extreme Paleo life. They began with a 30 day program to “reset” the body. They decided one day to make some serious, lasting changes in their diet and overall health and set about following a strict regimen for 30 days. Their results were so amazing, they began to share what they did with others. Soon, they had their website up and running and tons of folks they had helped change their lives for the better supporting them.iPhone Pics 1174

The plan is simple – eat whole, fresh foods from sustainable sources. Heal your body and give it a “do-over.” Feel better. Simple. Of course, the plan is simple, but not easy. You don’t just choose better foods, you also have to eliminate those things that damage your body.

That’s the most important part.

You must, for at least 30 days, make sure not to have any of the following:

  1. Sugar
  2. Alcohol (there’s my two demons right at the top of the list!)
  3. Grains
  4. Legumes
  5. Dairy (ghee is the only exception)
  6. Anything containing carageenan, sulfites, or MSG (you can also add nitrites and nitrates if you’re really serious.)
  7. White potatoes

I just started on my Whole30 journey a little over a week ago. I’m only on day 10. But I have to say, it’s been an awakening. And it’s been wonderful!

iPhone Pics 1190My vices have always been my downfall. Wine and chocolate. They’re my little demons that call my name most every night. But once I started on my Whole30 I turned them off. I thought it would be hard. And it was for the first couple of days, but then it wasn’t. I had a headache from day 2 to day 5, but on day 6 it was gone. I felt almost euphoric. What a wonderful sensation.

The food has really been the best part.iPhone Pics 1170

I have dropped a few pounds since I started (even though I know I’m not supposed to get on the scale. The Whole30 is about so much more than losing weight, after all.) But that’s not the best part. I’ve noticed that my foods taste better. I’ve stopped craving things. Period. Everything. I feel stronger during my crazy Insanity workouts with Shaun T. yelling at me to “push through.” My mind feels less foggy. I feel less lethargic. My energy levels are way up. I get more done during my day. I’m definitely more productive since I started.

What I’m really getting at is I love the way I’m feeling these days since starting the Whole30 plan. I feel “cleaner” on the inside. And I don’t want to stop at day 30.

I have my first gastro appt in years coming up on September 9 and I want to keep this going until then. I’m curious to see just how much good I can do for my body before I get to my new specialist. I know I’m probably going to have to have the surgery to correct my hernia, but at least I can give my body a chance to heal faster and feel better. And of course, I want to guarantee that the fix with stay put.

So, to ensure my success on all fronts, this may just become a new way of life for me. After my first 30 days, I’ll probably go celebrate with a glass of wine or two, but maybe by then I won’t want it as much. I certainly have realized that I don’t like the way I feel when I drink more than just a little. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it really made until I stopped it altogether.

So, here’s to a whole new me. I’m definitely on a good path and plan to stick with it for as long as I can. I really feel like this is a true “do-over” for my whole body, for all the years I put bad things in and damaged my insides. I’m hoping to really heal myself, physically and mentally, from all the years of living I did before I hit 40. (Yeah, that’s a scary number, huh?)

I’m off and running and nothing’s holding me back. I’m winning!


To a happier, healthier and longer life.


A Dieter’s Epiphany…

So, I’ve been trying out new diets, tweaking my nutritional intake, and generally just trying to solve the mysteries of obesity and overweight for a long time. My husband has made claims that I am just chasing fireflies and won’t figure anything out completely…it’s almost impossible. But I think I may be on to something…

I began another (yes, another) new diet at the end of August called the Fat Resistance Diet, by Leo Galland, M.D. with amazing results…results I didn’t expect. I had been suffering from chronic fatigue, bloat, and what I always called “puffiness” for quite a long time. These symptoms began to disappear almost immediately on the Fat Resistance Diet. I looked at what I had been eating and quickly realized I had not eaten any grains in a couple of weeks and had already lost 12 lbs. in the process. I continued on the diet for another week and lost a few more pounds, making my total weight loss for the first three weeks 15 lbs.

The weight loss was awesome, but that wasn’t the thing that really caught my attention. All the loss of energy and motivation I had been experiencing had disappeared and I felt better than I had in I don’t know how long. My energy levels were through the roof compared to what they were. Then, after a few more weeks, not really sticking to the diet, but laying off of gluten, the mysterious pain in my shins also disappeared. The rash I had on my scalp – a red, bumpy, itchy rash that I had been trying to keep in check for years with Neutrogena T-Gel – also disappeared. I felt like a whole new person.

I talked to my doctor about allergies and sensitivities to certain foods. I described what my symptoms were and that they had gone and he said to me, “people know the answers when they come in with these kinds of questions – if you eliminated this food and you feel better, what do you think the answer is?” He was right. As good as I felt there was no way I was going back to eating the things that were literally making me sick and creating pain in my body. It was as simple as that.

But the realization that I have an allergy to wheat gluten was just the tip of the iceberg. I also noticed that, along with the elimination of grains, I had added in a lot of dark green, leafy vegetables, healthy anti-oxidant rich dark berries (like blueberries and strawberries) and pomegranate juice and more fish. These were simple changes in my daily diet but the results were amazing. I wasn’t hungry! That’s what was so unbelievable…I didn’t have munchies and I wasn’t hungry all day long. I didn’t really feel like I was on a diet at all. And I’m still eating the same types of foods today and have the same feeling as when I first started the diet. I feel satisfied after eating and I’m not always wanting to feed my face.

Not too long after I began noticing these little improvements in my physical well-being, I picked up and read the book, Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, M.D. which is an insanely interesting read. I was really inspired by what Dr. Davis said and his book, along with what I had discovered with Dr. Galland’s diet, really started me thinking about the state of people in today’s world.

This is my belief – People eat food that has been overly processed and lacks nutrional value. That means that when a person eats this type of food, their body isn’t getting what it needs. It’s still hungry! So, this same person eats more processed food, still not giving their body what it truly needs nutrition-wise, which leaves the person feeling bloated and full but not satisfied. The brain is still sending the same signals to eat because it still hasn’t received what it needs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But it can be broken.

Just say, "No!"

The body is an engine and it needs fuel. If you put really bad, diluted gas in your car’s gas tank, what happens to the engine? It breaks down and quits working. If you put the supreme gas in the tank, it purrs like a kitten. So, why would you put crappy “gas” into your body’s tank? This is your engine. It needs to last a long time and it’s up to YOU to take care of it. You have to feed it the right fuels – lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean meats, nuts, etc. You can’t feed it doughnuts all the time. The phytonutrients you get from green vegetables and dark fruits just aren’t in there. Yet they are essential to your overall health.

Take this challenge – Go grain-free and “box” free for one week and see how you feel! That means you will have to spend some time in your kitchen preparing meals, cutting veggies, actually cooking your dinner. But that’s a good thing – your kitchen utensils have probably not seen you in a while. Don’t open a box from the freezer – instead make a hearty vegetable soup, or stew. Get out that crock pot and put it to some good use. Add some chicken or turkey into it for dinner. Make a healthy salad with some tuna on top. Grill some fish on your grill. But stay away from breads and pastas. Just give it a try for one week – I bet your body will thank you!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

My Passion, My Love, My Enemy…

Summer is here! I have been looking forward to warmer weather for soooo long.  After living in Germany for the past two years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was not built for colder climates. My butt belongs in Texas. People back home keep posting about the unbearable heat on facebook and I keep dreaming of 100+ degree temperatures as I read them. We’re planning on heading back to Texas for a visit soon and I’m getting super excited. In the meantime, though, here I am in Germany, the weather cold and rainy, dreaming of poolside lounging.

But, if you look at the calendar, summer starts tomorrow. And I can’t believe I let it creep up on me this way. It’s summer and I’m not bikini-ready. What happened? How did I let six months go by without losing all the fat I had planned on losing? Well, I think I may now know the answer to that question:  Alcohol.

Okay, my friends, you’ve heard the advice a thousand times before – if you are trying to lose weight, alcohol of ALL TYPES is your arch nemesis, you’re enemy. Beer, wine and liquor are definitely NOT your friends. So, it’s time to say, “So long, Gentleman Jack and Jose Cuervo, it’s time to cut ties…at least for a while.”

Recently, my doc put me on an antibiotic for a nearly two week regimen. While taking this medication, alcohol is strictly prohibited. I’ve only been off of alcohol for five days and I can already see and feel a difference. I was forced to go completely dry, but now that I’ve seen what the alcohol was keeping me from achieving, I don’t want to go back to it too soon.

In the past five days, I’ve had less grogginess, less bloat, better sleep and I’ve seen a difference in my waistline. That tells me that I was doing everything else right…but the wine was holding me back. I’ve lost between two and three pounds in just the last five days. I’m assuming some of that was excess water, but still. I am truly amazed at how much a difference this has made.

Aiden's birthday cake...the biggest birthday cake EVER!

My son’s birthday party was last weekend and I was so afraid to indulge in his beautiful birthday cake. (It was truly amazing…a giant pirate ship! So cool!) I didn’t want to over-indulge in anything! I had a very small piece and refrained from eating anything  else. But I gained anyway.  However, just the other day, my son and I made strawberry cupcakes together, complete with little gumdrops on top. I was staying within my calorie-count, but I didn’t stop myself from having one of those beautiful cupcakes. And I still lost weight! That is the power of alcohol.

This is the lesson I’ve learned…the hard way: Alcohol trumps sugar every time.

I really do enjoy my wine (and cocktails from time to time.) And truth be told, I enjoy a glass or two most nights. I’ve really been enjoying the fact that I live in one of the best wine-producing regions in the world. But while I still haven’t reached my goal, I can’t afford to continue sabotaging my efforts.

Cocktails, cocktails and more cocktails...my saboteur.

It really pains me to think I’ve been doing it right all along…low-calorie diet, plenty of exercise, mostly water to drink, given up all sodas a long time ago…but I still haven’t reached my goals because I couldn’t let go of the wine.

I’m not saying that the occasional night out with the girls or a nice glass of wine with dinner while out with my hubby is out of the question. And once I reach my goal and I’m in maintenance mode, it will be a lot different. But for me, I’ve seen the light. In order to get to where I want to be, I will have to stay off of the wine for a while. Wish me luck!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

Crash and Burn

After the rain

I just love a good thunderstorm. The world feels fresh and new the next morning. All the dirt and grime is washed away revealing the world’s true colors hiding beneath. We had some really good thunderstorms last night and I would have enjoyed them a lot more if I hadn’t felt like vomiting.

Apparently, I’m a big wuss. These past few days on the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet have been the worst I can remember in a long, long time. Of course, the first day of the plan, the Cheat Day, was perfectly awesome. But on day two, the Fast Day, I was a miserable wreck. I took my BCAA (branched-chain amino acid)  supplements and took a decent metabolism booster as instructed. I was at work for a big part of the day and I was doing okay. But by the time 4:00pm rolled around and it had been 21 hours since my last meal, I was ready to crack. I was weak, had a headache and I was just freakin’ hungry.

I know that my problem was most likely psychological. I’m sure I was not actually starving the way I felt I was starving.  I did finally break down and eat a little something…I lasted a full 24 hours on the fast and thought that was pretty good. And the worst part is I was supposed to do two workouts during this day. There was no way I was going to be able to perform even one workout. I was  ready to go to bed that night just so I wouldn’t feel the discomfort that came from feeling that hungry. Even though I ate dinner,  it just wasn’t enough after going so long without food. I felt completely miserable when I hit the sack.

The next day wasn’t quite as bad…Shake Day. I thought I would feel famished when I first woke up, but I was feeling pretty normal. I made my first protein shake and it seemed to do the trick. My son had his Field Day at school and my husband and I had plans to volunteer. The day was gorgeous for outdoor sports activities and I was happy to feel some warm sunshine. But once my coffee ran out, I started to feel the pangs of hunger once again. Field Day only lasted a couple of hours but by the time we got back to the house, I felt weak and depleted. I had another shake, but I still felt empty.  Several shakes later I had to get to softball practice, but my head was pounding and I just felt weak. Somehow I made it through practice, though my husband told me I looked lethargic and didn’t seem to be at my best. When we finished up at the field, my husband and son wanted to eat dinner (it was 8:00pm after all) so we ended up going to the club on base. I ate a piece of hamburger on a bun with mustard only. And a lot of water.  It wasn’t a shake, but it was not a lot of food. I still felt hungry and wanted the day to end.

Finding my own path

When we finally got back home I checked in with my XFLD partner back in Texas. She had gone the entire fast day successfully and was working her way through the shakes on day three. She seemed to be having a much better time with the plan than I. I thought to myself, “what a puss I am!” and vowed to do better next time around. How could she be doing so much better? Am I really that much of a wuss that I just can’t handle it? I really thought I was tough enough to do this plan, even though it’s extreme. I was really disappointed in myself.

I read so many comments on Joel Marion’s blog from people all over the world, from different walks of life, with different perspectives who had fasted or made it a regular practice to fast and had zero problems. I remember reading from one person who works in a hospital who regularly checked her blood sugar levels to make sure it didn’t drop throughout her fast only to find it stayed normal throughout the whole day.  So, that means that for me it must be all in my head.

Day four, the Moderate Carb Day, I was very excited to have made it this far. I woke up and wanted to go to my zumba class. I hadn’t been able to go all week because I had been working so much. And this morning, our class was being held outside! It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I couldn’t wait. I made breakfast (one egg, two pieces of turkey bacon, one piece of toast with margarine and all-fruit, juice and coffee) and got ready to head out. I was so pumped.

Zumba is a very high-energy class and I just wasn’t able to give it my all during this beautiful outdoor exhibition. I felt weak all over. My legs felt like they would give out at any moment. It was so bad the instructor noticed. My general lack of energy and all-over weakness had really interfered with my activities. I decided at that moment that this diet was just not going to work for me. I needed more than what I was getting from the XFLD. Yes, I want to lose weight and get back into shape, but I just don’t think anyone should feel this horrible while doing it.

We left the field after zumba and decided we needed to get some lunch and sandwiches from the deli counter seemed like a great choice. We sat down and I began to devour my lunch. I must have looked something like a shark attacking a surfer, eyes rolling back into my head and mouth chomping down ferociously, to anyone that may have taken notice. My husband probably had to turn his gaze away from me as I tore through my poor, unsuspecting wrap sandwich. It never stood a chance.

It wasn’t too long after we finished eating that we were all in the car driving towards home when the nausea set in. I’ve never been carsick before and didn’t think I was carsick now, but one minute I was fine and the next I felt the need to pull over.  We had planned on hitting up a friend’s outdoor barbeque later in the afternoon, but I ended up laying on the couch in a pathetic fetal position for the rest of the day. I don’t remember the last time I felt so sick. I was the most miserable I had been in a very long time.

This morning I woke up and stepped on the scale. Though yesterday had been a disaster I still wanted to see if all the torturous days had at least yielded some positive result. But sadly, I weighed exactly the same as I had on the first day of the XFLD. After the fast day I had lost 2.5 lbs and was hoping to still be close to that. But obviously, it was only water which I replaced yesterday during my balled-up recovery time. I ate plenty of carbs yesterday and drank a lot of fluids. My week, from an extreme diet standpoint,  has been a total waste of time.

I will confess that I know extreme diets never work. I know that crazy fads are really just that…crazy. None of the extreme, fad, crash or crazy diets ever really work. And what’s worse, if you ever do lose weight on one of these crazy diets, it’s probably mostly water and comes right back within a short period of time.  After reading the science behind Joel’s plan, I was really hoping that this one would be different. And maybe it is for some. Maybe some people can do this program with little difficulty. But not most people. It clearly says in all the info that “this plan is not for everyone” and it’s really true. It’s for only a select few. If you are not in the habit of fasting or starving, it’s probably going to be really difficult to get through this program. Just one 5-day cycle was nearly impossible for me to get through…I can’t imagine trying to get through four more cycles. And exercising during these starvation modes…well, that was not going to happen. Yes, like a thunderstorm washes away all the surface grime to reveal what’s really underneath, I have discovered what’s hiding beneath all the science-speak in Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet…just another crazy, crash, fad diet. What a disappointment. But I really should have known better.

My partner confessed to me yesterday that she couldn’t imagine doing it four more times, either and agreed to do a modified plan with me. I told her that I could come up with a much more reasonable way to do this if she was willing to go off the XFLD. And she agreed. Thank goodness!

Today I will spend the day chillin’ out and getting ready to start on a new plan. My friend and partner is willing to try something a little more reasonable and I can live with that.  My new plan will consist of a “cheat” day followed by four days of very low calories. We can still use the metabolism booster for added results. But there will be no starving. There will be food intake on every day of my plan. And we will still get to have a cheat day to boost our hormone levels and keep us from plateauing. And we will lose weight.

Time to lay off the alcohol...

I thought that giving up beer and wine would be the hardest part of losing weight. But after attempting to get through five days of the XFLD, I don’t think that will be a concern any longer. After that, giving up alcohol will be a cinch.

And a New Plan Begins…

Who doesn't love a good "cheat" day?

Today is Day One of the new program, The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet program from Joel Marion. It just came out and I’ve been anticipating it for a while. I’m ready to give this one a go, though it seems kind of difficult. I’ve never been a big fan of fasting, so we’ll see how it goes.

Day One is the “Cheat Day” where I’m entitled to eat anything I want without guilt. I’m having absolutely no problem with this part. But tomorrow will definitely be a test for me…a full 36 hour fast from the time I go to bed tonight until breakfast the day after tomorrow. And the third day will be a “Shake” day where I have only shakes all day. I will still have to exercise on these days, so I’m curious to see how my energy levels hold up.

I will be taking supplements on my fast day, so it’s not like a pure fast. But as I said, I’ve never been one to be able to go without food for a whole day. And I’m sure I’ll be practically unbearable by the end of the day. (My poor husband!)

But I’m determined to follow through on this program. It’s only 25 days long. It works in five-day cycles. So, I will do five 5-day cycles to get to the end of the program.

So far, it’s all good! I’m gonna love the Cheat day every five days! But, I’ll keep you posted on the rest of the five days and let you know how it’s working.

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

Excessive Day-Time Tiredness and the Joys of European Springtime

Lately, I’ve been having so much of a problem with daytime sleepiness that my husband took notice. He actually made a doctor‘s appointment for me, fearing there might be something seriously wrong with me. Honestly, I didn’t consider that much could really be wrong until he mentioned his concern for my health and well-being. However, I guess he had a point….I am, after all, over 40 years old. Though sometimes I really try to forget that. I like to think I’m 30-11 instead. I know I certainly  don’t feel like I’m middle-aged. Jeez, what the hell is that supposed to feel like, anyway? Scary thought…moving on.

So, I did go to the appointment my husband had scheduled and told the doctor that yes, in fact, I’ve had a pretty big problem lately with feeling excessively tired. She had two thoughts: sleep interruption or thyroid issues. She decided that we should check my hormones and my vitamin levels (especially iron to rule out anemia) and see what comes back. If everything comes back normal, then we can tackle the issue of sleep interruption with a sleep study. Joy.

The beautiful, vibrantly yellow rape fields of the Eifel region of Germany.

I’m a huge puss when it comes to needles being jabbed into my arm. I would make the worst junkie EVER. But I toughed it out as they took no less than six vials of blood from me. And you know I didn’t leave without getting my hard-earned Dora the Explorer stickers!

But the tests came back great! My hormones are fine! (Happy dance around the kitchen table!) I got a prescription for iron to supplement my diet, just to be on the safe side and added B-complex and B-12 supplements to make sure all of these important vitamins are present. But everything in my chart shows I’m fine.

So, what’s the verdict? My doctor mentioned something in the follow-up appointment she had not mentioned before…allergies. I take two different allergy medications everyday and I’m not even allergic to anything in particular. But apparently, this spring in Germany, the pollen is so bad that it’s making everyone sick.

Aiden gives me a flower...

Not too long after I went in for my visit with my doctor, my son starting having some odd symptoms, too. He woke up early, early one morning and couldn’t open his eye…it was swollen shut. Poor guy…he’s only five. He was freakin’ out! I took him to the doctor, too, and it turns out he’s having the same problem I’ve been having.

Shortly after the conversation with my son’s doctor,  I noticed how much more tired he is. I knew it was getting harder and harder to get him up in the mornings for school, but I really thought it was because he’s so close to school being over and he’s ready for a break It didn’t occur to me that he was feeling the same thing I’ve been feeling. But he and I have been feeling it together. We both are struggling to get through our days.

After we get home from school, he usually passes out in the floor on the rug and naps for a couple of hours. I let him. I know how it is. If I can slip in a nap during that time, I do it too. It’s all we can do to stay awake these days. I truly have to get everything done in the early part of the day because there’s just no way I have any energy for anything from the late afternoon on. I try. My intentions are there, but my energy is zapped.

I hope this springtime hell passes soon. There is so much left in a day from 3pm on. I hate that I get to that point in the day and start thinking about going to bed. I have way too many things I want to accomplish to keep this up. Ugh.

I think I’ll go lie down now…

To a healthier, happier and longer life.

Another Great Way to Beat the Late Afternoon Sugar Craving

I’m no stranger to dieting, battling cravings, trying to fit fitness into a busy lifestyle, or any aspect of trying to balance personal fitness into my life. If there’s a popular diet out there, I’ve most likely given it a go at some point.

Over the years, though, I’ve learned there’s no short-cut to getting healthy. It takes work and determination has to become your new best friend. It’s a struggle every single day. And you will have good days…and there will always be bad days.  But I’ve learned a lot of things about me and my body and more specifically how to listen when my body is trying to tell me something.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to realize is I didn’t listen to my own body nearly enough before. In fact, sometimes I would actually tune it out, which is counter-productive to getting into shape and in-tune with your body. Obvious, right? But I didn’t realize I was doing it for a long time. It’s about reading the signals and deciphering them correctly.

If you are anything like me, you may have started a gazillion different exercise programs over the years and found that your body is more tired when you add a lot of exercise into your life. That’s normal. So, it’s important to make sure you give your body more time to repair when working your body so hard. When you add stress, physical and mental, to your daily grind, your body is in more need of repair. So, if you were getting 7 hours of sleep before you began your exercise regimen, you should probably bump that up to 8 or 8 1/2 hours until your body has adjusted.

But that’s not what I did.  I was still going to bed and waking up at the same time every night, same as I had done before. And I would wake up tired. I upped my coffee intake, which wasn’t that bad since I drink it black, but the added caffeine would deplete my waterstores. Then, I’d need to drink more water and couldn’t drink enough to overcome the caffeine. Plus, with the added exercise, I actually needed even more than that. It was like burning the candle at both ends. Not healthy at all.

Cupcakes. One of my favorite foods to satisfy a chocolate/sugar craving. Why is it that there are so many holidays where sweets are involved. I say we boycott them all! (Just kidding.)

The other problem I started to encounter is the late afternoon sugar craving.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had trouble with sugar cravings before, but these were serious monster-like cravings that I just couldn’t control. Every afternoon after lunch, I would pace like a prowling cat, wandering around looking for something to satisfy my craving. Once I found what I wanted, usually something chocolate and loaded with all the bad stuff and tons of calories, I would literally binge. This is the kind of binging that gives you tons of guilt afterwards. I would feel so badly after, I believed all the exercise I had done was for naught. And inevitably, I would eventually give up whatever program I was on and go back to my usual ways. Defeated again.

What I now understand is my body was trying to help me. My own body was trying to tell me what I needed and I interpreted the signals completely wrong. I was exhausted and water-depleted. My brain was trying to send signals for me to rest and drink more water, and I was interpreting those signals as sugar cravings. Most of the time when we feel strong cravings come on, it’s a sign that something is missing. But the secret is to figure out what it is you’re missing instead of going with your first feeling. Mostly, you body will not need sugar or chocolate, no matter how strongly you feel the urge to eat it!

Now, when I know the late afternoon is approaching, I’m very mindful of my food and water intake. I want to make sure I have given my body the proper nutrients and water before the cravings have a chance to sneak up on me. That’s the first step. Next, when I feel cravings start, I don’t react right away. When I catch myself pacing, I analyze what I’ve missed in my diet first. Then, I evaluate how much water I’ve had and how much exercise. If I’ve exercised a lot and haven’t had a lot of water, I make sure to correct that.

If, after all of that, I still have cravings, which I sometimes do, then I take a nap! This is my latest tool in the battle of the sugar cravings. If I’m having some bad cravings even though my diet and water are in check, then the last thing I go to is my sleep. I’ve found that when I’m tired my cravings shoot up and my resolve sinks to almost nothing. So, I lay down and take a power nap. Usually not for more than half an hour, but it works wonders on my brain and body.  It sounds simple, and it is, once you learn how to interpret the signals your brain is sending.

I’m still no expert on reading my body’s signals but I continue to learn every day. It’s nice to know that my body is looking out for me. Especially when I just thought it was trying to sabotage all of my efforts before. Still, it’s a continuous journey to health. The more I learn, the more I grow…healthier!

To a healthier, happier and longer life!