A Few Small Changes Add up to Whole Bunch, Part 2

Hey!  Thanks for coming back to read about my weight loss.  Today’s post is about the power of blogging, and how that can lead to the biggest change yet.  If you are wondering why I am welcoming anyone back, then feel free to visit my first post about my weight loss.  Click here, please.

Anyway, the first changes I made in 2012 were:

1. I turned soda into green tea.  Well, I guess I didn’t turn it into green tea, but I did an exchange.  I traded two sodas a day for a gallon of green tea.

2. I severely cut down on carbs and bread.

3. I started only using recipes from The Biggest Loser’s 30 Day Jumpstart Guide.

4. I drank many glasses of green smoothies each day and timing my carbs.  I make sure I eat carbs in the mornings, and after 3, try really hard to just have veggies and protein.  I will have some carbs like brown rice, or  rice noodles with dinner, but not much and not often.

5. I made sure I was active by attending 2 spin classes a week, and two body pump classes.

6. I made sure to avoid processed foods and alcohol.

7. NO SECOND helpings, ever.  Even at restaurants.  The goal was to eat less. Period.

Those changes took a long time to implement because I did NOT do them all at once.  I did them one at a time, until it became easy, and then made another change.  I keep that philosophy up, and I plan on doing it for life.

Overall, for me, the biggest change took place in my head.  I let go of trying to be perfect and look perfect.  I am not perfect, end of story. Plus, I am working on not caring about what others think, and this is SUPER hard for this hardcore people pleaser.  I am trying to be happy with where I am in this moment.  I don’t care what others think is the ideal woman or that my new “thinner” is still fatter than many people’s fat.  I am almost at a healthy BMI, and that’s what’s important to ME.  TRUST me, the mental stuff, has been a long time coming and it is SUPER hard to remember everyday.  However, I find it essential in order to keep plugging away at my LIFE CHANGES.

Yes, you saw LIFE CHANGES.  I mean it.  I am not going back.  That means when I reach my next goal, I am not reverting back to my old ways.  It means that clean eating, working out, and no soda are here to stay.  I am not giving myself permission to gain it back, EVER.

Okay, so enough of that, on with my journey.  I kept plugging away at my changes through May and June.  By July, I had lost around 25 pounds, when my doctor said she wanted to change my thyroid medicine.  I cried and refused.  I was FINALLY losing weight, this was not the time to play around with medicine.  Anyway, after a tearful conversation, that ended with me getting my way, I did what I do when I have emotions, I blogged about it.  However, I never linked that blog to Facebook or social media, because I wasn’t quite ready to share.  I figured my hard-core readers would see the post AND they did.

That afternoon, in July, I received a message on Facebook from a high school friend.  One simple message, changed my life.  She explained to me that she has had a similar journey with her thyroid.  She also talked about her severe fatigue (like me) and HOW she lost a lot of weight.  It was one simple solution, that is not as easy as it sounds.  She is GLUTEN FREE.

Well, those of you who know me, know that we tried the GF diet (we also gave up casein) when my son was diagnosed with autism years ago.  However, the market for gluten-free living has drastically changed in the past 5 years.  While I was a bit skeptical about whether or not I could do, I was TIRED of being EXHAUSTED ALL OF THE TIME.  When I say exhausted, I mean, I had a hard time getting to the basement to bring up laundry.  Some days, that felt like a HUGE ordeal.  I felt like that for years, even when teaching.  Some days, I wonder how I actually functioned.  It was time to take a risk, that only had a good end result.  It either would work and I would have more energy, or it wouldn’t work.  What did I have to lose?  At that point, I had only been eating two pieces of bread a day, so the daily impact wasn’t that huge.

We had a road trip coming up, so I decided to take some time to make a plan, slowly move my taste buds over to different foods, fit it in our budget, and figure out how to do it right.  It takes a few months to work gluten out of your system.  So any time you eat gluten, it’s like starting over.  I decided that August would be a great month to dive into gluten-free living and see how it worked.  In the meantime, I would have my favorite foods little by little, one last time, while trying to not eat gluten anyway.  Even on our road trip, the closer it got to August, the less gluten filled items I ate.  Once we came home, that day, I was completely done with gluten.

The first few changes I saw, was my skin rash that I had been fighting on my knees for years, slowly cleared up and it hasn’t returned.  Next, I noticed that my gums that had been bleeding, despite my CRAZY teeth habits (I am so obsessed with good mouth hygiene, I should probably see a psychiatrist about it), stopped.  Then I realized that my stomach no longer hurt after every meal.  I started feeling lighter, and not just because I was still losing weight.  My mind started clearing up, and the fog was slowly lifting.  It’s so hard to explain, except each day feels like I wake up even more.

Am I ready to run up and down the walls?  No. I have been sleep deprived lately, however, I only feel tired, not EXHAUSTED.  I am excited to see what happens once I get back into good sleep habits.  Everyday I am not eating gluten, I feel better than the day before.  I guess you could call it an awakening.

So when people find out that I am gluten-free, and say I have a strong will power, I respectfully disagree.  It’s not will power, but an understanding that this food is REALLY bad for my body.  It’s not just bad, but it is keeping me from the life I want.  I look at it as poison.  If it could kill a dog, it could kill me.  I know, this is drastic, but it is HOW I say NO to rolls, bread, fries, muffins, and other yummy treats EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I have come to accept that I have a thyroid disorder, so I need to treat it like a disorder.  I also have a gluten intolerance, and I HAVE to stay away from it.  It’s not a diet, but a lifestyle.  A lifestyle that is slowly giving me my true self back.  Knowing that I am living my best life, is worth every single struggle with being left out of the treats.

OK, this is LONG enough.  I have more to share, but I will sign off for today.

Do you have any questions about gluten-free living? I am going to write a post about how I try to keep it simple, so let me know if you are wondering anything.

Thank you for reading my personal story.

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12 thoughts on “A Few Small Changes Add up to Whole Bunch, Part 2

  1. Pingback: A Big Change: Gluten-Free Living | Our Small Moments

    • Thanks, Steph! I love bread too, I have learned to eat a different bread and less of it. Honestly if I could lose weight without being gf, then that would be better. Oh well!

  2. I love that that message changed your life 🙂 Now *you* have inspired *me* because ever since life got really crazy for us in August, I have done so terribly with my eating…back to eating whatever, whenever, even wheat again. This is probably a psychological problem, ha ha. Okay, not ha ha, it is pretty serious…I feel awful in both my body and mind when I eat badly. ANYhoo, I love that you are feeling great and I remember that I used to feel great, so THANK YOU for reminding me!

    • Kelly, we all have times when life gets in the way. The huge changes you have undergone are understandable. I am so grateful that you reached out to me. I am writing about it so I don’t forget how desperate I felt a few months ago. I hope you find your energy again soon. Life is too short to feel like crap. Take care

  3. How do you know what foods contain gluten? What exactly is gluten? I like all your tips….even no seconds….gah! 🙂 But I ESPECIALLY like the part where you talk about not comparing yourself to others….I do that all the time.

    • Hi Tracy, gluten is mainly found in wheat. I look at allergen info, and check the ingredients. I try to avoid all grains, because some have it and others don’t. Eating lots of protein, fruits and veggies and nuts help keep it simple. Thanks for reading my post 🙂 I am working on a gluten free post where I will explain more.

  4. Courtney – I do have a question about gluten free stuff. Do you think you have always been intolerant to gluten, or is it something that develops later in life? It seems like a lot of people are talking about gluten intolerance the last year or two. I’ve never known someone well enough or been in the right forum/situation to ask.
    p.s. Congrats on your weight loss and belief in yourself!

    • Hi Melissa, you can ask me anything. I want to share my story in case it helps someone else. I don’t know if I have always been intolerant. I have always had a low metabolism that made weight loss hard. I do wonder… However, my biggest struggles have been since e early 2000s. Also, this 42 pounds have been the easiest to shed, which makes me wonder how long I have been intolerant. I also know that wheat processing has changed which could have something to do with the rise of intolerances. I am currently in the collecting reliable information stage of understanding this. Thanks for reading and asking 🙂

  5. A little change at a time seems to added up big for you. That’s wonderful! Not sure I could pull off a gluten free diet, but I’m glad you have found something that has worked for you. Keep it up!

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