Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Am Learning

Every day, when I put food in my mouth, I am learning what works for me and what doesn't. Even those imperfect days where I eat something I hadn't planned to or let the asparagus sit in the crisper instead of making it for lunch, I am learning. I am noticing things I didn't notice before, or if I did, not as intensely.

I have noticed that when I drink a glass of unhomogenized, fresh milk from local, grass-fed cows, I actually FEEL good.

I've learned that eating fresh blueberries actually makes me happy. Kind of like snuggling with puppies or watching my little girl dance, fresh blueberries bring an involuntary rush of joy as soon as I see their rich, dark color and the pleasing way they look like art in a bowl, and after I taste their sweetness I can't help but smile because they just make me feel so good! It's not the 'good' of a yummy cupcake, either. It's not just a taste or indulgence or satisfying-an-urge thing. It transcends that.

I have learned that eating 2 free range chicken eggs with a fresh orange is every bit as good as my old favorite that I used to adore: 2 eggs, sausage, a buttered English muffin, and orange juice. I always felt kind of sick if I ate eggs alone, without carbs, but a fresh orange sure makes a wonderful side to my eggs in the morning! I think it's a new favorite. My body just sings after I eat that, and I feel energized and not sluggish.

I have noticed that I do not miss soda *at all.* I thought I was so hooked on diet sodas that I'd never get off. I thought heaven was in a can of Coke Zero and couldn't imagine trying to function without it. Yet within days of quitting, I had no desire for any of it. I much prefer cold, unsweetened tea or plain water with lemon.

I have seen the effects of sugar on my body now. Yes, I've had moments when I have eaten sugary treats in the last week, and while I knew before that sugar hurts me, it became *crystal clear* this time because the effects of sugar were immediate. As soon as I ate, I felt ill. My heart raced. I could literally feel my blood sugar running rampant. Then, I felt tired and sluggish and had zero energy in the afternoon to get anything done. And yes, my joints hurt. Badly. It was *very* acute this time, maybe because I ate sugar on an empty stomach. It just solidified my knowledge that those kinds of foods are harmful to my body.

I have found that overeating ANY food leaves me feeling bloated and yucky. I have learned that my stomach has a *much* smaller capacity than it did just a few years ago, and I stay full for longer. I actually need about half, or less, of the volume of food I used to need to feel satisfied. So I am learning to serve myself only half of what I *think* I want. It works beautifully; I am always full and satisfied with half. And I have seen that when I overindulge just because something tastes good (like the other night when I had seconds of pumpkin seeds mixed with dark chocolate chips), it sits in my stomach like a lump of lead and goes nowhere... NOWHERE... until the next morning. It SUCKS. It is an awful, sickening feeling like my stomach just cannot digest that amount of food when I eat well beyond fullness, especially if fat is involved. Even if I eat too much in the afternoon or at dinner, 5 hours later I am lying in bed feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. I prop myself with pillows and feel yucky and wake up tossing and turning from the lump in my stomach. And I wake up in the morning *not* hungry at all. I have learned I much prefer the alternative of going to bed nearly empty, after a decent (low carb) dinner at 6 and then a light, very light snack at 8 or 9 (100 calories or less). I sleep much more comfortably this way and wake up hungry. It's kind of crazy, because before I started blogging I always, *always* went to bed stuffed and slept propped up on pillows and woke up choking on my own reflux all night. It was *normal* to me. Learning to go to bed slightly hungry was something I began a few years ago and solidified on Medifast. Now *that* is my normal and I hate feeling otherwise.

I am taking this time to really pay attention to how I feel when I eat different things. I do read and think and learn from websites and books and scientists and "experts," but the most important learning is done right here, with myself.


Sugar said...

yes your last line gives the punch.. its all about teaching yourself, and observing your own body. I am on a similar journey too and totally identify with this post :)

Diandra said...

Sounds great. A few days ago I was pining for pineapple (which I am slightly allergic to), but I just had to have some. Haven't had this yearning for chocolate or crisps in months. Yay food!

The Girl From Back Then said...

Blueberries! My favourite guilty pleasure in life! You can't go far wrong with them really. You can buy them in the 500g boxes here, so I normally get two.

At least you are learning things still, it keeps the whole journey fresh, makes it feel all the more achievable.

Miz said...

ahhhh I wish I were learning I dont miss soda at all.

Kathleen said...

Dear Lyn, I think this is one of the most important things about dieting (I use the word 'dieting' to mean ‘observing what you ingest’). It makes you pay attention to what you tend to eat, when you are full, and how different foods make you feel. This sounds so simple and intuitive, but it really isn’t. People tend to eat without even thinking about what they are eating, eating when doing other activities, and eating whatever is easy instead of taking the time to think of what would be nourishing. I am so glad you are (and have been, for a long time now) experiencing the true joy and nourishment that can come from mindful eating. I experienced the exact same things after beginning to diet. I, too, cannot eat big portions anymore. I, too, feel the energy and happiness that comes from enjoying whole foods. I, too, find myself craving ‘healthy’ food and being turned off from ‘junk’ (not always, but mostly). These are some of the unexpected pleasures that one gets from dieting. Often times when I tell people I am dieting, they look at me with pity, and think I live a life of deprivation and constant misery. Not so! In fact, it has helped me learn a lot about both my mind and my body. Enjoy the process!

Erika said...

This is all very good, PLEASE REMEMBER THIS FEELING!!!!!! I encourage that, if you feel a binge coming on, to re-read these words. You are WORTH living a long, healthy life! When we eat good food we feel good, it's as simple as that!

Judy said...

This is an awesome post. I enjoyed reading it, and it made me think of some things that I'm learning in my journey as well. :)

Anonymous said...

what an encouraging, inspirational, wise milestone post! I'm learning all these things you've mentioned too - well almost all. I AM STILL STUCK ON THE DANG COKE ZERO! But the other things yes...psychologically speaking we KNOW these things when we tune in so WHY do we at times revert back to the very things that make us feel ill?! If only, I could figure that one out. I thank you for your blog. For sharing so much of your struggle because it's my struggle as well. I'm getting there - slowly but surely. Thanks in part to you! :D Allie

Lyn said...


very true! Feeling good makes a better life. My kids need me. I try to focus on those things and NOT on food!

Anonymous (Allie)~

so glad you are doing well! What helped me the first week without the Coke was, every time I saw soda somewhere or thought about wanting one, I said to myself, "I don't drink soda." Afetr awhile it just became part of my autooresponse :) Good luck!

Bunpoh said...

Wow, this is fantastic! Freaking awesome, Lyn.

I just had a big bunch of blueberries mixed up with egg and flax meal porridge. So delicious!

Did you know blueberries can help fight depression because they facilitate the production and release of BDNF? I just learned this yesterday! In fact BDNF is something we should really try to maximize, even for losing weight!

"BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is one of the most potent healing compounds in your brain. Adequate BDNF is needed for brain plasticity, cognitive intelligence, optimal learning, positive mood, etc. In other words BDNF is your brain rejuvenation compound. BDNF can prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease. BDNF is even active outside your brain wherein it helps your muscles burn fat! A lack of BDNF sets the stage for addictive behavior, including compulsive overeating. Those with the lowest levels of BDNF have the worst depression."

So there may be a reason you associate blueberries with a rush of joy!

Lyn said...


wow! I had no idea! Thanks for sharing that. It makes sense. I will do some reading on that too, while I enjoy my blueberries :)

Maren said...

Remember this feeling later! :) Keep going!

Anonymous said...

I'd been worrying about the diet soda habit now that the weather is getting warmer. In the winter i drink a lot of home-brewed tea, but in the summer I want that icy refreshment. Well, I tried drinking cold green tea made with stevia, and it was perfect. It's still home brewed, so this takes a fair bit of planning. Now I have to remember to try water; half the trick is keeping something cold, rather than trying to drink warmish water with ice in it.

Jamie Mckay said...

I totally identify with going to bed stuffed! I hate that I do it. I get home after midnight and am starving so I usually end up eating and then going to bed because I have to be up again at 6 am. I have to start eating a tiny snack just to take the hunger pangs away before going to bed.