Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Year of Healing, and Good Day/Bad Day

I haven't been writing much about my eating and exercise this month, as I've been more focused on the mental and emotional side of things and improving my outlook and happiness. Since summer and my diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease, I've been more focused on health than weight loss as I started out following AIP for almost 2 months. That all slid into the gutter this fall as illness, shorter days, and sadness from loss started to consume me. While this *is* a blog about weight loss and diet, I knew that it was supremely important to start taking care of myself in other ways and focus on being well... not just losing weight.

It's been a year of healing for me. First, spiritual healing and growth came when we found our church home this spring and started attending and renewing that part of me that I'd buried because of bad religious experiences. Then my 2-year-long ordeal with chronic pain - to the point of crutches, casts, and a shower chair - ended when a third (or was it fourth?) set of cortisone shots to the feet eliminated most of the pain, and starting thyroid medication and AIP got rid of the rest. I cannot even tell you how freeing and wonderful it is *not* to live in daily, hourly pain. Next came what I have felt is a 'healing' of my metabolism, which also came along with the thyroid meds and AIP, losing 16 pounds in two months without counting calories. Now it is time to heal my food addiction, the mental obsession with eating that has lingered long after I stopped binge eating. I'm doing that with the help of my ED counselor, a lot of reading and self reflection, and the hard work of changing not only my behaviors in response to my thoughts, but the nature of the thoughts themselves.

So while my diet (eating) is not stellar and not always within the AIP template right now, I do feel good about the progress I've been making. I've been learning different wants to change my thinking patterns (and the actions that follow), but that's a topic for another post. Mainly I wanted to share what a good day vs. a bad day looks like right now, for me. This is my eating as I am working towards not obsessing about food, staying off the scale for a bit again at my counselor's recommendation, and working on just feeling better emotionally.

A good day looks like this:

Breakfast: decaf tea with coconut milk and honey. 3 AIP sausage balls.
Snack: 2 Clementines, water
Lunch: bowl of vegetable soup, a serving of gluten free crackers, a slice of cheese
Snack: apple with peanut butter, or a gluten free waffle with cream cheese and jam
Dinner: pot roast, roasted broccoli, baked sweet potato
Snack: Medifast hot cocoa or a Greek yogurt or a banana

As you can see, this is not AIP, not really low carb, and includes a couple of processed foods. This is the best I've been able to do at the moment. Believe it or not, the mental and emotional work is hard and some days draining. So this is where I am, and I do hope to cut out the processed stuff, cheese, etc and be back to AIP at some point. But at Cloe's advice, I am not being frantic or pushing it until I break or making my eating into a moral issue about whether I am a good person/mother/friend or not.

On a bad day it looks like this:

Breakfast: usually I still have a handle on breakfast, have my tea and either the same breakfast as above or the gluten-free waffle with cream cheese and jam. I had gluten free oatmeal once.
Snack: decaf Americano with sugar free syrup and a bit of cream, with a gluten free muffin
Lunch: tacos from the drive thru Mexican place. I get 2 crunchy corn shell tacos with beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. Or I come home and make a grilled cheese on gluten free bread and have it with tomato soup.
Snack: gluten free cookies and milk
Dinner: roast chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes
Snack: chocolate pudding cup

Okay, so you can see the "bad" day has less produce and more processed stuff. My portions are still reasonable; what makes it 'bad' is the types of food I eat are more likely to be inflammatory and not good for the healing of my body. The foods are not morally wrong, and I am not to "feel bad" or guilty about eating them. However, I realistically know that eating that way causes me joint pain and brain fog and some other physical symptoms, so I try to eat things that make me well and not sick.

Right now I'd say I have 5 good days a week and 2 bad days.

I probably should find a different way to describe these days: healthier and less healthy, something like that, since Cloe is trying to teach me not to see food or eating as good and bad. I get it, but old habits die hard. I try to look at each food as healing, harmful, or neutral to my body and mind, and make choices based on that. I want to make choices that will help me heal.

In other news I am feeling much better emotionally. I think the earlier sunrise from turning the clocks back has helped a lot. So has using my Day Light full spectrum lamp each morning. I've upped my dose of vitamin D3 and on my doctor's advice I get out in the sunshine every day for at least half an hour... often more. I've started swimming at the gym again and walking in the neighborhood and am looking forward to raking leaves with my kids this weekend. All of this has me feeling happier and more relaxed. I also had some medication changes that are helping, including adding a second blood pressure med. I am in a good place now and think I'll get through the winter without suffering too much from SAD, as long as I keep up these good habits.

Progress, not perfection. This is about my health and my happiness, and I have to believe Cloe that if I take care of those things, the weight loss will follow.


Connie C. said...

It sounds like you are making real progress. I'm glad to hear you are swimming, walking, and getting out more. It's easy to shut down and hibernate this time of year, but we do better if we fight that inclination and go out in the world!

Anonymous said...

Soooo. Cloe said this: "f I take care of those things [health and happiness], the weight loss will follow." The cognitive dissonance I would experience at that statement would be pretty high. The visual and the words just don't match up.

Anonymous said...

Ack. I was so distracted by Cloe's comment that I forgot what my comment would have been. :}

Your "good" meals look great and the "bad" ones don't look all that bad to me either if that's where the eating stops and doesn't lead to evening munchies. But, yes, not the best choices considering your health requirements.

This post really did sum up a journey to healing very nicely. So many pieces to it when food/health is involved isn't there?

For me, a change in mindset about food (I still secretly think it is a necessary part of any celebration, And I use the word "celebration" very loosely!)is necessary along with a new set of coping skills. As you said, old habits die hard.

This post is good work, Lyn, really it is.


Lyn said...


haha, I didn't even think about it like that! This could be a springboard into a deeper conversation she and I could have. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Lyn would you mind elaborating on how you use the lamp? I think both me and my husband could benefit from a full spectrum lamp. Do you sit in front of it, or have it over to the side while you watch t.v., etc.? BTW I'm Andrea but don't have any of these accounts set up. Thanks!

Lyn said...

Anonymous (Andrea)~

I put it on the dining room table right in front of me while I eat breakfast and/or read for 20 minutes. It has a height adjustment and an angle adjustment so you can have it at a comfortable level. I really think it makes a difference.

Lori said...

It sounds like you are making great progress. You have worked so hard to get healing, it should come soon. Progress not perfection is right. Progress can sometimes be so incremental that it is hard to see. Don't give up. You are on the right track!

Anonymous said...

I have to say I liked what your therapist said. If you take care of your health and happiness your weight loss will follow. The happier you are and the more healthy you are is a great start for weight loss. I think having your body and mind going in the right direction it will make the difficulty of losing weight a little easier. Having negative thoughts and not feeling good hinder weight loss. Therefore, I liked what she said.

CatherineMarie said...

I am impressed! Even the less ideal day has produce, a balance of things, and you not going overboard. That is the key to healthy life, and showing your kids moderation and balance.