Thursday, January 31, 2013

I want to be a success story. (part 2)

me in September 2008, after switching to a traditional diet

If you have not yet read "I want to be a success story (part 1)," I recommend you go do that HERE.

This series has been difficult for me to write.  Thank you for caring, and thank you for dealing with me kindly.    The close of Part 1 brings us up to the beginning of 2013.  I was frustrated, going back and forth between wanting to try again (but in what way?) and giving up.

One more detail: in 2012 we discovered that my thyroid was a little sluggish.  I began taking thyroid support supplements in May, as well as dessicated thyroid (Armor).   These things helped a few other issues in my life, but made no dent in my metabolism.  In the autumn of 2012 we bumped up my dose of dessicated thyroid.  "Let me know if you start having heart palpitations," my doctor said.  I had none; in fact there was no discernible difference in my physical situation - and no change in my weight at all.  Was it one more fruitless effort?

I know there are some who would say "cut down on red meat, or grains, and stop with all the coconut oil and stuff."  The thing is, I don't believe that's necessary.  It's possible that I'm just being stubborn, but I am convinced that having a variety of traditional, nourishing foods in one's "diet" are essential to physical well-being.  Likewise, I don't believe that getting up at 5 AM each day and exercising my tail off is best for me either.  Rest and sleep are crucially important too, and I don't get enough sleep as it is - even with our recent changes.  (Perhaps the problem is my adrenals, and if I could have a good three days to sleep all I want, things would turn around. If anyone has any suggestions of how I could possibly manage that, I'm all ears!)

Recently I've come across several "real food blogs" with someone's story about how they "lost all this weight effortlessly, while eating healthy fats, and maintained it too...with no exercise at all!"  And the thing is...I believe it.  I've lived it.  But it doesn't seem to be working for me any more.  At least, not at the moment.

And breastfeeding?  Forget about it.  Breastfeeding has never helped me lose a single pound.  I have had to fight for any weight I've ever lost - aside from that period in 2008 when I switched to a traditional diet, and it just melted away.  Every other time it's been a slow, uphill climb.  When other women talk about breastfeeding as a weight loss aid, it's Greek to me.

I feel as though I'm missing something.  Perhaps I get discouraged too easily.  Maybe I just haven't found the right combination.  I think it's pretty likely that my hormones are an issue as well.   When I'm perfectly honest with myself, I don't think I haven't lost that baby weight because of a lack of effort.  It seems that there's something else out there...some key I haven't discovered just yet.  And so, I seek.

In the early years of my marriage, I lost nearly 70 lbs through portion control and eating an extremely low-fat diet.  Although it was hard work, I had a happy result; but I do not want to go down that road again.  I don't think it was healthy - and I believe that the low-fat diet had a great deal to do with the temporary (2 1/2 long years) infertility my husband and I experienced early on.  I believe I was malnourished during that time, and I won't subject my body to that again.

So what to do?  What's the game plan?  What can I alter to achieve a positive result here?  Here are some things I'm implementing into my routine in my effort to do take care of my body:

T-Tapp Workouts.  Say what?  I've been hearing about T-Tapp for a while now, and ordered some DVDs while I was pregnant with Gabe.  Although I tried it a few times, I became discouraged and fell out of the habit of T-Tapping regularly.  But I suspect I should've stuck with it for longer.  What is it?  From the website:  "T-Tapp is a series of copyrighted, sequential movements designed to put the body in proper functional alignment. Its special sequence of comprehensive, compound muscle movement helps establish better alignment as well as increased strength and flexibility of the spine, better neuro-kinetic flow, lymphatic function, and increased metabolic rate. Its physical therapy approach to fitness makes it safe for those with shoulder, hip, knee, neck, and back concerns. Yet, it delivers a challenging workout for all fitness levels!"  

Make no mistake, it is hard work.  It feels and looks a bit odd, but at several weeks in I can tell that my body is changing.  I see this as a workout I can take into middle age with me (um, let's not think about that too much), and I really like that it's low-impact.  It's a really smart way to exercise, and the success stories are amazing.

Skin Brushing.   Okay, now I'm just talking crazy, right?  Wrong.  I learned about skin brushing through Teresa Tapp, but if you do your own research, you will find a lot of information on skin brushing.  It helps the skin rid itself of toxins, tightens the skin, encourages good circulation, boosts the lymphatic system, and more.  It is credited with helping to reduce cellulite as well as varicose and spider veins.  I will readily admit that I felt utterly ridiculous the first time I tried skin brushing.   But let me tell you, only a week into it I could see results.  Even my post-partum belly (I can still call it that, right?  I'm still "post" partum...) has firmed up noticeably - and you know I'm my own worst critic in that area.  I believe my spider veins are diminishing as well.  Did I just admit to having spider veins on the Internet?  Yes, I believe I did.

Coconut oil appetizers.  Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon discuss this idea at length in their book "Eat Fat, Lose Fat."  Coconut oil is a healthy fat which I consider to be a superfood. It both suppresses the appetite and boosts metabolism.  Taking 1-2 tablespoons a little while before one eats is reported to contribute to weight loss.  I've tried stirring it into hot tea, and I know some people just take it off the spoon - or even swallow it in smaller pieces like capsules - but currently I keep Peppermint Pattie Coconut Bark in my freezer, and break off a chunk about 20 minutes before mealtime.  I don't know if it will actually help me shed pounds, but it definitely suppresses my appetite.  I've noticed a huge difference!

Smaller portion sizes.  I still forget sometimes, but I'm trying.  I think the more I take my coconut oil appetizers, the easier it will become.  If I'm not as hungry, I won't eat as much - easy as that.

Moderation with grains.  I do not believe that grains are evil.  I serve my family wheat on a regular basis.  I am unabashedly happy that I can eat gluten again.  In our house, we try to consume grains which have been properly prepared - that is, sprouted, soaked, or fermented (as in sourdough).  Even so, I'm trying to mix it up.  I serve coconut flour pancakes and muffins once or twice a week.  We enjoy almond flour waffles and cookies.  Although there are many wonderful ways to eat wheat, it's nice to throw in high-protein, gluten free options as well.

Eat dessert.   As I've learned in the past, depriving myself will only lead to overeating.  So I do still allow myself dessert as long as it's a nourishing one.  One of my favorite recipes is The Nourishing Gourmet's chocolate fudge.  I love to substitute pastured butter for half the coconut oil, though I do enjoy it with all coconut oil as well.   This recipe is easy, fast, and grain- and gluten-free.  And then there's homemade ice cream, which is especially healthful if it has been made with raw, local honey!

As you can see, I'm just starting down the road ...again.  Dusting myself off, giving myself little pep talks, doing my research and hoping for the best.  I'm seeking encouragement where it may be found, and sharing my story here hopes that I might encourage others.   It's not easy, none of it is easy.  Still I feel better for my efforts.

...And if the Lord should choose to lead me down another bend in the road; if He sends us a blessing which would necessitate setting aside my aspirations?  Then I will set them aside for a time, and joyfully receive the gift.

But for now, I'm back on the wagon!



Trish said...

I have the same frustrations with my own body, as I'm sure many women do. You're brave to put it out there, Mindy, and I feel for you! I'll be praying for you as you continue on your journey!

Mama said...

I also have frustrations with my body but I'm postmenopausal so that is probably to be expected. Thanks for sharing. It gives me some things to think about. Keep us posted on how you're doing.

Jill Foley said...

So the skin brushing thing sounds weird, but I was intrigued enough to buy myself a brush : ) I have splotchy skin, spider veins, cellulite and a soft belly so if it works even a little bit it's worth the weirdness!

Praying for you and that you are successful in accomplishing goals to your satisfaction!

I Am Not Superwoman said...

I think I am going to try the skin brushing as well. I need all the extra help I can get these days. I wonder if Lillians would have the brush. Hmm. Mindy, you will get there. I KNOW it is hard work and discouraging at times. I will be praying for you.

Mindy said...

Jenn - I looked at Lillian's (though I confess I didn't ask) and could not find one. I have since read that they sometimes sell the, at spas and such.