I learned so much in my exploration with food and most importantly today I notice if I don’t eat vegetables, my body craves them. The first time this happened I was very suprised. I had never craved a vegetable before, only sugary treats. I maybe had craved a potato before but really that is all about sugar again. I was actually craving broccoli. I was suprised when I found myself just craving plain old, nothing on it uncooked broccoli. This was one of those moments during my transitions that I realized that all the work I was doing to get healthier was working. This was more promising than losing 10 lbs. From a long term perspective if I could enjoy and even crave health food I would be on my way to some big changes. This pushed me further and today I find myself craving lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and vegetarian proteins. Now I notice if I haven’t eaten enough of something or too much sugars. I can tell by my cravings, energy levels and mood. I am grateful to recieve healthy signals from my body about what to eat, instead of the old ones that lead me to unhealthy places.
I began to eliminate sugar from my diet. “High Fructose Corn Syrup” was the first to go and I certainly noticed the withdraw symptoms, by no means was it easy. I had a headache, was fatigued, and lacked focus for at least 4-5 days. As time went on I was able to mostly eliminate it by baking my own treats or buying organic products with cane sugar. Once I was off of it I would occasionally revisit it and was immediately disgusted by the physical reaction to the substance. Not only did I feel like crap but I craved more of it. I found myself craving sugary products and becoming compulsive about it at times. I would compulsively eat cake, pies, cookies, ice cream – I would even sneak it so no one knew that I was cheating on my diet or eating THAT much. I would shamefully give in to the cravings, beat myself up about it later and find myself looking for more comfort with food. An ugly cycle I was happy to put a big stop sign in. Now HFCS is completely off the menu and if I do ingest it I am very aware of its addictive properties.
So when you find yourself questioning your ability to make the changes you need you make, remember some important keys. Always remember that the whole job can look very large but each step is actually very small. I often relate this to climbing a hill, mountain, or rock. Sometimes when I first began to exercise I would find myself standing at the bottom of the hill wondering if I could ever get my out of shape body to the top. I struggled with muscle tiredness and weight induced asthma that makes the climbing very uncomfortable. Some days I had to stop in the middle of the hill and many days I simply made it to the top, one step at a time. I focus on each step, rather than the entire hill. I see the hill and then I simply refocus to the tiny steps. Each step you get closer and closer, don’t give up, no matter what. You can climb, you can overcome, you can do this. Its one simple step at a time.