Category Archives: Success

Meditation Calm Lake

Why I Finally Started Meditating and How It Helps

Meditation Calm Lake

I avoided meditating or even the idea of meditating for a long, long time. Decades.

Then in January one of my son's mentors recommended that he implement meditation to help manage work-related stress.

I encounter a great deal of stress in my job as well, and January and February were packed with stress in my home life. I won't go into the details, except to share that I got sick and my asthma symptoms came back in full force, my husband got sick (he rarely gets sick), our elderly (“heart”) dog started to fail and eventually passed, and I had a dental cleaning scheduled. Don't laugh, going to the dentist has become a very difficult task and I was determined to follow through with this recent appointment since I'd made and cancelled several during 2017.

When my son told me he was going to start meditating, I decided to take a closer look. One of the reasons I've avoided meditating is because of my faith in Jesus Christ. My understanding is that meditation derives from Eastern religions and should be avoided. I have spent the last thirty years working to unlearn the damaging beliefs I was taught in the Pentecostal religion for the first two decades of my life. My son is also a believer but he was not exposed to the cult-like churches that I was as a child, so he is in a much better place with regards to religion. By the way, our family considers ourselves to be mid-Acts Dispensationalists, if you are curious.

I decided to mention the religious aspect in this post because I shared a simple breathing technique with my mother. She experiences a lot of anxiety from projecting worst case scenarios and I felt it could help her to quiet her mind since it has worked well for me. Not five minutes later she met up with a friend of hers and asked me to share. The friend shot the technique down while looking me in the eye and said, “I used to meditate 20 years ago, but then I became a Christian.”

Ugh. Thankfully I was able to respond that I was also using an app called Abide, which is specifically for Christians. Still, that got me all nervous that I was doing something “wrong”. Uh-oh, gonna get struck down!

So I had a conversation with my sister, who told me about Calm, the app which she has been using for the last year. Obviously being raised in the same home, she was exposed to the same damaging control issues surrounding religion. She pointed out that the Calm app is not oriented to any religion and due to the 7-Day programs it is very similar to having a brief cognitive therapy session each day.

I've been meditating every day using the Calm app for 48 days. I started on January 30th and have gone through several of the 7-Day programs. I usually meditate first thing in the morning, I don't even get out of bed, I just lay on my back with my earbuds and listen and breathe. The sessions run from 11-13 minutes and I find Tamara Levitt's voice to be extremely soothing. Tamara had a rough start in life, and meditation helped her turn things around. You can read her story here at the Calm blog: Tamara Levitt – Head of Mindfulness.

By the way, much of the Calm app is locked unless you pay for a subscription but I like the 7-Day programs so much that I feel it is a valuable investment. I pay for the annual subscription which is currently $59.99. I can't really recommend any other meditation apps as this is the only one I've used regularly. 

I am feeling a great deal calmer, and more in control of my life. Things don't seem so bad. Honestly, they weren't that bad to start with! My life is good, but when my mind is racing from one negative issue to the next or I can't get to sleep because of thoughts (THOUGHTS… just mere thoughts, not reality!!) or I feel anxious because of the worry it is hard to realize how good my life truly is.

Here are some of the ways that meditation has helped me in the past few weeks.

How Meditation Helps

Stop the mind from racing

It is normal for our minds to project the worst so focus on the process of breathing in and out to stop thoughts.

In one of the 7-Day programs – I think it was the 7 Days of Calming Anxiety – Tamara says that we tend to imagine every worst case scenario because we think we can control the future by projecting. But a great deal of the time, those terrible things we imagine rarely or in many cases never happen so we spend a lot of time playing this sinister “what-if” game which tends to create a great deal of fear and negativity which leads to anxiety.

I have learned it is very effective to focus on breathing. In and out. In and out. I know it sounds too simple, it did to me also. It is harder than you would think to just focus on your breathing and it does take practice to master this simple technique. It is very much like exercising a muscle. Sometimes as I breathe in and out, I think with each inhalation and exhalation: “In. Out. In. Out.” Sometimes I think, “Thank you. Jesus. Thank you. Jesus.”

Understand that it is normal for the mind to wander onto other topics, while focusing on breathing. During the meditation session, Tamara reminds us that this is normal and to not be hard on yourself, but gently pull your mind back to focusing on your breathing every time you realize it's happened.

It takes a practice to master and it's worth the effort. I was very glad to learn that it is normal for the mind to wander because I thought I was doing something wrong, or that my mind is different than anyone else.

Helps with Getting to Sleep

Does your mind decide it's time to worry about everything when you're trying to fall to sleep?

Maybe your mind awakes you in the middle of the night, like mine tends to do.

“Oh, were you sleeping? Wake up! It's time to worry about that upcoming appointment or how to get everything done at work, or maybe the roof needs repair because it might rain, or I'm AWAKE, not sleeping, tomorrow is going to be so hard without enough sleep” and on and on and on.

It has been a game-changer for me to start to focus on my breathing as soon as I realize my mind wants to race from one stressful thought to the next.

It really works! My husband is one that if he can't sleep he'll just get up and stay up until the next night. One night he was restless and moving about and I told him about focusing on his breath and he fell asleep shortly after. The next morning he told me he'd never known that just focusing on one's breath could help you fall asleep.

Time Slows Down

Does it seem like time is racing by for you? The weekdays zoom by and then it's the weekend. Saturday and Sunday are over so fast, did you get anything done?

This has been a complaint of mine in the past few years. It seems like my life is racing by so fast that I don't know where the time has gone. Everyone says this is normal, this speeding up of time but I think I've figured out how to slow things down.

After about five weeks of meditating, plus the use of another app called Fabulous it feels like my time has slowed, or at least my perception of time has slowed down.

The weekends are now enjoyable as it feels like they leisurely drift along. Before it felt like hours would pass without my knowledge and I was scrambling every minute struggling to stay on top of things, but not really getting much done.

That's just a few of the benefits I've personally noticed from meditating. Do you meditate? What are your thoughts and what benefits have you noticed? I would love to hear from you in the comments. 

 

 

 

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Starlene Stewart from GAPS Diet Journey Before and After Photos

Health Update February 2016

starlene-b4-after-2012

So… it's been awhile since I updated. I started to transition off GAPS in late 2014, but have remained gluten-free. It's been a time of learning for me. Over the five years I stuck with GAPS, I had hoped I would be one of those people who could take or leave or maybe not even like previous favorites.

I had heard people talk about how they stayed off potatoes for two years and “Now I don't even like them. I prefer Faux-tatoes.” Well, that was not the case for me. Not by a mile. I started out with baby red potatoes. They are really expensive, so I progressed to regular white potatoes. They are delicious. I ate them fried, baked, mashed. Still delicious. I salivate thinking about them. I started eating potato chips. Just a handful. Then by the bagful.

Rice. I could eat 4 cups of rice in one sitting. I love rice. We get along perfectly fine. Except that I binge when eating rice. I've tried cooking just a “serving” worth of rice. That's 1/2 cup, just FYI. And 1/2 cup is 8 level tablespoons or 4 heaping tablespoons. That's four bites. What is the point of eating four bites of rice?

Corn. The worst is popcorn. My husband was on a popcorn jag. He would make popcorn every day. He never thinks twice about anything he eats. He doesn't care if his pants get bigger. He is one of those people who naturally just do not get very big. He's 5'10” and has weighed as much as 225, but that's about as big as he's ever gotten. He has a hard time understanding my compulsions with food. So he makes popcorn. He would leave the bowl sitting around the house. I would get home from work. There's the popcorn, shouting at me. I finish the bowl. Even though it's cold. And stale from sitting. I could eat a huge bowl of popcorn three times a day. I love the stuff. And then there are the corn tortillas, and the tortillas chips. And the corn on the cob.

Obviously, eating huge amounts of these starch foods is going to cause weight gain. And indeed, I gained weight.

When I visited my asthma-allergy specialist in January (who is still impressed that I do not need to use asthma medication except for on very rare occasions), with my shoes and clothes on, I weighed in at 203. I knew I was getting up there since my pants were getting uncomfortably tight. I'm wearing size 12 in Lee's. When I moved from the 10s, it was supposed to be temporary. I was going to do something. I did something all right. I kept on eating high starch, high carbohydrate foods. But when my 12s started to get tight, I panicked a little. I do not want to keep gaining weight and end up as big as I was when I started on GAPS. For one thing, then I would be “one of those people” who lost weight and gained it all back. I know, it happens to a lot of us, but I can't go there again. I just can't.

So… finally last Thursday I was ready. Sometimes you just have to wait until it's time, you know what I mean? I woke up that morning and stepped on the scale (I'd been scared to do so)… I weigh 195 pounds. At least it wasn't over 200! 🙂 Yikes!

And I know the number shouldn't count! But the fact remains, my pants are tight, and I don't want to buy a bigger pair!

Something I'll do every so often is to get hooked up with My Fitness Pal and start counting my calories. It actually helps me to stay on track with my eating habits. For example, I find myself mindlessly eating on the weekend days. I'll grab a handful of chocolate chips, or nuts, or eat yogurt or popcorn, or any number of other things. But if I know I need to log the foods I'm eating, it helps me to stick to my guns.

So… it's been a week, and I have not lost any weight. However, I have maintained at 195. And interestingly enough, my pants are fitting better.

To get started, I have allowed myself to have some of the foods I was having, I'm just attempting to keep to the number of calories allotted.

Oh, something funny I want to share. I had downloaded the app to my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy II. It's old. And slow. I was putting in my settings on My Fitness Pal, my energy level, how many pounds I'd like to lose, etc. And it said I could have 2,300 calorie a day! I was like, wow! I know that's a lot. I can do that! But when I was trying to put the foods I'd eaten for breakfast, it was taking such a long time that I gave up using my phone and went to the computer.

I logged in and good grief! I laughed because I realized somehow I'd set the app up to say I wanted to GAIN one pound every week! That was not right. Definitely no.

Anyway… I did want to talk a little bit about where I'm at health-wise. It's not all about food and weight. Definitely not.

I continue to support my adrenals and thyroid. I feel like I'm doing very well energy-wise. I get in from 1 to 4 miles walking every day at my job. I started line dancing several months ago. It is one of the great joys in my life and I look forward to my weekly class.

My mood is also fairly even. Prior to GAPS I was exhausted a lot, I couldn't handle much stress and felt depressed often. Now I handle a great deal of stress, and can do so even when I only get five hours sleep at night. And I'm happy often. I wish I had more time to do the things I love to do, but I guess most of us have that wish.

I still occasionally have insomnia. I have learned for myself it is a blood sugar issue, and if I go too low on my carbohydrates I am sure to have insomnia. Which I really dislike waking in the middle of the night and then just lying there trying to go back to sleep. I'm hoping by tracking my food I will be able to figure out if there is a connection to what I'm eating.

I'm going to be doing some experimenting with the foods I'm eating. I am pretty sure that I am sensitive to dairy products, and I suspect they cause me to have inflammation, which would cause weight gain. I stopped buying butter and am trying to learn how to enjoy vegetables without butter. I like raw vegetables plain just fine, but I don't like naked cooked vegetables as much as I like them slathered with butter. But I think I eat too much when I eat butter. I think it is possibly a food that causes me to binge eat.

I am planning to eliminate dairy – I don't eat it all that much, but I have had yogurt on hand, sour cream, etc. I suspect it is a food that I don't tolerate well, simply because of the “love” I feel toward it.

I have also learned, I think, to distinguish between foods that are possibly allergens because I find they are foods I want to binge on. I have learned there is a difference between “loving” a food and being “psychotically in love” with it. Do you know what I mean?

I'm going to be sticking with mostly the GAPS legal food list, but also some other things like sweet potatoes. They are a safe source of starches for me. Speaking of safe starches… the Paleo Diet matches up pretty closely with GAPS and I will be using some of the foods on the Paleo list, too.

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Raw Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake with Butter Cream Frosting

Are You A Fat Burner or a Sugar Burner?

Raw Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake with Butter Cream Frosting

I enjoyed reading this article at Mark's Daily Apple: What Does it Mean to Be Fat Adapted? Mark goes into detail answering the question, and then he says to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  1. Can you go three hours without eating? Is skipping a meal an exercise in futility and misery?
  2. Do you enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day?
  3. Are midday naps pleasurable indulgences, rather than necessary staples?
  4. Can you exercise without carb-loading? Have the headaches and brain fuzziness passed?

I thought it was pretty cool that I seem to be a fat adapted… I can easily go 3 hours without eating. Nowadays I have my big protein breakfast, then bring a tin of sardines with me to have for lunch at work. Then I'm good until I get home, and that might be 7 or 8pm at night before I arrive home.

I can easily skip a meal, which is amazing. I remember it was i.m.p.o.s.s.i.b.l.e. for me to skip a meal. I couldn't even fathom or consider skipping a meal because I would get cranky, shaky and brain fogged.

I do pretty much have steady energy throughout the day. I was thinking the other day how I don't even consider getting coffee [affiliate link]. I have never really been able to drink coffee, but I would drink four ounces if I needed an energy boost, or if I didn't get a good night's sleep. I would also have times where I would almost fall asleep while driving. That was awful. I'd clap my hands in front of my face to try to wake myself up. I'd slap my cheeks in an effort to wake myself up. It is not safe driving at 70mph while nodding off!

I used to have to take at least one and sometimes two naps on the days I'm at home. I don't have to any longer.

I never really did anything special before exercising, and I currently am not exercising since I'm trying to heal my adrenals. I don't have brain fuzziness any longer.

Food used to be a lot more important to me than it is now. I had to bring a food bag with me wherever I went. I used to bring leftovers from dinner, and I had to use the kitchen stove to heat my food, which took 5-10 minutes. Now I just pop my tin of sardines open, or open a package of nuts. It takes so much less time now.

This is how it used to be for me:

  • Breakfast:  Yogurt or kefir shake, or two scrambled eggs [affiliate link], or broth with vegetables blended into a cream soup with a couple egg yolks.
  • Mid-morning snack:  Hunk of cheese, or nuts and a piece of fruit, or maybe a cup of yogurt.
  • Lunch: Leftovers from last night's meal
  • Mid-afternoon snack for on the way home from work:  Piece of fruit, or nuts.

Heaven help me if I got caught in traffic on the way home. Oh dear. I would be so ravenously hungry by the time I got home I would just stand at the stove and shovel food into my mouth. My husband used to cook dinner and it was always a buffet of carbohydrates… homemade baked macaroni and cheese, cornbread, peas, home baked bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits. I loved those foods, and he loved cooking them for me, because he knows how much I loved them.

So now this is what it looks like for me:

  • 50 grams protein for breakfast. This might be 8 ounces of beef with a couple tablespoons butter, or chicken breast, chicken thighs, hamburger, pork chops or bacon. I try to remember to have a cup of broth with breakfast.
  • Lunch = 1 tin of sardines most often, sometimes I'll have 1 ounce of sunflower seeds, cashews or almonds [affiliate link] (this is when I'm in a super hurry and forget to grab my tin of sardines, so have to go to the corner convenience store and buy something – I should just bring those tins of sardines with me and stash in my desk)
  • Dinner – whenever I get home, ideally before 7pm. I usually have about 6 ounces of meat with dinner, salad or vegetables on the side, ferments.

Yesterday was a great demonstration of how it's changed for me. I promised one of my coworkers that I would make to allergy-friendly desserts, which were both GAPS legal, for her birthday party. I don't usually leave home on the weekends, if I can help it, but I wanted to attend her birthday party so I left home around 11am to head into town for the party.

For breakfast around 6am I had half of a hot pork sausage link (about 4 ounces) and 5 slices of bacon. On the way out the door to the party I took 5 more pieces of bacon with me that were left from breakfast. When I got to the party I helped to set up, and got the desserts I'd brought cut and into the pretty little paper cups.

While at the party, there were vegetables and fruit that I could have eaten, but instead I decided to eat some of the desserts I'd brought – I ate those around 2pm. After the party I did some grocery shopping for my youngest sister, who my mom told me was running short on food. I dropped by and dropped off the food, then headed to my mom's house. I was only there a few minutes and then headed out to another errand. Then I decided to visit another sister.

By the time we met up it was almost 9pm and she was going to Wet and Wild in north Phoenix. I used to go there every summer with my boys when they were younger and we lived in town. I would save money every month all year long to buy passes because it is actually affordable to visit those water parks when you do it that way. My last “meal” had been the desserts and I wasn't really hungry. But I had my tin of sardines with me and I decided to eat them before we went into the water park. I did eat my sardines and I was fine with that for the rest of the night. My sister had brought salad with her and she ate salad before we went into the park, an hour later after we got out of the park, and around midnight when I was planning to leave she offered me a piece of grilled chicken breast. I wasn't a bit hungry though, and I got home around 1:30am and still wasn't hungry. I went to bed and I was fine.

I was a little bit freaked out about being in the heavily chlorinated water, and the smell of chlorine was overpowering while in the water. I know it causes a toxic load on our bodies to be in swimming pools, but I go swimming about once a year if that, and I wanted to spend time with my sister and niece and grand nephew and it was fun playing and floating in the wave pool. Since I am on adrenal support I gave myself a “stress dose” before we went into the park, and then I felt a little sick to my stomach after we left so I administered another “stress dose”. The stomachache dissipated after about 15 minutes.

I haven't felt too bad today. I got a good night's sleep and slept well.

So what about you? Would you say you are fat adapted?

 

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

7 Reasons I Wish I’d Been Willing to Change

I Heart GAPS

 

In the first two decades of my life I never worried about what I ate. I was lucky enough to be able to eat what I wanted, while easily maintaining a healthy weight. After I had my children I had a hard time getting down to my pre-pregnancy weight and I did eventually succeed by trying the low fat diet. It was all the rage when I was 30. But it was impossible to sustain and as with most diets I grew steadily more hungry and eventually gave up. After that I embraced size acceptance and vowed to never diet or restrict any foods. Forever. I was determined. Even as my clothes grew tighter and I began to develop health issues I was not willing to make any changes.

Fifteen years went by… I was determined to love the super-sized me. Fast forward to December 2009… in an attempt to help my husband heal from Ulcerative Colitis, I began to research the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. I'd heard of it a few years earlier, but mostly in context to children and autism. The “psychology” part did not impact me at all. But in reading the book the psychology part began to make more sense… I was feeling depressed – that could definitely be psychological… and I was so tired all the time, plus I had all sorts of weird little aches and pains. I decided to give it a chance, and now I wish I had not wasted fifteen years of my life. Years I can never get back.

Too bad I wasn't ready to make a change years ago. But, since I don't have a time machine, there's not much I can do. Regretting past choices serves no good purpose and is a waste of precious time. All I can do is press forward and be glad for what I have learned today.

Let me share the reasons with you why I wish I had been willing to change much earlier. I hope you will share with me in the comments what you wish you would have been willing to change years ago.  Hindsight is a great thing, isn't it? 🙂

  1. Less Eating, Less Hunger. In addition to being on GAPS, I am also doing Dr. Jack Kruse's Leptin Reset. One of the “rules” is to eat a big protein breakfast consisting of at least 50 grams of protein. I love that this little trick leaves me satisfied and not hungry for four or five hours. Before starting GAPS I had to bring food with me and eat every 2.5 to 3 hours. After being on GAPS I was able to eat less often, but I still had to bring food with me. Now since the leptin reset I have my breakfast at home within thirty minutes of waking, and lunch is more like a snack – some days I don't eat lunch at all because I'm just not hungry. I might bring an ounce of almonds [affiliate link] or a tin of sardines with me. I love this because I don't have to spend a bunch of time heating my food and sitting down and eating. I can take a ten minute break and get back to work and since I don't take lunch I can leave half an hour earlier.
  2. No Desire for that Afternoon Siesta. I love that I'm not tired after I eat a meal. Before GAPS I used to feel sleepy every afternoon after eating lunch (which often consisted of plenty of carbohydrates). When I'd eat spaghetti for dinner I would feel lethargic the next day, for the entire day! It is nice not to have to need to find a way to combat that tired feeling.
  3. No More Overeating. I love that I don't overeat anymore. When I was doing body acceptance I battled myself for years, trying to get myself to eat smaller portions, trying to stop when I felt satisfied. I tried and tried to not overeat! I couldn't seem to stop myself from eating too much. The food tasted so delicious and I felt like I ate obsessively and could not stop myself. Especially if I got too hungry. I could eat the house then! I've since learned that foods that I love to that depth are probably foods to which I am allergic! I used to say that I loved pasta than my own mother! That is a truly addictive statement, wouldn't you agree?
  4. Off My Asthma Medication. I love that I was able to stop taking asthma medication, which I was on for eight years. It was such a hassle having to use it every day, getting the prescription filled, having to go to the doctor to get a new prescription every year or six months – for eight years! It's awesome being able to sleep at night with clear sinuses, and not being woke up because I can't breathe through my nose.
  5. Not Tempted To Eat Fast Food. I love that I am no longer tempted by fast food establishments. This is truly wonderful. My biggest temptation used to come when I'd have a run an errand at my job. For some reason I felt like I deserved a reward for having to leave the building so I would stop by Jack in the Box and get two tacos and a french fry, and sometimes a cheeseburger and chocolate shake. And then I would feel sooooo guilty for eating junk food. But the siren calls were more than I could bear, and I would find myself succumbing to the temptation. That is completely a thing of the past. One I stopped eating those foods that I am allergic to, I stopped having those wild desires for them.
  6. No More Aching Feet. My feet used to hurt me so bad. I'd been diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis and had been given some inserts to wear in my shoes. Not much could be done for this condition, I'd been told. I figured it was my lot in life because I can still remember my Grandpa hobbling around his restaurant and you could tell his feet were causing him great pain. My feet hurt so bad that I could only wear this one brand of men's casual wear shoes. They were black, and ugly and I felt like an old hag wearing them. I felt embarrassed in them, but I couldn't even stand to bear weight on my feet when they were bare. I heard myself one night in the middle of the night, groaning and leaning on the bed, it was pretty awful. Within two weeks of doing GAPS my feet stopped hurting and now I can even tolerate 3 inch heels! I've become one of those women who love shoes. Whoohoo!! 🙂
  7. Sustained Weight Loss. I love that I've lost weight, fairly effortlessly, and I've kept it off. I did not embark on GAPS to lose weight. Diets don't work, after all! Remember, I'd sworn off diets for 15 years! Although deep down inside I was scared to death that I would keep gaining weight every year. Most people who go on diets gain the weight back, we hear that all the time. But when I read Gut and Psychology Syndromeby Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride I felt hope that maybe I could get past the depression and fatigue, and I admit, I also secretly hoped I'd lose weight, but I wasn't counting on it. I was SO determined to never diet again!! I was a hard core body acceptance person, and I am extremely grateful that I finally became willing to make changes toward better health.

Your turn. Please leave a comment and let me know:

Do you pay attention to what you eat?

Do you think it matters?

Have you found success by changing your diet?

What are the changes you've seen?

What do YOU wish you had changed years ago?

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Praying Hands Flickr Mulmatsherm

GAPS A Real Answer to Prayer

Praying Hands Flickr Mulmatsherm

So far, GAPS has been a real answer to prayer for me. For many years when I was studying body acceptance, so many of the books said all you have to do is learn to eat only when you're hungry. Don't eat from mouth hunger. Learn to detect when you feel satisfied, don't eat past fullness.

For years and years, I tried. I mean, for more than a decade I've tried. I managed to legalize all foods, I used to have a fat phobia like you wouldn't believe. I totally believed that all fats would kill me if I ate them. I didn't eat butter for years. I remember trying some brown rice that my sister had prepared and it had butter on it, and the butter tasted rancid to me. My sister didn't taste a rancid taste, so I thought all butter must taste rancid once we don't eat it for a long time.

I legalized fats first. About ten years ago my husband wanted us to stop eating margarine, so we started using butter. Next I legalized white flour and white sugar, and regular (as opposed to whole grain) pasta. A lot of good it did me. I kept gaining weight every year.

I did learn that I ate from mouth hunger sometimes when I was stressed out or nervous about something, and was able to learn to control and stop that behavior.

But I never could succeed at eating only until I was satisfied. I tried and tried and tried. I kept failing, and feeling like a loser. I tried to keep myself fed, but watch out, if I got too hungry, I was like a starved dog. Gobbling my food, chewing it two-three-four times and swallowing it whole.

I never thought I could diet again. Diets don't work. I found that out myself. I ended up feeling like I had an eating disorder after doing the low fat dieting. I started craving foods I'd never really liked that much before. Like donuts and potato chips. I assumed it was the sugar, but later on I realized it was probably the fats since my diet was so low in fat during the low fat dieting.

Then I found Nourishing Traditions and just the thought of restricting any foods put me in a panic. I couldn't do it. I couldn't even bring myself to read the book until about a year after I heard about it (on one of my goats lists).

I learned how to do all the NT stuff, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha. And we milked our goats for their raw white gold, I mean milk. I loosely did NT for oh, about five years?

But I was still eating anything I wanted. If I wanted a candy bar, I'd get one. Now I wasn't eating more than a candy bar or two a month, but I'd have one if I wanted one. While eating anything I wanted, I also started taking note along the way of the foods that made me feel crappy. I simply adore semolina spaghetti with butter and fresh squeezed garlic. But it made me feel like I was going into a coma after eating it, I would be so exhausted. The exhaustion would extend into the next day. Eventually I stopped having it but once a month or so, just because I felt so yucky. Plus, I gorged myself on it. There was absolutely no way to just eat a little bit or stop when I felt satisfied. I'd cook a maximum of two dry ounces, just because I knew I'd eat a whole pound if I made an entire pound.

At work, we get these danish and breakfast muffins and bagels. I allowed myself to have those when I wanted, and since they are two-three days old by the time we get them, then we bag and freeze them, they don't really taste all that good. Even fresh they were never THAT good. I did learn how to spit out something I'd started eating if I didn't like it. Why eat it, if it's not even good for me in the first place, and on top of that, it tastes bad? That's just stupid clean plate club mentality.

Then I read the GAPS books.

I already knew along with eating everything I wanted, I was consistently gaining weight. I feared that I would continue gaining weight every year, even a few pounds, until I weighed 300 pounds.

I just asked my son to reveal my weight from the first time I stepped on the scale in December 13th, on Day 9 of GAPS. He says I was at 232.

On March 5th, Day 2 of Intro, I weighed 226.

Yesterday I weighed 206. My son said that couldn't be right. That would mean I've lost twenty pounds in one month. It's interesting to me that my pants have just begun to loosen up some more in the last week. I have lost about three inches in my waistline.

Anyway, I had a real fear that I would continue gaining weight. Now, since I've been doing GAPS, it feels like my body is getting a break. Getting some much needed rest and relaxation for all the crap I've been putting into it.

In March I visited one of my sisters and ate at her house. I'd brought my own food along with me. She remarked to her daughter that I was having a small portion like they were having. That's the thing that has been so great for me with GAPS. I have not had to worry about PORTION CONTROL. Since I'm not eating foods that cause me to mindlessly overeat, it's very easy to stop eating when I feel satisfied. Smaller portions automatically satisfy me.

Like last night, when I had the pineapple burgers… after I had my one burger, I had some pineapple, tomato, onion and jalapeno peppers and Avocado Mayo Dressing on another leaf of lettuce. It was so good, I planned to have another. But I realized, I already feel pretty close to being full. So I will probably need to be careful about having too much fruit, as it could cause me to eat more than I really need to.

Throughout the month of being on intro, I was careful to stay well fed. At times I would get busy and not feed myself, but for the most part I ate plenty of coconut oil [affiliate link], and avocados were one of my main standbys once I got that far into intro.

My point is, I ate when I was hungry, and I naturally lost weight. I didn't have to portion out and count my calories. Yes, I removed certain and whole food groups. Is it worth avoiding certain foods to be able to eat to satiation when hungry?

I say yes. I have been looking for this for the last quarter century. I longed to go back to how it used to be when I was in my early twenties. Just don't worry about it, eat anything, however much I wanted, when and how often I wanted. Except back then I ate anything and everything. I was also younger, with a digestive system that had never been exposed to antibiotics.

I used to think having my babies changed my metabolism and maybe that helped, but I did have four courses of antibiotics in the year before my oldest son was born. I think that had a lot more to do with it.

Anyway. I hope I continue to see my weight go down. Although this never started out to be about weight loss, now I understand that being overweight is a sign of dis-ease. My poor body. No wonder I don't have much energy. Yet.

I've only been on GAPS for 122 days. That's four months. I believe I've heard testimonials that energy started to be regained at six months. I'm definitely in this for the long haul.

I am so grateful I found GAPS.

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Day 59

I am very tired this evening. This is because I went to bed at 9pm last night, which is late for having to get up at 4am. That wouldn't have been so bad, except I woke up at 1:30am and couldn't get back to sleep.

I finally got out of bed at 4:15am in a very foul mood. I snapped at my husband complaining about the television being on all night long. I know that sleep patterns are disturbed when you don't sleep in the dark. I even cried this morning as I took my shower, getting ready for work.

It reminded me that I used to be in a sorry mood much of the time, prior to starting GAPS. I used to mutter to myself, “I hate my life, I hate my life.”

I haven't been feeling that way, which I take as improvement and success.

Another thing is before GAPS when I didn't get enough sleep, I would have had to drink four ounces of coffee [affiliate link] (more than four ounces would make me shaky). On GAPS, I am tired, but I can tolerate the tiredness.

Also, yesterday I worked on closing the previous month's books and I was able to think clearly about what I was doing whereas in past months I have felt befuddled. It could just be that I am finally learning what I'm supposed to be doing, but it seems like the brain fog has lifted significantly.

Let's see, I had my broth this morning. I left two cups heating and reduced it down to one cup accidentally. Thankfully it doesn't seem like I am sensitive to freed glutamates from broth. I brought leftovers with me for lunch; half of a grilled chicken breast, about 20 pieces of asparagus, an avocado, leftover salad, about 15 grapes and about 20 almonds [affiliate link].

Hubby baked a chicken so I ate off of that when I got home. The skin had cooked until it was crispy, so I ate about a six inch square of that. I thought that was all I wanted for dinner, but now it seems like I'm feeling hungry again. But now I'm hungry for some vegetables. Except I was planning to take my detox bath which I missed last night. And I need to get to bed early tonight so I can have a successful day tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Day 60.

I forgot to mention on Saturday I decided to have a little bit of honey [affiliate link] on my pancakes. I mixed about 1/4 cup of butter with about a tablespoon of honey and dipped my pancake in that. Ohhhhh… nectar of the Gods. Sooooo delicious. So divine. I don't quite remember loving honey quite so much.

Almond pancakes, sausage, eggs and Cortido

All right I had better get off this computer.

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

On Having More Energy

I was wondering when I would start feeling better and having more energy. I guess I'd hoped to see results from doing full GAPS within a couple of weeks. It has been an ongoing complaint for years that I'm tired and worn out. Many, many emails to friend have ended with me saying I'm just exhausted and have to go to bed. So much to the point where I am sure people got sick of hearing how tired I was. It got so bad that I had to give up doing any grocery shopping and thank God my husband was willing to take on that task.

But after this weekend, and not having to take extra naps, I realized something, which made perfect sense! I would need to be feeling good enough throughout the day, day after day, without naps, before my energy levels would increase. I mean, that doesn't make a lot of sense, to need a two hour nap, after having slept for 8-9 hours straight through at night, to expect to be bursting with energy.

I remember when I started GAPS, I was even tireder than normal. I remember some weekends I was taking 3 to 5 hours naps, instead of the customary 2 hour naps, and this was when I was able to sleep 9 hours the previous night!

I believe sleeping is very healing to our bodies, and if we need to sleep 8 or 9 hours, we should make a point to get to bed early so that our bodies can get the sleep they need. I have had people over the years make fun of me because I was “only” able to sleep 7 hours a night. They acted like I was a wimp, because they regularly only sleep 6 or less hours a night! They also drank several pots of coffee [affiliate link] a day, which I could never do (more than 4 ounces at a time would make me shaky and nervous).

Having more energy is one of my prime objectives for remaining focused on doing GAPS, and it is one of the reasons why I am finding myself anxious to begin the Introduction diet.

I am looking forward to giving my body even more of a break, and jump start on healing.

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

I Eat Just Like a Goat

I have come to the realization over the past few years, since we've had goats, that I eat like a goat. Now first you must understand that goats do not eat everything, as is commonly believed. In fact, goats are very picky about what they eat. Instead, the reason why you see goats with things in their mouths like tin cans, etc., is because they are very curious. Now granted, they do like eating cardboard, because their natural diet is dry and fibrous. Goats are also browsers, not grazers. They love to reach up and eat leaves and branches from trees. They are more like deer (browsers) than cattle (grazers). So when people buy goats to keep their lawn mowed, they will do it, but it's not their favorite food.

Anyway, back to me and how I eat like a goat. Well, the thing is, when goats eat, they don't take a small bite and chew and chew and chew on it. That comes much later. When they have brought up their food from their rumen and are chewing it as cud.

People are supposed to take small bites and chew and chew and chew the food, since digestion begins its process in the mouth with saliva.

When I eat pasta, my favorite way to eat it is get a huge amount on a spoon or wound around a fork, put it into my mouth, chew it two or three times, and swallow it whole. I do not know why. But this is how goats eat their hay or grain. They literally swallow everything whole. Until later.

But the problem with me doing that, is I don't hawk up my food later and rechew it.

I am finding with the foods I am eating now, I am less apt to swallow my food whole. Thereby being less goat-like. This I consider a success. It is coming naturally, also. I do not have to think much about it. I wonder if the bacteria in my intestines preferred the food whole. Could it be that my body knew I would feel better by swallowing my food nearly whole?

That's my little gem for the day. I thought you'd want to know.

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.