It’s been almost 4 years since I had weight loss surgery. Up until last fall I’d stayed stable with my new low weight and was becoming more relaxed about my eating plan. I felt invincible. I believed I could eat anything I wanted – as long as I was careful about portions and didn’t stop weighing myself regularly.
I’ve never believed the hype that after weight loss surgery you can eat anything you want and never gain weight. And yet, I believed you could eat anything, as long as you were careful, and didn’t have an eating disorder. Yes, I felt I could be the exception, because I was smart.
Slowly carbs and sweet treats crept back in to my daily routine. Slowly the scale crept up and I was close to being 10 lbs heavier. That’s considerable when you have such a petite frame. But I wasn’t too concerned. Arrogantly I believed I had this easily under control and set out to drop those lbs back off. I’d reached a magic number on the scale that I was determined never to cross again.
Without much concern I got back on track and eagerly looked to the scale to see it drop right back again, as I expected it would do.
I dropped calories to an almost unhealthy level but nothing budged. After a few months of frustration I followed a suggestion from my partner and brought my calories up a bit but went to work on eliminating excess salt. He’d noticed that salty munchies were an evening weakness of mine.
Four lbs drained away as water weight. Then the stall returned.
Frustration gave away to confusion, anger and then a feeling of defeat. Was my weight going to creep right back up while I was helpless to stop it? Was I doomed to return to a level of obesity that was dangerous for me? Was diabetes and high blood pressure just waiting around the corner? I was struck with a feeling of constant nausea. I was becoming obsessed about the scale, logging every bite I ate, trying to stay under 1,000 calories. My partner was beginning to worry that I was edging toward an eating disorder.
After reading Dr. Kesslers book on the obesity epidemic, and watching the documentary Sugar Coated I decided it was time to try a little detoxing. I had been underestimating – as most of us do – the amount of sugar I was eating, and not aware that the extra sugar was being turned into fat I couldn’t see. Fat that settled on internal organs.
I learned that we can be fat on the inside and look perfectly slim. I learned that hidden sugars were everywhere. I learned that I needed a detox!
Detoxing from sugar can be just as tough as quitting smoking or cutting out caffeine cold turkey. The withdrawal symptoms are not pretty. I decided a slow drop would be an easier way to go.
The first day I kept obsessing over sweet treats. My attention would wander to the fridge constantly as I mentally searched for chocolate that wasn’t there. I felt that familiar crankiness and deprivation that sets in whenever your mind realizes you’re on a diet. A lifetime of yo-yo dieting came back to me. But I was so curious to see if it would work. I kept telling myself I’d try it for just a few days.
(This is a trick I’ve employed many times. It can help me get over the first few days of a habit change. I know that it does get easier, and I’ve learned to focus on that.)
A little sugar is withdrawn every day and with each day it has become easier.
It’s only been a few days but a few stubborn lbs have melted away, and my energy levels are rising. Each day I bump up my efforts to get my sugar intake lower. I’m optimistic that this is the answer to bring me back to my healthiest weight.
There are many articles out there on detoxing from sugar. There are countless meal plans from the cold turkey – don’t even eat fruit – type, to ones aimed at helping you make this transition as comfortable as possible, evolving into a long-term healthy lifestyle change. How you choose to detox is less important in my opinion than taking on only what you can comfortably handle and maintain.
You can run, or you can walk, you’ll still get there as long as you don’t lose your motivation. Some of us prefer to sprint, some of us do better taking baby steps. Set reasonable goals, reward yourself with positive thoughts, and enlist your loved ones for support and accountability.
I know it can be done. I’m not giving up. And if a sugar detox is in your future, I wish you luck, too!
I recently began reading David A. Kessler’s book The End Of Overeating. Although the book was written about a decade ago I really believe that most people will find the information inside both helpful and eye-opening.
We all know obesity is a major health issue in North America. In the past 30 years or so both the rate of obesity and the average North American’s percentage of unnecessary body fat have skyrocketed in an alarming fashion. If that was not disturbing enough, the age at which obesity is striking no longer seems to know any bounds. Toddlers and adolescents are now finding themselves afflicted with a disease that once rarely affected them at all.
We know that heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, and other health complications are a direct result of diabetes, and we know that depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide can also be linked to struggles with weight and body image. Most people recognize this, understand the health risks, and have no desire to be one of the statistics.
We know to avoid fast food, oversize portions, and junk food snacking. We know we are supposed to exercise and weigh ourselves regularly in order to confirm that we are on the right track. We are told all we need is willpower and we’ll be fine.
So why is this still happening?
Kessler’s book sheds light on the role that fat, sugar, and salt play on our neuro-chemistry. He cites many tests that confirm that these ingredients play havoc with our ability to regulate our intake of these substances. He also shows that this is not unique to humans alone. It appears that animals can be led astray – and led into obesity – by exposing them to these same three ingredients. (Not news to pet owners who find themselves over-generous with the treats.)
Kessler also exposes the role restaurants and grocery stores have played in manipulating us to become addicted to these substances in unhealthy amounts. We have become unwitting addicts to the food industry, who knowingly have become our drug pushers. And we are dying from this addiction just the same way cocaine and heroin addicts are dying from their substance abuse.
The good news that Kessler exposes is that food addiction is not as difficult to manage as other drug addictions. It seems that as quickly as these bad habits are formed, they can be broken. While it only takes a few days for a new “doughnut at 11 am” habit to develop, it can also be broken in less than a week.
The answer seems to be that if we can withstand the siren’s call of our favourite decadent addiction, we can become free of the distracting and dangerous call it has on us.
Of course that sounds ridiculously easy, and it is definitely not quite as simple as that. Our food habits are linked to memories and locations, and in order to rid ourselves of these foods we must face our triggers and deal with them. Tricks like taking a new route to work that doesn’t take you past your favourite fast food place, or not taking money to work so you have no access to the snack machine, are good strategies. And one of the most helpful of all: Not allowing banned food substances in to the home.
No, it’s not easy, and it does take a strong desire to beat the odds. It also takes continual vigilance.
Yes, the daily struggle to eat well can seem overwhelming, but there are many daily habits we have learned to accept for our health: brushing our teeth, getting enough sleep. As adults we need to rise to the challenge. For ourselves and for the next generations.
You can take back your health, and have a better life. You can free yourselves of the daily pain – and possible death – that comes with obesity. As a life coach, I know this, and as a human being I deal with it myself, everyday. It’s not easy, but knowing how it happened, knowing that I am not helpless is the first step. Books like The End Of Overeating are helping in a way that fad diets and expensive trends have failed to do.
When I began this blog I had a few ideas of what I wanted to focus on, but my main passion at the time was photography. Over the last few years, blogging took a back seat while I explored an option to do something that has always defined a large core of my personality: helping people.
In 2013 I attended the Rhodes College in Vancouver, BC, and discovered a passion for life coaching. As part of preparing myself to walk the walk I had weight loss surgery during my time at Rhodes, and shed the extra pounds that had plagued me for almost my entire life. By tackling my biggest health issue I was able to create a better life for myself, and for my partner, R. I was able to face the world with greater confidence.
As I became more physically active I began the spend far less time at a computer, and this blog began to grow virtual-dust.
Time to resuscitate As I See It, and give it new life.
There will be multiple focuses to this site from here on, a mixture of photography and life coaching, with a sprinkle of the odd side dish surprise.
Please check in often!
So, I’ve taken on yet another photo-a-day style challenge. I know, I know, I’m a sucker for them, and I usually run out of steam before they end. But I believe in never giving up!
The challenge lasts 100 days and the photos must reflect something that brought happiness into your day. A unique way to truly be in the moment, and to take note of those small daily moments of happiness we tend to overlook.
Sign up by checking out the challenge here: 100happydays.com, then just add the #100happydays hashtag and you’re sharing with the the world.
Here are my week one offerings.