Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Motivate Me!
It’s Me! Time here on Motivate Me! and we are working on coming back from flat.
Before we start, let’s get into the right headspace. Let’s engage in the idea that this is time where YOU are the priority. Let’s take two slow, deep breaths to get us centered. Just follow me.
Today’s focus is: Improving Your Diet
It’s almost impossible not to discuss diet when looking to make self-improvements.
Before we get started today, I want to call your attention to the idea that diet is not just what we eat. It’s anything we fill ourselves up with: what we watch, what we listen to, what we read, and who we surround ourselves with. These things, as well as food, impact how we progress in the world.
Eating the wrong foods makes us feel lethargic, strips us of our self-confidence, and creates disease, that’s the bottom line. And whether we make small changes or big changes to our diet, any improvement is an improvement. Starting small may be as simple as increasing our water intake by two glasses a day.
One thing I do know is that if I start feeling better, I start doing better. I’m not here to preach to you or to make you feel down about your current physical state. My role is to just share my story and to be as honest as possible with you about what I did to get my head and heart back in the game, and addressing diet when doing this was important for me.
So many health issues can be cured by diet, like diabetes and fatty liver, for starters. But diet can impact your mental health, such as anxiety, depression, and even something like seizures.
I had no idea how much we can control our health and quality of life through diet! It seems obvious, but I just never made the connection.
Let me share a story with you. My husband was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes about fifteen years ago. Diabetes runs in his family, so in our uneducated minds, it was just a matter of time before my husband would get it. He was great about managing his medications so I was not very involved in his process, and we didn’t make too many changes in our lifestyle after his diagnosis because the medicine was doing that for us.
About ten years later, in preparation for our daughter’s wedding, we went on a strict clean-eating, healthy grain diet. I mean, I was measuring everything we ate and we could not have been eating better. We were eating chicken, pork, seafood, vegetables, fruit, quinoa, brown rice, and brown rice pasta. That is pretty much it in a nut shell. I even cut cheese out of my diet. It was during this time, though, that my husband was put on a second diabetes medication. And we thought, wow, this disease is really progressing! We just assumed that this is how diabetes worked, that it worsened over time.
Our daughter got married that May, and over the summer we all pigged out. It wasn’t until that following January that I decided I had to get back on the healthy bus. Our daughter and her husband had returned to California the Friday after the New Year, and my husband was going on a four-night business trip that following Monday.
I had post-holiday blues, especially knowing it would be months before seeing my kids again. I was sad that my husband would be away for most of the next week, and I felt physically disgusting. So that Sunday before he left, I meal-prepped three meals and was determined to punish myself with them.
One of the meals was a vegetable soup and one was ground turkey meatballs, and I can’t remember what the other one was. They were delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I was just aggravated with myself and with life in general.
I was well-versed in different dieting styles, so I made meals that I knew were low in fat and low in carbohydrates. I had been hearing about the “Keto Diet” but didn’t know exactly what it was.
For the next four days I lied on the couch battling migraines and body aches. I ate what I had prepared, I put ice packs on my head and neck, and I researched for a million hours about low-carb diets. I was getting informed and getting my head in the game. I was miserable.
Then, about halfway through the day on Thursday, day four, something miraculous happened: I felt amazing. I felt a clarity in my head that I had not felt, possibly, ever in my life.
When John came home that night from his trip, I was wearing JEANS, my hair and makeup were done, I had this insane energy, and I was smiling. He was blown away. In only four days, I felt like a new person.
John was so impressed that he immediately wanted in and he jumped on board. This is where something crazy happened! Like me, John got sick on the second day. But on day three, he was so groggy that he couldn’t keep his eyes open. We were monitoring his sugar because of his diabetes and his sugar was 77. Now, 77 is a great number, except his body was used to running more in the 120s. On day three of eating this low-carb, heathy-fat diet, his doctor took him off the second diabetes medication – and in three months, he was off all of his diabetes medications. He is still off them today – three years later.
I tell you this story not to sell you on a specific diet, because what works for us may not be right for you. And I am not a doctor, so if you are looking to get on that healthy bus, I suggest you consult a physician.
I tell you this story because I want to share with you that MANY sicknesses are connected to diet, and that we can often control the trajectory of our health and life through our dietary choices.
This seems obvious to me now, but it wasn’t then – and it might not be obvious to you right now, so I feel it’s important to share our experience with you.
For us, no sugar, low-carb, and healthy-fats works best. This is what I always try to get back to, because I’m never hungry when I eat this way. And I have a clarity that I just can’t get when eating any other way, especially if grains are involved.
Of all the things I struggle with most, it’s diet. This is how I really know it’s impact on the body and mind. But I keep striving because I don’t want my weight to hold me back in life. There have been times I opted out of life because of my weight. On the days I couldn’t find something to wear that made me feel comfortable or confident and staid home. On the days I was more reserved than I normally would be, or the times I’ve worried about what people’s first impression of me has been.
If you know anything about me, you know that I love to experience life! I am all about a beautiful meal and nice bottle of wine. I can make a menu out of any occasion and it will be a blast! Rain or shine, our backyards are always designed to enjoy every beautiful day, whether that means the sun is sharing its rays or the clouds are sharing their tears. We will be in our backyard eating breakfast sandwiches and drinking coffees around the fire, or cooking meat and drinking beer around the smoker. I love it all. And I love pairings… of everything: sushi and white wine, nachos and beer, omelets and Bloody Marys, a charcuterie board and red wine. This is who I am!
And then there’s days where I am nose to the grindstone with work, or I am distraught over a relationship, or I feel helpless. These are the days I seek food filled with comfort, familiarity, and ease. Like fast food… I am not above it. There are days you just want a filet-o-fish and fries or a beef chalupa supreme or two.
I think you are seeing why I struggle with my weight. I’m like many of you: I love hard and I feel hard, I celebrate hard and I comfort myself hard.
Part of what I was going through during quarantine was missing the nose-to-the-grindstone-work-hard-on-something-you-love part, and I lost my balance. So to get engaged in life again, to have the energy to move forward, to reclaim my passion and confidence, I knew I needed independence from all things – especially and including food. I knew I needed to be in charge and take charge, and just like everything else, I knew it was only a decision away.
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I am going to leave you with some truth talk from me to you: We know our habits today will determine the quality of our tomorrow. We know we can make changes, that change is only a decision away. Our job is to find the balance between work and play, between moderation and excess, between diet and exercise. Life is our journey, and finding the balance between all these things is not a destination, it is part of this amazing ride. So, don’t beat yourself up about it, just get better at it, and enjoy the ride.
We got this!
This is just one more way that you Motivate Me!