Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's Time to Come Clean!

I decided today that it is time to come clean about my less then stellar eating habits and to let you know that although I know the best way to eat I do not always follow my own advice. It is not uncommon for me to have an excellent breakfast and lunch of delicious, nutrient dense whole foods but so often go down hill and before I know it I am eating ice cream, potato chips or chocolate.

Let me digress for a minute....
Until I was in my early thirties weight had never been an issue for me no matter what kind of food I ate. I attribute that to the fact that I was also a smoker and often had a cigarette to curb my appetite or just because it was easier to smoke than it was to prepare food. In 1994 I quit cigarettes and gained 50 pounds in a very short period of time. Of course without the cigarettes my sweet tooth grew out of control. I remember moving to Maine from California and thinking that all of these new friends will never have known me as a slim person and was disappointed with myself. I did continue to maintain that 50 pounds overweight for many years but still my sweet tooth was my driving force behind my food imbalance. I could eat brownies and ice cream while my kids were in school and then prepare them healthier foods when they were home. This went on for a few years until I met a doctor who taught me about the Zone diet. I maintained that diet for a few months and lost about 30 pounds. Then gradually one thing led to another and before I knew it I was back to my old tricks of eating all those sweet foods again and of course the weight came back on. That was the time I really began to read about nutrition and learn about the different diets from Atkins to the Zone.

Although I had a few bouts of managing my food and losing a few pounds, I still pretty consistently maintained my same overweight self. A couple of years ago I was managing a cafe in a health center, I had a white board that I specials posted to every day and there was always one little section that was left blank. One day I just wrote 'Helen's Health Tip' and wrote a tip about eating nutrient dense whole foods. I was intimidated because I wasn't a medical person and was amazed that doctors and nurses alike stopped to read my tips! I had been making and selling my own yogurt there and worked with customers to make healthy food choices so they already knew I was knowledgeable about food and nutrition. From there Helen's Health Tips blossomed and with the encouragement of friends I began a Facebook page and an email list. I am viewed as an authority on nutrition although I am not always able to practise what I preach.

Last winter, after much research I went on an anti fungal food plan. In a nutshell it is a food plan that eliminates sugar (in all forms) which in turn eliminates mycotoxins in the body. I loved the food plan and all the delicious food I ate and 40+ pounds just melted off. The bonus was that I felt fabulous, my confidence soared and I got to buy a whole new wardrobe. I was following my health tips and life was grand! As with most food plans that do not become lifestyles I began to sneak in a little bit of chocolate, ice cream and bread. Now I am 15 pounds heavier than I was last year and not happy with myself. The sugar makes me depressed which in turn lowers my confidence and I am a mess. Not to mention the shame I feel for being a fraud and not practising what I preach.

So here I am ready to tell you that I am changing my lifestyle to include nutrient dense whole foods while keeping processed foods to a minimum. Of course that means I have to pay attention to my emotional highs and lows that trigger my sweet tooth and be gentle and loving with  myself as I navigate the new road. I invite you to join me by coming clean with your eating habits and your intentions for moving to a healthier lifestyle. It is always easier when we do it together.