Let’s talk about food, dudes.
The past four weeks I’ve been trying really hard to make solid decisions about my health and wellness, and all of these decisions are based solely on food. The first two weeks were incredible. I pounded through the headaches from sugar and caffeine withdrawal, and happily munched on fruits like they were going out of style. And then I embraced PMS for a week, and popped some chocolate in my mouth, followed by cheese, and bread, and all the things I had been trying so hard to avoid.
The struggle is very real, and no one tells you that when they tell you that you should eat healthy. It’s REAL and it’s PAINFUL and sometimes I think it’s dumb, but at the end of it all, I would rather eat healthy than be in pain the rest of my life.
It’s hard to make lifestyle changes, especially food centered ones. I’ve said it before and I will say it until I die, because if I don’t I’ll cave every day. When you’re used to eating one way for let’s say, two thirds of your life, it’s very hard to all of the sudden cut things out or push them to the wayside and substitute something else.
A little background here. I’ve chosen to eat well to help control Endometriosis and to avoid a possible hysterectomy and/or medication the rest of my life. I’m almost only thirty. THIRTY. Can you imagine having a huge chunk of your body being removed by the time that you’re thirty? Me either. I refuse to have something that sacred just kind of tossed out. And I also refuse to take a million pounds of hormone medication. I’m trying to curb my chronic illness and pain with diet. (For more about that journey, you can read my story here.) I’ve already had multiple organs removed in that area anyway. I have no appendix, or gallbladder, and I’ve had surgery for kidney stones. Guess what all of those organs are affected by? You got it…food. And in my case…poor diet
When people make lifestyle changes involving food, they don’t always mention the struggle. I’ll mention it, because it’s so darn real that sometimes I want to eat a whole baguette from Panera just because I can. But…I know better. I know that gluten is one of the worst things for inflammatory diseases, and if I keep eating it, I’m going to keep hurting. (PS, this pain isn’t just a dull ache…it’s multiple stabs in your stomach, nausea, and wake you up in the middle of the night and wish you were dead, pain.)
FACT – I ate two small pieces of bread today at Easter dinner.
FACT – I probably shouldn’t have. I skipped the ham, and the scalloped potatoes, and had a wad of vegetables (that were incredible) instead. But I shouldn’t have had bread, or had a couple bites of pie. I don’t blame self control on this. I try to live by the quote “Everything in Moderation” which my Mom tells me often. However…sometimes even moderation hurts. Those two slices of bread didn’t kill me, but I did experience some pain a few hours later. Nothing debilitating, but pain nonetheless.
It’s incredibly difficult at Holidays, parties, gatherings, or even going out to eat, to stay on track and keep yourself on board, but you CAN do it. Most people probably won’t even pay much attention to what you’re eating, unless they’re living the same type of lifestyle you are.
If you’re considering making a lifestyle change involving food, and you’re going to cut out things you love, remember…you will fail at times. That can’t be the moment you give in, and it can’t be a crutch you lean on. If you eat some chocolate, eat SOME, not all. Enjoy it, and then get back on track with your plan. If you fail, instead of focusing on that, focus on what you ARE doing right. Give yourself reasons to be proud. Give yourself a pat on the back.
- I haven’t had alcohol in a month
- I haven’t had a Coke or Pepsi in a month. (I MISS YOU SO MUCH, BUT ALAS, YOU ARE BAD FOR ME!)
- I’ve said no to fast food and processed foods.
- I’ve stuck to healthy choices when temptations are high.
Now…you shouldn’t ignore the bad either. Just because you’ve done some good things, doesn’t mean you should keep making those choices that make you feel bad. There’s no doubt about it, I’ve just got to stop eating bread. I’ve also got to steer away from the amount of coffee I drink, and keep cutting back on dairy.
I don’t dwell on the things I’m sucking at, but I do consider them. Do I want to be in pain? Absolutely not. I do however want to enjoy certain things from time to time, as I’m sure you do too, but in the beginning, instead of focusing on what you can’t have, try to focus on being the best version of yourself.
Do good things for your health. If you really want to make a change, you won’t make an excuse. It’s tough, trust me I know. I used to kill a Pepsi every day, followed by chocolates and just plain bread. I’d literally just eat bread because I loved it so much. If I can take a break from bread and Pepsi, anyone can do anything. Trust me.
In the end, we’re our hardest critic, and our biggest rival. It’s so much easier to give into temptation and just go out to eat or order in, but for people trying to make healthier choices, it can leave them feeling depressed afterwards, and angry with him or herself. If you have a support system or people in your life who can be inspirational when it comes to changes, I urge you to surround yourself with them. I’ve got a friend Shay who not only changed her ENTIRE life starting with diet and exercise several years ago, but little does she know, her inspiration is probably what led me to the path I’m on. You don’t need people who are going to frown on your choices or shake their head at you. You need a Shay. Get yourself a Shay. If you don’t have one, I can give you her number…she’s always willing to make new friends.
Seriously though, it’s great to have a support system and a plan BUT the change starts in you. YOU have got to be the one making the choices and demands. No one can do that for you. Not a doctor, a friend, a life coach, or a personal trainer. If you really want to change your life,you will, and that goes beyond food.
For anyone making a lifestyle change because of a disease, chronic pain or illness, or because of health restrictions, I’m with you. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this, but trust me when I say you will feel ten times better if you put good things in your body, versus the easy way out method.
Also, for reference and truth, I caved and had two slices of pizza at a work lunch on Friday. Worst decision ever. My entire body hurt. That’s what I get for making crummy food choices for the second part of last week. But…I’ve let that become the backbone of what I won’t do this week. Have a plan, stick to it, make no excuses, and move on.
As always, keep your head up. You’ll get to wherever you need to be at some point. Baby steps are urged, and self doubt is not.
*For more on Endometriosis, visit The Endometriosis Foundation of America here. One in Ten women suffer from this disease, and it does not judge based on color, age, or sexuality. It’s incredibly genetic and needs to be openly discussed more than it is. It goes beyond PMS and cramps and can lead to infertility as well as chronic pain. Don’t be afraid to talk to your OBGYN or healthcare provider if you experience painful periods, cramps, or just have questions.*
*If you’re considering a lifestyle change involving food and don’t know where to start when it comes to recipes, check out the book Eat To Live Cookbook by Joel Fuhrman. I was gifted a copy last year by a good friend who lives a plant based lifestyle, and it’s jam packed with healthy and tasty recipes that can be enjoyed on a low inflammatory diet.*