The Health and Wellness Journey — Updated

I started the health and wellness journey full throttle in April 2014. Last week my doctor said “go forth in the world” and I don’t need to see him anymore, unless I want to that is, probably for an extra fee but that’s okay. I’m ready to fly.

What I’ve learned is that if I eat a small bag of sweet potato chips I will eat the entire bag. If I eat a bigger bag of sweet potato chips, I will eat all of it also. If I eat a humongous bag of sweet potato chips, I will get around to eating the entire bag in a day or two. Therefore, I have to buy a small bag (and only one bag because if I buy three small bags, I’ll eat them all) and only occasionally.

I’ve also learned that if I eat something with sugar I will want more…and more…and more. I learned this when I bought some allergen friendly semi-sweet chocolate chips and devoured the entire bag in 2 days. I drifted toward the bag for a “few” sun up until bedtime. So I decided that I can only buy them as a treat, maybe once a month.

I learned that anything but my own homemade barbecue sauce made with my ingredients (more like a rub than a sauce) may give me stomach distress. Even the gluten free ones act on me and because there are so many ingredients that go into a sauce, who knows what ingredient is the offender. It is better for me to not eat anything that is highly likely to offend.

I have finally learned that I would rather drink a cup of herbal tea than a cup of coffee most of the time. It has taken me since April of last year to reach that conclusion. Back in April I thought that nothing would ever take the place of my morning joe. I was wrong. Coffee without milk is not as much of a treat for me. I found one local coffee shop that makes a very good decaf that I enjoy drinking. Most of the others are hit and miss. For example, back in November I was at a very good restaurant and the coffee tasted terrible to me so I ordered a green tea instead. A year ago that would have never happened.

I’ve learned that I can live without bread and pasta. That’s saying a lot from the woman that ate pasta 3-5 times a week and who baked bread on a regular basis. I do miss handling bread dough however and I’m still contemplating a pottery class so I can at least knead something like you do dough.

I’ve learned that I’m much more at ease with the changes to my diet than everyone else around me. “What do you eat?” is a common question, as if meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and fruit are not enough.

I’ve learned that I don’t want to eat something because it tastes good but will cause me stomach distress at 2 in the morning. I don’t see the point in it.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that I have great willpower. Beyond a shadow of a doubt this was one of the hardest endeavors I have ever tackled. Some days it is easier than others. One of the hardest days I’ve had was when I was manning the bar at a party (to keep the teens away) and a full plate of delicious looking cookies was right there, daring me to take just one bite. All I had to do was remember that I don’t want stomach distress at 2 in the morning and I kept from digging in. Knowing that I have a high probability of getting ill from that nibble keeps me straight. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know how drug addicts stay clean. It takes such force of will some days. Yet I want this so badly that I stay the straight and narrow.

So far I’ve lost 40 pounds. Do I get enough to eat? I definitely eat well. I’ve reconnected with healthy, simple cooking. I’ve had to give up a few of my go-to spices (although perhaps I can try them again at some juncture) but I found allspice and it goes into my now famous (in my own mind its famous) baked chicken wing rub — best chicken wings ever if I say so myself. I make wonderful pork ribs using apple sauce and I’ve learned how to cook without using tomato sauce in everything. I never realized how much tomato sauce and diced tomatoes I used every week.

I have more energy most of the time, although this cold weather is making that statement harder to say. I’m stronger and at the gym and yoga I am progressing better, probably because I’m not dragging around the weight of a small child (that 40 pounds).

I’m looking forward to the next 6 months of this journey and I’m expanding into mental and spiritual wellness now.

Onward!

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