This is the 6th post in my series, IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness. I have a learned a great deal about myself in mind, body and spirit since converting to an intermittent fasting lifestyle on January 2, 2019. In this year of turning 58 years old, I made a commitment to intermittent fasting as a means of losing weight, relieve joint inflammation and stiffness, and regain my overall physical health.
As I confided in earlier posts in this series, I had seen several different medical specialists who, without fail would recommend weight loss surgery for my (gulp) obesity. Yes, I still have difficulty even writing the word much less admitting that I am obese. But recognizing the undeniable and accepting that fact has been the first step, if I am being honest, of becoming disciplined for doing something about it. Yet after much personal research and in speaking with friends and family who have had weight loss surgery, I did not want to risk the possible complications of such an invasive surgery nor did I think I could be successful with weight management with an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis), or because of my personality (more about that in a minute).
After reading the book, The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung and his follow-up book with co-author, Jimmy Moore, The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting, I was convinced with all of the research and science within these books, that perhaps just perhaps, I could be successful in my goal of weight loss.
IF I am being honest, my first 6 months
In my first 6 months of IF, I have lost an average of one (1) pound per week. This may not sound like a big weight loss for many people; however, it has been a huge loss for someone who has not lost more than 3-4 pounds with any other diet plan.
Initially, I was sleeping better and for this chronic insomniac, I was truly amazed! I had even slept through an early morning doctor appointment. My face did not look pasty or swollen after the first month of fasting. I simply had more energy and I was thrilled I was seeing positive results so quickly. It was the motivation I needed to keep disciplined to fast every day.
After a few more months in my conversion to intermittent fasting, I began to see inches being lost around my waist and then my hips. My clothes, both shirts and pants, began to feel looser. And after 5 months, I was one pant size smaller. Hoot! Hoot!
The most important lessons I have learned with intermittent fasting has not been found in a book. The most important lessons I have learned from fasting was during the Lenten season and beyond. These lessons were about my relationships.
My relationship with food.
My relationship with exercise.
My personal relationships.
IF I am being honest, my relationship with food.
If I am being honest, my food choices were predicated on the following in this order:
1) My personal laziness
2) My boredom
3) My comfort
In the last 6 months, I realized that my relationship with food was an automatic response to one or all three of those feelings. I abhor cooking, particularly the preparatory work that goes into cooking. I find absolutely no enjoyment in the whole process of cooking, and then, I only value the result if someone else has graciously and more expertly prepared the meal.
I ate whatever was convenient. I ate whatever was put in front to me. I ate what I wanted to eat. Period. The food was not always nutritious and for the most part was unhealthy for my autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s.
Intermittent fasting fit right into my personal laziness. In fact, OMAD (one meal a day) was a perfect solution for my laziness. I didn’t need to think about breakfast or what to prepare for lunch to take to the office. My evening meal was usually prepared by my husband, Vinny Sal, who loves to cook and he is a great cook! All I had to do was drink enough black coffee, unsweetened tea and water to get through to the next eating window. Fasting became easier once I got through the first 1-2 weeks and because I was seeing immediate benefits, I was motivated to keep going with IF.
During those times when fasting was difficult, I convinced myself I was just bored and I kept myself busy with writing, reading or cleaning. My continued efforts to declutter the house has been a perfect exercise to ignoring a grumbling stomach. I have learned the signs of boredom. When I start thinking about my next meal, I know that is my cue to get moving.
I, like many people, seek comfort in food. Certain foods with their aroma, texture, and taste can enhance the mood and comfort me with pleasant thoughts and memories. There is nothing intrinsically harmful in comfort food. I have learned that comfort food for me is the value I put on it. Is it worth it to me to indulge in a huge plate of pasta laden with melted mozzarella if it is going to make me feel bloated, constipated and stiff with inflammation just because I had a bad day at the office? Or can I partake of it within reason like a piece of birthday cake only on special events and holidays and still enjoy it with family and friends? I say, yes, to the latter.
IF I am being honest, my relationship with exercise.
When I was growing up on the farm, I loved being outside – walking, exploring the fields and woods, riding my bicycle, swimming and playing outside with friends. During my school years, I was on the softball, track team and enjoyed playing flag football in gym class. When I began to climb the corporate ladder, marriage and the arrival of children, my golf game and exercise classes with my girlfriend went to the wayside.
Over the years, I have wasted plenty of hard-earned dollars on gym memberships and home exercise equipment that I never used. If I am being honest, I hate working out at the gym or riding on a stationary bike. I cannot fathom anything more boring. Before I converted to intermittent lifestyle, I tried to get outdoors to exercise. I came up with a backyard walking routine. After work each day I would walk the inside of the perimeter of our fenced backyard. It allowed me to walk without having to get back into my car to go someplace whether it was downtown or to the park. Because we live out in rural suburbia, the roads do not have safe walking paths or sidewalks outside our front door, so the backyard allowed me to walk in a safe environment while playing ball with the dogs. Even though the next-door neighbors were surely snickering, I persisted and then winter hit. That ended the backyard walking routine.
If I am being honest, I will never purchase another gym membership, home exercise equipment or do any exercise that I do not enjoy doing. Before the would’ve, could’ve and should’ve people tell me I don’t love myself enough or I don’t want it bad enough, just stop with the nonsense. I know and accept that exercise can help me meet my weight loss goals faster. No one needs to tell me that – I get it. But if I am being honest, I have reached a point in my life where I am not going to waste money or do anything that does not bring me joy and peace in mind, body and spirit.
(I do have a recommendation for athletic fitness centers. If gyms offered drop-in membership cards like the Yoga and Zumba instructors often do, I may change my mind.)
My husband, Vinny Sal was listening to a medical program on the radio and a physician simply stated, “Motion is the lotion.” By that he means that movement is necessary for weight loss, joint pain and stiffness. So, what motion brings me joy and peace? Okay, so for all of you that said, sex, let’s move on to other forms of exercise for discussion purposes.
In the warmer seasons, I will take up again, my favorite activities of golf, walking and gardening. In the winter season, I will return to the never-ending decluttering of the family estate. It is amazing what packing, stacking, and carrying boxes, moving furniture up and down stairs and out to the garage for donation can do for one’s mind, body and spirit. I will motivate myself to walk out in the backyard or wrap my brain around walking around one of the indoor or outdoor retail malls. I will find other ways to walk whether at the office, shopping or at the beach.
IF I am being honest, my personal relationships.
If I am being honest, I have more clarity in personal relationships. I have learned to compromise and have more patience, not just in my personal relationships but with all people including myself. That doesn’t mean I still don’t get pissed off with people like the two chain-smoking women who decided to sit next to me on the beach. I simply moved to another spot out of line of their drifting cigarette smoke.
As my soul sister, JT in San Antonio recently shared with me is that no one needs to be my conscious nor do I need to be anyone’s conscious. The Holy Spirit already has that job, she said. She is one spiritually in-tune soul-sister!
Because here is my point about calling out this chain-smoking beach incident, I am responsible for my health. I am responsible for my happiness. If referencing cigarettes as cancer sticks on my Facebook feed causes another person to feel ashamed of their habit, then perhaps the Holy Spirit (not me) is guiding them to take responsibility for their own health and happiness too. And for those who have already kicked the habit whether it is cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or food addiction, there is no shame in it. I am one of you. We have taken responsibility for our health and our happiness. We have held ourselves accountable.
So, here is the most important personal relationship lesson. Be kind. Be patient. (Thank you, Christine for reminding me.) We are all human. We, who have taken responsibility for our own wellness, are on our own unique journey in mind, body and spirit. Find your tribe who support your wellness journey. My Intermittent Fasting Support Group on Facebook has been my lifeline as well as my soul-sisters, JT, Christine, my sister, Sandra to name a few, and certainly my patient and loving husband, my two sons, extended family and friends (even if some of them who still don’t fully understand it).
IF I am being honest, my second 6 months
As I enter the next 6 months and beyond of the intermittent fasting lifestyle, I will hold onto these statements:
My speed doesn’t matter, forward is forward.
My dreams don’t work, unless I do.
Discipline is just choosing between what I want now and what I want most.
And more importantly:
In my weakness, Christ is my strength.
I will continue to post monthly in this series, IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness until January 2020. I will then post occasionally until I reach my weight goal.
Blogging my progress helps me to keep it real for me in mind, body and spirit. If you need me to be a part of your tribe for wellness in mind, body and spirit, I hope you will reach out to me. I would love to hear from you. I sincerely appreciate my readers following The Blogging Owl and my other blogs too. Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me by email at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.
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(My 5-Month IF photo comparison.)
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