IF I am being honest – The Killers

When I was 28 years old, I was slim, savvy, and some may even have said I had it all. I believed I looked my best physically then and I had a blossoming financial services career earning a fantastic living. I was single, traveling, working hard at climbing the next rung in life and having fun. And here I am 30 years later, a married mom with two grown sons earning less than a third of my overall compensation before the U.S. economic downturn in 2009 and the only thing I am trying to climb in life is a flight of stairs in my journey of physical wellness. People who have known me most of my life and if they are to see me now may ask, “What the hell happened?”

IF I am being honest, “Life happened.”

Yet, I would not trade my current mind and spirit, if not my body for my 28 year-old self. Because I know how to handle the “killers” of life now who I didn’t always know how to handle when I was 28.

The Killers: “not enough” people

These people may be well meaning friends and family. They also may be people who are trying to sell a magical diet potion, fitness plan, medical procedure or who are simply antagonists who don’t see themselves as “not enough.” Whoever they are, they often say things like…

“You don’t love yourself enough to…”

“You aren’t trying hard enough to…”

“You aren’t exercising enough…”

“You aren’t eating enough. Fasting is really starvation. It’s not healthy…”

“You aren’t eating enough of the good carbs, or protein, or fats, or…”

What most people hear when they listen to these killers, the “not enough” people, is “I must not be enough. I am not smart enough to do this wellness journey correctly.” And to that I clearly say, “all that is BS!”

I do love myself. I AM ENOUGH!

Fat Meme 2

I will never be 28 years old again. I will never have my 28 year-old body again. But I am striving to be HEALTHY in mind, body and spirit.

I have a tribe of “enough” people who love and support me in my wellness journey that I started five months ago when I converted to an intermittent fasting lifestyle.

Find your tribe! Your soul people!

IF I am being honest, intermittent fasting is savvy.

Here are the financial savings with Intermittent Fasting:

• No expensive diet supplements
• No fancy pink drinks or liver detox teas
• No pre-packaged food and diet plans
• No diet or weight-loss memberships
• No invasive weight-loss surgeries including the medical leave/lost vacation time from work

I eat less food which would potentially lower my grocery bill, but I have traded the potential food cost-savings of eating convenient, processed, and fast food for quality, whole and organic food. In truth, it is probably an equal trade.

My Last 30 Days – What I have learned

In my previous post, I shared how being sick with strep throat and a double ear infection kept me from paying attention to my caloric intake, food quality and getting started on a consistent exercise plan. I remained at a weight plateau even though I continued to fast. I guess that was the only good news.

This past month I concentrated on a prolonged fasting schedule with monitoring my calories. At the end of the month, I concluded that my weight plateau was due to three things:

1. I needed to incorporate more healthy fats into my diet like avocado, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fresh fatty fish like fresh tuna, sardines, salmon, eggs, to name just a few.

2. If I wasn’t doing OMAD that day, I needed my first meal (usually at 1:30 p.m.) to be a light meal like Vanilla Huel or pistachio nuts/green veggie salad with most of my calories in my second meal (no later than 6:30 p.m.).

3. I absolutely cannot eat any sugar or processed foods (Ignore This Advice: 4 Common Nutrition Tips to Question). Sugar and processed food are the culprit for my joint inflammation!

IF I am being honest, I am proud of my success so far

Before and After IF photos 06012019.jpg
The above photo on the left was taken prior to my IF conversion. The photo on the right was taken on June 1, 2019 after a trip to my hairstylist. This week I have an appointment with my photographer son for a new professional photo! I am also comfortably down one pant size.

In the last five months, I have lost 24 pounds. I have lost 3.5 inches off my hips and 10 inches (!) off my waist.

How can that be?

Fat Meme

Look at the graphic to the left. That is what fat looks like in different weights. Most of my weight came off my middle. But also remember, our bodies are just not all fat and our weight can fluctuate as the graphic below depicts. I have not researched the percentages presented to determine if they are accurate, however, it is a good visual to remember how much our weight can change daily.

My personal rule of thumb is if my weight measures the same for 3 consecutive days, I count that as true weight lost.

Fat Meme 1

IF I am being honest in my next 30 days…

EXERCISE! Damn it!

Now that I have a better handle on my caloric intake and my ratio of protein, fat and carbs should be for me, I am hoping that at the 6-month mark I will be enjoying even more weight loss. I promised myself I would remember my transformation reality: the weight will come off with persistence, patience, and when it is darn ready to come off.

Shout out to my sister, Sandra, who has joined me on her own Intermittent Fasting journey to wellness. I am so proud of her for coming to this decision on her own. We are now accountability partners!

In closing, thank you to everyone who has reached out to me  and being one of my “enough” people, my tribe. 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. I would love to hear from you.

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

 

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

IF I am being honest – Autoimmune Disease

This is my fourth post in my series, “IF I am being honest” – my journey to wellness by converting to the intermittent fasting lifestyle. In the last 30 plus days since my last post in this series, I had a severe case of strep throat, a double ear infection and laryngitis. While I was extremely sick for two weeks, I continued to fast a minimum of 16:8 – meaning I would fast for 16 hours and my eating window was 8 hours. The main reason I broke my OMAD (one meal a day fasting) wasn’t because I was sick, but that I needed to take an antibiotic twice a day with food. Now some people who may not buy into the IF lifestyle may think I was deathly sick because I fast every day. In fact, many people around me at work and at home were sick as well prior to my becoming ill. The interesting reflection is that I recovered more quickly than those I worked with including my husband.

I wish I could say that being sick helped me to lose weight since my last post 30 days ago. It did not. The good news is that I didn’t gain any weight either. Partly due I believe that I did not track my calories nor was I concerned about the quality of my meals (comfort food). Although I will say except the occasional handful of potato chips (no dip) and the eating ice cream twice, my meals were not as bad as prior to starting intermittent fasting.

I believe the real reason for no weight loss in the last thirty days is due to my autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is one type of autoimmune disease and here is a complete list of autoimmune diseases: https://www.aarda.org/diseaselist/.

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association states on their website, “One of the functions of the immune system is to protect the body by responding to invading microorganisms, such as viruses or bacteria, by producing antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes (types of white blood cells). Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. In some cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of related diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own tissue.”

Per WebMD, the most common types of autoimmune disorders and diseases:

• Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
• Systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus)
• Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
• Type 1 diabetes mellitus
• Guillain-Barre syndrome
• Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
• Psoriasis.
• Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
• Myasthenia gravis
• Vasculitis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

This letter from “Thyroid Sexy” Facebook page perfectly sums up what it means for a person, who like me struggles with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease.

Hi. My name is Hashimoto’s.

I’m an invisible autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid gland causing you to become hypothyroid. I am now velcroed to you for life. If you have hypothyroidism, you probably have me. I am the number one cause of it in the U.S. and many other places around the world.

I’m so sneaky–I don’t always show up in your blood work.
Others around you can’t see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.
I can attack you anywhere and any way I please.
I can cause severe pain or, if I’m in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.
Remember when you and energy ran around together and had fun?
I took energy from you and gave you exhaustion. Try to have fun now.
I can take good sleep from you and in its place, give you brain fog and lack of concentration.
I can make you want to sleep 24/7, and I can also cause insomnia.
I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal.
I can also give you swollen hands and feet, swollen face and eyelids, swollen everything.
I can make you feel very anxious with panic attacks or very depressed. I can also cause other mental health problems. You know, crazy mood swings? That’s me. Crying for no reason? Angry for no reason? That’s probably me too.
I can make your hair fall out, become dry and brittle, cause acne, cause dry skin, the sky is the limit with me.
I can make you gain weight and no matter what you eat or how much you exercise; I can keep that weight on you. I can also make you lose weight. I don’t discriminate.
Some of my other autoimmune disease friends often join me, giving you even more to deal with.
If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away from you.
You didn’t ask for me. I chose you for various reasons:
That virus or viruses you had that you never really recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma (I thrive on stress.) You may have a family history of me. Whatever the cause, I’m here to stay.

I hear you’re going to see a doctor to try and get rid of me. That makes me laugh. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively.
You will be put on the wrong medication for you, pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants.

There are so many other ways I can make you sick and miserable, the list is endless – that high cholesterol, gall bladder issue, blood pressure issue, blood sugar issue, heart issue among others? That’s probably me.
Can’t get pregnant or have had a miscarriage?
That’s probably me too.
Shortness of breath or “air hunger?” Yep, probably me.
Liver enzymes elevated? Yep, probably me.
Teeth and gum problems? TMJ?
Hives? Yep, probably me.
I told you the list was endless.

You may be given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly, I will go away. You’ll be told to think positively, you’ll be poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken seriously when you try to explain to the endless number of doctors you’ve seen, just how debilitating I am and how ill and exhausted you really feel. In all probability you will get a referral from these ‘understanding’ (clueless) doctors, to see a psychiatrist.

Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and just how debilitating I can be. Some of them will say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day” or “Well, remember, you can’t do the things you used to do 20 YEARS ago”, not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago. They’ll also say things like, “if you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you’ll feel better.” They won’t understand that I take away the ‘gas’ that powers your body and mind to ENABLE you to do those things.

Some will start talking behind your back, they’ll call you a hypochondriac, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity, trying to make them understand, especially if you are in the middle of a conversation with a “normal” person, and can’t remember what you were going to say next. You’ll be told things like, “Oh, my grandmother had that, and she’s fine on her medication” when you desperately want to explain that I don’t impose myself upon everyone in the exact same way, and just because that grandmother is fine on the medication SHE’S taking, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

They will not understand that having this disease impacts your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, and that every cell and every bodily system and organ requires the proper amount and the right kind of thyroid hormone medication for YOU. Not what works for someone else.

The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me is with other people that have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand.

I am Hashimoto’s Disease.

IF I am being honest, Intermittent Fasting has saved my life

In four short months from converting to the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, I have lost 20 pounds. Notice I did not use the word “only” 20 pounds. 20 pounds is huge for me since I have not been able to lose more than 3 pounds in the last 20 plus years since giving birth to my sons. My weight just continued to climb and I one day when I am at a healthier weight, I will disclose to you my starting weight on January 2, 2019.

I visited my endocrinologist last week for my 6- month appointment. Due to the change in my diet of nominal sugar, no processed foods, gluten-free, minimal dairy, clean protein and more vegetables, my weight loss has resulted in my blood lab work indicating that I am no longer pre-diabetic. My next appointment is in one year, although I must have fasting blood lab work performed every 15 to 20-pound weight loss to insure my thyroid medication is at the correct dosage. YAY!!!

My new prolonged IF routine

There are four types of intermittent fasting. I follow prolonged intermittent fasting, meaning that I fast longer than 20 hours. After being sick for two weeks, it was difficult to get back on the prolonged fasting train. But after completing my first 36-hour clean fast, I was back to a near normal IF schedule of OMAD Monday through Friday, 18:6 Saturday and 20:4 on Sunday. I felt fantastic after my 36-hour fast, so I am going to incorporate two 36-hour fasts in the second and fourth week of each month.

Feeling fantastic except…

If I am being honest, my hope for the last thirty days was to incorporate a consistent exercise routine. And if I am really being honest, Hashimoto’s took its’ toll on me after being sick. While I recovered from the strep throat, double ear infection and laryngitis quicker than most around me, the fatigue, the TMJ/gum issues, and mental lapses made me more determined to get back on a solid track of prolonged fasting. Because prolonged fasting helps me to feel energized.

Why?

I feel more in control of my calories and the quality of food I eat, and weirdly enough, the longer I fast the more energetic I feel. If I waited 24 hours to a eat a meal, I don’t want to eat poorly only to feel horribly bloated afterwards and I certainly never want my joints to be inflamed ever again! Before starting intermittent fasting, I could not even climb a flight of stairs. No way! I am not going back to feeling like that again.

IF I am being honest in my next 30 days…

After showing my husband my photo after 30 days of IF and my photo after almost 100 days of IF, his response was, “Wow!” Now you may think that he should have noticed the changes without showing him the photos, but it isn’t easy showing even your soul mate how ugly you feel you look in your own skin in the daylight. Intermittent fasting changes the body composition. Clothes begin to fit differently. Skin is clearer and more youthful. My face is thinner, and I see a waistline coming back too. My only worry is that when my waste ‘flap’ disappears that my tits may take its’ place.

I have a long way to go to where I want to be weight-wise. Patience and persistence will get me there, I know it.

After summoning up the courage and hearing my husband’s response, I feel even more motivated to get the walking shoes on, swinging a golf club, and incorporating more concentrated activity of any type into my daily routine. And then maybe, just maybe, someday I will be comfortable enough to post photos on this blog. Fingers crossed!

In closing, other people have contacted me to help them start their own intermittent journey. It brings joy to my heart that by blogging my progress and keeping it real that it may have resonated with others to start down their own path of wellness in mind, body and spirit.

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. I would love to hear from you.

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

 

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

IF – I am being honest, Invisible Weight

In all my blogs not just The Blogging Owl, I consistently speak of the balance of mind, body, and spirit. In the first post of this series, “IF I am being honest” about my conversion to intermittent fasting, I admitted to my readers that I am physically obese in medical terms. Thirty days later I confessed my mental and emotional food love tendencies. And now 90 days later, God has led me to take on the invisible weight of my spirit.

As a Christian, I am a firm believer one’s spirit is the driver of one’s mind and body. Why else would God place the heart between the brain and the stomach? Even if you are not a person of faith, I hope you will continue to read on about what I discovered in the last 30 days.

Invisible Weight

What is weighing on my spirit?

I wanted to tap into my spirit for the clarity of my overall life’s mission, my purpose. God has been driving me to something and my hunch was that I cannot complete whatever He has intended for me to do if I have a flabby, unhealthy mind and body.

For the Lenten season, I had decided to do 40 Days of OMAD (one meal a day) with the sincere desire for clarity of mind, body AND spirit. As I discussed in my last blog post thirty days ago, I started a week early with OMAD on February 27th and I would continue OMAD until Easter Sunday, April 21st.

I ended the 40 Days of OMAD on the 15th day. Was I a failure?

Let me back up to the beginning of my 40 Days of OMAD. In my prayer journal I wrote the following prayer:

Dear Lord, bring clarity to my confusion. Rescue me and bring rhythm to my calling just as you set the sun and the stars in motion in precise rhythm of day into night. Instill within me the patient endurance to enlighten me of my specific mission with the wisdom and maturity through an unwavering faith in Christ. Grant me confidence in Your mercy and hope in Your promises. Help me to watch You in Your passion that I remain awake to the infinite power of Your Love. In Him give me courage and strength. Amen

So, what happened?

Reviewing my journal entries over the last 30 days, I did indeed begin shedding that invisible weight on Saturday, March 9th when I genuinely believe God guided me to this verse:

“The Lord is your guardian. The Lord is shade over your right hand.” Psalm 121:5

The significance of this Bible verse on this day was I was getting my first tattoo. I had originally decided to have Martin Luther’s Rose tatted on the back of my left shoulder. Each color of the image has a special meaning.

After reading Psalm 121:5 that morning, I decided at the last minute to change the location to the back of my right shoulder with Psalm 121:5 written underneath the tattoo.

Image-43My focus began to change.

The following morning, I was led to this verse:

“But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

My prayer for that morning:

Dear Lord, allow me to see the world the way you do and join in your eternal rescue mission. Give me compassion for the those around me and help me to be an instrument of Your Grace. Help me to focus on Christ rather than on my circumstances and lead me to focus on what God is doing through the situation through Your power and goodness. Amen

My journal entry ended with “physical fatigue, emotional fatigue, spiritual fatigue.” As I re-read those words, I thought to myself, “Wow. I don’t remember writing those words.”

Two days prior to ending my 40-Days of OMAD

I transcribed these 5 Bible verses into my prayer journal: Romans 8:28, Hebrews 2:18, Joshua 1:8, Proverbs 8:33 and lastly,

Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.”

I purposely will not share with you what I wrote in my journal after those five verses except for this excerpt: Five different Bible verses and five ways to encourage me to keep going….

Spiritual clarity was taking root.

Breaking 40-Days of OMAD

I was physically, mentally and spiritually sick on the 15th day. I did not think I could get through the day or through the night. I was extremely fatigued. The only way to explain my mental state was that I was delirious with a migraine, and spiritually, I believed I had failed in my mission for clarity of purpose.

After eating a big, healthy Paleo breakfast, I spent time meditating as I usually do in the morning with Bible devotions and my prayer journal. I was led to Acts 4:8-12, and Romans Chapter 12 which speaks to dedicating our lives to God and I transcribed verse 2 in my journal:

”Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”

I truly believe God emptied everything out of me in mind, body and spirit up to this point to fill me with this message:

I cannot focus on my circumstances, not one day, not on the next 30 days or in the past years of life on this earth, but on Him who really has the power to change me in mind, body and spirit. These are the last lines written in my prayer journal on that day:

“I do not feel bad because I learned a powerful lesson. I am stronger in mind, body and spirit when I look at my “blips” as just a blip and not throw in the towel completely. The same will prove true in God’s purpose for me.”

Miraculously, I felt almost instantly better after eating that breakfast and meditation. And two days after breaking my Lenten OMAD promise, I wrote this in my journal:

“If I want to know God’s will, I have to stop being led by my circumstances. If I trust my circumstances, even though they may look good, my circumstances can still lead to disaster. My circumstances can lead me the wrong way. I can misinterpret them, put unwarranted trust in them, and evil (if you will) can manipulate them. Every single day, I need to check my circumstances against where God is leading me in His Word. Psalm 40.”

IF I am being honest – 3 facts

Remember that journal entry I spoke of earlier regarding physical, mental and spiritual fatigue? Well, it all makes sense to me now.

1) I cannot be the best I can be if I do not unburden the invisible weight of my spirit. My spiritual health is the leader for my physical and mental well-being.

2) Turning food love into self-love is a process that takes more than weeks, months and perhaps even years of undoing the negative tapes looping within my mind.

3) I did not suddenly become overweight overnight. It was a slow culmination of self-neglect of mind, body and spirit.

IF I am being honest in my next 30 days…

During the remaining Lenten season, I am doing OMAD Monday through Friday and 18:6 and 20:4 on the weekends. OMAD helps me to stay disciplined during the work week and breaking OMAD on the weekend allows me to enjoy meals with family and friends.

While the last 30 days have been spiritually enlightening, God is still working on bringing clarity of mission and purpose. I am open to the possibility that it may always be evolving. I do feel, however, that the mind and body are beginning to follow in a positive way. I will continue to build upon the 19 pounds I have lost in the first 90 days of intermittent fasting, which is an average of 1.5 pound weight loss per week. Exercise is still not where it should be and as the spring weather continues to improve, I will be outside walking and playing golf. AND I am behind on my book reviews! Exercising the mind, body and spirit will be the topic of discussion for my next post in 30 days.

In closing, I know my readers may not believe spiritually as I believe, and this post is not about converting anyone but to share with my readers how my Christian faith is an essential component in whatever purpose God has for me here. It is also an essential part of me becoming healthy in mind and body. Yet, I strongly believe, if I am being honest, that each one of us has an invisible weight of the spirit.

Blogging about my progress about converting to an intermittent fasting lifestyle helps me to keep it real for myself and perhaps for my readers too. I sincerely appreciate my readers following The Blogging Owl and my other blogs too. Please feel free to leave a comment and any IF tips! 

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

 

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved