IF I am being honest – My 1st 6 Months

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).

BODY MIND SPIRIT BALANCE

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.

Peace,

Before and After IF photos 06012019

The Blogging Owl

(My 5-Month IF photo comparison.)

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 – 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, 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