IF I am being honest – 7 Lessons

This is the 7th post in my series, “IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness.”
Seven months into converting to an intermittent fasting lifestyle, I have learned 7 important lessons in mind, body, and spirit.

Lesson #1: Addiction

Intermittent Fasting is what I can only imagine as similar as entering a rehabilitation treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction. At first, IF seemed easy in its’ adaptation to withdrawing from food and fasting for prolonged periods of time at least in my personal experience. I felt almost immediate freedom from joint inflammation, insomnia, and I saw positive body composition results. I began losing more weight than merely water weight than I had in over twenty years.

If I am being honest, the motivation went up after seeing immediate results after just a few short weeks with intermittent fasting. But just like drug and alcohol addiction, food addiction is a lifelong journey. Notice I didn’t use the term, battle. I am not at war with my mind, body, and spirit.

Battles are won or lost.

A journey is to a destination.

My journey to wellness is for peace in mind, body, and spirit.

IF What waters

Lesson #2: The Spirit

If I am being honest, my journey to wellness began almost ten years ago. Traumatic life events that capsize one’s life rarely appear out of nowhere. They too are rooted in a journey that began even longer ago. The reckoning begins when God intercedes in that sinking, and in my case, I grabbed a hold of His life raft.

In my opinion, the mind and body can never be at peace if the spirit is not.

The spirit always leads the way.

Once I grabbed onto that life raft and began feeding my spirit with God’s help, my mind began draining of all the lifelong junk much like the junk food I was feeding my body. It is my spiritual life that ultimately feeds my mind and body.  Together, it is what encourages me to stay focused on the right path.

IF Weight

Lesson #3: The Mind

When I began daily OMAD (one meal a day) during the Lenten Season, I was not only purifying my spirit but my mind too. I began to feel the euphoria of fasting for prolonged periods of time and my craving for junk food turned into a craving for all things pure – free from self-defeating thoughts on auto-wind and free from processed foods and sugar that comforted those thoughts.

IF 7 fuel

So why do “rehabilitated” addicts’ relapse?

If I am being honest, my journey to wellness was only beginning in mind, body, and spirit because the doors of my self-imposed rehab treatment opened to the outside world after merely a few months into this intermittent lifestyle.

Lesson 4: The Relapse

July was vacation month. It meant enjoying all those things associated with relaxing, enjoying the sun, sand, and water – barbecues, macaroni salad, potato salads, cookies and ice cream. No one says that intermittent fasting must be restricted; however, it takes willpower of a veteran faster to overcome the temptation. I have more empathy for the reformed alcoholic or the junky who finds difficulty in mingling with family and friends at the bar or party.

While I continued to fast alternating between varying fasting time frames, I was slipping back into old eating patterns. While bypassing winter comfort foods were difficult early in my intermittent fasting conversion, I was now finding summer fun foods were not a breeze either. I was deluded into thinking that with fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries, I would have no problem with sticking to my IF regime.

How can I redeem myself?

IF secret

Lesson 5: Redemption

Currently, I am in my eighth month of intermittent fasting. Although I am not completely back on track, I still have too many days where I eat 3 meals. I have occasionally backslid into eating fast food for convenience, and if I am honest, for the pleasure of it too.

So how I do recover from my food indiscretions?

IF post 7 - photo 1.png

I have been writing in journals almost all my life. I have another blog, The Prayer Journals, Facebook page and a Twitter account for The Prayer Journals. Above is what I posted on August 5, 2019 and the topic of my prayer journal for that day. My prayer journal is where I go to help me keep going on my wellness journey in mind, body, and spirit.

Lesson 6: My Tribe

We all need a tribe even if one is described as a loner. If I am being honest, I have become more of a loner over the years by burying myself in my writing and poetry. I was also never one for support groups, especially the ones my physicians would suggest when trying to advise me in a variety of weight loss programs. I am just not a “joiner,” I replied.

Who is my tribe?

An Intermittent Fasting Facebook group I found is one. These intermittent fasting members from around the world post everything from there before-after photos, their fears, their concerns, their encouragement to other members. I never thought I would find such motivation and encouragement from a support group, and perhaps; if I am being honest, I don’t have to drive anywhere or mingle. But to give you an idea of the motivation in this group, a member whose first name is, Jenny posted this recently.

“I met my goal weight this morning of 120lbs my SW was 438lbs 4 years ago.” I cannot think of anything more motivating for an obese person to read and see someone else’s persistence in their journey to wellness.

Secondly, they are my soul-sisters, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers who share my Christian faith and who lift me up in their presence and prayer in my journey for wellness in mind, body, and spirit.

And thirdly, and most importantly, is my husband and our two sons. I love and adore these three men who have put up with so much from me in so many ways. Yet, they still love and support me in all ways on this life journey. While my journey is mine alone, if I am being honest, I want to live long enough to share in their journeys as long as God sees fit.

Lesson 7: Perfection

Perfection is impractical. This is but one of the most difficult lessons for me to learn. A planner/perfectionist personality is always analyzing every move, every event, and every failure or misstep. If I am being honest, it is going back to all these lessons I have learned to this point in my journey to wellness and more lessons I am sure to learn that will help me to overcome any relapse or wrong turn.

Failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of success.

Peace is possible.

IF 7 truth

I have God. I have my tribe. I have you, my readers. I am grateful for all of you.

Until next time…

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,

Head shot 2019 - revised

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 – 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