Eating Well, goal setting, Growth, Health, Self-Improvement

A Series of Teeny, Tiny Baby Steps

I started the year 2021 “sick.” Not debilitatingly sick (thankfully), but sick nonetheless. I was battling some serious ongoing digestive issues. During my Life Plan review at the very end of 2021, I committed to getting this “sickness” thing sorted out. 

Looking back, the journey was a little long … a little tedious … to begin, I experimented with some recommendations from my nurse practitioner and eventually even a dietician (fibre anyone?). Three months into 2021, and my attempts to fix the issue were not working. I was more than a little discouraged (regular tears and all). I desperately wanted to feel better! 

In April, I called my “regular” (and AMAZING) doctor to see what else we could do … he sent me for bloodwork (as he always does) and he also set up an ultrasound to investigate further. 

In the meantime, while listening to Happier with Gretchen Rubin (a podcast), I was introduced to the low-carb “movement” (admittedly, I WAS also introduced to “keto” back in January 2021, but at that point, it didn’t really “register” and I didn’t really understand the whole intermittent fasting / ketosis thing … I still don’t) … Gretchen herself had fully committed to a low-carb diet after reading Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. Rubin describes the book as a “Lightning Bolt,” “and all [her] eating habits changed—overnight, effortlessly, and permanently” (Source). I talk about this book a bit more here and my own low-carb journey here (if you’re interested). 

I wasn’t fat, but I WAS curious. Eventually, I picked up the book and devoured the content. I was fascinated to learn about what happens to carbohydrates in our body. As I pictured those little critters immediately converting themselves into insulin (and insulin turning into fat), I knew I had to at least experiment with a low-carb diet (for a little while). On April 19th, 2021, I went “low-carb.” I even had my husband on board for 10 days or so (which I loved).  

I wasn’t interested in losing weight (though that WAS a welcome side-effect). I was mostly looking to try something “new” or “fresh” or “different” … I can’t say that I was thinking (at the time) this would be a solution to my digestive issues either … 

Slowly, this new way of eating became “normal” and with it came many gifts and blessings … 

  • I rarely feel hungry (I was ALWAYS “hungry” or felt like I needed to eat)! 
  • No more CRAVINGS! Though my body didn’t necessarily show it, I ALWAYS felt the need to eat or snack … I was CONSTANTLY “yearning” for something … craving something … feeling as though I needed to eat something (this is what carbs do in our body) … but now, food no longer has such a “grip” on me! This is DEFINITELY the biggest blessing of this journey (and when people ask why I choose low-carb, this is what I always try to share)!!!
  • The digestion issues I started 2021 with cleared up! I feel so much better!

The bloodwork ordered by my doctor in April DID reveal a gluten-sensitivity. I was actually A Series of Teeny, Tiny Baby Stepshappy about this little “diagnosis,” as I had something to say when people asked why I refused carb-heavy foods (even though I had already made the personal choice to go low-carb). People tend to associate food with weight … if you’re not overweight, you have nothing to worry about and should be able to eat whatever you want, it seems … so resisting certain foods is often not “socially acceptable” or understood.

At first, it felt “weird” or “anti-social” to refuse carb-laden foods and only eat the low-carb offerings. I was questioned lots about not having dessert or skipping the perogies. But, eventually, everyone has gotten used to my “new way” of eating. We’ve had plenty of conversations in our house about Mom’s “diet” (especially now that I’m over six months into this journey). I remind my girls often that what I eat is a CHOICE … I CAN eat anything I want, but I CHOOSE not to, because I don’t feel good when I eat certain foods … 

Eating “differently” means feeding the crust of your pizza to the dog (or the cats) … it means lettuce wraps instead of buns … it means packing food for the road (most restaurants and gas stations are not low-carb friendly) … it means eggs for breakfast instead of oatmeal or cereal … it means always bringing cottage cheese or a veggie tray or a broccoli salad to events (so you have SOMETHING to eat) … 

So what’s the point of all of this? Why am I sharing this with you today?

Because I want you to “get to the bottom of it all” (as I did) … I want you to “get it all sorted out” … it may take awhile … but if you have a concern or a niggling issue … something that just doesn’t feel quite “right” … you have to do the work to get it all figured out … you have to invest the time … you have to invest the energy … you have to be open to “new” ways of doing things … you have to try what’s recommended (and be willing to abandon it if it’s not working) … you have to dig more … you have to try something different … you might have to do your own research … or listen to others (and what’s worked for them) … you might have to invest a little money along the way (I also saw an athletic therapist a few times to help with possible “structural” things that were affecting digestion) … you might have to try more than one thing … you may be unsupported … you’re likely to get discouraged … people might think you’re weird … you may even hear things like you’re “too skinny” now (and you’ll have to decide WHO this is for … you’ll never please “man,” by the way, so you may as well stop trying … look at the bigger picture of WHY this is right for YOU … and don’t worry about what others have to say) …

Eleven months into this journey and it kind of feels like “old news” already, but it’s still worth a bit of reflection (and I can always hope that sharing my story may serve someone else in their own journey) … realistically, this “digestion” journey was probably about a 6-8 month journey … that’s still a LONG, LONG time … that’s A LOT of trying to figure things out … that’s A LOT of commitment … A LOT of grit … it’s persevering … it’s pushing … it’s challenging … it’s changing … it’s persisting … when we’re in the thick of it all, it’s hard to “see” the end … looking back though, I can see it was all just a series of teeny, tiny baby steps … 

I’m curious … is it time for you to take a few of your own “baby steps” today? 

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