Finding My Balance

Okay so I’m really excited about my newly found interest in health and fitness. The scary thing- there.is.so.much.to.know. I’m overwhelmed. Like, I feel like I have to learn everything right now. You could say the most I’ve ever worked out was my 3 years of drill team in high school, and that was because I had to. After that, nada. You heard me. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and never exercised. Gasp.

I’ve always hated exercise. My past work out experiences went a little something like…work out for a week or two (if I was lucky) then fall off the wagon. “Dieting” has never been my friend. Food has. Food and I have been best friends for a long time. I love trying it all. The thing is, exercise takes dedication which can be HARD. I don’t need to be motivated to eat, hellooooo. But, I do need some major motivation to make myself exercise.

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About 7 weeks ago I began a cleanse. I used the Standard Process 21 Day Cleanse which I really enjoyed. I won’t go into a full detail review about the cleanse (you can click the link and read more if you’re interested), but I will tell you the ways it made a difference for me.

It all began when my hubby actually sent me a link about gluten sensitivity. I’ve never truly paid any attention to gluten in my diet. It wasn’t until I read that article and wow a light bulb went off. Every single part of that article could have been written about me. So as I began paying more attention to my body it all started clicking. I saw my endocrinologist who manages my hypothyroidism and she recommended just trying a gluten free diet for about a month. A friend of mine suggested doing a cleanse as I lead into the gluten free attempt. Bam, that’s how the two came together. I did research and asked one of my friends what safe and natural cleanse she recommended, then after gathering enough information I got the cleanse and got rid of all things gluten. It was a sad day, but I was ready for a change and excited to see how my body would respond.

The first week was HARD. So hard for me that I almost gave up. My faithful hubby did the cleanse with me which is HUGE considering the first 10 days are vegetarian. That’s right, NO meat. He’s a trooper and he kept me encouraged even on the days I wanted to give up. It was time consuming having to prepare every meal from scratch and with fresh ingredients. It really opened my eyes to all the junk we were eating before. Even when I thought I was cooking fairly clean, I wasn’t. It wasn’t until we eliminated all processed ingredients that I realized what a difference it made in our daily eating habits. There are plenty of prepackaged go to items I keep on hand, but I am more mindful of the ingredients that are in them now and I look for organic and REAL ingredients. The cleanse was also all gluten free, a plus considering I wanted to get straight into ridding gluten of my diet.

So what difference did all this make you ask? Well for starters, it took some time but I slowly started noticing I was SO much less bloated. My fatigue seemed to lift and my mind was more clear. Part of my desire to try gluten free was because of how foggy I felt on a daily basis and I was just over it. I began realizing I had way less headaches, not completely gone, but significantly less. Another weird but actual improvement was foot pain. Upon standing after sitting and especially waking up in the mornings I was hobbling. I would get really stiff joints on the top of my feet and until they “woke up” it was painful to walk around. This isn’t gone, but it has improved so much that when I wake up in the mornings I am actually not hobbling and I don’t even think about it. I don’t get up from the couch and wince from stiff feet anymore. I feel more limber actually. The last but major change has been my digestive system. I’ve introduced gluten again after the cleanse and everytime I get painfully bloated, feel sick, and every single time… terrible gas. TMI my friends, but it’s the truth. As my hubby says “got them gluten tootins”. Embarassing, but I’m being real. I’ve not been tested, but given my own experiment I would consider myself gluten sensitive. I’ve found so many replacement options for my favorite “gluten” dishes, and I’m looking for more ideas so tell me yours!

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After our cleanse it really reset my relationship with food. I didn’t think that it would. If I’m being honest, just like every other time in the past, I assumed it would be a good run but then I’d get back to my old ways and keep slugging forward. The cleanse really made me appreciate food for its benefits and how it fuels our bodies as opposed to how it tastes at the time and how I feel later on. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with ENJOYING your food. We should enjoy our food, but just because it’s real food doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious.

When I eat bad, I feel bad.
-Said me, and a million other people.

I am so proud of myself for being in the presence of so many of my favorite “junk” foods and actually making the choice to go with the healthier option. I absolutely still allow myself those things from time to time but that’s the key. From time to time means just that. Not every day. I know the differences is that the cleanse gave me a reset and taught me to appreciate food for what it is and what it can do for our bodies. In the past I didn’t really understand this, nor did I actually care to.

I have also discovered I feel better and have more energy through out the day when I eat more small protein packed meals than 3 meals. My daily meals went a little something like this…skip breakfast-eat a heavy lunch-snack on cookies, chips, crackers, pastries (can you tell I love carbs hence why giving up gluten was a frightening thought)-make a heavy one dish meal and absolutely stuff myself-dessert, why not? There ya have it. Some days I was only eating one real meal a day and snacking the rest of the day. None of this food was healthy and yet I continually found myself wondering why I felt terrible. I would feel sick, feel sluggish, have absolutely no energy, and constantly felt uncomfortable. Now that I am showing my body more love by giving it the fuel it needs when it needs it and even before it needs it, I am feeling great. I’m not a breakfast person on weekdays so my mornings begin with a health packed smoothie with protein powder and lots of other goodies.

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My mid morning snack is maybe a couple hard boiled eggs. Lunch is whatever I have left over or tuna with gluten free pretzels, hummus.

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Mid afternoon snack on the go might be a protein bar or a leftover piece of chicken on a small salad. Dinner has been the biggest change. I am using fresh ingredients and always try to incorporate healthy fats, healthy lean proteins, greens, etc. I try to change it up and come up with new recipes that keep my husband hooked even though it’s “healthy”.

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Exercise is still a struggle. I do it because I know it’s important. I want to show my son that health is important. It doesn’t have to be restrictive, but there is a balance. I just hope that as he grows up it’ll be a little bit of teaching and a lot of “monkey see, monkey do”. I’ve always been intimidated at the gym and it takes work to make myself go. My little guy has been having a hard time in the child care lately and while it’s not the end of the world, (I know he’d be fine) I just don’t care to stress him out. I’ve been getting most of my workouts done at home which I enjoy because I can do it most any time of the day whenever it’s convenient. I’m not looking to be skinny, I want to be fit. I’m tired of feeling like a slug while I keep up with my toddler.

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My at home exercise necessities

Help a newbie out, tell me what your favorite gluten free recipes and substitutes are in the comments.

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