I went out with friends to my favorite TexMex last night and didn’t eat any tortilla chips; I talked over gluten-free options with the waitress and chose one (which was kick-ass yummy!) and had a side salad instead of rice and beans. (For a San Antonio girl, this was no mean feat.) Having weighed in at 132 pounds yesterday morning definitely gave me some motivation for staying on track with the healthier eating life style I adopted earlier this year!
Of course, choosing this life style was not exactly something I had sought — it was a desperate attempt to be free of pain. Nothing like it for motivation, I have to say! I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) in February this year after the doctors couldn’t find any explanations for the abdominal pains that were waking me up at night and keeping me home from work at least a couple of days a month. The only advice they kept giving me was to “lose 30 pounds” and they kept handing me brochures on nutrition and exercise. I already ate the “SAD” (Standard American Diet) their brochures advocated, for the most part, and exercise? Ick. So I did a lot of research on Irritable Bowel Syndrome because that seemed to be what my symptoms reflected. I learned about the GAPS diet (Guts and Psychology Syndrome) and from there discovered the SCD.
I read Elaine Gottschall’s book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” and her theories made sense to me. I also bought 3 cookbooks that were a big help. There is plenty of information on the internet and lots of recipes available. (The Paleo/Primal/Caveman diet is very similar and has lots of awesome recipes available! I download free e-cookbooks onto my Kindle daily and read them during my daily commute; always been a big fan of reading cookbooks for inspiration!)
Started out slowly at first, eating up the “not legal” odds and ends still in my pantry and fridge while starting to purchase more of the “legal” options and definitely spending a lot more time in the kitchen. Dang. Making my own yogurt, salsa, tomato sauce, almond meal pizza crust. And enjoying it. Leaving out the tortilla chips in my migas. Little things here and there.
I felt better immediately!
Anybody who knows me even a little knows how much I love to eat. The great thing about the SCD for me has been that there are so many wonderful things that are “legal” and being able to focus on what I *could* eat kept me from lamenting what I shouldn’t eat. It helped that when I did eat something that wasn’t good for me my body protested immediately! Amazingly, the cravings and false hungry feelings went away within a couple of weeks because I was actually getting filled up on delicious food that was loaded with good nutrition.
I’m not 100% SCD; giving up coffee is not an option and I put a heaping 3 teaspoons of honey (local and unfiltered, of course) and a goodly tablespoon of half and half (organic, naturally) in my one enormous cup of coffee every morning. Stevia and almond milk are just not acceptable substitutes for me. Pretty much stick to SCD legal in everything else.
By the end of February, I made a thorough sweep of foodstuffs in my kitchen and pulled out everything that wasn’t allowed on the SCD plan and gave it away to a coworker who was delighted to get the 3 grocery bags full of food!
By the beginning of summer, I lost 30 pounds and hadn’t lost a single sick day from belly issues. I signed up for the local summer water aerobics class. That got me started into moving and enjoying it. I love yoga and do it in fits and starts. Not really great at motivating myself to work out at home. By the end of summer I’d dropped another 10 pounds and was trying to figure out what to do since water aerobics ends when school begins.
Ended up using the gym at my workplace. This used to be a fairly dismal option but a coworker assured me it had recently improved and met me there one morning to show me how to use some of the equipment. It had improved! The room was bigger and there was more equipment and it just seemed more user-friendly and had a good stereo. Plus there were very few people there at 6:50 AM! My bus drops me off downtown at about 6:45 AM so now instead of walking up the hill to plop down on my butt in my cubicle and catch up on email and FB until work begins at 7:30, I head for the gym.
I would not exactly call it “working out” because I don’t suit up and barely get a good glow on (nice way to say work up a sweat). I use some of the equipment for working on my legs and abs and the very lightest (3 pound) weights for some simple arm routines. I love the stationary bike with the levers for keeping your arms going (and the fan on my hot-flashy face!) and the elliptical cross trainer is a pretty good option for me. I just discovered the rowing machine last week and love it! At 7:20 I stop and walk up 2 flights of stairs to my cubicle.
Results: 8 more pounds have melted away this month and I’d swear I have less belly sag! Also more alert during the day and sleeping much better in the evenings!
I do some light movement on my own on weekends and have definitely developed the ability to just say no to anything that isn’t allowed on my food plan. It’s no hardship at all now that I’m in the groove.
It is hard not to judge sometimes when I see my coworkers consume the plates of bagels, cookies, cheesecake bites, etc., that disappear rapidly every time someone brings some to share! (To me it looks -and smells – like so much poison and it’s been easy to pass up.) I shudder to watch my assorted overweight/diabetic/chronically ill coworkers eat a second helping of these “treats” laden with white flour and refined sugar. I try to keep my mouth shut unless someone asks me how I’ve managed to lose so much weight and then will happily share as much information as they will absorb!
The results of following the SCD have been so gratifying! Only have pain in the belly the few times I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t have and that has motivated me to be much more careful about eating out! Losing nearly 50 pounds since February 2 has been amazing! I recognize myself in the mirror again and that is simply delightful. I’m fitting into cherished favorite clothes that have been hanging in my closet for ages. And I feel great!
Depression has lifted and my attitude is so much more positive! My skin has cleared up and my knees like me much better!
I could sort of go on and on about the improvements in my energy and general well being. Honestly.
I can assure anyone who is struggling to come to terms with a new eating lifestyle that the rewards are huge and far beyond anything you can imagine at the moment. They have certainly been for me! I encourage you to hang in there for the difficult and challenging beginning.