Because I’ve been asked by many friends to explain my new dietary changes and also because my tragically neglected blog truly needed updating, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and take to the blog to explain the ways my life has recently improved.
If you are a close friend or family member of mine, you probably are aware of my terrible eating habits over the years. Today, as I write this, I feel very embarrassed and humbled by the years of abuse I have inflicted on my own body by way of poor nutrition! At any given time, my purse could be found filled with junk food, snacks candy and gum. Like a child, a trip inside a gas station or through the checkout line at the grocery brought out the strong impulse to purchase a sweet treat. I shudder to think about how much sugar and fat I put into my system on a daily basis.
While I am unsure where these cravings originated, I do recall being rewarded with sugary treats as a child. There are six children in my family, my five older brothers and then me – the ultimate afterthought (read: accident)! My childhood was spent attending my brothers’ sporting events – football games, baseball games and wrestling meets. At each one, there was a guaranteed trip to the concession stand for candy and soda. Even as an adult, any time spent in the bleachers, attending my sons’ many hockey, baseball, basketball and golf events – a pack of Starburst candy or a movie theater sized box of Sweetarts was almost always by my side. I would tell myself that candy was my way of coping with the stress of watching my son compete at high levels. (Watching him pitch or be in harm’s way in an ice hockey games were the WORST!)
So flash forward to four weeks ago. Not surprisingly, I didn’t feel good. No, I felt horrible. Migraine headaches, high blood pressure, lethargy, joint pain, heartburn, muscle aches and gastrointestinal distress were my constant companions. Many of those symptoms had been with me for YEARS. While I am not prone to depression, I was definitely struggling with feeling fairly down from time to time.
Don’t even get me started on my fitness level, my growing weight issue or the stirrings of self-loathing when faced with the daily routine of dressing! Overall, it was time for a change and the time had been coming for years. The truth is, you really have to come to this kind of conclusion on your own – no doctor or loved one could have led me to where I am now – I had to have my own personal revelation. And it didn’t come all at once – it happened slowly – with one apple. (Come to think of it, one apple was theme of another very important story in history!)
You see, my sweet husband took me away in early March to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We returned to one of our favorite places in the world - Carmel, California. We have been several times, but the first visit came in 1987 when B. played in the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in the San Francisco area. This time we even opted to stay in the bed and breakfast we first visited that year!
In Carmel, B. sent me to my “Happiest Place on Earth” aka The Spa at Pebble Beach. Actually, he sent me TWICE, because he is cool like that. During my time of relaxation, I observed another spa patron enjoying the simple pleasures of an apple eaten right off the core. She would examine the fruit, pick just the right spot, and close her eyes, take a big, crunchy bite and then chew slowly, obviously relishing the experience. Sometimes she would have to reach up and swipe the juices as they ran down her chin. Watching her intently from across the fire pit I felt a little jealous that she was enjoying such a simple pleasure from nature while I was craving the Mike & Ikes stored in my purse which was back in the locker room. (Those spa robes don’t have pockets, or I would have had them with me!) It might sound silly, but that moment was the beginning of a new way of thinking for me.
Besides being a junk food junkie, I am also an information gatherer by nature. I absolutely LOVE research – especially when done on the internet! One late night shortly after we returned from Carmel, a particularly frustrating symptom drove me to the World Wide Web for help and information. Searching reputable medical databases, I noticed the answers to my questions were almost always the same: prescription medication. I’m not a fan of medicine and avoid it when at all possible, so I began new searches that included the terms “holistic” and “natural remedy” and a whole new world was opened to me.
What I learned that night and in subsequent research sessions has changed my life for the better in ways I could never have imagined!
Tomorrow: My Self Diagnosis and Treatment Plan