Moving Toward a Healthier Diet Through Understanding Myself

It seems like the up and down (often more up than down) of my weight has been a life long journey for me. I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008. It worked like a charm for me. I lost 113.5 lbs. I had a little initial rebound weight gain, which is normal but very scary when it is happening. After that initial rebound I maintained my weight loss effortlessly for 8 years. Then the weight started to slowly creep back on. I am now in the process of learning about myself, why I eat, what is causing the weight gain and how can I most naturally, once again, release the weight.

Those of you who follow the daily meditation adventure know that I started 90 days of daily meditation to see if reducing stress and cortisone, would help stop my insidious weight gain and hopefully even help me lose some weight. Last Friday I decided to try something that was recommended to me by a friend, intermittent fasting. I read some articles and saw that studies have been done on this concept. The idea is that you fast for a specific number of hours each day. Of course most of us do fast, for a specific number of hours each day, while we are sleeping. This stretches that out a bit longer. One study I read proposed a 16/8 split. People would eat only between 10am and 6pm and then fast the rest of the time. I have decided to try a 18/6 split.

I am eating only between noon and 6pm. I feel hungry but my “wanting to eat” is more instinct or habitual than an actual need. I am really liking the fasting. I feel I am making healthier choices about what I put in my body instead of mindless noshing. I feel that I am again appreciating food (like I used to do after my surgery). It was 8 years of my weight being maintained before I started gaining. When I look back at what changed, it occurred to me I started eating just because I needed to eat instead of making good choices for tasty food. I was just filling a hole instead of selecting something I would enjoy and nourish my body.

I used to be really good about being selective about what I would put in my body. I knew I could only eat so much and so I made really good tasting and healthy choices. That has changed over the past couple of years. I still am a vegetarian (truly pescatarian) and I avoid highly processed foods with lots of preservatives, as well as processed sugar.  I often eat just because it is meal time and I just need to fill myself with something. I eat, but not what I really want or need and then eat more later to compensate. Some of that is being a part of a family, I got married 2 years ago (the same time the weight started to reappear). When I was single it was easy to eat what I wanted when I wanted. Now as a part of a family, it not just about me. Compromises have to be made about when, where, and how meals occur. My boss told me once my weight gain was because I was married now. I could not at first understand how that would contribute to weight gain. This experiment in fasting has given me the opportunity to step back and study my eating and see what really did change. IMG_6045

The other thing that has affected my eating is being busier. It seems I am always on the run. Instead of making a good choice that will satisfy me, I just grab something quick to get by and then eat more later.  It has started a vicious cycle of eating second breakfast and snacking or grazing.

I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, sometimes two. I know that my wine intake is also a part of my weight gain but not the whole story. I have had other times, when I was maintaining my weight, where my wine intake was about what it is now. One of the rules of post gastric bypass surgery is no fluids with calories. Wine should be off the menu. Beverages with calories are also a sneaky way for your body to slowly gain weight, because it is easy to intake more calories than you realize you are ingesting, without feeling full.

I have noticed, since starting the intermittent fasting, that I am chasing more and more veggies. I really crave them. I am limiting the amount of carbs I eat and when I do eat them, trying to choose complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. One of the side effects I have from my gastric bypass is if I eat to many carbs, my blood sugar drops and I feel horrible, so I focus on getting protein with my meals. With the decreased carbohydrates I have not had problems with the usual fluctuations in my blood sugar that I had prior to starting to eat in this way.

I have not even been doing the intermittent fasting for a week yet, but it has given me some very interesting insight into myself and my eating behavior. I hope to continue to learn about myself in order to make healthier and healthier choices.

Thank you for Reading my blog today. May you learn how to eat nutritious, healthy food, that makes you feel happy, healthy and nourished, as if by magic.

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“Week 7” check in – Weekly Meditation Adventure

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how week seven went for me.

What I have learned: I have learned that if you wait for the ideal time to meditate it might never come. Sometimes you have to meditate in the midsts of everything that is going on around you. In the image (above) on this blog I was at the lake with my grandchildren. It was nonstop talking and action. There was no quiet moment to sneak away. My infant grandson was happy to sit next to me while I meditated and my 4 year old granddaughter was intrigued enough with the process; that she decided to sit down and try it. She didn’t stay long but long enough that I was able to get my meditation in even with all of the activity around me. 

Experiences during the week: Sitting outside, while practicing meditation, was delightful. The sound of the birds, the feel of the breeze on my skin, and the warmth of the Sun with the smell of the grass, all served to enhance my experience. This has been my best week of meditation since the challenge began. I have stuck to my Kundalini Yoga mediations as my preferred technique. I find that it really helps me keep my focus. I still have a mind that wanders from time to time but the combination of mantra, mudras (hand positions), and intention; really improves my experience and decreases my frustration.

My weight: I weighed myself on Friday morning and I lost 0.6lbs since the last time I weighed about 10 days before. Could this be a reflection of really getting into the grove and having a commitment of daily meditation? I would like to believe so. 

How I feel: I feel proud of keeping my commitment to myself and completing daily meditations this week. There were even a couple of days that I got in 2 daily meditations. I feel a deep sense of calm on the days when I meditate in the morning and the evening. I plan to make this the goal for the next week. 

How it is affecting my life: This week the daily meditation enhanced my life. While on the road I made it a point to do meditation in the morning before leaving the hotel room. I feel my thoughts are clearer and my calm stays with me more often throughout the day. I find that I am less stressed by the idea of daily meditation. Where the previous week, it was something that was on my “to do” list, this week it was something I looked forward to. I feel that this shift in my daily meditation experience has the potential to make sustainable improvement in my life.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you found your preferred meditation style? Do you have a preferred meditation space?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of finding the perfect time even when not sure there is a perfect time to meditate.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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Week 5 check ~ Daily Meditation Adventure

Here we go!

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here is how the last week went for me.

Experiences during the week: During one meditation this week I received a message about being true to who you are. I feel every day that I learn a little better who I am.

My weight: I have gained 2.2 lbs since the start of this challenge. Certainly not the outcome I was hoping to share with you. We are only about a 1/3 of the way into the challenge though. I refuse to give up! I will meditate on with new enthusiasm.

How I feel: I am having a lot of lower back pain. It is something I deal with from time to time but this episode is the worst I have had in sometime. I partially blame the weight gain for the back pain. More weight, pulling on an area of my body, that is already not at optimal functioning. I also feel frustrated that weight is not just falling off my frame. Perhaps I need to try and increase my meditation from once a day to twice a day.

What I have learned: I have learned that being in pain can affect my calm. I can, at times, get a little snappy with people. I see this episode of back pain as in invitation from the Universe to maintain my inner Zen, even when there are distractions and things that may be causing me to not feel my best.

How it is affecting my life: I am finding that the daily meditation is something I “have to do”. This is not the way I wanted to feel about it. I find that I am slipping it into other experiences like during a massage or an event, such as a shamanic drum journey, as counting. I want to be able to tell you I feel more calm and centered but that is certainly not true today. I refuse to give up! I know I will eventually get into my grove.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. I hope you are having a more profound lift with shifting experiences. If you are snuggling a bit, like I am, its ok. Don’t give up! We will get there!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of learning to know your true self even better.

I love you.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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Join Us On This Adventure!

There has been a lot, in a news lately, about the stress hormone; cortisol. People are talking about how you can gain weight around your middle due to its effects. There are many companies out there peddling pills to help you reduce the weight gain from cortisol. But what if there was something more natural that could be done? What if there was a simple, beneficial thing that could decrease the cortisol as well as benefit your life in other ways and didn’t need to cost you anything but a little of your time. Well, there is such a thing! Meditation. 

I have decided to challenge myself to 90 days of daily meditation to see how it may or may not affect my weight. I love my body as is, but after my winter of hibernation and decreased mobility, I have noticed my clothes are a little tighter. I sat down this morning and the back tore out of my shorts. I’m sure this was related to the fabric being old and not my expanding size; I hope, anyway. I decided to weigh myself, something I seldom do. I hesitated whether or not to share my weight in this blog. In the end I decided it is just a number and not a reflection of my value as a person. So why not share it? I weighed myself midday, fully clothed and was surprised to see my weight has jumped up to 207.4lbs. Okay, I really do need to do something about my weight. It seems to have snuck up about 30lbs from where I used to maintain it. 

My plan is to meditate daily as a way to manage my stress an hopefully decrease cortisone and then see a decrease in my size so that my clothes fit better. I was sharing my idea with my Adventure Sister, Emy, who liked the idea of a healthy stress management process so much so she decided to join me also. 

What a great idea! What if we did this as a community? What if we all supported each other through this and shared our successes, what we learned, and our experiences? For the next 90 days Emy and I will commit to meditation daily. Once a week we will each write a blog to share how it is changing and enhancing our lives. We invite and encourage, all of you, to join us on this adventure. Give meditation a try; whether you are an experienced meditator or new to the practice. I have meditated a fair amount over my life but never been great about maintaining daily practice. I feel that by committing 90 days to ourselves, it gives us a good amount of time for it to become a routine to both our conscious and subconscious minds. We welcome your comments on our blogs and social media sites. Your experiences maybe just what someone else, someone who maybe struggling, needs to hear that others are too. Trust that guidance to share your journey with us on this adventure. 

I am currently experimenting with several meditation Apps. Stay tuned for a future blog that will share which apps I tried and what my thoughts were on these helpful guides. For a jumpstart; please see my earlier blog: 9 Ways to Improve Meditation.  Additionally, I will be writing a blog highlighting several different types of meditation techniques.  Hopefully these will help us all on our 90 days of daily meditation. Our journey to committing to a healthy way to manage our stress. 

So come on this adventure with us! Whether you are doing this for stress management, to release weight, or just to be a part of a community; we look forward to walking this journey with you. If you don’t feel now is the right time to start a daily meditation practice, that is okay. Do what feels right for you, in this time and space. The blogs will be here for you when you are ready. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your lifetime be full of healthy stress management and may your body easily release anything that does not serve your highest good; whether it be weight or outdated beliefs about yourself. 

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