Will I ever learn? I see a naturopath. I've been seeing her for about a year now. She's kind of expensive. She doesn't take insurance, so we have to pay out-of-pocket for her services. In addition to the cost of the visits, she also has me on a ton of supplements, which add up to a significant monthly cost. Very early on, she recommended a diet for me, based on my physical issues (arthritis, chronic headaches, daily belly aches, and the side-effects of surgical menopause). In short, on the diet I can't eat much. No dairy. No gluten. No sugar. No soy. No soda. No artificial sweeteners. No NADA! I can eat lean protein (mostly chicken and fish); veggies and limited fruits (too much sugar, even if it's good, natural sugar.
I followed her diet for the better part of the year. I cut out my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. I stopped eating all dairy except eggs (thank goodness I can eat eggs). I shunned ice cream, my all time favorite food. I stopped eating gluten (goodbye pasta and yummy bread). At first I was miserable. I was going through detox and withdrawals. But with time, something magical happened ... I woke up feeling nearly pain free. I could walk without all the joints in my body screaming. My headaches were less frequent. I lost some weight (a bonus). The diet change and supplements were making a difference.
But seriously? Will I ever learn?
Then our vacation in November came and I tossed caution to the wind and let myself eat whatever I wanted. Though the food tasted so yummy going down, the effects on my body were immediate. My stomach ached after every meal. My joints were screaming. My face broke out. I was a hot mess.
But seriously? Will I ever learn?
Did I go back to eating the diet my naturopath prescribed? Nope. Did I even start that forskolin extract diet supplement I received as a gift? Nope. I letter all of December pass by and I continued to fill my body with all sorts of crap. I indulged in all the holiday goodies I could find and I continued to feel worse, all the while beating myself because of my lack of self control. Then Mike and I had a conversation. He said something like "If it (the food) was going to kill you, you wouldn't eat it, right?" He's right. But here's the thing: maybe the food won't kill me because I don't have a deathly allergy to it, but it does contribute to my joint pain and my intestinal issues. It does cause me to have horrible headaches. It does make my hormonal issues worse, not better. So basically, it practically kills me because all I want to do after eating all the forbidden foods is curl up and cry.
It was after this epiphany I had another moment of clarity: I could make eating properly a habit, just like I have made getting 10,000 daily steps a habit. I have managed to get at least 10K steps each day for almost 250 days now. I haven't missed a day since May 7th. In the beginning, I had to make a huge effort to get off my butt and make sure I hit my 10K goal. Now, it's just something I do. Even if I'm sick, tired or busy ... I get my steps in.
I decided If I applied the same sort of logic to my diet, then I could make a habit of it, right? This is all pretty new. I just stated tracking* the days I complied with my prescribed diet (I'm on day 8 today), but I feel super excited about the prospect of creating a healthy habit that could last a lifetime. Don't get me wrong ... this is not easy. I think about forbidden foods ALL the time. I think about occasions I'd like to cheat (Hello Barcelona). But I also remind myself of all the reasons my doctor has me eating this way and the difference it makes to my health and overall quality of life. I might now die if I eat a big loaf of bread or a bowl of ice cream, but I will be so miserable I might want to. No food is worth that.
For now, I'm taking this one day at a time. Each night, before I go to bed, I proudly mark off another day on my chart. And when I'm 250 days into this habit, the idea of cheating will repulse me (right?)! And until then, I'll start doing laps around the kitchen when I really want a cookie or crusty grilled cheese sandwich.
I will learn.
*The tracker I'm using is from Elise Blaha Cripe. It can be found here.