Don’t Say Diet…

Wow, I did it.

I can’t believe that I went 10 days without eating grains.

I was so nervous when I started this no-grain challenge. In the past, I would struggle with “diets” and end up eating something not on my new diet plan and I would have the thought, “Well I have blown it, I might as well eat whatever I want and start over tomorrow”. The problem with that rationalization is that there kept being “start over” dates. And instead of restarting the next day, it then went to the restarting the next week, then the next month and on and on. Holidays would come and with that taste of that “non-diet” item,  I would go into a spiral of falling off my “diet”, restarting my diet, and feeling shame.

On top of that, life was hectic and still is. When we are under stress our bodies react in a chemical way. Our hypothalamus in our brain sets off a signal in our body and the adrenals release a surge of hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenaline affects our body by increasing our blood pressure, heart rate and boosts our energy supply. The release of the adrenaline helps us to function in that time of stress. Cortisol, which is our primary stress hormone, will increase our blood sugar level during that stressful event and will increase the brain’s ability to use that blood sugar, or glucose, to repair tissue. Our amazing body does this without us even knowing it is happening and we need it to do this to get through those stressful events.

You are worth so much more than that food which you are tempted to eat. It is 5-10 minutes of bliss that will add stress to your health and will greatly affect your physical, mental, and emotional well being.

On the other hand, prolonged stress can be detrimental to our health. When cortisol is released, it stops any bodily function that is not needed at that time. Our immune system, digestive system, and reproductive system are basically put “on hold” during that stressful event. Our mood, motivation, and feeling of fear are magnified. If we had fight-or-flight stress infrequently, this would not be of concern. Unfortunately, many of us have daily stress that is bombarding our health and when our health is attacked that just adds more to our stress level. It becomes a never-ending vicious cycle.

A diet is temporary; a lifestyle change becomes a permanent part of your life.

I personally have struggled with high cortisol levels due to previous spinal surgeries and the complications that came as a result of that. Recent food allergies became another stress. It can feel frustrating when you stick to your “diet” and do everything right, and you get on that scale and… nothing. No weight loss.  It is easy at that time to just give up.

But I am here to tell you, don’t give up.

You are worth so much more than that food which you are tempted to eat. It is 5-10 minutes of bliss that will add stress to your health and will greatly affect your physical, mental, and emotional well being. The brain-gut connection is so entangled that what we eat has a dramatic effect on our mental and physical health. More on that another day.

So here I am at day 10.

I am so excited and proud that I have stuck with this challenge. And I feel great. I have more energy and my cravings are gone. It almost feels surreal. During this time, just calling this a lifestyle change has mentally altered how I am feeling mentally and emotionally. I don’t feel like I am being denied food. A diet is temporary; a lifestyle change becomes a permanent part of your life.

This is the beginning of reclaiming and restoring my health.

ready to love myself

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