Three Months and an Identity Crisis

Mama L and I have now been sugar free (and very low acid) for 3 months. 🙂

It’s been interesting to say the least.  The first two weeks were just plain torture for me.  Looking back on it now I still can’t believe how unbelivably difficult it was for me to give up sugar.  I guess it shouldn’t have been such a shock…considering how much sweet stuff I baked on the regular…but I just never imagined it would be so rough.

After we made it 8 weeks I had every intention of reintroducing sweet treats (made with alternative sweeteners) and I did try that.  The sugars were fine…even kid approved.  Tested them out on my adorable neighbor kids.  But I didn’t like the way they made me feel.  Plus I started to obsess over what I’d make next and when.

I decided that even the alternative stuff had to go.  I want my body to absorb nutrients and I just don’t think it’s going to do that if it has the option of living on sweet…real or fake.

I’m not saying I’ll never eat / bake a sweet again.  Not saying that at all.  But for right now my plan is to go as long between sweets as possible.

While I’m 100% resolved to that plan it’s also bringing about a little identity crisis.

What am I if I’m not ‘Jennifer the cook / baker’?

Ever since I was a pre teen I’ve been the family baker.  Creating in the kitchen has always been one of my greatest passions.  And no matter how hard you try…something savory is never going to have the wow factor of something sweet.  It just doesn’t.

So who am I now?

I need a new passion.  A new hobby.  I even pulled up the list of continuing education classes at a little local junior college.  Side track break here…can y’all believe that this little rural type junior college offers continuing ed classes in beginning Chinese?   Maybe I’ll learn to speak Chinese.

It’s hard too because I love bloging.  I adore my regular readers.  Y’all got me thru the first 13 months of celiac.  Starting this blog was the very best thing I did last year.  It forced me to get out of my funk of having yet one more health problem and instead channel that sadness into creating stuff for the blog.  Creating stuff that made the celiac a non – factor in so many ways.    I hate that the focus of the blog has to change.  I don’t want to lose y’all…or to lose this great source of support. 🙂

Anyway…that’s where I am now on the food front.

I do still allow liquid Splenda drops in the occasional drink and in my Cream of Rice but that’s pretty much the extent of my sweet consumption right now.

Now…how bout a little transformation Tuesday?  This is what three months of no sugar did to my body.

combined

Lower bod the first week of June vs the last week of August.

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It’s also been a little over 3 months since I chopped off all my hair to grow out the grey.  Pics from last week.  I have a lot of natural waves / curls (depending on the weather) so right now it’s just wanting to stand straight up or out to the sides most of the time.  It’s a mix of white-grey and gun metal.  I really like the gun metal.  I’m going to do a full before / after post in December…when it’s been a year since I stopped the dye.

This has been one of the very best things I’ve ever done for my heath.  Putting those chemicals and smells onto my body wasn’t healthy and I’m so glad I finally said enough is enough. 🙂  Don’t get me wrong…I HATE the length right now because I just don’t like short hair on me but once it grows out I’ll have no complaints at all about this decision. 🙂

Mama L has had an amazing transformation too but y’all know she won’t let me post her pics.  She also won’t let me pick her out some new clothes for her new bod.  Please please please let me dress you, Mama L. 😉

So anyway that’s a look at where I’m at right now.  Thanks so much for reading.  I’ll still be posting at least once a week (hopefully more).  I’ll share savory gluten free recipes…music…and I’m also going to just start bloging about whatever too.  Hope y’all will hang around. 🙂

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Weight Loss, Lupus, Food Restriction and Celiac

(Just a heads up for those not into lots of words – a lot of bloggers roll with wordLESS Wednesday but I’m going with wordY Wednesday today. This is wordy instead of my usual picture posts.) 🙂

My celiac diagnosis was tough for all the obvious reasons but it’s also been hard in another way.

At the end of 2006 I went into a major Lupus flare that lasted until October 2008. During that time I took 14 courses of high dose steriods / ate like a grazing cow with even less activity – and gained almost 120 pounds. 😦

As I started to come out of the flare my rheumy told me I should try to lose the weight to help with my joint pain. She actually recommended Medifast (gave me some coupons and everything). I tried that but couldn’t handle it because of the soy. So then I tried calorie counting using an online program. That worked OK for about 15 pounds but I was starving all.the.time and becoming more and more obsessed with making things as low cal as possible. Next, I did a websearch and found low carb. After researching and finding out that not only could it help with weight loss but inflammation as well I jumped in headfirst.

I actually kind of enjoyed it at first. I started losing weight instantly and was NEVER hungry. I missed all my beloved carbs but the results kept me going. My joints started feeling better and I worked up to walking 4 miles a days at a local walking path. The biggest problem for me was that because of my (undiagnosed at the time) digestion issues and inablilty to digest vegetables I was left with a diet of mostly meat / eggs / mayonnaise / cheese and nuts. Much like my childhood spent Country When Country Wasn’t Cool – I was freakin’ Paleo / Primal (whichever one allows dairy) before it was cool. 🙄   I would read online message boards daily. The ‘leaders’ everywhere preached all the time that you just could not mix carbs and fat and they had me scared to death of the tiniest amount of carbs. I was becoming a restrictive nutcase.

Durning the entire weightloss process I was also taking Methotrexate – a strong medication for joint pain / inflammation that you take once a week with a large meal. I had no problems with it until going low carb. I guess my stomach needed the starchy carbs to absorb / blunt some of the side effects. I ended up with a torn up stomach / extreme acid reflux and later an ulcer.

Up to this point I’d lost 90 something pounds but when the ulcer came along I had to give up on low carb. It took 7 month (and a ton of medication) to heal the ulcer. During that time I gained back about 40 pounds.

When the ulcer finally healed it was time to restart the weight loss but I knew I’d never do low carb again. I had no interest in low fat either as low carb had taught me to throw out processed margarine and oils in favor of real butter / coconut oil / nut oils / creams / etc and I was never going back to the fake crap again.

Before I could get started on any kind of weightloss ‘plan’ I got pneumonia and was pretty much stuck sitting / sleeping in a chair for 2 weeks. One sleepless night I was watching Oprah and she was interviewing Portia de Rossi about her book. She talked about her lifelong struggle with restrictive eating disorders and about how she healed them by stopping to demonize food. Now granted she’s a vegan and I have no interest in that at all – I mean I am from Texas after all. I’m pretty sure not eating meat is a jailable offense here. 😉 But the whole interview resonated so much with me and if I were ever going to contact a celebrity it would be her to say thanks for sharing her story. I decided right then and there that as soon as I was well I was going to just eat and live. I bought a bunch of measuring spoons / cups and a food scale and never looked back. I started eating / drinking whatever I wanted but only one serving. If the package said 1 oz or 1 / 2 cup or 10 pieces was a serving that’s what I ate. I never counted calories or carbs or fat or protein and I lost the 40 I’d regained during the ulcer plus about 25 more.

Prior to the celiac diagnosis I still wanted to lose maybe 20 – 30 more (I don’t actully have a scale in the house – just weigh at Dr / blood appointments) but I’d already decided that if this was as far I could go without resricting then this is where I’d happily stay. I just did not want to go back to being that obsessive nutcase worrying about (or crying) over restricting food.

But here I am – having to restrict and not even by choice (complete with the occassional tear).

It was really hard at first. I had worked so very hard at not demonizing food and now I have to demonize a whole class. On top of the diagnosis I was scared of regaining the weight but so far so good – I’m just holding steady. I’ve stuck with measuring out portions really well for everything except soft drinks. I gave myself some leeway with that since the diagnosis was such an emotional shock. Prior to the diagnosis I was having 1 – 3 soft drinks a week and now it’s pretty much a 1 a day thing. I do hope to rein that in someday soon but for now I can live with it.

Thanks for reading. 🙂