Sugar 

I wish it came with a warning – ‘consume at your own risk’

Lately I have been thinking a lot. Thinking and feeling a lot, you know, those ‘failures’ feelings you get after eating something you shouldn’t, thinking to myself I am stronger than this. I have kicked the sugar habit once, how come I am finding it so hard to do it again?

I have come to the conclusion that sugar owns me. This is a very hard thing to admit to myself, especially after I have successfully finished a sugar detox last year. I also have come to the conclusion that sugar is the root of my food problems. In my entire life, I never found a food that was too sweet or too rich. I can eat an entire family chocolate bar in one sitting. Having one bite of cake gives me thoughts of going to the shop and buying another ten cakes, so I can eat them all…..  

But, sugar is everywhere (and I mean, everywhere!). Try looking at the ingredients list of anything in your pantry right now, I dare you. It is the sugar that is added to foods, not the nutritional label I am talking about. I bet you cannot find anything that does not have added sugar in it.

Why has the world come to this? Sugar is addictive, no doubts about it. The foods you are told to eat to lose weight are the foods that trigger your brain to want more food. All the ‘low-fat’ foods are loaded with sugar. It works like this:

Food – Fat = Not very tasty Food

Food – Tasty + Sugar = Edible

 

(Come on, admit it, no diet food is tasty, right?)

I am not just talking about low fat foods here, I found sugar in places where sugar shouldn’t be. Stock cubes, curry sauces, sausages, you name it. Abstaining from cakes and sweets does not mean you are sugar free at all.  

That’s why this is so hard. You would never ‘cure’ a drug addict by giving them a dose of their drug each day, would you? Or an alcoholic a shot of alcohol. It would not happen. So how the heck is a sugar addict supposed to overcome this addiction? What do you do when ‘everything in moderation’ does not work for you?

There is a choice to be made.

You can carry on the cycle of eating something yuou know it’s not good for you and regret it, feel like a failure (hands in the air if that is you! It’s definitely me!)

Or

You can give it up. For G O O D.

Hard? Yes! Impossible? NO WAY!

I have done it before, but I let it sneak back into my life where it’s controlling me again. And it HAS TO STOP! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life fighting with myself, feeling like I am such a failure, with no self-control. But you know what? It’s not about self-control. This is addiction. And I am going to beat it (again!)

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a Whole30 is in order

I have decided to do a Whole30

Even though I think I will possibly mention it here from time to time, I won’t make this blog a food journal. There are tons of them out there, visual diaries, recipes etc. I don’t want to make my blog another one of those. Not that there is anything wrong with those blogs, I love them, they give great ideas and tips, recipes etc. I am planning to document how my relationship with food changes over the course of the Whole30. I have come a long way already when it comes to my relationship with food. I really need to get down to the fine print, learn how to deal with my emotions in a different way.

For me, it’s a habit thing: Coffee and cake go together (of course). They are nice together but I can have the coffee (black) without the cake. Where I am standing right now, it does not look that exciting, but I need to do something about my habits. Treats seem to be crawling back into my diet quite regularly, making them not a treat anymore but a regular occurrence.  I beat myself up so much about it, I feel like a big failure. Like I am wasting money on my personal trainer because my eating has not been that great. If you look at it, maybe you can tell me that it hasn’t been that bad, but with each slip up, I feel like maybe old ways want to come back.

It is not about perfection for me, it’s about overcoming myself. I am my own worst enemy and I know that.  

So with this Whole30, I want to reset myself. A fresh start. I think the time limit really helps me with focus. So expect to hear from me, I cannot guarantee that I won’t complain about it, but I can guarantee that with every complain I make, a victory will be attached to it. So maybe I won’t complain at all, but celebrate each step I take towards my goal.

Back again – an update

Wow, it’s been nearly one year since I last came here. One year since my world shattered a little, with the possible PD diagnosis

I have had my moments of complete despair. But to be honest, I got over it.

So instead of making this blog about a possible PD diagnosis and my feelings towards it, I am going to carry on with my fitness/weight loss team, because I am still pursuing  these things. Of course it does not mean that I don’t struggle with my physical limitations (sometimes). I do. But it kinda gives me more drive to do something I struggle with.

With that said… an update!

Well what happened since June last year? A lot.

I think the two main things are: I have stopped running and I am eating a paleo diet now.

The stopped running part happened quite casually, my running buddy hurt her knee and we stopped. We never started again. Sad, but true.

The paleo diet started with a sugar detox. After a lot of soul searching, I decided to do a sugar detox – because let’s face it, sugar is my downfall. I love sugar. Cakes, chocolate, pastries, biscuits, you name it. My biggest struggle (and I think it will be a life time struggle) is moderation when it comes to sweets. I cannot do ‘one bite’. It’s almost like that one bite triggers a monster that lives inside my brain and I CANNOT STOP after I start. I got tired of feeling like a failure, after a whole week of ‘being good’, the weekend would come. The kids have Friday treats, so I would obviously get a treat for myself too, but I would not stop there, it would carry on all weekend.

So I decided that something drastic needed to be done, and I know I am a sugar addict. So I thought it would be ‘fun’ to cut sugar out of my diet.

The first thing we did as a family was to clear out the pantry. That meant everything that was processed or had ‘sugar’ as one of the ingredients. We got rid of 98% of our food, that was so shocking to me. After examining a few labels, I came across one of those muesli bars that are lunchbox friendly (I was feeding it to my kids every day). I kid you not, it had 33 ingredients listed in the ingredient list, I did not know what most of them even were. I could not believe that was what we call ‘food’ It made me realise how far we are from what we are from what we are meant to eat. I don’t know how things started to get so bad. If you think about it, you could barely find overweight people 100 years ago.  Now, you don’t have to look far. You would think that with all ‘low fat’ foods available these days, people would lose weight?

That’s mainly what struck me and convince me to go paleo. When I cut all the sugar from my diet, I had to eat clean. I had no choice. So things like bread and pasta also went out of the window.

People that are the other side of the fence (non-paleo eaters) cannot imagine a life without pasta, and think it’s so hard to follow this way of eating, but let me tell you a secret, it’s not that hard. Sure, the first week is hard, a mental shift is happening. What is hard? Feeling so tired all the time, having no energy, or even worse, feeling sick all the time! For so long we were told that fat is bad for you, grains are good for you, blahblah, when you start to challenge those beliefs, people (yourself included) are automatically sceptical and defensive and some people don’t get it. No one wants to hear that their ‘healthy’ diet is actually not that healthy. You spend so long trying all these things, eating all your grains, the low fat products. In your head, you think you are doing everything right, but think about it: Why are people so overweight these days? The low-fat eaters. Some people run and run and are still overweight. Some people cannot lose weight at all, no matter what they do. It hyas got to make you think!! I could go on and on and on. If you are not convinced and need to do is a little bit of reading, I recommend www.marksdailyapple.com and www.whole30.com

Cutting sugar was not easy, because we are surrounded by it. It is so hard to go grocery shopping, read labels and find out that you cannot buy curry paste, it has added sugar in it. Bummer. You start to get creative (thank you to Pinterest) Having no sugar gets easier as time goes by. It’s tough at the beginning, not going to lie, but if I can do it, anyone can, and I mean it. It takes a little bit of planning and a little bit of purpose and stubbornness but it’s possible, believe me. If you want more info, you can write to me. I am happy to share info and tips.

So after the sugar detox, I noticed a huge difference in myself. No heart burn. I didn’t get tired in the middle of the afternoon. I slept really well and woke up feeling refreshed. And I lost 4kgs in 3 weeks. My husband’s dandruff disappeared, my daughter’s acne improved noticeably. It is hard to ignore the benefits. And it’s even harder to go back to old ways when you learn so much about what you are actually feeding your body.

So that’s how I started. While sugar detoxing, you are eating a paleo diet already (minus the fruit and you are also allowed some dairy products), so the transition to paleo is not a difficult one.

It’s been nearly one year, I have lost 10kgs since starting. I haven’t counted one calorie, I haven’t felt deprived and I do not feel like I am in a diet. The sugar detox gave me freedom from food slavery, the paleo diet keeps me in check. I am not gonna sit here and pretend I am perfect the whole time, because I am not, far from it. Sometimes, when I allow myself a treat, it triggers my ‘monster’ side, and it takes me a while to get back to the wagon. I am not talking about months, it usually just takes a couple of days. But that’s just me, I found that I need to be strict with myself, but some people follow a 80/20 rule when going paleo. Which is great, because life happens.

On the fitness side of things, I have started weight lifting, doing some strength training instead of concentrating in cardio exercises. I have notices that my body shape has changed a lot since I started to lift. And I love the feeling of empowerment lifting gives me! I also engaged a person al trainer (that only happened 3 weeks ago) since my husband is working evenings and I cannot get to the gym after work like I used to. I am having 5.30am sessions with the PT. Which is good and bad. Good, because I cannot get out of it. I know she is waiting for me at the gym and I cannot stand her up. Bad because getting up at 5am is not fun. Especially now that it is winter here.

Like I mentioned before, I am not running anymore but I want to get back into it. I forgot how hard it is to self-motivate. I know it’s something I need to do to get things moving again. Running gives me the feeling that I can accomplish anything! It reminds me that my body responds so well to it, I am curious about how efficient my running body will become now that I am feeding it properly

Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions

I guess one of the side effects of the news I have received is that I am eating non-stop and I don’t care

I am literally riding a very unstable roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s up and down all the time, and it’s like riding in the dark, I never know when I am going up or down.

It’s been a rough week. I still don’t know how to process it. I am avoiding to think about the big picture of how my life will change, because if I do, I get really overwhelmed. So at the moment I am concentrating in taking one day at a time. I guess I am also paying more attention to my body and hoping I am not having ‘bad days’, but just paying more attention to symptoms. But I don’t know for sure what is going on. Is it all in my head? Or am I really shaking from the inside out? Was that a hand twitch? Or am I imagining it?

Blah

Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease

It all started three and a half years ago

I noticed that my balance changed when I walked and I became really clumsy, even more so than normal

But it was just one of those things you think to yourself ‘it’s nothing’ and I honestly thought it was just that – nothing.

Then I started to notice that my handwriting, that always been something I was so proud of, started to change. I really had trouble writing, like I really have to concentrate to write a sentence. In denial that anything could be wrong, I put it to the fact that in this technology days, we actually don’t do a lot of handwriting, well, I didn’t anyway. Working in an office, typing instead of using a pen, texting, instead of writing letters. ‘I must start using my pen again’ – I thought to myself.

Then I notice that the right side of my body was slower, felt heavier than my left side.  Like I can tap my foot really fast with my left foot, but my right foot does not respond to my brain screaming ‘MOVE FASTER’ but it just doesn’t. I started having trouble with gripping things, like pegs when putting the washing on the line. My little finger and ring finger would start shaking non stop and then I would have to concentrate really hard to make them stop.

Then I could not deny it anymore – something was not right.

You know, it takes courage to get to that point, because ignorance sometimes is a bliss. But being so young (I was 29 back then), I thought that maybe it was all in my head.

So I went to see a neurologist, that was two years ago.

It was bad timing. I was moving states, the neurologist was going on holiday. We had our first appointment, he ordered an MRI – off he went to his holiday somewhere sunny, and me, I went to get my brain photographed.

Because the neurologist was on holiday, I never got to see him before I moved states. Instead I went to my doctor, who read the MRI report and told me that the neurology was looking for MS or a brain tumour (I had thyroid cancer before). But the MRI was clear for both. So the mystery continued, but I was too busy to do anything about it.

During the two years after my MRI, my symptoms did not go away. I always describe it like this: These issues I have, difficulties, are always with me. I am always reminded that my body is somehow broken, when I have to write something fast (which I can’t) or go up a flight of stairs quickly, which is impossible.Then I have worse days, which I feel shakey

People around me don’t really understand when I say I can’t do something. Like my personal trainer who wanted me to jump on top of a wood box. I kept telling him: I CAN’T! but he would not listen to me. He probably thought I was being too much of a girly girl and not even giving it a try. Little did he know that my right leg was not responding to my brain command.

So, lately I have been feeling a bit strange. I am more clumsy, I cannot go through a Body Balance class. And I have periods of time when I feel that the right side of body is shaking from the inside out. I can’t see any tremors on the outside, but I feel my body shaking. It is so frustrating. And I am craving sugar more than ever. Like I NEED to have biscuits and lately I am ashamed to admit that I have turned into the Cookie Monster. And I don’t really like cookies!

So Fast forward to a month ago. It all got to the point that I decided I needed to get this investigated properly. So off I went to my doctor, who referred me to a neurologist.So last Friday, finally, I went to see a neurologist again.

He was good. He went through my history, asked me to describe my symptoms. Now, I have a really hard time doing that. I can’t explain how I feel properly apart from the ‘my right side is not working properly, I struggle with writing and balance’ kind of thing. So when he got me up to examine me, the motor exercises he made me try and do were targeted specifically to what he was looking for, and in a way I was relieved that he got to see what I mean. Because I really struggled with some of them, REALLY struggled.

After we were done with the tests, we sat down. He looked at me and said: ‘Well, you are displaying symptoms of Parkinson’s. But  you are young (well, after I read 1000 stories of people being diagnosed early, I guess I am not sure how to take that?).

He went on to tell me he wants me to go to another appointment where he is going to see me with a group of another 8 neurologists, so they can discuss my case

Meanwhile I am left to despair of the limbo stage, until they tell me for sure

But the stories I have read, they are my own. I feel helpless to think that that is in fact my fate and I can’t do anything about it

Today, I sit here, jittery, shaking from the inside out (literally) wondering, researching, hoping, focusing on crossing one bridge at a time and wondering how my life will be in ten years time

I would love to hear from anyone with any experience with PD. Because I need to admit it to myself: I am so scared

Back AGAIN

I am finally back!

I know things have been way too slow here lately. I think it’s part of the process, isn’t it? We all have ups and downs in life, and well, I have been down lately. Not anything in particular happened to make me go off the rails, but I just did. Actually, not completely, because the whole time I was binging and eating crap and not exercising, I knew what I was doing and did it anyway. So the conscience is still there – which is a good thing, that little voice that keeps pulling you up to start again and again.

It’s a learning process. We make mistakes, deal with life in different ways, we slip up and eat crap. But we can always learn from our mistakes and get up, shake the dust off ourselves and try again. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about NOT GIVING UP!

So that’s what I did, yet AGAIN. I do think my mojo is back for good, finally.

It’s winter time here, cold and wet. I bought myself a coupon for my local gym, for one month unlimited access, plus a Personal Trainer session for $20! All group fitness classes, plus go any time I want. I was really impressed with the facilities, I started last week – went three times. This week started with a bam, a Body Pump class last night. Yes, I am walking like a robot, my muscles are sore – it’s all self-inflicted and I love it.

And after a whole month without running, I was also able to run. On a treadmill. And I didn’t fall! Bonus! So I actually ran 5kms non stop for the first time ever. I am finding it easier to run on a treadmill than on the road, is this normal? I never ran on treadmills before, and I was surprised. Is it just me?

Anyway, I am happy to be back. I was sick and tired of feeling guilty for not doing what I knew was good for me – and I already feel so much better for it

Feeling the Pressure (Long whine ahead)

As you probably realised lately, I am not in a good head space when it comes to weight loss

But the thing is, I am thinking about it constantly. I follow many people (Facebook, Instagram etc.)that are doing great and getting great results. They usually have more resources (read: money) than me, and seeing them getting results leads me to really feel the pressure and consequently, feel like a failure when things don’t happen the way I want them to.

Now I can hear you say: ‘Don’t compare yourself to others’ and I am not, I really am not. But that doesn’t stop the voices in my head just telling me constantly that I am failing at this, even know I know I am not failing, I am just not going forward. I was doing so well and all of a sudden I don’t seem to be able to take control for some unknown reason. I start every day with a positive attitude, but something always happens and my plans go out of the window.

Sometimes  it’s a second helping of food, or sometimes I think I am eating too many carbs (which is ridiculous because I am not even following a low carb plan). Sometimes I cannot go out and exercise – this one really throws me off! I am so time limited, I work full time, have NO MONEY to join a gym or get a personal trainer (even though I would love a PT, just saying), I have no equipment at home. I am still running, but maybe twice a week because something is always on and I can feel it is getting harder to run and I have not improved at all. I never see my kids as it is, and if I go out in the evening to exercise, I see them even less. It’s close to winter time here, so it’s dark first thing in the morning and it is getting dark by 6pm in the evening. I would never go and run by myself in the dark, call me over-cautious, but I am not taking any risks there.

All I feel is pressure! From my own self. I feel like I need to do this or that, and if I don’t, it is a big FAIL for the whole day.

I am scared to revert to old habits, to get to the point of not caring anymore. I know I have to concentrate on how far I have come already but sometimes it is just hard to do that. All I can see is what I am not doing.

Who knows, maybe these are just internal excuses – to excuse and alleviate my own behaviour?

Maybe I just need to find what works for me so I don’t feel like I am failing all the time?

Maybe I just have to accept that I am indeed a failure and this is never gonna happen for me?

Plateau – how do I break it?

I have been faithfully eating clean and exercising. The same damn kilo keeps going and coming back, and have been for the last two months! What am I doing wrong?

It is pretty discouraging. It is also hard not to compare myself to others, there are tons of awesome people out there on the same journey, and I can’t help to feel a little bit jealous of their progress when they share their loss for the week. I am happy for them, honestly am. I just don’t like what I see on the scales. Damn scales.

So how am I going to measure my progress when the scales are not moving down? How do you break a very stubborn plateau?

To keep doing what I am doing is obviously not breaking it, my body is quite comfy at the moment or so it seems. Do I eat less? More? Do I exercise less? More?

HELP!