Just yesterday I had my annual check-up. My doctor remarked gently that my weight was up a bit from my last visit, but when I reminded him I’d gained 30 lbs and already lost just over 20 thanks to pregnancy and childbirth, he let me off the hook. But only a little. I like my doctor not because he let me off the hook, but because he keeps me honest! All too often, it’s easy to find a reason (notice I didn’t even use the word excuse) for changes in weight. Pregnancy and new motherhood is certainly a good reason, and I’m not judging anyone that still totes around some baby weight post pregnancy. However, living a healthy lifestyle is easier in the long run, and taking time to get myself back on track now should help prevent the tempting lure toward more and more unhealthy habits. There’s a reason your body will find an ideal weight and stick to it if you give it the right fuel – it’s your ideal healthy weight, and that’s where your body wants to be if it is to perform how it is intended.
Back to my doctor – my rising blood pressure was what prodded me to improve my eating habits in the first place. In July 2011 it was 146/96, shockingly high for someone that already ate ‘pretty healthy’ and exercised a ton (as in 2 rounds of P90X in the not so distant past). Yesterday, my blood pressure was 106/78, “that of a teenager” according to my doc. WAHOO! It was a relief to know that my recent lapse in diet hasn’t traumatized my BP, but I’m not naive enough to think it’s an automatic bill of good health. It was actually motivation for me to get back on the ball and tighten up my own healthy eating guidelines. It was a wake up call in that it was a reminder of where I want to be, how I want to eat, how much I want to feel vibrantly healthy. It was another reminder that it’s all based on the little choices I make every day, and that I had been letting some outside forces influence my choices.
You see, during pregnancy I ate so diligently that I didn’t gain much weight in the beginning. I was so pleased with that, I rewarded my efforts with sweet and salty treats – fries instead of the side salad I used to insist on, vegan dessert any time there was one available, and maybe a side trip to TCBY now that they had vegan fro-yo. I got back into my decaf soy lattes with reckless abandon. I remember stopping for a latte or a treat anytime I had the opportunity during the end of my pregnancy because I had this notion that I would be homebound post-baby. Once I started breastfeeding and lost a lot of weight initially, I rewarded myself even more. You can see where this is going…
Hello. My name is Christin and I am addicted to sugar. And fat. And salt.
I’ll admit it here first – after my happy check-up, I stopped for a snickers decaf soy latte on the way home. I later went out to Burgatory for a vegan cheeseburger, fries, and a vegan milkshake. I think I already knew that it was a last chance of sorts and I was about to get back on the wagon. There I go justifying poor decisions again!
Today, I re-read my copy of Chef AJ’s Unprocessed and I was reminded for the second time how powerfully addictive processed food is. Food manufacturers (ie, people whose job it is to make sure you keep buying their food) have done such an amazing job of concocting the perfect combination of ingredients that when they say “Bet you can’t eat just one!”, they know you physically can’t! The level of sugar, salt, and oil that we all consume without even realizing it is astounding. The more we have, the more we want.
Over the next 30 days, I’ll be embarking on Chef AJ’s Unprocessed Challenge. I invite you to participate – either by simply reading this blog periodically, by following along as a cheerleader, or by participating yourself, in any way you feel you want to. I’d love to know there are people out there keeping me honest. I’ll try to share enough for you to get new ideas for healthy meals, tips for delicious snacking, and ways to do this simply, inexpensively, and without going to culinary school or getting a degree in nutrition. If you have your own comments or questions along the way, please ask! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out or point you to someone that does!
Here we go!