Playing with my Food

I feel like this week is flying by, and for once, I don't feel super stressed out about anything.  I think having my blood sugars stabilized is helping me manage my stress/mood much better than when I am under the influence of sugar binges. 
I am having an easy go of this little diet thingy this time and I've been really trying to figure out why some attempts are way easier than others.  I don't have the answer.  I do know that I gave a lot of thought to my health and the little annoying things I've been noticing that make me think, I'm too young for this; the aching joints, the lack of energy, the skin issues, the bloating and breathing issues...I totally get it when my elderly customers tell me that getting old is NO FUN!  While I know there are things that simply come along with age, I know there's a lot I have control over, and eating copious amounts of sugar was setting me up to have similar complaints as my customers, but at an earlier age.  It is amazing to me how quickly my energy rebounds once I get off processed sugars, like someone gave me a vitamin B shot.  And, if I stick with it, some of my aches eventually decrease as well.  But, knowing all that, I still can't figure out why it just easy to give up some of the vices I was relying on daily.  It will require deeper reflection I suppose.  I'm just really happy that it is easy for me this time.  To be honest, I really don't even think about it much, except when my stomach gets growly, which, has been happening more and more often.  I am well prepared to handle it this week, and it doesn't bother me to be hungry more, it means my body is fixing itself, I'm eating cleaner food that is easier for the body to break down and use, so my hunger signal is finally getting fixed.  Why is that good?  Because a huge portion of food and eating awareness revolves around physical hunger signals.  When I was considering starting this, I tested out the concept of eating whatever I want, exactly what I want, when I am truly hungry.  I'll be honest, I could not physically tell when I was genuinely hungry, there was so much bloat and gears working hard to try and break down whatever high-fat, high-sugar food I'd eaten, I couldn't tell what any of those little pings and gurgles were.  I was wondering if I would be able to get my hunger signal back at all after being so far off track for so long.  So, the fact that I'm hungry more does't really bother me.  My metabolism is doing it's thing.  I don't panic because I always have some nuts or yogurt around. 
Yesterday I had a luncheon for work, to celebrate my 5 year work anniversary.  I work for a health clinic and they held the luncheon at a beautiful country club, which made me feel really special!  On the way there, I was a little worried about what they'd be serving, but I told myself I'd make the best of whatever it was.  It turned out to be a lovely lunch, baked chicken breast and salmon, jullienned squash mix, wild rice and some really great salad with apple, pecans and feta cheese.  For desert there was angle food cake with fresh berries on top.  I didn't want to push my luck, so I skipped dessert and had a Diet Coke instead.  I left feeling good, spoiled, and the food was totally clean.  win-win. 
Before I started this diet, my last big craving/food of focus was bacon.  How does a vegetarian eat bacon, you ask?  I have tried a few kinds of fake bacon, but this stuff here is to die for:
I was eating BLT's for lunch and dinner before I started dieting.  Everyone at work was jealous when they smelled it.  I craved it all the time.  So I decided to try making a breadless BLT which was really a BLT SALAD!!!  Holy crap was it GOOD!!  A big bowl of lettuce ( I get the mix with iceberg, carrots and purple cabbage), some cut up tomatoes, crumble some bacon on top, add a little mayo and mix together.  It made my tongue sing!  Now, this is what low-carb dieting is about, getting creative and finding things that satisfy my palate without putting me in an early grave.  I also discovered that a little bit of natural peanut butter mixed into this:

is pretty outstanding!  It turns out all creamy and fluffy.  I guess you can say I am enjoying playing with my food lately!  I actually find it fun.  Maybe that's why it's a little easier to stick with it right now.  I'm the kind of person who needs to change my food variety up quite frequently so I don't get bored of tastes or textures, so being a little creative is a good tool.
I haven't intentionally gotten on the stationary bike at all this week (or even over the weekend) but I have gotten a little unintentional exercise this week, once while walking with my son while he played Pokemon Go, and this morning when I had to jog half a block and back (in strappy sandals no less) to retrieve my son's backpack as his bus was coming.  Even though I haven't been super motivated to exercise, it doesn't kill me when I do, and it usually puts me in a good mood.  I need to make it a priority more, the only time I can forsee it working is at night because my morning is packed as full as I want it already.  I'll figure all of that out with time.  One of the reasons I know this attempt is going well is that I am not as focused on "when I lose weight I'm going to..." thinking.  I am just putting attention on all the other stuff on my plate right now because I feel confident that I am in a good place and I can talk myself through tough spots if they come up.  I also know that I am slowly fixing pieces of my health, which makes me want to do even more. 
I did finally get a breathing test done, even though I haven't really had much trouble with it for a few weeks.  It turns out I do not have asthma, my lungs are actually better than average for the most part.  It was a huge relief to hear.  My doctor thinks my problems are due to either a vocal chord dysfunction or reflux.  Funny thing is, I have had problems with both before and though I suspected reflux for the throat cramps I'd get, I never knew it could lead to inflammation in the esophagus which can also lead to feeling like there is constantly stuff in your throat to clear out (totally me) which can further lead to feeling like you aren't breathing right.  Lightbulb moment.  The vocal cord thing is just that it malfunctions and closes when it should be open for breath.  Like automatic doors at the grocery store that kind of get stuck closed from time to time.  We decided the best way to rule out other stuff ( and avoid having a scope stuck down my throat) is to try a prescription acid blocker.  Two days in, and I already have way less stuff in my throat.  I think, if I continue to see such positive results with the acid blocker, I have no choice but to let go of my precious Diet Coke.  I have cut down considerably compared to what I once used to consume (up to 4 cans a day) and until last week I was pretty much completely off it but I figured it wasn't such a bad tool to use when dieting.  Anyway, it is a bit of a mental issue to get past and I will.  Using ice in my drinks is a trick to making it much more appetizing to me.  I'm not a huge plain water drinker, I wish I liked it more but I just don't.  I use this in my water:
There are a bunch of different flavors and they are all good.  I especially like the English Toffee, which makes me feel like I'm sucking on a toffee candy, and when I mix a few drops of chocolate in, it tastes like a Heath bar.  There is also chocolate raspberry, and one of my other favorites, coconut.  It's a nice way to make your water taste super good without added sugars or artificial sweetners. 
So tricks do work, and are important to helping keep things exciting.  Not that life is ever dull, am I right? 
So here's to everyone trying to change things up, or thinking about making changes.  Even if you are not ready to commit, keep the focus on what is important and when the time is right, things will feel a lot less challenging.  Getting off sweets really helped me stop craving them, or more accurately, using them to try and fill a place that food can never fill.  My mind is less wrapped up in anxiety about what terrible disease is lurking inside of me due to my lack of willpower and my laziness.  Even though I knew I wasn't happy living that way, it took getting out of the cycle to see it more clearly.  Thank all that is holy for self-help books and the advent of low-carb dieting.  I am finally feeling like it is the earth that is spinning and not me!


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