Monday, January 26, 2015

Lose The Diet, Find Yourself

What's your history with the word DIET?

From my earliest memory, it seems like I've been on one of some sort or another.  My mother was obsessed with dieting when I was growing up. She was constantly doing whatever new fad diet that she would see in the grocery store tabloids. I remember the grapefruit diet, the soup diet, I have a vague memory of some sort of diet where we could only eat 'white' foods......It was crazy! If there was a diet pill being shown on TV or in the magazines, she was buying it, and a lot of times, she would give them to me to use. I remember her going on fasts that would last for weeks! We were never allowed any of the 'bad' foods in the house.

Needless to say, I ended up growing up with a very unhealthy relationship with food. I used to sneak food and hide it under my bed. I would get into mom's baking supplies, as that would be the only time I would get any sort of chocolate, coconut or nuts. I would steal the powdered Jell-O or Tang Orange drink crystals out of the cupboard just so I could have something that was sweet. Every Halloween I would get in trouble for eating all the candy that I had collected so quickly. I didn't know how to handle being around the so called 'bad' foods. I rarely saw them, so when I did, it was the thought pattern of get in as much as you can, while you can, as you don't know when you're ever going to see it again.

During most of my childhood, it was just me and my mom at home. My brothers were quite a bit older than me and had moved out (except 1) by the time I was school aged. My dad worked in Logging Camps, so we would only see him on the weekends. Friday was always my favourite day, as not only would Dad be coming home, but before he left camp, he would fill up his lunch box with baked goods that the Cook would make. In those days, the camp cooks were amazing and fed their guys VERY well! It was literally like, 'hey dad........what's in the lunch box?'. Most of it never lasted the evening.

It was no wonder with that kind of early abuse on my metabolism, that I ended up being heavy my whole life. Even though food was heavily monitored, exercise was never encouraged. My brothers all played organized sports of some sort, but when I came along, my parents had the view that sports was not for girls. Yes, I would go for walks or bike rides, but even that wasn't encouraged. I was a shy kid and spent a lot of time playing quietly, either sitting in my closet playing with my Barbies and Little Ponies, or making Blanket Forts and living in my imagination.

As time wore on, the pounds kept mounting up. As an adult, I've tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Herbal Magic, with little to no results. I had some success with the Atkins Diet (lost 60 pounds), but I REALLY missed fruit, so that didn't last and gained 35 of that back. It didn't help at that time of gaining back that I was going through my divorce, stressful eating at it's finest! In 2009, I had my biggest weight loss success with the Sure Slim program, where I lost 80 pounds in about 6 months with no exercise. At that point, I felt like I could start exercising and learned to run for the first time in my life. Even though I was getting smaller as my muscles became leaner, I started gaining again. I was SO programmed by the numbers on that scale, that I spent most days in frustration not knowing what I was doing wrong. Then at the end of 2010, my world fell a part and I went through a string of very stressful events that led me to be diagnosed with a Chronic Illness that was stress based. In the first 2 months after the events, I gained about 30 pounds, which I couldn't figure out, as I was barely eating. Since my diagnosis, my weight has been a constant struggle. I have completely revamped my diet and I am eating the best that I ever have and have started doing a lot of walking and hiking, but I can never get a movement of more than 15-20 pounds. I think I have gained and lost the same 15 pounds at least 10 times if not more.

Then at the beginning of this year, a friend of mine had told me about Rachel Fox and how she was starting a 12 week program called Stop Dieting, Start Living. She would share with us her journey of weight gain, loss, and how she developed a good relationship with food. At this point, we are 3 weeks into the 12. Each week we have a certain topic that we talk about and discuss ways to deal with the issues. This past week we were talking about sugars, fats and processed foods. We did an exercise where we were given lists of food items and had to put them into categories of red, amber and green. We weren't given criteria of what the red, amber and green meant, we just had to go with what we thought was best. It was rather interesting seeing how our individual programmings all came out on how we chose which categories the food went in to. I know for me, I was thinking by glycemic index, what was processed and what would be considered GMO. We all had some surprises, and it was interesting to see what foods we would get confused on whether they were considered good or not.

As a compliment, Rachel also runs the Body Exchange Tricities, which is a Bootcamp for plus sized women. I have always like the idea of a Bootcamp, but I went to a regular one once, and thought I was going to die while I tried to keep up with the 'stick insects' offense to all you skinny, athletic people, but you can be a tad intimidating to us 'fluffier' folks trying to exercise among you! So when Rachel first mentioned about me coming out to try the Bootcamp, my initial reaction was, HELL NO! I've walked or hiked over 500 kms over the past 2 years, I will stick to that, thanks! But I knew that I was missing one key element, strength training, so I knew I had to give it a shot. At this point, I have gone to 4 sessions over the last 2 weeks, as it's recommended that you go 2-3 times per week (once a week is not enough). Since doing it, yes I have seen some movement on the scale, but I am trying not to focus on that as my only goal. I feel like I am standing taller (which is a scary thought with my almost 6 foot frame!), I feel the muscles in my arms and shoulders tightening up and feeling stronger. I've even done a little bit of running again. But the best part is that I am surrounded with women, JUST. LIKE. ME. Rachel gets what our struggles are, as she's been there, she can relate. The women in the sessions encourage and help each other through. There is no judgement, just positivity. We are all stepping outside our boxes, we are all in the same boat. We all 'get' each other.

I am looking forward to seeing what the next 9 weeks of the program will teach us, and what more time in the Bootcamp will do for my body.

To get more info on both the Stop Dieting, Start Living Program and Body Exchange Tricities, contact Rachel through her website, her page on Facebook, or by calling 604-492-4549

Me and fellow blogger Trish Mandewo 'duking' it out!