When I was growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana food was a major part of my family’s culture. We would shop for groceries (or make groceries as it’s called down in the boot), we would cook together, and eat dinner as a family. Whenever there was a holiday my entire family would gather at an aunts house for the entire day ( or weekend) and cook together, laugh together, and just be a big happy family (I’ve got 6 aunts, their husbands, and tons of cousins too). Food for me like many people became my “happy place”.
When there was a horrible event taking place in my life, I would turn to food to lift my spirits. A high school boyfriend breaks up with me… eat some red beans and rice. I fall off my bike and sprain an ankle… have some ice cream along with that ice pack. That class I needed to register for is already full…yum, let’s have several pieces of King Cake. A habit that I unfortunately inherited from my mother. That became a pattern in my life.
Throughout my 20s I was in a constant battle with my weight. It would bounce up and down (mostly up) with the different stressors of my life. Start a Master’s program, put on 5 pounds. Move to a new city gain 5 pounds. Have the blessing of pregnancy take place and gain 40 pounds!!! Twice!! (Luckily most of the baby weight went away with breastfeeding). My 20s were a slow incline on the scale. Every year a few extra pounds would stick. I like most people thought I could run the weight away.
Running the fat away, didn’t work. It didn’t work at all. But that didn’t stop me from trying. I’ve held several gym memberships and I used them. I would spend hours on the treadmill, in aerobics classes, and riding stationary bikes each week. I would leave the gym daily covered in sweat (like literally dripping) and so exhausted I barley had the energy to cook my families’ dinner of rice, a veggie, bread, and a protein. Then I would get on the scale. There would be very little change. Despite how much time I spent in the gym the scale stayed the same, or worse continued to go up. But that didn’t stop me from hitting the gym harder. I remember walking down the stairs after a particularly intense Spin class and almost falling down the stairs. My legs were so sore and tired from the work out I almost fell to my death down a flight of concrete stairs (maybe not death, but definitely a good concussion). Surely after all that the scale would reflect a significant change. Right? Nope. But I continued my gym routines and I continued slowly gaining weight. Then tragedy struck.
My mother, who was literally THE BEST person on the planet, died. It was very sudden. I was not at all ready to lose my mother (who is?) and I spiraled. I went from an occasional overeating because of a bad day here and there to feeling like an empty pit. Every day I would turn the corner and be reminded of her. That’s where we would go shopping, that’s where we ate dinner last week, and so on and so on. The empty pit just got bigger and bigger. I turned to food to fill that emptiness. And it worked. I continued to go to the gym, but I would also wake up in the middle of the night and snack. I would cook dinner, eat, and go back for seconds… and thirds. I would even keep candy in my nightstand to snack on from the comfort of my bed. It got really bad. The pounds packed on steadily and I didn’t even notice. It wasn’t a high priority at the time. After about a year of despair the clouds parted and I started to enjoy life again. I started to feel like myself again. I started to notice that I had really put on some weight. Like a lot of weight. So what did I do to remedy this? Why the same thing I always did. I hit the gym harder.
So what do you think happened? I totally lost all the weight I’d gained because I had redoubled my efforts at the gym, right? Spending hours at a time there 5-7 days a week had to work, didn’t it? NOPE. I lost about 2 pounds after about 2 months of diligent effort. 2 measly pounds!!! I was outraged! What was I doing wrong? I ate a healthy diet, following the recommended guidelines. Bread, grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein, very low fat (because fat is the worst) and sweets only once or twice a day. And what did the dial on the scale do. Not much. It pretty much stayed to same. Again I was outraged!!
So I put my outraged energy into research. I’m a pretty smart lady. I could figure this out. I knew there had to be something I was missing. After reading stacks of books (thank you public library), research articles (PubMed is my jam), and checking out some pretty helpful health and wellness websites I realized that what I believed to be true, was actually a lie. The high carbohydrate, low fat, moderate protein diets that I had been taught to consume were actually the source of my weight problems. I learned that DIET was the number one factor in determining my weight loss ability. My typical American diet was the reason I couldn’t shed the pounds. Exercise is great! It helps combat heart disease and hypertension. It improves mood and boosts energy. It can be both fun and a social engagement. But it isn’t the best way to lose weight. It’s a great way to maintain your weight, but if the number on your scale doesn’t make you happy, exercising more and more won’t change that. You have to change your DIET.
Diet was the key! After all my research I figured out what I should and should not be eating. How much of it I should be eating each day. And when I should be eating. And guess what happened. I lost the weight and I kept it off!! Then I helped my husband lose the weight too. And my friend, my coworker, students, patients, and more friends. I figured out the key to weight loss success and I want to share it with you. If you are interested in learning more about really losing weight contact me at AmethystChiropractic.com or you can call the office at 479-271-0000. Helping my community get healthy is so important to me. I want to help you. Schedule your appointment today.
P.S. It was really hard for me to find a picture of myself at my most fluffy. I apparently stopped taking pictures of myself as I put on the weight. The before picture was taken about 4 months after my mom passed away. But I love taking pictures now. ;)