Oh guys! This journey has been one for the books!
When I was given the opportunity to be part of a Beta Test around living a High Fat Low Carb Lifestyle and incorporating Intermittent Fasting, I was like...duh, of course! I had been eating that way for a while by that point so I was excited about being part of the data collection process that would help legitimize this nutrition strategy. Then they told us that it would begin the week after Thanksgiving and run for 12 weeks. I can't lie and tell you that I didn't have a moment of pause! I did the math and calculated that this would run from November until after Valentines Day, which meant no traditional Christmas, New Year or Valentines meal/drinks/treats! Insert screaming face emoji!!
But, what I knew was that I have had ALOT of those kinds of meals/drinks/treats and none of them had contributed to me feeling good about myself and the way I look in my own skin. So, I said 'fuck it' and I went all the way in with this journey. I got the bloodwork done, I took the (awful) before pictures/measurements/weight and I made the commitment to see this thing through.
What I didn't know back then was that my husband and I would be completely uprooting our lives and moving across the country to start 2018 with a very loud bang. I also did not anticipate the level of stress, anxiety and sadness that would come with such an upheaval.
Food has always been the thing I turn to for comfort. That obviously does not serve me well (as my past weight struggles would indicate) but I still, to this day, have that kind of relationship with food. When I'm happy, I want to celebrate with food. When I'm sad, I want to hide myself away from everyone and just eat. When I'm anxious, food takes my mind away from everything that's going on.
With this in mind, I'm sure you can imagine the temptation that I had to deal with for the majority of the time that I was in this Test Group!
The first 5-6 weeks were a breeze; Christmas and New Year were much easier for me to handle than I had even anticipated.
Then came the decluttering, packing, planning, goodbyes, logistics, moving and leaving, and my journey suddenly became akin to climbing Everest in it's difficulty.
Once we got to Boston, we moved from one temporary accommodation to the other whilst searching the city for our new home, and that reality of being unsettled with no real end in sight, got to me. In a big way.
I've shared on my social media accounts that I hit a level of sadness and anxiety that I haven't been at in a really long time and my natural inclination was to do what I had always done in the past - hide and eat.
But I didn't! I cannot tell you how I fought that temptation - I honestly have never experienced such a fierce battle inside my own head. I would literally struggle to get out of bed in the morning, just thinking about when I could get back into bed that night. I would fight with myself to do my workout and eat all the meals I was supposed to until that evening, when I would tell myself that I could eat whatever I felt like as a 'reward' for getting through the day and still being all the things I needed to be for all the people I was connected to. Evening would come and I would be so sad because I would tell myself 'No, you can't go back on this commitment. You're not having that treat' and I cried more often than I would like to admit.
Those last two weeks of this challenge SUCKED!!
But, they also taught me that I am the one in control of my mind, not my cravings! I CAN make a different choice; a choice with my health at the heart of it. And that I am a hell of a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for!
If you have an emotional connection with food and feel as if you are a slave to your cravings, with no control over what your emotions decide is going to happen, I can tell you that thats not true! It is HARD AF but it is possible.
And I think that the reason I was able to finish this thing and have the amazing (for me) results that I did, was because I was deeply connected with my reasons for doing it in the first place. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do hard things and I needed to break the cycle, for my mental wellbeing as well as physical. And, goodness, was this a hard thing!
You've heard the cutesie quote; "Never half ass anything. Always do it with your whole ass"! Well, that's my advice to you. If you say you are going to do something, you better do it. It's the only way that you are going to start showing up as the leader in your own life, the one that calls the shots and the one that other people can rely on to be true to their word.
We are still living the nomad life - hopefully not for much longer - but that heaviness has lifted and, with it, the cravings have gone. I'm not saying that food no longer has an emotional connection to my soul, because it definitely does, but I am now armed with the knowledge that it doesn't control me. And THAT was the lesson I learned during this journey and THAT was worth 12 weeks of discomfort.