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Slowly but Surely

The weekend before last I threw my hands in the air and said FUCK IT!  Sounds bad doesn’t it?  But it actually turned out to be a good indicator of all my progress and a boost in my confidence and motivation.  I’m so sick of having to be so super fucking strict with my diet.  Everything causes a reaction within my body.  Whatever I do… no dairy, which means no cheese for certain, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, or milk. No bread, no grains, no peanut butter, peanuts, or cashews. Definitely no sugar, no foods with added hormones or antibiotics. Wash all my vegetables with pesticide wash, and drink my water out of a BPA free bottle!  If it doesn’t cause weight gain, it will cause 4 day long debilitating migraines.  My body is so jacked and I’m just sick of feeling like I can only eat 3 food items (at ALL times) to be healthy!   Since getting back from my vacation in September after my show last year, I’ve eaten clean with a “cheat meal” every week or every other week.  I do not binge on my cheat meals, but I gain weight that never comes back off.  I’ve gained 50 lbs this way.  When you eat clean 99% of the time and gain like this it’s the most frustrating thing EVER!  I guess it’s just as frustrating to be called a liar when you bust your ass prepping for a figure competition. I’d like to for once enjoy a cheat meal of some sorts without gaining more weight that will never come off!  I know my goal isn’t weight loss right now, but it’s also not weight gain!  I’d like to feel NORMAL!  I’d like to let go of some strictness without it having a huge unnatural negative impact!

So what’s been going on for the last week and a half?  I threw caution and health to the wind and I ordered a pizza!  The next day I did it again, as well as ordering a chocolate ice cream with Reese’s Cups in it.  I can’t remember the order or days of everything, but I know I had ice cream, pizza, cookies, chips, an Ezekiel bread burger, Subway sandwich (with commercial wheat bread and processed meats) and I might have missed something in there.  I didn’t binge, but I ignored that these foods will lead to ill effects later.  This went on for 3 days – Friday through Sunday.  By Saturday I had gained 3.5 lbs.  I thought it pointless to get on the scale after that.

By Monday, and not knowing the effects on the scale, I decided to take back some self-control.  I ate clean all day.  Tuesday morning I had lost 2 of the 3.5 lbs I had gained over the weekend.  That day I ate mostly clean but had a sandwich from Schlotzkey’s (commercial white bread with processed meats) and a couple bites of a cookie.  But when I got home I ate some more cookies (I had Dale throw them out).  This has gone on for a week and a half now, eating clean, and then back to eating a sandwich with chips and a cookie.  But the unexpected blessing in disguise that I finally recognized is that my body is not responding like before.  If I had attempted this sort of thing in the past I would gain and gain and gain.

This week, compared to last, I didn’t feel out of control.   I just felt like I was letting down my guard and trying to live a little regardless of what the scale was going to tell me.  I’m not completely convinced that that’s not an excuse, but for the past 3 1/2 years, I’ve been nothing but extremely strict, so it feels good to let go and not have any ill effects.  All these years I’ve envied the people that could let loose once in a while and not gain a ton of weight and at best maintain, and I for once feel like I may be heading in that direction.  I feel like I may be becoming one of those people.  I feel more like a normal person – one that can enjoy not so super clean food once in a while and not gain 10 lbs overnight from it.

What I learned was, my body IS responding more in a positive way!  With a change of focus I have confidence my health is strengthening. I’ve noticed many other important changes. First let me point out the 3.5 lbs that should have been close to 10!  PROGRESS!!  And again, I lost half of it and then maintained it without being super strict for an entire week!  NEVER!  In the beginning of my recovery I was gaining an average of 10lbs a month with super clean eating and only 1 moderate cheat meal every week or every other week.  In February that slowed to an average gain of 5 lbs a month.  By May it had slowed from 5 lbs a month to maintaining.  Why didn’t I see this as significant progress before now?

I’ve also noticed I need fewer naps during the day, and I don’t crash anymore.  My friend brought over her Insanity DVD’s and I managed at least 15 minutes, if not more, without completely dying!  In the past, something with this level of intensity would have me crashing shortly after, if not later in the day or the next morning.  I’ve survived almost 24 hours without this typical post exercise crash.  PROGRESS!!!

And on signs of thyroid improvement, my body temps are higher and steadier then previously.  I wake up most mornings with a temp of 98 compared to 97.6 or lower.  Most days I’m averaging 98.2 instead of 97.8.  The dramatic temperature fluctuations are occurring less and less frequently (96.3 to 98.6 or higher).  I’ve also noticed my finger nails are looking smoother instead of rigid.

Maybe throwing my hands in the air was necessary to fully acknowledge the significant progress I AM making instead of feeling like I’m in a standstill or feeling hopeless and doomed.  Good things are coming, slowly but surely.

KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

Here’s my take, based on my experience: when our bodies are basically healthy and in balance, they can pretty much handle anything (and by this I don’t mean all-out binges or poison, although I bet healthy balanced bodies can handle poison better than sick out of balance ones!) AND they know when we’ve had enough. There’s no need to cut out entire categories of food!!

Your body is coming back into balance.

I’ve read several books that talk about health before weight loss – when our bodies are in balance the weight follows. And maybe that IS what I’m experiencing (almost feels like a dream). But cutting out most foods and labeling them off limits has been all I’ve known. It’s been the only way I knew how (unknowingly) to control the imbalances that I’ve been plagued with. This will be new territory for me. I can’t remember a time when my body wasn’t super sensitive to FOODS. Thanks, Karen.

Steve thomas says:

Frustration is normal enough. Even healthy within certain limitations. But don’t allow it to get control of your course of action. You be in control Tara. And I would also caution you about overthinking your situation. You are an amazingly tenacious person with a huge thirst fir knowledge and understanding. But don’t ket it get in the way. As competitors we have always had to deal with the minutia if our diets. But it still comes down to simple math. Burn more than you take in. You are going to be fine. It will take time and I know that is frustrating, but you will do it!

I swear we live the same life…Except for the energy crash… But as soon as I eat wheat I gain.. I just weighed in and I gained 3.6 lbs in one week for no reason ugh ugh ugh

I’ve had severe adverse reactions to most foods in the last few weeks – to the point where i questioned my will to live. It was another all time low for me, but once again so necessary, because I learned a great deal from it and strengthened my resolve.

I’m glad you’re getting better w.r.t. adrenal exhaustion!

paleoadventure says:

From just reading this post (I haven’t read the rest of your blog yet), it sounds like you really could improve your relationship to food. You sound so frustrated and tired of having to be strict and eating squeaky clean. It’s like you’re on a permanent diet. Who can keep that up without going crazy? You say you didn’t binge, but eating all that junk for several days in a row and feeling the need to regain control? I’m sorry, but that’s definitely bingeing.

When your body loses its tolerance to eating crap foods, you feel sick when you do eat them. You build the tolerance back up when you keep eating them. That doesn’t mean your body is jacked. It makes me sad to hear that you feel like you “can only eat 3 food items”. The key to making something a way of eating, a lifestyle rather than a strict diet is to have lots of variety. There’s SO much you can eat that doesn’t have dairy, grains, or legumes in it. Also stop thinking that you’re cheating by eating something that’s against the “rules.”

Instead of bingeing on really processed, mass produced crap, try eating a little of the high quality versions of those foods to satisfy your cravings as you have them. Preservatives, chemical additives, and who knows what else are way worse for you than eating grains, dairy, and legumes on occasion.

I’m one of those people you mention that don’t gain weight. I believe it’s because I have a pretty healthy relationship to food. Give yourself some slack and stop looking at eating as something you have to control and stress about… That’s the best advice I have for you.

Interesting you say this, because I stopped and thought the same to my self. There are things I can eat in moderation that are a whole lot better than the choices I’ve made. There’s more to my story than just this blog post and why I feel I have limited food choices. But things are finally changing for me and that was my point in this blog post. Thanks for your comments. I most definitely have to mend my relationship with food, as well as my relationship with my SELF.

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