So, in case you’re wondering if “everything came out okay” on my 14 day cleanse, well, here’s there poop, I mean scoop.
Today is day 10, and I’m calling it quits. At least on the supplements. I plan to continue the “diet” portion all the way through until day 14, but I’ll be adding back red meat immediately.
And, I am not really going to be on a restrictive “diet” forever. I’m just going to be paying attention to what feels best for me. I am finding that certain foods I eat and certain habits I’ve developed just really don’t make me feel all that great. So, I will freely eat what I want, but within limits – not self-denying limits, but within the limits of what is best for me.
The thing is, I’m completely “cleaned out.” Yesterday afternoon I had some sort of “attack” in which my heart began racing and I got very nauseated and weak. It felt almost like a panic attack (I’ve had one of those before – very scary), and so I called my hubby and he came home from work a little early. A few months ago my iron levels became very low and I had to take a supplement for a while. I think giving up the red meat didn’t help too much in this area, so that’s why I’m adding them back (even though I’m not a big red meat eater). After eating a grilled chicken sandwich and resting a bit yesterday, I felt much better.
Also, I realized this past week that as I cut out dairy, red meat, gluten, processed foods, and sugar/sugar substitutes, I was cutting out many “filler foods” that I’ve been including in my diet. When I cut these out, instead of finding lots of healthier filler foods to take their place, which often require more “work” to prepare because you have to take the time to wash and chop (woo –lots of work there), I just didn’t eat. So, the past 10 days, I’ve not been taking in too many calories at all. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve been eating somewhere around the 1,000 calories or less a day mark, and that is just not enough for me. I’ve lost several pounds and my pants are starting to fall off again.
I did have one “cheat evening” this past Saturday, when we enjoyed a cookout with some friends. It was worth it. I’ve never been an advocate of complete self-denial. Truly, I’m not an advocate of dieting anymore (having been on EVERY diet in the world at one point or another in my life, since the age of 10), so I felt no guilt about the evening, and just got right back on track the next morning.
But yesterday my body distinctly told me, “enough,” and I know enough to listen to what my body is telling me these days. That’s not always been the case, though. In the past, I would have forced myself to “stick to the plan, follow the rules, no matter the cost!!!” But I know that’s not the solution. There is a better way.
You see, there’s a longer story here, and I hadn’t planned to get into yet, but I think it’s time…
If you don’t know me well, you may not know that I have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and in my early 30s this led to extreme hormonal imbalances, weight gain, pre-diabetes, and premenopausal symptoms. I also went through two pregnancies with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (I have written about this on my blog: http://christianmom.wpengine.com/the-future-queen-i-what-kate-i-have-in-common-part-1/ ). It was a miserable decade in my life. However a few years ago, I made a decision that changed my life and got me back on the track of health and wellness – I had gastric bypass surgery. This is not a solution for everyone, but for me, it was the only solution that worked (and believe me, I tried EVERYTHING!).
I have maintained my weight loss for over three years now. In fact, because my hormones have “normalized” as a result, I am no longer “pre-diabetic” and am even able to eat more now than I ever did before and continue to maintain a healthful weight. Oh yeah, and my loved ones will tell you that I’m not as much of a crazy hormonal, well, you know the word that goes here. Because I was for several years. We’re talking Jekyll and Hide, my friend. It was weird and out of control. And yes, it was what led to the ultimate decision to go forward with the surgery. (There’s a story about a J&H experience at Walt Disney World with my family – let’s just say we all survived it, barely, and lived to see a better day.)
So, GBS was the answer for me. It was a tough decision, one I struggled and prayed about a LOT. You see, my degree is in Exercise Physiology, and my career had focused on helping others maintain a healthful and active lifestyle. I was an “athlete” and remained active throughout my life – even teaching twelve aerobics classes per week at one point. It was a source of “pride” for me to be healthy and lose the weight I had gained “the natural way.” I wanted to be able to be a walking testimony of how to be fit and well.
And, I also spent many years beating myself up spiritually about this battle. I had convinced myself that I must not be trusting God enough, and that I was too weak to “follow the rules.” So, I equated my inability to lose weight with “not being a good enough person.” This was legalism in its highest form.
You see, what it came down to was that I had to TRUST GOD ENOUGH TO LET GO OF MY OWN, MAN-MADE IDEAS OF WHAT WAS RIGHT OR WRONG, AND LET GO OF MY SELFISH PRIDE.
It’s tough sometimes, even today, to have to admit that I had gastric bypass surgery. There is a lot of misinformation, and many misconceptions, out there about obesity, dieting, wellness, and all of the causes and solutions. And this world tends to be very judgmental of folks that suffer with these problems. Image is everything, right?
Well, it’s not right. It’s wrong. And sad. There are MANY reasons that people suffer with “weight and food problems.” Truthfully, I believe EVERY individual struggles in some way, whether it’s visible to the world or not. There is not a man-made, worldly, cookie-cutter solution for everyone. We each have to find our way and figure out what works best for us, as an individual, physically, emotionally, and SPIRITUALLY.
For me, once I began learning more about PCOS, diabetes, and gastric bypass surgery, I realized that this could be the solution for me, even though there was high risk associated. But in order to move forward with this choice, I had to LET GO OF MY PRIDE.
I realized that I had reached a point in my life in which I couldn’t do it on my own, and was completely and totally dependent upon the Lord for a solution. And His way was to bring me to the point of letting go of all my selfish pride and deflating my ego (and eventually, deflated other things…).
Before the massive weight gain, I admit that a lot of things in my life came easily to me because of my looks. Not that I’m a beauty queen by any stretch of the imagination, but I had been a young, thin, fit, tall blonde with long legs and a big smile all my life, and it opened doors. I’m not naïve about that. It’s sad, but it’s true. I witnessed it first-hand in this world. Pre-weight gain I could get pretty much whatever I wanted pretty easily, be it jobs, attention, better service, etc… After the weight gain, I became invisible. Seriously. It was a severe turnaround in my life and it was painful. Think about that. Seriously. Think about how people are treated in this society. Think about how YOU treat people, based upon your visual impressions. I’m guilty. Our values are seriously screwed up.
So before I ever gained weight, I was totally self-reliant. I believed in Christ, I just didn’t really NEED him, you know? At least I never really REALIZED HOW MUCH I need Him.
Then, after my weight gain, I became legalistic, trying to earn the approval of God and man. I tried everything, and I beat myself up, failure after failure after failure.
It was only after truly admitting my helplessness to achieve anything on my own, being brought, literally, to my knees in defeat, that I was able to enjoy the FREEDOM that exists in Christ – in allowing HIM to deliver me, in whatever way He chooses, no matter the outcome.
So, I admitted defeat. I asked the Lord to show me HIS WAY (I’m not saying here that GBS is His only way – I’m saying it is the way He chose for me). And He delivered me. It’s as simple as that.
And no, it wasn’t REALLY simple. Gastric bypass surgery sucks. And our insurance denied coverage, because that’s what they always do…and it’s about a two year process to appeal it, and my husband and I decided that we didn’t want to wait that long so we paid for it all out of pocket, even though I truly had a medical condition. And that sucks. And I developed an infection at the drain site in the hospital which caused me great pain and sickness and kept me in the hospital an extra week, and that sucked. And I had to drink everything I took in for about three months, and that sucked. And I threw up a lot the first year. A LOT. And that sucked.
Deliverance, even God’s deliverance, is not always easy.
But it is amazing.
And it is FREEDOM!
Yes, I lost all the weight I had gained plus some. I’ve been thinner the past three years, after losing all the weight, than I have been since I was a freshman in high school. And seriously, I can now eat MORE now than I ever did in my life and maintain a healthful weight, without “dieting” and without excessive exercise.
Medically, there is much research being done about the benefits and risks of gastric bypass surgery now, and much is encouraging, especially for those suffering from PCOS and diabetes. But there is still a scary component to it, because it is an extremely high risk surgery, and because we do not know all of the future side-effects. That was a risk I was willing to take, as I weighed the benefits of enjoying a higher quality of life now verses the decreased physical capacity I would have had, and possibly even shortened lifespan due to disease, had I remained obese. Personally, I believe that as my stomach was bypassed, some of the hormones that are released into the stomach as we eat, such as ghrelin and leptin, etc… were “interrupted,” which in turn has affected the entire hormonal imbalance I was suffering overall in a positive way. No scientific evidence to back this up for me personally, but some studies I have read seem to confirm this. And again, I am no longer “pre-diabetic”… so I’ve got that going for me too, right now!
(Here’s an interesting article on the role of ghrelin and leptin: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17212793 )
GBS is not a cure-all solution. IT IS A TOOL. It helped me to overcome some systemic imbalances in my body that no other solutions had been invented to do as of yet. But the weight loss and subsequent maintenance of that weight loss is ALL ME, BABY! I’m the one that has to deny myself the goodies. Unlike lots of other GBS patients, who can never enjoy sweets and certain foods again, there seems to be almost no limit to what I am able to eat now. I can eat sweets all day long and suffer no GBS-type side effects, unfortunately. However, I cannot eat things quickly – I have to take my time. And every now and then, if I overdo it, eat too fast, too much, or something that doesn’t “agree” with me (and I never know what that might be – it might be chicken one day, fruit the next – it’s weird), I get a little sick.
And I think, with this cleanse I’ve been doing, it just didn’t take the full fourteen days to “cleanse” me, because I didn’t have as much in me needing to be cleansed to begin with. So, yesterday, I believe my body was just saying, “ENOUGH, GIRL!” and giving me permission to start introducing things back to my diet in a healthful way. And I didn’t feel the need to keep on “following the rules” – I felt the freedom to do what is BEST for me!
You see, the Lord’s way is a way of TRUE FREEDOM. Yes, there are rules. God is the Creator God, after all, and if you create everything, I guess it’s only fair that you get to make all the rules! However, the “rules” are there for our own good, our protection, and so that we might truly live an abundant life – full of the joy and freedom that He has created for us, within certain boundaries.
My children are allowed to play outside freely – but only within the boundaries of our yard. If they leave our yard, which they might want to do because their little souls want to do what THEY want to do when they want to do it, they just can’t see what I can see – the DANGER lurking around the bend. They can’t see the cars speeding around the curve in front of our home. They don’t see the weirdo in the van parked down the street, just looking for an unsuspecting, unwatched child to pick up. But I am aware of those things. I don’t want my kids to live in fear of those things. I want them to enjoy the pleasures of playing outside – so I set up some boundaries for them, so that they can FREELY enjoy the outdoors, without being in danger, or having to live in constant fear for their well-being.
It’s the same with God. There is freedom within His law. His law is good, because HE IS GOOD. And it is for our good.
And that is what He taught me as He broke down my own selfish pride, and my willful stubbornness to do and achieve things on my own. It may seem like a personal defeat sometimes, to the world, but what really happened is that He brought me to a place of dependence upon Him – but it is also a place of FREEDOM & VICTORY.
There is TRUE FREEDOM & VICTORY IN CHRIST…when we submit to His authority, to His boundaries.
And I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, any other way.
Love & Blessings,