I foreswore almost all added sugars and white flour to start with. I ate mostly what we might call "whole" foods. Foods close to the ground. I ate little red meat and a much more plant-based diet than I eat now. I didn't eat white rice. I ate different types of whole grains. I didn't eat cheese for the most part. Basically I ate much less saturated fat and a lot more fibrous foods which includes most of your fruits and vegetables and grains and nuts. When I ate this way and exercised sensibly, I stayed at a weight that was comfortable for me. And when one does not eat sugar, one does indeed lose the taste for it. Or at least, I did.
And this became second nature. That was just how I ate. There was still some disordered eating involved in a few ways. I struggled if I was hungry and was in a place where I didn't have my regular snack foods which were things like almonds and prunes which I usually had a baggie of in my purse. I would read labels with an eagle eye. If I was at a restaurant that didn't serve anything that fit my particular needs, I just would not eat much.
This worked for quite awhile. I was taking yoga. I was eating "right". I was still walking. And then...I experienced real and terrorizing anxiety and depression. I had had bouts of depression before, some of them quite serious but I had never had the long-lasting anxiety that dogged me and battered me and made me feel both like I was about to die and also like I wanted to die because I could not go on like that.
Not too surprisingly, I was also going through menopause at the same time. I think that a lot more study needs to be done about the effect on women of vast hormonal changes when it comes to anxiety. Looking back, it is clear to me that they were probably linked.
Anyway, I had no idea what to do. I wrote about all of this and it's all somewhere in the deep recesses of my past blog posts. I really do not want to go back and reread those posts because it was indeed a most horrible time. Just writing about it now makes me feel sick. I cry writing about that time, I cry thinking about that time.
While I was going through it I had a hard time eating at all. The body is not interested in eating when in constant flight or flight mode. I lost weight. I do not recommend this method of weight loss to anyone.
But then slowly, slowly, I got better. Kathleen would not give up on me but would come and sit on my back porch with me and tell me story after story of her life- stories that were so outrageous that I never could figure out if they were true or not, stories that I could barely follow the trail of but which I really didn't have to follow because it was just her presence, her voice, her obvious caring. She acknowledged my mental illness but she did not spend time oozing about it. My family was tremendous and supportive in all ways. My husband was tender and patient. Other friends too, were patient and understanding. And I got medication as well as hormone replacement therapy. Thank all of the gods and goddesses.
And when the terror and panic abated along with the depression and I finally got my appetite back, I just couldn't force myself to eat the way I'd been eating. I guess I tried, but when hunger and taste returned along with light and hope, I just wanted (and needed, I think) to eat the things that I enjoyed. Cooking became a pleasure again. I craved comfort food both to eat and to make. But nothing crazy or outrageous. I didn't start baking brownies and pies and cakes and cookies or making three cheese macaroni and cheese with cream or...well, whatever. But I became more lax about not using ingredients that might have a little white flour or sugar in them.
And over the years that has all added up. We do eat good food here in this house but I now use panko crumbs when I air-fry things and I do eat yogurt with sugar in it and I make sourdough bread with white flour and (sin of great sins) I put butter on it. And my weight has become a real problem for me. It's not only that I hate the way I look or that I can't wear clothes that I love, it's also my knees and my ability to work the way I want to, to walk as far and effortlessly as I used to. One of my favorite memes these days is one that says something like, "It used to be that when I dropped something on the floor, I'd just bend down and pick it up whereas now I stand and look at it for awhile and wonder if I really need that thing in my life anymore."
I can and do bend down and pick up things but when I remember getting on the floor to play with Owen and Gibson and being able to get up without effort, it's like remembering being an entirely different person. Same with remembering yoga and how flexible I was, how lithe and strong I felt, despite my sagging, drooping skin that freaked me out so much then.
Now I've got the skin AND joints that scream at me. It's a whole different place in life to be.
So. The last few weeks I've been taking baby steps. I've really cut down on added sugar. I've replaced my beloved cheese toast with tomatoes for breakfast with cottage cheese and fresh fruit. It's not that there's anything truly wrong with cheese toast but the fact of the matter is, replacing that with a healthy, lower-fat protein and fruit, which I do not eat enough of, is not a bad thing. I am trying to walk more. It seems like the last several years I've had one situation after another that has given me reason not to walk. My broken ribs. My bad appendix. My kidney stone. And the heat- oh, the heat which I cannot tolerate the way I used to. I just can't.
But I can do what I can do and now it is getting cooler which makes my walks so much easier. Same with working outside which, although is not exactly a good cardio work-out, is still far better than sitting on my ass.
I did not do much today, just a little yard work in that area in front of the fence I started a few weeks ago. It is slow going, it is not very fun, but when I'm done with it, it'll make me feel better. I played a little more piano this afternoon. I've talked to my husband who should be in North Dakota by now. They are making very good time in that drug dealer car. I checked the garden and the carrots are coming up, their tiny little green hair sprouts showing. I talked to my neighbor with whom I've been becoming more friendly lately. Not Harvey, but a woman who lives across the street, a few houses down. We discussed the boutique/farmers market situation. My neighbor has lived in Lloyd her entire life and knows the ins and outs of all of it. When I brought up the farmer's market she said, "She doesn't even own that property!"
Boutique Lady did tell me that she has no idea where the septic tank is that her store's toilet and sink's waste and water flow into.
It's supposed to get down to 49 degrees tonight! It was so chilly this morning (for me) that I went on a search for my winter shoes which look like this.