My journey to learning to eat for ENERGY
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Yes. You can click this link now and get the freebie. I get you! You need healthy energy, and you want it as fast as possible.
But if you have a second------
You gotta hear the back story, to understand the depth of this journey.
At age 5, my wonderful elderly neighbor commented to my mom about my "chubby" cheeks. As a started preschool, I started hearing from other moms and kids that I was "chubby" or "a little bigger" than the other kids. I didn't store that info as bad, I just recall hearing it then. But as I got into 1st and 2nd grades, I started to understand that the "chubby" kids weren't liked as much as the kids that were not chubby. The chubby kids couldn't run as fast, so they were never picked for the teams or to participate for the recess games when speed was important to succeed. The chubby kids were often made fun of if they did participate, with snickers from the other kids as they pointed out the "jiggly" bellies and faces.
Although I can look back at my photos from 1st and 2nd grade, and see that I was not an obese child, I connected the word "chubby" from those early moments around adults, to the actions of my young peers, and I internalized that "I was chubby." I shied away from the activities where there were teams at recess. I felt super self conscious in front of my peers when the class played sports together as part of class. I allowed myself to be the slower runner because... well... I was a "chubby" kid. As I grew to adolescence, this thought that I was "fat" creeped in and stayed there. I nourished that thought well. I was consumed by it. I shied away from social connections except my very closest friends I trusted. I struggled with self esteem. I got perfect attendance and a 4.0 and even had 24 college credits as I exited High School. That- I could control. But all the while, I struggled with food. I FEARED food. I thought that sugary, yummy foods were BAD. Isn't that what all the nutrition papers alluded to? Isn't that why my mom and dad chided each other about their consumption of desserts? So when I would eat them, I thought I was making a BAD choice, and therefore, I was being a BAD person.
This thinking started a life long emotional eating warfront that raged once a month with my hormones, and raged all the more after I had kids and the emotional swings became tsunami level- especially when I was low on sleep. I graduated high school just slightly overweight, but I was fairly active and able so it wasn't a huge deal to me. I still maintained a poor body image though, and would binge on my carbs every now and then. As kids came on board, the swings just got worse.... and the body image plummeted.
My basic understanding of nutrition as an adult with a Bachelors degree in 2011 was this:
Carbohydrates give us energy. Food that tastes really good has a lot of carbohydrates. Some carbohydrates are bad. Some are good. Not sure why.
Fat on a food label is bad.
We need vitamins and minerals because our body doesn't make them, but I don't understand what exactly and how to get what I need.
Oily/fried foods are bad.
Salty foods are bad.
Fruits and vegetables are good, and therefore, are free foods.
Water is good.
Foods have to be eaten together,
All drinks that taste good are bad.
Protein is a good thing... but I'm not sure where it fits, but I know it helps us build blood.
Milk products like yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are healthy for my bones.
With this understanding, I would limit the bad foods (all carbs and fatty/salty foods), continuing to beat myself up every time I ate them, which had me feeling deprived of them and would then overeat them a few times a week hoping to help myself feel better. Honestly, when I ate carbs until I was stuffed, there was a peaceful sensation about it that I began to long for (I now know what that feeling was.) I would often over eat on dairy products and fruits- which gave me and upset stomach. And I really didn't like water, but knew that other choices were "bad" so I was dehydrated most of my life up until this point.
At age 28 with 3 kids I was really overweight (not just in my mind) and hated my body. I had yo-yo dieted 10 lbs on and off for 6 years using high protein, low carb methods and starvation to achieve any losses. I believed I "wasn't athletic" so I just didn't exercise- honestly I don't think I believed I COULD exercise properly at that point. And when I did exercise? I would get a massive headache every time, and would feel fatigued the rest of the day. Who would want to do that daily???
I was SO low on energy most of the time.
I would crash on the floor in the afternoons almost DAILY and had to have a nap. I would wake up from these crash naps extremely moody and groggy for almost an hour.
I was So tired at the playground with my kids, that although I wasn't more than 30-40 lbs overweight, just running around for 10 minutes or so I would get a slight head ache and have to sit down. I tried going on walks but longer than just a mile or two and I was BUSHED.
When we decided we would have 1 more baby, we tried for 2+ years with no success. We were also climbing out of a financial hole at that time, and I was very stressed. I had not learned healthy stress coping methods, and therefore had turned to food and social media and movie time to numb my stress.
My carb problem was at an all time high. My fatigue was too. My hormonal swings were climbing and I was a mess. And my body was TELLING me. I was experiencing headaches almost daily. I was taking ibuprofen like it was a food group, and I was upset that I was so overweight, because, I mean, I was eating "all the food groups" and it wasn't like I was eating potato chips and soda. I really wasn't! And yet there I was, feeling fatigued and useless.
That's when I cried to my hubby that I felt that something was wrong. I wanted to see a doctor. It was hard to do so, because we have never had good health insurance benefits, so going to the doctor is a big financial decision we have to make together. This was spring of 2012.
My doctor listened to my plight about weight loss and cravings and stress and PMS symptoms and infertility and she decided to do a glucose tolerance test, a thyroid hormone panel of tests and a few other hormonal tests as well as some basic blood panels to check for anemia and other common things that can cause all the things I was experiencing.
A week later was the 2.5 hour GTT (glucose tolerance test).
I was SURE I was going to just get a pill, and I was going to be able to blame it all on hormone imbalance and we'd move on.
Two weeks later my doctor was holding a pile of results papers and looking me in the eye telling me I had to change my lifestyle. I still can see her sitting there telling me I was on my way to Type 2 Diabetes. A LIFESTYLE induced disease. A HABIT induced disease. My inability to have a baby wasn't hormones. Those were all in the normal zones. It was my blood sugar levels and stress. My PMS was likely also caused in large part due to my lifestyle. The average human experiences 1-2 headaches a year.... I was experiencing 4-5 a week. Likely ALSO from lifestyle. I was also severely insulin resistant, likely from years of too much sugar intake along with my liver being taxed with my stress levels making in less available for quality insulin output.
What the HECK????
What was this "lifestyle?"
Was I that lazy? Was I really eating so much sugar? Was I really obese? How did this happen? What magic information did I NOT know?
My doctor's explanation was that I simply wasn't active enough, and I was eating too much sugar and not enough vegetables, and that I needed to seek out methods or counseling for my stress levels.
Really- that was the basics of everything she told me.
She suggested that I read up on nutrition, and start exercising 45 minutes to an hour 5-6 days a week and drink more water. She said if I didn't change my eating habits and start exercising to help the blood sugars get pulled from my system, I would need medication within 2 years. She said I really needed to internalize that I can't eat desserts or candies.
For a mom of 3 young kids, who was already tired, and hated exercise and water but loved to bake and LIVED for that chocolate fix during nap time.... this was like a death sentence.
I sat in my minivan in the medical office parking lot and cried.
I called my husband and told him I was a mess and would need some time to take in what I had just learned. I was so mad. I felt betrayed by everything I thought I knew about food and lifestyle. How had this gone SO FAR? How was I this young experiencing this kind of diagnoses?? What had I done that was SO wrong????
I was embarrassed. I was filled with shame. I was beating myself up like no other.
An educated person. Unknowingly killing her body with her choices. HOW IN THE HECK?????
The shame turned to determination.
The embarrassment turned to a feeling of honestly astonishment from all the food labeling and advertising I had bought into. I realized just how GOOD those food giants were.
The self beating up, turned to compassion as I decided that this was it. I was drawing a line in the sand. I was going to FIGURE THIS FOOD THING OUT once and for all. I was going to FAIL forward and WIN!
This started a revolution of our household eating habits.
This started a revolution of how I talked about food, how I cooked our food, and how I bought our food.
This struggle....... became the greatest gift that we could have EVER had come to our lives!
I read book after book about digestion and foods and nutrition.
I read books about vegan diets and diabetes.
I read books about weight loss and watched documentaries on public health crises and our food industry standards. I read books about emotional eating and interviewed a few friends and family members who had lost weight and seemed to be happy and more healthy. I interviewed one of my MD friends who had also changed her health and exercise habits recently. I was on a MISSION.
I put together my own eating and exercise plan after slowly piecing together the common threads that I was learning from all of these sources.
I found workout DVD's that fit my findings, and started using them 3x a week. I felt awkward and dumb and got mad if my husband tried to observe me. I started drinking more water. I started training for a 5k. I had to do it! I had to prove to myself that I COULD DO HARD THINGS!
A few months later when I felt my eating plan was complete, I integrated that as well. I made different dinners for me than for my family.
Within 3 months I had lost 32 lbs. My energy was up. My skin was glowing. My family noticed a change in me.
I ran that first 5k.
My husband was cheering me on.
My headaches had decreased dramatically.
My mental fogginess was non existent.
And then the real game changer======> I had blood tests done that revealed that my blood sugars were in the completely normal range, and my insulin sensitivity was back.
I was also------> 5 weeks pregnant.
Not only had a reversed my type 2 diabetes symptoms and insulin resistance, but I was pregnant! After having the word "infertility" printed on my records.
This was a BIG DEAL my friends.
Since then I have continued this crusade against false nutrition advertising, false nutrition TEACHING by my own government, debunking myths about carbs and hormone issues, and maintaining and OPEN MIND about changing my habits. I have 5 kids now, and have been through a traumatic life and death experience that has had me recovering from and learning to adapt my lifestyle from physical limitations post surgery and mental illness.
But THROUGH IT ALL----------> the original common threads that I learned in 2012 are STILL TRUE. Through it ALL----- these principles that I maintain about Eating for Energy have remained constant. I have been able to lose all the weight post baby #4 in 2014, equaling a total loss of -49 lbs. Taking me back to the weight I was when I got my drivers license at age 16. Using the same principles----- I have been able to get back to that weight post baby #5 now in 2019. I have NEVER experienced the fatigue of 2011 since implementing what I have learned.
What is cool, is I started teaching what I have learned for free through Facebook groups. I started teaching online in 2014 and have seen EVERY- single- STUDENT that applies it 100% feel and see a change within a WEEK of implementing the principles. Every single one. Every single class.
Now I teach this class LIVE to local groups of people who want more energy in their lives.
I also teach classes about the truth I learned from STRUGGLES being our greatest gifts!
I teach moms how to lose the baby weight.
I teach anyone that wants to know, how to live with more positive energy and a higher metabolism.
I've taught more than 1000 students online now. And I'm just getting started.
But the most important to me, is the change that has happened under my own roof as a wife and mother.
My kids are healthy. My husband is healthy. No one in my household needs prescription medication. No one in my household struggles to overcome simple illnesses. No one in my household does not understand basic CORRECT nutrition. :) No one in my household doesn't understand the harmful effects or the sleazy advertising tactics to watch for when looking at or eating processed/fake foods. No one in my household doesn't understand mental illness is a real thing and ways to HELP our brains to cope with struggles either using food choices and or other effective coping methods I teach.
My struggle with weight loss and lifestyle change has been the greatest gift I could have ever been given. My struggle with mental illness and PTSD after almost losing my life has been a huge boost to my overall understanding of living purposefully, living intentionally, living with full gratitude for my body and mind and finding the JOY in every day!
I know that what I have learned and now teach, has and will change generations!
Genetics don't cause obesity. HABITS do. And those my friends CAN CHANGE.
I have put together the basic principles of Eating for Energy on this PDF image of my brochure I hand out at my classes. You are welcome to print it out and keep handy on the refrigerator or in your purse or whatever works best for you!
But I have to let you know that this isn't the whole she-bang. This PDF won't change your entire life. Well- you know what- it might! I can't say that for sure- Yes. I'm being transparent about this. There is just SO much more that goes into a lifestyle change. But as far as learning to meal plan and understand ENERGY- you can take this FREE 5 day COURSE:
Let us be the change we want to see in the world.
Let us vote with our dollars at the store for the foods we want to keep seeing on the shelves!
Let us vote with our dollars the types of media we want to see.
Let us be a voice for health and joy and true holistic wellness!
Let us NOT be a slave to our cravings and mental fog.
Let us create the body and mind that together can create more joy into your life! Let us create energetic families that bond over fresh food and love to hike and swim together and can face mental battles head on!
All my love and belief-