February is over, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how the month ended. With two challenges ahead of me (the Molly’s “Wearing O’ the Green 5K to benefit wounded veterans, and the 30 days/30 minutes hula hoop challenge), I have had plenty to keep me busy, focused, and motivated. And I’ve been really on point with my diet. I’m pretty much back to no alcohol (one glass of wine here and there, but that’s it), and have been nearly 100% gluten and cow’s dairy-free for the last couple of weeks. My weight is slowly dropping again, and this morning I hit just under 157, which means as of today, I weigh less than I have since my freshman year in college. The only problem? This number is just under my plateau weight, and marks the third time I have reached it in seven years. I have never been able to get below it…157 is a number that has haunted me for a long time now.
In light of the “plateau info”, I’ve been thinking all day about how to ensure my success and not just give up like I have in the past. The last two times I hit the plateau, I tried and tried to work harder and eat better, but the stagnant number crushed my motivation and was the ultimate cause of the throwing in of my towel. I just couldn’t handle the failure. So what—if anything—has changed this year? Well, a few things come to mind. First and foremost, I have been through one hell of a terrible ordeal. My separation and divorce in 2011/2012 were absolutely gut-wrenching, and it took all of my strength to not completely fall apart. After coming through it with my emotions and will still miraculously in tact, I feel stronger than ever…like anything else I have to face will be small potatoes in comparison (I say that with plenty of hopeful optimism, as I am sure there will be great struggles ahead in my life. I just hope none are quite that awful).
Divorce-enforced super strength aside, there is another reason to feel hopeful that I can win my weight battle. Last time I hit the 157 plateau, I hadn’t started working at the Natural Marketplace yet. But now I have over three years there under my belt. The knowledge about food and nutrition that I have gained since getting hired there has been absolutely incredible. Every day, I learn something new. When I first started, I had barely dipped my toes in the waters of holistic health, but now I am fully immersed and swimming at a steady pace. I attribute my understanding of the food-health-weight connection to my co-workers, my customers, and my own sense of curiosity as well as a passion for continuing to better my health. And clearly, being able to work with such healthy foods and have access to the discounts certainly doesn’t hurt the quest.
And finally, I owe much of my optimism to my mother. Her Multiple Sclerosis has gotten much worse over the past few years and I’ve watched her slow down at a heartbreaking pace. But I have long been encouraging her to eliminate foods from her diet which are not only unhealthy to the average person, but are also known to be especially harmful to those with autoimmune diseases. Within the past year, she has been making a serious effort to clean up her diet: going gluten-free, and taking out things like artificial sweeteners and flavors, most processed foods and sugars, and some dairy. She has finally begun to feel a difference that has made her believe in the food-health connection like I do. This fact alone could be enough to make me want to forge ahead and meet my goals. But adding to this is what I have learned about MS, and how certain foods may have a determining factor on whether or not I might get it too. So I can’t think of a better reason to avoid them.