What to do when all else fails?

June 14, 2013

You know I’ve tried everything at this point.  Vegan, vegetarian, juice cleanses, excessive work outs – everything.

It worked to lose all the weight I gained having my son and it’s working in keeping my weight the same for over a year. (Maintaining is harder than losing sometimes).  But, now that I want to lose more I’m stuck.  As part of my health coach training I have been learning over 100 dietary theories, and of course, as you learn about them you want to experiment with them.  So I did, I tried being vegan, being vegetarian, I tried Paleo diet, gluten-free, in short, I’ve tried them all.  Everything would work for 3-4 lbs of loss and then I’d even out.  I’d stop seeing results on the scale and would lose heart, and put back on the 3-4 lbs.

About a month ago, I hit a rough patch, something (I didn’t know what) was coming over me causing me to be tired, cranky and hungry.  A very bad combination indeed.  I was basically following a low carb diet at that point but was still suffering from sugar cravings.  My diet had evolved dramatically from cereal for breakfast to one egg with spinach.  Snacks were no longer low fat yogurt and instead were a handful of raw nuts.  I was eating superfoods like Chia Seeds and Goji berries.  I was making Vegan Pudding and Chia Pudding.  The days of eating a box of Oreos were long behind me, but something still persisted inside of me.

It was an uncomfortable feeling for sure, and when something is uncomfortable I have been trained (unfortunately) to gravitate toward food.  So I overate a bit, I got tired and then I slept.  Then I remembered that every May I usually get the flu and end up in bed for 2 weeks.  I used to think it was because in May I used to do community theatre and would burn the candle at both ends a bit too much.  But I haven’t done that in a few years so that doesn’t explain it.  Then I thought, well it’s my allergies – which it could be.  Thankfully this year I didn’t actually get the flu – but I got the fatigue and no other symptoms.  I felt awful for 2 whole weeks.  I never really figured it out until I discovered it could just be a bit of boredom.  But I think it’s more than that.  I think when the Springtime arrives it brings back a lot of feelings for me of being a child and looking forward to the summer.  It was such an exciting prospect.  The thought of having total freedom from routine and being able to take everyday as it is.  Spending some days outside with friends playing in the yard, some rainy days inside playing cards or make-believe, and some nights having sleepovers with my girlfriends where we’d talk about boys.  As an adult, there’s still some fun summer stuff to look forward to, but I have to admit it’s not necessarily as exciting.  I used to look forward to having summer Fridays in my office, but now I don’t have an office!  Of course there is the beautiful weather to look forward to, and maybe a vacation.  But its not as special as it once was.

There is a concept I have been learning about while in school called “Primary Food”.  Primary Food is best explained by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, “Primary foods feed us, but they don’t come on a plate. Elements such as a meaningful spiritual practice, an inspiring career, regular and enjoyable physical activity and honest and open relationships that feed your soul and your hunger for living all constitute primary food.”

Once I’d tried every dietary theory, cleaned my home, paid off my debts, even cleaned out a closet, all I was left with was Primary Food.  The secondary food (actual food that I was eating) had changed dramatically for the better, but it wasn’t enough.  This week I finally had to acknowledge what I’d been avoiding for the past few years.  I have some issues with my Primary Food.

Side note – It makes me think of when Ruth Fisher from Six Feet Under went to a self help seminar where all the language was around house metaphors like “renovations and fixing the cracks in your foundation”.  I’ve got some cracks in my foundation!! There are some issues with Primary Food I gotta clear up in order to slim down.

Maybe holding onto the extra weight was like holding on to some extra armor, in case things start to hurt in my heart, I’d have the extra padding to insulate the blow.  Nutritionists and Mayor Michael Bloomberg want you to think that it’s all about the bad food: salt, soda, fast food.  But what if it isn’t? What if you eat a great diet and have a regular exercise routine and you still struggle? What do you do when all else fails?

You look inward.  And it will hurt.  But when you come out the other side, you will feel lighter and you’ll move forward. And everything will fall into place.

I hope.



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