This post is part 5 of a journey for better health. If you missed part 1-4, click here.
It’s been 30 long days since I started this journey for better health by living my life according to the book, “It Starts With Food,” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I had my share of ups and down as I’m sure most people do when they change their eating habits. But I have to say, I don’t think most people had to endure the personal trials that I did. I cannot share all my challenges, since it is very personal and private. But I can say that it involved hospital visitations, the deaths of two beloved pets, and two birthday celebrations for myself, where I watched everyone eat my birthday cake. It was clearly the most difficult month of my life.
Although these events had nothing to do with my diet, it did teach me one thing: I did not falter. I did not turn to food for comfort or escape. My relationship with food would remain steadfast. I only ate foods that would make me healthy.
The foods you eat exert a powerful psychological influence, a stronger than any act of willpower. They influence your hormones, silently directing your metabolism. They affect your digestive tract, your body’s first line of defense. And they impact your immune system and your risk for any number of diseases and conditions. (“It Starts With Food”, pages 26)
To be honest, I have only seen a moderate improvement to my acid-reflux condition. I still occasionally battle with nighttime nausea and a burning throat in the early afternoon. Maybe I have to be more patient.
In conditions such as IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), it’s not uncommon for digestive issues to continue for three to six months after making such radical dietary changes – but it is a necessary first step in restoring normal, healthy gut integrity. (“It Starts With Food”, page238)
On the positive side, I lost 8 lbs. It wasn’t easy. And I wish I could say that this lifestyle change is permanent. It’s not. I was already counting my days to “freedom” from dietary restrictions. On my first day back, I had a half cup of mocha cappuccino and slice of homemade pound cake (a belated birthday celebration) and I was in heaven.
Looking back, it was only 30 days. And I’m glad I did it. Although, the timing could have been better, it really tested my limits. After going through this process, I am more sure that my condition is dietary and stress-related. And therefore I need to take care of myself more by listening carefully to my body.
I can say unquestionably that I have a better relationship with food. Food is not an emotional choice or an excuse to escape. I no longer look at food as “something to do” and graze mindlessly. I have a greater respect for food and therefore myself. If I choose something less healthy, I do it consciously and sparingly. An occasional small slice of homemade pound cake is worth it. A bag of leftover Easter candy is not. I control food. Food does not control me.
The ending chapters of the book spends a lot of time helping you to transition back to the less healthy foods you eliminated for 30 days: legumes, grains, and dairy. It’s a 10-day re-introductionary plan that outlines step-by-step eating for the real world. After all, this is not a forever diet. It’s a strategy for healthy living and long-term success.
Thank you for following my journey for better health. I hope that you learned something along the way to help your journey for better health too!