Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Work in Progress


So today is the last day of my 5-Day Detox Fast & Cleanse. It was not as difficult this time as it was when I did it back in February of this year, but I knew to mix the fiber powder with Odwalla juice, which made it much more tolerable to swallow, and also gave me a little more energy than I had the first time around. I did not notice as significant results this time, and I think that is due to the fact that I exercise and eat pretty healthy on a daily basis. However, I do feel much better overall since getting rid of all the toxins in my system, and even managed to lose a couple of pounds in the process. Now that I will be going back to eating food, I will of course 'ease' my way back in with soup and fruit. It's what I'll choose after that I'm still debating...

Up until about a month ago, I had been eating a gluten-free diet, which I began after the initial 5-Day Cleanse back in February. I know that I have an intolerance to gluten, so it's probably best that I avoid it, but quite frankly I do not always want to. I really love to eat the bread that I bake for my family, and also enjoy being able to eat what they are eating when we go out to a restaurant. I have also made it a point to avoid refined sugar and sweets in the past (and still do), but that gets pretty old sometimes, too. I love to bake, especially during the holidays, so it really is not very fun to be the only one not enjoying the goodies. Yes, I know I can make gluten-free/sugar-free versions, but my point is that I do not always want to have to make a special version for myself. Not to mention that I really enjoy the 'real thing' instead of the modified version.

I do have an easier time maintaining my weight when I avoid carbs and sugar, but sometimes I get really tired of 'avoiding' all the good stuff. I know that what constitutes 'the good stuff' is all relative, and that fruit, veggies, whole grains can be very appetizing to many, including myself, but I'm talking about being able to enjoy a cup of ice cream, piece of cake, slice of pizza, or hamburger on a real bun without feeling guilty or worrying that I'm going to gain the 5 lbs. I just lost right back again.

Right now I am starting to crave veggies again, and I think that eating as 'clean' of a diet as you can is always the best choice. Right now I don't really have a desire to eat a slice of bread or a piece of cake, but there is a good chance that I will again eventually, and that is where I am torn. Do I try to stick with a more rigid diet or do I ease up a bit on myself? I think that perhaps moderation is the key for me...after all isn't that what is truly best in all aspects of life? A few years back I approached eating with the mentality that I could have whatever I wanted...no limitations. If I wanted to have a cupcake I could. If I wanted an extra slice of pizza or banana bread I could have it. You know what happened? My cravings stopped and I didn't feel hungry or deprived all the time, because I knew that I could eat whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I am really seriously contemplating taking this approach again, and see if it works for me a second time.

One thing I do know is that my body shape and metabolism are changing the older that I get, and even though I do not feel as if I have kept on any added pounds, many of the clothes that fit me two years ago do not fit the same way now. Many of my shirts are tighter across the shoulders and even though I wear the same pant size, some of them do not feel as loose as they used to. Could this be the infamous 'middle age spread' I've always heard so much about, but never thought would happen to me? I must say that no matter what the cause, it is still frustrating and can be a hit to your self-esteem at times.

I have always wanted to be a woman that 'ages gracefully', one that does not care if the numbers on the scale move up a bit, who does not care if her body's natural set weight is not the same as her 'happy weight', who does not care about the crow's feet, laugh lines, and other numerous facial lines that have appeared, but as I continue to age, I am finding this a difficult thing to do. Why is that? I really do not know. What I do know though, is that I want to learn to accept and appreciate the natural changes that are taking place and will continue to take place to my body as the years go on. I guess that means for now I am still a work in progress...a woman trying to accept herself unconditionally a little more with each passing day.

12 comments:

  1. What a lovely post Melissa. It's so hard for us as women to accept our bodies and especially as we age. I'm with you, I want to do it with acceptance and grace, and I want to ignore those little critical voices that are in my own head.
    I think we have a natural set weight that is fairly easy to maintain with moderation. I know I have one, I can go below it but I have to really watch what I eat and it never fails I end up having way less energy. I don't have time for that anymore... I had to give up gluten because of my celiac symptoms and I agree the substitutes are a waste of time. If you can enjoy the odd gluten item without severe consequences I say do it!
    I think it is natural for our set weight to rise as we get older, I wonder if it is protection against illness?
    Thanks for this post Melissa, I've been thinking about the topic lately as well.xo

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    1. Thank you Dani. It's nice to know that I am not the only one feeling this way lately. :)

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  2. Ugh! Me too! I've found my body shift around in shape and size in the past few years. Some things are tighter, some things are more loose. I eat very, very healthy (really--- like only fruit and tons veggies, greek yogurt, and natural granola) , but don't avoid food groups (except meat). I exercise 5 days a week doing both cardio and weights and I think that, more than anything, contributes. Depending on my exercise routine by body shape shifts. More weight lifting makes for a stronger me, but it also means my jackets fit tighter through the shoulder and arm, and pants are tight through the leg from muscle from too much running :( I've given up on trying to be the size I was even two years ago, and have been letting go of most of my too-tight jackets and pants on ebay lately.
    It's tough though. I want to do the mature thing and embrace aging and change, and as long as I'm fit and healthy it shouldn't matter. But those too-tight clothes and number on the scale are taunting me!

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    1. egyptomaniac - I feel your pain! Thank you so much for taking the time to share, and let me know we are in the same boat. :) I completely agree that the type of exercise you do can contribute to the shifts. I build muscle really easily, and my thighs will bulk up a lot if I do certain workouts. The weight lifting I've been doing over the past year or so is probably why my shoulders have gotten broader, too. I do feel stronger, and know that it is better for me than the alternative, but it doesn't really make it any easier to swallow when putting on pants or a shirt that are tight now when they weren't not too long ago.

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  3. I love that quote! This is so true, it's hard for a woman to unconditionally accept herself.

    xx
    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Lauren Elizabeth...that quote is one of my favorites. :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing Melissa!
    Like you said,i think moderation is the key to everything.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Ina! Yes, everything in moderation...now I just need to implement that in my everyday life. :)

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  5. What a thought provoking post. Now that I am in my 50s (hardly seems possible) I continue to exercise religiously and eat healthy foods for the most part, but my focus has shifted from appearance to health. Maintaining/improving balance, flexibility, and bone density, combatting muscle loss, keeping cholesterol levels in check, etc. And I do indulge in some treats on occasion. Life is too short. I think if you are able to, go for it and enjoy the delicious foods that you cook for your family

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Jean! I really want to be able to shift my focus like you have, and admire that you have been successful at accomplishing it. It is no easy task! I agree that life is too short, and am really leaning towards not having any restrictions, but instead enjoying the meals I cook along with my family. Thank you for stopping by! :)

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  6. "I guess that means for now I am still a work in progress...a woman trying to accept herself unconditionally a little more with each passing day." -- That is an incredible sentence right there. I don't know for certain, but I feel like for a good number of women, we are always "works in progress" in that we're always trying to accept ourselves and really to see ourselves the way our loved ones see us. We're always our own toughest critics, but if you ask your children and your friends how they see you, I bet they don't see the "middle age spread" and instead see all these beautiful things instead.

    I'm not a nutritionist, but I did have one for about a year who coached me through losing weight in a healthy way. He advised strict dietary restrictions at first (no sugar, no white flour), then said to reintroduce those things slowly after a few months. He said I may see some weight gain at first because my body will be like "oh my god! I have to hold on to this and convert it into fat, I haven't seen it in so long!!" but that if I did it all in moderation, my body would learn to not turn every cookie into 5 pounds. It worked, and now I've been practicing just plain moderation ever since. I have a massive sweet tooth, so I always knew that cutting out sugars and flours entirely forever would never work for me because I'd be so unhappy. So far, moderation has been key -- I don't feel bad if I have a cup of ice cream, as long as I don't end up having a cup of ice cream every week, haha! In other words, I think you're right to want to do moderation instead of something super restrictive.

    Anyway, that was a very long comment, sorry! :)

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, AmyK! I agree that most women are their own toughest critics, and have a hard time seeing the beauty in themselves that other people see. The line, "I wish that you could see yourself the way that I see you" holds so much truth, doesn't it?

      Thank you for the information from your former nutritionist. It really does make a lot of sense, and gives even more credence to the 'everything in moderation' approach. Btw, you really look fabulous! I know that you love to cook, so if you can do that, plus eat and enjoy the food, and still look amazing, then I believe there may just be hope for me to do the same.

      Oh yeh...I had ice cream tonight, and it was absolutely delicious! No guilt, either! :)

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