Learning My Way to Success

Holy cannoli this past week and a half has been a roller coaster to say the least! What was I thinking giving up sugar and nightshades in the same month as my birthday AND Valentine’s Day? But then again is there ever really a good time to give up an addiction? Probably not.

So how am I dealing with all of this? With fruit and sweet potatoes, of course! No, seriously, they have been a life saver. I told myself I was going to limit high sugar fruits like bananas, which I have. I can honestly say I haven’t had a single banana this whole time, but… apples have even more sugar in them than bananas, which I wasn’t aware of until just now. They have a staggering 19 grams compared to banana’s 14. Oranges, which I thought had the most, only have about 9 grams, and pears, oh pears… how do you have 17 grams??

This lesson brought to me by the letter A for assumption. Next time I’ll do a ton more research beforehand! BUT the good news is that in addition to the sugars in fruits and veggies there is also fiber, so the digesting of things is slightly different than it would be if I was eating processed sugars. Plus, I’m getting all the vitamins and nutrients from them that are easily digested, which foods with added sugar generally don’t have. So there’s that, right?

As far as the nightshades are concerned, there have been a couple snafus. I was so focused on the no sugar, no white potatoes thing that I completely forgot that tomatoes are a nightshade. While taking a bite of brown rice pasta with marinara sauce the other day, I realized duh tomatoes! And then a couple days later I had salsa. An oversight on my part, but it happens. I can’t beat myself up over it forever. I had a “That really sucks!” moment and moved on. So I’m not actually sure how exactly nightshades effect my body yet because I haven’t completely gotten rid of them from my system. Hopefully, though, I’ll have more to go on with the next update.

The positives of all of this are that I’m starting to really hear my body, not my addiction talking, and I am starting to recognize my triggers for wanting to reach for something sugary or full of carbs, which in itself has been a huge learning experience. Some of the triggers are innate like wanting sugary foods when I’m cold because my body wants to up its stores in case there’s a food shortage. I can appreciate the wisdom bred into my body but know that I’ll not be without food any time soon. Usually I can simply tell myself this and have something savory instead like a handful of nuts or some sardines, and the craving is appeased.

But sometimes, more often than not, the triggers are emotional like craving chocolate when I’m sad or stressed, and those are much tougher to override. I’ve tried ignoring them completely, which works very rarely and usually only succeeds in making me hungrier and desperate. I’ve tried throwing fruit at them, which also sometimes works, especially in the case of apple chips. But sometimes I just have to give my body what it wants in the healthiest way possible.

Instead of half a cup of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, which is easier to eat over the course of a day than I’d like to admit, I can have some chocolate peanut butter pudding made with sweet potato and avocado. No, it isn’t as sweet as most things people would consider sweet, but it is sweet enough, and it’s filling. Plus, it’s damn good and healthy for you. So good, in fact, I used this pudding recipe as the filling in my revised grain free dairy free chocolate peanut butter pie recipe that I made for my birthday, and it was good! I’ll be sure to post the recipe soon, so you can enjoy it too 🙂

So I’m on to the next week of this challenge with a lot of hard work behind me as well as ahead of me. There will be some set backs, I’m sure, ones that I’ll learn and grow from, but many more victories, and those will be what I focus the majority of my attention on.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Maya Angelou

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Love and Chocolate: It’s Valentine’s Day!

I loved Valentine’s Day, when I was little back before I really liked boys. The school parties, laughing with friends, cards, stuffed animals, chocolate, and um chocolate 😉 But then middle school hit and suddenly it wasn’t quite as fun anymore. Yes, the parties and laughter and cards and stuffed animals and chocolate were all still there, but now there was this added layer. Would I get asked to be anyone’s Valentine? Would anyone dance with me at the dances?

It suddenly became a holiday filled with so much anxiety. Thankfully there was one boy who always asked me to dance. I don’t know if he was doing it just to be nice or if he actually truly liked me, but it did mean and still means so much to me that he always bought me a $1 carnation and asked me to dance. He kept hope alive inside of me each year after, when I wasn’t asked to be anyone’s Valentine. Maybe next year, I’d tell myself.

So through high school I surrounded myself with my friends and family, the people who day in and day out supported and loved me for me. We laughed until our sides ached and tears streamed down our faces. We were each others Valentine’s, all of us. But it still felt like something, or someone rather, was missing.

And then I met my husband and suddenly I was excited for Valentine’s Day to roll around. YES! Me, Kylee, Miss Never Had A Boyfriend, would have her first Valentine ever! This is where I’d be doing my “super pumped” dance, which is truly a sight to behold I can assure you 😉

That first year we actually tried to go out to dinner and do the whole 9 yards. Oh, how silly we were! The wait was insane even at a chain restaurant! Apparently you need reservations anywhere you go on that holiest of dinner date days. Who knew?

So we learned our lesson and started our own tradition at home the following year. One of us would make a fancy dinner and the other a fancy dessert, and it was perfect. It is perfect. Every year. And not because we spend hundreds of dollars. In fact, we don’t even exchange gifts. Cards are enough for us because we’ve realized that Valentine’s Day is just a day like any other. That realization was so freeing for my inner middle schooler. I didn’t suddenly love him more or differently just because February 14th had rolled around again. I love him always regardless of anything else. He’s my favorite person in the whole world.

When I think back on Valentine’s Days past, I am sad and happy at the same time. Sad that I spent so much time worrying, sad about all the unnecessary heartbreak, but happy that I’ve finally realized I always had a Valentine, many in fact. Maybe they weren’t of the romantic variety, but we loved each other all the same– my family and friends. More than anything, though, I’m happy because I’ve come to love myself so much more than I did back then, and that has truly made all the difference on this day.

Of course having a husband, children, family, and friends who love me unconditionally is an amazing gift, one I would never want to trade or give up, but the best gift I ever gave myself was self love. When you love yourself, you come to see that while it is nice to have outside love, it’s no longer something you need desperately.

I’m still a work in progress, I still have days when I’m not particularly fond of myself, I still struggle on some days to see passed my faults and love myself regardless, and on those days it is nice to be loved by others romantic or otherwise, but under it all is now a pretty solid foundation of self love that I stand on every day. That is what I wish for everyone on this Valentine’s Day and every Valentine’s Day for the rest of time. Love yourselves. You won’t be sorry you did, I promise you. And of course, chocolate 😉

With all the love in my heart, Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!