Friday, November 7, 2014

No grains, no gains - What keeps me motivated

A group of Primal/Paleo/Grain Free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be WANTING TO LOSE WEIGHT, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding.

This month's topic is about how I stay motivated to remain grain free. I lost my weight following Dr. Poon's Metabolic Diet which is basically grain free. Once I was going to begin maintenance, I panicked when I looked at the maintenance program. It said I was allowed to have measured whole grains again. Being the binge eater I am,  I knew that I would never be able to stick to a serving of whole wheat pasta or whole grain bread. My addiction to carbs was too great. And I did well grain free for the 15+ months I was on the diet. That is when I decided to follow the Paleo lifestyle for maintenance. It's grain free and I don't have to stress about grains again. They're off limits and I need rules. Strict rules. That's why Dr. Poon's diet worked for me for weight loss. I can't handle choice. Structured and strict is what I need when it comes to eating.

Choosing this lifestyle is not right for everyone. But I know it's right for me. Because of my binging past (and my binge foods of choice were processed carbs), it only made sense for me to eliminate the root of my weight problem. And for me that's grains and refined sugar. Almost everyday I get asked what keeps me on plan. Why don't I ever indulge in something that I would deem "off limits". Short answer is that I can't handle it. I sit right by the "treat" table at work. Right now all my leftover halloween candy is on that table. My co-worker has asked me more than once how I resist the treats. It's easy as long as I don't have even one. I know that having one will lead to 2, then 3, then I'm eating all of it. I have no problem being around foods I don't eat, as long as I continue to NOT eat them.

So what exactly keeps me motivated to remain grain free? There are other underlying reasons now that I'm on maintenance. Some of them for health, some of them for performance, some of them for appearance. But all of them are important to me.
  1. My family, namely my son - If you know my story, you know that he was the catalyst for my lifestyle change. My AH-HA moment was when he was three and I was turned away from an amusement park ride he wanted me to go on for being too big. I continue to model a healthy lifestyle so that he picks up my good habits. My son is not Paleo.
  2. Running - Just for the record I am living proof that you don't need to "carb load" on grains to be a distance runner. I've struggled with running over the past year. I've been plagued with numerous injuries, but I'm always striving to do better. I've always eaten clean as a runner and it works for me. I'm hoping this coming year will see me healthier and stronger than ever.
  3. Playing dress up - Being able to shop in any clothing store in the mall with the exception of specialty "plus size" stores. This is so foreign to me. Prior to a couple years ago, I never shopped anywhere else but the plus size section. There's such a freedom knowing that I can go into any woman's store and they will have my size.
  4. How I feel physically is a huge reason why I keep doing it - I have never felt better. I rarely have stomach issues (unless I eat a ridiculous amount of cabbage, or dairy). My digestive system works the way it should. When I was morbidly obese my breathing was heavy and laboured. The only time that happens now is when I run. My body was also in a lot of pain being morbidly obese. If I have to be honest it still is sometimes, but due to running fatigue. Rest cures that kind of pain. It was chronic due to my size when I overweight.
  5. Simplified lifestyle - For me, remaining grain free is a foolproof approach to maintenance. The only time I've put on weight is when I've gone off plan (ie: excessive cheese consumption during my European vacation). Getting back to eating clean gets me right back on track.
  6. Being a role model - I have a strong desire not to let other's down who see me as inspirational, both in my personal life as well as over social media. When someone tells me that I have inspired them to run or begin a lifestyle change, I feel like I need to continue being the best I can be. I chose to put myself out on social media, so I should absolutely practice what I preach! 
  7. Success rate - I don't want to be another statistic. And I think I finally have this maintenence thing figured out. I know for a fact that if you fall back into old eating habits after weight loss, you will re-gain. I did it once already 14 years ago. Even without the running, my eating is in check. Some of my other Primal/Paleo friends may not have the activity level I do but still maintain because diet really is more important than exercise. And when I broke my ankle last fall and couldn't run (or do anything) for 10 weeks, I did not gain weight because I kept my diet clean. I cannot outrun a bad diet. That is the truth. People who are highly active can still be obese because of an unhealthy diet.
  8. The physical freedom that I have - I can do things I never could when I was morbidly obese. Go on rides, sit in the middle seat of the subway, do physical activities I never could before. Other than when I was a small child, I have never really experienced this kind of freedom before.
So there you have it. My motivation. Next month will mark my 2nd year of maintenance. Although I'll never forget what it felt like to struggle as a morbidly obese person, those memories are becoming more and more distant. Below is one of my favorite before and after comparison photos. It shows me how far I have come and gives me that extra push when I feel unmotivated to run. I actually like the way my legs and butt look in that photo. And I have never liked seeing myself from behind. I've still a lot of work to do to realize my running goals for this year (ie: get a "personal best" in the Chilly Half and the Around the Bay 30K this coming March). But even if I stayed exactly as I am right now, I can hold my head high and know that I have made a huge difference in the quality of my son's life as well as my own.

Now check out my blogging buddies and find out what keeps them motivated. Each with different experiences, each with a different story.

For Life -Jeanette
Garden Girl - Karen
The Sunny Coconut - Gwen

300+ pounds vs. 165 pounds.