We changed our mindset


Mindset – it either makes or breaks us.  I drastically changed my mindset about food … and health … and this is where it got us!

“You must master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be” (Marianne Williamson)

It started as a coupe of serious health issues, sparked by a pre-diabetes blood glucose level 3 years ago (my husband’s) and me living in constant pain.  Within 24 hours we had purged our pantry and started our 10 day food detox as outlined in this post .

We continued with this strict food detox for much longer than 10 days due to how well it was working for both of us – my pain was subsiding and my husband’s BGL’s were stabilising in the normal range.  In fact, we continued on a strict food detox for 60 days before starting to add our eliminated foods back one by one.   I had to keep many of the eliminated foods out of my diet for many months – corn, quinoa and dairy were definitely not my friends for a very long time.  After 12 weeks I wrote a blog post that you can read here .

I had serious gut issues and only once these were resolved could I tolerate some corn and some quinoa.  The day I could add back goat’s cheese was one of my happiest “food” days – funny how the smallest of things become big things!

In the last 6 months I have managed to add fermented homemade yoghurt back into my eating plan.  Regarding the nightshades – the only one I have successfully added back without causing any pain, is well-cooked white potato – I can tolerate a small amount a few times a month.  I am happy with this as white potato is good as a resistant starch and has many health benefits.

When we started on this journey we were told it was totally unsustainable.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

After 3 years:

  • I eat real, whole foods only
  • I don’t follow a particular “diet”
  • I avoid gluten and soy and some nightshade vegetables
  • I eat whole fruit
  • I don’t eat sugar
  • I make everything from scratch
  • I eat when I’m hungry
  • I don’t count calories
  • I don’t fear fat
  • I eat many more vegetables than I used to
  • I eat across the colours of the rainbow
  • I eat fermented foods daily
  • I eat nutrient dense food
  • I eat and live mindfully
  • I buy as much as I can from farmer’s markets and support local growers and producers
  • I avoid the foods that I know inflame me and cause my pain to flare
  • I move as often as I can
  • I make sure I get at least 8 hours good quality sleep every night
  • I drink good quality water
  • I walk barefoot on the beach as often as I can
  • I walk or sit in the sun as often as I can
  • I don’t sweat the small stuff
  • I enjoy my red wine

    What we were doing before wasn’t working.

What did we have to lose by changing our mindset about food and health?

A lot!

In fact we lost 80kg combined weight in 3 years.  How we did it is totally achievable.  What do you need to do?

Change your mindset!

 

 

HEALTHY HAPPY THIN

healthy happy thin

Healthy

Happy

Thin

It’s only taken me 30 years to be healthy happy thin but heck, who the hell is counting?  At least I got there in the end.  Just like a fine red wine, I have matured with age and will (hopefully) age gracefully too.  Seriously though, it took me 28 years to stop believing everything I read about healthy eating and 2 years to get rid of my chronic pain AND 42kg once I started listening to my body and took matters into my own hands!  Even if I say so myself, I think that’s pretty damn remarkable!

I started this blog so people could read how I lost the first 31kg and recovered from chronic pain – you can read about that here and here .  I maintained my weight by avoiding the foods that inflamed me and was quite comfortable and happy in my own skin.  I was healthy happy thin -ish and had gone from a size 18/20 down to a size 12 and seriously would have been quite content to see my days out at that weight and size.  I had loads of energy, I was healthy, I was loving life, but I wanted to see if I could get back to what I weighed in my late 20’s.  I had finished my nutrition studies through Changing Habits (if you are interested in the online nutrition course I chose to do, as it resonated with my beliefs of health and wellness, you can read about it here ) and was inspired to try one of Cyndi’s protocols, which she adapted from the 1950’s Pounds and Inches HCG Diet, developed by Dr Simeons.

A lot of planning and food preparation is needed to succeed with this protocol.  The timing of when and how you start this protocol is essential as it is a process that needs to be followed to a T.  The protocol is divided into 4 phases and I did my 4 phases over 63 days, so essentially you need to find two months when you cannot have any excuses about this function to go to, that child’s birthday, no Christmas parties, etc.  You need to be in the right head space as once you start, you can’t stop until you’ve progressed through all 4 phases, otherwise you are just kidding yourself and you won’t succeed.

Personally, having followed such a strict personal eating plan for the last 2 years, I found this protocol a walk in the park.  I was seriously never hungry and the weight just melted off.  If anybody thinks my usual eating plan is restrictive, then don’t even consider this protocol as it is 100 times more restrictive.  Before starting on the protocol, I was skeptical to say the least.  Homeopathic HCG drops are taken three times a day and my pharmaceutical brain had me believing I was going to be starving hungry, irritable and a witch to live with.  I did not believe the homeopathic drops could perform the miracles they were touted to perform!  Boy was I surprised as to how quickly and effectively they worked!  From day 1 I felt different, and at no stage did I think I could not do this.  Being prepared food-wise is key to succeeding.   So, if you are interested,  just click on the link below and you can find out everything you need to know, how the drops work, the support offered by Changing Habits,  what you need to take along with the drops, how to order, etc.  I have been amazed as well as to how my whole body shape has changed.  Although within 10kg of my ideal body weight when I started the protocol, I think the excess 10kg I was carrying was between my waist and knees.  This is where I have slimmed down considerably,  but have lost a bit more in other areas too.

https://changinghabits.com.au/4-phase-fat-elimination-protocol?utm_source=iDevAffiliate&utm_medium=Banner&utm_campaign=iDevAffiliate%204%20Phase%20Fat%20Elimination%20Protocol

Maybe this is for you, maybe it isn’t, but for me, this has been the icing on my weight-loss cake.  No more guilt, no more shame, I can now hold my head high and walk my talk and best of all, no more pain!

2013-2016

ps…I am now a size 10 🙂

healthy happy thin

 

Inflammation Obesity Pain

obesity gone pain gone

Obesity.

Inflammation.

Pain.

Gone.

What a difference 2 years can make to one’s life.   April 28th 2014, my body was broken.  I suffered from chronic arthritis and lived in pain.  I was inflamed.   I was obese.  Every day was a struggle, but of course the rest of the world never knew this.  I became a master at masking how I actually felt.  I couldn’t hold a pen, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t do up buttons, I couldn’t pull up zips, I couldn’t open taps, I couldn’t open bottles or screw top lids, I couldn’t shake anybody’s hand, I couldn’t cut with a knife, I couldn’t hold a cup by its handle, I could only use a battery operated toothbrush, I couldn’t do so many things and life sucked!  I was also wracked with guilt – I was obese and it was all my own fault.  Did I really eat that much?    No, I actually didn’t.  But what I did do, was eat the wrong foods for my body!  Facing surgery on both hands, with no guarantee for success, I put on my scientific hat and researched and researched to find out WHY my 50 + year old body was letting me down.

Quite by chance my husband’s body was broken too, but not in the same way mine was.  He suffered from obesity too and he was pre-diabetic. Being a male, he wanted to fix himself straight away!  Actually, he expected me to “fix” him overnight!   Based on my research at the time and the books I had been reading, I chose to do a 10 day food detox with him (based on Mark Hyman’s book of a similar name), to restore his factory settings (and no, he isn’t an Apple).  Guess what?  I started detoxing and losing weight within the first few days of our food detox, but another miracle was unfolding.  My pain started to disappear and within the first 2 weeks I no longer needed to wear my splints on my hands all the time!   These results blew my mind – diminishing pain, weight falling off and I was eating so much…three times what I normally ate…and the only exercise I could manage at the time due to my pain level, was walking, so this was not a case of  less calories in and more calories out!

You can read about our original Food Detox here.

So the 10 day detox became a 60 day detox and at the 120 day mark, this is what I had discovered.

For 15 months my weight remained stable after losing 31kg,  the bulk of it within the first 6 months.  I had regained the use of my hands, lost all my pain and my body was no longer broken!  My obesity was gone! I then decided my weight needed to go down again and so 6 weeks ago I embarked on my final push to drop the last 10kg that would get me back to the weight I was in my 20’s….

And I’ve done it!

ps My husband’s pre-diabetes is fixed too!

Bye Bye Amalgams

Today I had the last of my amalgams (mercury fillings) removed.  I’ve had them for years, as these were the only fillings available to us baby boomers all those years ago!  It’s taken 3 sittings – each roughly 40 minutes and quite honestly, it was a breeze.  Yes, it came at a price, but hopefully the health benefit will far outweigh the financial cost and my private health fund paid a bit too, which was a bonus.  For someone who hates the dentist, this was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. But, let me say it right here and now, the removal of amalgams MUST ONLY be done by a holistic or biological dentist. The procedure is not complicated,  but preventing mercury toxicity during the removal is critical not only to the patient’s health but also the dentist and technician’s health.

I had quizzed my previous dentist many times about the risk of heavy metal poisoning from the mercury in the mouth and always got the same reply: “Just leave them be, they are safer in your mouth than trying to remove them!” What a load of hogwash. As part of my health crusade, I was determined to have them removed as all my research pointed to chronic long term health issues as a result of mercury toxicity.

Our bodies are designed to naturally detoxify mercury and other heavy metals, but can only cope with incidental exposure, not chronic long term exposure. How effectively we detoxify naturally depends on how healthy we are, our genes, our gene expression, the exposure levels, and whether we are slow or fast detoxifiers.  Mercury fillings emit vapour all the time, the fillings are in our mouths, next to our mucous membranes and a few inches below our brains…it would be unreasonable to believe that our body can cope with this exposure 24/7 and effectively detox us fully. As mercury crosses the blood brain barrier (it is fat soluble and the brain is 60% fat), neurological symptoms including depression, anxiety, memory loss and even Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease have been attributed to toxic exposure and accumulation. Besides our brain, the vapour leaches into our saliva, which we swallow and so expose our entire digestive tract to mercury too.  And what do we have in our digestive tract other than our digestive system?  Our immune system!  So what effect does mercury have on our immune system?  And don’t forget that neurotransmitters are made in our gut and in our brain, so this is a double whammy for mercury causing neurological issues!

But how does the body cope with what it is exposed to?  Well it can’t so it stores what we don’t detoxify naturally and it stores it in our body fat … and we are supposed to lose this fat in the winter and whoosh, out goes the mercury.  In a perfect world, yes this would be so, but I was fat for so many years, not much mercury had a chance to leave my body!  So yes, I’m sure my amalgams have contributed to my health issues.

So in order to support my body’s natural detoxification pathways and safely eliminate mercury from my body, I put myself on a “detox” programme of sorts. The critical first step was to ensure that my diet was optimal, and mine is by the mere nature of what I eat and don’t eat and I’ve eaten like this for almost 2 years. The second step is – go slow and proceed with caution, under the care of someone who knows how to coach you through this. Certain foods and supplements can help support your body and its detoxification pathways and are essential to help rid your body of accumulated mercury.  You can’t go from 6 amalgams to no amalgams in a couple of weeks. Your biological dentist is the one who will decide and advise you on how long you need to detoxify for and at what rate the amalgams should be removed. If you go too fast, your body won’t be able to remove the mercury quickly enough and you could end up with severe kidney issues.  Mercury leaves the body via urine, faeces, breathing out and breast milk!

Besides dental amalgam exposure, mercury is found in fish, air, drinking water, vaccines, fluorescent light bulbs, thermostats and thermometers, batteries, red tattoo dye, and many more readily available products.

Thank you Simon at Ozone Dental, Adelaide, for helping me on my journey.

Obesity Determinants

There are many different factors that contribute to the world-wide problem of obesity today.  If solving this problem was as easy as eating less fatty foods and exercising more, we would not have a problem.  Unfortunately it is not as simple as that.  While the “calories in, calories out” theory looks good on paper, it doesn’t take into account the complex metabolic pathways that different foods go through when we eat them or the effects that different foods have on our hormones and brain.  Calories in vs calories out in general therefore fails to work at a grassroots level.

We are all different and thank heavens for that!  We all have different genes, come from different cultures, are of different social classes and live in different environments.  Obesity is complex.  Weight loss is more complex.  It is an individual thing, there is no “one size fits all” and all calories are not created equal.

Living in cities we are surrounded by fast food chains and supermarkets that are open from early morning to late at night.  Food is freely available, most of it is processed and the more processed it is, the cheaper it is.  So if we can’t afford to be a food snob and only buy the healthiest organic food our bodies need,  then we will buy the cheaper, more addictive foods that the food industry likes to advertise.  And we can and do become addicted to the processed food.  We eat more and exercise less, so yes in this case calories in vs calories out does come into play.  However, if we ate more healthy foods, e.g. vegetables, healthy fats and good quality protein, but of the same caloric value as the cheaper, addictive carbohydrate-laden processed foods that the food industry love, then weight loss would actually happen.  All calories are certainly not equal.  The food we eat control the hormones that regulate how much we eat and when we eat as well.  Different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body, some cause hormone changes that encourage weight gain, while others increase satiety and boost the metabolic rate.

We live hectic lives, we are often stressed and sleep badly.  This too impacts on our hormones and prevents weight loss no matter how minimal our calorie intake is or how excessive our calorie output is.

Toxins surround us.  We inhale them, we consume them, we apply them to our skin and they are disrupting our endocrine systems and poisoning us slowly, day by day. This too has an impact on obesity.

Throughout the world, cultures are threatened as well. Younger people are not taught basic home cooking and even older baby boomers have become accustomed to making use of quick and easy meals prepared with packaged ingredients.  Kitchen skills are not being passed down from generation to generation.  Urbanisation, modernisation of lifestyles and globalisation of food are robbing cultures of their heritage and this is having an impact on obesity and health.  We can’t solve this problem by eating less fat and exercising more.  We have to change our mindset and go back to the basics.  We need to live and eat like our grandparents and great grandparents used to.  And this also involves eating healthy fats!  Like our grandmothers we should render our own lard and tallow and use it for cooking. It may be higher in calories, but less is consumed as it satiates us quicker.

Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, being part of a caring community, being aware of the nutrient value of food, partaking in regular physical activity (a daily 30 minute walk will do, it doesn’t have to be 60 minutes of cardio!), sleeping well, stressing less, having “me” time and holding ourselves accountable, all affect energy in, energy out and can prevent or treat obesity and ultimately keep us healthy.

So don’t cut out the fatty food, just make sure it is healthy fatty food. You may just be surprised by the result.

Better health can be achieved by changing your spots

Change your spots for better health
Can you change your spots?

I’m sorry if your bubble is about to burst, but better health depends on so much more than the number “spot” on your scale.  Whatever the number, it is only part of what makes you healthy.  Your gene “spots”, your sleeping habit “spots”, your stress “spots”, your exercise “spots”, your hormonal status “spots”, the health of your gut microbiome “spots”, the food you eat “spots”, the level of low grade inflammation in your body “spots”, your exposure to environmental toxin “spots”, the risks you take “spots” and many more “spots” all work together to determine how healthy you are.   They all need to be in sync to ensure homeostasis and better health.

The only thing about me that people who have known me for a long time notice, is I’m thinner than I used to be.  They all want to know how I did it.  They all want the magic formula.  They all want to lose x amount of weight.  A quick fix.  They don’t ask if I’m in better health.  If they listen long enough for me to explain how I was searching for better health and the weight loss was a side effect, that’s good, but most of them lose interest when they realise it isn’t just about what I eat.  And it has taken a lot of effort.  You can’t buy a magic potion and expect miracles to happen.  You can’t buy a bottle of new “spots” either.

“I don’t have time for breakfast”

“I can’t give up cheese”

“But I love pasta”

“You don’t eat tomatoes?”

“What do you eat?”

“You obviously never eat out anymore”

“Just tell me I don’t have to give up my coffee”

“Can I still have my wine?”

I’ve heard it all and more.

I am still a work in progress, but I have tried to fix as many “spots” as I can in my life to reduce the toxic/inflammatory load from my food, my environment and my personal space.  I feed my microbiome on a daily basis with fermented coconut kefir and/or probiotics.  I aim for good quality sleep every night and I regularly use technology to check that I’m getting it.  (There’s an app for that).  I refuse to allow myself to get stressed, those days are over.   (There’s no app for that, but there are “mindfulness” apps you can use to help you relax).  I “move” my body daily, I certainly don’t over do it.  I keep track of how many steps I walk per day.  (There’s and app for that too).  I don’t count calories, or keep track of fats, proteins or carbs.  I eat when I’m hungry, but I only eat what I know will be of nutritional benefit to me and steer clear of my known inflammatory causing foods.

So, all in all, I’ve managed to change my “spots” and have found better health.  Change, like happiness is an “inside” job.  Nobody or nothing can change you, you have to do it yourself.  Don’t try and change all your “spots” at once.  Start with one and when you’ve changed it, move onto the next and so on.  You will be surprised how many “spots” you can change in your quest for better health.

Quality of Life

the wonder of nature

Almost 18 months ago I embarked on a health crusade to help my husband reverse his pre-diabetes.  Along the way, as a side effect to the new way of eating, I inadvertently dampened down my chronic low grade inflammation, lost the pain in my hands, hips and feet, started sleeping like a baby and shed 31kg! You can read about this here.

This started me on a crusade.  A crusade to be as healthy as I could. A crusade to help others to achieve the same improvement in quality of life that I have experienced.  My zest for life is greater than it was in my 30’s.

My personal quality of life has improved beyond my wildest dreams.  No magic potions, no magic pills, no intense cardiovascular exercise, just good, wholesome, nutrient dense food, avoiding inflammatory foods and foods to which I am sensitive to and buckets of persistence!  And boy has it all paid off.  I am pain free and motivated to keep going for the rest of my life.  I never want to suffer like I did before.  Nothing is more debilitating than chronic pain and lack of sleep.

We all know that with the tremendous advances made in medicine regarding the treatment of trauma and disease, that our lifespan has been significantly increased.  We will all be living longer and can be kept alive for longer, but my big question is what about our health during this time?  Factors that influence our lifespan include our genes, environment and behaviours. I don’t want to be living longer if I have no quality of life.   I want to live longer and still have the same if not better quality of life.  I still want to do the things I love doing.  I want to get out there and walk on the beach, swim in the sea, take photographs, play with my grandchildren and travel even more than I travel now.  I have lots of things still in my bucket that I want to do and believe me I am doing them as fast as I can, because we never know what the future holds for us.  I don’t want to slow down as I age.  Life is for living and I intend to live it to the full!

….and so to get back to where I started this entry from, by me dampening down my low grade inflammation, I worked out what had caused or contributed to it.  I healed my gut and changed my diet drastically.  Yes, hindsight is an exact science and I’m so glad the way things worked out and I was fortunate enough to work it all out!  Diet, exercise, sleep, stress and hormones.  All of these need to be optimal in order for us to function optimally and have a healthy lifespan or “health span”!

Why oh why do we think we are untouchable?  Why do we think we are invincible?  Why or why, do we wait until the last minute before we make changes?  Sometimes this is too late.  Why do we wait until tragedy strikes in the form of an incurable illness before we make the changes?  Why, why, why???  As I write this I’ve just been told that someone I studied with has end stage lung cancer.  Yes I know that the dietary and lifestyle changes I have made is no guarantee that some illness won’t strike me, but hey, I’m giving it my best shot.  And in case something does strike out of the blue, well I want my body to be in the best possible position it can be, to beat whatever it is.

Just today I listened to the most incredible podcast…I stumbled onto it by mistake.  Ironically it was a podcast with a longevity doctor that I have consulted.  The podcast reminded me of how much I have changed in my everyday life, how far I’ve come at biohacking my health and how I should be ready to have a healthy lifespan (all things withstanding) or “health span”, a term that I feel sums up everything so well.  A frightening static that was shared on the podcast:  at the age of 40 we have the potential to have 10 undiagnosed medical conditions, waiting in the wings, so to speak.  At age 70 this escalates to around 23.  This is frightening.  On a positive note, we are capable of living up to the age of 120, provided of course we make the necessary changes to promote our longevity.   We are also on the cusp of people living healthily for much longer, up to 150 years.   It is of the belief that the child has been born already who will reach that age.  You have to listen to the podcast.  Make the time, it’s about an hour long.  Here is the link.

So God willing, I think I’m good to go for many more years…don’t know how happy my family will be to hear this as I know I’m a pain…but no pain, no gain, the squeaky wheel get the grease, etc, etc!  I’m always looking out for them and of course my nearest and dearest friends.  I almost feel as if I was “lucky” enough to have been given a second chance and that my job now is to help as many as I can to achieve their own “health span”. I have this insatiable, impatient desire to learn and understand everything…

So please, don’t wait until it’s too late.  I wish I’d started 20 years ago.  If I can do it, anybody can.  For without “health span”, what good is a long lifespan?