Relationship with food – Show up for yourself every day!
I hope you have a better relationship with food than I did during my perimenopausal years.
But some background to the matter. My mother was always on some kind of a weight loss diet since her mid-forties. She even wrote a book about one of them, the Pritikin Diet. She tried them all: South Beach Diet, Hollywood Diet, Cabbage Diet, UN Diet. You name it, she tried it!
The main problem was that she cheated all the time. She did succeed in losing the weight she wanted to a few times, but she always gained the weight all back, and then some.
We would tease her that she never left the kitchen without a few bites stolen behind her own back.
In hindsight, the problem was that she never thought of any of the diets she tried as a lifestyle change, but as a constant state of deprivation and sacrifice.
I repeated her pattern until my mid-forties. I would gain weight and then go on a strict diet, lose it, and then gain it back within a few years.
Like a merry go round, I would end up in the same place I started. Like my mother, I also didn’t change my core relationship to food.
The real change happened when I found a nutritionist who helped me. She was in her 60s, so she understood the particular challenges I was facing in perimenopause. She had me do many tests and discovered that I was sensitive to carbs, so she put me on a diet based on non-starchy vegetables, fruit, fish, and poultry. Today it is called The Mediterranean Keto diet.
This became the way I ate for years. I got to my desired weight in about 6 months and felt great. I started to wake up a little earlier to prepare my lunch to take to work. Nothing was a problem until I began the last phase of perimenopause.
When I reached 50, insomnia and night sweats invaded my nights. My days were not spared either; they were interrupted by severe hot flashes, anxiety, and light depression. I turned to comfort food again, like many times before in my life. Chocolate, pastries, all kinds of cakes, biscuits, cookies, and sweets were my drug of choice.
The weight crept up on me slowly. It did not happen overnight. One kg here, another there. The shock came when I realized I had gained 20 kgs/44 lbs!
Then I came across a study that stated that sugar is 5 times more addictive than cocaine. That was my wakeup call. I realized I was actually hooked on sugar and carbs.
I started researching sugar more and more and came upon many scientific papers about the harm it does to the body and especially the brain. So, I decided to create my own “rehab” from this sneaky drug and get “clean.”
Remembering the success I had with the nutritionist from past years, I went back to the way of eating she had advised while adding intermittent fasting to the mix. (Stay tuned because we will cover all of this in the coming blogs.)
It took me 2 years to lose the weight, but I was never hungry and never felt deprived. In menopause your metabolism is slower and plus I have hypothyroidism which makes losing weight even harder.
I am not promoting any specific way of eating, quite the contrary.
Because we are all so different, different things work for different people. Some women thrive on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Many feel good on a balanced diet promoted by the main media. Yet others benefit from a low carb version.
The one thing I want to leave you with is that however you choose to eat to maintain health, you should think of as a lifestyle, rather than a sprint or a fad diet.
The only thing you need to do is be persistent, be stronger than your excuses! Take it one day at a time.
You have to show up for yourself every day, well.. at least 6 days a week. Be there to love your body by improving your health one bite at a time. If you stick to your new way of eating 80% time you will surely see positive changes. It is my day 792 on this lifestyle (2 years, 2 months, and 29 days – I have an app that counts 😊). The weight was not linear but the trend is down all the time… well nearly all the time.
Remind yourself why you started this lifestyle. Remember that you are doing this for your health and overall wellbeing. What you do today affects your tomorrow!
Every now and then, but very rarely, I indulge in a piece of cake or some chocolate fudge. Still, I go back to my chosen healthy eating lifestyle at the very next meal.
Your relationship with food is what needs to change. You can do it too. Think of it as a lifestyle change and stick to it.
Slow and steady wins the race.
PS: This is me today. I would still like to lose a bit, but I am so much more satisfied with how I feel and how I look at 60 years young. 😊
We will focus on food and nutrition in our upcoming series, so sign up for our blog.