Let’s start out with the facts: life is hard – change is hard – but the hard work is eventually worth it.
We’ve all had that time where we need to make a change in life: a change in career, a change in lifestyle, a change in relationship.
Right now, I’m at the beginning of a change in lifestyle. I’ve been expressing my frustrations about it to people since the beginning of August.
My change? To avoid being put on statin drugs for my cholesterol levels, I am working to adopt the Paleo lifestyle that my chiropractor suggested. In addition, I’m trying to add exercise to my lifestyle.
You see, I’ll make whatever changes are necessary to avoid being put on medications.
I remember a call from my mother after two days on a third type of statin drug. Her joints were so stiff and achy (after each of the three different medications) that she couldn’t climb the stairs to her bedroom. The same was true for my father and my husband, and from what I have read, the side effects and dangers of statin drugs are not something I want to deal with.
This especially comes from the fact that most of the drugs I have been prescribed have had the opposite effect on me: pain killers do not knock me out (In fact, Vicodin had me in tears after I tripped over the dog and sprained my ankle.) – they keep me awake; when I was a kid, the aspirin the doctor had me take to lower my fever and relax me, wound me up and kept me awake, allergy meds that make most people sleepy have no effect on me at all. Why take the chance that whatever the side effects are will be my normal?
So, enter the transition from eating whatever I want to eating foods that are considered Paleo.
Easy? Nope. Temptations surround me at every turn, especially when it is not essential for my step-daughter and husband, but at least my husband needs to be on a low carb diet for diabetes.
I started to make a Paleo version of bread. It’s good, especially toasted. I keep telling myself that I can do this. I even got my husband to taste it and he likes it. Score.
When we saw the nutritionist associated with hubby’s endocrinologist, she was aghast when I asked about eliminating grains as carbs. She also said she didn’t adhere to the concept of the glycemic index because it wasn’t scientific, yet the American Diabetes Association supports the idea that understanding whether a food is low, medium, or high on the index is helpful in meal planning. On the flip side, the Mayo Clinic site talks about the fact that the glycemic index is difficult to use because prepared foods don’t list where they fit on the index and that foods that are low on the index may be high in calories and fats. The more I research, the more frustrated I get.
Diet and lifestyle do not have a one-size-fits-all solution.
Today, I shopped hungry. BIG MISTAKE!
The bakery section called to me.
The coffee shop called to me.
The cookie and junk food aisles called to me.
To satisfy my mind’s thoughts of junk food and my brain’s and my self-control’s focus to stay on track, I chose a dark chocolate and nut “healthy” bar.
After 3 weeks, although I am still not wholly Paleo in my eating choices, I am for the most part choosing foods that are considered Paleo and cooking with Paleo in mind.
However, I have my moments of doubt that this is the right solution for me.
I also told my chiropractor that I didn’t know if I could ever get totally on board with Paleo because every once in a while I need to “cheat.” To eat that one small cookie. To try that delicious looking dessert. To have that deep-fried corn dog at the county fair. To have a sub on whole wheat bread.
AND then I pay for it. The processed sugars and preservatives in the cookies, the deserts, and the breads make my joints stiff and I find it difficult to get moving in the morning. The wheat and gluten in the cookies, desserts, corn dog, and bread find me needing allergy medication in the morning and at night. And the act of deep frying gives me a nauseous stomach (four antacids later, I was still miserable).
It is at this time that I picture myself going back to the doctor in February and having an acceptable cholesterol level, that I am in better physical shape because I am eating with my health in mind and getting exercise at least three times a week. I picture the image of myself that I see in my head matching the image of myself that I see every morning in the mirror.
That will be my victory.