My husband and I started a journey to live a healthy life on January 1, 2011. Our goal at that time was to lose weight. Our combined weight was nearly 600lbs. The lives we were living were slowing killing us, and we became very aware that if we planned to have a family, some serious changing needed to take place.
We didn't start out knowing anything about healthy weight loss other than how to count calories, watch carbs, and eat low fat. As we reached Thanksgiving day 2011, I had reached my weight loss goal, and my husband, Caleb, had lost 120lbs. We felt amazing. We had accomplished what we had set out to do, and it was awesome.
With the holidays upon us we began eating more outside the realm of what we had been for the past 11 months. We were feeling good, and were also shocked to notice that eating one bad meal didn't make us gain all that weight back overnight! However, it wasn't long before we were beginning to eat at home less and less, and filling out our clothes a little more that we had intended.
We didn't exactly go completely back to the dark side, but we had picked up on some of our old bad habits. I was at a loss. I knew gaining the weight back that I'd lost was not something I wanted, but continuing to eat all the low fat, no fat and low carb, no carb had made me too thin. So, naturally I ate more junk, just less often. Problem solved!
January of 2013 I found out I was pregnant with my son Silas. We were over-joyed. Up to this point both of us had managed to keep our weight somewhat in check with random exercise, and counting calories on occasion. I had gained back 10-12lbs, but now I was pregnant, so unless I wanted to make that 70lbs it was time to get serious. And by serious I mean walk 2 miles a day, so I could have ice cream when I wanted!
For the next 9 months I was sure to eat more vegetables than usual, walk, and take my prenatal vitamin everyday. I gained 35lbs with my pregnancy, and felt pretty good about that.
After things calmed down at home, from the arrival of our precious, I wanted to focus back to my body, and how best to manage what had just happened to it. I was nursing, so I could get away with eating like an Olympic athlete for a little while, but I had to get serious eventually.
One day, in March of 2014, I saw a couple interesting documentaries on netflix. I have always liked to watch the food documentaries: Food, inc, Food Matters, ect. I was aware of the garbage the food industry slings, and had tried to make changes in that area by shopping at the farmers market more often. But these couple changed my live. Literally.
The first was Forks Over Knives. I couldn't believe some of the things they were saying. I mean these are scientific studies that proved this information. It wasn't just about the mistreatment of animals. It was about cancer and other diseases that had been cured, by simply changing one's diet. Insane.
The second was Vegucated. This one probably ticked me off more because I was still in shock from the first. But here I am, having just learned that eating animals in large quantaties causes certain cancers, and this program is showing me live baby, male chicks being thrown into what looks like a wood chipper, simply because they didn't produce eggs. It was just too much.
Let me just clarify, but before I say this, I am not trying to offend anyone who is a vegan primarily because of animal rights. For me personally, I see no wrong in the consuming of animals. I do, however, have a huge problem with the consumption of animals that lived a life of torture. God never intended we stock pile these poor creatures in cages, barns, and grass less inclosures, so that we could eat a half pound of animal flesh for every meal. It's bananas!! Not only is it wrong, but it's killing us. Not like shot to the head with a bullet, more like fattening us up and killing us slow, like the witch from Hansel and Gretel.
So when Caleb got home from work I showed him the films. Seeing him just as engaged as I had been was all the push I needed. I set out to change everything about that way I looked at food. No more processed, no more dairy, no more meat!
My father-in-law, who only 5 months before this had suffered a massive heart attack, had been planning his birthday meal for some time. See after his heart attack both he and my mother-in-law took a serious look at how they had been eating. But the birthday was approaching, and it was time to celebrate a little.
What I am about to admit to you is a tiny bit embarrassing, but whatever... Caleb and I had set a date, doom's day to the junk, if you will. So, like any typical person on "death row" we had to get our last time fixes on all the junk we were no longer going to eat. We bought a package of Oreos, a bag of powdered donuts, 1/2 gallon of chocolate milk, and 1/2 gallon of white whole milk. That was just to end the sweets we were no longer going to eat. I could go on to tell you about how we ate the celebratory Chinese buffet with the in-laws, cheesecakes, meat lovers pizzas... But let's just say we most likely took a couple years off our lives by way of meat, cheese, and sweet laden processed food.
So it was done. April 2nd, 2014, no more crap. The first two weeks were very overwhelming. I literally had like a mourning period. I would think about how I could never go get a pizza from Pizza Hut and a movie for my kids on a Friday night, or how when the ice cream truck went by I would just have to tell them, "we don't eat that toxin garbage". It felt like a part of me had died. Not to mention how eating with our families made us look and feel a bit like freaks. Having to explain without droning on forever. It was tough, but eventually I started to realize that it wasn't Pizza Hut or the ice cream truck that would be making memories with our kids. It would be us, Caleb and I. Cooking a pizza from scratch and getting to pick our own toppings, while a rented DVD was playing through it's previews. And as for how I felt about talking to others about the way we ate now, I just stopped caring that maybe it was confussing or didn't make since to them. It wasn't a choice I made for anyone but myself and my family anyway, so what difference did it make? I feel amazing. My body has returned to a weight I am comfortable with, and I am not dieting!
I will admit Caleb and I do indulge in the random dairy treat from time to time, so the whole "purging" thing was really overly dramatic, in hindsight. We also eat farm eggs when I can get them, but what we have made sure to never to lose sight of, is the ever conscious motives behind how and why we feed our bodies. In today's world it is easy to lose track and get stuck in a rut of fast food and prepackaged junk, but if you just keep reminding yourself what food is truly meant for it gets easier. Food is fuel for our perfectly created bodies, so that we may be the best us possible. Change is hard, but nothing worth while ever comes easily. God gave us all the food we could ever need, we just have to look past the clouds of Cheetos dust to see it sometimes.