Thursday, August 16, 2012

N=1/Hitting The Reset Button

So after a year of eating pretty strict Paleo, feeling full of energy, getting down to 132 pounds (after 5 children) and receiving fantastic results back on my life insurance blood work, I unknowingly entered into my own personal clinical study to test the effects of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).  I didn't set out to intentionally ditch the Paleo/Low Carb lifestyle or anything, but it seemed that with my baby weight off and confirmation that my blood work was great, I began to allow myself some indulgences.  Well the indulgences, coupled with a crazy summer of often dining away from home quickly became a slippery slope.  The next thing I knew I was back to consuming wheat several times a week, drinking wine 3-4 times a week and requiring coffee every morning to get my day going!  At first, I seemed to bounce right back after an occasional high-carb meal but over the course of six weeks, I began noticing the familiar consequences of the S.A.D.

The very first sign was a decrease in energy.  With low energy I began reaching for coffee not only in the morning but late afternoon as well.  Deadlines, big events, long trips.....I was crutching on coffee to get me through.  However being very sensitive to caffeine, I often became TOO wired and sleep began to escape me in the evenings.  A harmless glass of wine to quiet the effects of the caffeine turned into practically a nightly ritual, but due to all the entertaining and family gathering this hardly seemed like a big deal.

So now you add caffeine, alcohol, poor sleep quality, the S.A.D (full of grains and sugar) to an already full and hectic schedule and bad things begin to happen.  My joints started to ache with inflammation and I started getting migraines.  My feet actually hurt when they first hit the floor in the mornings!  Of course with low energy and achy joints I didn't feel much like exercising so I quickly began losing strength and muscle mass.  My digestive system  tormented me with unpredictable bouts of constipation,  followed by untimely episodes of the other extreme. Bad moods and negativity seemed to overshadow more and more of my day. The more I strayed from my usual Paleo/Low Carb choices, the worse I would get.

At first I didn't notice any weight gain but because I wasn't feeling well, I kept telling myself, "Oh , I'll get back on track after this trip", or '"As soon as this happens or that happens, things will settle down and I'll get back on the wagon."  Weekend after weekend, family gathering after horse show after holiday after cook out after short trip after celebration..........suddenly I'm staring at nearly 10 pounds of weight gain on the scale! So now I not only don't feel well, I get to add "feeling uncomfortable in my clothes" to my list of woes!  But honestly and truly, the weight gain is NOTHING compared to having  knees so sore I can't crouch to the ground, sleep-wrecking low- back pain, aching hands, foggy memory and crappy moods!!!

Thanks anyway America for your Standard American (grain-filled, sugar laden) Diet (S.A.D.).  My N=1 experiment, while not full of specifically quantifiable data, was enough to convince ME that I WAS on the right track with the Paleo/Low Carb lifestyle and THAT is where I shall return.  I have far too much going on in my life to be burdened with aches and pains and negative thoughts!........sigh.....It is time to hit the RESET button.