To Cheer Myself Up and Stay Positive Strategy 2: Affirmations

wp-image-353605417jpg.jpgI am always early to appointments.
My work is free of critical errors.
I finish what I start.
I remember all critical information when I need it.
I have good ideas that I share with the group.
I am thoroughly prepared for each meeting.
I follow through on all projects.

I make projects work.
I confidently lead meetings.
I am courageous.
I know what I’m talking about.
I have a strong voice.
What I have to say is important.
I can interrupt.
I am comfortable with people.

If it’s important, it’s important enough to pay attention.
I don’t shit on my time by not paying attention to what I’m doing or splitting my attention.
I always have plenty of time and money because I accomplish the important things first, focusing on what needs to be done to be healthy, to have a clean home, to give thanks to God, and to answer the call of my heart and soul.
I have exactly the right amount of time and money to do what needs to be done every day, every week, every month, every year.
I have plenty of time and money.

Today is for me. My thesis is for me. It’s mine.

I even made my passwords into affirmations, so I’d be typing an affirmation every time I logged into my computer. I even kept the little wrappers from the Hall’s cough drops, the “pep talk in every drop,” and every time I found them, I would re-read them. They actually cheered me up, too.

I don’t think affirmations have anything to do with sending energy into the universe or whatever. But, call it what you will, when you are positive, people respond to that. When you have the courage or confidence to say what you need or what you’re doing, people will help you. They’ll make connections and bring them back to you. And if you’ve been working hard to stay positive, maybe you’ll be ready to believe that you can take advantage of those opportunities.

Everyday encounters that seemed like chores, obstacles, curses even, can become challenges and opportunities with a changed attitude. An everyday occurrence can be a confirmation of your never-ending failures or just something you can try again tomorrow. An annoying co-worker can be a burden and cross for you to bear, or an exercise in balancing compassion and assertiveness. A meeting can be a soul-sucking exercise in futility or an opportunity to volunteer for something different for the team and a place to write down your ideas for improvement.

It all sounds cheesy when you’re deep in the depression hole. But if you inch your way there, you can make it to cheesy and happy instead of dark and broody over time. Even just a little hope may be the difference between finding the will to ask a critical question or not, whether that’s of your doctor, your boss, your partner, a friend, or even a stranger. You have to let people know what you need, ask for help, advice, participate in your health, and engaging with others is better when you have that hope.

Affirmations helped me to keep my eyes on the light peeking in from the top of the hole. They helped me dig my way out instead of burrow further in. They changed me attitude about everyday situations. After reading one a few times when I had lapsed into brooding instead of working, I would think, you know, it really is possible for me to do this. I just need to make a plan.

Have you ever had an affirmation or affirmations help you? What was your affirmation? How did they help you?

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To Cheer Myself Up and Stay Positive Strategy 1: Encouraging Quotes

A smile that’s quirked up on the right.

Nobody’s happy all the time. It takes work, and it’s worth it because we need to practice for those times when it’s hard.
I’ve suffered from depression, fortunately not severe, but that’s when times were hard. And I basically had to brainwash myself out of the deepest part of the hole. Here are the strategies I used.

Lots of encouraging quotes. Everywhere. I would post quotes anywhere I would see them. I started with sarcastically cheerful quotes because actual cheerful quotes didn’t ring true at first. But I had to have some that felt sincere and optimistic somehow. When you read something or say something, you’re thinking it.

By reading these quotes posted around my computer monitor and bathroom mirror and desktop background, I controlled my own thoughts. They were especially helpful when I wasn’t feeling well or had a hard time focusing.

It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of bad, sad, and pessimistic thoughts when you have problems you can’t solve at the moment, and when I would get distracted by these thoughts. Then, I’d look away from my work or take a bathroom break and see an encouraging message or one that made me smile.

It was important, though, to work toward sincere and away from bitter. The bitterness can build if you don’t tamp it down. It makes you brittle and takes away your ability to adapt.

LIMITATIONS: Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can walk. 

From http://despair.com/collections/demotivators

There’s nothing I’m ever doing that isn’t the most incredible thing on Earth. If I’m doing something sucky, (I can’t remember doing that recently), maybe that’s an invaluable life lesson. If I’m with someone boring and obnoxious, it’s a lesson in patience, or empathy, or in learning to understand people better. 

–Leo Babauta, Zen Habits http://zenhabits.net

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. 

–Wendell Berry

Beating Back Depression Part 1

 

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A train traveling from left to right. The little engine that could, one step at a time. 

Sometimes I know what needs to be done, and I can’t bring myself to lift a hand. Sometimes I can’t decide what to do, and I don’t know where to start. Sometimes, I’m so sad, I feel paralyzed. Now, at least, after a few hours of television, I can figure out that this is more than just a little procrastination. There are things I can do.

I can exercise. That brings up my mood a lot, and tones down my anxiety. If I can’t bring myself to do it alone, I can ask my husband if he’ll go with me, and he’ll make sure I get out the door. Or I can ask a friend.

I can spend time with friends. Just going somewhere new and seeing friends, getting out of my own head and hearing about other people’s lives and challenges, even helping them with a little advice if they ask can be a huge help. I find that I always feel at least a little better after some human contact outside the people I see every day.

I can get started just a tiny bit on a project or chore. Feeling overwhelmed can be a brain chemical problem. But it means that once I get started on something that doesn’t require many decisions, it’s actually easier to keep going than to stop. So, if I tell myself that I’ll just fold one shirt, I can get momentum going, enthusiastic or not.

I can make sure I take my medicine and/or supplements correctly. Often, because a lot of my “health regimen” is mood-altering, ensuring I take it correctly means my mood is more stable. Also, taking medication or supplements that support my moods can mean that if I skip one or two doses, suddenly my body has to adjust to producing some or all of what I was taking, which can take a few days. I need to maintain a regular schedule, especially if I’m on my ass after missing a pill.

I can get some sun. Vitamin D is supposed to improve your mood, and 15 minutes of sun can make a big difference.

I can drink some coffee. I may not be able to focus, but with some energy, I may get something done around the house.

When Your Brain Can’t Produce the Good Chemicals

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Clouds hiding a blue sky. I know there’s a silver lining here somewhere.

It hurts to smile today. It feels like lifting 25 pounds to turn up the corners of my mouth. Turns out, the steroids I’ve been taking to help me breath might be destroying all the work I’ve done getting healthy.

I have some reasons to be sad, yes. They seem very prominent right now. But breakfast isn’t a reason to cry. Putting on my shoes isn’t a challenge to motivation. Except when it is. I see now why I may have trouble with some chores.  I remember having to do chores when I felt this way, arguing with my husband about them. Days when a pile of laundry looked like a mountain. Hours when a sink full of dishes or a meal looked like a minefield instead of a pleasant symphony of domesticity or a comforting picture of ordinariness. I don’t have a ton of good or even average memories of these tasks. I have a storage unit full of guilt and impotence that I thought I had stopped paying on. I thought they had auctioned it off. I didn’t have any regular way to get rid of it so I just abandoned it. All those feelings can’t come back. I don’t want to do it again.

Obviously, not getting sleep was a drain on my body and brain. But apparently, treating the symptoms isn’t much better. I say that, but being able to breathe is a huge deal. Maybe adjusting to real sleep at night is causing a problem too. Four years ago, because I wasn’t sleeping well at night, because I couldn’t breathe well, my body reversed my circadian rhythm. I was most awake in the middle of the night and most asleep first thing in the morning. My nutritionist had me spit in a tube four times a day and tested them for cortisol levels. Cortisol helps you wake up. My levels were lowest first thing in the morning and highest in the middle of the night. Just getting out of bed was a feat of sheer will.

I took that test four years ago. Now, I thought I was past all that. In fact, I’m terrified of going there again. I don’t want to alienate my new co-workers who think I’m chipper and nice and maybe even funny. I’m prepared this time, though. I know what I need to do. I need to make sure I’m breathing well. I need to exercise. I need to get off these steroids. I need to eat right. I need to manage my stress levels because I’m pretty sure that’s what triggered all this starting a few months back. And I guess I need to get allergy shots again so I hopefully never have this problem again.

The High Tide

Beach-Galveston

My head is the ocean. There is a high tide and a low tide each day, and I wonder about my connection to the moon. Yet I know the high tide is pulled in by bedtime, not the moon. I lie down, and suddenly breathing is difficult. Tides rush into my sinuses, and the frustrations of the day continue as I battle with my fear of drowning. It has been like this for a long time, creeping slowly to this terrible point.

I turn to one side, and the tides begin to drift and drain to my left. The nasal drip is slow, inexorable. But my sleep will not come until it has passed, and the way is clear. I roll to the other side, struggling to breathe as my partner snores like a lawn mower that just won’t start. We all have our sleep crosses to bear. At least neither of us has insomnia, I think.

But I don’t realize the seriousness of this tide. I don’t see how my sleep is shallow, a fight to breathe. I’ve been doing this for so long. The tide came gradually. Yet suddenly, it is unmanageable, monolithic and horrible, this nightly struggle to rest and not drown. I wake at 3AM, 4AM, from my shallow sleep full of disturbing dreams. I wake, and I’m angry. I want to be asleep. I thought I was resting. I wait for an hour and fall back into my troubled dreams and try not to breathe through my mouth.

When I wake later, I’m still angry. I count forward to the next time I may be able to rest. It’s more than ten hours away, when I get home from work. I am a slave to this sad sleep, craving it even as I finish a night that left me unfulfilled. I know what I need, just not how to get it. And I will resent the world until I sleep again, then wake angry, and repeat. This is no life.

Later, I will find that I am allergic to our air conditioning. There’s mold in it, lots and lots of mold, and dust, dust for days. My body reacts by producing the tide. My circadian rhythm reverses. I am part zombie. I want to sleep all day, every day because my body tells me to. My body says I’m most awake at 10PM, and most asleep at 6AM. Yet I’m sure I don’t have insomnia because I could sleep anywhere, anytime.

I lie awake at night, listening to my now-husband’s snoring. This is not soft snoring. He sounds like he’s trying to suck a lemon through a waterhose. Sometimes he stops breathing. I hold my breath, waiting for him to start again. I push and shove him till he breathes again, another struggling, snorting breath that leaves his throat raw, he tells me when he wakes later. He can tell when he’s been snoring because his throat hurts in the morning. But he doesn’t believe me when I tell him he stops breathing until I film him one night. What if he doesn’t start breathing again? I’m afraid of drowning in my own sleep, and I’m afraid to wake from drowning next to a dead man. How can I escape this ocean?

A Change in Approach

You should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because when you do, it becomes a tendency, and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong instead. –Elizabeth Gilbert’s Guru, Eat Pray Love

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Water Droplets on Window Teal Tint

 

 

Before
Before, I used to think crying was a good thing, like if I got it over with, I would be better. But after I started the birth control, it didn’t get better. The crying got worse. I cried over more things. I was sick and irritable. I had heartburn a lot of the time because of the crying and stress.

At the time, I guess crying needed to happen. It would well up in me, my throat would constrict, and I could feel the dam about to break. It wasn’t much of a dam. I could barely hold it back. Once I got to that point, there was no going back. For my husband, then boyfriend, I imagine it must’ve been like dating a pregnant woman. I was on the verge of tears whenever things got serious. Granted, I was working through many issues in my life, but I was working through them and having a good cry about once a week, a bad cry about once a month.

Crying once a month sounds okay for a woman, I think. We live in a rip tide of hormones that wax and wane throughout the month. They surge and fall, most distinctly once per month. But I couldn’t hack it the rest of the time because of the birth control pills. Don’t get me wrong–I’m also thankful for the birth control pills, for reasons I’ll explain later. It seems that my life could not have happened any other way. But they also made me a crybaby for much of my twenties.

The more I cried, the harder it was not to cry again. Physically, when I had a crying session, there would be a time period, the next 6-12 hours, sometimes even 24 hours, of recovery, during which crying would happen again more easily. So, there could be a domino effect of crying! But mainly, I think the biggest change was coming off the birth control pills. I haven’t had as “dry” a time in my adult life as the past 6 months when I have been off birth control pills.

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Yellow sunflowers helped reduce crying, as did rainbows and unicorns.

After
I learned over time the difficulties posed by crying too much. Changing my attitude toward crying helped. I realized that although my body felt like it needed to cry, it wouldn’t help anything, really. Sometimes after crying, I would feel better, but if I wanted to cry out of frustration because my husband was digging himself a hole in the middle of a fight, crying wouldn’t make it better.

So, I learned to slow down when I started to feel upset. I learned to walk away and calm down in an argument. I learned that a confrontation was not a reason for stress, that it could be no big deal. It didn’t always work, and confrontations are still stressful at times, but I now know it’s not the end of the world. I had to learn this because I could see how much energy the stress sapped from me, including the time and energy I spent crying. In addition, crying can be an argument-ending move, but other parties in an argument or confrontation can begin to feel it’s manipulative. That’s not helpful either.

I had to un-learn many bad habits from the high-stress environment in which I grew up. Such as:

There’s no reason to feed the energy of an argument. You can cool things down instead by being calm, and not fake-calm that’s really sulky and pouting. A discussion is not a threat. Your tone can influence the energy, turning an argument into an important talk. Arguments or discussions can be exciting, but they can turn bad rather quickly.

Sometimes speaking more quietly can make it easier to be heard. I don’t enjoy being interrupted, and I often find myself speaking louder when I think someone is missing the point or talking over me. However, speaking more quietly can cause other speakers to lower their voices too. While they may not be listening better, they might hear better.

If you’re really angry or frustrated, just come back to it later. There’s no use wasting all that energy on stress when it could be used more productively, especially if you might say something you regret. You can’t recover lost time or words said. It might be a good idea to let other parties know what you’re doing though. I had a very hard time pausing an argument until my husband reassured me that we could come back to it. I wasn’t as helpful at times, and he was left wondering if we were still on speaking terms.

Inflammatory words or phrases such as cursing or phrases that have become sensitive spots for others are not worth using. You end up sucking ll reason out of the other party. Just learn to rephrase or avoid them. And stick to “I” statements instead of more accusatory “you” statements. Be specific about what you want. No one is going to “stop being a jerk” but they might stop leaving their dirty clothes on your bed.

Again, keep it in perspective. Whatever you’re stressed or frustrated or worried or arguing about is not worth your health and peace of mind. I reminded myself of this by wearing a necklace that reminded me to be Zen. It helped change my thinking.

Basically, I tried to reduce the stress and avoid stress to help cut down the crying. It just wasn’t worth giving up my health for it. Then, I also gave up birth control pills, which helped me a LOT.

The Symptom Snowball Effect

Snowy-Mountainside

Snowy Mountainside with Rocks

Why am I writing this blog? I’ve been categorizing my symptoms, outlining them, and magnifying them. And partly this is to convince you, and partly to convince me, that I have an illness. It’s not very cheerful, and I’m sorry about that, but it’ll get better, I promise.

The issue is that my symptoms were, and are, indistinct. I don’t have appendicitis, where there’s an obvious pain in a particular place. I guess you’d call appendicitis acute. I don’t have something that is immediately life-threatening, and I don’t need to be rushed to the hospital. As far as triage goes, I’m way down on the list. And I didn’t think my complaints were important for that reason. I didn’t think I was sick. My health was way down on my own list for the same reason.

But I have been working toward eating healthier since I graduated college and could afford to spend money on real food. And I still felt bad. I was cranky. I was achy. My head hurt. I couldn’t breathe well. I was itchy all the time. I had a hard time sitting still. I was tired all the time, and had a hard time making good food decisions.

Which of these is a medical condition?? Which symptom could I take to a doctor and ask for treatment?

I obsessed about wearing comfortable clothes and tennis shoes and seeing sunlight and eating candy bars and junk food. I was constantly dissatisfied with what I was doing. I was impulsive. I wanted to be writing, exercising, reading, listening to music, and I was stuck in an office wilting under fluorescent lights and the glow of a computer screen. But in my free time, I spent very little time doing what I wanted to do. I kept asking myself why I wasn’t doing what I said I wanted to do. And I decided the answer was that I wasn’t ready.

My complaints were non-specific. But they added up to misery for me. How could I be creative when I was spending so much energy being miserable? It took so much effort just to be breathing and upright. I decided I would keep trying to do what I wanted to do (since I really couldn’t stop trying), but I would also try to clear away the crud that was in my way.

And that’s why I started seeing doctors, exercising, changing my eating habits, and researching.

Tears

Water-Droplets

Water drops on glass with a blue tint

I cry because I’m sad. Sometimes, I cry because I’m frustrated. Sometimes, I cry because I’m happy. Occasionally, I cry out of relief.

But I also cry because of brain fog. Brain fog makes me feel helpless and frustrated. Brain fog takes away my ability to concentrate, my productivity, and my intelligence.

Fake hormones made me sad. So, I also cried because of birth control pills. Birth control pills made me feel overly emotional, like an overripe fruit that was as easily bruised by heartwarming stories as mild criticism.

High blood sugar makes me look sad. High blood sugar causes the body to stick the extra sugar into bodily fluids to dispose of it. That includes tears. High blood sugar makes me cry. It makes me a watery-eyed, snot-nosed fool. I cry fake, blood sugar tears aplenty.

Allergies make me look sad too. They make my eyes water. They congest my nose. Occasionally, they make it difficult to breathe. Then, again, I cry in frustration. I was sad and afraid to give myself allergy shots too. I cried over those too.

Sleeping the day away due to high or low blood sugar makes me sad. Blood sugar issues make me feel sleepy, and I have spent a lot of time napping, going to bed early, and sleeping late, with little rest for the hours down.

Sometimes I cry over time lost in my life to sleep that does not leave me refreshed, from which I wake as tired as when I closed my eyes. And, my allergies and blood sugar have given me nightmares. I’ve occasionally cried over those.

Fortunately, as I have learned better ways to deal with these issues, I don’t cry as much. I don’t have to suffer from brain fog as much because I’m careful what I eat and so my brain is less fogged from the high blood sugar. I quit taking birth control pills (under supervision of my doctor), and I am less emotional now. My eyes are less watery from blood sugar. My allergies aren’t as severe, and I’m careful to manage them as well as I can, so they don’t make me cry so much.

And I’m careful to eat earlier in the evening and to eat better things while controlling my portions so my sleep isn’t disturbed by blood sugar problems. I nap much less now, too. If I start to feel sluggish from my food, I exercise instead of nap now. I don’t enjoy that sugary sleep feeling, and I know how to fight it. I sleep deeper now, due to this care (and supplements from my nutritionist), and so I have fewer nightmares as well.

Crying has been a much bigger part of my life than it should have been due to my health issues. Plus, it gives me heartburn. I was on birth control pills throughout my twenties, and my health problems got pretty bad midway through my twenties. Once I began to dig my way out of the health rut, I’ve cried in relief many times as I began to feel better. So, yeah, lots of crying. I’m glad that’s over, hope it stays that way.

Cold Fever

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Captive wolf standing in the snow behind a fence

Sometimes, when I’m warm and just come in from the sun and wind, the cold feels damp, like it’s leeching the life from me. If I come in from the sun, wet from rain or swimming, I feel sapped. Other times, when the heat is coming from inside me, radiating out, suffocating, the cold is a relief. It takes the burden from me, usually cool and smooth or cold and biting, like ice.

I associate that internal heat, the radiating heat, with high blood sugar and bad food choices. I associate that internal burning reaching out from my solar plexus, sometimes accompanied by heart burn, with brain fog. I remember hours at the office, feeling drunk, woozy, and sleepy, trying to keep my eyes open and my ass in the chair. My eyes red as sweet tears gather in the corners of my eyes, and my cheeks pink, looking charming or embarrassed, colorful, at least.

My skin all over feeling like a hot blacktop midday, no end in sight, the light warped by the infrared inches from the surface. Then, I would wish and crave the cold, alternately shrinking from the shock in contrast to my high temperature and welcoming the relief. As the engulfing wave of heat subsided, I would cry from frustration, and those tears would clear my head of the fog. If only I radiated passion and energy the way I radiated that heat. Though sometimes, I know I did, maybe still do.

My husband radiates heat. He’s always trying to control it with the A/C. I encourage ice packs since that cold won’t weigh on me, and it’s more sustainable, I think. I remember when I first started the supplements to help with my blood sugar, when suddenly, the heat was gone. I was life without heat, cold like a vampire, Team Edward instead of Team Jacob for sure. My husband’s always been Team Jacob, but I tell him you can’t argue with soulmates.

Now, there is safety in that cold. When I’m cold, I know I’m losing weight because I don’t have energy to spare on an aura of heat. I’m no longer a passionate, burning, exhausted, confused being always on the verge of tears or gobbling the wrong foods. Now, I’m cool, collected, well-rested, a fucking Zen Master.

Hot, passionate me is bursting out of her clothes, always wrestling with a muffin top and what clothes to wear and even her hair looks worse. Like Francine, I’m a stranger in paradise, lost in my body, exploding out of my clothes. Unrecognizable to myself, after years of rejecting this self.

The calm, collected, cool version of me had clothes that hang from her body like a supermodel, like she’s an artful hanger instead of a berry hidden under fabric, about to pop. Cold, relaxed me can see her knuckle bones. Her fingers are thinner (though still short and stubby, just like her Hobbit toes). She smiles more, because that’s when I began to smile again, when I remembered happiness, and those first months’ glimpse of it makes the everyday struggle for contentment and calm seem pale and drab by comparison.

Cool me, cool for the first time in her life, literally and figuratively, felt very mortal. Her body was different. There was a gap between her thighs that made her seem more real, perhaps because I’d been denying and cursing their constant friction my entire life, especially that time in AstroWorld when I rubbed them raw by walking the park in short-shorts after a summer rain. Drenched, the blue jean shorts was worse on my sweaty thighs than I’d ever experienced before.

Cool me did not have this problem. She shrank in my clothes. They began to fall off her. She wore belts, using notches far down their length. You could see her skull under her skin. She looked a bit like a cancer patient for a while. I felt so mortal, with a new face. But oh, the joy of being able to cross her legs! How she seemed so much bendier in yoga class! She could lift her body weight with her arms–she could do a pull-up, and a chin-up. Three–she could do three chin-ups!

I still see her and feel her. She was what was left when many of these parts I’d been denying for so long were burned away–cooled away, really.

I thought being skinny would be the pinnacle of my life. Yes, she looked good. But I’ll tell you a secret–she didn’t feel that good. That girl still struggled with blood sugar problems. She was still insecure. Her problems didn’t just go away. They were still there, still a perfect fit, just like her new clothes. So, I’m trying to learn to live with them.

Is My Diet Really Different?

Sometimes, when I feel like I’m indulging too much (about once a day, especially when I’m trying to stick to a diet), I wonder if my diet is really all that different. I’m only maintaining my weight. I’ve gained 5 lbs in the last year, and I’ve steadily gained since I lost all the weight 3 years ago. So, I feel bad a lot of the time. I feel like I’m slowly failing, losing traction on a slippery slope. I’m so afraid I’ll slip down to the bottom and beyond.

But really, my diet is vastly different than it was before. I have to remind myself that I’m so much healthier than I was before. Before, I ate a lot of pizza and sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, cheese, quesadillas, bruschetta, pasta, tacos, chips and dips. I used to eat queso flameado, which my husband describes as a vat of cheese and grease, with onions and mushrooms. I was pretty proud to have eaten a salad once a week at least.

I ate Girl Scout Cookies. I ate a big cookie almost every afternoon around 3 o’clock. If I managed to wait beyond closing time for the building restaurant at work, I ate Snickers bars or Milky Way bars, raided the office candy jar for chocolate and Jolly Ranchers. If I was really hard up, I ate Musketeers. I was doing good if I bought a banana or apple instead.

I ate oatmeal for breakfast, which wasn’t too bad, but I always ate two packets of instant or who knows how much of the steel cut. I tried not to add more than two sugar packets to the steel cut. I often added peanut butter and cinnamon. I drank coffee too.

When I went gluten-free, I tried all kinds of new products. I tried gluten-free cereal, poptarts, cookies, crackers, chips, pancakes, muffins, frozen burritos, bread, French fries and pizza. Some products were good, some were bad. All were unnecessary. I’ve given all of those up. I make pancakes sometimes, I was making muffins earlier this year, and someone gave me half a loaf of bread recently.

I’ve basically given up candy, including the office candy bowl, thanks to my husband. He gave up fried chicken in return for that promise. Now, I’m free of that candy bowl.

My diet is very different than it was. Now, I have turkey sausage or boiled eggs for breakfast, with Brazil nuts and hot tea. I have a protein shake or salad with chopped beef or tuna salad for lunch. I still struggle in the afternoons sometimes. I try to bring cucumber or celery and eat them with a nut butter.

For dinner I eat my husband’s homemade curry, or beef sausage with mustard and mayo, or roast chicken. He makes great salads to go with, like walnuts, spinach, bell peppers and beet horseradish with olive oil and vinegar. Right when I get home, I want to eat something sweet, so I often have kombucha and a couple dates or sugar-coated nuts or Turkish delight (a gift).

If I manage to stick with just the kombucha (8 oz.) before dinner, I still may want dessert. That might be coconut ice cream or dates or sugar-coated nuts or muffins when I made them. When we go out, I eat way too much at Mexican restaurants, and I eat tortilla chips and corn tortillas (not Paleo, I know). If we go get a burger, I get a gluten-free bun, no fries.

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A collander full of veggies ready for juicing–mint, tomato, cucumber, carrots, ginger, onions, potato. I don’t recommend the potato! Sub in apple or pineapple or some other fruit that’s good for juicing. Juiced potato is gross. 

I AM eating better. I’m eating really well. I eat salads and enjoy them. I crave vegetables. But I also eat lots of nuts and nut butter, lots of butter butter when I cook, which isn’t bad, but the high fat is excessive.

So yes, my diet really IS different. Not that anyone asked, but I think it’s important because it’s a question that I keep asking myself. I should feel good about what I’m eating. I should continue to try and improve my eating, but I should still pay attention to what I’m doing so I can fit in my clothes.