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Diet: Listening To Your Body

Posted May 16 2012 10:42am

A few days ago, I was curled up in a ball, on an empty stomach, trying my hardest not to get sick. No chills, no fever, no other symptoms of a problem other than the fact that I was nauseous, in pain, and fed up. Saturday was the last straw.

Something needed to change.

Over the duration of the past year or so, I’ve discovered a few things about my body and my diet. My skin changes very easily with my diet – hi, I thought I left the acne problem back with my high school years? My hair becomes drier and more brittle. My energy levels rise and drop drastically, I get bloated, and my stomach never feels “normal”.

What I know about my habits, my cravings, my “emotional foods”, and my body has really helped me figure out what needs to improve or change all together. For instance, when I started drinking almond milk rather than the skim milk I’d been drinking for ages, I didn’t pay attention to how much my body changed. However, I started noticing that my favorite “emotional food”, ice cream, was always eaten just before a stomach ache. I felt tired, nauseous, and downright gross.

Despite my efforts to eat healthier and focus mainly on whole foods, I confess: I have a sugar vice. You can list it all…if it has sugar, I love it. (I am, however, not a big candy eater unless it’s chocolate.) I’ve been meaning to cut down on the amount of sugar I take in, but you forget about all the foods and drinks that contain added sugar…like sweet tea. I had moved past soda, but forgot that sweet tea, which seems to be a staple here in the South, was full of sugar. I know…pretty obvious…but I didn’t think about it.

So back to Saturday, after eating miniscule amounts of dairy for a while, I forgot about my issue with ice cream…and ate maybe a little too much on Friday night (but not as much as I used to!). By Saturday morning, I was paying for it. I chalked it up to virus…until Herrick mentioned the words “ice cream”. Bingo.

I listened to my body and found that it responds…much like that amazing Monday run . ;) Imagine that.

Other ways I’ve noticed what my body does and doesn’t like: my try at vegetarianism in attempts to focus on a more plant-based diet (my body went insane for six days straight without [animal] protein), the small amounts of soda I’ve stolen from Herrick’s cans have hoisted my skin back into my teens, and then the most recent stomach issues came up.

So, I did an “experiment” to rule out my problem. No dairy, no added sugar (I did keep my fruit) for two days. Bam! No bloating, no nausea, no gas, more energy, and 5 pounds gone. (NOTE: the pounds don’t matter in terms of “weight loss”. It’s water weight. I was not attempting to lose weight quickly. I do, however, find it to be a good indicator of a problem, which is why I included it.) I think I’ve basically confirmed what I’ve thought all along: I need to stay away from dairy.

Last night, I had a quesadilla (again, forgot…I had it on habit)…followed by bloating, gas, and fatigue. I know, lovely, right? (Luckily, I only ate a half of the quesadilla.) Just some more proof. It just goes to show you that if you listen to your body it will tell you what you need to hear. Never do things merely to “lose weight”. If you’re finding that your body is reacting suspiciously, pay attention. (This is why I’ve started journaling again.)

Oh, and a bonus? You figure out new ways to change up your meals:

Because of my attempts to avoid dairy (and my mini goal to eat more fish), I had to come up with a quick lunch…and I now have a quickie recipe for you.

tuna & avocado, lunch

Tuna & Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

1 pkg. white albacore tuna (2.6 oz. packet)

1 small avocado, sliced & cubed

1 C cut tomatoes

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and top a whole wheat bagel thin (or your favorite bread). Enjoy. Simple, I told you. :) Serves one.

tuna & avocado, tuna, avocado, lunch

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