More Lessons Learned from My Journey Back to Wellness

stressed momSeveral months ago I shared a bit of my back story with you: about how I was thin all through childhood, my teen years, and early twenties, then struggled with a fast and pretty significant weight gain after my second pregnancy. This was due to hormones (those rascals), certain medications I was on for post-partum depression, and really just not taking the time to take care of myself. This is an easy rut for moms to fall into, especially when you have children fairly close together in age. For several years, 90% of my attention went to my kids’ care, and the rest of the 10% was divided among myself, my husband, the house, and family/friends. It was a very unbalanced existence.

Those were difficult years, and although I was cooking a lot at home, I still was using a lot of packaged and processed foods as snacks and side dishes. We also ordered pizza and Chinese food delivery a lot tooand I had a really bad sugar addition.

I was exercising, but was not losing weight which was extremely frustrating. I won’t repeat the whole story of how I began to lose the weight in this post; you can read about it here. However, since that post I have learned some new information and have also come to a couple of realizations that I wanted to share with you.

Candida was the culprit.

 

Sugar is the most addictive and abused drug.
Sugar is the most addictive and abused drug.

I initially believed that hormones and medications were the only reasons for my weight gain, but I now know differently. Hormones and medications certainly contributed to the problem, plus although my diet wasn’t “bad” according to the Standard American Diet (SAD) I was still not eating enough vegetables or whole grains. I was not seeing the difference between good and bad starches/carbs (pasta and white rice were grains after all, weren’t they? Not really, it turns out.) and I was not differentiating between good and bad fats in my diet. These eating habits, plus medications I had taken for long periods of time, plus the hormones had all led to a large amount of built up toxins in my body. They, along with the large amounts of foods containing dairy, sugar, yeast, and gluten—combined with the fact that I was not consuming enough vegetables or fiber containing foods—all contributed to an overgrowth of Candida albicans in my body as well.

After doing a lot of research on my own, getting some good advice from my cousin who has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, and consulting with my naturopathic doctor I was able to detoxify my body through diet and natural remedies and eradicate myself of the Candida and toxins. How do I know these were the culprits? I started losing weight pretty quickly once I started eating in a way that starves Candida and promotes constant detoxification. It did not happen overnight, but the weight has all come off, and then some. I have since completed a training course on the topic and have learned that if Candida is present, the weight just will not come off until it is addressed.

The original Journey Back to Wellness and Some Lessons Learned on My Quest for Wellness posts were in late June and early July of 2011…nearly 6 months ago. At that time I was down about 45 pounds from my heaviest weight. I have since lost 25 more pounds and am at what I feel is my ideal weight. My total weight loss is approximately the total weight of both of my children. Kind of crazy when you look at it that way. 

sproutsI am continuing to eat a diet that is primarily plant-based and rich in nutrients and enzymes, and the meat I do eat is in much smaller quantities and is always either organic or local and grass-fed. If that quality of meat is not available, I just don’t buy any meat that day. I try to incorporate a lot of raw foods and superfoods into my diet and have found many more ways to prepare them with whole grains. I am now going to start experimenting with sprouting and fermentation here at home, and I also want to get another couple of hours of physical activity in per week.

Some realizations:

Other than realizing that I had the Candida overgrowth and a toxic body, I realized something else: I grew up eating meals everyday that were cooked at home by my mother with real food. I didn’t have any weight issues until I went off to college and gained my “freshman 15” from poor lifestyle choices and only access to fast food. As I continued into young adulthood, many of these bad habits of convenience continued and I started to gain weight here and there. I only started losing when I reverted back to cooking and eating 80 to 90% home-cooked meals with real, whole foods.

It didn’t happen right away because I had several years of bad habits worth of toxic build-up in my body that first had to be removed. Once I was all “cleaned out”, my body kind of reset itself and I began to see the “old me” in the mirror.

BMW
Your body needs premium fuel, just like this luxury car.

Another thing I learned from my own experience is that our bodies were designed perfectly. Just like certain vehicles require certain types of fuel or power, our bodies require certain nutrients and adequate hydration to run smoothly. And just like vehicles, we have to maintain our bodies from time to time with times of rest, cleanses, exercise, etc. NOT simply with medications: our bodies do not run on medications. If we give the body what it needs, it will perform the way it was designed to perform.

In terms of weight, the body knows what its ideal weight is based on our height and structure: give it what it needs and it will return to and stay at that ideal weight.

In terms of the ability to heal itself, the same applies. Give the body what it needs and it will fight off germs and heal itself naturally. I have not been sick in a very long time, nor have my kids. I did go to the doctor last winter for strep throat and was given an antibiotic that ended up not working…the sore throat came back worse. Instead of going back to the doctor, I ate more greens, drank lots of tea with honey, drank lots of water, and got lots of rest. I also got a bioenergized throat spray from my ND and my sore throat went away and hasn’t come back.

A blessing in disguise

Rachael Pontillo1aI have said it before and I will say it again: I am grateful that I was overweight for the time I was. It gave me a different view of human nature and different perspectives about weight, body image, and how people relate to and treat people of different sizes. I have a sensitivity towards people with weight problems and I can relate to their frustrations.

I have lost the weight in a healthy way without fad diets, pills, or surgery and know it will stay off because I now have a completely different lifestyle and outlook than I had then. I am happier, healthier, more energetic, and have more confidence. I would never want to give that up. I want other people to feel this way too and not to believe or accept that they are destined to be overweight due to genetics or circumstance. That’s why I decided to add health and image coaching to my business plans.

Is my journey over? No. It never will be over. We all age and our environment constantly changes. We have to adapt to these changes and we constantly learn new things about what it means to be happy and happy.

But you know how I gave away all my old skinny clothes that I would never fit into again? Well now I get to go shopping. And you know what? I deserve it :)

Do you need help reaching your goals in terms of weight, overall health, and wellness? I would love to support you on your own journey. Start now by scheduling your one-on-one HH Hash it Out phone or Skype session with me.

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