Thursday, June 26, 2008

For Grammy

I was only 6 years old, but I remember visiting my grandmother in the hospital during her first stint with the deadly disease of breast cancer. I was too little to know anything other than my Grammy was sick. She was only 53 years old. After a double mastectomy and months of chemotherapy, things seemed to be looking up. The cancer went into remission and we believed that she had beaten the disease.

In 1999, our family was to receive another blow when we received word that my mother, then only 42, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. My brothers, sisters and I gathered around my parents and wept as my father shaved my mother’s head as she began dealing with the effects of the chemotherapy. She too underwent a double mastectomy and we began the healing process. Breast cancer awareness and prevention became forefront in our lives.

In 2001 my grandmother’s cancer returned my sister ran in the Komen Foundation Race for the Cure. This began an annual event for my family attending as she ran. Every year, I sat on the sidelines and watched with pride; however, I was always too overweight to participate. Grammy’s cancer has never gone fully into remission. Since then, she has battled the disease culminating with this year growths have spread to her spine and recurred again in the scar tissue from her mastectomy in this her 6th occurrence.

It was a sudden realization that fat FEEDS cancer and seeing my sister cross that finish line in the fall of 2006 that began my weight loss journey. And so, after losing the weight, last year, in honor of Grammy, for the first time, my brothers, sisters and I (with the exception of 1 brother who was out of state) and my wonderful mother, ran TOGETHER in the Race For The Cure.

My weight loss journey began with a desire to lose to help make my body healthier to attempt to stave off this dangerous disease. I am the oldest of 6 children. I have 2 sisters. Statistically speaking, research shows that one of us girls will contract this disease. The odds for women who have a maternal history of breast cancer in their families are 2:1, or one out of three. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to us to not only find a cure, but to do all we can to learn how to prevent cancer.

I have discovered through my research that even in my weight loss journey, I was not eating preventatively. Losing fat is not enough, and unfortunately, the malnutrition that I suffered utilizing the Kimkins program did not help either. A healthy cancer prevention diet is actually not surprisingly a fairly popular Low Carb/Low Glycemic Index diet. The Mediterranean Diet is one of the highest recommended diets for breast cancer prevention. This diet is very low carb friendly too, emphasizing healthy Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, fresh low GI antioxidant filled fruits and veggies, and healthy proteins.
Over the next few weeks I will be highlighting various healthy low carb aspects of this dietary approach as I learn about them and their benefit towards thwarting the deadly disease of breast cancer.

Grammy currently is not well. While it hurts me immensely to see her in such pain, it also gives me new resolve to do whatever is in my power to educate others in a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that will not only assist them in achieving their weight loss goals, but also provides the nutrients and health benefits that can help extend their lives in other areas as well.

Grammy… I love you.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Turkish Delight

I have never thought about or realized the draw that finding a weight loss method that “works” has. Of course anyone would follow a plan that was guaranteed to work. They’d be crazy not to. But… what if that plan was unknowingly dangerous, or even life threatening? What if following that plan led to an addiction? What if following the plan brought on a whole new set of problems?

This is my reality. In the aftermath of my accident and all that has occurred since that time… and after a year of maintaining my weight loss with Kimkins, my reality is harsh (for me). I know that maintaining after losing a great deal of weight is not easy by any means. However, after following a Very Low Calorie program like Kimkins, having a “normal” maintenance life is exponentially more difficult.

After Kimkins, I made it my goal to learn how to eat and be healthy. I enrolled in school and have begun my newest journey towards obtaining a degree in Nutrition and Kinesiology. But, even in all I’m learning, why does Kimkins still have an allure to me? Simple… it worked to get the weight off. It was a fix. There was an uncanny high that came from feeling that sense of control and seeing the scale drop every day. Even within the forums of Kimkins there was a glossy magnetism about it. It was a happy place where everything was encouraging and everyone was your friend. But, that addicting appeal was seductive, it was a Turkish Delight. In the sweet comfort lay something far more sinister than the appearance it put off.

Within the confines of my little weight loss world, and my adherence to the Kimkins plan, something grew. I developed a full blown eating disorder. Coming out of that program, I was even more shocked to learn that I was not the only one either. Had this “solution” to my weight problems actually given me a whole new predicament to deal with?

I’ve kept most of my weight off for over a year now, true…. However, with time, as with most things, some has begun to creep back on. For this reason, I now am facing the reality of a) get this under control, or b) go back to the way I was. Option B is not an option.
I have often thought about the draw to that way of eating in similarity to recovering from a drug addiction. If you go back to it, the first hits give instant relief and “comfort.” You think… I control this, it doesn’t control me. However, the longer it continues; the reality is… that it does control you. You are trapped in a never-ending carrousel of recovery/getting a fix.

I would be kidding myself if I did not admit that the appeal and draw to go back to a Kimkins method of eating was not strong. But why would I do that to myself? The rational in my head says… it’s only 15 pounds… you’ll get that off real quick and then you can go back to eating right. But my heart knows better. I know that if I returned to that method of eating I would be caught in a vicious cycle of ALWAYS having to return to that in order to keep my weight under control. That is no way to live. I would much rather have one fixed way of healthfully eating that, combined with a regular exercise program, I know is good for me and will allow me to not only get my weight back under control, but provide me with a pure and simple strategy for lifelong fitness.

So what is my reality? My reality is that here I sit, facing the dreaded re-gain. However, I am also a VICTORIOUS recovering eating disorder addict. I WILL do what is best for my body…. And that is NOT Kimkins.