Ever since college, I have struggled with weight gain. I have dealt with emotional binge eating, excessive drinking and falling into the trap of fast and convenient foods and excessive stress. My weight has been a rollercoaster since I was 18 years old. Growing up in an extremely rural community with virtually no fast food options and healthy parents, I always ate pretty healthy without realizing it. Once I moved to the city to begin college, my food options were limitless with no boundaries in sight. My body went into shock from the processed foods high in synthetic chemicals, preservatives, hormones and sugar.
After about 2.5 years of this diet change, and heavy alcohol consumption, my liver was struggling. I ended up in the emergency room so many times with severe abdominal pains. I was turned away and sent home with such lazy diagnosis’, like ulcers, acid reflux, IBS, and more, due to doctors not truly listening to what I was telling them. I graduated college 40 lbs heavier than I started, with persistent physical ailments that would leave me at home in bed in excruciating and confusing pain, instead of living my life. It wasn’t until I was 24 years old, on an early spring morning that I would go to the emergency room one last time, desperate and in tears for a doctor to listen to me and to fix me. I was so tired of doctors shoving irrelevant pharmaceutical drugs into my system, covering up my symptoms instead of treating them. That early spring morning, I swear to this day, that ER doctor I saw, was an angel sent from god. He wasn’t supposed to be working in that particular branch, but was filling in for the day. He listened to me, he took notes, he understood and felt my frustration and he handed me countless tissues as I was sobbing in the ER room. He did a few blood tests and found that I had CDIFF, Biliary dyskinesia, and NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a liver disease). I had to go on an intense dose of antibiotics, and I was scheduled for surgery to remove my gallbladder as soon as the CDIFF was gone.
I went to the hospital 2 weeks later for surgery. The doctor came in and explained my surgery that was supposed to be routine and simple turned out to be very difficult, but I would be okay, and to come back in 10 days for post-op follow up. I went home and from what I remember, I don’t think I got out of bed for days. I was in so much pain from the surgery, with bruised ribs, stitches over my abdomen, and I was so emotionally depressed and disappointed in myself.
When I came back to the hospital to meet with my surgeon, he told me that when he went in to remove my gallbladder, he couldn’t find it. It was inside my liver, which was so enlarged and inflamed, that it was one of the causes of the biliary dyskinesia. Basically, that means my gallbladder wasn’t able to contract and function properly. He did a liver biopsy and found that 89% of my liver cells and enzymes were made up of fat. He was stern with me, and explained that if I didn’t change my diet and lifestyle drastically, my liver condition would progress to cirrhosis, and then liver failure.
Talk about a wake up call. I left the old lifestyle, self sabotaging patterns, toxic people and moved home. Back to that rural community in the forest where I thrived off of kale smoothies and 2 mile runs daily. I stopped drinking alcohol, cut out all preservatives, meat, and processed convenient foods. I spent loads and loads of my time researching foods, the standard American diet, mass production farming, cancer, disease, obesity, and ultimately made the decision to be vegetarian and hopefully, eventually vegan and to only choose healthy, eco-conscious foods. I lost weight, had loads of energy again, and no more physical ailments all thanks to a healthy diet and exercise.
But my story doesn’t end there.
Over the course of the next 4 years, I had fallen behind once again but this time, I believe it was due to stress, and deep seated emotional trauma. This time around, my weight gain has been due to emotional binge eating and a sedentary lifestyle. I was still eating a healthy diet, making the change to become vegan and not drinking alcohol. So what was my wake up call this time around? Why wasn’t this lifestyle change working for my body anymore? Would I ever be able to eat like a normal person and not have to worry about diet so much? I needed another wake up call (although I didn’t realize that at the time.)
A few months ago, I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease called HS at my first visit back to a conventional doctor. The great news, I had completely reversed my liver disease! The bad news…I had another problem. Instead of listening to the doctors advice and prescription for antibiotics, chemical ridden topical gels and injections, I took it upon myself to research and heal on my own. I was not about to take manufactured, mass produced pharmaceutical drugs to simply MASK the symptoms I was suffering with, I wanted to HEAL.
After hours and hours of my own research online, I found a blog about intermittent fasting. Upon further research, I found that auto immune disease is caused by leaky gut syndrome. Intermittent fasting allows your body a break, the time it needs to rest and heal without any food in your system. It made sense to me and using my intuition, it felt like the right thing to do for my body.
So far, I have lost 20 lbs…
with 10 more to go and I feel better than I have in years. I’m not skipping meals, but instead giving myself a window of time where I’m allowed to eat. I personally do 16 hours fasting, and 8 hours available to eat. My day looks like this: I wake up, drink 32 oz of Kangen water, and 8 oz of mushroom coffee with a splash of oat milk. I don’t eat a bite of food until 12 pm. I have a salad for lunch, always leafy greens, with a mix of other vegetables, dried fruit, seeds and organic, dairy free, gluten free dressing. I eat dinner by 6:30 pm, which is always a plant based vegan meal. I still indulge one day a week on vegan/vegetarian “junk” food but I don’t eat anything after 8pm. It sounds so simple, because it is. I’ve never been a breakfast person, so the hunger pains don’t bother me and if they do, its usually time to eat. If you can’t go without breakfast, the beauty of intermittent fasting is adjusting the lifestyle to what works for you. You choose your fasting window and eating window. Taylor the fasting to what works for you.
Now… this lifestyle change isn’t all about diet. Diet is a huge factor, yes, but what’s more important are two things. Moving your body, and hydrating. Over the course of 20 lbs melting off my body, I have found that if I don’t drink at minimum, 1 gallon of kangen water every day, I don’t lose toxic weight. AND If I don’t do at least 30 minutes of exercise, I don’t lose weight either.
The last secret to weight loss
that I can share with you, is to get really honest with yourself. Observe yourself, your thoughts, actions and habits. I observed myself for about a week before making any diet changes so that I could better understand why my body was craving certain things, and telling my brain to grab certain foods. I learned that I would eat out of boredom, when anxious thoughts arose, and to fill a void of satisfaction. Every day I would come home from my office, I would immediately go to my kitchen to find something sweet or salty to eat. But I wouldn’t just have a bite, or a snack. Instead, I would binge eat multiple servings in one sitting, mindlessly, while watching tv, or scrolling social media, instead of being present, and actually paying attention to what I was doing.
Over a month of trying to hone in my inner cravings and routine habits, I had been able to alter my patterns of binge eating and mindlessly snacking and instead fill those voids with self love in the form of yoga, walking, journaling and meditating.
In conclusion, my secrets to weight loss are:
Intermittent Fasting for auto immune dis-ease, inability to lose weight and endless other ailments
1.5 gal of Kangen water per day to flush out toxins from your cells, and to hydrate your organs so they can function at their best
30 minutes of yoga per day to detox organs, lymphatic system, tissues and ligaments
Practice mindfulness to conquer emotion-induced cravings
Organic, local, healing, living vegan foods to feed your body with the right fuel it needs to thrive
I am writing to you today to tell you that there is hope, and its so totally possible to change your lifestyle, maintain a healthy weight, heal your body of physical ailments and disease, but only if it’s what you truly desire. I will also tell you that it takes a lot of dedication, patience, and deep emotional work. You see, I fully believe that our physical health starts with our emotional health. We need to understand that our human bodies are just a vessel for us to live out life on this planet. Without our bodies, we wouldn’t be here. Without our health, we have nothing.
Let that sink in. We would have..nothing. The reason I say our physical health starts with our emotional health is because we have to come to a place of actually wanting to take care of our physical selves. We need to think twice about the food we are eating, where it came from, what’s in it, and what it does to or for our bodies. We need to listen to our inner voices and try to understand what they’re craving. Is your inner self craving chocolate, fast food, ice cream, or is it really craving a deeper connection, and more meaningful life?