I have often talked with my friends about how I hate this one particular aspect of being healthy: eating like crap takes a bigger toll than it ever did when you used to eat like crap all the time.
I did a juice fast for five days and loved it. I felt pretty great, though tired from lack of calories, and my mind was clearer than ever. I lost ten pounds of something – water weight and whatever else was hiding in my gut.
I turned back to food for two reasons. The good reason was that I started Crossfit again on Friday and I felt that I needed energy from solid food. I wasn’t drinking enough calories. I had lean fish and spinach that day and juiced the rest.
That was fine….but then it opened up a door for more eating, which leads me to the second reason: being with friends.
What are you to do when you are a socially inclined person and all your friends want to go out? You find a a healthy option, sure, but it just doesn’t get THAT healthy in most places that people widely agree on. Even the salads are chock full of who-knows-what.
And then you say, well…if this is bad…I might as well just destroy it by eating fries and pumpkin ravioli….
UGH. I paid for that. I felt sluggish and ADD and irritable pretty soon after. Stuff like this would not have bothered me that much before changing my lifestyle and diet a few months ago. It used to make me a little sluggish and ADD but now it tears me apart.
Part of me wants to say, “Screw it! I might as well just eat like crap and then the crap doesn’t ever bother me!”
This is a punishment for being healthy, I suppose. The payoff comes because we assume this all works out in the end.
I will call that the re-poisoning effect.
The second side effect that is like a punishment for the healthy is known as the Herxheimer effect. This is what happens when you start detoxing and your body allows itself to push out all the bad goop and glop. The theory is that the gross shit clinging to your inner crevices, can finally be set free since you aren’t adding to it. As a result, your acne can get worse. Your moods can fall to shit. You will get headaches. It usually lasts just a few days.
There is a debate on whether this is really the bad stuff leaving your system or the change in calories and nutrition doing whacko things to your normal biosphere. Who knows….but it stops a lot of people from going through with it, especially if they do not know that it gets better on the other side.
Through all of this, I must remember: Health is a long term thing.
I want to be 80, 90, or 100 years old with pretty good health and enjoying my grandkids. I don’t want to fall prey to the system that shoves trans fats, sugars, and addicting chemicals into my body. I do not want cancers from the countless carcinogens. I want to be socially and morally responsible about what I eat.
I can relate this food struggle to exercise.
If I gave up every time I was sore from working out, I wouldn’t get very far. I guess many people don’t! With muscle exercise though, we are taught that the pain is good and that we are experiencing what everyone else does when they push their limits.
But with food, we want to be comfortable and it seems that it as advertised that this is the only route we could possibly want. It is addicting to be comfortable, especially with food.
But does food have the same rewards? Does pushing through the failure and herxheimer effects prove to be like muscle fatigue and failure? Is this why it is tragically more ok to tear muscles, pull hamstrings, and excercise until we vomit but seemingly insane to be a vegetarian or “health nut?” I know many people that will kill themselves on exercise machines and then eat quarter pounders…
Diets just seem “too hard” or not worth it.
All I can say, for me, is: I will be healthy regardless of how my body changes.
It has affected my brain in so many ways that I am literally afraid of crap like soda now. I will never eat another pizza lunchable. I cannot touch processed cheese. It tastes gross, sure, but the immediate effects on my brain have been devastating in the past.
Eat processed cheese? There goes my attention span and memory for hours.
Drink a soda? Here comes the depressed, zoned out, and irritable symptoms for a bit.
Eat a lot of white flour? Irritability to the highest degree.
If I let my blood sugar plummet or get too high from eating junk, I can be the world’s worst person. When I eat well and clean and often, I am really sweet and level-headed. It sucks.
This could be a gluten or casein thing. This could be an effect of my body being unknowingly sick. This could be a lot of things, but I just know the facts.
Some people can eat a whole Pizza Hut pizza and a liter of soda and seemingly be just fine. Not perfect, but, they aren’t crazy dragon ladies. I envy them. But I am not them. I am affected by my environment and my food more than most people.
I am spurred on by my own needs as dictated by my body, regardless of research or scientific data. I know I cannot do certain things if I want to be happy and not have anxiety.
I went from the doctor thinking I needed ADD meds, birth control pills, anti-anxiety meds (to include lorazepam), and mood stabilizers last year….to realizing that I needed to just stop eating shit that attacked my body and start being around the people and things that made me happy. Most of the time, I am perfectly fine and I cannot even imagine the dark places I used to be in. I directly relate this to food. It has correlated well.
When things go wrong emotionally in my life and I am eating well, I handle it with the maturity and wisdom that I have accumulated. When I eat like shit, I CAUSE problems. It’s stupid and painful to realize and go through. But I am lucky enough to choose what I can eat.
Side effects, in this case, are what I choose.
It will never be perfect….but I have come such a long way that I feel every day is a good day to continue.