I Haven't Eaten Carbs, Gluten, Sugar, Caffeine Or Dairy In Two Weeks, And I Feel ~Fabulous~

I Haven't Eaten Carbs, Gluten, Sugar, Caffeine Or Dairy In Two Weeks, And I Feel ~Fabulous~

Before you health freaks panic, hear me out.

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I should first mention that I have been overweight practically my whole life. Well, probably my whole life, at times, more than others, but nonetheless, self-conscious about 98% of the time. And let me tell ya, hard stuff. It isn't easy never feeling confident in the way you look or truly feeling the D.U.F.F. stuff. Not fun, and nothing against anyone.

For the most part, except for a few bumps in the road medically, this has been my fault.

I'm not going to lie, it gets old, you know, feeling down a lot of the time. It interferes with a lot — the sports you play, the activities that you partake in, the trips you go on, the things you're thinking about all the time. It's not fun to be stuck in your head instead of enjoying the moment because you're worried you might look fat doing something. It's not fun looking through the group photo and while everyone else might be worried about their smile, you cannot see past your size.

It's something I have worked on, getting past my image, and it is something I have gotten so much better about, but just like anything, there are good days and bad days.

Recently, my mom started selling Arbonne. Bless her heart, she finally did something for herself. She is loving it, and I couldn't be more proud of how hard she is working on doing it her best. Well anyways, she did a 30-day challenge back in April, and she saw incredible results. She felt great, slept great, ate great, and looked even better.

The challenge consists of cutting everything toxic from your system and rebooting your metabolism by balancing out the acidic levels in your digestive system. This requires you to cut carbs, caffeine, sugar, dairy, and gluten. Now most people usually say at this point, "So what can you eat?" At which point I explain that I can have any berries, practically anything green, any lean meat, any veggies, and a few vinegars, oils, and nuts. I also get supplements from Arbonne, and am drinking boatloads of water. The program helps you set guidelines and planning tactics, and really helps you to understand that change is in your hands.

It sounds silly, but this has probably been the best thing to ever happen to me. It has been hard, and I have had to sacrifice a lot, but combined with working out regularly, prioritizing sleep, and getting in some me time outside of work, I have truly never felt better.

I haven't measured my progress yet, I am waiting until the end of the thirty days, but 13 days later, I feel more energized than I ever could've with my regular multi-cup-coffee energy. I feel rested, I feel like my skin is glowing, that my eyes aren't as heavy, and that I am much less lethargic.

Shoutout to mom for being my number one cheerleader through all of this, You're the best.

Also, I am not paid to be endorsing this product or service by any means, I'm just a believer in healthy choices (but high-key it's changing my life for the better)

Cover Image Credit:

Erika Glover

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Everything I Learned After Being On The Keto Diet For 30 Days

At the end of it all, I even surprised myself.

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I'm really not one for diets. Most of them are fads that only get popular because celebrities do them for a period of time and then they catch on. They often seem really gimmicky without any science behind them. But at the beginning of this year I told myself I wanted to be more aware of my health and make smarter, healthier choices and changing the way I thought about food felt like a good way to start. Which lead me to ketosis.

The science behind ketosis sounded complex at first but once simplified, began to make a whole lot of sense to me. The goal of the keto diet is to get your body into a state of ketosis, hence the name. Ketosis is reached once the body produces a certain amount of ketones which help burn fat. So instead of running your body on sugars, it learns to gain fuel by burning the fat available in your body.

Essentially, ketosis allows the body to run on a much more stable energy source without the spikes and dips in blood sugar that comes with a high-sugar diet. I had also heard a lot about how ketosis improves your brain functions to help you remember more and stay focused longer. From a college student's viewpoint, that sounded like a win-win situation for me.

A really simple way to think about ketosis is through the lens of the macronutrients: carbs, fats and protein. My diet before I switched to keto was heavy in carbs. Percentage-wise, my carb intake would sometimes be 50 percent or more of my daily food intake. But with a keto diet, you restrict your carb intake and focus on foods with a high amount of healthy fats.

So on a good day, my average nutritional input would look something like this:

As you can see, carbs made up a really small portion of what I was eating at the time whereas foods with higher fat and protein content took up relatively equal shares of whatever's left over. Compared to what I was used to eating:

I basically completely switched around my usual eating habits. And that ended up being a large portion of what I learned when everything was all said and done. But here's just a quick recap for those of you out there who might be considering going on the keto diet as well.

1. The initial weight loss was really startling

I didn't choose a keto diet for the weight loss aspect, even though that's always one of the top selling points when people discuss ketosis. I was more interested in the brain functions I mentioned earlier: sharper memory and better focus. I didn't expect to lose a great deal of weight at all unless I decided to stick with keto for a long period of time. In my first week, however, I ended up losing 10 pounds out of the blue. Originally I thought there was an error in the scale I was using. I tried to be consistent in how I was weighing myself and at what times, but when my numbers didn't jump back to their usual levels I had to conclude that it had something to do with my change in diet. With exercise and nutrition, changing things up and adding variety to both is usually a surefire way to kickstart your body into a change of some sorts.

2. I was hungry all the time

For the first couple of days, I was really struggling to figure out what foods I was going to eat and how I was going to restructure my diet. As I mentioned earlier, carbs were a large part of my diet and I was suddenly taking that away from my body and forcing it to find an alternative energy source. I had to completely rethink the way I bought groceries and pay a lot more attention to nutrition labels. I would generally avoid typical junk foods, but I had to cut foods out of my diet that had previously been staples of my diet. I was also operating on a slight caloric deficit for a period of time, which made things even more difficult.

3. Exercise was much harder

I wanted to keep as much outside of my diet consistent as possible to analyze how much the keto diet was actually affecting me. So that meant I just continued my usual exercise routine, which in hindsight turned out to be a big mistake. The majority of my exercise routine consists of heavy-weight, 8-12 repetitions with 60-90 second rest in between sets and/or exercises. It's essentially high-intensity training where I'm trying to keep a consistent 120+ BPM heart rate. Which, as it turns out, requires a consistent energy source. So when I was suddenly trying to get my body to start running off fats, I didn't have as much energy as I used to which made the types of exercises I wanted to do much harder.

Lesson #3 was what lead me to abandon the keto diet. The exercise goals and routines I was setting for myself was directly in contrast to the dietary framework I was working within. In the end, I felt that my diet, exercises, and overall physicality was suffering because of it. But the whole experience helped change my mindset around how to think about food as a source of energy as opposed to just a way to avoid hunger. I implore everyone, however, to find a diet that works for them, mainstream or not. The food you eat should reflect and aid your goals. Just because the keto diet didn't work for, doesn't mean that thousands haven't found success using it.

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