Are you getting tired of my food issues yet?

God, I don’t seem to have a life, other than food lately.

When I sat out upon this journey I don’t think I really believed it would become all-encompassing. My time is occupied with food: shopping, reading labels, prepping, planning, cooking, proportions, symptoms, pain or no pain, guesswork and ruling out trigger foods.

I have been up and down, overwhelmed and overjoyed to feel great, ticked off that even the smallest change can set off a pain reaction, stalled at one moment and loosing (literally) 3 lbs overnight. I’m trying not to make this about dieting, as in weight loss, but when you have been carrying around excess fat, and you begin to lose it so easily just by changing your diet, then mysteriously you don’t drop any weight for over a week it is not easy. Let’s face it, I am human and it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in really liking the idea that you can lose weight so easily. Especially now that I am down 16 lbs since January 11th.

I finished class and testing this past weekend and finally shed the last of an almost two-week long cold/flu bug that stalled a lot of progress while my body tried to fight off bad things. I thought I was on my way. As a reward, once we move out of this first phase chocolate (for its antioxidant properties) is allowed. Actually, even during the first 5 weeks 100% unsweetened chocolate is okay. I just was never able to stomach the bitterness and so avoided it entirely.

But, Friday night I allowed myself a small treat to celebrate just how well I had been doing for 5 weeks. I had one square of 86% dark chocolate. That means some sugars after not having any sugars or sweeteners since starting this program except for natural sugars in food. I couldn’t figure out why my joints began to ache (denial I suppose) and continued to ache right up until last night. So after all the great progress, the only thing I could conclude was that there was some food I missed that my body didn’t like and I made the promise that I was going to find out what it was.

I went back to my food diaries. I eliminated many of the other common trigger foods that people have problems with and was going to test each one starting next week. On a whim, after lunch today I broke off square number 2 from my bar of 86% dark chocolate. Within 2 hours my thumbs were beginning to tighten. I was coughing for no reason. I was nauseous.

I forced myself to eat some dinner, but food didn’t even sound good. My fingers are stiff, my left ankle aches.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that my body is telling me that it won’t accept chocolate. It is making that point loud and clear so I expect another day or two of pain all over again. Is eating chocolate worth this? No it is most definitely not. Even being in pain, my body is trying to tell me to eat more. It’s whispering, “Go ahead, have just a little piece.”

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Cravings are a huge signal that a food is messing with your head and your gut and your willpower. The chocolate is gone-desert for my daughter. I can only speculate what may happen if/when I re-introduce other sweets. even something like honey, or dried fruit. I’m not ready to cope with that yet.

I am however amazed that I lived for years with this amount of pain in my body. How quickly and easily it is to forget bad aspects of your life when you actually feel good. I’m also pretty thankful that I finally have some tools to recognize what I was putting my own body through. It is with a lot of regret that I spent years blaming age, hormones, work, and stress for this pain, never realizing just how much my food choices (and sugar cravings) were holding me in a never-ending cycle of pain.

Enough whining and enough time at the keyboard. I think some Aleve is needed tonight so that I can sleep.

If you feel like it…have a piece of chocolate in my honor. I won’t mind.

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