Wasn't Jesus the original hippie? With his sandals, dress and kind, compassionate, tender, joyful nature? What a loaded word that is! I am oftentimes called a hippie – in some ways, I am, some not. I am an Older Mom with Young Kids and Older Kids, Four in All – Remarried, Striving to make a Step Family with Love and God's help.
When I started my journey of self discovery a few years back (aka I hit rock bottom and realized I had to do something different), I told myself that I did not care if I was fat and that maybe this was how my body was meant to be. We try to eat healthy in limiting our processed foods and eating fruits and vegetables. And with four kids, I stay somewhat active, taking daily walks and whatnot. So if my body kept its creep upwards, so what.
And things have been stressful in many different ways – four kids in a blended family, financial challenges, personal challenges, etc, so spending the time on losing weight was not high priority for me. Love me fat. I am beautiful exactly the way I am. Those have been my thoughts.
And I do truly believe this, that we are fed this ‘ideal’ of how our bodies should look, and in the large majority of cases, it is unrealistic. I have pretty much spent my entire life feeling ‘overweight’ even though when I look back at my highschool pictures, I see how very untrue that was.
So I decided to love my almost 50 year old self as I am: all 224 pounds of myself.
Only my body had other ideas.
These last two to three weeks, I’ve been experiencing some awful heartburn: severe enough that it has sent me to the doctor’s once where I had an ekg and almost to the ER a couple of times as I was scared it must really be a heart attack since it was so painful.
Along with the heartburn, came my ol’ familiar friend: anxiety. You see, my dad dropped dead of a heart attack at 52 years of age. My mother’s father also died of a heart attack at 52. I’ve had high blood pressure pretty much my entire life and smoked from eighth grade until I finally quit for good when I had my fourth child .. at age 42.
Yes. Age 42. And if you’re an ol’ mama like me, I’m sure you ‘do the numbers’. She’s almost 5, and I’m 47. When she’s 15, I’ll be 57. 30. I’ll be 72. When she is my age; if I am still alive, I would be 89. Which means that I need to do everything I can to make sure that I am around and healthy as long as I can be.
My husband asked why the Engine 2 diet? He has a French mother who along with fresh fruits and vegetables uses tons of butter and meat, meat, meat. I think we eat red meat 5 out of 7 days. And when after patiently answering his questions, I finally blurted out, “I don’t know. But it feels right to me. Look, it basically tells me to avoid pretty much what my entire diet has been: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, dairy, oils, refined breads and pasta and sugars.”
Let’s give it a shot, and see what happens.
Oh and by the way, I hate cooking and struggle daily with feeding my family of six as it is. And seven years ago, I bought the first edition of the Engine 2 Diet book but was intimidated by the ingredients and recipes.
Add to that, ironically, I just started working six months ago for a company that sells and services fire trucks so the ‘Fireman’s Diet’ feels destined for me. And Austin, Texas where the author of the Engine 2 Diet is from, is where I went to college and my ‘heart home’.
And I figured if I blog it, it will keep me more accountable so that when I want to quit .. say later this afternoon … I won’t. So here I am on Day One. I started off my morning with some organic oatmeal with apple, pumpkin seeds and bananas. The picture on the box looks like something my dog threw up, and I get that according to the diet they are supposed to be ‘steel cut’ not rolled oats (I had to look up the difference here.) but this was a Costco find from my husband that has sat untouched for several months with no one even remotely interested in eating, so I thought I would start this way. Have I mentioned that we do not have any extra money for this diet so that will be a concern as well …
As I started eating my breakfast mindfully, I thought of the book I am currently reading. It is about a girl who is in Rehab. Her mentor tells her the acronym ‘HALT’ as a reminder to halt whenever you are: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Good God, especially if you add ‘Afraid’ (the flipside of Anger), I”m not sure I even remember a time that I haven’t been at least one of those things …
I am fully admitting that I have spent a lot of time eating and drinking in order to avoid those four things and the rather painful feelings that are associated with them.
And so I sit on the couch and as I eat each bite, I remind myself that it’s really lovely to be alive, and in honor of this body and life that I’ve been given, here’s to Change.
Colette O'Neill, Innovator of Goddess Permaculture ~Plantswoman ~ Teacher ~ Writer and Photographer
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