Now that I’m feeling better—yes, recovering from my not-so-favorite time of the month can take awhile—I want to document the steps I am taking to get back on track. These steps also work for a weight loss program, not a diet, but a program involving lifestyle change. I lost 20 pounds after I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and began cutting dairy and gluten from my diet, which was a bonus side effect to treating my MS naturally.
1. Begin saying NO to gluten/dairy/sugar-laden foods.
Begin, as in allowing a slip up here and there. Every time I make the right choice, a small battle is won in the bigger fight for eliminating these foods from my diet. This way I can celebrate each victory, making a positive movement upward toward my ultimate goal of complete elimination. If I say yes, I chalk it up to a minor defeat and look forward to the next battle, with determination to win!
A few YESes help balance out all those NOs. Say yes to more vegetables. Instead of wondering what to do with that bag of broccoli wasting away in the fridge, chop some up and add them to a salad. Instead of that yummy looking pastry, get a bag of mushrooms at the farmer’s market or grocery store and add them to that salad.
2. Combat cravings with water.
When a craving for any gluten/dairy/sugar-laden food hits, drink water. While it doesn’t satisfy the content of the craving, it does not go unanswered, free to pester me with its temptation. Drinking water acknowledges the craving, but does not give in to it.
In addition to helping me combat my cravings, it also helps me work toward what seems a ridiculous goal of drinking the recommended half my weight of water in ounces each day.
Currently, I start the day with a full 33.8 ounce bottle of water. I manage to down about half of it, which is almost one-quarter the amount I should be drinking. I’ve got a long way to go!
3. Whistle while you work.
Whistling, or bursting into song, at any given moment can only result in positive energy and happiness. Especially for those around you! I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen or heard anyone whistling or humming angrily to themselves. Is that even possible?
Essentially, this is about choosing to be happy with whatever you are doing whenever you are doing it. Making changes that will improve your lifestyle is a good thing. It is a thing worthy of celebration.
If whistling or singing are not your thing, then create a playlist of songs that make you happy, and play it often.
4. Connect with the MS Community.
There’s a huge online community of people with MS. HUGE! But I don’t spend a lot of time participating in it. I spend most of my online time reading about and looking up topics that interest me. Currently, that would be food and gardening.
Reading up on how others are dealing with their MS, particularly those who have also chosen to treat it naturally, reminds me that I’m not alone. Sometimes I get lucky and come across gems, such as The Cancer Gene over at The Self-Healing Coach. What affected me most was in Karen’s response to Greg’s comment:
illnesses are indeed the universe’s calling to us to evolve. evolve or die. and though some choose the latter, the call to evolve is a great one to get, if you answer it and step up. and i consider myself privileged to have received it
Wow. You see what she did there? She made some really yummy lemonade with her basket of lemons. Considering my diagnosis to be a calling from the universe to help contribute to humanity’s evolution is revolutionary, to say the least. How can I say no?
So yeah, connecting with the MS community can not only serve as a reminder that I’m not the only one living with it, but it can push my reset button, providing me with a ginormous ah-ha moment… with fireworks.
5. Plan and prepare.
Ugh. This is where everything can fall apart for me, and usually does. If I do not plan and prepare, I am more apt to eat food I shouldn’t.
When starting out, or getting back on track, the simpler the plan the better. For one week, eat the same food for lunch, breakfast, and then dinner. Have a piece of chicken and handful of baby carrots for breakfast every day. Cut up a piece of chicken and put it on a salad for lunch. Cook frozen vegetables for dinner, and eat them with a piece of chicken.
The preparation for that simple plan is shop for frozen chicken breasts, frozen vegetables, baby carrots, lettuce or spinach, and other fruit/vegetables/nuts for the salads. On Sunday, cook enough chicken for the week, maybe even shred some baby carrots for the salads, and chop/slice/dice the other salad ingredients.
It’s really quite simple and, yes, plain. I add flavor with spices and seasonings, my favorite being olive tapenade with the chicken and vegetables for dinner.
So, that’s it. Those are the things I’m doing to help me get back on track and hopefully return to that “best-I’ve-ever-felt” state of mind and being I experienced last summer.
There are certainly more steps and things to do, such as eliminating coffee or exercising, but these are the foundational steps that help me get moving in the right direction.