My Journey

My Health, Wellness and Fitness Journey

My journey to better health, wellness and fitness began with a multitude of health issues and concerns. I’ve had a number of diagnoses and surgeries through the years: before and after

1990 – Fibrocystic Breast Disease

2005 – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

2005 – Lactose Intolerance

2007 – Thyroid Disease

2008 – Adenomyosis / Fibroid Tumors

2009 – Hysterectomy (to cure adenomyosis/fibroids)

2013 – Partial Thyroidectomy (right side)

2013 – Meningioma

2013 – Craniotomy (removal of meningioma)

2014 – Elevated Blood Pressure

2015 – Gastritis

2015 – Esophagitis

2015 – Mild Fatty Liver

2015 – Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

That’s enough, right? Some of the diagnoses above were caused by my own negligence, some were due to heredity, and some are unexplained.  Sometimes in life you are dealt a certain hand and have to learn how to adapt and solve the problem.  As I got older, the various diagnoses began to wear on me.  I started feeling weaker and more tired and, subsequently, I felt sick a large majority of the time.  I had to figure out a way to solve these issues and, of course, changing my diet and weight loss was certainly going to be helpful in solving some of these problems.

Throughout this journey, I tried many different diet plans. My weight went up and down. Most of the time I was successful in losing weight, however, I wasn’t successful in keeping it off. I tried to figure out why that was. Part of it was going back to old bad habits. But, that wasn’t the complete reason why my weight would be up and down. I believe that diets are temporary fixes to our weight gain problem and that a lifestyle change needs to be implemented in order to solve the problem.

As I went on and off diets, I decided that maybe it wasn’t meant for me to lose weight. Maybe it was meant for me to live with fatigue and to not feel better. Maybe, just maybe I had to get used to not feeling well for the rest of my life. But, after a while, the light bulb turned back on, and I decided that living with pain was not living at all—it was just existing. I had too many diagnoses to let the pain continue and not try at least one more time to get better. Enough was enough! What was I doing wrong, and how could I fix myself? I could do better with my eating to change some of the diagnoses and exercise more consistently, but something else was missing. I needed a permanent change in my life.

Well, I started strategizing to solve this weight gain and pain problem. It started with my mind and my spirit. I needed to change how I thought about food. The way I did that was to start a regular prayer routine with God, day and night, so he could give me strength to change my ways. I began reading a book called The Maker’s Diet by Jordin S. Rubin. This book has a spiritual component to everyday diet and lifestyle as it pertains to food and weight control. As I started praying, I realized that was what was missing from my weight loss journey of the past. By regularly communicating with God, he miraculously changed me!

In addition to my prayer routine, God helped me to see some of the things that needed to be changed after all I still had the issues of pain in my abdomen that needed to be dealt with. After the mild fatty liver diagnosis, my doctor informed me that I could have non-celiac gluten sensitivity so I started doing research on the subject of gluten sensitivity. Essentially, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. A lot of baked products are made with some form of wheat is what I found out through my research. I discovered what the trigger foods were that were making me sick like certain pastas, certain types of bread, cakes, cookies, and anything containing gluten. I eliminated those foods from my diet. My new mantra: “I eat to live and do not live to eat.”

I was listening to The Steve Harvey Morning Show on the radio and an author named JJ Smith, who wrote the book The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, was being interviewed by Steve regarding her book. Then, I saw my sister-in-law shortly after that, and she looked great! Her skin glowed, and she was full of energy. I asked her what she was doing and she said, The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. Finally, the third time was the charm. I was reading on Facebook all of these success stories that women and men wrote about regarding the Green Smoothie Cleanse (GSC). They stated that they felt better, their skin looked better, they lost weight, they were full of energy and overall doing the GSC program was the best decision they made concerning their health and wellness. That was enough to convince me to give it a try. I had nothing to lose at this point so why not especially because each smoothie is nutritionally sound. However, I would not recommend you try this without first speaking with your doctor particularly if you are watching your blood sugar intake due to diabetes, because the smoothies contain fruit.

Honestly, the GSC program has been critical to healing my stomach pain and giving my intestinal tract a rest from the harsh digestive process that breaking down regular foods can cause. What a relief GSC has been for me! As a part of the GSC program, I drank detox tea. Also, I drink ginger tea. Most of the time when I drank tea in the past, it included some type of sweetener. I haven’t had any tea with sweetener since I began this lifestyle change in January 2015. That’s a miracle in itself!

In addition, at the university where I work, I learned about a free nutrition program called “LIFTUP!” (Lifestyle Intervention for Total Health), which helps the participants to understand the role food and exercise plays in calorie consumption and burning. It is an individualized program designed to help participants set reasonable goals to be successful in weight loss to last a lifetime. I have learned about proper portion size in preparing my food, foods with the best nutritional value for me, proper combinations of foods, drinking over 64 ounces of water, how much exercise to do, how to consume enough calories per day and balance that against regular exercise and it goes on and on. My nutritionist set me up on a plan that allowed me to eat up to 1600 calories a day and that goes along with my six-day a week exercise plan.

Another tool that I use to help me in this journey is a Fitbit. It is a device that attaches under your clothing to help keep track of calories burned, calorie intake, activity, and water consumption on a daily basis. Information is available on online about this device at www.fitbit.com.

What I have come to realize is praying, exercising, implementing proper eating habits, drinking plenty of water, drinking green smoothies, participating in LIFTUP!, keeping track of my activity for calorie burn and food consumption with my Fitbit were critical in getting me to this point. I am extremely grateful because I now know that although I tried some of these things in the past (i.e. exercise and changing my diet), the real key to all of this working is my relationship with God and having regular communication with him so that he could guide me through it all.

My lifestyle has changed because of God’s influence in my life and having a great team of doctors who helped reveal some of the problems that I was dealing with and solutions to those problems. The problems that I have been dealing with have dissipated due to diet change and weight loss. In addition to my weight loss, my body fat percentage has dropped, my visceral fat (fat around the organs) percentage has dropped, my muscle content has increased and my metabolic age has improved substantially. The cool thing about this is that I didn’t start the journey to lose weight for purposes of vanity. I wanted to lose weight so that I could feel better inside because I was much too heavy for my height according to the medical experts and not feeling well.

Since getting on track, I don’t look at food the same way nor do I have the same cravings for the wrong types of food that I had prior to making these changes. Food is not a constant on my mind anymore.  I feel amazing! My mind is clear, my skin is clear, my body looks and feels better than it has in years, my spirit/soul are in tune with God helping me understand my earthly purpose more clearly.

My prayer is that this blog will encourage you to never give up on yourself in moving toward great health and wellness. You can do it! When you feel weary, always know that you are not alone. We all have struggles, and it’s important to lean on God to help get through those struggles. Also, being surrounded by positive family members and friends is helpful in getting through the struggles. I hope that my blog will bless you immensely and will be helpful in you forging a path to great health and wellness. More to come…

God Bless You with Good Health and Wellness,

Antoinette

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