Who’s on first?
Play first fiddle.
Last in, first out.
Of the first order.
Love at first sight.
First and foremost.
The last shall be first.
First thing in the morning.
There’s a first time for everything…
So, JUMP IN FEET FIRST!
Here we go – my very FIRST blog post. First of all – welcome! If you haven’t already taken the time to read my About page, I recommend you do that! It will give you an idea of my passion for this website. If you are new to the low-carb lifestyle, you are about to take the first step to an amazing transformation. I call my own journey a “journey to joy”. My story is one of healing – restoring my wellness both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So let’s explore this obvious “first” topic. The very definition of “first” is: from the start; immediately.
First, I’m going to encourage you to START IMMEDIATELY! If you are reading this, I know there is something you want and need to change about your health. There is something deep within your psyche saying “yes, take that first step!”. I highly recommend you listen to that voice. Dig deep and listen. The quote above is my absolute favorite quote that I latched onto from the very beginning of the journey. Those are some very wise words by author, C.S. Lewis. I bet he kept a journal. I might suggest that you grab a journal right now and list out the reasons you NEED to take that first step. And then list out the reasons you WANT to take that first step. I’ll give you a second to grab the journal or some paper. And you might want to grab that first morning cup of coffee, too. Ahhhh. Coffee with heavy whipping cream is the dream. Settle in!
Let me share some of the first reasons that I NEEDED to take my first step. I was morbidly obese. I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. I kept my poor husband awake most nights with very loud snoring. I was told that I have “metabolic syndrome” by the hospital weight loss clinic (though they never really explained what that meant – this is a whole ‘nother story I will share someday!). I was having terrible trouble with cysts and was considering surgery to eliminate that pain. During the diagnostic tests for the cysts, it was discovered that I had “fatty liver” in the ultrasound. Fatty liver is also known as NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease). If you are walking around with belly fat, you probably have it as well. Here’s some great info on fatty liver disease (I see my Diet Doctor success story is posted with this information, too!) US experts raise red flag over fatty liver disease.
Anyhow, back to my reasons that I needed to change my life. I had joint inflammation – pain in my knees, shoulders, and hips. I had cystic acne. I had daily headaches. I had monthly migraines. I suffered with painful cramps. I was tired all the time and my mood was pretty bad (apologies to my family!). I was outwardly a pleasant, happy-go-lucky person – but my JOY was just not there.
As I began my journey, I learned a lot about my hormones and discovered that I had hyperinsulinemia – some refer to this as insulin resistance. I was a walking time bomb for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). In fact, I would say that I HAD T2D based on all my metabolic dysfunction. I was just never diagnosed because my HbA1c was never in the danger range. However, if my fasting insulin had ever been checked – whoa boy, I can’t even imagine what the result of that would have been.
So, as you can see, I had plenty of reasons to make some serious changes in my life. At age 49, I finally, finally got the wakeup call I needed with the NAFLD diagnosis and the likelihood that I would need surgery to deal with the cysts. Another kicker was looking at pictures of myself on my 25th anniversary trip with my husband. The pictures, and the fact that I couldn’t do any long hikes with him during our trip to the beautiful Colorado were the kick in the butt that I needed. I scheduled my first appointment with a sleep doctor as soon as I got home. I had that appointment in October 2015 – and that is the appointment that I was weighed at my highest weight ever recorded. It was very deflating, but I had a sense of hope since I was going to be using a C-Pap machine and would sleep better. I had just begun to understand the role that hormones play on your health and I was going to fix my sleep first.
Those are all my first reasons for needing to take that first step. Now I can easily come up with a huge list for the reasons I wanted to take that first step. I have experienced so many firsts since I started this journey. I want to take adventurous outdoor vacations and hike while keeping up with my family. I want to shop in the normal sized clothing section. I want to try on clothes and actually enjoy it. I want to wear my daughter’s clothes now and have two wardrobes (HA! The picture I’m sharing here is of me wearing an outfit from her closet – except the scarf and shoes, those are MY style!). I want to be able to wear high heels occasionally and not die with all the extra added weight. I want to feel confident in my professional life. In my social life. In my Christian walk and witness. I want to be the fun mom and the fun future grandma. But most importantly I wanted to live again. Really live – an active and abundant life.
One of the first things I didn’t even realize I wanted from this journey, but learned very soon, was the reclaiming of my joy. I had no idea how spiritually thirsty I had become while experiencing such poor health. I was in poor health physically, emotionally, and most shockingly to me – spiritually. I say shocking because I have been a Christian my entire life – since I was a young child. I have always been involved in church, bible studies, women’s fellowship ministries – and I enjoyed all that very much. But I always felt there was just something missing. For thirty years the heavy weight of my heavy weight weighed like a ton of bricks on my shoulders and on my spirit. For thirty years, I had tried every possible weight loss program you could imagine, and I just couldn’t understand how none of it was successful. I’m not a cheater, I was always adherent to the plan – and yet, I would never achieve wellness. And I never, ever felt any better. For these reasons and for the reasons that I was feeling so ill with the cysts and pain, I cried out to God to please reveal to me how to improve my health situation. I did not want to have surgery to remove organs. There was just something about that that didn’t sit well with me. I had a very restless heart. And now I know it was for good reason!
First and foremost, I credit everything I have learned and experienced on this “journey to joy” to God, my Father. It is hard to explain in words just how His timing was perfect in every part of this journey. First, He showed me the importance of sleep. Then He convinced me that I should not eat sugar and that quite literally for my metabolism “Sugar Is The Devil”. As I climbed to each crest of my mountain, He revealed to me the next step. When I was ready, He guided me to the summit and the final step that I needed to truly move this mountain once and for all. On January 13, 2017 – I finally had the final tool to reclaim my joy. From this point forward, it was full steam ahead and I have never looked back. This is the day I learned about the low-carb, Ketogenic diet and Intermittent Fasting and for the first time in my life I realized I could have true hope in restoring my wellness. Losing 100 pounds has changed my life completely and has reversed all health problems I have listed above!
I often ask myself, what if I had not taken that first step to improve my sleep? I went to that appointment with the mindset that if I could sleep better then I could function better and then I could work on the diet. It worked. After my sleep stabilized, I took the next step. What if I had not taken that next step to eliminate table sugar and then processed foods? When I ponder those questions, it makes me very emotional. I still can’t believe that I had discipline to stick with each decision I made and never slipped up or went off my “plan”. I call this divine intervention and I thank God every day for giving me the mental and spiritual strength to face my challenges each day through His grace and guidance.
So, as I wrap up my FIRST blog post, I want to share that I have a million ideas of the first thing I want to do with the adventure. I am completely overwhelmed and in awe of all that God is revealing to me. If you are a praying friend – I covet your prayers for guidance and His direction. I’m super excited to see where this takes me FIRST!
Now my fat-burning friends (FBFs), I’m asking you – dig deep – what is that FIRST step that you will take to better health and You have to start somewhere. Write it down. Share with me in the comments below what your first step will be today. And if you have been doing this low-carb lifestyle living for a while and are struggling with something, what will be the first thing you will change today to work through that struggle? And if you’re out there just killin’ it in your low-carb lifestyle – what would be your first bit of advice to give the newcomers and those struggling? I would love to hear your “first” thoughts.
Some final “first” thoughts from me (and I will remind you of this ALL the time):
CHOOSE YOU and
(Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional. I am writing about my personal experiences to encourage others to research a low-carb lifestyle. You should always work closely with a health care professional to manage your health. I work with three MDs to manage my health: functional medicine, cardiology, and sleep/pulmonology. They treat my metabolic dysfunctions along with monitoring my important blood markers routinely. Keto or LCHF may not be an appropriate way of eating for your metabolic health or other health needs. Please check with your personal health care professional before making any changes in your diet.)