Have you ever had an experience that defined your path in an irrevocable way? I’ve had some game changers over the years, and had another recently. Nothing is the same.
Since March of 2006 when I contracted viral meningitis, my first health wake-up call, I’ve been much more conscious about taking good care of myself. I have created a life with less stress, have changed my diet to eliminate chemical additives, get plenty of sleep, and find joy in every day. I’ve added daily, long walks. I’ve been pleased with the new life I’ve created.
Except for one thing. Through all my improvements, I’m still carrying extra weight I don’t want. Compared to many other people I know, my food intake choices are better than average. I don’t eat processed food much, I don’t do fast food. I eat mostly whole foods without preservatives. I keep the quantity in good proportion. My one concession is sugary foods. I do love sweets. :)
Subsequently, I have been thinking about changing doctors. I don’t need one often, and still – the doctor I’d used for years has a vastly different philosophy about health than I do. His solution is always to prescribe drugs. My practice is always not to take them. See? Misalignment. In a conversation with a new friend of mine, she mentioned a new doctor that she had found. He leads a practice called Physician’s Holistic Health Alliance, and his name is Dr. Cavallo.
Loving the thought of working with a holistic thinking doc, I made an appointment immediately. It turns out his entire practice is managed with a coaching model. He has assembled a team of medical professionals with aligned healthcare philosophies, all under one roof. He greets patients from the perspective that we have innate well being, versus treating symptoms of disease. Our philosophy aligns!
The first thing he did was order blood tests to see what’s going on with me. He requested that I log my food for one week preceding the blood work. After a week, Dr. Cavallo called me with the results. His words were “Your labs are very telling…”
I wasn’t sure how to feel about that statement, and then he went on to explain the meaning of each and every marker. Insulin high. Cholesterol high and unbalanced. Vitamin D low. Hemoglobin percentage off. He reminded me that he is coming from a place of well-being rather than disease – and then he gave me the results of the next measurement – the hsCRP. This is a test that determines your risk for heart disease and stroke, among other things. It measures the amount of inflammation in our body. Low risk is 1, Medium risk is 2, High risk is 3. Mine was 18.
Dr. Cavallo said that this is the marker that most worries him. His words were “Something really bad is going to happen to you. I don’t know if it’s cancer, heart attack, stroke, or something else, but if you don’t change your lifestyle you are going to get sick.”
This was the game changing moment, as you can well imagine.
Dr. C stated that while my eating habits would be just fine for most people, I wasn’t “most people” and they aren’t right for me. He believes that I can 100% reverse the unhealthy condition of my body through diet and exercise – a lifestyle redesign.
He then discussed what he calls, the 5 Bucket Plan. First, eliminate grains, as they are a chief cause for inflammation in the body. And it’s not just gluten – it’s all grains. Second, eliminate sugar. Refined sugar, specifically. Third, eliminate alcohol, which turns to glucose immediately and as Dr. C put it so succinctly, it’s poison. He asked, “How much poison do you want to put in your body?” Fourth, exercise. He recommends 10,000 steps each and every day. And fifth, stress relief. I chose mediation/prayer for one hour daily.
Did you know that when you eat an excess of refined carbohydrates, it has your body produce FAT immediately rather than store the calories for later? My body has become a FAT producing machine. The excess refined carbs not only don’t burn existing fat, they produce more. It’s caused from Insulin resistance and an imbalance of certain hormones.
EUREKA! There was the answer to the question I’ve had for years. Why can’t I sustain weight loss? Because my diet, though far better than some, is killing me.
I’ve implemented all five recommendations from Dr. C. After 2 weeks of perfectly clean eating, I’ve released 8 pounds. I’m committed to following this plan as a new way of living my life. I’m creating optimal wellness, and the discipline to do so is showing up for me just when I need it most.
People are wondering how I can give up all those foods that I’ve grown to love. The answer is that I finally made an irrevocable decision to love myself enough to take extraordinary care of my physical body. I choose health, rather than disease. I choose love over fear. I choose life.
I feel strong and confident that I will not revert to my old way of living. Nothing about me really changed, and yet because of my commitment to myself, everything looks different.
One meal at a time, I’m changing the cells in my body by blessing it with only food that nurtures me. I imagine my body burning fat, as I consume delicious food that supports my health. Every day, I’m aware of the amount of movement I’m choosing, with a pedometer that measures every step. I am intentional with quiet time to pray and reflect on all the blessings in my life – nudging away any remnants of stress that may be lingering. I choose this consciousness rather than the altered one that comes from consuming alcohol – certain that I no longer wish to put poison in my body.
My second wake up call came just in time.
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