I have been on the Ideal Protein journey for two years now. I started in 2016 when I hit my weight was increasing daily after the sudden death of my husband. Grief entered my life and I found comfort in pizza, ice cream, wine and bread. I spent my entire life managing my emotions with food, but this one rocked me. I woke up one morning, about 4 weeks into my widowhood, and decided I NEEDED something I could control. Life at this point felt completely 100% out of control. So, with the encouragement of my best friend, I joined Ideal Protein and took some control of my life.
After being on the program for a brief period and finding remarkable success, we decided to work on opening our own clinic and Ideal Balance was born. I credit Ideal Protein for not only helping me get control of my relationship with food but also in helping me manage grief in my life. I felt physically better which lead to emotional health. I wasn’t having the emotional crashes that often accompany sugar intake. What this did, is help me navigate the hardest time in my life.
I lost 70 pounds and felt great! I maintained that weight loss for a year and it was so incredibly easy! Then I hit my first roadblock. As I approached the two-year mark of my husband’s death, I found myself turning to food again. I gave myself permission to indulge more often and told myself that “I deserved it”. I felt myself wanting the carbs and sugars, and I told myself to have them because it’s a challenging time of year for me.
Here’s the thing, the anniversary is not a surprise to me. I know that I have a 5-week window in the spring and summer that is full of anniversary dates from his death, funeral, our first date, my birthday and our wedding. The roadblock wasn’t that “it took me by surprise”, it was more about not preparing myself enough for it.
What happens when we don’t prepare? We improvise and go back to old habits! In my lack of emotionally preparing myself, I essentially gave myself permission to use food as a coping skill again. Last year, when I was going into the 1st anniversary, I was prepared for it. I journaled about it, I had a vision for how I wanted to go through it and I put in supports to help me. What happened last year? I didn’t hit a roadblock and maintained my weight and health.
I didn’t prepare this year and I fell into old habits. I granted myself permission to fill myself with food to cover sadness, pain, loneliness and grief. I allowed food to comfort me and food showed up to do its job. The last three months I have done “too much”. Too much bread, beer, desserts, pasta, potatoes, pizza, ice cream and wine. I could have had a plan for health, but instead I had a plan of “too much”.
Moving on from the roadblock
First comes the reality check…..my size 10 jeans don’t fit anymore……my shirts are too tight…..my bras aren’t as comfortable….my face looks more round…..and finally the scale tells me that I have gained 25 pounds!!!! Now that it a reality check!
I look in the mirror and instead of berating and hating myself for doing this, I look at my eyes and I see the hurt and pain. I make a plan and agreement with myself that I’m starting Phase 1 again without judgement. I tell myself that I am human and that this health journey is lifelong, until the day I die. I forgive myself for using food to cope with feelings and remind myself that I can grieve and still be healthy.
I believe that all of us will hit roadblocks in our life which will challenge our weight and health journey. I also believe that old coping skills show up in the most stressful times in our lives and we can either berate ourselves or we can be compassionate. If you’ve gained some weight, that’s ok. If you have used food to cope, that’s ok. If you have started to feel badly about yourself, that’s ok. What matters is how you respond to this.
There is a beautiful Chinese Proverb that says, “If I fall seven times, I will rise eight”. It’s not the falling that counts, it’s how many times you rise that does.