Hey, it’s Stacey here…just your average American hardcore overeater who spent most of her life drugging herself with food and then unexpectedly made it out of the woods. Without dieting, drugs, or surgery. That’s not to say I’m a stranger to dieting. Starting from the age of, oh, 9, I’d be hard-pressed to say whether I put more energy into white-knuckle deprivation or hating myself.
Our culture is one of extremes. We’re excessive with food, spending, the size of our houses, and on and on. And we’re excessively obsessed with perfection where appearances are concerned. The combination of these two extremes sent me reeling for decades. I spent most of my life under the erroneous assumption that my size and my self worth were tied together irrevocably. Then I woke up and realized that wasn’t true. And then I really began a magic carpet ride of a healing process. And guess what? It’s never really over. But then, who wants such a fascinating adventure to end anyway? I don’t!
I LOVE getting mail from you! Whether you’re letting me know my story has inspired you to give it another shot, sharing an anecdote from your own journey of healing, or asking me a question, I look at each note as a gift.
I’m not always able to respond to each e-mail individually, so here are answers to the questions I receive most often:
Q: Does being gluten-free mean being carb-free?
A: Hardly! The low-carb crazed popularized by diets such as Atkins, The Zone, Suzanne Somers, etc. continue to leave an impression on the American psyche. I too once believed that in order to get and keep weight off I must eat only fruit, vegetables and protein. Not exactly my idea of a good time. Fortunately, Diamond Dallas Page and Terri Lange showed me the light when they suggested I give up gluten, a glue-like substance found in modern-day wheat products such as cereals, breads, pastas, cookies, etc. Doctors, nutritionists, even the New England Journal of Medicine have been touting the ill-effects of eating gluten for years. All I know is, when I took gluten out of the equation, my joints stopped aching, I had significantly more energy, and the weight began to noticeably peel off. This has also been the case for clients I advise to give the G-Word a rest. My mom, who has never had a weight issue, dropped 20 pounds in less than a year, simply by switching to gluten-free breads and cereals.
Bottom line: I’m not really painting the whole picture when I say I ‘gave up gluten.’ What I mean is, I’ve exchanged the irritating, aging, bloating and all-around aggravating ingredients and products with gluten in them for breads, pastas, desserts, cereals, etc., with no irritating, aging, bloating, or aggravating ingredients. See the picture clearly now? You don’t have to ‘give up’ anything, simply exchange the ingredients. Yes, many gluten-free products cost more than their wheat-based counterparts. But you saw my before and after photos, right?
Q: Do you count calories or fat grams?
A: No. I didn’t want this in any way to feel like a diet. And the diet industry insidiously sets us up for failure by undermining our natural ability to discern what foods are right for us and how much. When I faced the emotional demons that drove me to binge eat, I was free to relearn a healthy relationship with food. That meant experimenting with quantity, eating when I was hungry and stopping when I felt satisfied (not stuffed), and agreeing I was no longer going to eat just for the benefit of my taste buds. Food has to both taste good AND do something nutritionally for me.
Q: How Do You Handle Emotions and The Urge to Overeat Now?
A: Overall, I’m more mindful of everything, not just food intake and exercise. I’m more dialed into my body in general vs. my eating days when I was disconnected from it. When I was binge-eating, I acted like the the food wasn’t going into my body but some magical out-of-state warehouse. As an emotional eater, I still have a tendency to want to comfort myself with food when the going gets tough so I do have to make a concerted effort to be aware of feelings and FEEL them.
Q: Is DDPYOGA the only form of exercise you do?
A: No. DDPYOGA is my primary form of exercise and what I use to stay fit. But I’m also one of those odd ducks who LIKE to exercise. And the way DDPYOGA strengthened and healed my body has opened me up to trying more forms of movement and activity including long-distance walking, hot yoga, pilates, and light weight-training. I have a slow thyroid and metabolism so it’s actually a good thing I’m more active than the average person. I enjoy it, though some days the “I’m too busy” excuses come creeping in. And that’s when I simply listen to the excuses (usually each one of them is logical and valid) and then do the workouts anyway. I’ve never regretted doing a workout. Only not doing one.
Q: How Many Days a Week Do You Workout?
A: During the first two years when the weight was coming off, I made sure to do the workouts 5-6 times a week. The duration ranged from 25 minutes to an hour, though most were in the 30-minute range. Nowadays, I’m more likely to get 4 or 5 workouts in a week. And at least one of these is a trip to the gym for cardio on the bike or treadmill plus weight-lifting. From experience I can say DDPYOGA has never injured me but weight lifting has. Therefore I have had to learn to check my ego in the locker room and lift only light to moderate weights and execute more reps. This works well for me. Sometimes I’ll split activity throughout the day: ‘Strength Builder’ in the morning and a 45-minute walk in the afternoon or visa versa. And I always begin my day with my personal version of “Wake Up.” My body loves a gentle routine of stretching, a few crunches, broken tables, and downdogs, with a votive candle and mantras playing for ambiance. I wouldn’t begin my day any other way.