I’m Baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

A big thank you to all of you who have reached out and wondered why I’ve missed two weeks’ worth of blog posts. It’s so nice to be missed! My disappearance from cyberspace was primarily due to a trip – no, not to some sunny remote locale, but into myself.

As I enter the last quarter of my yearlong experiment, it is painfully clear that my obesity is not because I eat too much (that’s just a symptom), it’s because I think and feel too much.

For the remainder of 12 in 12, I will be focusing on addiction, the mind, and ultimately the spirit. Deep down, I always knew this is where the journey would take me, and if I truly want to deal with my problem once and for all, I will have to face my demons and stinking-thinking.

Honesty. Vulnerability. Fedupness. Yup, I made up another word. That’s what it will take to find my elusive ‘AFTER’ shot. I recognize it will be an ongoing process once I get there, but I am only now ready to face it.  Over the last two weeks, as I did my research for the last phase of the experiment, I began to scratch the surface and to be honest, there’s been less laughing and more tears. But that’s okay! Actually, it’s necessary.

Stay tuned as I reveal the next plan on Tuesday, September 1st. Until then, thank you for your love and support on my journey. I will need it more than ever as I cross the threshold in the deepest, darkest part of this maze.

Yikes! My iPad is Making Me Fat!

I just discovered that my love handles might not be Nutella-filled solely due to lack of willpower, but the result of lack of sleep as well. One of the big culprits keeping us from getting all our Zzzzzzzs is our electronic devices. Before portable gadgets came along I used to read a book to unwind before bed, but now I curl up with my beloved iPad and surf, pin, like, friend, comment, and play all sorts of mindless games. By the time I finally set my device aside, I’m so wired my eyelids have forgotten how to function, and I end up looking like those creepy dolls whose eyes don’t shut anymore, or at least not in unison. My device might be powered off, but I’m not. I just lay and stare at the ceiling, or worse yet, the alarm clock.

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Ever since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, our internal clock, known as our circadian rhythm, has been out of whack. Before then, we took our cues from the sun… we got up when it did, and when it slipped under the cloak of night we slipped under our blankies for a long replenishing snooze.

When God said, “Let there be light,” I don’t think He wanted us to abuse it like we do. We can summon this miracle with a flip of a switch any time of the day or night, and as a result, we’ve messed up our body’s biorhythm so much so that it affects us on a hormonal level. The blue light emanating from our electronic devices boosts attention, so it actually is beneficial during daylight hours, but that’s not what we need just before bed.

“Sleep deprivation perpetuates a vicious cycle of excess stress hormones, reduced sleep-inducing melatonin and low growth hormone.” Dr. Natasha Turner, The Hormone Diet

What’s worse, if you get less than 5 hours of sleep per night, or suffer with insomnia, like I do, cortisol, the stress hormone, elevates significantly making it even harder for you to lose weight. Studies show that sleep deprived subjects have an increased appetite and tend to crave high-calorie, high-sugary foods… hence, my Nutella-filled hips.

That’s it! I’m grounding myself. NO devices after 9 PM, since it’s recommended to power down two hours before bedtime. Wowser! My inner child just threw a ‘but Mom!’ hissy fit as I typed that. This might be harder than giving up carbs when I tested Paleo, or BBQ ribs when I tested the Whole Food, Plant-Based diet. Giving up a food group during 12 in 12 just means bidding adieu for a month, but banning devices a few hours before bedtime must be a forever thing if I want to improve my health and waistline. And you know what they say, “An Apple device a night keeps the doctor prescribing sleeping pills.” No, they don’t say that. I made that up because I’ve popped a sleeping pill every night for the last 5 days and they’re not working anymore.

This is going to be tough. I feel like Rose letting go of Jack’s hand in the frozen Atlantic (as she hogged the wooden door she floated on), that fateful night the Titanic went down. Oh iPad and iPhone, will my heart go on without you? I’m not sure… hopefully I’ll get rid of the dark circles under my eyes, and my thunder thighs might get downgraded to a tropical storm if I follow through on my device diet.

Note to family, friends and acquaintances: I apologize for not responding to you via cyberspace after 9 PM, Toronto time going forward. However, if you do get a response after that time you know that I caved and am a slave to Steve Jobs’ ghost.

For my Week 36 food journal, click here.

I Do Declare, I’ve Got A Perpetual Case Of The Vapours!

When Maya Angelou said, “A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing,” she must have been referring to someone who wasn’t going through menopause, because if she was, that poor woman would have jumped into that river to cool down!

I love everything about being in my 50s… freely dispensing the wisdom I’ve gained through the years as I stroke my ever sprouting chin hairs, revelling in the euphoria of hearing my adult daughters proclaim, “gee mom, you were right all along”, and discarding life’s superfluous baggage so I no longer sweat the small stuff. However, the only thing that gets me shvitzing these days are these darn hot flashes. If I ever earned the right to be called Hot Stuff, it’s now! I get up to two dozen a day, and take it from me, all you want to do is strip down when you become a walking fireball. Unfortunately, you can only get a certain amount of naked before you’re charged with indecent exposure. My employer, for example, frowns on nudity in the workplace, even if it is for medical reasons. What’s a hot mess to do?!

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All day long, I’m peeling down to my tank top and tying up my hair. Up and down, up and down – I do this everywhere, in meetings, at the grocery store, at church – it’s become my routine and nobody notices anymore. And don’t think the furnace shuts off when you hit the sack – the night sweats bring their own joy, like soaked jammies, sheets, or partner. Ugh! There is nothing lady-like about this. Thank goodness for air conditioners – I happen to keep my thermostat set at ‘iceberg’.

Menopause stems from an imbalance in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels, and although it’s a natural and inevitable part of aging, it does wreak havoc on a woman’s body. Symptoms, in addition to hot flashes include insomnia, mood swings, fatigue, depression, irritability, racing heart, headaches, joint and muscle aches and pains, hair loss, poor memory and concentration, and weight gain. AND. WEIGHT. GAIN. For heaven’s sake! I used to be able to lose weight a lot faster when I was younger – heck, just a few years ago, the weight was dropping off and I was doing less than I am now to tip the scale in my favour. I feel like I’m swimming upstream in wet cement. I don’t think the good Lord thought this through when He designed the sexes – it’s kind of one sided don’t you think? We get periods, PMS, pregnancy, labour, delivery, stretch marks, hemorrhoids, hysterectomies, and now this. What are men cursed with… 5 o’clock shadow?

Since there is no denying I’m going through “The Change”, I must consider my age and stage when it comes to my next plan. The Hormone Diet, by naturopathic doctor, Natasha Turner, addresses just that. The beauty of the plan is that it doesn’t focus solely on menopause, it can be customized address whatever your hormonal imbalance may be.

The Hormone Diet lays out a fool-proof plan to balance your life, one hormone at a time. But it is more than just a diet book. Along with advice for weight loss, Natasha Turner provides recommendations for an anti-inflammatory detox, nutritional supplements, exercise, sleep, stress management, toxin-free skin care and natural hormone replacement, along with a personalized diet plan – all incorporated into a complete 3-step wellness program focused on the essentials of hormonal balance for lasting health and fat loss.

Dr. Turner is an authority on hormonal and digestive concerns and is a frequent guest on Dr. Oz, and The Marilyn Denis Show. What makes The Hormone Diet the perfect plan to test for Month 9 in my 12 in 12 experiment is that, (1) my hormones are clearly out of whack and screaming for attention, and (2) Dr. Turner’s Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique is located in Toronto, so I’ll be working directly with the experts for relief and results.

To learn more about The Hormone Diet, click here.

The Results Are In

To find out how much I lost (or gained) last month when I tested The 8-Hour Diet, click here.