Looking Back on 2011: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Not-So-Best of Times*

*Or, a Tale of Two Rickis

*Or, How About a Dickens Reference Other Than A Christmas Carol for a Change?

["Happy New Year, Mum!  A saner approach to 2012 sounds good to me, too.  Oh, and kudos on that atypical Dickens reference!"]

Happy 2012, everyone! Hope you all had a great time ringing in the new year.  I’m incredibly excited to see what 2012 will bring! But before we get to that. . . .  [Warning: long post ahead. Hopefully, it will still be 2012 by the time we're finished. To skip to the giveaway info, just go to the last section of this entry.]

I had actually intended this post to be part of Cheryl’s December Sanity Challenge, her blog event that exhorted us to “post on what you plan to do to make your holidays sane, happy and healthy.”  (First pledge for 2012:  get things done on time.). Clearly, I’m a little behind the curve on this one (sorry, Cheryl!).  Well, since the holiday festivities have already passed and I haven’t quite achieved that elusive sanity as yet, I thought this would be as good a time as any to take stock of the past year, reflect on what worked or what didn’t, and formulate a plan to help increase the sanity quotient throughout the upcoming 365 days.

[A favorite means of increasing calcium in the diet: Raw Fig & Cherry Bars.]

I. The Best of Times: What Worked in 2011:

The Great Osteopenia Reversal of 2011.

One of my proudest health victories in 2011 was reversing the previous year’s diagnosis of near-osteoporosis (with a T-score of -2.2, I landed at the top of the “osteopenia” spectrum).  Although my (allopathic) family doctor assured me that there was no way to reverse osteopenia and warned that I would need to start taking prescription drugs to avert disaster, I convinced her to let me try a holistic approach for a year.  My recent bone density test indicated that my numbers improved dramatically–up to -1.3–which means less than a 10% chance of fracture after a fall! Yippee!

Many of you asked how I did it.  While I’m loath to provide specific details about supplements because (a) each of us is an individual, and should, therefore, acquire an individualized program from a certified health care provider; and (b) I am not qualified to provide this type of information to anyone else–this is my personal story only–I am happy to share what I did because it worked for me.  However, I can’t stress enough that this is the plan I followed, but it may not work for you.  Please contact your own health care provider before embarking on any kind of bone-building regimen, or any health-promoting regimen, period.

My year-long plan (which I’m still following, for the time being) involved increasing bone-building minerals and foods in my diet, and boosting the amount of weight-bearing exercise.  Here’s what I did:

Supplements:

Based on my naturopath’s plan for me, I took all these daily supplements in addition to my other regular supplements (such as probiotics, Omega 3s, CoQ10, B12 and whatever else I’m on for candida and general health):

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Strontium
  • Vitamin K2
  • Vitamin D3

[One of my all-time top-rated bean-based recipes: Egyptian Fava Bean Breakfast]

Food:

Apart from my “regular” diet (lots of veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds, soy about once every 2 weeks, whole gluten-free grains, and a daily slurry of one teaspoon/5 ml spirulina (or other green food) combined with some almond, rice or soy milk and a tablespoon of ground flax seeds and chia seeds every single morning), I added a few more foods. Although I had been consuming a good amount of leafy greens (I adore kale and pretty much love all green leafys), I decided to amp up the green quotient nonetheless. I ate 2 servings of leafy greens at least 4 times a week, with a minimum of one serving on the other days.

[Crunchy, fresh, delicious way to get those greens.]

I also increased my intake of beans and legumes, which offer a great array of minerals necessary for a healthy bone matrix.  Seaweed contains a similarly broad range of nutrients, so I attempted to increase my intake of those as well.  I ended up eating beans and legumes 5-6 times a week, with seaweeds (such as nori sheets, arame, wakame, etc.) just under once a week.  My goal this year is to augment that amount as well.

Exercise:

Again, this past year was about building on established routines.  (And please note, I am by NO MEANS what I’d call a “fitness buff”; exercise to me is mostly necessity, never something I love doing.  I’m definitely moderate in my approach and don’t really care whether or not I build muscle as long as I’m within a healthy range.)

My pattern before 2011 had been to walk every day (30-40 minutes with The Girls, with an additional short walk on the treadmill most days) and to use weights 3-4 times a week.  I determined to increase my walking time by at least 30 minutes a day and amp up my weight-based workouts to every second day (ie, 4 times a week), adding in a few muscle groups I hadn’t been targeting specifically with weights before that (such as the abductors and adductors).  Overall, I ended up walking about 70 minutes total each day, and used the weight machines at my local gym daily, alternating between upper and lower body, six days a week.

[Chocolate Bean Butter. . . who knew?]

I certainly understand that an hour’s walk each day may seem a tad much for some folks. . . at least, those who don’t own dogs.  As for the alimentary changes, it’s not as difficult as you’d imagine to incorporate more greens and legumes: smoothies and salads are two obvious ways; I also tend to add chopped greens to soups and stews without thinking these days.  As for beans, there are endless recipes to incorporate more of them in one’s diet.  All it takes is a little determination, and remembering to include them in your menus!

Candida Update: Symptoms Holding Steady in 2011.

March of this year will mark 3 years since I began the ACD (holy jeepers! That’s 36 months.  156 weeks. Three seasons of American Idol. . . all without sugar or mold!).  After some great progress in 2010, my symptoms continued to hold steady in 2011, spurring a shift from Stage 2 to Stage 3 (and even some maintenance) foods in 2011.

[Yes, you can eat this Chocolate Whoopee Pie in Stage 3 of the ACD!]

At this point, I’ve grown fairly accustomed to eating this way, and have managed to welcome back a few previously eschewed ingredients into my diet, such as the occasional drizzle of vinegar (if I’m in a restaurant and the dressing contains regular vinegar, I no longer ask them to serve the salad without) or apple cider vinegar (either permitted or not, depending on which version of the diet you follow); the occasional sweeter or dried fruit, particularly if I’m eating at a raw food restaurant; and low glycemic sweeteners other than stevia (coconut sugar, coconut nectar, agave).  If I’m moderate in my intake of these newer foods, they pose no problems and there are no symptom flare-ups.  I can live with that.

II. The Worst of Times: What Didn’t Work, and Where I’m Going this Year

Weight Loss: Not Holding Steady in 2011.

If you’ve been a DDD reader since I first embarked on the ACD in March, 2009, you’ll recall that I lost a considerable amount of weight on the regimen, without a single day of “dieting.”  Still, as someone who strives to be an “intuitive” eater, I’ve come to believe that intuition, shall we say, is not my forte.

["Mum, it's easy to be an intuitive eater! Just do what I do: eat anything that isn't moving--and that includes Elsie's ear!"]

Let me be clear: I haven’t veered at all from what is permitted on the diet. Nevertheless, I’ve seen my weight creep slowly back up as the past year unfolded.

Sure, the foods I consume are über-healthy and my diet would be considered draconian by the standards of many; but for me, one extra (sugar-free, gluten-free, ACD-friendly) cookie can easily morph into four cookies; in true Libra fashion, I tend to vacillate between feast and famine (figuratively speaking, of course, having never approached true famine in my life).

Recently I came across a fascinating article about why those of us who’ve lost (and gained, and lost, and gained, and lost) considerable amounts of weight find it so excruciatingly difficult to permanently inhabit the  realm of “slim.”

According to a study undertaken at Columbia University in New York, the cellular makeup and chemistry of formerly zaftig bodies have been permanently changed, so that former dieters “showed a bigger response in the parts of the brain associated with reward and a lower response in the areas associated with control. This suggests that the body, in order to get back to its pre-diet weight, induces cravings by making the person feel more excited about food and giving him or her less willpower to resist a high-calorie treat.”  At the same time, “After you’ve lost weight, your brain has a greater emotional response to food,” [the study's author] says. “You want it more, but the areas of the brain involved in restraint are less active.”

As someone who experiences this biochemical Catch-22 fairly frequently, it makes total sense to me that, once a dieter has achieved a desired weight, s/he will thereafter crave food more than a naturally slim person–while simultaneously possessing less willpower to limit the food eaten. The upshot, then, as David Kessler instructs us in The End of Overeating, is to be vigilant about planning and organizing what one will eat in order to steer clear of “trigger” foods. Which leads me to. . . .

III. The Outlook for 2012:  A Cleanse, Multiple Giveaways, and Other Events: 

Detox–and Giveaway!

I’m kicking off the year with a whole-foods cleanse that will serve not only to further stymie the remaining dregs of candida in my system, but also reset my sweets cravings to a level somewhat below an elephant’s trumpet, which is where they’ve been residing lately.  As those of you who’ve ditched sugar in the past undoubtedly know, once you eliminate the sweet stuff for long enough, the constant desire to seek it out abates as well.  For me, that shift took a little longer than the norm (sugar cravings usually disappear within 10 days or so of cutting out sugar; in my case, they held their grip until somewhere around the six-month point on the ACD).  [NOTE: while this is NOT specifically a sugar detox (that one, which I'll be offering with Andrea Nakayama, is coming up in March!),  as a general, all-purpose healthy-eating plan, it will of course help to detox sugar--as well as other toxins in the body.]

There’s be nothing extreme about this detox, which is being offered online by my nutritionista friend Meghan Telpner: there are no special pills or potions–just real, whole, healthy foods that will help to chase away the ghosts of Christmas (and the rest of the year) past (okay, so I couldn’t resist that Christmas Carol reference, after all).

And guess what? For those who’d like to play along, Meghan is offering a free spot in the 16-day detox, which begins on January 6th.  You’ll get an ebook filled with information and recipes, online coaching, a group tweetchat, live videos and more (check out all the details here). I’m going to be following along as well, so keep an eye out for more raw recipes on the blog!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me why you’d like to participate. The contest is open until NOON my time this Thursday, January 5th. I’ll announce a winner in my Wellness Weekend post on Thursday evening (January 5th), leaving plenty of time for you to receive your materials and join in the pre-cleanse conference call Friday at 4:00 PM.

[Full disclosure: I received a free spot in the detox in exchange for holding this giveaway. I was not required to say anything positive about the cleanse in this post--or anything at all, actually. I'm endorsing it based on the materials in the cleanse and my knowledge of Meghan's approach to healthy eating.]

The Balanced Platter Launches!

Yesterday marked the launch of The Balanced Platter, the new website founded by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake. TBP promises to be your “one-stop site for balanced, healthy gluten-free living. . . . .we’ll help you navigate the gluten-free, whole foods lifestyle. You’ll also learn easy and effective ways to give yourself and your family wholesome, allergy friendly food and tips for bringing balance to your life through food and lifestyle.”  Well, how great does that sound?!  They’re kicking off the site with a month-long event called “Balanced, Healthy and Gluten-Free,” with daily posts and a giveaway.  Check their site for more info.

I’m thrilled to share that I’ll be one of the regular contributors to The Balanced Platter.  Visit again tomorrow to see my first post! :D

I’ll share events in the days to come, but I think this post is already quite long enough, thank you! (In fact, it may just have taken first place as “Longest Post of 2012″–yes, I know that already).  ;)  I’ll be taking one more glance backward with my next recipe (from our 2011 Christmas dinner) before springing full force into the new year.

Yep, I’d say there are definitely some Great Expectations ahead! (oops, there I go again. . . groan).

Last Year at this Time: High Protein, No-Bake Snackin’ Orbs (gluten free;  ACDall stages)

Two Years Ago: My Mother’s Marble Cake (not gluten free; ACD maintenance only)

Three Years Ago: Peas in a Creamy Curry Sauce and Chickpea Pancakes (gluten free;ACD all stages if stevia is used instead of Sucanat)

Four Years Ago: Pear and Ginger Mini-Loaves or Muffins (not gluten free; ACD maintenance only)

© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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Comments

  1. I would like to participate because I am heavily addicted to sugar and need to cut back again. I went from living by myself to living with my boyfriend and 2 other roommates and the social changes have taken a toll on my willpower around chocolate, slurpees and other high sugar foods. I had mostly cut out sugar before this move and really need to do it again. I don’t think I will ever be able to lose anymore weight without cutting out sugar.

  2. I’ll be participating in the Fab Detox too, glad to have a support buddy :)

  3. I have definitely been having a hard time this winter staying away from sugar but would love to get some help getting back on track. :)

  4. I mentioned the article in a recent post, too. Seems to hit a lot of nerves, but it’s an important thing for us all to read.

    I LOVE your osteopenia story! Sadly, I have it too, due to my ED, but I have greatly improved over time. I used the same methods you did.

    I always love your candor and inspirational approach to health, my friend.

  5. That is a seriously successful year Ricki! I’m so proud of and happy for you!! And yes, the body can fix itself. So glad you had luck with the natural route.

  6. Such a great post Ricki. Even if it is long :) I love how honest you are, I hope you know how many people you’re helping and inspiring along your journey. As I told you, I’m listening to A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson. It basically deals with the emotional side of weight loss. It’s so interesting. Your health reversal of 2011 is such a testament to natural health. I love it! And Ricki, thank you so much for celebrating The Balanced Platter with us. I’m so happy you’re part of it. xo

  7. haven’t seen a post this long on your blog all year (ha ha – sorry couldn’t reist a new year joke!)

    great reflective post – I think that your approach to the osteopenia is amazing and I am glad to hear that the girls helped you fight it – they need to be mascots for your approach – good luck with the detox and the healthy eating in 2012 – I hope my eating might improve a little this year but don’t think I will do anything close to how you have turned around your diet but I still find it inspirational

  8. I would love to win a space in the detox…my eating has not been what it should and I am really trying to make some changes. This sounds like the perfect kick start!

  9. I would LOVE to participate!!! I know I’m so addicted to sugar…I eat chocolate after breakfast because I’m craving something sweet! I know that this is the kickstart that I’ll need to kick my sugar habit for good.

  10. I love your candour on your site, Ricki. I am still so impressed with your osteoporosis reversal – remarkable! :) Here’s to a great 2012! :)

  11. Would love some assistance in detoxing…I’ve been trying on my own with only limited success. As with most folks here, sugar is my downfall, but all kinds of ‘bad food’ sirens have been singing in my ear since I became unemployed last month, and I can definitely tell the difference in my mood and overall life outlook. A gratis detox spot would be very welcome right now, on many levels.

  12. I would absolutely LOVE to join you in the detox! I had to go on an ACD in June. Thought it would be the end of the world but have lost 45 lb since. I have REALLY started to struggle the last few months and need something “new” to shake things up! I know how to do the ACD…but need the “thrill” of something new again. :)

  13. I would love to be a part of this journey. I have battled affects of candida for over 30 years. I have had many ups and downs with fighting sugar cravings, at times caving in to them. I love your candid post! Your posts can NEVER be too long. :) Thank you for sharing. I have osteopenia. Several years ago when first diagnosed I took a popular prescription drug, though I took only 3 pills, it did much damage to my bone in my jaw. I have fought my doctors to only go the natural route since, I have increased my calcium through greens, coconut milk and “real foods” and natural supplements. I have had a good report since. We grow a 100 ft row of kale each year in our garden, it is packed with so many fantastic benefits, especially liking it to rebuild my immune through the antioxidants and inflammatory benefits, along with Vit. A, K and C. I was struck by lightning 6 years ago, so every bit helps. Looking forward to your posts. Happy New Year!!

    • Thanks so much, Dee. I’m envious of your kale garden! And good for you, for being clear about your health goals and how you are willing to achieve them. I hope 2012 is a great year for you, with lots of success and improvements to your health :)

  14. I would love to do the cleanse because I am getting ready to embark on losing weight for my childrens’ weddings this coming year.I have read on many places that doing a cleanse ahead of tie helps tremendously with the weight loss plan.

  15. That’s brilliant news about the ostopenia results, so glad the changes worked for you :-)
    Happy New Year and if I can contribute a Dickens quote about your blog, what about “Please Rikki, can we have some more?”!

  16. Oh and I’d love to win a place on the giveaway detox because my sugar consumption is out of control!

  17. I would love to be a part of this challenge. I am looking for a group of people to detox with and a bit of guidance as I am a novice to actual detoxing. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity that I can write about on my Facebook page and blog, A Whole New Day which is my journey as a junk food addict switching to a whole foods lifestyle (it has not been easy so far! LOL!).

  18. As someone who is 6 weeks into a gluten free diet and very much addicted to sugar I would love to participate in the detox giveaway. Thanks for offering it!

  19. Hooray again for your progress with the ACD and beating osteopenia. :) Kudos. And I feel you on the sugar cravings. I am one of those that is slow to knock those out, even if I’m only eating minimal, unrefined, non-cane-sugar sweeteners. I’m back focusing on keeping them to a minimum, however – the holidays cause that balance thing to get a bit skewed! Happy New Year, and I’m excited to see your post for The Balanced Platter!

  20. thanks for sharing your story with us! looking forward to another year to your awesome recipes. i’m still struggling to find balanced protein sources on my vegan anti-candida diet, but i’ve been feeling so much better. i’m on week 9! :)

  21. Ricki, this was an amazing tale. Your journey this year has been unbelievable and I am so proud of all of the steps you have taken to heal your body!! I so wish you lived near me. I would be your “greens supplier”! LOL I have a lot of greens growing right now and can hardly keep up with them. I cannot wait to see what 2012 holds for you and all of us!! ;)

  22. I’d love to join in the detox! I do fairly well at avoiding the bad stuff when shopping for myself, but not so well when confronted with it at parties, etc. December’s always tough and I could use this to get me back on track.

  23. My husband and I have been trying to cut back on sugar for my entire pregnancy. We were doing really well until the holidays. We have 5 (soon 6) kids and no money, so getting some help and a kickstart would allow us to put our money toward the good foods and to making the changes we both want and need to make. Several of our children eat gluten free and we are moving toward dairy free and sugar free for them as well. Thanks for the great blog and information!

  24. Any chance to detox works for me :-) HOliday baking made me realize processed sugar makes me want more processed sugar. Well, that and white flour. Oh, snickerdoodles; I’ll miss you.

  25. I’d like to participate in the cleanse as I’ve been under a lot of stress the past couple of years due to health issues, and especially the past few weeks because I had a cochlear implant and have to relearn how to hear with that ear and I was just laid off. A cleanse would help me start of this year right and healthier.

  26. Congratulations on your reversal of osteopenia!

    I have been mulling over the idea of doing a detox but have no idea where to start! I have been reading up on different detoxes, but none seem very accommodating to a vegan diet. I decided to cut out sugar and wheat meanwhile… and I am struggling already! I would really love to have the support of the “Fab Uplift” detox… sounds like something that’s right up my alley! (And with school starting up again in a week, there is no way I could afford it on my own!)

    All the best for 2012!

  27. I would love to participate in the detox. I’ve been thinking of doing one but have no clue how to go about doing so…and thank you for all the wonderful recipes from the past year!!

  28. I would love to try the detox to get rid of the bloated feeling I’ve had for the past year or so.

  29. Jacqueline says:

    I am a fan of Meghan and you both! This would be a great opportunity to join in a cleanse to help my overall health, get the sugar out of my system and help recover from the holidays. I’m already vegan but I think that getting sugar under control would be a big help in dealing with some health problems such as fibromyalgia and migraines.

  30. I would like to participate in the detox because I am addicted to sugar and have a candida-overgrowth. I did really well not eating sugar for about 2-3 months, but then the holidays came and I couldn’t resist the temptation. I would really like to get back on track so I can feel better again.

  31. What a great opportunity to start the year on the right track. I would love to join the detox program as it is a great next step on my journey to eat a more plant based diet. I have wanted to do a detox and have not known where to start.

  32. Hi
    I would enjoy (or think I’d enjoy) the detox because I’m at a point of frustration with how my body has been acting lately towards what I would consider healthy food and could use a little coaching. thanks

  33. Kim Owens says:

    I would like to participate in Meghan’s detox to overcome Crohn’s disease just like she did. I want to be able to get off the only medication I’m still taking for it, conquer my hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue, get back to a healthy weight, and feel safe to be pregnant and be able to breast feed should we be blessed with a child. I want 2012 to be the year I find my healthy me!

  34. What an amazing, motivating story. Although my story is quite different than yours, I have the same life-long goals as you. Starting the 16 day detox will just help jump-start my progress. After the onset of a “latent” eating disorder (not until after children and into my 30′s), in 2007, I have returned from a deathly 70lbs. to a healthy weight. However, after putting my body through such stress, I have many unexpected health issues such as osteopenia, high cholesterol, type 2 Diabetes, and post menopausal hormones. My doctor is absolutely fabulous and is approaching this as holistically as possible (there are just some medicines that are necessary) and has put me on a GF, DF, SF diet to “prime the environment”. I would love to be a part of the 16 day detox for the ideas, support, and a feeling of “I CAN do this”.

  35. meghan’s whole foods approach to a detox sounds amazing! after such a successful 2011, i can only imagine what an incredible year you will create for yourself. happy new year ricki!

  36. This is the first holiday season I feel like I kept myself in check….meaning I didnt go and gain 15 pounds! Now that I have the momentum and want to keep it going. I have been wanting to do a cleanse and this one sounds great! p.s. I love love love your blog!

  37. What a great source of information. I would love to be a part of the cleanse as I continue to seek out ways to improve my family’s life through tasty nutrient dense foods.

  38. I could use a cleanse! Great way to start off a New Year!

  39. I LOVE Meghan Telpner id love to try her program!!

  40. What a great giveaway, Ricki! I would love to participate with you. I am so ready to detoxify and begin this year with a fresh start, inside and out.

    xoxo

    SunnyB
    http://www.andloveittoo.com

  41. Stephanie Gerbig says:

    Pick me, pick me! Not only would participating in the detox program make a huge difference in my life, it would give me the support system I know I’ll need to do it. My current diet consists of lots of sugar and a serious dependency on diet sodas (they’re all I drink)! I’ve eaten my way to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And worse yet, my bad habits are starting to rub off on my friends and family! I really need to make some serious changes to my diet and think that Meghan’s program could be life-changing for me.

  42. Wow, you’ve had quite the year!! I’d love to win a spot in the detox program. I’ve never tried one, but lately I’ve been making every effort to un-junk my body and fill it with only wholesome, healthy foods. I think I’d learn a lot!

  43. I could just use all the help I can get. But mostly for not overeating. I don’t eat much junk at all these days.

  44. I’ve been a very healthy eater for a long time (and have cut out triggers like gluten, eggs and garlic), but I’ve still been plagued by acne and rosacea for the past few years and off and on in my 20s. I decided recently that the way to banish this once and for all is most likely to do a total cleanse and get my system back in order so that I can then get the best out of my healthy lifestyle (if I’m not absorbing nutrients, what’s the point of paying for the expensive remedies!).

  45. Ricki, I have been following your blog for the whole time you’ve been following the ACD diet. Where has the time gone?

    I am not a medical professional, but I had been a life-long yo-yo dieter and sugar addict. I had been a veg/vegan for years until I developed a candida overgrowth in the late 1980s. A fabulous herbalist helped me heal myself. I returned to being a veg when I could, but was never feeling great. My belly always puffed out after I ate carbs.

    I think of you often because I can relate to your experience. And I keep getting that something is wrong. Three years being as diligent as you are, yet you aren’t on the other side of this?

    Have you ever heard of nutritional/metabolic typing? I found it at a low point after months of stuffing myself on donuts and ice cream (my two weaknesses). How I didn’t end up killing myself or getting diabetes is a miracle. I was out of control and was desperate for help. I also didn’t have a kitchen in the residence where I lived, so that made things harder. Healthy food wasn’t to be had in the meal plan for which I was required to pay.

    My prayers were answered when I read an article on Mercola.com about nutritional typing. I had never heard of this before. I searched on Amazon and found “The Metabolic Typing Diet Book” by William L. Wolcott and Trish Fahey. I think I paid $10 for a used copy. I took the questionnaire in the book and learned why a veg diet was inappropriate for me and why it triggered cravings for sweets. I definitely was an emotional eater, but this book answered a lot of questions I had had such as how come one diet doesn’t fit everyone?

    Personally, I find eating dead animals abhorrent, but my body type requires animal flesh. Since cutting out most grains from my daily diet – I’ll have it a few times a week – and eating more animal protein, I lost the weight (60 lbs total over several years) without dieting. I didn’t deprive myself of anything. I rejoined the gym and have kept it up since regularly but, most important of all, I no longer crave sweets.
    I made your Key Lime Pie tart recipe and enjoyed one today. In the past, I’d have eaten them all in one sitting; today, I was happy to have just one. No effort at all. I am still amazed.

    I’m not bragging. The secret for me was dealing with the emotional reasons of why I ate, and eating according to my nutritional type. I am no longer a prisoner of food. I can have a little sweet and be happy and satisfied because my chemistry isn’t fighting with my remaining emotional reasons for eating. You cannot fight your chemistry.

    “The Rules for Normal Eating” by Karen R. Koenig, herself a recovered binge eater, was a huge help.

    I now follow the Weston A. Price way of eating. Lots of people who start go on the GAPS and GAPS Intro diets to help heal their guts.

    I know you will find what works for you so that you, too, can release attachment to sugar and be happy, healthy, and free of the tyranny of food. This is your year!

    • Gopika,
      Wow, thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed and personal comment. You’ve left me with lots to think about. Over the years, I’ve definitely accepted that a lot of my disordered eating is related to emotional issues. I don’t know if you know, but I have also spent many years eating an omni diet when I was younger (my dad was a butcher–we ate meat/animal products every day). Nevertheless, I was obese during most of those years. I’ve also lost weight most easily during my candida cleanse that began in 2009 (ie without dieting, on a vegan diet). So I’m not entirely sure that these approaches are best suited to me, though I will certainly look into them and read the books you mention, which sound great. I am so happy for you and your newfound peace with food and sugar! I’ve also found that cutting back grains is very useful, and that’s something to which I’m returning in 2012. Here’s to a healthy year! :)

      • I’ve wanted to say something for a while as I’ve read of your valiant determination to lose weight, Ricki.

        I was aware that you followed an omni diet. Do you know if the meat served in your home was organic and from grass-fed/pastured animals?

        I know you said you never liked meat. I didn’t either and was thrilled when I learned about vegetarianism. But it turns out that vegetarianism isn’t the best way of eating for my body. Dr. Wolcott explains why. He gets a bit technical about being a slow-burner or fast-burner, but he made sense to me. And it worked. Cannot argue with success.

        I have been slim and fat on both vegetarian/vegan and omni diets. I was always bloated when eating veg and thought that was normal. All of the people I hung around with were veg, and no one talked about any symptoms. I didn’t get any relief until an herbalist put me back onto eating animal protein with the promise that if I followed her plan of food and supplements for three months that I’d be cured of the candida overgrowth with which I had been diagnosed. I did and I was. That was 20 years ago.

        But, it wasn’t until I learned about the Weston A. Price way of eating a couple of years ago (bone broths; organic and grass-fed/pastured animals; raw dairy including butter and cheese from raw, pastured milk that wasn’t homogenized; lacto-fermented foods) that I really got off the yo-yo dieting.

        Eating this way isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s appropriate for more vegetarians than they might think. Many public raw foodists who had been vegans for years found out from lab tests and how they felt that that way of eating didn’t provide all of the nutrients – in easily assimalatable (sp?) forms – that their bodies needed. The Dr. Wolcott book gave me a useful tool to figure out what was best for me, plus he addresses that what might be appropriate for one now, might not be in the future.

        It seems to me that if one has to force oneself to eat one way or the other – and if the body isn’t healthy and feeling good with what one is doing, then it’s the wrong choice.

        I hadn’t heard of the New York Times article entitled The Fat Trap that you mentioned. I’ve read it now. Ohmygosh how hopeless I’d feel if I had read that before the weight loss! While I can relate to some of the writer’s experiences, mine shows me that there is a way through successful, healthy weight loss that doesn’t require the dangerous drugs (mentioned as maybe being the way in the future for resistant weight loss) that have come out of the past. The answer is simple: Heal the emotional reasons one eats (this was more challenging for me than the physical part), eat according to one’s metabolic type [the Wolcott book includes an abridged questionnaire to one that one can get from one of his trained practitioners, and it costs a lot less!], move the body [doesn't require one join a gym or become obsessed with exercise], get enough restful sleep, and manage stress. There is plenty of room for one to find what works.

        A helpful source for info on leptin is Byron Richards at http://www.wellnessresources.com. He has free weekly podcasts as well as several public lectures that he’s posted as free MP3 files on his Web site. He says he’s the first one to write on leptin over 10 years ago. He has what he calls the Five Rules of the Leptin Diet. Turns out I was following them on my own without knowing it.

        As far as feeling a prisoner of one’s genetics as the NYT writer discussed, I’m sure that fits in some cases. My father was thin and never gained weight no matter what he ate. Only his mother was plump; everyone else in his immediate family were like him. My mother was always a bit overweight; the rest of her family that I knew were normal weights or just a bit overweight. My younger brother became morbidly obese for most of his adult life until he lost 100 pounds a few years ago (and gained back about half of that). My older sister has been overweight for the past 30 years because she just likes food. Obesity doesn’t run in my family on either side.

        Anyway, there’s more that I could say, but I’m neither the Oracle of Delphi nor do I mean to hijack your blog.

        • Thanks for this–there’s so much useful information here. I know we could continue on this topic, as you mentioned, and it may even be worth writing a blog post at some point about the issue. For now, I will email you more! :)

  46. Well, I missed the contest for Meghan’s detox, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU very much, Ricki, for giving us a glimpse into how you reversed your osteopenia! Much appreciated!

  47. Ricki,
    It’s clear I’M as behind as you are because I missed this post until now! I love the “fat trap” article and am glad you shared it, hopefully it’s a part of spreading the awareness that it’s not so simple and cal in=cal out.
    wishing you a wonderful new year!

  48. Your commitment to your health is inspiring! I’ll be interested to hear how the cleanse goes. :)

  49. Thank you for sharing a bit more about your calcium-bone-building actions, Ricki. I truly appreciate it. And am now even more determined to find somewhere in this dang city of mine that offers kale on a regular basis! :P And weights. Clearly, I need to be doing some sort of weights.

    A thousand well wishes and hugs of support for your goals for 2012. I’ll definitely be cheering you every step of the way, and delighting in all the deliciousness I know you’ll be serving up :) xoxo

    P.S. Your subtitles made me giggle, because in my world, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” has always been the most-quoted/referenced Dickens line!

  50. It’s been great reading through your blog, and I look forward to catching up on more recipes (and your life in general) very soon.

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