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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Got Kefir?

Hello, old friends.

When I started my journey, I promised that I would be honest with you. I'm not on the Biggest Loser, so I'm not going to drop mucho pounds every week, but gaining weight wasn't something I had thought of as a potential issue. Nevertheless, it's all an excuse. I just need to be better, more focused.

In talking to my friend, I realized that being honest with ourselves is one of the hardest things. I can basically convince myself of anything. I can conveniently forget something, if I try hard enough. I have tried to avoid my weight gain, play it off even. This is me, forcing Selina to be honest with herself. Truth is, I felt guilt. From what, you ask? Well let me take this back...

A few months ago my little sister was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. This is a digestive disorder that can make eating a painful experience. At the beginning, the doctors tried to explain to us what it would feel like, and basically it came down to  "it's something you may never understand". So, during what they call "flare ups", she gets this pain in her abdomen that she will just have to learn to deal with. What's worse is there is no list of DEFINITELY eat or DEFINITELY avoid this kind of food.  Unfortunately, it's just a game of Russian roulette---basically, keep going until you find the one that stops you.

When we first got to the hospital, my parents said the pictures of her colon were unimaginable. I had never seen them so disheartened. The doctors said that at first, the hardest part would be the healing process and to try and help, they would put her on steroids. The ironic thing about the steroids is that though it was intended to help, steroids changed a lot for her. It altered her in several ways, but mostly it made her hungry. Half the time, when she ate, she didn't even realize she was eating.

Doctor's orders were for her to be on a very restrictive diet. She was unable to eat any fresh fruits or vegetables, forced to avoid salads, whole grains and any type of fibrous food. You know, all the things that I had been trying to get my family to eat.  Her favorite food in the world, the tomato, was no longer an option on her menu.

At the time, I was at the peak of my dieting and stuck with my own food for a while, but eventually my guilt kicked in.

How could I  eat the foods she loved around her, tempting her?? This diet was new for her, and she constantly forgot "I'm not supposed to have that" which meant pain later.

So I needed to reevaluate. At least while she was healing, I needed to rethink about what we ate and kept in the house. With a family this size, (8-9 people) you can't cook whole grain pasta and fresh spaghetti sauce for everyone and open up a can of chicken noodle for her. That would have made this harder for her.

My sister is a 5'0, petite girl. She has a small frame and is very conscious about herself. So this meant that if there was any change to her body, she would notice.

As all our vegetables and whole grains slowly left the house, she and I both noticed ourselves gaining weight, slightly obsessing the amount of times that we weighed ourselves. What was once my weekly ritual had become my two-to-three-times-a-day ritual. VERY UNHEALTHY. I would weigh myself 10 minutes after every meal. In fact, (and probably even luckily) my scale's battery died, and I haven't been able to convince myself that it is worth the money to replace. It has been weeks since I've weighed myself, and I think that was something I needed.

With her new diagnosis, even physical activity was limited. She had a try at soccer, but needed to take a step back not to hurt herself. She no longer could go to the gym with me and there went my workout buddy.

Besides a diet and restriction on every type of food she loves, she needs to limit the amount of stress in her life. She has been struggling to maintain grades and assignments, with all her doctor visits, hospital stays and discomfort. She gets sick and gets stressed, making herself sicker. She needs to do work and gets stressed, making herself sick again. A vicious cycle it is.

I was frustrated and confused, but I never gave up hope. An old friend of my mother's came by for a random visit. She said "why didn't you tell me Lexie was struggling with this?? My daughter was diagnosed with Krohn's disease!" It was finally some light. Krohn's disease is a more severe version of ulcerative colitis, affecting the entire digestive system. Her daughter had struggled so much, spending months in the hospital and taking many medications, eventually needing a catheter just to make it through.

She opened us up to the world of Kefir and Kombucha. Kefir is a probiotic that is made from milk (similar to yogurt). You put these grains into lactose, and it grows. You strain it and then you drink it. When you're first learning how to make it, it's not so tasty. But she said it changed their lives. Kombucha tea is a cultured tea that is so easy to make and when done right is DELISH!

I have spent weeks trying to perfect the processes, slowly demonstrating to everyone how to make it and what to use them for. I make a daily smoothie (it's a milk substitute!) instead of a protein shake. Plus, the tea is so good!!

It's still a little early in the game to see if this is working, but we have been able to introduce some produce and whole grains into our lives. Which has given me the go ahead to get back on track. I have so much more energy with these drinks. My mom no longer suffers from low blood sugar (when she misses a few days, it comes back) and my dad doesn't feel heart burn and overall, just looks healthier.

Who knows, maybe these are just placebos and God gave us what we were asking for. Even so, I don't care. My healthy lifestyle is back.

For recipes and tips, and to hear about a woman who has dedicated her life to cultured food check out http://blog.culturedfoodlife.com/

If you are interested in getting cultures for kefir or kombucha just let me know, and I will set you up!

To make up for my lack of physical activity I have enrolled in the Urban Hitt Fitt's KC180Fitness, with trainer Kri Chay.  Kri is a personal trainer and a graduate of the University of Iowa. He conducts high intensity interval training kickboxing fitness for rapid weight loss. Kri has set up a program based on nutrition, education and fitness. He is an Under Armour Combine360 Certified Trainer, one of a few in the entire state of Missouri.

I have agreed to give Kri six weeks of dedication and trust to whip me into shape, in time for my move to Cleveland. I will update you guys on my progress, but with the testimonials that I've heard I know that I'm in good hands.

The introductory price is $80+. If you are interested you can find him on facebook.com/kri.chay or you can ask to join the Urban Hitt Fitt group http://tinyurl.com/yb7x3sk

Although, it has a few temporary glitches at the moment his website is usually up and running at http://www.KC180FITNESS.com

I know that my weight gain is a setback, but it won't hold me back. This is life and this is how it goes. I can't win them all, but I will win this. I want to get to a point in my life where I am just so proud of myself. With who I am and everything about me. My body and weight are a part of that. I believe in myself and I know that you all believe in me too. I  wish I could express to each of you how much you push me not to give up and to keep going. I am so appreciative of you all and the love and interest that you have shown me.

 I think I realize more and more, this isn't just about me. It's about saving my life, my family's lives and inspiring all those who struggle with body image, confidence and weight that if I can do this, anyone can.

Current weight: 212 lbs
Workout Song: Keri Hilson, Pretty Girl Rock (Yes, I did.)

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