If necessity is the Mother of Invention, she should also be called the Guardian of Enormous Life Changes and, perhaps most importantly, the Patron Saint of Major Weight Loss. It was, of course, out of necessity that I discovered the anti-anxiety diet and that I followed it quite rigidly most of the time with very little cheating. After all, who among us can be compelled by much else?
My journey began in October of 2009 when I discovered rather quickly and unceremoniously that I could no longer eat. I assumed that this was some sort of stomach virus, that it would clear up on it's own, and I kept going. After all, I had a job and a life and people who were depending on me; a little stomach ache could hardly end my activities!
Except the stomach ache grew worse, and in fact was only manageable when my stomach was completely empty, which only brought about another pain - that of hunger. Thus I would stand in front of my open refrigerator, staring at the food longingly, closing the door only when the sight of all that sustenance threatened to make me lose what little lunch I'd managed to choke down.
It wasn't until this had lasted well over two weeks that I started to get scared, started to try eating this and that to see what I could keep down without too much resistance. I discovered that if I ate just a few bites of food at a time, I could manage with minimal pain. I would spend three days working on one turkey sandwich, it would take me a week to get through a few days worth of groceries. And I started losing weight so rapidly that it literally felt as though I was shrinking out of my clothing.
Now, I had been physically fit in High School, but shortly after graduation I was involved in an auto accident that resulted in a broken ankle. Due to a doctor's ineptitude, my ankle didn't heal correctly, and two years later I was on the surgeon's table for a bone graft. Before the surgery, I could barely walk. After the surgery, I spent almost six months in a wheelchair. Needless to say, I packed on an unbelievable amount of weight in those years, and it was an amount of weight that, for one reason or another, I'd never bothered to lose.
Now that weight was falling off of me at heart-attack inducing rates, and I was terrified. I had no idea what was wrong with me, I had no money or insurance to cover expensive doctor visits and tests, and WebMD seemed just as stumped as I was. I didn't remember or consider the diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, bestowed upon me years before by a nurse practitioner. It just didn't seem relevant.
After two months and about forty pounds of far-too-rapid weight loss, I was at my wits end. I had stomach aches, cramps, and pains but no other symptoms, nothing that could be used to narrow down a probable diagnosis, and I wasn't getting any better. This would be the first time I was scared enough to listen to the thought of a psychological reason behind all the mayhem being wreaked on my digestive tract. I looked up Anxiety Disorders, researched symptoms and treatments, and stumbled upon this little gem:
Anxiety Disorders can be effectively helped by diet and activity.
I was desperate, and it was the best (and simplest) solution I could find. So I scoured the internet looking for hints and tricks and information on this anti-anxiety diet, I stocked my cabinet, I found recipes, and I started to change everything about the way I ate and what foods I put into my poor, aching stomach.
To be honest, I was shocked when it worked. The root of my anxiety is still there - there are issues that can only truly be helped by a professional therapist - but my stomach! I could eat, my weight loss slowed to a natural rate, I felt so much better! To date, I've lost about 100 pounds and have around 50 more to go, but most importantly I can eat, I can live.
There were other affects as well; I rarely get the headaches and migraines that were an almost ever-present force in my life before, and I almost never need to take the Zantac75 that used to be a staple in my purse-pharmacy.
In our society today everyone seems to be stressed to the max. Between the recession and our workaholic lifestyles, no one is getting the nutrition they need and our waistlines are expanding to great new horizons while our souls shrink beyond recognition. Eating for tranquility is not only healthy, but it provides your body with the nutrition necessary to deal with the sometimes utterly overwhelming pace of life.
My hope is this; that even if my readers can't change their stressful circumstances or loosen their tightened budget, they can eat themselves toward a more peaceful state of mind and a smaller waistline.
-The Calm Cook