In my previous post – Intuition is our own GPS, I mentioned one of the first instances my intuition guided me with regards to my health. In this post, I’m going to share when and how I believe my intuition led me to truly begin my holistic healing journey.
Back in 2005, I had joined Weight Watchers (now called WW) since I had gained 26 pounds over the previous two to three years that were a struggle to lose. It was the first time in my life where I had gained this extra weight and felt guided to WW for outside help.
If you’re not familiar with the WW program, essentially it is designed around a points system. Each food item has an allocated number of points based on their own scientific criteria, and based on your height, weight, and gender, a daily number of points are recommended for you to consume in order to reach your weight loss goal. You’re given booklets that outline how many points each food is worth, a calculator so you can determine a points value from nutritional labels in the grocery store, and there are weekly support meetings to help keep you motivated and feel part of a community who are on the same journey.
In Canada, the daily consumption that was recommended by Weight Watchers was based on the Canada Food Guide. This meant a certain percentage of fruits and vegetables per day, a certain percentage of gains, glasses of water etc. Thankfully the food guide has evolved over the years since then so if you’re interested now, you can click to Canada’s Food Guide as it stands today.
In addition to the guidelines for what to eat, there were also packaged food items manufactured and sold by Weight Watchers, such as bread and snacks like brownies available for purchase at the Weight Watcher’s locations and select grocery stores. These items typically had lower points than other products in the grocery store, so it was tempting to buy them in order to maintain portions, plus they were ready-made and accessible. I noticed right away though, when I ate any of those products, I became very bloated and well… you can just imagine what comes with feeling bloated.
It became so uncomfortable that I stopped buying their products and instead focused on making other changes to how I bought certain foods like buying whole wheat bread instead of white for example, and eliminating any extra sugary products such as those cans of juice you add water to. I was buying those cans by the dozen at one point! I was also trying to incorporate more fresh vegetables and fruit and paying closer attention to how my body FELT when eating.
By the Fall of 2006, I had been a member for just over one year and finally reached my goal of losing 26 pounds. I’m not sure if this is still the case now, but back then when you reached your weight loss goal you became a ‘Lifetime Member’ and could visit the support group meetings once per month rather than once per week for as long as needed.
A Few Key Learnings
As a summary, below are a few of the key learnings during the year or so it took for me to lose this weight:
- As a visual learner, writing down what I was eating every meal helped to see exactly what I was consuming and become accountable
- There’s no magic pill to lose weight and keep it off. I lost some, gained some, and lost some again during that same year. Changing lifestyle habits is essential for long term success, and it’s inevitable for there to be fluctuation. That’s OK!
- Managing portions is critical for our own body
- Having a friend to share recipes with, or a community of people who have the same goals makes a big difference for motivation. Why classes at gyms are so successful, and also all the apps who let you create challenges with others!
- And the most important takeaway for me was, I started listening to what my body was saying. Once we learn to listen, our body will tell us what foods work and don’t work for us, along with when we’re truly full or hungry.
After achieving this goal, just a few months later in early 2007 I first learned I was pregnant with my first son. It was then my intuition became even stronger regarding my personal health.
Without research, my body told me to immediately cut out any products that contained aspartame, minimize sugary drinks, and immediately stop taking a low dose of an antidepressant I was taking at the time. I’m not suggesting others stop taking medications without consulting their Doctors first, but rather sharing this is what my body told me was best for me. (I will speak to this in the future.)
From this point on, my intuition led me on a path that would forever change how I lived each day, but essentially my personal holistic healing journey started with becoming more aware of the food I was eating, and the habits I had formed.
How about you? Have you learned to listen to your body when it comes to food?