I Stopped Eating Flour And Sugar And Something Interesting Happened

Ekingwrites

I know what you’re thinking, “How could you give that up?!”

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Image by Author via Canva

“Without bread all is misery.”- William Cobbett

Four years ago, I was fifty years old, exhausted, and irritable.

I had inflamed joints. I found it hard to get out of bed in the morning and my right hand morphed into a stiff, painful claw as I slept.

I thought this was a consequence of getting older and I know I’m not alone.

I assumed I’d passed my expiry date, and I was resigned to it.

I thought I was just one of those people destined to suffer from the many chronic inflammatory diseases that are the biggest cause of death in the world.

And it's not just me, lots of people seem to be prematurely aging.

Looking back, I can see how I got there.

When I was young, I could eat and drink anything I wanted and always look and feel about the same.

My weight was pretty consistent until my thirties when I had an operation.

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

I had one of my ovaries removed, and my hormones went crazy.

I went through pre-menopause and gained weight in weird places.

Suddenly I was 33 with the body shape of a 60-year-old. I gained 20 lbs in six weeks.

The years passed and I struggled.

The only thing that made a difference to my health and body shape was constant rigorous exercise.

At 39, I had my daughter, and in the ten years that followed, I put on 40 more pounds.

I treated myself to daily doses of chocolate and other sweets.

I was very “European” as I drank a few glasses of wine every night with dinner.

Relaxing with a cocktail at the end of a long day felt like a right of passage that I deserved.

I craved sugar and loved bread and thought nothing of it.

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Image by Author via Canva

But somewhere along the way, my body started rebelling.

I began to suffer from horrible gut rot, hot flashes, and panic attacks in the middle of the night.

Alcohol was no longer enjoyable.

So I stopped drinking.

When I stopped drinking, I felt a bit better.

But it wasn’t as earth-shattering as I’d hoped. I expected to lose loads of weight straight away and feel fabulous.

In truth, I only lost about 5 lbs over six months, and I felt about the same.

It wasn’t until I changed some other habits that I began to see and feel a difference.

I took two things out of my diet, and my life changed.

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Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

I cut out sugar and flour.

I didn’t replace the sugar with chemical sweeteners, I just stopped eating it and I stopped eating flour.

From that point on, everything changed and my life completely turned around.

The changes have been so profound, I feel like a completely different person.

It makes me wonder if many of the modern problems people suffer from aren’t caused by our diets.

Mine certainly were.

For four years now, I’ve eaten like this, and here’s what’s happened:

I’ve lost weight.

In total, I’ve lost about 40 lbs. I could probably lose a little more, but even if I don’t, I’m still way better off than I was.

I’ve maintained it.

It’s been maintainable because, after a while, my cravings for sugar and flour-filled foods disappeared.

It’s the norm for me now.

If I indulge in a piece of cake or a cocktail or two, they make me feel gross and bloated, I don't get any satisfaction from the sugar or alcohol hit, in fact, it's quite the opposite.

So it’s not something I’m “sticking to,” it’s just how I eat because that's what my body craves now.

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Photo by Author: You can see how my face was bloated and puffy.

My joints no longer hurt.

The joint of my right middle finger used to be enlarged.

I thought it was the onset of arthritis.

At night my right hand would stiffen into a painful claw that I’d have to work to loosen every morning.

I couldn’t wear my wedding ring, not because my finger was too fat, but because it wouldn’t go over my knuckle.

I also had pain in my shoulders that made taking a sweater off over my head difficult and my knees ached, just walking up the stairs.

I took Advil daily, to combat the pain.

All of that pain and inflammation has disappeared and only returns when I eat sugar.

I can run up the stairs.

Now I can easily pop up and down the stairs instead of lumbering, huffing, and puffing.

Which is great considering that I make my living running after toddlers.

My mood swings have disappeared.

I used to get quite irritated over small things.

Now my moods are stable. I’m more easygoing, calmer, and more approachable.

I’m sure everyone is thankful for that.

The "floaties" I used to get in my eyes when I got hungry don't happen anymore.

I used to get these floaters in my eyes when I used to get hungry. That was usually a signal of impending "hangriness" coming on.

Now that my blood sugar is stable, not only do I not get hunger-anger anymore, I can tolerate being a little hungry which makes me not have to eat all the time.

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Me now vs. 5 years ago, for the first time in a long time I can wear a mediumPhoto by author

I look healthier and younger and I’m starting to like the way I look for the first time in my life.

In the last few years, since I’ve become genuinely healthier, I’ve finally begun to like the way I look. I’m not perfect, but when I look in the mirror, I like what I see.

I feel like I’m 35-years-old.

I definitely don’t feel “my age.”

When I think about how old I am, from the inside out, I feel about the same as I did when I was 35.

Possibly better, because I had an undiagnosed heart condition and I was always fatigued back then.

I have mental energy.

I have the mental energy to get everything done in my day.

I can concentrate better, remember things easier and I don’t need a nap every afternoon.

So how did this all happen?

Things began changing when I started a system created for food addicts.

I read the book, Bright Line Eating, by Susan Pierce Thompson.

The book teaches you the science behind what blocks you from losing weight and explains how the food plan is designed to heal the brain so it can permanently recover from food addiction.

This has been the most significant health improvement in my life, second only to my open heart surgery.

Now instead of dreading getting older, I’m looking forward to the future.

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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

The only times I feel old and sick again are when I choose to eat “off-plan.”

If I decide to have a piece of cake or some chocolate or a couple of cocktails the old symptoms will flare back up.

If I eat my burger with a bun and then have dessert or if I go all in and have some combination of all three (sugar, alcohol, and flour) in one night or a couple of days in a row. I wake up feeling about 20-years older, bloated, cranky, and with all of the old familiar aches and pains.

If I stray, it usually takes me a couple of days of good eating to feel back to normal.

The good thing is, I know what to expect and I know how to move past it.

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This lovely meal is just an example of what I eat, there's no deprivationPhoto by author

During our Covid lockdowns, I’ve indulged a bit more than I probably should and I’ve gained a bit of weight, so I’m not perfect and I never will be.

But having this plan gets me right back on track.

Now, for the first time ever, I'm in control of my health and I'm feeling so much better.

I’m hoping anyone who's feeling unhealthy right now might benefit from my story.

I know for most people, the thought of giving up these much-loved staples seems impossible.

I felt the same way.

But now that I’ve been off them for a few years, I don’t miss them at all.

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A taco reimagined, still delicious and satisfyingPhoto by author

So if you have issues with any of the things I’ve mentioned, (inflammation, mood swings, tiredness, or general ill health), have a think about what you eat.

If you’re really at your wit’s end and need a change, you might want to try giving the book "Bright Line Eating" a read.

It’s interesting, informative, full of facts and science, and a plan that works.

Will I eat cake again? Probably.

I might even have a bun with my burger now and again if I feel like it, and I’m sure I’ll eat lasagna at least once more in my life.

But now those are the rare exceptions instead of the rule, and I’m much better off because of it.

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Musician, writer, toddler wrangler. Author of "How To Be Wise AF" guided journal available on Amazon as well as "The Automatic Parent" due out in Feb. 2022.

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