I’m often asked how I went from 234 pounds to 139 pounds after years of bouncing up and down with my weight. Let’s be clear, I was the yo yo dieter of the year from early adolescents through my thirties. My weight and my relationship with food were a constant struggle for me until I began to understand my chemical reaction to certain foods.

After years of trial and error, research, clinical knowledge, weight loss, and stability of weight, I became a gentler spirit once I accepted sugar, flour and wheat caused me great distress. I learned highly processed, high fat, high sugar foods immediately produced a massive headache, irritability, and an all out food binge.

These days, I follow a simple formula breaking down each meal with structure (four meals a day each consisting of specific foods: fruit, protein, fat, vegetables, low fat dairy, and whole grains) and commitment rather than eating randomly. I also include daily exercise such as walking or biking along the ocean and try and live my life as a prayer.

No, I am certainly not perfect (and realize I sound as if this is so easy), and life is not always bliss. I would love to eat any food I want, but I realize the consequences aren’t worth the indulgence. I do get mad at life when I’m tired and work too many hours, or when I have to turn down an invitation to an event because the atmosphere won’t be conducive to my bringing my own foods, or when everyone will be eating a delectable piece of chocolate cake and I’ll be stuck eating a piece of fruit with yogurt.

But, no matter what life struggles present themselves, I know that binge eating simply isn’t an option—nor are sugar, flour, or wheat on my food list, because I understand that the sleeping giant of addiction within will wake, and chaos will return with a vengeance if I ingest any of these. I compare my situation to that of a heroin addict, who can’t have just a smidgen of heroin; he must abstain completely to stay clean.

When I began to follow these specific guidelines—even when I didn’t want to—my negative mind chatter quieted, and for the first time I could become still, and hear God’s whispers. I connected to my inner strengths, and a spiritual understanding emerged in me. I found inner peace, God, and love. Love for myself, others, and the universe evolved inside me.

Not only was I calmer, kinder, and less self-centered, but I began to perceive a bigger picture. I saw food as real and not real: God’s food and man’s food. I chose food of the earth, sea, and air rather than processed and boxed. I turned to God, and the “noise” in my head ceased, and the addiction flattened. These days, I eat to live rather than live to eat. Healthful foods and a refreshed faith are now my fuel to retain optimal health and weight.

Photo Taken By:  Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego

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