2015 has been a great year but I will say, it has been a challenging year. It involved a lot of change and decision-making. I learnt a lot this year about myself, things that are important to me, my relationships and what I want to do in life. I also learnt way more about LCHF, nutrition and how important it really is to me and how strong my desire is to share it with those who are ready for change themselves. In fact, I was even lucky enough to share my knowledge with someone and help them transition to LCHF, my first unofficial client of sorts…
Looking back, my journey started years ago as I was sick for so long. 2013 had me quit sugar and 2014 had me start LCHF, stop the pill, repair my gut (to a pretty great place – like was lactose intolerant and then wasn’t) and get in pretty good shape demonstrating how quick the body can repair itself, teaching me how people should never give up on their health, especially those who have determined they have a treatable condition (which, honestly, is most people)…
So after all of that great success with my health in 2014, my focus for 2015 was centred around building upon this and learning more about my health (both physical and mental)…but 2015 brought its own set of challenges…
My challenges for 2015…
With each year brings new challenges and everyone has a hand dealt to them, some worse than others. By no means did I have a tough year compared to others in my family who were dealing with serious medical issues or stressful financial situations. As far as my year was concerned, I had enough money to survive and I had found love, so what could possibly stress me out, right?
Finding love meant moving overseas and that was a big compromise for me. It was not something I thought twice about though as I believe it is necessary to take risks if you believe enough in it (and I am an eternal sucker for love). Making the decision to move though meant giving up a great job, leaving some great friendships behind, selling up all my possessions, giving up a kitty that had grown up with me and only had years left (I found him a wonderful new home though), leaving a fantastic city and of course, leaving my family.
That was all exciting, but hard. Looking back, the giving up of possessions was the easy bit, the family was harder but is only seconds away with the technology we have. So what were the hard bits…?
The hard bits included:
- Settling into a new foreign city
- Starting a new uni course online (and having to be disciplined enough to stick to it)
- Starting a new job
- Trying to establish new connections
- Trying to establish new routines
- …and most importantly, the reason I had moved… building my new relationship
I’m not going to go into the gory details of it all but the stress of it all really played on me and turned me into an insecure (and sometimes crazy) person. My new man got to see a side of me he didn’t know and in turn, showed me a side of him I didn’t know. The challenges between us just kept coming and that rollercoaster called life pretty much scared the sh*t out of me, while being exhilarating all at once.
And all this stress had me re-evaluating my health again…it had me feeling out of control and out of balance. The nasty bacteria in my gut were starting to rear their ugly heads again, my sleep was out of whack and this played on my energy levels, my overall health and my ability to get, and stay, in ketosis was challenged (but still making gains).
So with all of this in mind, I needed to focus on certain areas in my life to re-gain my health and help ease the stress of the transition.
My health focus(es) for 2015…
As I only got my period back in Dec of 2014 (yep, a full 11 months of amenorrhea), I wanted to work on stabilising my hormones to the point where my period was regular and that I was without any PMS symptoms. I’m pleased to say, that I’m almost there. I believe that LCHF had a massive part to play in this rapid improvement (I will discuss this more in the future).
I also was still getting my head around quantities of fat to eat and coming to terms with the fact that fat wasn’t making me fat…this was (and sometimes still is) quite challenging.
Another focus for 2015 was changing out all of my products, from body, hair and face to cleaning products, to be completely natural. This meant understanding what was wrong with them and finding alternatives. I have almost completely changed everything (my final step is nail polish ).
In learning about the LCHF lifestyle, I have also learnt a lot about ketosis, what it is, how you get in it, how you test for it and why it is the optimal way for your body to operate (despite the fact that my nutrition course advisors say it’s dangerous – I don’t think they’ve quite worked out the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis…see here for more). However, it is quite a journey to achieve and maintain. I am now regularly producing ketones but am not 100% of the time in ketosis, especially when I choose to have a glass of wine with dinner or eat a little too much cheese. However, once my head hits the pillow, my body goes back into ketosis and is mostly in nutritional ketosis (levels around 0.8-1.0) but more and more, I find myself getting nearer to the optimal levels of ketosis (1.5-3.0) (see image here). After breakfast and throughout the day until dinner, I know when I am in ketosis because of the way I feel (energetic) and the mental clarity that I have.
So during my monitoring of both my glucose and ketone levels, I discovered that I was fluctuating and that some days, no matter how well I ate or how much I worked out, and how low my blood glucose was, I was still, at times, not producing enough ketones. This is when I researched further and realised two things: sleep and stress kill the production of ketones and cause your body to favour the production and release of insulin so as to supply your body and brain with the “necessary” glucose. This, then, became a huge focus in the last half of 2015 and something I will continue in 2016.
So all in all, 2015 has been one big transition for me and it really threw me for six. I wished it could have been easier and less pressure-filled but it happened the way it did and as a result, I learnt a lot about myself and my health. One big thing being that LCHF is, I truly believe, the ultimate way to eat to gain optimal health gains but that there are other factors that come into play and need to be managed. It’s not enough to just eat well but it makes a world of difference and life easier to cope with.
I am also learning a lot about a new city, Shanghai, and how to live a healthy existence in this country where no-one eats LCHF and it is almost impossible to go out to eat etc…but it can be done and I will spend 2016 discovering how (although I must say my meals are often waaaayyy tastier than I can find in a restaurant…probably because of all the fat I use ).
So with all of this in mind, I wish you all a great 2016 and urge you to review and reflect on your 2015 health and life journey. It’s not about focusing on the negatives, but about spending the time to assess where improvements can be made as this will impact the people in your life as well as on your own wellbeing. Were you like me and were too stressed and did not deal with some situations in the best way possible or react rationally at all times? Was your health at its optimal level or did you suffer at times? What were the great experiences you had? The great people you encountered? The great lessons you learnt? What do you want to change?
But for now, I am off to enjoy the warmth of Port Douglas before returning to the cold of Shanghai and maybe even get a pedicure and massage…start the new year feeling relaxed and having clean feet and beautiful toes!
How are you going to ring in the New Year? What things are you going to change in 2016?
Love (and healthy fats) Bianca x