Last June I started this journey of mine by beginning an exercise program and counting calories.  In the beginning, I did not modify my diet much except cutting down on portions as my calorie limit required.  Over time, I gradually started substituting in more vegetables and leaner meats as this enabled me to eat more (hey, I’m an eater).

The past few months, I’ve been seriously redesigning the way I eat.  I’m eating meat less and less (these days I pretty much only eat meat when I’m not at home).  I’m experimenting more with foods I’ve never eaten before.  I’m enjoying far more vegetables than ever before.  I’m scouring food blogs for healthy meal ideas and I’m generally trying something new every week.  It’s been absolutely great.  I’m loving nearly everything I make these days and I’m loving the way I feel to boot.

Something happens on the weekends though.  I somehow find myself grabbing lunch on the go from a fast food place or going out to breakfast.  It is a combination of poor planning and being incredibly busy with a number of projects.  It also has to stop.  For once, I’m not trying to  stop because it makes me feel bad or guilty or because stopping is the smart thing to do in terms of trying to live a healthier lifestyle.  I’m stopping because I physically have to.  Eating this junk has started wreaking havoc on my system in an awful way.

I’ve had IBS for nearly as long as I can remember.  In fact, my worsening IBS symptoms is one of the many reasons I began my journey.  My body felt as though it were breaking down and I knew my lifestyle had much to do with it.  As of now, I’m mostly IBS symptom free… until I eat stupidly on the weekends.  For example:  Yesterday I picked up some Chinese food for lunch and, as my brain wasn’t fully functional, I ordered General Tso’s chicken instead of Kung Pao.  Huge brain fart.  So I try to  make the best of it and eat it anyway even though I’d rather not have eaten battered and fried chicken.  Turns out, I shouldn’t have.  Twenty minutes after eating I’m doubled over in pain and racing for the nearest bathroom.  I say to myself “man, I need to make healthier choices when I eat out.”

Did I learn?

Apparently not.  This morning I went to IHOP for breakfast.  Not exactly the healthiest choice although they do have healthier options.  Did I choose them?  Of course not.  I chose pancakes, eggs, hash browns and bacon.  And, sure enough, twenty minutes later I’m doubled over in pain and running for the nearest restroom.  It was awful this time though.  The bout of pain lasted for over an hour and it’s left me feeling drained to the point where I’m trying to take a nap (I’m notoriously awful at taking naps, I usually don’t get the job done).

It’s time to make a choice.

Sure I still enjoy the taste of these foods but I do not enjoy the effects they have on me.  After today, I don’t think these foods are worth it any more.  I’ll be the person at the restaurant who orders oatmeal (haven’t you always seen oatmeal on those small town restaurant menus and wondered who the heck goes out to eat oatmeal?).  I’ll be the person nibbling at something rather than ordering something unhealthy because I know the effect it’ll have on my body just isn’t worth it.

It’s a weird feeling, but it is a decision I can feel good about.