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The Journey

Took me long enough...

Courtney Cunningham

I realize now that baking at Community Plate ignited the inflammation.  My entire body was on fire... and I was verbalizing it... to Scott, to my doctor, to anyone who would listen.  Nobody listened.  I remember running into Kris Bledsoe and stumbling into the conversation about her severe arthritis and she said, "Nobody believed me."  I nearly started crying.  We ended up talking for a while and I just kept thinking, "Thank God you believe me.  Thank God SOMEONE believes me."  Scott thought I was 1) a whimp and 2) manifesting it.  He thought I was making it worse by trying to find solutions for managing the pain.  I was focusing on it too much.

But how could I not?  I was BAKING.  Eating sugar and flour 6-11am everyday.  Little bites here and there, tasting for salt and balance, "cleaning up" the last scrap of biscuit dough or pastry cream.  Knowing what I know now, it's amazing I didn't fall into a diabetic coma.  I was ingesting FIRE every day. 

And that was the beginning of this long battle with the mystery that is chronic inflammation.  I've been calling it arthritis... and I certainly have that.  X-rays of my knees prove it and my knees are where I feel it the most.  However, the pain is EVERYWHERE.  I can literally envision the fire spreading as the sugar seeps into my blood stream and circulates throughout my body.  My entire lower half throbs at the end of the day.  My joints are so sensitive that I can't lie still at night.  I'm constantly trying to keep my joints level in order to minimize pressure at various angles.  Its constant pain management.

And then, this August, I read "The Obesity Code".  Mostly, it was a case for fasting but, more importantly, it explained how obesity is a metabolic disease regulated by hormones.  Weight gain and loss is a function of insulin, cortisol, leptin, and a few other important hormones, all of which are triggered by SUGAR.  Eating sugar keeps insulin levels high and keeps you from burning fat.  It's that simple.

I began fasting after our anniversary trip to the coast.  Just two days a week at first, and just an 18 hour fast, keeping the feeding window to 6-8 hours.  The weight came off without effort.  Literally, NO effort.  2 pounds a week and I was down 10 pounds in a little over a month.  18 hour fasts kept me from gaining weight during Scott's 10 day birthday trip to Bend filled with debauchery and endless drinking/eating.  I didn't gain a pound.  I increased my fasts to 24 hours a few days a week and by Thanksgiving had lost a total of 15 pounds.  I even completed a 48 hour fast the week after and lost another 2.

Then I read "Keto Clarity", "Keto Adapted" and "Fat for Fuel" followed by "Bright Line Eating", all of which reinforced the evidence that sugar and flour are effectively tossing matches on a pool of gasoline.  Now, I'm about a third of the way through "Head Strong" and the science is so compelling, I can't see how I can justify eating sugar at all.

That said, I think it will be a challenge.  And I'm certain to lapse.  I have to find a way to work wine into the plan as its my livelihood.  But, who knows?  Maybe this is the beginning of a new phase of my life... maybe someday I won't even have room for wine where my health is concerned.  That in itself is frightening to me.  And yet I've had a longing for something more for the last year or two.  It took me long enough to figure out what was happening to me.  Perhaps I'll just leave the door open and see who/what comes to visit...