What a year! In the movie, Babe, Farmer Hoggett often says, “What a pig” in reference to Babe, the pig. He begins saying it in disbelief with a question mark and ends the movie saying it with an exclamation point. 2020 has been a little like that for me. Sometimes I say “What a year?,” with a shake of my head in disbelief. Other times, I say “What a year!” with great fervor and emotion. No matter how we say it, 2020 has been a year to remember.
I never imagined what this year would hold when I started my journey to nourishing me. In many ways, this journey was preparing me to face the challenges but also made some of the new challenges more difficult. While everyone else was indulging in comfort foods to pass through quarantine, I was discovering all the different ways I could fix kale and brussel sprouts and trying not to dream of rich, gooey, silky, homemade macaroni and cheese (oops). Of course, I never had to worry about a worldwide shortage of either fresh produce. But there wasn’t much fun in bragging about a snack of baked kale chips.
A few observations at the halfway point (more like 2/3 point but who is really counting?)
- I have lost 38 pounds since January 1. This is good but not the reason I started this journey. I have been on a diet since I was 9 years old. But this was the first time I had adopted an eating program for a reason other than weight loss. I was looking for a way I could control my MS. I knew I’d lose weight but it wasn’t what I hoped for the most. It is the icing on the cake. I’m extremely happy about it and glad to have lost the weight but it’s not the point.
- My MS symptoms have improved greatly but still keep me from the life I had before. I look less disabled, no cane, less gimpy, a less tipsy when I walk. But I still struggle to do what I was doing two years ago before the last flare. The fatigue is much better. I rarely have pain. I can walk farther than I could 6 months ago. It’s better and maybe this is as good as it is going to get for me. I will keep eating this and doing the work because I know it makes a difference.
- The pandemic has been both good and bad for my journey. Working from home and the added leisure from not going places has been good on my body. It has been given a chance to heal. I struggle with feeling unproductive since I was used to a fairly full schedule but between an empty nest and a pandemic, I live a pretty boring life. As most of us know, finding our way through a pandemic is also stressful. We don’t know how to get through this and there is lots of cause for anxiety. Anxiety is not good for MS. I think the addition of better nutrition and less responsibility has helped keep me from an anxiety induced flare.
- I knew when I started this elimination diet that it would affect many areas of my life. I had done enough diets in the past to know that being successful has little to do with “making the food obey” and more about learning new ways of thinking. I knew that becoming more disciplined in my food would start a ripple effect that made it’s way through my entire life(heart, mind, soul and body). I wasn’t sure how all of that would look when I started and I have been surprised about where those ripples have taken me. I have found healing in unsuspected ways and places. (I hope to share more specifics in the coming weeks). Be encouraged that even a very small change can ripple out into another small change and so and so on and so on.
There is still a few months to go before this year ends. Who knows what punctuation it will end on but I committed to a full year of this journey. I am encouraged by the results and know I will continue with this diet and program beyond 2020. For now, there is no cure for MS and everyone’s path is different. So I don’t know what lies ahead. But I know I can’t go back so I will be grateful for the progress that has been made. And find joy in kale and brussel sprouts and only dream about macaroni and cheese every now and then.