Roid Rage!

by

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The other day I woke up and thought to myself, “Hey, I’m going to eat healthy today. I can do it.” Not ten minutes later I had a stare-off with….a bagel. A BAGEL! My subconscious immediately went through the stages of grief, except this time, it was the stages of hanger. First, craving…followed swiftly by denial. Then volcanic and eruptive anger manifested by a complete ugly cry meltdown in the shower (Not kidding). Trailed by bargaining and rationalizing. Picture this: Henry (with his clothes on), holding me in the running shower as I sobbed; a naked, little wet chihuahua…all because of food. I’m not even lying when I say that I’ve had more meltdowns about trying to be healthy than I’ve had about having lung disease. What does that say about me?

baby-got-backI had no idea that my resolve to be healthy proved weak when paired against a 3 ounce compound of smooth, gluttonous processed flour and sugar (don’t even get me started on cream cheese, which I could eat with a spoon). I’ve known for this whole [lung disease] period of my life that I’ve really needed to tune up my bodily intake to involve more than what a 5-year-old would eat if she were left to her own devices. Let’s face it, I’ve known my whole life that I should be taking better care of my precious spirit vehicle. But I lack some serious will power. Like, I really suck at it.

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You know why? – and here comes the whining, nasal head voice – because sometimes I feel like I have no control over anything. I feel like I have no say in this whole lung disease thing. And sometimes, I just want to eat an entire pizza by myself. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve allowed food to become my escape. I’m the queen of eating my feelings: I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m sad, I eat when I’m not sleeping, I eat Henry’s food when he’s distracted. It seems food is wrapped up in everything I do.  The word addiction comes to mind; it’s a word I don’t mean to take lightly because I know that is a real trial, but sometimes I feel like my day revolves around what I’m going to eat next. Even when I’m full, I find my self wanting to eat just to eat. It feels like a crime to demote food to a single idea: fuel.

Maybe the real crime is the alternative.

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Horace (whom I want to believe was a really wise owl or falcon) said, “Rule your mind, or it will rule you.” Well, that expression should change to, “Rule your stomach or it will rule you.” My stomach is my master! How did I let this happen? I’m pushing 30. You’d think I’d have figured out how to be a grown up by now, knowing which foods to eat and how important exercise and good daily habits are. I read about powerful working women my age in magazines, discussing their daily routines and all the things they do to stay fit and “glowy” and I think, “Skinny witches. Nobody really does that crap!…Do they?” I’m trying not to be too hard on myself and to not compare myself to others. But hey, you have to start somewhere, and what better “somewhere” than Monday?

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Monday was invented for starting diets. Today is no exception. And let me start off by saying that I need help. I need support. I’m being vulnerable here and asking, no, pleading, “How do you healthy people do this?!” I’ve been there before….however brief.  I went a whole two weeks off carbs. I know. Not exactly American Ninja Warrior status, but for me, it was extreme. I did it! And it was hard, but it wasn’t without sacrifice. I had to plan better. I spent more on groceries and fresh produce. Nothing was quick and easy. That being said, I felt in control and I felt so much better. My stomach wasn’t bloated all the time. I had more energy. My brain felt less foggy. I felt like the master of my ship. I also felt closer to my spirit. I was taking care of my body and treating it like the gift it is. Like a temple.

But, I fell off the horse. And today, I’m starting again.

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So…here’s my plan (and I tell you this so you can hold me accountable):

Food: I’m going to be strict about my no Gluten policy. One step further, I’m going to avoid “carby” things (breads, potatoes, treats, sugars). If I cheat it will be with brown rice and the occasional corn tortilla. No fried foods. Ok…no fast food. yikes. No soda. or juice. Oh boy. Drink more water, Mack! Prepare meals. More fruit. More veggies. More protein. Healthy breakfasts. Minimum dairy usage. I guess it’s time to stop following @buzzfeedtasty on Facebook.

Exercise: 1. Dress for war. Put the sports bra on every day. Does anyone else feel like half the battle is just putting on the spandex? Once I’m dressed to work out, I’m usually good to go which brings me to number 2. Put the Lycra to good use and break a sweat. Or in my case, get the blood pumping, which can literally be as little as getting the mail. It doesn’t take much these days and with these lungs.

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I start my 8 week pulmonary rehab tomorrow. This is a hospital sponsored program I’ll go to twice a week to exercise, while being monitored by healthcare professionals whose sole purpose is to make sure I don’t Tae Bo myself into an early grave. On the days I’m not there I will do some form of exercise (walking, light weights, chair yoga, opening jars). I’ve been told by doctor after doctor that exercise is still very important, even if it looks different to me now (and by “different”, I mean three and a half crunches on the lido deck before my 3 o’clock sponge bath and 4 o’clock dinner of chicken broth and soft crackers). I’m already at that stage of life.

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Sidenote: I’m on 40mg of steroids every day. They turn everyday meals into a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. Henry calls it “ROID RAGE.” I’m also currently on 500mg of Cellcept twice a day. Both immunosuppressive drugs. My doctor told me, in his eloquent Indian accent, “You will gain weight. You will get puffy. You will get swollen. You will retain water.” Wonderful, like I didn’t already have these problems. And yet, these two medications will improve my breathlessness over the course of the next 4 weeks. That’s the hope, at least. In the meantime, I want to give my body a fighting chance at healing.

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The goal: 8 weeks of total loyalty and solidarity to this program. The 26th of September through the 21th of November (just in time for Thanksgiving…see what I did there?). At the end of 8 weeks, I’ll see where I am.

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For reference, I’m 5’6”, 170 pounds and a size 12 (or as Henry put it: “stop trying to upstage my bra size!”). I don’t share these numbers as a “before” stage, by any means, or to compare myself to anyone else, but to be transparent about the skin I’m in and the fact that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health, fitness, body image or self-worth. Heaven knows, I’m not perfect at loving my body, but I’m also not one to undervalue what I’ve got.

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My body has biked the 100 mile white rim sandstone road and hiked to the crystal blue waters of Havasupai. She’s jumped out of a plane and walked the cobble stone streets of Europe. My body has danced across stages and saved a life on a zip line. She sings. She laughs. And she carries me through this life. She’s the reason I feel. She’s the reason I’m here.

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I’m not trying to reach an unrealistic expectation. I just want to be a better me. I want to be healthier. I want to be a master of my human appetites. Most importantly, I want to gain a stronger testimony of the Word of Wisdom. The Lord has promised beautiful blessings when we treasure and value our bodies:

And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their naval and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.”

Feel free to join along on the path of better choices. You’ll have a friend in arms. Let the battle of the bulge begin!

P.S. I pulled an Alicia Keys…no images were photoshopped in the making of this blog post.

19 Responses
  • Jennifer Madsen
    September 26, 2016

    Such a journey……
    yeah, I’ll join you.

    Does it mean I have to cut my hair in a “pixiedo” like you? Cause, you are the only human I know that can wear your hair a million ways and look good in every one of them!

  • Ashley
    September 26, 2016

    You are a babe! Just saying, but good for you for trying to be healthy! One thing that helps me is to not have any contraband (sweets, fatty food, whatever) in the house. You got this!!

  • Linda Carter
    September 26, 2016

    Baby steps.. i gave up fast food and most carbs first, ( i miss bread,) and switched to fat free milk,
    ( ugh, not the same as whole milk in my cereal, but oh well, )& switched to diet soda.. Of course getting up at 5am to go to the gym before work helps. Funny thing about sports bras, true story, this morning when i was getting in the shower i said to myself, “why in the heck are sports bras so hard to get in & out of?” craziness.. Good Luck, you have so many rooting for you..

  • Traci Ramos
    September 26, 2016

    I keep putting off getting started but I will join you tomorrow in support!!!! Today is kinda shot😃😂 I love reading your blog!!!

  • Janet Hunter
    September 26, 2016

    Ah, sweetie! Your warrior body will do what it has to do to keep you strong through this incredible journey you’re taking. May you fight the road urges and slay the bagel demons😊. We’re all there praying get for it with you❤

  • Tina Zaharias
    September 26, 2016

    Oh Mack. You are so inspirational to me. To all. We can do this together; stay strong and never give up the fight. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met!!

  • Shauna Sloan
    September 26, 2016

    I love reading about your journey and feel inspired to start my own. After all, it’s Monday!

  • Aubrey
    September 26, 2016

    Hi Mackenzie! I saw you in the RedBook Issue and fell in love with you, your family and your journey. I pray for you every time I come to check in for a new instagram picture or a new post, which is Daily (I am pretty much in awe of the light you are to the world) and don’t want to miss anything. I love how transparent you! I am excited to get encouragement on my weight loss adventure by coming here and reading all the tips people have for you.
    God Bless and like Ashley above said “You got this” 🙂

  • Helen Jamison
    September 26, 2016

    Go Mack! You can do it….I think you can do anything!

  • Stacy
    September 26, 2016

    Hang in there! Prednisone will make you want to eat a whole cow. I have been gluten free for two years. My advice is start slowly. Cut gluten, but keep corn and rice. Sugar is best given up cold turkey. It isn’t easy, but the cravings go away. I’m an emotional eater myself. My sweet treats now are dates. Best wishes and don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip up. 🙂

  • Michelle
    September 26, 2016

    April 1, 2015 I made up my mind to change my diet & live healthy! Lots of research lead me to a book called “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I stopped all processed sugars & started a Vegan diet along with some light exercise. In six weeks I dropped 25 pounds & didn’t even crave the junk I had prior to 4-1-15! I have dropped a total of 45 pounds & have kept it off! For me it was 100% mindset & the choice to be healthy & feel good. You can do it & you will feel better by eating healthier!

  • Katrina Hess
    September 26, 2016

    Mackenzie I’ve never met you but my friend Bethany shares your blog on Facebook often, and I absolutely love your posts. This post especially was SO inspiring!! You are beautiful and strong I know you’re going to succeed in this diet and more. Thank you for being vulnerable and showing what real beauty is. Praying for you!

  • Ricky Bobby
    September 26, 2016

    I’m in Kenzie! I will participate in a exercise 5 days/week (minimum), cut soda, fast foods, poo foods etc. (although my cooking may be more hazardous to my health than any fast food option) lets do dis

  • Caitlin
    September 27, 2016

    You can do it!! It’s such a lifelong journey but I’m so glad the Lord has our backs! Even when it comes to weight loss!!! My husband definitely had to witness one or two episodes of me bawling in the shower over a breakfast burrito…. Or donut.

  • Lizzy House
    September 27, 2016

    I always like to start on a Tuesday so there isn’t as much pressure to be/do something special right out of the gate of a weekend. But I’m with you. I’m just getting back into a routine and it feels good. Always proud of you!

  • Brenna
    September 27, 2016

    Beautiful post! Thank you for being vulnerable.

  • Carol Thalmann
    September 28, 2016

    Oh boy, do I feel you! I’m also on 40mg of steroids and 1000mg of Cellcept twice a day. And, I can’t. Stop. Eating! I’m like you; I’ll steal my hubby’s treats. At my last appt with my Neuro, he asked if I’d gained weight. Oh, how I wanted to come back with a snarky comment. I can’t commit to changing right now because I know I’m not in the right mindset. But I’ll certainly cheer you on!

  • Veronika
    October 5, 2016

    I think with time it will be easier to keep the healthy diet as our body tends to get used to healthy things and won’t crave anyhing “evil” like sugar.loaded carbs any more…or that much as before 🙂
    I recomend you a blog http://deliciouslyella.com/
    She makes amazing food without sugar and bad carbs(yes its possible) – and she also has a very motivating history why she changed to this diet.
    Good luck Girl!

  • Melyssa
    October 7, 2016

    Oh how I love this! I have a slew of health issues. After 9 surgeries the past 6 years (2 brain surgeries) I find myself always feeling badly about what “healthy” ladies my age are doing. Comparison is evil. I don’t usually eat sugar or many carbs due to my health problems, yet I still don’t look like all those gorgeous ladies on Instagram. I do however feel better in my own body. You will be in my prayers as you figure out the best balance for your life. Thanks for being real- the world needs more of it!

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