I’ve tried a bunch of different diets since being diagnosed with UC 4 years ago, and so far I’ve had little luck. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was the most promising initially, but after 2 months my symptoms hadn’t improved much (if at all) so I packed it in and walked back into the comforting arms of a stack of bagels and a triple scoop of ice-cream.
I have an emotional attachment to food. I often have the image of a specific food (a bowl of ice-cream drizzled in chocolate, a pack of chips and salsa, waffles and maple syrup, a bagel drowning in cream cheese and raspberry jam) pop into my head, and my heart will actually start *racing with excitement*. Seriously.
There are a couple of common themes running through the type of foods that cause this reaction for me -
1) they’re all insanely delicious and moreish, and
2) they’re all loaded with refined sugars, flavours and additives, and are incredibly bad for me.
For a normally functioning healthy human these foods are straight up bad. For someone suffering from a chronic illness related to the digestive system these foods are actually *evil*.
To make it worse I can’t even begin to exercise any level of portion control with them - they just run riot, and I carry on until I clear the plate/bowl/packet/house.
So, given that I’m completely incapable of denying that 14th Easter egg even after scolding myself during the previous 13, it’s dawning on me that the only way I’ll cut my intake of refined foods is to remove them from my diet altogether.
I’m rocking along this Taekwondo journey and it’s already arming my brain in the mind over matter fight, but my physical health is actually degenerating quite quickly. Medications have stopped working and I’m still on a waiting list to talk about this stupid surgery, so I’m starting to feel a bit desperate about it all.
Desperate enough to take an immediate stand on sugar, that’s for sure. I’ve read a lot lately on the impact these horrendous levels of (unnecessary) sugar are having on people, so I’m really interested to track and test the impact on both my body and mind over the next couple of months - especially from a chronic illness perspective. If you’re keen to know if it might help you out but don’t want to take the leap yourself just yet - stay tuned!
First stop - mapping out a list of alternative comfort foods to go running to! ;-)
So I flicked my grading instructor a message for my result over the weekend, and was totally blown away by his reply - the grading panel gave me something called an ‘unrequested double grading’ (which I barely knew existed), which skips me straight from white belt to yellow.
Over here in the New Zealand (www.itkd.co.nz) it looks like the rate of double gradings sit at about 1%.
"Double gradings are awarded to those who show abilities far beyond their grade. These are students who have a real flair for TKD, and performed extra well at grading. "
Needless to say I’m still buzzing! Looks like the conviction and effort I put in on the night of the grading really did cover up my many technical flaws ;-)
It’s early days of course and my instructor takes the journey through Taekwondo seriously, so I’m quite confident this will be the only time a double grading happens. But while I fight through this disease looking for positives to keep me focused, this is a massive boost to my self confidence at the start of my martial arts journey.
Final thought - I now have two full theory, pattern and technique sections of the syllabus to master in time for the next grading instead of just one. *sweats*
First Taekwondo grading, done! What an experience. I felt totally out of my comfort zone, but I moved with as much conviction as I could during the night. 110% effort and focus for every movement - I still felt clunky and my muscles still forgot where they were supposed to be half the time, but I’m hoping that purpose will have shown through all that.
I’m told it’s actually quite hard to fail this first grading so I’m not too concerned about passing. But I’m not in this thing to tick off the belts and walk away - I’m facing this damn surgery to deal with this stupid, stupid chronic illness, so I’m there to learn, train and fight with everything I have while I still can. Who knows how long I’ll be as physically capable and free as I am now, so every training session, every late-night practice after my kids are asleep, every grading session - I’ll be going through every one of them as if it’s my last.
It’s school holidays here now, so we have a two week break from training - there’s no way I can wait that long to hear how it went, so I’m off to drop the grading instructor an email. Fingers crossed!
All going well, I can’t wait to start learning my first full pattern - Chon-Ji Tul.
Last time I went through one of these I was 4 feet tall, had a pack of WWF cards in my back pocket, and spent my downtime playing an Atari.
Time is a funny thing.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao-tzu
Three months into my Taekwondo training and I feel like I’m standing at the foot of a mountain. It’s equally daunting and exhilarating – I haven’t really gone anywhere yet, but I’m starting to understand just how much lies ahead. How much I have to discover, learn, practice and master. How much pain there’ll be, focus I’ll need, failures I’ll need to push past and victories I will celebrate.
My first grading is on Wednesday - from 10th gup (white belt) to 9th gup (yellow stripe). It’s a simple grading – some basic stances and offensive/defensive techniques, two fundamental exercises (four direction punch/four direction block, which I guess are a basic precursor to patterns), and a bit of theory. It would be easy to take this grading lightly but I want to avoid that trap – I’ve been practicing hard and want to nail it with the cleanest pass possible.
2 days and counting – can’t wait to test myself.