Tag Archives: dieting

When you’re sick of being sick

I’m so sick of being sick.  I have these periods, sometimes as long as a few months, where I start to feel like I can see myself getting better.  But then one minor issue and I’m back at square one again and I find myself feeling like I’ll never climb out from under all this illness.

The nutritionist, E, and I talked about the food allergy panel and we’re trying a few changes, but nothing dramatic.  The big change is that I’ve been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and prescribed a CPAP Machine.

They tell you that it may take some getting used to.  What they don’t say is that you will feel like you’re suffocating, even though you aren’t and your body doesn’t want that thing blowing in your face all night.

After a week, I think I’m getting better sleep, but it’s been quite a struggle.  I wish the doctors had prepared me more for how difficult it could be and that I may have some sleepless nights for a couple weeks.  Why?  Because I’ve got some other health issues that are greatly exacerbated by not getting quality sleep.

Add on top of all this, some family drama and stress with my father’s health and my parents moving across the country in short order and their need to have me come visit them 1000 miles away to help.  Well, that was enough to tip me over and send me back into the adrenal fatigue again.

I’m jittery and have trouble regulating my body temperature.  I can’t sleep when I lay in the bed, but I fall asleep quickly when I sit down on the couch with the laptop.  I can’t think and have absolutely no appetite, even though I recognize that I’m hungry, no food looks or tastes good to me.

My husband and sole support system is leaving town to visit his family for a long weekend and I’ve got my trip to California coming up quickly and I can’t seem to get going on any of the million or so things I need to do between now and then.

My health team has been great at giving me guidance on the best way to take care of myself, but the hard work is all mine.  And frankly, hard work is the last thing I want right now.  All I want to do is sleep.

The last two nights I’ve managed to get good quality sleep, with about 5-6 hours on the CPAP.  I think that’s helping, but I’ve got a deep hole to climb out of here.  All I can do is take it one day at a time and do the best I can to care for myself.

And that’s the frustrating part.  I hate feeling like the “broken girl” or the “sick one”.  I want to be able to exist and live my life like a normal person, but that’s not happening right now.  I know I need to be intentional and patient with myself, but I still hear that inner mean-girl screaming, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?! GET IT TOGETHER!!”

All my team members are trying to remind me that I’ve already come a long way, but when I feel sick, I just can’t see it.  I feel like I’m back at square one and I have to start all over.  I’m just so sick of being sick.

When Nothing Makes Sense

I struggle a lot when nothing makes sense to me.  I consider myself pretty logical and smart, but when I can’t make sense of something, I immediately want to toss it out and forget about it.  That isn’t always the best solution.

I took a food allergy test with my naturopath a little over a week ago.  We have had some suspicious about certain foods being less than ideal for my body and I was curious.  So we took a blood draw for the “E95 Common Food  Panel.”

For about the last year I’ve been avoiding gluten, sugars, high glycemic index fruits and the like.  I’ve been focused on proteins, especially eggs, yogurts, kefir, etc.

So imagine my surprise when the test came back and all the wheats are fine, but the big reactions were from egg whites, egg yolks, whey, garlic and sunflower seeds.  I wasn’t too surprised to see bananas on there as I’ve never really liked them and they seriously spike my blood sugars.

But let’s talk about that Whey result.  Okay, I can accept that dairy  might be a problem for me and I’m more than willing to experiment with my nutritionist to see if it makes a difference to remove it from my diet.  But as I read the test further, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that none of the other “dairy category” foods had a high response.  All the other milks and cheeses are in the low category.  How is that possible?  Isn’t whey in milk?  Shouldn’t they be “avoid” foods too? I find myself getting frustrated and screaming into the ether, “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore!”

I am seeing my nutritionist today and she promised to work through this with me, but I’m finding myself having a bad attitude about the whole test.  If I can’t make that whey result make sense to me, then maybe I should just throw the whole thing out and forget about food sensitivities altogether.

Or is that throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath-water?  Do I just need to look at the information in this test as a starting point and road-map to explore with my nutritionist and see if cutting back on dairy and eggs helps me to feel better.  My rash decisions are not always the best ones, so I’m trying to take a deep breath, be patient and let E help me figure it out over time.

When You Have to Face Body Issues

Body Issues
When You Have Body Issues

One of the most interesting things about my recent weight loss is the baffling concept of Body Issues.

My eyes work. My brain is mostly functional and I can see the change in the numbers on the scale.  So explain to  me why I think it’s perfectly acceptable to put size 3x pants on my size L body.

On laundry day, I keep putting my new shirts into the pile with my husband’s shirts because they seem “too small” to be mine.  I have yet to show up for my therapy sessions without J telling me that the pants I’m wearing are still too big for me.  I keep trying to buy pants that fit, but my brain keeps telling me that I’m not a size Large.

I do have a couple pairs of pants that are close to the right size, but the body issues seize my brain and take over.  I hold them up and say “Nope, those won’t fit.”  Then I put them on and look at how they sag a bit in the butt and legs and think, “Hmmm…”  But smaller seems wrong.

My husband got one of those helicopter type drones with a video camera for Christmas and we were looking at some video he shot in our front yard while I was gardening.  Because we were hanging out at home, I had “comfy clothes” on.  But looking at that video, I look like I’ve got on some kind of clown pants and my shirt is barely hanging on to my shoulders.  They are clearly too large, but I like them.  They feel like me when I’m wearing them.

So, where is the disconnect?  Am I not able to see the weight loss?  Am I not able to see myself as a smaller person?  Do I think I don’t deserve the new, nicer clothes?

I don’t think any of those are exactly the issue, so I just keep on digging around in that messy mind to try to break through these barriers on my way to a better, healthier life.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you face this same kind of struggle and what you’re doing about it.

When You Are Suffering

When you are suffering, you feel like you will try anything to get some relief.  I often start to lose perspective on things and I suddenly can’t remember ever feeling good before and lose hope for feeling good ever again. (I acknowledge this is more than a tad dramatic.)

I am in it right now. I’m coming to the end of a 10 week protocol with my naturopath to combat these biofilms and candida to get my gut healthy again. I liken this process to chemotherapy and my husband rolls his eyes a bit.  I understand, but as a care-giver to someone who went through chemo, a lot of this was familiar.  Lack of appetite, tiredness, constant nausea, muscle aches, joint pain, excessive vomiting, hot/cold flashes, headaches, vision changes, migraines and I even had significant hair loss at one point that was starting to really freak me out.  However you describe it, this has not been a fun year for me.

And here I am at another potential break-through spot in my life with enthusiastic team members cheering me on, but all I can see is darkness, suffering and more suffering.

I’m tired of this restricted diet and eating food that’s “good for me”. Because I’ve been feeling so ill, I’ve completely socially isolated myself.  It has been months since seeing anyone other than the occasional cashier, my husband or a team member.

Even my dog isn’t able to make me smile like she usually can. I find myself annoyed when she wants to play and enthusiastically brings me toys.  I think, “Not now, I’m suffering.”

My mental attitude is also in the toilet. I have lost focus on my intention for doing this whole process in the first place.  I have somehow convinced myself that this is a punishment the people supporting me are subjecting me to.  Of course, this is an illusion I create to distract me from reality and my responsibility in this.

I’m having a difficult time and that is an indisputable fact. There is quite a bit of suffering going on, both mental and physical. That’s real.  But I really did choose to be here.  I knew this was going to be a rough road.  I had hope that I would be through the worst of it by now, but I’m not and I need to acknowledge and respect that.

Five weeks ago, I was making huge portions of our dinners to stock some away in the freezer for nights I’m not able to cook. I cleared my calendar of all things not health team related or absolutely necessary things.  I even let my co-workers know that I’d be scarce for the duration and to do their best without me.

But here I am, wishing it wasn’t happening instead of appreciating the fact that I’m here and this is exactly what I wanted.  I want to be well. And getting there isn’t easy.  But if I keep my eye on the prize and keep my head straight, I will get there.  Eventually.

Meet The Team: Nutrition

Last week I told you about how much I loathe the idea of diabetes nutrition classes.  I just would roll my eyes when my doctor would suggest this place called Passionate Nutrition to help with what I should be eating.  My doctor would swear it wasn’t that kind of place, but I was deeply resistant.

What finally tipped me into booking an appointment was that I was tired of taking pills.  If “normal people” could get fuel and maintain health through nutrition, I wanted to also.  There had to be a way to sort through all the insanity surrounding food for me.  And getting off all these pills was going to be my first step.

After an intake appointment with the founder of the company, I agreed to schedule with another nutritionist who had more free time in her schedule.  That was “M”.  She has a name, but I’m going to say things about her, so… better to just call her M.

I love M with all my heart.  I didn’t always, but after two years of working together, we sort of developed a relationship.

The thing I appreciate most about M’s feedback was how she was always able to find one positive thing I could hold onto and look at when I was feeling like a failure or feeling weak.  She always believed that I could make this change in my life, even when I wasn’t able to believe it myself.  (That is a powerful gift, right there!)

She also helped me by normalizing so many things I thought were just crazy old me.  I was so ashamed to admit finding myself walking to the kitchen for a 3rd handful of cookies and having a dialog in my head that said, “Stop walking!  Where are you going? Don’t you eat more cookies! I know you hear me. STOP!” followed by nom nom nom… mmmmmm… cookies. 🙂  Apparently, I’m not the only person who has ever done that.

She focused our sessions on learning about the benefits of eating whole foods, as close to grandma used to eat as possible.  She also introduced me to mindfulness and the idea of mindful eating.  I had no idea how often I ate on auto-pilot before this.

She introduced me to the book: Slow Down Diet, by Marc David. I highly recommend it to help you take a look at how you eat.  Each week, you can take on a new chapter and work on a new skill for mindful eating.  Just paying attention to how food tastes to you and how it makes your body feel, is the first step on the road to recovery.

Why I Dislike Diabetes Nutrition Counselling

diabetes nutritionI was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2000.  Since then, about five different doctors have referred me to diabetes nutrition counseling of some kind.    Every single visit has been the same frustrating experience for me.

The first 15 minutes consist of you sitting down to do a bunch of paperwork.  Then I am taught how to test my blood, use a log book and what a carbohydrate is.  I get some copies of a handout about counting carbs and a blood sugar log book.  When asked, “Do you have any questions?” I always want to scream, “Uh, DUH!”

If I ask “What am I supposed to be eating for blood sugar control?” Or “What exactly is diabetes nutrition and why aren’t you teaching me that?” I am handed a few recipes for things like Kale Salad, Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” and something requiring an ingredient not carried in any grocery store, anywhere on Earth.

When I ask how to determine how many carbs is good for me on any given day, I’m told to just count, test, and stay within the range.  But some days 45 grams of carbs is okay and other days it will send me to bed with crazy blood sugar swings.  How can there be an arbitrary number that is the same for all diabetics?  Hint:  There isn’t.

This would be the reason that it took so long for me to take the referral my doctor gave me to a nutritionist when I would ask food questions.  I really didn’t want to do another diabetes nutrition class and suffer that frustration again.  But I sure was in a corner.

I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  I ate all the “diet” things I was supposed to.  Often, I’d skip breakfast as I’m rarely hungry in the morning.  Lunch would be a quick, “healthy food” like a Lean Cuisine in the microwave.   I’d cook a dinner for my husband and I, but after dinner, I’d be hungry and constantly putting carbs into my mouth.  (Hmm.. no wonder I felt icky!)

What I needed was someone who wouldn’t prescribe some packaged cleanse or put me on some fad diet.  I need someone who could make sense of all these weird ideas I have about food and put me on a track to eating for fuel and health instead of this crazy chore about counting, measuring and worrying.

I found that person.  More in the next blog entry!

Choose Your Food Wisely

quality food
Choose food wisely

The small changes you make to your diet make a huge difference. Just look at the difference between the bay leaves from the traditional store shelf brand and the ones I got from the bulk food department at my natural grocery store.

And surprise! I paid less for the ones from the bulk food department per ounce then I do the ones in the prepackaged container. Just add your own mason jar and a label and you’re all set for cooking healthy meals.

Cooking with quality ingredients is an easy step we all can take to better our diet and our health .

The Gallbladder Connundrum

Gallbladder Symptoms

My biggest weight loss on any “diet” was with one of those popular companies that advertises on television. It cost me thousands of dollars and my gallbladder.

You know the company. You go in once a week to weigh in with your “coach” and pick up a week’s worth of food in a box to eat at every meal. Sure, the box is tastier than the food, but we do these things to lose weight, right?

The idea behind the diet program is that you are supposed to supplement the box food with salads and veggies, but I don’t think I ever did that other than my lunch salad of iceberg lettuce and cucumbers with some red wine vinegar. I was a master scientist about making what they provided taste better. For instance, half a package of their “maple syrup” in their powdered “scrambled eggs” made them less disgusting. 🙂

Over the next six months, I was never without a box of food and I was losing weight. I didn’t have much energy for things like exercise or living, but I was losing weight. I went from 270 lbs to 198 lbs and I was thrilled to have met and exceeded my 70 pound goal.

The following weekend, my boyfriend’s kids were visiting and we always liked to go out to breakfast. The kids like the huge belgian waffles at this one place and I found the biscuits and gravy hard to resist so I ordered them to celebrate my diet success. Big mistake.

Apparently, after having a cardboard diet for 6 months and then a giant plate of carbs and gravy did not make my body very happy. A few hours later, as we were watching the kids play in the pool, I started to feel sick. I went back to the apartment to lay down, but the pain was terrible. I soaked in the bathtub thinking I’d strained my back. It just got worse and worse until I was on the floor in the bathroom begging my boyfriend not to call 9-1-1.

The attack passed, but they came again. Whenever I’d eat anything fatty, there was hell to pay. After the third attack, I was dragged to the doctor against my will. I got a diagnosis and was told that laproscopic surgery wasn’t available at the hospital yet. I’d get the old-style surgery where you are basically cut in half. I didn’t want that and kept looking for a doctor.

I found a surgeon who would do the laproscopic surgery 5 months later. The attacks were coming with more regularity and increasing intensity. Every one of them would be awful. I’d be sick, writhing in pain, begging my boyfriend to kill me and him begging me to let him call an ambulance.

While in the hospital, recovering from surgery, I saw a news story about a class action lawsuit against the diet company because of the large numbers of their clients having gallstones after being on their diet. I debated whether or not to participate in the suit.

But what I took away from all of this is a clear picture that DIETS DON’T WORK!!!! They aren’t good for you. They can often make things so much worse than just making good choices in the food you put into your body. That food tasted like cardboard, because it was the nutritional equivalent of compressed paper. 🙂 If it feels like it’s not the answer, it is probably not.

I’ve Been On Every Diet Known To Man

grapefruit diet It all started when I was a kid, around 10-11 years old. I clearly remember a day at swim practice when my mother was talking with another mother on the side of the pool as we did laps. I’d catch snippets of their conversation as I swam by.

Lady: You’re brave to let your daughter swim on the team. Aren’t you worried she won’t get a good husband if she gets swimmer shoulders?
Mom: Hmmm…
Lady: After all, she’s already kind of chunky.

This lady had expressed her many husband-related concerns to my mother before. Because I’m tall. Because I’m “big boned”. Because I swim. Because I’m a tomboy. Because I don’t like HER daughter. It went on and on. This is also the same lady that blew huge clouds of cigarette smoke on us as we were doing sprints in the pool. If only my mother could have seen how crazy that lady was. I seem to recall this all happening on the next day, but it may have been a short time later. One morning, all the snack (ie, junk) foods had been moved to a locked cabinet in the laundry room. On my plate at breakfast was not a big bowl of cereal with sugar, but a half a grapefruit, no sugar.

Mom, with her own half a grapefruit, happily announced that she and I were going on a diet together. “Absolutely EVERYONE is doing Scarsdale and it will be good for us.” As I choked down that grapefruit, I scanned through the book and quickly realized:

diet = punishment

Clearly I had done something very bad and I was going to be punished. This was going to suck.

And that was the beginning of a long road of dieting. I would notice pants that were a little too snug (okay a lot snug, it was the 80’s) or a particularly bad photo next to a skinny friend, and I would be off to find a new diet. And this time for sure-It was going to work! There was Scarsdale, Grapefruit, Cabbage Soup, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Dexatrim diet pills by the handful as a teen, the Hollywood diet, more grapefruit, starvation, cayenne pepper drinks, expensive shakes, Atkins, South Beach, diets, diets and more diets. With each “diet”, I would restrict my eating severely, lose 10 lbs, and over time, gain back 15.  I’d lose 15 and gain back 25.  I’d lose 25 and gain back 40.  And so on, and so on. To 351 lbs. You know how it goes! If I had a time machine, I would go to that poor girl right now. I would grab her by the shoulders and tell her, “YOU ARE NOT FAT!!!” You are beautiful just the way you are. Your mother has some issues that are not about you. AT ALL. Because it wasn’t about me. It was about my mom and her taking what that crazy woman said and actually thinking her 11 year old daughter needed a diet when she was swimming 10 hours a week. What it was doing was laying the groundwork for the massive infrastructure now in my brain to set up all kinds of rules about food. Good food. Bad food. Evil food. Food to make you happy. Food for when you’re mad. Food to make it all go away. And plenty of punishment and suffering when your body image isn’t quite right.

But I was also setting up a relationship with an idea that wasn’t my own about what it means to eat a “healthy diet”.

You see, if diet = punishment, then a doctor telling me to adjust my diet to manage my diabetes means, “never eat anything fun ever again”. Nobody can maintain that, so I was setting myself up for failure again and again and again.

Does this sound familiar to any of you?