Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Restrictions or an eye opening...

I just have a conversation with a facebook friend, she is starving herself as a way to lose weight. The emotions that she brought out in me reminded me I hadn't blogged in forever (sorry) and it was time.

First a quick horse update, still leasing Joker, still love him to pieces. I become a better rider every time I am with him. We had our first real show in June and I was SHOCKED to have placed in two classes (ironically the ones I was most dreading as they were the ground classes where my ability to physically jog were a factor). The classes were huge (20 + riders) which made it even more amazing to me placed. We took 6th in Halter and 4th in Showmanship. I have to admit I was totally addicted after the first show and am counting the days til our next show (July 28th). I feel like I have found my place! This might be the first thing I have done in my life that I can say I truly felt proud of myself for. I know how hard I worked for this (and continue to work). It is the first real accomplishment of my life that isnt on an intellectual only playing field and it was the most amazing thing I have ever done.

Now the harder stuff, my weight is up, I was back to around 255 lbs, so 40 lbs gained from my lowest. I am back to where I was two years ago exactly. It's frustrating, it's depressing and it makes me want to give up. But I am still luckier than most, in that I still have my personal trainer, Nick, to back me when I give up. And over the last two months he has been really working to try to get me nutritonially back on track.

The new plan of attack started with testing my food sensitivies, testing my adrenal function and some other blood tests. The food sensitivity test was to me the most interesting. The test looks not for a pure allergic reaction, but rather inflammation reaction (immunoglobulin response) to certain foods. What many of us discount is that our weight is made up of more than fat...inflammation and fluid retention are a huge factor. You cant gain 40 lbs of fat in a few months, its not possible. And since I was back to eating next to nothing again, this was a more likely issue. When we did the test I expected to have a few things come back, but even I was blown away by the results. I reacted to: blue cheese, green beans, onions, tomatoes, eggs, dairy, wheat, baking yeast, brewers yeast and chocolate. The results put different categories on the reactions (1 through 5) and the varying levels require different changes.

We also found my adrenal levels were much higher than they should be. Finding all this was nothing new. It was new facts, but I have been told many times before things weren't working like they should, but then usually need to find my own solution, because usually the next part of the message was "ok cut those foods out" but no suggestion on what to eat. And in that situation I just restrict my eating even more.

But the difference this time, Nick has also worked to make sure I had someone who had experience with these issues to help me figure out what to do with it all. Enter Paul into the picture. Paul is a corporate dietician for Lifetime Fitness. I will be honest. I went into working with another dietician beyond skeptical. Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows I have been this route before. A new dietician, they see all my medical issues, they hear about my eating disorder issues and when the prescribed "eat less, cut out x foods" wont work they get frustrated and are done.

My first meeting with Paul was shockingly different. He got it on my tyramine restrictions, my long medical history didnt seem to spook him and most importantly he came to the meeting with a workable plan, something I could try. His recommendation, a ketogenic diet. High (healthy) fats, decent protein, low low carbs. And the goal he set was 2000 calories *gulp* a day. The thought behind the diet is that it forces the body into burning fats instead of carbs. In addition we had to work in my food sensitivies (especially no dairy, no eggs, no wheat, no yeast - which were the higher categories) and my need to avoid high tyramine foods (because of my medical issues). This assignment seemed to me beyond comprehension, but I felt I had to try. If for no other reason than because Nick had worked so hard to find me someone to help me.

I am now about 3 weeks into trying this and I had an epiphany today. The foods most of us eat have a lot of really unnecessary ingredients in them. Not only have the "restrictions" been very doable, but the taste of what I have been eating is either the same or improved over foods I was eating before. I didnt need those foods at all.

The biggest change is that I have started actually cooking (a few people just fell over from shock). Cooking was key to be able to do this, you cant eat out or by prepared food and eat the way I needed to. Cooking has allowed me to explore products I had never considered: coconut oil, safflower oil, coconut flour, almond flour, and coconut milk (who knew you could make whipped cream out of coconut milk).

In the last three weeks I have made: shrimp scampi, tandori chicken, beef country ribs, curry shrimp, coconut chocolate mousse, goat cheese stuffed burgers, coconut pecan bark, a healthy version of mounds bars and many other dishes. No (cow) dairy, no eggs, no wheat, no yeast and yet every one of them has been tasty and at least as good as the original if not better. I am still working out the best pancake recipe!

My weight dropped about 5 lbs the first week, it is up a pound this week, so this is no quick fix. Nick keeps reminding me I have spent years screwing up my metabolism I cant expect to fix it overnight, but I can say I feel better. Less tired, less bloated, less fluid retention.

I have always been honest in this blog, I am not going to say this has all been a walk in the park. You dont meet with a nutritionist and erase an eating disorder. Eating is still the hard part for me, I HATE the thought of 2000 calories . That number seems insanely high to me. There are many meals I have to force myself to get started making. My brain is wired to see cooking and eating as a waste of time. The whole situation, knowing others are watching and waiting to see if I succeed or fail has me very anxious (waiting to let Paul down like every other nutritionist has been when my body doesnt react the way it should), I am very scale obsessed again (something I had had under control, spending hours working out in my brain how I can fit in getting the clue to see what the scale I trust says.

The hardest part has been being hungry. Feeling hunger is something my body stopped doing decades ago, I could easily go days without food and not feel hunger. But the change in diet have done somethng to trigger the feeling of hunger. And as someone who obsesses with not gaining weight through not eating, being hungry is SCARY. It makes me fear over eating and gaining weight, it makes me want to run from food to make sure I dont lose control. It is hard for me to come to terms with this being a normal bodily function.

I am sure some reading this post will think I am advocating this new way of eating as being right for everyone, just the opposite. I hope in reading my blog people will realize how different every person's body is. That there is no one size fit for weight loss and being healthy for everyone, whether it is eating less, whether it is high fat or low carbs. You need to know what your body is doing, you need to know what your unique challenges are and eat to them!

BTW for anyone looking for more information on the reasons for high fat low carb I am currently reading a book recommended to me by the nutritionist, .It's not the lightest read in the world, it has a lot of biochem in it, but it does make a good case for going back to eating much more like our ancestors did.

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