The Dreaded “D” Word – Dumping Syndrome

Standard

For those of you that have never had weight loss surgery, I’m sure you have no idea what Dumping Syndrome is. I know, because I didn’t understand it either even though my husband had weight loss surgery 4 years before I did. He tried to explain it to me, but I had no idea what it felt like until it happened to me. Fortunately, it’s only happened twice in the last nine months since surgery. But let me tell ya – it’s NO fun! So what is this weird sounding syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is when ingested foods bypasses the stomach too rapidly and passes into the small intestine, mostly undigested. The body goes into a form of “shock” in order to get everything back to normal. The symptoms include a fast heartbeat, diarrhea, bloating, dizziness, weakness, sweating, nausea and then fatigue once the body resumes back to “normal.” The symptoms can occur anywhere between 15 minutes up to 3 hours after a meal, usually one high in sugar or simple carbohydrates. Basically, the pancreas “dumps” an excessive amount of insulin into the bloodstream setting off a domino effect of reactions within the body. Even though I am completely aware of what is going on within my body, it is still a very unpleasant sensation. to say the least.

The culprit for my dumping experience yesterday was peanut butter and apple slices. Apparently I ate too much. I usually measure the amount of peanut butter that I eat, but for some reason I didn’t do it yesterday. I have eaten reduced-fat peanut butter and apple slices many times in the last few months, but only in very small amounts. Yesterday, I estimate that I must have eaten around 3-4 tablespoons of the stuff. Reduced fat peanut butter has 8 grams of sugar per a 2 Tablespoon serving. Add in the sugar from 1/3 of the apple that I ate and I ended up consuming around 25 grams of sugar from that one “snack.” I hadn’t eaten much food all day beforehand. All it took was one time of relaxing my ever-vigilant watching over my post-sleeve diet to make me realize that my body will take over if I screw up. That is the most disconcerting feeling ever. My body seemingly had a mind of its own yesterday. It was akin to feeling really drunk, but without the benefit of feeling good and relaxed.

The gravity of my new altered stomach has actually been quite depressing since this most recent experience. I will never be able to eat like I did before surgery. It’s a blessing, on one hand, but then again it’s not. The alternative was to stay a prisoner in my former morbidly obese body and slowly die from diabetes and heart failure or I could forever alter my body in such a way that if I eat the wrong foods I will get sick. I will admit, however, that after having had the surgery, most of the food cravings went away. It took a few weeks after surgery for them to completely dissipate, but for the most part, they are gone. I no longer salivate over the mention of pizza or steak or macaroni and cheese. My taste buds changed as well.Eating food is no longer pleasurable like it was for so many years. Nowadays, I have to remember to eat about every 4 hours and continually drink sugar-free non-carbonated drinks in between meals, take a crap-load of vitamins everyday and aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days. So, the question you might be wondering at this point: was having the surgery worth it? The answer is a resounding Yes! I feel like I am slowly, but surely getting my life back. I have lost about half of my excess weight and still have a way to go, but I am very confident that I will be able to reach my weight loss goal by utilizing the most expensive weight loss tool out there – weight loss surgery.

Until next time……..Namaste” and God Bless!

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Standard

As I was talking with my best friend this afternoon I was reminded again of what I am supposed to do with my life. If you don’t have someone in your life that totally understands and supports you on your journey, then my hope is that you will find that special someone in life who will. I am fortunate that I have my best friend and I have my husband. I am doubly blessed.

I have been sick for the last few days after my middle son suffered through it first. He probably caught this horrible cold from someone at school. Since having had weight loss surgery nine months ago I have hardly been sick or taken antibiotics. Before surgery and the subsequent weight loss I stayed sick all the time and was on a continuous cycle of antibiotics. Looking back at my diet before and how it is now I am convinced that I have a sensitivity to wheat. This time last year I subsisted on eating lots of carbohydrates by way of whole wheat bread. Consuming whole wheat bread is just fine for those of you who are not negatively affected by it, however, for people like me it can be devastating to our overall health. I’ve been studying about Leaky Gut Syndrome here lately and I think that is what I suffered with for years.
Mainstream, or western medicine, doesn’t even understand what this condition is. Some argue that is some mumbo-jumbo-metaphysical-crap that has no real merit for diagnosis and yet others know that it is a real concern for some, but they have no knowledge on how to treat it. If you suffer from the symptoms, you don’t need anyone telling you that it doesn’t exist because you know that it does. So what is leaky gut syndrome anyway?

In very basic terms, it is a condition in which the lining of the intestines have thinned to the point of allowing toxins, bad bacteria, gluten and even undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream causing the body to react. The body wants to protect itself at all costs so it begins to rectify the problem through an inflammatory response. The body is trying to get rid of what it perceives as “invading toxins” by causing bloating, fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, headaches, food sensitivities, constipation, diarrhea, frequent colds and sinus infections, depression, anxiety, thyroid dysfunction and even skin conditions, such as acne and psoriasis. All of the above-listed symptoms are a direct cause of systemic, (spread throughout), inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes and eventually death.

However, gluten alone cannot be totally blamed for this condition. Other foods in the traditional American diet can also contribute to the spiraling effects of inflammation. Consuming copious amounts of sugar, genetically modified foods, pasteurized cow’s milk, and even chronic stress can cause a myriad of problems. The body is in a constant state of repair. If you don’t get enough rest or eat the right kinds and amounts of food or de-stress from daily life on the regular basis then the body cannot effectively fight off infection. It’s amazing how the body heals itself to maintain homeostasis – a process by which the body maintains stability while adjusting to conditions for optimal health.

So now that we have talked about what leaky gut syndrome is, what can be done to help improve our overall health? Consuming raw pastured dairy, such as yogurt, kefir, butter and raw cheeses can help replace the probiotics needed to maintain a healthy flora in the gut. If you have taken alot of antibiotics, like I once did, then you definitely need to add these products into your diet. You can also try probiotic supplements. Try to add some fermented vegetables into your diet in order to help balance the intestinal pH levels in support of the gut. Some good choices are sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, (fermented soybeans), miso soup, kombucha, (fermented green or black tea – be careful with this one because some preparations have been found to have a small amount of alcohol in them. If you abstain from alcohol for whatever reason, you might want to disregard kombucha). Drinking coconut kefir has natural probiotics in it and again can be conducive to helping support a healthy gut. You might be wondering what coconut kefir is exactly. It is a simply fermented coconut water. Please check out this link as it explains the health benefits of coconut kefir in a very understandable way, http://www.naturalnews.com/041722_coconut_kefir_health_benefits_fermented_beverages.html.
Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, can also help restore balance through fiber. If the cost of buying organic is a concern for you, there are some fruits and veggies that don’t necessarily have to be organic for you to gain the benefits, usually those with thick skins that have to be peeled in order to be eaten. You might also want to consider going on a bone broth fast. Bone broth is simply that – a broth made from bones which have preferably been roasted first and then simmered for at least 24 hours – to the point where the bones should crumble when pressed with your fingers. I know, I know, bone broth may seem a little gross but the benefits are wonderful for the body. Bone broth is a great source of protein and minerals, It contains collagen, which is great for the skin, and amino acids which help improve the immune system, support muscle development, and helps maintain a healthy central nervous system.

So that about sums up this post. I wish you good health and as I mentioned earlier in this post, find some positive people to help support you along your journey to optimal health. A few minutes of encouraging words from a trusted friend can go along way in helping you stay on track. Namaste’ and God Bless!

Love & Peace – may you find it, embrace it and spread it around!

For your listening pleasure:http://youtu.be/co6WMzDOh1o

Transcendence

Standard

Over the last week, while writing my book, I have gone through much pain and turmoil. Writing has brought up memories that I would rather not ever deal with again. I thought that I had gotten over the things of my past, but obviously I needed to go through them again. I am writing a book about my journey through weight loss surgery. The beginning of the book starts in my childhood. I am connecting the dots of my memory to different points in time that started my lifelong eating disorder. The questions of why, when, where, how have plagued me. It’s as if I have been inside of a dark, gray fog for many years trying to figure out how I got there and better yet, how to get out. It’s been a lifelong struggle. It’s been horrible and painful, but this morning the fog dissipated and I could see clearly for the first time in more years than I can remember. Right this moment while I am writing this I feel an immense relief; a flood of tears that have been bottled up inside me are streaming silently down my cheeks. A dam has burst inside of me and I am now weeping for the young girl who always thought there was something wrong with her. I am grieving for the awkward teenager who really wondered if she was the crazy one is a highly dysfunctional family. Through the tears I am finally able to release the hold of fear and anger that has robbed me of happiness for so long. I have transcended the brick wall inside my mind that has prevented me from moving forward. I am finally free and am ready to heal and forgive. I can finally say the words out loud that “there is nothing wrong with me; I am loved and I am worthy to receive love.”

Transcendence has come and I welcome it with open arms.

Get Up on This!!!

Standard
Get Up on This!!!

Happy First Day of February!

Are you still working out? Still eating healthy foods? Still working towards your weight loss and fitness goals? If so, congratulations! If not, why not? What are you really hungry for? Remember what motivated you in the first place and get back on the wagon. You can do this!

If walking or running on a treadmill is not your thing, then go outside and walk to your heart’s content…..weather permitting, of course. I have found a way to walk in the cold of wintertime while also being ever-conscious of my asthma. I have a large scarf that I have learned to tie around my ears, nose and mouth while walking. It’s a beautiful teal color and brings out the color of my eyes. It’s not only functional but pretty too!! That’s a win-win in my opinion. I’m hoping to add a pair of ankle-high trail/hiking shoes to my “want” list so that I can be more comfortable while out walking in nature. I went on a small hike yesterday and my ordinary athletic shoes don’t provide enough support and protection from the elements. I will definitely buy a pair just as soon as the money appears.

I have begun changing my thoughts on a pretty regular basis too. I have discovered, to my chagrin, just how many negative thoughts run around inside my head everyday. I truly believe that if we change our thoughts we can change our world. Obviously, just thinking about something all the time without doing anything about it is not going to really do much good. In order to manifest what you think about into reality requires action. You can’t just say, “I want to lose weight,” while gorging on chocolate cake. You have to get up and get moving. Find something you enjoy to do and you’ll never have to work out another day of your life. You will look forward to the activity and you will plan your days around it too.

If you have indulged too many times in the last month on not-so-healthy foods, don’t beat yourself up. Get back on track and learn to appreciate every morsel of food you put into your mouth. Really think about what foods are going to give you the most energy and help improve your overall health. Food is fuel, plain and simple. If you want to indulge in a slice of pizza one day then do so, but get back on track the next day and work off those extra calories. It’s all about balance. If you eat more just make sure that you burn off the extra calories. Clean your house, go through your closet and donate the stuff that you haven’t worn in a while. If it no longer fits, get rid of it. Make room for some new stuff. Start spring cleaning your house now. Reorganize a closet. When is the last time you cleaned out your linen closet? Or the refrigerator? All of those things require energy. When you engage in those activities you are burning calories. Get up and move! Your house will be cleaner while your body gets leaner………….woohoo! Ah….that sounded so corny, but whatever gets you up and moving!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Addiction

Standard
Food Addiction

For those of you who have read any of my previous blog posts, you already know that I had weight loss surgery last May in 2014. Prior to surgery, I had been morbidly obese for about 20 years. I had tried to lose weight many times over those 20 years. I was miserable. I felt like I sat on the sidelines watching everyone else live and enjoy their lives. I didn’t live true to my natural extroverted self. I was very self-conscious of how I looked. I tried to blend in so that no one would notice me. I wore alot of black clothes and not because I particularly liked wearing black. I thought that it was slimming. It definitely helped me to blend in, but it also made me look worn out and haggard. My complexion is way too light to wear black close to my face.

When my family and I went to amusement parks I could not fit on any of the rides. I tried a couple of times, but I was too big. It was humiliating. It was difficult to keep my house clean. I would completely wear out going to the grocery store. I would get my sons to bring in the groceries from the car. I would put the perishable items away and then leave the non-perishables on the countertop while I rested on the couch, usually eating a peanut butter sandwich or drinking some diet soft drinks. Eating peanut butter and drinking diet soft drinks was healthy, right? Or so I thought to myself……..Sure, eating one tablespoon of reduced-fat peanut butter with a 1/4 of an apple is a great snack, but I never ate just one tablespoon of peanut butter. I would eat 3 or 4 tablespoons of peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread and think that I was eating healthy. I drunk diet sodas all day long, never realizing how much sodium was in one 12-ounce can. The plain and honest truth was that I was a food addict. I never realized what that actually meant until I had to go through a 10-day liquid protein diet prior to weight loss surgery. I actually had withdrawal symptoms from sugar and carbs for about the first 4 days. I was beyond irritable. I had headaches. I felt weak. I had aches and pains like how it feels with the flu. I was a MESS! I thought I was going to die. I cried, I cursed, I prayed, and then I cried some more. I got through that pre-op diet by the skin of my teeth and the Grace of God. When I got about halfway through the 10-day liquid protein diet I started to feel a bit better. The first thing that I noticed was my face cleared up. By the time I went in to have surgery I had lost about 10 pounds.

Up until surgery I really thought that I ate pretty healthily. For the most part I did. I simply ate way too much food. I ate about 3-4 times the amount of what I eat now. I had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which means that I had about 80% of my stomach removed. My stomach can only hold between 6-8 ounces now. In the mornings, after I haven’t eaten for about 12 hours, I can’t even eat that much, usually only 2-3 ounces. Food addition is a real thing. It’s awful because you have to eat in order to survive. You can’t NOT eat. I had to learn to drastically change my diet, but mostly it’s all about portion control and exercise. The fad diets don’t work, not for long-term anyway. Trust me, I tried them all.

Over the years I saw a Nutritionist, I joined Weight Watchers, I tried every new fad diet, I bought every fad diet cookbook. I joined a gym. I tried fasting. I tried working out excessively. I prayed. I was always on a diet or having failed at one. I was either bingeing or doing pretty well. I was pre-diabetic. I was borderline hypertensive. I had been prescribed medication for high blood pressure. I had frequent migraines. I had frequent irritable bowel problems. I had acne breakouts. My hair felt like hay and had been slowly receding for several years. I didn’t have a clue that I was losing hair at my hairline until after I had surgery and started taking Biotin. A few weeks after I started taking Biotin I began to grow hair where it had obviously fell out over time. I was tired all the time. I had no energy. I was depressed or extremely anxious. I had alot of pent-up anger inside. I was miserable. My thyroid developed nodules, which are currently benign. My blood tests showed that I had alot of inflammation in my body. I suffered with joint pain. I was slowly getting to the point of not being able to stand for longer than 30 minutes at one time and I had chronic back pain. I weighed 270 pounds at my highest weight, which is alot for someone who is 4’11”. Yet…..I still ate and ate and ate. That’s what an addict does – they fuel their addiction over and over and over fully knowing what they are doing to their body, but they must have that thing that is holding them captive. In my case, it was food. Having 80 percent of my stomach removed was drastic, but drastic measures were needed for the ever-drastic deterioration of my mind, body and spirit. I was dis-eased. Doctors would treat me for one condition at a time, but what I needed was a body reset. I needed to push the proverbial “reset” button and try again.

Nowadays, I focus on gathering information on how best to attain optimal health and wellness and then I write about it here. My passion is to share this information with those of you who are suffering like I was, whether it’s a food addiction or any other kind of addiction. The root problem is not the “thing” that we are addicted to, it’s the addictive behavior itself. Why do we intentionally harm our bodies? To harm the body is to hate the body. When we truly love ourselves, we treat our bodies with tender loving care and respect. We don’t put harmful substances into it. We don’t neglect it. We don’t focus on the negatives. If you are reading this and are dealing with addiction, you have to love yourself enough in order to make the necessary changes. Surround yourself with positive people, places and things. There is no room in life for regret, shame or guilt. What I mean by that is this……..there is no room in life for regret, so don’t do anything that you will later regret. There is no room in life for shame, so don’t so anything that you will later feel ashamed for. There is no room in life for guilt, so don’t do anything to feel guilty about. Love yourself. Enjoy this day, this moment. You can’t live in the past. You can’t live in the future. You only have this moment. That’s all you have. There is no second time around the merry-go-round of life. This is it! Make the most out of your life and find happiness in the small things. Find Joy in the Journey.

Peace & Love – may you find it, embrace it and spread it around. Namaste’ and God Bless!

Color and Energy

Standard
Color and Energy

During my week-long break from exercise due to sickness, I have been watching videos and reading articles on the internet about energy profiling and how wearing certain colors can impact your energy levels AND how others may perceive you. Are these concepts a load of crap? Or is there merit to this whole idea? I don’t know, yet…. I think that during times when I am physically incapacitated are moments afforded to me to delve deeper into learning the meanings of things unseen yet intuitively felt, if we are still enough to hear the message. What does it all mean? Why are we here? What is my purpose in this life experience?

During the first two weeks of January, two friends that I have known for most my life died. Both were in their 40’s. One died from cancer and the other from kidney failure. I know that neither of them wanted to die. One left a wife and two young sons, the other left a husband and two step-children. I can’t imagine the depths of pain and grief that their death caused to their loved ones. I know that both of them believed in a life after death, but at the same time they must have felt great despair in passing on at such a young age. I know that I would feel cheated of time and would at least want to live to see my children all grown up. Although, death is never easy for those left behind no matter the age of the deceased. How does this relate to health and wellness? After all, this blog is dedicated to learning all about how to attain excellent health and wellness. The answer is simple. I believe that we are not just some random body parts thrown together. We do not only have a body, but also a mind and a spirit. When one of those components that make up who we are as people is disrupted then that is when dis-ease takes root. Our thoughts become our reality. In order to accomplish anything in life we have to have first came up with an idea, right? The idea takes root in our minds and then our thoughts become words. Our words become actions and then our actions become results. It’s as if we give an inanimate thing life through the energy of our efforts. We birth the conditions surrounding our existence. Any of us can approach life in a negative and disconnected way or we can realize our own innate potential and have an amazing life. I’m not suggesting that we have rose-colored glasses permanently attached so that we never see the reality of how ugly the world can be. By all means, be cautious and use your own common sense. I am simply suggesting that what we think about can most definitely affect how we approach life. I am not suggesting that my friends died because they weren’t being positive enough. That would be ludicrous to suggest that. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I don’t know why. But also, good things can happen to seemingly “bad” people. And sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason why anything happens. The only thing in life that we have control over is how we think and what words we choose to erupt from our lips. We can make decisions based upon thought or feelings or intuition. Every decision has a consequence, however small and significant they can seem at the time.

Anyway, back to original topic…….can wearing certain colors affect our mood? Or present a message to others that we are not even aware of? Again, is this concept pseudo-science, at best? From my own experiences, this approach has merit. I have a deep rose-colored jacket that makes me feel empowered when I wear it. It is made out of velvet and fits perfectly. A couple of years ago I briefly worked for a company that had a really bad reputation for how they treated their employees. I had only worked for them about a month when I saw firsthand just how awful they actually were. I had been applying for a better job while working for them. The job was a part-time position that didn’t offer any benefits and the pay was embarrassingly low.  So, one day….I had an interview scheduled during my “supposed” work hours. Several times prior to that particular day I would get prepared to go to work only to be called by the company and told to stay home because they didn’t have any work for me that day. I had a promising job interview and I didn’t want to miss out a possible job offer so I called my employer and told them that I wouldn’t be available for work that day. My “boss” immediately began yelling at me and threatened to fire me if I took the day off. On that day, I had on my deep rose-colored velvet jacket with the perfect fit. Something inside of me erupted into this confident, bold and empowered Me. As soon as I started speaking my boss immediately became silent. I had always avoided confrontation before. I had been stepped on by so many people in my life until that day. I told her that I was taking the day off and if she didn’t like it then that was certainly her prerogative to feel however she wanted to about it. I didn’t need her job and I deserved to be treated better and I WOULD be treated better. I would no longer put up with their lack of leadership and the way that they treated people. I think she was stunned into silence. I doubt that many other people had ever spoken to her that way. When I started to hang up, she began imploring me to stay with the company suggesting that I could become a boss just like her one day. I said, “thanks, but no thanks,” and hung up on her. Could it be that just by wearing a certain color enabled me to find my voice again?

I’ve worn that jacket several times since then. Every time I wear it I feel great. It fits me perfectly. The color makes me feel good and evens out my complexion. It enhances my hair color and overall makes me feel more confident about how I look. It’s like it creates a spark. It connects the Inner Me with the Outer Me. So, can wearing certain colors affect your mood? You betcha!

Asthma Flare-Up and Weight Loss

Standard
Asthma Flare-Up and Weight Loss

I’m currently about 6 or 7 posts behind schedule. My goal for this year is to add one post per day. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to talk about it, it’s simply that I’ve been sick. I really thought that once I began losing weight after having weight loss surgery that some of my health conditions would improve. Some have and some haven’t. One very good outcome is that I am no longer pre-diabetic. Yoohoo! However, I am still struggling with asthma and allergies. I honestly think that changing my diet will help with the allergies, but the asthma is a little trickier. I have had it my entire life. In fact, my mother has always explained to me that I was born sick. She says that several doctors explained to her that I was born with weak lungs OR another explanation is because I was delivered via C-Section forty-one years ago and supposedly, I wasn’t suctioned properly at birth. I don’t know. I have tried to research this information, but there are many holes in the story. I know for a fact that my mother never stopped smoking even when she was pregnant with me. I know that she suffered with morning sickness while pregnant with my brother and smoking made her nauseated. He was born with enlarged adenoids and tonsils and had to have tubes placed in his ears when he was a small child. She didn’t give up smoking entirely. She never had morning sickness while pregnant with me so she continued to smoke as always. I believe that her smoking habits greatly impacted both my health and that of my brother. Of course, this was back in the 1970’s. I can’t blame her entirely. However, I am a living example of what smoking can do to a baby in utero. Thank God I never felt compelled to try it for myself.

I suppose this subject is on my mind because I am having an asthma flare-up as I am writing this. My body began giving me clues about my pulmonary health several days ago. The first symptoms that appeared were not wheezing, but sheer exhaustion and light-headedness upon exertion. The next day after I began to notice myself wheezing when taking a deep breath or rather trying to take a deep breath. Once I realized what was happening I started using my asthma inhaler and decided to take it easy for the next few days. I wanted to get up and do things around the house but I had absolutely no energy for it. I would become tired just walking to the bathroom and back. As I mentioned before, I really thought that once I began losing weight that my asthma symptoms would get better. In some ways it feels like they have gotten worse. I’ve had three breathing treatments and three steroid shots at the doctor’s office over the last several months due to asthma. I am hoping that I don’t have to go on a daily medication for this. I’ve used daily long-acting asthma inhalers in the past. The side effects are awful. The steroids make me retain fluid thereby causing me to gain weight. They make me feel hungry, tired and irritable all the time. The very last thing that I want to happen after having weight loss surgery 8 months ago today. I’ve been making an effort to weight once a week every week. I will be missing this week’s weigh-in. I don’t want to get discouraged. I’m hoping that I am able to move past this flare-up without having to go to the doctor.

In summary, this post is just the ramblings of an overtly bored mind within an exhausted body, It seems that my mind can work three times as fast as my body. I am reminded of a Bible scripture from my childhood, “the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” In my case, that passage has been literal for me. There is so much I want to accomplish but my body holds me back. If there is any meaning to this post at all it would be to any person out there who is pregnant with a child. Please do NOT smoke while you are pregnant or around your children. Science has proven that many health conditions can be prevented through diet, exercise and having healthy habits. If you don’t heed the warnings, you could be setting your child up to have life-long health problems, such as asthma. Every child deserves to have the very best chance for excellent health and wellness.

For your listening pleasure:

Growing Pains

Standard

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to change something about yourself and do something new? I am one of those people who rebels against set schedules, routines, measuring foods, counting calories and keeping up with how much fluids I take in everyday. I hate it! It’s confining. It slows me down. I have better things to do. But, it works. It keeps me accountable. It helps me track my progress. It helps me realize when it’s time to increase my activity levels and eat healthier foods.

To date, I’ve lost almost 70 pounds since last May. I feel like a whole new person. I still have about 80 more pounds to lose though. I can’t imagine how different I will feel when I’ve lost all the excess weight. The other day I glanced at myself in the mirror and did a double-take. I look at myself everyday when I put on make-up or fix my hair, but it’s different. When I’m doing those things I am paying close attention to certain areas. The other day I saw my reflection and really “saw” myself 70 pounds lighter. My face looks so different. I can see my cheekbones and the shape of my face. I also look older – I look my age. For years, as a fat person, I never looked my age. People always thought I was about 10 years younger than I actually am. I didn’t have any wrinkles, of course not, because my face was plump with fat. So even though I finally look my age I wouldn’t change it for anything. Although I am looking my age nowadays, there is a glow in my face that wasn’t there before. That glow comes from celebrating how far I’ve come, a new sense of confidence and a much healthier diet. I no longer feel the need to pile on the makeup. I wear much less makeup than I ever have in my life. I feel so much better about myself. This whole weight loss journey has been amazing!

So even though I literally hate planning my meals and doing all the things that help keep me on track. I do it! I get over myself and just do it! So, what are your hangups, if any? What helps you stay motivated? Do you keep track of your progress? What suggestions do you have for those of us who find it monotonous to stay on track through logging calories and exercise?

 

Weight Loss Plateau

Standard
Weight Loss Plateau

Unless you’ve lived under a rock your entire life, which means that you would not be reading this, I’m sure you’ve heard and/or experienced a weight loss plateau. It’s extremely frustrating. It can induce an “I Don’t Care” attitude. It can preclude a slide back into unhealthy behaviors and thoughts towards food and exercise. This is the point where you have to man-up or woman-up and stay focused. You can’t lose sight of the end result – your initial weight loss goal. It’s only the first week of January, but I know that some of you might have waned or even given up on your New Year’s resolution to become healthier. After all, it takes ALOT of work to lose weight. It’s extremely easy to gain weight. Taking the easy way almost never produces great results. You can’t give up! Don’t give up! You’ve come too far………even if you have only worked at it for a week or a day or one minute. Don’t give up!

Through my own personal experiences I’ve learned that staying consistent is the key for success. Consistency is not a natural strength for me. It is something that I have to constantly work on. My natural tendencies are to get really revved-up about a new project and then when I get bored or burned out I tend to give up so that I can move on to the next BIG thing. That is my natural inclination. I am constantly fighting an internal battle of doing what feels natural to doing what feels foreign and too much like work. Once something feels too much like work, I don’t want to do it. That might sound very childish and immature to some of you reading this, but I have a feeling that alot of you will relate. It gets harder and harder to change the older one gets. Trust me, I know.

It is during the moments of doubt and declining enthusiasm when we must dig our heels in deeper and take the whole weight loss journey to a new level. When I begin to feel bored by the same exercise routine or by eating the same foods I start tearing down the proverbial box that I have built for myself. Doing that every so often can feel like I am being rebellious. There is a certain excitement to feeling like I don’t have to live by any set rules even if they were my own. Going through this whole weight loss process has prompted me to delve deeper into my psyche and figure out just who the hell I really am. What is important to me? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? What are my strengths and weaknesses and how can I use them to my advantage? That’s what each of us should do periodically anyway, in my humble opinion. If the status quo is working for you and you are happy with the way things are – by all means, continue to do what makes you happy. For those of you who like to take a risk or are a bit adventurous, change it up! If you don’t like alot of structure then you obviously wouldn’t like working out to a set schedule. Personally, I hate treadmills. It makes me feel like I’m a hamster on a wheel. It’s redundant and boring. I must have something to look at besides the back of a person’s head in front of me. I’ve tried watching TV while walking on a treadmill, but it makes me dizzy. I love being out in nature. When I get tired of walking on the same old trails around my house over and over again I head to the woods and walk in nature. The tall pines make me feel sheltered from the rest of the world. The earthy smell makes me feel welcome in the wild wonderland of the forest. The dirt beneath my feet feels soft and cool to walk upon, not like hard, hot pavement feels. I’m hoping to start running in the next few weeks. It’s been a secret dream of mine for years. I actually ran a little last night and it felt foreign yet exhilarating at the same time. It’s been years since I have been able to run. Living as a morbidly obese person is horrible. For those of you who have been there or are currently there, you know what I’m talking about. Bottom line: do what you can with what you have until you can do what you most desire and then do it with every ounce of passion inside of you.

During my weight loss journey I have eaten an occasional peanut butter cracker. However, these days I have replaced the crackers with apple slices. The crackers offer some carbs and sodium and that’s about it. One medium apple offers 95 calories, 195 mg of potassium, 25 grams of carbs with 19 of those as sugar and over 4 grams of fiber. You also get a good dose of Vitamin C and B-6 which can help lower your risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease. Apples can also help reduce cholesterol, detoxify your liver and boost your immune system. Wow! All that in a simple, unassuming little fruit! I am currently, as I write this, eating 1/4 of an organic Pink Lady apple sliced into four pieces with 1 tablespoon of melted peanut butter. The peanut butter offers a bit of protein and flavor. I feel like I’m eating some forbidden food. It’s so tasty. The key is heat the peanut butter up until it’s gooey, like liquid gold. Ya—Um!!!!

So what are you doing to change-up your diet and exercise? What tips can you share? What is your favorite exercise? What is your favorite healthy and tasty treat? How will you reach your weight loss goals?

As with everything in life – moderation is best. Use common sense. When in doubt? contact your Physician.

Chronic Sinusitis and Diet

Standard

I must preface this post with the fact that I’ve always seemed to have a problem with my immune system. In the last few years my lab results have consistently shown that I am slightly anemic regardless of how many supplements and vitamins that I take. I have suffered most of my life with allergies and asthma. A few years back I was diagnosed with having lactose intolerance as well. That actually explained alot. Growing up as a child I never really liked ice cream much. Oh, it tasted good while eating it, but soon afterwards I would have gastrointestinal issues and somewhere along the way I began to realize the cause and effect of eating dairy products and the subsequent discomfort. Every once in a while I would totally ignore the internal warnings going off inside my mind and imbibe in a creamy milkshake. Oh how I love cherry milkshakes. Yum! Soon after enjoying the delightfully delicious beverage I would end up with horrible symptoms of which I will not get into…..I’m sure you get the picture. So I’ve always known that ice cream is a no-no. I’ve never really cared much for milk as an adult. I would have never drunk milk as a child on my own volition. My father insisted that I drink it as a child so I would have healthy teeth and bones. I could tolerate a small glass of the stuff but no more. I didn’t eat much cheese as a kid. It just wasn’t a part of our diet. As an adult, I know the reason why. My father was and still is lactose-intolerant along with his sister and several other family members. Hence the reason we didn’t eat much cheese at my house. It wasn’t something that was ever discussed. It’s just how it was.

Fast forward several years to when I got married. I began eating foods like my husband was used to eating and that is where the problems started. He grew up consuming dairy products everyday, three times a day. After we got married and began living together, I learned to like eating cheese and other foods prepared with milk. I can’t believe it myself, but I never considered that my new diet might be the cause of my seemingly never-ending chronic sinusitis. Just a few years after I got married I started taking antihistamines on a daily year-round basis. That worked for little while but then I continued to have upper respiratory problems. I finally then ended up with a prescription for a steroid-based nasal spray that I use every night before I go to sleep. Over the years I have used saline nasal spray, a Neti pot, dust masks when cleaning, decongestants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories,  steroid shots and pills, and antibiotics. I’ve taken way too many antibiotics over the years. I’ve also taken probiotics to help restore my body’s natural defense mechanism – my gut. I wash my pillows in hot water quite frequently along with all of my other bed linens. I’ve done everything that I know to do except for one thing – permanently change my diet and eliminate all dairy products.

If you have read any of my older posts then you know that I had weight-loss surgery several months ago. I went through a 10-day liquid protein pre-op diet. During that time and for the first few weeks afterwards, I had NO sinusitis problems. At the time, I considered that it was because I was given some really strong IV antibiotics while in the hospital as a preventative measure against potential infection. I was able to cut the dosage amounts of my allergy medications by half. I felt great! As time went on I began eating low-fat cheese and yogurt again. After all, I was specifically told by the nutritionist at the hospital that low-fat dairy products were a very good source of protein. For those of you that don’t know – people who have had weight loss surgery have to consume at least 60 grams of protein per day for women and 75 grams of protein per day for men. At least that’s the information I was given. In the beginning right after surgery it was really hard to consume enough foods or liquids to reach that amount. It’s very important to get enough protein so that I won’t lose bone and muscle along with the fat during my weight loss journey.

Since I started eating dairy again I have been prescribed two rounds of antibiotics for acute sinusitis. I haven’t been as sick as I was before surgery, but I feel like I am constantly fighting a potential infection all the time. I have been writing for a book that I hope to publish this year and since then I began to realize the connection between what I eat and how I physically feel afterwards. As I am writing this I am having difficulties with a “clogged” sensation in my left ear. I was diagnosed with Eustachian tube dysfunction many years ago. Over the last twelve years or so I’ve had three CT scans of my head. I’ve had two MRI’s. I have gone through many other tests ordered by an Allergy and Immunologist, a Neurologist, an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist and other medical professionals over the years. I have had my ears tested many times. I was given several different diagnoses by different healthcare providers. I have undergone Chiropractic treatments and I’ve seen an Acupuncturist who was also a Chinese Medicine Physician. Could it be that the simplest and least complicated treatment would be to eliminate dairy from my diet? According to what I have been reading, the answer is yes. There is a distinct possibility that it could work.

As I mentioned before, I am lactose intolerant. However, I eat dairy quite a bit, in fact, almost everyday. Please see the below links if you suspect that you may have a dairy intolerance or allergy. If so, please contact your physician and get tested. It’s a simple skin prick test to determine what you are actually allergic to so that you can get the proper treatment. Also, if you are someone like me who suffers from multiple and chronic sinus infections why not consider eliminating certain foods like dairy and see if your condition improves. Please use this information at your discretion. If you have any questions or concerns that this article does not provide, contact your physician. Best wishes!

Here are some links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/dairy-alternatives_b_3520374.html

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03097/Lactose-Intolerance.html

And here is a link for dairy-free and gluten-free recipes:

http://nomnompaleo.com/paleo101

 

**Please note – I do not receive any compensation for referring information. This blog post is informational as it pertains to my personal experiences.