Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Is that ga-luten free mommy?

I have been on an epic journey. One to discover why my body is so weird and won't listen to me anymore.

Poor Maile has heard all about it, so she is excused from reading this:)

But for the rest of you, dig in. It will be a little while.

Everything started after Nora. It started with messed up cycles, breakouts and difficulty losing weight.

Now a lot of people claim it's hard to lose weight. I've never been one of them. If I had a hard time losing weight it was because I was eating too much. And I knew it. The slowness of the scale was all about me, not about what my body could or couldn't do.

But that changed after Nora was born. I would cut out everything "bad", reduce my calories, I would lose weight. But if I strayed from the 1500 calories for too long of a period and ate the normal american diet of 2000, while still exercising, the weight would come back on. Quickly. It soon became my new normal to lose 10 pounds and then have it come right back. That had NEVER happened to me before.

Then the depression started. Was I depressed because I couldn't lose weight? Or was the depression part of a bigger problem?

Then the pain started. Joint pain, leg pain, back pain, neck pain, pain in my feet and ankles, elbows and thumbs.

Arthritis maybe? Nope.

Then the fatigue decided to join in. It got to where I could go to bed at 9 and still barely be able to get out of bed at 7:30. Which is NOT normal for me. I've always been able to stay up late and get up early, if I had to. I didn't like it, but I could do it.

So I began a journey. My regular doctor decided I needed to try pill after pill, and offered very little in the way of wisdom or answers. So I began to earnestly pray about this. I was starting to feel so overwhelmed with the fatigue, pain and sadness that became a constant companion. I whined to Maile and Jeff, but tried very hard to not let on to anyone else. Who wants to hear about that? Nobody.

Originally in December I decided to go Vegan, see if that would help. Being completely vegan didn't help, but it was pivotal in that I realized I really can't have dairy anymore. I found that the dairy increased my pain, and without it? No more stomach aches! I had lived with a constant tummy ache for so long that I didn't even realize it until it was gone.

But I added back meat and everything else, and still felt pretty much the same.

Then came the part where I took my health in my own hands.

After having test after test say that I was "normal", I referred myself to a Endocrinologist. I was able to do this because years ago I was told I had little nodules on my thyroid. This was enough of a diagnosis to get me in the door.

When I talked to the endocrine guy he found a goiter, or enlargement of the thyroid. That combined with my symptoms made him think I might have Hashimoto's disease. Sadly, I was really excited at the thought. Not because I might be diagnosed with a auto-immune disease, but because finally, I might have answers.

Well, they called. Everything looked good, no Hashimoto's. I cried. I was so frustrated. I was tired and exhausted both physically and mentally from trying to figure out my own body!

While reading up about Hashimoto's, I had found several places that stated a gluten free diet benefited people with Hashimoto's. And for some reason, I felt really strongly I should try this anyway. Diagnosis or not.

So I did it. I went gluten free. And you know what? Within 3 days I started feeling like a new person. I was able to jump out of bed after 7hours of sleep. The depression fog I had felt for 3 years lifted as well. And now after 6 weeks of gluten free, I had my first "normal" period in 3 years!

My husband and children have noticed the difference. Quote"Our house is happier and lighter now." Sad. But true.

I also decided to go off corn, since I actually tested positive for a corn allergy. With the two combined, my pain levels decreased even more. And then, are you ready for this? I have gone  off diet soda. And miracle of miracles, my pain all but disappears! But dairy and corn are harder for me. I can handle a little pain more than depression and fatigue.

But it gets better. I found a NEW doctor that used a combination of traditional medicine and a more holistic approach.

She did more testing and found that my DHEA levels were super low. For my age they should be around 300, according to this test, and mine were at 75. DHEA helps with hormone balance. Symptoms of DHEA deficiency are fatigue, depression, joint pain, difficulty losing weight,etc. etc.

I have go pick up the supplement she wants me to try. I'm hopeful that this difficulty I have had with losing weight will get better as my hormone levels start to regulate better with the supplement.

Basically what I have found is that for some reason(17 years of bulimia and 6 babies anyone?) my body was really screwed up.

So now I take a bunch of vitamins and supplements, I avoid gluten, dairy, corn and aspertame and I feel tons better. Is life as fun? yes and no. Yes in general, no when it comes to food.

I wish I could report I've lost a ton of weight in the past 6 weeks, but unfortunately I am no intolerant to sugar! ha ha

Anyway, it just goes to show that you have to NOT GIVE UP. Your health is in your hands. No one else will care as much as you do. It may take a while, it may be frustrating but you will figure it out.

I will let you all know how things continue to go. But for me, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


52 pounds. 52 weeks.

Today, thanks to Fast Friday, I made my mark.

A year ago this week I met Tiff in Paris. I had just weaned my last baby and was at my highest weight ever. That made it 8 pounds above my delivery weight, nearly a year after. I always weigh the same at each delivery and that exact same number at the time I wean my babies. My body likes that number apparently.

Nursing makes me fat. That's all there is to say. I am one of those that can't lose a pound while breastfeeding my kids. Truly unfair, if you ask me.

At any rate, a year ago I started on the path to de-size. This is nothing new, I've done it several times. The difference here is that this is my last baby. By now, a year after weaning a child, I have ALWAYS been pregnant again. I lose the weight and have another one. This is the longest I have not been pregnant or nursing in 12 years.

So the challenge was on. It's been slow and painful. It hasn't even been a week at a time. It's been hit and miss, up and down. But I have kept vigilant. I still have 45 pounds I would like to lose. But as of today, on my 52nd week - I've officially lost my 52nd pound.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So I have pinpointed dairy as a major culprit in feeling bad. But I wanted to know how meat would affect it. I had some chicken yesterday and I have to be honest, I felt great. I had so much more energy than I've had in a while. Now, what does this mean as far as how I felt after praying? I have to say that Heavenly Father knows me better than myself. I had to eliminate everything in order to mentally be willing to accept not eating dairy. I tend to have an all or nothing personality, and so it was easier mentally for me to eliminate meat and dairy, and then experiment with adding them back in. I still don't want to eat meat all the time, but some chicken or fish here or there will be fine, and good for me I think. And my pain did not increase at all. Just my energy levels.

But it's still an adjustment. I can't accept that I will always be in pain to some degree. I have to believe that my body is in my control. That I can influence and change it for the better.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I have been trying to pin point a start of the pain. My doctor has said that she thinks I could have fibromyalgia. She has not committed to that enough to write it down on my chart however, just enough to give me Cymbalta. And since the arthritis I was so sure I had hasn't shown up on an x-ray I suppose she is probably right.

But I have suspected that it came last year, at the beginning of the summer. My back had felt good for a long time. I had been losing weight, and running and feeling good. My knee had been bothering me, but I felt and still do that it was from a result of too much too soon with running,and being overweight.

We offered a yoga class to the young women at church. I participated having  heard what great things yoga can do for you. But I left that night feeling horrible, and my back has hurt every since. And my other unassociated pains started around then. I won't go into a list of my aches and pains, cuz, BORING, so you'll just have to believe me.

But I still had a hard time believing that yoga could have been the trigger until I read this article. I'm not blaming yoga, I realize that I pushed myself too hard just to prove I could do it. And I wasnt' in the best shape. The article I read says that both of those things will make yoga a negative experience.

Fibromyalgia often starts with some sort of trauma, either mental or physical. There is no way to pin point it scientifically. I can only guess. But it seems likely, from my own personal timeline, that this was the start of it.

I now am sticking to walking and the eliptical. Running is out for me now. I'm not sure it will ever be back. And with fibro comes depression. As I told my doc, I wasn't sure if I was depressed because I was in pain, or if the pain was from depression. It's the chicken or the egg thing.

I just know that I have an unexpected journey to go on now. I am learning how much I took my body for granted. Even with a recurring back problem, I felt relatively healthy in most ways. But when your big toe starts hurting when you stand on tip toes to reach for something, or when your wrist gives out as you're taking something out of the oven, or your hips hurt so bad that you walk like a 90 year old woman, you start to realize how much better it was before.

I have faith that I will be healthy again. I am trying to be patient with myself and treat my body gently. But if you know me, you know that patience is not one of my virtues. Oh well. I guess it will be! ha ha.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

You want motivation? Watch the Biggest Loser. Seriously. If these people can do it, then what the heck is my problem?

Oh yeah, it's been excuses. Well, this year is the year of no excuses. It's funny because I didn't know that the Biggest Loser's theme this year was also No Excuses. Imagine that. Not a coincidence I don't think. It's fate.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One month

It's been a month. A month without meat. A month without cheeseballs, lasagna, and all sorts of good things. And I feel good. I wasn't sure that the vegan diet was doing that much until I ate some dairy last Thursday. I had two cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and then I had cheese pizza for dinner. I don't know why. I think I just wanted to test and see if anything would happen. Well, IT DID! I was so sick Thursday night. Sick to my stomach. Feeling bloated and awful. Then Friday, I hurt so bad. Much worse than normal. And I hurt everywhere. It was not fun. But it was good for me to see what a difference dairy makes. I have not hurt that bad since I started eating mainly vegan. It was quite shocking actually. It goes to show that HEavenly Father knows the answers to all my questions, dilemmas, problems, etc. If I will just listen to the promptings he gives me, and follow them, I will be blessed. And I have been. I just didn't realize how much until I fell off the vegan wagon for a day.

But now I need to take it a step further and follow the other part of my answer to prayer., And that is sugar. I know, right? Sugar is the lifeblood of this gal. I love it, crave it, and rationalize it all the time. But I decided that I am leaving white sugar behind in 2011. 2012 is a sugar free year for me. I will have maple syrup, honey and agave, which I know are types of sugar, but they're natural, and I can't put them in a chocolate chip cookie. And I don't think maple syrup on top of a chocolate cake would do it for me. So a little agave in my smoothie, some raw honey on a piece of bread made from wheat I grind myself, and maple syrup on whole wheat pancakes occasionally, will be ok. But I'm nervous. I asked Jeff if he thought I could go without white sugar for a whole year, and he laughed.

I know. I understand his scepticism. I love treats. It does help that so many have butter and eggs, so I couldn't eat them anyway. I will let you know how this all goes. It would seem to many that I have taken the fun out of eating. But I look at it more like, I have found a way to help my body feel it's best and not hurt. And believe me, that is worth way more than a cupcake or or piece of cheese pizza.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 12

I have been eating mainly vegan for 12 days now. I did have a brownie with some frosting, NOT vegan, but it is a work in progress, and it has been the only thing in 12 days.

Because I can't go shopping until tomorrow, I am short on options for food. But smoothies I have had in abundance, and veggie "chicken" patties have been a life saver.

I did finally weigh myself, more out of curiosity than anything, and I've lost 4 pounds. That's a nice bonus, but again, not the reason for any of this.

My biggest challenge is figuring out my part of Christmas dinners. Christmas eve is chinese, I can easily do tofu and rice, Christmas day my little family wants ham, I can just not eat the ham I guess, and then day after Christmas, I don't know what the menu is, but I will just naturally prepare something that I can eat.

I am starting to miss meat a little. Not red meat or pork. The thought of either of those makes me a little nauseous. But some chicken would be nice. I need to try tempeh, I've heard it can be a nice substitute. This is just a whole new world to me. I will get it eventually. It's just a work in progress.