Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Full circle

After a week on my doctor's elimination diet, eating only fruits, vegetables (no nightshades), poultry, fish and lamb, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes and whole grains (except wheat, which I know I am allergic to), the scale remained stuck and my stomach still sported a double tire.

So I gave up beans, legumes and whole grains, which means I am eating Paleo, except I cannot eat eggs. And within five days I dropped seven pounds and my double-tire is beginning to deflate.

Amazing? I think so. I am also sleeping better, although I still wake up around 2, but within five minutes I am back asleep, averaging about seven hours a night. For those with no sleep issues this might not seem like such a big deal. Those with insomnia understand how monumental this really is.

What is so interesting is that I haven't once minded my diet. In fact, I am preparing some pretty fantastic dinners, and trying new foods at breakfast and lunch. The good news about Paleo is that the Internet is flooded with recipes, and the three Paleo cookbooks I own are becoming my bibles.

My husband, who has suffered through every diet I have been on, just asked me to do him one favor: Stick to this one this time. He never asked me that before, and I really don't want to let him down.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An important question

That's not me, but it's a perfect illustration of what goes on in my mind every time I think about food.

The allure of a diet is sometimes too great to resist. Thankfully I am determined not to give in, because I have learned that my previous all-or-nothing mentality did nothing but make me yo-yo through three decades.

I am devising my own way of eating and learning some important new tricks. For example, before I put a bite of food in my mouth I ask myself this simple question: AM I REALLY HUNGRY?

The amazing thing is that many times I scream "NO!" and that alone is enough to stop a trip to the fridge for a snack.

I also ask myself that question while I eat my meals. And when I get to the point that I begin to waver, I begin to chew my food even slower than I had been. What I am finding is that I am eating smaller meals, all more satisfying because I am really tasting the food. 

I made ONE New Year's resolutions this year: to think mindfully when I eat. Mindful eating is multifaceted, but the aspect I needed to concentrate on was to slow my eating down, to chew each bite of food, and to swallow when the food is liquefied. Not an easy task for someone who is always the first to finish my meals.

But one I am beginning to master, one meal at a time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Food allergies: Magic pill?

Albert Einstein: One pretty sharp guy!
Yesterday, I had a long-anticipated appointment with a functional doctor, Tamara Sachs, M.D. The best way to describe what Dr. Sachs does is to call her a medical detective, looking for the underlying causes of disease that engages both patient (me) and doctor (her) in a therapeutic partnership.

What this means is that in order for me to achieve optimal health, I have some work to do.

I went to her for three reasons:
  1. High blood pressure
  2. Weight
  3. Insomnia

When I started my 90-minute sit-down with her, she keyed in on my insomnia, something that has plagued me for three decades. Actually, she thinks it is key to why I am not losing weight easily. But that goes hand-in-hand with her theory that I am plagued with food allergies.

Today, I begin an interesting elimination diet for the next 30 days, one filled with produce, lean protein in the form of grass-fed organic poultry and lamb, wild fish and nuts, seeds and beans. And no booze, so good-bye wine for 30 days.

I am having extensive blood work done to determine what is going on internally, in addition to a test for food allergies. Her part of the equation will be analyzing the results of my blood work, so that when we come together in mid-August my observations on how I feel coupled with her analysis will determine the way I live the rest of my life.

It's empowering to become a partner in my health care. Will I ever have perfect blood pressure without mediation? Probably not, and I have come to terms with that. But at the very least I will understand what makes me sick, tired and sluggish. If it does nothing more than cut down on my twice-annual bouts with sinus infections/bronchitis, the cost of all this will be priceless.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The circle

A few days ago I read over some past blog posts. I have been in a circle of losing, gaining, losing, gaining since this blog started four years ago. (Actually for decades, but I haven't been documenting my failures.)

Yo-yoing at its best. The above graphic was my life. But not just mine. I think it's our national pastime. Consider these stats from CBS news:
  • $20 billion is spent each year on diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.
  • 108 million Americans make four or five attempts each year to lose weight.
  • 85 percent of people buying weight-loss products and services are female.
  • 220,000 morbidly obese people have had bariatric surgery.
I could go on, but I think I made my point. The more we spend on diet fixes the fatter we get. I have. Many times over, which is why I cannot diet anymore.

I also must admit that the thought of losing weight quickly is still attractive. It's like a drug. But now, each time I am tempted, I look at the list I made of all the diets I have tried. It is long and sad. And it has cost me a small fortune, money I would much rather now spend on a trip somewhere interesting and exciting.

I have officially been eating as a normal person for six months now. It really feels good. I feel in control. I have tons more energy. No more indigestion. I never feel uncomfortably stuffed. I am sleeping better. Last year, if I slept five hours I considered that a milestone. Now, I sleep 7, 8, sometimes 9 hours each night. And I wake up ready to start the day.

I can honestly say I am brand new. Lighter, with still lots of weight to lose. But it will come off in time. By this time next year, I know I will be exactly at the weight I want to be. What a goal!