Tuesday, August 21, 2012

58 days and....

I have now finished day 58 of using the Wii and day 12 of the Flat Belly Diet. I'd like to now tell you that I have lost 15 pounds! Yes, I would like to tell you that. However, I haven't. In fact, my weight tonight was back up to just 2 lbs. below my starting weight 58 days ago. I have made some food choices that weren't "on the plan" but stayed within my 1600 calories most days. According to a calorie counter website, that is an "extreme weight loss" amount of caloric intake. I'm certainly burning more calories than I have in the last several years. I'm just not sure why the weight doesn't want to move.

I wonder if having Celiac Disease untreated for so many years, then getting on a gluten free diet to "heal my gut" has left me unable to lose weight easily. Or if the meds I'm taking, which are all known for weight gain, are prohibitive in weight loss.

Today we watched Gone with the Wind. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day." And even better, in the words of the Psalmist, "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's the Real Thing....or is it?

If you are a child of the 60's (or maybe early 70's) or earlier, you can sing along and name the product with just a few of the lyrics:
I'd like to teach the world to sing
in perfect harmony....

(and eventually they get to)
I'd like to buy the world a ________
It's the real thing

I know you are thanking me for getting the song stuck in your head. You're welcome. 

I grew up in a home where we drank Kool-Aid and Pepsi more than water. My mom cooked and we ate well, but we also loved sweets. Pepsi rather than Coke because my dad worked for moving companies that were owned by Pepsi Co., Inc. and he had stock in it. 

As I became an adult, I drank a lot more water and an occasional Coke. I was on my own & could switch to Coke. I have never liked coffee or tea, so if I wanted a boost of caffeine, it would be Coke. Though, I'm really not picky and would have had Pepsi or RC or whatever off brand of cola was available. Mostly, though, I had ice water. I liked to eat the ice after it was softened some by the water. Factoid: If you have a habit of eating ice, you could be anemic. I found that out when I was pregnant. In Kenya our house helper told me that pregnant women there would eat dirt. I imagine it's the same reason: the need for iron and they find something to try to satisfy that need. I honestly think eating iron rich dirt might make more sense than ice, but that's a different story. I continued my ice water drinking/ice eating habits along with the occasional soda/soft drink/cola until my iron level improved. That happened when I went on a gluten free diet for Celiac disease. However, I started craving Coke. I slowly started drinking more & more until I was having a coke every day. Now, I didn't drink it morning, noon and night. One can or bottle, or a 32 oz. from Sonic (which we all know is close to 30 oz. of ice & 2 oz. of soda---LOL) would last me all day. 

My doctors didn't like me drinking cola, but it was the one habit I had trouble breaking. My urologist said it would cause more kidney stones. My gastroenterologist said not to do it because of reflux. My primary care doctor and friends said to do it because it just isn't healthy. I had to do a 2 week NO caffeine test and I went so far as to stock up on caffeine free coke. Yep, I did. After 2 weeks a real coke tasted marvelous. Then, I started the Flat Belly Diet last week. The first 4 days are VERY low sugar and no added salt. By the 3rd night I craved Coke. The 4th night, after midnight, so technically the 5th day, I cracked open a can of caffeine free expecting it to taste so good. Guess what? It tasted like syrup. I tried it later & it still tasted too sweet. Two days later I stopped at Sonic during happy hour (of course) and got a medium Coke. a REAL coke. Guess what? It tasted just as sickly sweet. I ended up dumping it out. 

Today I was quite thirsty in the car so I drove through McDonald's. I was tempted to get Coke. I was tempted to go to Sonic for a slush. But both of those sounded too sweet. So, I got a fruit and yogurt parfait and a large cup of ice water! 

I never dreamed I'd be broken of Coke so fast. I know I'll be tempted by what I think it will taste like again, but I think the longer I DON'T drink it, the worse it will taste if I do. 

So, in my opinion, Coke isn't the REAL thing. But I kind of knew that all along. And, if I were going to give the world a drink, it would be water in countries where there is no reliable source of healthy drinking water. 

The end.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I've hit a new low

Normally hitting a new low isn't something you want to do. In this case, it is! I got on the scale today & was at my lowest I've been since I started eating healthier and exercising. Just to be sure I was really seeing what I was seeing, I got off and got back on. It's an electronic scale, so sometimes it will read wrong. Nope, it was showing me the same number! Then I got on the Wii Balance Board & turned on Wii Fit. Of course, with the Wii Fit they let you take off the amount for the clothes you are wearing, so it was 2 lbs. lighter even than the scale! FINALLY things are starting to work! Praise the Lord!

My original weight wasn't even that low. More like 8 and a half pounds! I'll settle for losing 50 pounds!

Friday, August 10, 2012

I got a headache in my head

Years ago my brother said he heard a professional athlete talking about having a headache, but he said, "I got a headache in my head." We aren't sure exactly where else you might have a headache, but it made us laugh. I often think of that when my head hurts.

One of the medical issues I've been dealing with in the past year and a half is headaches. I'd never had a migraine until September of 2010. I was with my friend Kathy in Houston where she was getting her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. That day her blood counts were off, so rather than going to the infusion center, she was sent to get a blood transfusion at Methodist Hospital. As we sat there, my head started hurting all on one side. I thought it was a sinus headache at first. Of all days to have no pain medicine with us, this was the worst. The nurse there offered me a tylenol. She had one. It really didn't help, but I appreciated her thoughts. I finally strolled down to the hospital gift store and paid about $5,000 (give or take a few cents) for 2 ibuprofen. Again, not much relief. When Kathy went to a different building to have another scan done, I drove to the nearest drugstore. By this time my head was hurting more than I'd ever felt before, I was nauseated, and I wasn't sure I'd make it through the drugstore without passing out. I bought a bottle of ibuprofen and some water, got in Kathy's car, and took 4 pills. I managed to drive back to the Medical building and find the area she was in. They have nice pillow covered benches lining the windows along the outer edges. They were big enough for me to lie down and rest. Rather, sleep. When I woke up, my head had finally stopped hurting.

Kathy told one of the nurses about my head hurting and the nurse immediately said, "Migraine." I had heard of migraines, but never having had one, I had no idea what they were like. When I got home I started reading, and sure enough, that is just what this sounded like.

It was months before I had another headache like that. Then more months before a third. Then they started coming closer together. I wondered if it was simply hormone related. I am at "THAT" age where things like that happen. Of course, having not only Kathy dealing with cancer, but also our dear mutual friend Linda (who passed away in December of 2010), the thought of a brain tumor crossed my mind momentarily. I really didn't have time to dwell on the headache issue because in the fall of 2010 I had my first pains from what I would later discover were kidney stones. That is a different story for a different day.

Fast forward to March of 2012. My ears had been hurting on & off since January. I'd been on 2 rounds of antibiotics. Now, my head was hurting daily. Some days I could barely get out of bed. Or, I'd get out of bed only to move to the couch. I was taking ibuprofen like candy, even though my gastroenterologist and urologist had told me not to use them. Some days the ibuprofen helped. Other times it didn't. Sometimes Excederin Migraine worked. When I went back to my primary care clinic, and saw a PA, I was told no more antibiotics would help for my ears, to see the allergist and that I probably had TMJ problems. The allergist said my ears did look red and irritated still, so put me on a round of steroids. That kicked my headaches away for quite some time! I also saw the ENT who said my ears (after steroids) looked fine and also said my pain was from TMJ. He sent me to a neurologist who just wanted to treat the pain and not find the root cause. This doctor said TMJ doesn't cause that kind of headache and put me on Lyrica (which he said doesn't cause weight gain) and Mobic (which he said wasn't an nsaid). Not long after that I saw my Primary Care doctor who said, "Let's not go back to him again." In the midst of this my blood pressure was up, so she started monitoring that. I then saw the Oral surgeon who concurs that I do, indeed, have TMJ problems. He's going to have a night guard made to see if that helps.

In the mean time, I am NOT taking Lyrica, NOT taking Mobic, using decongestants only as needed, trying not to take any nsaids (though sometimes it's the only thing to help certain pain), getting as little caffeine and salt into my system as possible, and taking Flexeril (muscle relaxer) and very occasionally, only as needed, hydrocodone (aka Vicodin). My blood pressure has come down. My head is not hurting nearly as badly as it was. And my weight, well, as you know, I'm working on that.

Part of the problem of losing weight is that the medicines I take for various issues (mainly chronic pain related issues, but also allergy & asthma) cause weight gain. Unless God heals those issues, I can't just stop taking these meds. I could, but my family would not be a happy one! ; ) Also, my weight gain didn't come from just overeating & lack of exercise, but from my gut "healing" after years of eating gluten while I had Celiac Disease in me. I finally started absorbing the things I was eating. I am sure that I could eat gluten again to lose weight, but since the main known consequence of a Celiac eating gluten is lymphoma, I'll keep my weight and leave the cancer out of the picture!

Today's weight check I was lower than yesterday at the same time, which is an improvement. My head was hurting last night and I did take flexeril and half a hydrocodone tablet. Then I had to take zyrtec and ibuprofen early in the morning. That meant I slept til 1 p.m.! Yet another side effect of meds. And today my daughter made gluten free chocolate chip marshmallow walnut cookies. And I ate a couple. We decided with the dark chocolate and the walnuts at least I'm getting some healthy oils! LOL!

Today I also started eating more calories on the Flat Belly Diet plan. I got to have a sprinkle of salt and my, oh, my was it good on my food! It's amazing to me that it takes so little once you are used to none.

I won't be at my goal weight as soon as I'd hoped, but I WILL get there, Lord willing!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Flat Belly Diet Day 3

For the past 2 days and half of today I have been using the Flat Belly Diet anti bloat diet. During the first 4days of the diet you consume 1200 calories daily along with 2 liters of Sassy Water. This water is just drinking water (tap water for me) with ginger, cucumber, lemon and mint added. If you like flavored water you would likely like this. I love plain old ice water, so I'm gagging on adjusting to the Sassy water. I've been able to cook the same foods for my family as I eat, but they get salt.  I only cook for all of us for supper/dinner (evening meal) during the week. My girls are teenagers so they fend for themselves the other meals. On the weekend I will often make breakfast for the family, so I'll need to find family friendly recipes in the book. After the four days the calories increase to 1600 for me.

While all the foods on this plan are tasty, I can't say I don't miss salt and sugar. By the end of the day I tend to feel hungry. I am trying to be sure I have plenty of water. I have had plain water in addition to the Sassy water.

I haven't noticed a drop in weight yet, but I did notice rings feeling looser. I had my wedding rings cut off 4 or 5 years ago. My rings are a size 4.25! I haven't had them resized because I've wanted to lose weight first. I did buy some super cheap rings at Walmart just so I could look married. They are a size 8. Those are the ones that were feeling loose last night. While my wait hasn't dropped, it also hasn't gone back up to where it was when I first started trying to eat healthier about 2 months ago or so.

One of the claims of this diet is that you don't have to do any "crunches" (when did they go from sit-ups to crunches?), but they do advocate exercising. In fact, during the first 4 days, I am supposed to walk for 5 minutes after each meal. I've been using the Wii Fit for over 40 days so I get on that and do a 5 minute aerobic exercise, either walking or stepping, after the meal.

Tonight we'll have turkey cutlets with roasted red potatoes and green beans. Yum! Then my snack later (because my schedule isn't a normal one) will be a peach smoothie. The smoothies are made with unsweetened frozen fruit and skim lactose free milk. Honestly, it needs some sweetener to really taste good. But, it's tolerable. I love fruit and I do sometimes drink milk, but the milk really takes away the sweetness of the fruit. Maybe I should just eat the fruit & drink the milk! To the smoothie, you add either flax seed oil or you eat a tablespoon of pumpkin or sunflower seeds, unsalted, of course.

I'm hoping by the end of tomorrow I will see a slight change (I'd prefer large, but I'll take slight) in weight and even more looseness, especially in my waistband!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Never Ask a Woman Her Weight or Age

I've long neglected this blog because the methods I was hoping would help me get healthy didn't. I have a lot of health issues I want to blog about, but when you are having health issues & feeling icky, you don't feel like blogging, then when you have the energy to do it, you're catching up on life, so don't have time. Hopefully I can make this a regular habit so I can stay accountable.

For most of my life I was thin. No, I was skinny. My aunt said her 2nd husband used to say, "She's not skinny. She's poor." I am close to 5'8" tall. When I got pregnant with my 2nd child, I weighed about 120 lbs. Yes, really. I gained about 33 lbs. that pregnancy, like the first time. The difference was that I gained 5 lbs. around my 3rd month and 10 lbs. the next month. The doctor put me on a restricted fat diet! He didn't want me to end up with pre-eclampsia. He really didn't care when I told him I was underweight to start. So, I ended up over 150 lbs.

I was able to lose some of that, but I would never see the 120's again. Gradually, after losing some of the weight, I started hitting that "almost 40" age and gained some of my weight. Then, I found out I had Celiac Disease and I needed to stay on a gluten-free diet. Many people lose weight at that point because they don't know what to eat or things taste funny. Not I. I had been cooking gluten free for a couple of years on & off for my daughter. I bought several gluten free cookbooks and tried out every gluten free flour combo I could find. I made breads, cookies, and more. Some worked, some didn't. I consoled myself by eating foods I liked that I COULD eat. Additionally, as my villi (little fingerlike projections in the intestines) began to heal, I was no longer losing my nutrients. Nope. I was keeping them. And then some. In a 7 month period I had gained 35 lbs. It took less time than my full pregnancies and I gained a couple more pounds, but didn't get a baby at the end. Not long after that I developed a strange rash that required a heavy dose of steroids. Add 10 more lbs. to the body. I leveled out for about 5 years, then last year I inched up just a few more pounds. This year, I was sick on and off for several months so I was very sedate. I also was taking different medicines to try to get well. My normal routine involves medicines that are weight gaining types, so tucking on more didn't help. Somehow I gained about 8 lbs. in a 5 month period doing nothing different, but perhaps the lack of movement and different meds caused this.

My blood pressure had also gradually gone up with the weight. Before pregnancies, when I was young and beautiful skinny, my bp was around 90/70. This year it was as high as 145/90. Not good. Especially not when hypertension runs in my family, as does high cholesterol. My primary care doctor put me on a 2 week NO CAFFEINE diet, I began eliminating more salt from my already low salt diet, and started exercising daily. After 2 weeks I was allowed to try caffeine again, and I didn't see a spike in the bp, but the 2 weeks off was enough to let me know I didn't NEED a daily Coke. Okay, so I had Caffeine Free coke at home and the taste to me was the same. Still the caffeine wasn't needed. Each week I went to the doctor's office for a blood pressure check and each week it went down. I also started taking a supplement called Blood Pressure Factors. Whatever the reason, my blood pressure did decrease and at my last appointment it was 125/80 (I THINK that was the bottom number).

The doctor also wants me to lose weight, which I knew about and told her I WANTED to do but needed to feel well enough to do it. She had lost weight with Weight Watchers, as had my niece and other friends. One lady who is an "online" buddy lost nearly 100 lbs. on WW. I looked into it, but the cost is prohibitive. I decided I'd look at the recipes, points, and so forth and try to see how I could do it on my own. I also looked at calories more closely as Phil has a friend who's lost a lot just counting calories. I even went so far as to buy some "Slim Quick" caffeine free supplements. For more than 4 weeks I've eaten much lower calories (as in 1300 or so on most days). I took the Slim Quick for a couple of weeks. I've also used Wii Fit for 41 days! Wii Fit may be a beginner program, but to go from Couch Potato to 41 days of active exercise of any sort is amazing.

And, after all of that I have lost.......about 2 lbs. Maybe. It depends on the time of day. Today I was actually at the lowest I've been since I started, which was 3 lbs. higher than I was in January. Something has to give.

I have heard advice from so many people. Besides the WW loss, some lose weight on Jenny Craig (that's out for me: priced too high and isn't gluten free), Medi-Fast (which does have a GF program, but is cost prohibitive), South Beach Diet, and/or cutting out all sugars. One friend says eat all the protein you can and no sugars, as protein is what we need to most of. On Weight Watchers you can eat what you want if you stay within the points. Others say eat all natural and you will lose weight. My Gastroenterologist joked with me that I know how to lose the weight. I asked her what she meant & she said, "Just eat gluten!" She was NOT serious so DON'T call the doctor cops on her! I even told her, "Yeah, but I'd prefer not to get lymphoma."

This week I picked up some books at the library on healthy/weight-loss eating. They vary as much as the advice I read and get from friends. One book stood out to me as I started reading, though. It's a diet that is really directed towards women, but includes some men who've lost weight. And, while it is a "diet" it is a diet in the sense of an eating plan, like the gluten free diet is. The initial "diet" is for 32 days. They don't promise anything, but they say you CAN lose up to 15 lbs. in 32 days. Then, the other folks they have in the book have lost anywhere from 6 to 11 lbs. in that time period. To me, that doesn't sound like a fad diet with extreme promises. Also, it looks like a healthy, balanced diet that I can adapt to gluten free. The first 4 days are a targeted "anit-bloating" diet that incorporates water you flavor yourself with ginger, lemon, and mint. The food you eat those 4 days is salt free (or VERY low salt), sugar free (or low sugar or natural sugar but they limit how much to stay within the calorie and sugar amounts), and low fat. Plus the foods are readily available and not highly processed. AND they are mostly foods my family will eat, too. I will salt their portions. They are used to me not salting things much and adding their own. I've heard that's better for everyone to do.

I'm purposely not telling you the name of the book yet. Can you tell? I have gone online and looked for "scam" reports about this plan. The only things I've found say it is a money scam because you pay $31.95 for the book, then if you buy the cookbook, too, it's more. They also have an online program that sounds a lot like WW Online. You get 1 month free, but then it's either $19 a month or $45 and some change for 3 months. I can see why folks thought it was gimmicky with those prices. Also, it is a form of a Mediterranean Diet, so some say they are just writing what's already out there. Others say it is just a calorie counting program. They don't talk a lot about fiber, but it is mentioned. However, the plan includes plenty of fiber and uses Omega 3 in the form of Flax Seed Oil. The main component, though not the highest amount of food you eat, is having some type of monounsaturated fat at each meal. Those are the healthy fats. They also caution to ONLY use the amount they say because, as some folks have said, fat is fat. And they are high in calories.
Because there are cookbooks you can get to go along with this and because I can make it adaptable to my family's needs, it really sounds like a good direction to try for me. Oh, the cover says you can lose weight without doing a single crunch, but inside they do suggest you exercise. They are just saying that changing your diet is going to be the main component, not doing more sit-ups.

The book is called The Flat Belly Diet and is by the people who write Prevention magazine. Remember how I said I didn't want to do WW or some others because of the price? And how I mentioned the book lists (somewhere) for over $30 plus the extra cookbooks and, if you want, some other supplemental books? This is where we have a little friend called the Public Library to start. I pay my taxes whether I use the books or not, so why not use them? I found not only the initial book, but 2 of the cookbooks at my library branch. Now that I really think I want to try this, guess what other friend I have? It starts with an "E" and ends with a "bay." $4 for the book. I meant to order the cookbook, too (there are recipes in the original book), but clicked on the "buy it now" button for a quick reference guide. So, I will be getting those 2 to start. I can keep the books for 3 weeks (or up to 9 if they aren't placed on hold). I can see this as being a good kick start to eating more natural foods (where their suggestions aren't all natural or gluten free I can amend, but they say not to eat highly processed foods and even pre-made items they list are not highly processed). It's a STEP in the right direction. I like that all the ingredients are easily available. I like that I can adapt it to my family's needs by adding some extra sides or a little salt. From what I've read if an underweight person eats this plan they will gain weight. For one of my kids that would be GREAT! I also calculated what my calorie input needs to be to maintain weight. Let's just say that even the full 1600 calories they want you to eat is way less than what my body needs to maintain my current weight!

I don't know if it will work. I do know that the foods are heart healthy and that is good for me. No, I'm not going to tell you my weight right now. However, I'm not too ladylike to tell you my age. It's a number between one and 100. : ) Okay, I'm 47. When I lose weight & am at a healthy level I might share my weight. But don't ask me. You know, it's never polite to ask a woman her age or weight!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another round...

After 2 weeks of a sore throat & ear aches off & on, I called the dr's office. I am back on antibiotics. I also talked to my friend who got me started on Reliv. She said when she started it took 3 full months before she really felt well. She also said she took extra when she felt really bad, so I have reordered both the NOW and Innergize products. I really want this to work for me. If it does, I want to share it with others. I have heard so many amazing stories. They say it doesn't cure anything and doesn't claim to. What it does is provide missing nutrition that our bodies need. Many of these people have taken every supplement out there & this is the one that worked for them. I am praying this is what helps me!