My Health and Wellness Journey Update

As you know, I’ve been on an elimination diet for my thyroid. It was very difficult at first. It got easier and pretty routine. I’m no longer officially on the diet but now it’s a lifestyle. I can’t go back to wheat and gluten and other grains or dairy. The diagnoses of Hashimoto’s Thyroidosis and Celiac took care of that forever. I am adjusting well however.

In fact, I’ve found that everyone else has more issues with it than I do. I’m always asked how I can go without bread or pasta or cheese or alcohol. Uh, actually, I’m doing pretty darned well without it.

What do we feed you? Meat, veggies, fruit. No weird spices (pre-made mixes) or breading or faux salad dressings or butter. Basically assume that if it comes in a box or a bag or pre-made in a factory with a long list of unpronouncable ingredients, I probably can’t eat it. Or I won’t. That has been the case for 30 years. I’ve ALWAYS been a label reader. I never much have eaten things with tons of flavorings or colorants, or sugar, or MSG. Nothing has changed about that.

So what have all these changes brought me you ask? Since I started the elimination — 25 pounds. That’s the side effect because I did it for my diagnoses, not for weight loss. More importantly, my cholesterol, although still needing a little work, is down 60 points. My Vitamin D count is up and finally in the normal range. My sugar A1C is normal. My glucose is normal. Drum roll please — my thyroid, which was considered extremely low functioning is now in the normal range. ALL WITHOUT MEDICATION. My IBS, a lifelong issue, isn’t really bothering me. Everyone talks about how my skin looks glowing and that my hair looks great and I have noticed that I have fingernails for the first time in my life. A friend said that although I’ve always been a fairly positive person, she sees me being even more positive lately.  I’m 53 years old and in the best health of my entire life!

What people don’t realize is that I started this journey quite a while ago.

6 years ago, when I topped over 200 pounds in weight — something I NEVER thought I’d do considering how thin I always had been, I started to exercise and lose weight. I stalled about 30 pounds in but at least never gained that weight back.

Then I started working with my wonderful health coach (and now friend) Debbie, and made a lot of changes to my dietary intake. More fiber, lots more water, cut out the caffeine, cut down on dairy and sugar and sodium. I started really reading labels again like I used to.

I also was working on my overall health by exercising at Evo a few times a week and had already lost a nice bit of body fat.

So when I started the elimination diet I felt ready to do it and not so terribly overwhelmed, although at first it was hard, and the week I had to be vegan I was absolutely miserable. You try being vegan when you can’t eat any grains or “pseudo-grains”. I was hungry the entire week because there weren’t enough beans, veggies and fruit on the planet to keep be sated. Nonetheless I continued on the journey, like the little engine that could.

Here’s a picture from about 7 years ago (Yes, it’s a gone terribly wrong hair cut and dye job.)

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This is a picture taken last weekend. I’m in the pink shirt.

Wolf Trap August 2014

Today I had decaf coffee for the first time in almost 5 months. Now I wait to see how my body feels. I ate bacon (good bacon from a locally sourced place without all those weird additives and nitrates) earlier this week. Thumbs up! Next week my plan is to try almonds. Then maybe some wine. But if they don’t work out, I’ll be okay.

So now I’m down over 50 pounds from 6 years ago and I’ve taken off 17-1/2% body fat as well. Here’s to hoping that the next 30-50 years of my life are so much healthier. I think they will because I don’t see me going back.

The Path

Do you ever question your path? I know I do. I read a quote in an email from Positive Outlooks and thought “hmmm”. Here’s what it said. “It is better to walk alone, than with a crowd going in the wrong direction. — Diane Grant”

Isn’t it hard walking your own path, especially when it seems you’re on a very lonely journey?

Many times in my life I’ve felt like I was in a crowd of people but still felt very alone. As I’ve gotten older, I at least realize that my path will lead me to like-minded people. I may have fewer friends but I know they are true friends.

The rest are either acquaintances on my path to teach me lessons or just static, in which case I need to teach myself a lesson. In either case, I am grateful for the lesson. I think those lessons have made me much, much wiser. The Universe has been very good of late bonking me on the head and showing me “the error of my ways” when I stray. The “bonk” is often almost instantaneous. Sometimes that bonk on the head is gentle and sometimes it isn’t.

Still, sometimes being alone on the path is difficult and in those moments I remind myself, “baby steps Suzan. Baby steps.’

Blessed be.

Elimination Diet and Overall Health Update

I haven’t posted much lately and you may want to know why. Well, it’s pretty simple. The elimination diet has been pretty routine for me. With the exception of last week, where I had to be a vegan who didn’t eat grains. Last week was miserable. Fruit, vegetables and beans only got really old really fast. I got through it only through sheer force of will.

For the most part, starting this coming Saturday, my dietary intake will consist of fruit (with the exception of bananas, watermelon, pineapple and mango), vegetables (with the exception of yucca, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant), beans, beef, pork, fish (no shellfish but I’m allergic anyhow), chicken, turkey, and lamb. I’m hopeful that in a few weeks I can test the waters with some coffee (decaf) and some nuts as well as some local honey.

But for now, this is my LIFESTYLE.

That’s what’s also become routine — a lack of understanding as to why I’m doing this and when I can “change” what I’m eating. Celiac and wheat/gluten sensitivity does not just go away. This isn’t Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers and isn’t about how much weight you can lose quickly and then go back to eating copious amounts of ice cream and Alfredo sauces.

That’s why I say that this is a total lifestyle change. This is forever.

For those people that think I’m starving, I have to tell you this — I’M NOT. I eat very well. But when faced with what most of us eat on a routine basis, yeah, I guess it appears that I don’t. That is because I don’t eat very much that comes in a jar, can, box or package. Here’s what I eat that comes in packaging: natural applesauce (no sugar or sugar substitutes are added), olive oil, olives, beans, coconut water, sauerkraut (cans only — the jars have sulfites added to retain color), coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, some spices, salt and pepper, the occasional bagged lettuce or cabbage mix and the occasional can of tuna fish. I suppose I should start eating sardines but I haven’t been able to do it yet. I also can drink Kombucha and I haven’t found one that fits my needs. That’s it. Everything else I eat is from the outside aisles of the store and I totally skip the dairy aisle. The majority of my cart is fruit and veg.

I know I can get a little preachy sometimes about the changes I’ve made but here’s why. You guys see the outward changes. I’ve lost 20 pounds in the last 12 weeks. I see the inward changes that you don’t see however. I see that my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which has plagued me my entire life seems to have mostly disappeared (and at 53 that’s a long time). I have gotten rid of the stomach “bloat”. I see that my skin is better. I see that I have energy and that I’m calmer and less anxious. I’ve been told that I “glow” and I suppose I do. At Evo last night someone told me that I looked happy and yes, I have to say I feel happy.

Losing weight has helped me feel stronger too. Since starting this diet, I have been able to do lower trap pulls by myself. Now, some of that has just been doggedly working on my strength but I have no doubt that not having to deadlift that extra 20 pounds of body fat has helped. That I feel so much better also helped. My endurance, not the best, has improved. Hopefully next week we will get another pinch test for my body fat composition. Last pinch was about 4 months ago and I had already lost 16% and that’s before this elimination and the 20 pound loss.

Again, LIFESTYLE change.

What do I still miss? Pizza, pasta, tomatoes (although not as much as I thought I would miss tomatoes), coffee, cheesecake, fried rice. I miss nuts too. But you adapt. I’ve started making a really great hummus without tahini. I even cook chickpeas with spices, garlic, onion, mint and lemon and call it mashed falafel. It is now one of my favorite meals. I really enjoy my vegetables and my grill pan has given me some wonderful grilled veg (Vidalia onions grilled — O.M.G.!!!).

I miss going out to restaurants and ordering straight off the menu. Now eating out is much more frustrating. I have a few places that seem to be easier to deal with though and I give them business whenever possible. I get annoyed at restaurants that upcharge me for adding a salad or vegetables when I’ve asked them to not give me bread or a bun, or potatoes, or tomatoes, or cheese, or croutons, or nuts. One restaurant tried to charge me $14 for a hamburger with a piece of lettuce. After I pointed out that I didn’t get the fries, the bun or the tomatoes or pickle, they charged me $7.50. I would have paid the $14 because that’s where we were and I was starving but I was pleased they finally figured it out.

Eating home has become much more enjoyable again.

I believe that I can continue this for a lifetime. It’s about my overall health and that is worth everything. For those that think I have impinged my quality of life, I say oh no! I have done just the opposite.

So please excuse me if I grin like the Cheshire Cat or if I sound preachy. I just want you to feel as good as I do. Here’s to a long life with great health.