Leptin Rx – Take 2 – Day 3

I have again embraced the BAB.  And it’s really B.  I’ve been eating like 10-12 oz of beef in the morning and adding a couple of eggs.  Less and I get hungry.  It seems like an awful lot of food and I feel guilty – like who am I to eat this much when people are going hungry?  But I can’t save the world.  I’m just trying to save myself.

It’s nice to have my appetite diminishing again.  Stupid carbs.  I guess I can just never have them.

The antibiotic is helping – my entire-month-of-May cough is becoming less problematic.

I know I talked about Maca in my last post – about how it increased progesterone, which isn’t a good thing for me.  I neglected to mention though, that it did NOT help my sex drive.  I suspect all of this boils down to thyroid problems, which I haven’t been treating.  My last thyroid labs were done in November at the height of my stressful tenure in California, so I don’t really trust them.  Now that my husband is gainfully employed I can probably afford to get some labs done again.  Will do so soon.

 

Updates

Amino acids supplements don’t seem to do a whole lot for me.  Well, actually the 5HTP seems to help with depression, but the L-Tyrosine and DL-Phenylalanine aren’t making me peppier or happier.  I haven’t tried the GABA yet…was waiting till I felt anxious.  I’ve been more depressed than anxious lately.

I started having a problematic cough at the beginning of May.  I thought it might somehow be related to iodine supplementation, since it correlated in time to other detox symptoms I was having.  Only, this never went away and I stopped supplementing like 2 weeks ago.  I finally went to my doc yesterday and got an antibiotic.  My entire body is exhausted from coughing for the last 3-4 weeks.  In Maslow’s heirarchy of health needs, my need to stop coughing far outweighs my need to have perfect gut flora.  So bring on the Z-pack and the probiotics.

Maca is not good for me.  I started taking it about a month ago because I heard in a podcast with Sara Gottfried that it can help increase sex drive and “regulate hormones”.  Well, I suppose it can help regulate hormones if you’re estrogen dominant because I learned that what it does is increase progesterone.  Well, I don’t need progesterone.  I have too damn much progesterone after doing the Wiley Protocol.  My boobs started spilling out over my bras again, and my tummy started sticking out further again.  So I stopped it and things are again returning to baseline.

I decided to go back and read my blog for clues as to why I’m struggling so much with my health.  I know being in California got me off track (stress).  So did hormone supplementation (the Wiley Protocol) (weight gain, carb cravings, increased fatigue).  So I re-read the first 2-3 months of this blog and I learned some interesting things.  Doing the Leptin Rx was the best I’ve felt in years.  No calorie counting, no snacking, just meat, fat, vegetables and lots of sleep.

My first few weeks of the Leptin Rx were interesting – within 2 weeks I had lots of energy and stopped getting hungry between meals.  I also had some detox symptoms, but those passed quickly.  My sleep became solid and predictable and my fasting blood glucose was trending down – it dipped under 100 on 2/20/12 for the first time in months.  This was about 9 days into the Leptin Rx.  On 2/20/12, later in the day, I posted about making Paleo Pizza (with cheese and an almond meal crust).  The next day I posted that my sleep had been disrupted the night before and I was noticing some problems with thermoregulation.  That day I ate something with artificial sweetener in it.  My blood sugar jumped back up and stayed up for about 2 weeks.  It came down again after 3/16/12 – after I started supplementing with Vitamin K.  So the takeaway?  Leptin Rx = good.  Almonds, cheese, and sweeteners = bad.  Vitamin K = Maybe good.

So I’m doing this again.  Leptin Rx, minus the silly dalliances that seemed to interfere.

Update on my little girl – she’s been off dairy for 2 months or so now.  She has adapted really well and only asks for milk or cheese occasionally.  (See doesn’t get it).  The weird thing on her knee is still there…so maybe not related to dairy.  I’ve thought about trying the probiotics again with her – maybe in very very small amounts.

Oh, and we’re moving again – in the next month or two.  To Wisconsin.  My husband got a job there.  I’ll be continuing to work part time from home.

I hope to stay there forever and never. ever. move. again.

Iodine and Amino Acids

I’m putting the iodine on hold.  I’m not sure what’s going on exactly, but it’s not making me feel good.  As I mentioned, I was taking a drop a day.  Felt great for about 3 days.  Had a few detox zits emerge – no biggie, they were done in a day after putting a drop of iodine on each one.  This stuff is really quite interesting for that purpose, if for no other.  After my high-energy, good mood 3-day period of time I went into a serious depression that lasted about 4 days.  It’s the most depressed I’ve been in many years.  I could barely get off the couch, crying off and on all day, much lamenting of my unsettled lot in life…dark thoughts.  I was also having trouble with a dry cough that came and went. A day or two into this I realized it might be associated with the iodine supplementation, so I stopped it (but continued to take the co-factors to aid in what I figured was bromide detox).  My mood cleared up and my cough retreated.

So I decided to try again, only slower. This time rather than a drop a day I put one drop in an 8 oz bottle of water, and drank only one ounce of it per day.  I did that for a day or two, and the cough came back.  Ok, still too fast?  Fine.  So I reduced my daily dose even further – to 1 Tablespoon a day of the 8oz water/1 drop 2% Lugols solution.  1 Tbs a day.  If 2% Lugols has 2.5mg per drop, and there are 4 Tbs in a quarter cup, that means my dose had dropped from 2.5 mg a day, to 312 micrograms (mcg) a day, and now to 156mcg/day.  About equivalent to the iodine found in a 4-5oz piece of cod.  Did this for 3 days.  Day 2 was magical – tons of energy, great outlook, great mood….and then the depression came back again.  Not as severe as the first time, but still not good.  Crying, inability to handle even small stressors, lethargic.  That’s where I was for 2 days through yesterday.  Still have the cough too.

I’m done with the iodine for now.  I don’t have time for this rollercoaster.  I don’t know exactly what’s going on.  Perhaps it’s bromide detox.  Perhaps is the Wolff-Chaikoff effect.  In any case, I hate it.  I’m just going to try to increase seafood (which doesn’t seem to give me problems) and stop supplementing with it.  Maybe I’ll try again someday.

In the meantime I’ve also started supplementing with amino acids.  I’m glad I’m putting the iodine on hold so I can see how these affect me without any confounding variables. After taking the quizzes (here and here) in The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure, the ones I want to start with are as follows:

  • L-Tyrosine – affects production of dopamine and norepinephrine.  I’m taking 500mg first thing in the morning.  It’s supposed to provide a little zip – like caffeine, only without the crash.
  • 5HTP – for depressive symptoms.  You’re supposed to take this mid- and late-day, as it can make you drowsy.  Some people take it at night to help with sleep.  My sleep is pretty good, so I’m not taking it at night.  I take 500mg mid-day.
  • GABA – a calming amino acid that I’ll take as needed before anxiety-provoking situations, 500mg.
  • DLPA – D-Phenylalanine + L-Phenylalanine.  This is supposed to enhance endorphin production and make life feel better.
  • L-Glutamine – this is supposed to prevent/stop carb cravings.  I guess glutamine is a form of energy the brain can use when it senses it’s low in sugar.  I’ll probably take this as needed, 500mg.

Note that not all amino acids are good for everyone.  Check out these contraindications before taking them. Julia Ross says that amino acid (AA) supplementation is temporary.  After you’ve re-established your reserve of the AAs (which were initially depleted by dieting, stress, genetics, or other factors) you stop taking them.  Until you need em again, anyway.

So why am I doing this?  I don’t want to take prescription meds.  I don’t want another diagnosis that the medical establishment can use to discriminate against me when I need insurance.  I want to feel better.

Whew

I’m feeling a lot better.  Upped my Vitamin C and water and that seemed to put an end to the detox depression.  That was pretty severe.  I’ve heard (on the iodine thread on Kruse’s site) that having serious bromide detox on a pretty low dose of iodine can indicate there’s a significant deficiency going on.  I don’t have the money to test right now, so instead I’m just going to continue at a very slow rate…one drop of iodine a week for the moment, and increase very very gradually.

I made a wish list of the tests I would have done if I could.  The off-the-top-of-my-head list totaled $1520.  Uh…Nope.

It looks like we’re going to have to get jobs.  We were hoping to start our own business but the credential we have – while golden in California – is relatively unheard of here in the Midwest.  We are not among the professional disciplines that can easily do early intervention or provide services for autistic kids with medicaid.  We could attempt to navigate the world of health insurance billing, but I suspect we’ll run out of money before we figure that out.  So off to get a job it is.

 

 

The Health Saga Limps Along

I’ve written several posts and then didn’t post them.  I’ve been depressed this week.

So…how about a brief update.  Because it runs counter to my nature to do nothing when there’s a problem, I’ve changed game plans again.  I’ve become suspicious that I have an iodine deficiency, based on my symptoms of hypothyroidism (as well as my last tests).  I don’t have a doc willing to prescribe me Cytomel (T3), and my insurance is pretty sucky, so I thought I’d try to supplement iodine.  I thought it might help given folks around the web having success with it.  I’m too tired to dig up and share relevant links at the moment…sorry.

About a week and a half ago I started supplementing iodine (2% Lugol’s solution), at the rate of a drop a day in a large glass of water.  I’ve been following Dr. David Brownstein’s recommendations, and have also been supplementing B vitamins, selenium, sea salt, Vitamin C, magnesium, which are recommended to help the body flush stores of fluoride and bromine.  A drop of 2% Lugol’s solution is equivalent to about 2.5-3mg of iodine.

The first day I took iodine I had a metallic taste in my mouth, and I could feel my thyroid swell a little, pressing against my windpipe.  The next several days I felt good – some sinus drainage, but increased energy and good mood.  Looked forward to taking my iodine in the AM.  Then about a week ago I started developing a sore throat.  This continued for several days, and developed into a non-productive cough.  It feels like the area around my thyroid is irritated, and I’ve been feeling weak and depressed.  I guess this could be the fluoride/bromine detox I’ve heard about.  I’m going stop supplementing till it goes away.  I’m having my doubts now as to whether or not I want to continue this.  It’s keeping me up at night and is interfering with my motivation to do anything like go for walks or work.  Folks on various forums indicate this is a common reaction to starting iodine.  Some people say to power through it – up the dose and it’ll pass. Others say back off and decrease dosing till you feel better.  Others say increase Vitamin C and do a salt flush.  I’m going to do the last 2.

I’ve stopped counting calories, and now I’m back to very low carb.  My weight is up to 201.

I’ve started reading Julia Ross’s book The Diet Cure, and starting yesterday I’ve been supplementing with 5HTP.  I do notice an immediate improvement in mood after taking it.  I’ll add others to the mix soon…but I really needed a shot of serotonin to get started while I read the rest of the book.  I’ve been hurting.

ABA Program – Day 4

So I’m on Day 4 of earning positive reinforcement for appropriate health-conscious behaviors with the intention of losing weight.  So far there are pros and cons to this system:

Pros:

  • I get to feel good about the things I do right without that being overshadowed by the things I don’t do well.  For example, normally I would psychologically beat myself up for not staying under 1500 calories, but when I get reinforced for things I did right (exercising, logging all my food, taking all supplements) my focus turns to that.  That feels great.  I’m quite prone to beating up on myself.
  • There have been a couple days I almost gave up recording all my food because it felt like a pain in the ass, but I did it just to earn the token.  So, it works in that respect.

Cons:

  • I don’t have enough money to finance my reinforcement structure.  Therefore, I’ll have to revise it.  See below.
  • The things I struggled to do before I still struggle to do.  Yoga (which feels so damn hard for me in my current state of physical non-fitness), despite having a high token value and relatively short duration, hasn’t happened yet.  Also, I’ve only managed to stay under 1500 net calories one day since I started.  So I’ll have to either increase the reward or decrease the response effort necessary to earn the reinforcer.
  • I’m not losing weight…probably because I’m struggling to keep my calories low. Part of this is a matter of changing from an eat-any-quantity low-carb diet to one in which calories are now restricted.  It’s going to take time for me to start thinking in these terms again.

So revised reinforcement system is below.  Revisions are as follows:  I’ve tripled the token requirement for all long-term rewards, because I can’t afford my previous rate of reinforcement.  Secondly, I’ve adjusted the reinforcement value and response effort of tasks that I’m still avoiding.  Third, I’ve removed music downloads from the list of reinforcers…cuz really.  Music can be free.  Hello Pandora.

So here are the revised reinforcers and criteria to earn them:

Reinforcers:

  • Time at a coffee shop alone (30 tokens)
  • A movie alone (45 tokens)
  • Clothes (60 tokens for $10 worth of clothing)
  • Pedicure (120 tokens)
  • A new book (60 tokens for $10 book)
  • Sushi (150 tokens for sushi takeout)
  • A night out with David (300 tokens)
  • A lab test (e.g., lipids, Vit D) (450 tokens for $75 test)

Criteria for earning reinforcement:

  • 30 minutes of exercise (walking or other constant movement) – 1 tokens
  • 5 minutes of yoga – 5 tokens
  • Logging all food for the day – 1 tokens
  • Drinking no alcohol – 2 tokens
  • Staying under 1500 net calories for the day (meaning, if I burn off calories exercising I can eat that much more) – 5 tokens
  • Taking all of my supplements – 1 token