What Now?

I don’t know.

I started taking Metformin a week ago, and this time around I don’t feel terrible.  I do feel like there’s been some change in sodium balance or something – I feel like I’m retaining water or something and the scale is up a couple of pounds.  I’ve regained almost all of the weight I lost a year ago.  Again my clothes don’t fit and I feel fat.

Exercise has been a bust.  I haven’t been able to commit to using my lunch hour for working out.  It required giving up the only down time I have some days, and it was making me hungrier (if that’s possible).  I’m sure there’s a way to incorporate exercise but right now I just feel overwhelmed.  I started meditating and stopped that too.  I also started a gratitude journal…and stopped it.  I am having trouble feeling rested and my energy is really inconsistent.  Some days I can do it.  Other days – like, all of last week – I feel like I can’t. Last week I was experimenting with eating low carb during the day and then eating rice or sweet potatoes with dinner.  I guess not a good plan.  All of the hunger of a carb-rich diet and none of the energy.

Suggestions have been made to do a ketogenic diet for a week and then do intermittent fasting after that.  Yeah, maybe.  When I was doing low carb last year I was eating too much meat….so maybe it wasn’t ketogenic.  Maybe I should try a fat-tastic diet.  I did this once before without success but I might be up for trying it again.  Peat friends, I already know what you’re going to say.  I really do.  My answer to you is this: My labs suck either way, and my perpetual hunger has got to be stopped.  So it’s a maybe.

Edited to add – Hey, I just had a profound insight about my marriage.  When you really love someone you don’t abandon them.  All the negotiation, confusion, upset…it’s all just drama.  He’s just not that into me.  I never thought I’d have to say that about my husband, but there it is.  If he was, he’d do what it takes to stick around.  Ok then.

Low Fat/High Carb Day 9

On day 9 now of high carbohydrate (white rice, white sugar, whole fruit), moderate protein (low fat meats, oxtail broth daily), low fat (just what’s in the meat).  So far I’ve lost an inch on my waist, my energy is good, and my fasting blood sugars are under 110.  Take a look:

FBG

Interesting, isn’t it?  But the media says sugar is causing my diabetes!!!!!!!!

Oh well.  I’m learning that nothing anyone says has anything to do with me at all.  Sort of a metaphor for life, really.

I’m having a lab draw this week to look at lipids and HbA1C.  I guess we’ll see how this is affecting my triglycerides.  Last time I ate a lot of sugar over a long period of time my triglycerides reached 500, but I was also eating a lot of cheese and other fat and had a net positive energy balance (i.e., eating =/> my body needed for survival, as evidenced by weight gain).  Labs right now won’t tell me much after only a week and half, but hopefully it will be an indicator of whether or not I’m on the right path.

My family situation is causing me stress, of course.  This is the first time I’ve felt serious emotional stress that is not CAUSED by endotoxin in about 18 months.  My friends at Nourish Balance Thrive always recommended the Headspace for stress management.  I’m going to start using it.  I have historically had a really hard time with meditation.  I’ve participated in lots of meditation groups, classes and even retreats, and always the actual sitting and trying to control my mind was really difficult.  Probably an indicator that it’s something I need to work on.

Awesome

Stepped on the scale today…and now I’m up to 195.  Awesome.

Gary Taubes’ book, Why We Get Fat changed how I think about gaining weight.  I no longer sit around and blame myself for eating too much (well, I do a little, but less than I used to), even though there’s no doubt I’m eating more now than 6 months ago (hence the weight gain).  The thing is, my appetite is greater now.  The real question is “Why?”  What caused my appetite to grow?

Whatever.  I started researching to find cool links to provide alternate hypotheses to the conventional wisdom…but I just don’t wanna.  I don’t have the energy or the motivation right now to be thorough and attempt to educate the masses.  Let’s face it – My brain is screwed up.  I do notice that when I’ve been eating carbs it’s hard to stop.  Also, stress and lack of sleep make me want to eat more.  So even without a PhD. in Biochemistry I know I should get more sleep and rearrange my life so it’s less stressful.  Check and check…working on both.

I try to stick with a ketogenic diet…over and over…and I keep failing to do it.  It’s kind of stupid…like yesterday I ate in a ketogenic manner all day and at about 10:00PM my husband asked me if I wanted a cracker.  So I ate about 15 of them.  Huh?  Why?  I wasn’t even hungry.

Alcohol is counterproductive when attempting to follow a ketogenic diet.  I stop drinking alcohol for a few days at a time and then I drink again. I’m not an alcoholic. I just like drinking. In the face of stress it makes me feel better.  I’m obviously not very good at calming myself without the use of chemical agents.  Again it’s back to stress.  I have fantasies that after we move and I’m not working full time anymore (I’ll still be working part time – already lined up) I’ll be able to get enough sleep and have time to do things that are relaxing and fun like reading or seeing people that I care about.

This move to California has been very educational.  Leaving one’s comfort zone is often the highly touted route to “your real life” or to real happiness, joy, and fulfillment.  That’s stupid.  I haven’t had a comfort zone for 5 months now and my health is worse, I’ve aged myself inside and out, I’m poorer financially, and I’m less happy.  If I see another one of these on Facebook I’m going to comment, “Yeah? Prove it.”

happiness-zonecomfort-zone

Go screw yourself, Facebook.

New Plan

Hedonism.

It’s quite simple as long as you don’t get bogged down in a preconceived notion about the term.  Usually “hedonism” refers to doing things that feel good in the moment such as eating decadent things, having sex with random (or at least adventurous) partners, and drinking booze with abandon.  There is an implicit selfishness about it, a kind of “live for today” mentality.  That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking very specifically about doing what feels good and not doing what doesn’t feel good.  In doing Jack Kruse’s Leptin Rx and CT I ignored that things didn’t feel good some of the time, because of the promise of feeling and looking better, and of living longer.  So far these results haven’t panned out (although I am still alive, seemingly).  It was difficult working out the time to take 30 minute cold baths every day, and even more difficult to withstand the core body temp “afterdrop” following it.  It was also no fun being hungry as my blood sugar dropped between meals when I would go 5 or 6 hours without eating…but I was determined to stick to the prescribed 3 meals a day, no snacks.  I missed out opportunities to share wine with friends and family. I avoided exercise, which used to make me feel good and helped my mood, my energy level, and my ability to cope with stress.  High Intensity Interval Training was supposedly the exception, but that kind of exercise just makes me want to hit the inhaler.  I don’t look forward to anything about it.

There were some good things I found in Dr. K’s prescriptions:  I always feel best when I eat a BAB.  I also feel best when I avoid diet coke (which I used to drink every day) and when I avoid sugar and all artificial sweeteners.  I feel great when I don’t eat grains.  I love grass-fed meat and coconut oil…two things I never would have tried if not for Dr. K. I also feel good eating more seafood, which I didn’t go out of my way to eat before.  I also really love the way Kruse encourages people to use scientific feedback – labs – to measure their progress and to identify the cause of problems.

So what I’ve decided to do is take the good stuff I learned from Kruse, throw away the junk I don’t like, and add in the stuff that feels good that I’ve been avoiding (because he said to).

Here’s my TO DO list:

  • Exercise:  I plan on doing cardio exercise most days – something low impact like the elliptical trainer on the lowest setting, with the intention not of burning calories but of helping my brain work better, reducing my fasting blood glucose, clearing my head, and exercising my cardiovascular system.  When I do this first thing in the morning I typically have lots of energy all day long.  I started this today with just 10 minutes.  I’ll increase a minute every day or two until I’m at a half hour or so.  In the past, my fasting blood sugar has dropped quickly when I was doing a half hour of biking on level terrain every day.  And it felt great.  I looked forward to it every day and even took off work some days to be sure I got my ride in.
  • Diet:  I plan on continuing with a Paleo diet, including grass fed meat, seafood, vegetables, occasional fruit, lots of fat, and nuts.  I’m going to shoot for 2-3 meals a day, but I’m not going to be hungry.  If I’m hungry I’ll make a mental note to eat more at mealtime the next day, but I’m going to eat, dammit.  Hunger sucks.
  • Yoga  The other day I did a few yoga poses.  I only did the ones that felt good – not the ones that make me feel fat or old.  I didn’t do downward dog or warrior pose, or anything that required flexibility, balance, or strength.  I just did child’s pose and cats pose…and it felt great.  So I’m going to include yoga whenever I remember, only doing the poses that feel good.  Sometimes this may be just savasanah.  If it doesn’t feel good, I’m not doing it.
  • Alcohol:  I’m going to drink alcohol sometimes.  Maybe once a week.  But sometimes.  (Note: More than 3 drinks does NOT feel good.  To me.)
  • BHRT – I’m going to continue with this.  I want to have things in proper balance and then see how I feel.  I’m currently between doctors, which is difficult, but I hope to make contact with a new one this week.
  • Labs – I’m going to get labs done this week and we can see where I’m at with a full thyroid panel (which I’ve never had), HS-CRP, Vitamin D, Adrenal Stress Index, metabolic panel, including VLDL (which I’ve also never had).  I’m also thinking of some kind of test to evaluate for food intolerances.  I’m going to hold off on a hormone panel till the right day of my cycle next month.  This ought to give me some idea of how far I have (or haven’t) come this year, and a baseline for my hedonistic plan going forward.
  • Caffeine and supplements – Yes, and Yes.  Caffeine pills work well for me without affecting my appetite.  I haven’t been taking supplements since I moved…mostly just out of disorganization, but I’ll start again tomorrow.  I’ll detail a list in a future post.

The WON’T list:

  • I won’t be hungry.
  • I wont eat till I’m too full in order to avoid eating between meals.
  • I won’t freeze my ass off if I don’t have to.
  • I won’t eat sugar or artificial sweeteners (much)
  • I won’t drink coffee or tea or anything else that makes me feel hungry after drinking it (much)
  • I won’t eat MSG (if I can avoid it)

Something has to give.  I’m starting to doubt whether or not I can even be happy. Maybe my brain is so damaged from years of poor diet, disordered eating and depression that I just don’t have it in me to feel peaceful and joyful on a daily basis.  I know it’s possible for people to be happy – my husband is a happy person, so I know that despair is not just the human condition.  It’s my condition.  My condition sucks, mentally and physically.  I need to get better.

This plan is about trying to find happiness in the life that I have.  As long as my health sucks my attitude and prognosis remain bleak.  I don’t want my little girl growing up with a crazy, unpredictable, unhappy momma.  I have to fix this.

So my plan involves stopping the rationalizations that say it’s ok to eat the Swedish meatballs at IKEA and “just a bite of chocolate cake won’t hurt”.  It will hurt.  It does hurt.  My gut has hurt all day today because of these.  It involves thinking for myself and not blindly following.  It involves being honest and reporting that I suck at this sometimes.  But I’m not giving up.  I’m mad the world is the way it is with its Food Pyramid and it’s commercials and its Healthy Whole Grains and its brainwashed doctors.  I need to fix myself.  You know, so I can fix the world.

Upswing

Ok, I seem to have turned a corner on the depression.  Last night I was able to get up and be productive.  People keep asking if I’m excited about moving to California.  I’ve tried various responses.  I’ve tried honesty:  “No, not yet.  I’m too busy being sad about leaving people.”  I’ve tried optimism:  “I think I will be soon.  I’m just too focused right now on what needs to be done.”  I’ve tried outright lying: “Yes!” (<– not convincing when said with a shaky voice.)  Bottom line is this – I’m not excited about moving.  Right now it feels like a plan that is completely out of my control and that could take any number of bad turns.  The best case scenario is that we love it out there and we do well at our jobs.  The worst case is that we come back.  That’s not so bad.  I guess the real worst case is that we get buried in an earthquake.  That might be bad.  But unlikely.

Got my results from Life Line Screening.  The testing they did indicate I am not terribly unehealthy in some respects.  I do NOT appear to have lots of plaque buildup in my arteries, nor do I have atrial fibrillation, an aortic aneurysm, osteoporosis, or peripheral artery disease.  Yay! 

I did have a cavity filled at the dentist last week, however. 

Lots of work left to do before leaving in 2 days.

Cheers.

 

Stress and Candy

Yesterday was not great, food wise.  I ate candy at 3:30PM.  I was hungry.  I’ve been hungry a lot lately.  I was just getting the point where I wasn’t getting hungry at lunchtime anymore, and now I’m hungry all the time and not eating enough at mealtimes.  The rest of my meals were paleo-friendly.  I think stress does weird things to a body.

  • Today’s weight: 184.6
  • Fasting blood glucose: 104
  • Breakfast today: pork chops and eggs

I keep writing things and then deleting them, because really…who cares.  I don’t even care about the minutae of my life. 

Usually when I’m feeling stress I can look forward and see the other side of it, and there’s comfort in knowing when it will end.  I don’t see the end these days.  I’m just getting started on this stress rollercoaster.  I haven’t even left yet.  New (much smaller) home, new job, child in daycare for the first time.  The stress is just getting started. 

Ok, that’s it.  I’ve been talking about doing yoga for about 12 years.   Tonight I’m going to start. 

I mean it!

Home

I see now that this move is going to be very difficult.

I’ve picked up and moved several times in my life.  I moved from Milwaukee to Minnesota the day after I graduated college.  I moved to St. Louis 2 years later, and then to Chicago 3 years after that.  Finally up and moved after 11 years in Chicago to where I’m currently living – Small Town Illinois (STI) – for work.  In each of these cases my worldly possessions fit in a car.

I’ve been in STI for 7 years now.

In each move I’ve made I left people.  When I left my hometown my dad didn’t talk to me for 2 months.  When I left Minneapolis I said goodbye to good friends…but it didn’t feel sad.  It was just what people did.  We were in our early 20s and no one stayed anywhere for very long.  When I left St. Louis I was thrilled (didn’t love it there).  And when I left Chicago I knew it was time to go.  But leaving now is the hardest of all of them.

There are people here I really care about, and who care about me.

And I don’t have to leave…I’m choosing to leave.

It feels…not good.

But it still feels right.