Monday, July 22, 2013

The Road to Wellville--Mile Post 1

If you haven't seen the film or read the novel with the same title, I highly recommend it.  It's hilarious and based upon true characters and events (somewhat)--check out a synopsis here:

In earlier posts, I've mentioned trying just about every diet (plant-based, low-carb, etc) and many alternative treatments.  Some made sense and others, like in the film, seemed pretty ridiculous.  Several years ago, when I was too sick to get to work much of the time, I went to my doctor.  This was an MD in internal medicine.  So many tests were run.  My insides were examined via ultrasound only to find nothing wrong.  Meanwhile I could barely eat, had debilitating stomach pain, nausea, bloating, heartburn, and needed to always be close to a bathroom.  I also began having severe panic attacks almost daily.  I was diagnosed with IBS and told to start Prevacid.  Two years later, when experiencing severe post-partum anxiety and depression in addition to the other symptoms, I started Zoloft, which my doctor told me often helps IBS as well.  It did.  My digestive problems lessened as did the anxiety.  But.....I still had stomach aches, bloating, and some intestinal issues (just not nearly as bad). 

After giving birth to Liam in 2010, I returned to the gym doing Zumba 3-4 days a week and running every other day.  I could barely run for 30 seconds when I first started, but within a year I was able to run an 8K.  I also joined Weight Watchers and went gluten-free at the suggestion of my first naturopath.  I lost the baby weight.  I started my pregnancy at 125 lbs, was 170 at the end, and by the time Liam was 2, I was 122 lbs.  But I still felt bad.  The gluten-free diet did not help me at all.  In fact, I felt worse.  I had aches and pains, sciatic nerve problems, and gained 15 lbs over the next few months.  I was exhausted all the time.  I couldn't think clearly. My hair started falling out. My eczema and acne returned.

This past winter, I began seeing my daughter's naturopath and also went to see my new MD at Kaiser.  They ran full blood panels.  According to my MD, I was fine.  Nothing wrong at all.  My naturopath said nothing was alarming, however my thyriod, vitamin B, and iron levels were lower than optimal.  She determined that I have "leaky gut" and therefore malabsorption of certain minerals.  I am now on a ton of supplements.  I can't attest to their effectiveness yet since it's only been 2 weeks. 

The other radical change (and huge financial investment) I've made is leaving 24 Hour Fitness after many years to join a strength training gym, Clackamas Physical Conditioning.  It's like a Crossfit gym, but does not operate under the "crossfit" brand.  The gym requires that you do 6 sessions of personal training and pass a form test before officially joining classes.  About 50% of the people who do this pass the test the first time.  Last Friday, I had my last training session and Saturday morning I passed the test without much difficulty (those back squats are hard!).  Tuesday I go to my first real class and I'm a bit nervous. 

Today also marks my renewed commitment to Paleo eating.  I attended a basic Paleo nutrition class yesterday offered at the gym and the owner suggested making small changes incrementally to ease into this very difficult way of eating.  In this blog post, you can read Jason's philosophy on baby stepping into Paleo. So this week, my baby step is to not snack after dinner.  No, eating at night does not break any Paleo rules, but it's when I'm likely to break them via crunchy or sweet snacks.  snacking while watching tv at night is a habit, and we all know that to break a habit you need to: a) find the cause of the undesired behavior, and b) find a replacement behavior.  The cause of my snacking is simply that I associate it with tv watching and it occupies my hands.  What else could do this?  Tonight, I am going to file and paint my nails.  I'll let you know how that works out.

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