Sunday, February 14, 2016

Long and Quite Possibly Interesting Only to Me . . .


Here's "the rest of the story" about yesterday's short and not-so-sweet post.

I was talking with my OB/GYN this week - seriously what else is there to do while you're looking at the ceiling? ;-)  He's been my doc for more than 25 years, and even though we only see each other once a year, we always seem to have a lot to talk about when we do.  He said something very simply in passing conversation.  We were talking about the size of my ass (well, not directly) and inflammation.

I said, "It's been a lifelong struggle for me, and it just seems so unfair that I cannot eat like everyone else."

He nodded and said,  "Your body doesn't tolerate simple sugars, and it's not going to get any easier as you get older."

When I say simple sugars, I am talking about refined, processed sugars - like the kind in cupcakes and candy. I'm not talking about the naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables, and other "real food" food sources.

I have spent a lifetime struggling with this.  I really would like to be able to eat sweet treats with impunity - which is what I imagine the entire rest of the world can do.  And you would think it would be a simple matter to let something go that hurts you.  Clearly that's not so - I mean there would be no greeting card industry, and popular music would be decimated if we could all let go of/break up with what hurts us in a reasonable and logical manner.

And so - after my foray into being an Ovo-Pescetarian a few years ago at the behest of my primary care doctor (well, my bloodwork numbers, actually), I stopped eating that way.  I went back to old habits because The Strict Program for Three Months was draconian, and unsustainable over the long haul.  Or so I thought. Having my kitchen be under construction for a month last year didn't help because I don't make good choices when I'm getting take out. Since I allowed sugar and highly processed foods back into daily rotation in my world, it's been a slow, painful slide down a long, slippery slope. 

And here I am again.

The black ice slip that torqued my knee a few weeks ago didn't help, but the right side of my body is in constant, low-grade pain.  Again.  Inflammation is rampant.  Again.  I'm back up to two anti-inflammatories a day.  Again.  And I'm having to ice regularly.  And I am too large.

And so, when my doc casually said, "your body doesn't tolerate simple sugars," the lightbulb went on over my head.

No makeup.  No hair (it's cold, I wear hats in the house when it's cold).  Sucky-writer-with-a-Photoshop-pen.  Try not to judge  ;-)

I really cannot tolerate simple sugars, and, as I look back over my life I have never been able to.  I have many memories from childhood surrounding digestive and intestinal issues.  Nobody knew anything about this stuff back then.  You just ate what you were given, and, unless it made you stop breathing, you stumbled along as best you could.  This is nothing new - hence the lightbulb.  It's been there for my entire like, and, apparently, it's never going to go away.  When I quit eating chocolate, lo these many years ago, it was likely the sugar that was the culprit in how I felt.

In the past two weeks I was made aware of something called Bright Line Eating.  I did not pony up nearly a grand (Really, Susan Peirce Thompson? Really???) to join Susan Peirce Thompson's "boot camp," (I'll wait for the book), but I am going to follow her blog for awhile because her process makes some sense to me. I already have "bright lines" with some behaviors, such as smoking and eating chocolate.  A bright line is a legal term that means, in essence, a line in the sand that you just don't cross.  Ever.

I used to be a smoker.  I'm not anymore.  I don't have a puff here or there.  I can't.  I don't smoke.  Period.  End of story.  I used to eat chocolate.  I don't anymore. It makes me sick and gives me horrible mood swings.  I don't eat it.  Ever.  Period.  End of story.

I have great strength when it comes to this stuff - but I (clearly) exercise it selectively where food things are concerned, and, up until now, sugar was not consistently one of those things. But now it is.  It has to be.  So I'm back to a slightly modified form of The Strict Program for Three Months.  Now you can call me a Flexitarian - that's a semi-vegetarian.  I like it  :-) And, to me, it means I'm an acolyte of Michael Pollan:

Oh! I almost forgot!  I have a new and exciting place for inflammation:  My right shoulder.  It's really The No-Fun Plan.  Attempting to get gel ice secured on my shoulder without making it hurt even worse was a painful horror show, and in the midst of it I came to another realization:  icing (not the kind you put on a cake) is obviously going to be a part of whatever is left of the rest of my life, even if I do get this inflammation under some modicum of control.   So I invested in some gear that should make that easier.

It's arriving today (thank you Amazon).

This is a very powerful meditation from Doreen Virtue about cutting cords of past and present pain.


Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic several years ago, which means that I have had to watch my sugar intake. I was lax about it. I was raised with the attitude that food wouldn't hurt you. Well, I have acid reflux. So, yes, food can hurt you. I hate having stomach aches from something that shouldn't hurt. I have to watch spices, sugar, fat [greasy foods really amp up the acid] acid-y foods and fruits. It's a hard road to climb, but each day does get a bit easier. My most recent A1C test has shown that I am not diabetic, but I'm on a slippery slope, so I can go in either direction quickly.

It is hard to change how we eat. It is so easy to grab something easy off the store shelf or the drive-thru [especially if you are single!]. We've been indoctrinated over the years by the food processors with so many ingredients that are bad for us. We really do need to get back to the basics. We really need to make our meals from scratch. We really need to be in control of our bodies.

Annie, you are not the only one struggling. Not that that helps, but you need to know that you are not alone. One day at a time. Every new day is a new start. My brother has a T-shirt that says "Physical fitness is a journey." That is something that I try to remember. It can be done. We can eat healthier. So many health problems are reversible. We just have to DO it.

We need to be mindful of the things that we put into our mouths. Eating a more plant-based diet is wise. I have noticed that I don't crave sweets or desserts if I eat more fruits. The natural sugars help keep those cravings suppressed. And the natural sugars don't spike the A1C blood test.

Please be careful about taking anti-inflammatories. They can wreak havoc on your stomach lining. I have arthritis in several places and have found ginger helps with the pain. Ginger is a natural analgesic. It has helped greatly with my arthritis. I usually have 1/2 tsp. of ground ginger in my morning oatmeal. Also cinnamon helps lower blood sugar. Natural remedies that even my doctors agree with.

Love seeing your sun room and all the plants. Your amaryllis is doing well. It will send up a flower stalk one of these days and you will be happy with the blooms. It is a beautiful flower.

Janice H.

Michelle said...

Janice is right; you are NOT the only one struggling (and knowing that doesn't make it easier). "Lifestyle diseases" (heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc.) have skyrocketed in the last few generations; the movie "Forks Over Knives" (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) details some of the clear reasons for this. Refined foods – particularly white sugar and white flour – are terrible for ALL of us, although yes, some tolerate the poisons more than others.

You are loved, and you are worthy of feeling better. You can do this; you WILL do this! Again, I wish we could be neighbors (only I won't leave the country and you won't leave Chicagoland ;-) because we would be great cheerleaders for each other.

BTW, LOVE what I've heard and read of Michael Pollan, and love that particular quote, even if I would go so far personally as to say "ALL from plants."

A :-) said...

Janice and Michelle - thank you both very much for your kind and supportive words. You both have given me a real boost :-)

And Janice - yes, I'm careful with the NSAID. I never take more than advised, and often less, but when I'm in the midst of a bad cycle of pain (like now) I take the full dose as directed :-)

Michelle - yes, somehow we are supposed to be neighbors and besties, I'm sure of it :-)

Ely said...

I had never heard of Thompson or this Bright Line Eating system. And yeah, wow, is it not cheap! Even doing a google search doesn't reveal the secret sauce per se, which I guess makes sense if you're spending that much, and the vlog has helpful information so really you can piece together the BLS and Weight Watchers and create your own workable way of life system.

At the end of the day you've pinpointed that sugar does you in in a BIG way. But you keep returning back to this place so what is it that keeps returning you back to this path. You're not compelled to answer this in a public way, but so often you're positive and moving forward, and then something happens and you're hurting again. We don't want that for you, and you're doing so much in other parts of your life to be more free!

I'm big on action plans and so having a 'come to Jesus' moment usually leads to lists and ideas on how to stay on track. So for instance maybe it would be helpful to menu plan, designate one day to cook, and then portion out everything for the week?

A :-) said...

Yes, Ely - the secret sause is definitely under wraps although she did a series of three four videos about it - enought to generate interest, and then hit you with the $997 to continue to actually learn it.

Already had the Come to Jesus meeting with myself - more than once, I'm afraid. I do have a plan and I'm sticking to it :-)