Saturday, February 8, 2020

Food Glorious Food

I have a long and sordid history with food... mostly caused by the diet industry.  I'm fat.  I've been fat since I hit puberty.  For the most part I've resisted dieting but succumbed once in high school and once in the late 80s.  Both times I lost weight which I gained back during the couple of years afterwards which keeps me in line with the science studies on the matter.

Then there is the health side of things.  I knew my body reacted badly to some types of food.  I was raised in the era of Wonderbread and Twinkies.  My mother did her best to put meat and veg on the table for our meals but we were also poor and the good stuff ran out pretty fast.  If we were still hungry jam sandwiches were often the solution. 

When I went off to college, I did the whole vegetarian thing and ate lots of grains, beans and tofu.  Then the new food pyramid came out encouraging us to eat 9-12 helpings of grain/bread per day.  I was like "woohoo!!! I LOVE sandwiches!".  I also learned about hypoglycemia around that time and it sounded really familiar.  Back then it was considered quack science so I didn't get very far with it.

After graduation, I dropped the vegetarian thing out of practicality.  Working full time I didn't have time to prepare food from scratch everyday and restaurants didn't serve anything like the yummy meals available today.  A vegetarian meal often consisted of cheese pizza.

Then the 80s hit and fat became the boogeyman.  This is when I went on my first legitimate low fat diet.  While I initially lost a ton of weight, after eating low fat for 20 years I gained a ton of weight.  I became prediabetic and had heartburn.  I became intolerant to gluten and went gluten free.  Luckily it was before pre-made baked goods so if I wanted something GF I had to make it from scratch which meant no more bread, cereal or pastas.

This is about the time I revisited hypoglycemia and found the glycemic index.  I rejiggered my diet so that I ate low glycemic foods and changed the time of day when I ate certain things.  My energy levels improved but my weight stayed the same.

Once I contracted CFS/ME I learned about the Paleo Diet, GAPS diet and Weston Price Diet.  I decided to combine all three and went on whole foods paleo diet that included the healing foods from GAPS.  While I felt better, my weight didn't budge then I started gaining again.  Over 8 years my weight crept up by ~100lbs and I was now at 322.  At 5'2", I was around 60 BMI. UGH

Then two years ago all hell broke loose with my gut.  I've been having problems with it on and off since the first day I contracted CFS/ME.  I'd go through bouts where I couldn't eat solid food and fat bothered me the most.  Lots of nausea, IBS, diarrhea, etc.  But, this time it was accompanied by brutal stabbing pain in my left side.  I went through a huge battery of tests.  The results were fatty liver and fatty pancreas.  Nothing that explained the ab pain or the 'not being able to eat' problem.  The did find evidence of stomach lining inflammation but nothing active.  I got put on meds. 

Then I discovered that keto is the only fix for fatty liver.  I started paleo again.  I weaned off the stomach meds.  Then weaned off carbs to keto levels.  My meals consisted of protein for breakfast, lots of veg and a side of meat for my main meal and a small protein and fat snack for the third meal.  Weight started dropping off even though that wasn't my goal.

My liver numbers came down.  My blood sugar numbers were good.  I was no longer prediabetic.  I lost 18 pounds.  Then my stomach acted up again and I couldn't eat any fat.  It was back to turkey sandwiches and chicken soup.  I had to go back on the stomach meds.  This cycle happened twice more: keto diet, gut acting up, paleo diet, gut acting up, etc. 

Now I just can't seem to get back in the groove.  I last a couple of days and then cheat.  I use the keto rules to cheat on paleo and the paleo rules to cheat on keto.  I can't quite figure out what has me stuck.  The cycle of diet/gut fail or the fact that I used to be so poor that I often didn't get enough food to eat or my outright hatred of diets/weight control. 

Thing is I felt GREAT on keto.  I had tons of energy; my PEM was drastically reduced; and my brain fog lifted so I could read again.  And my liver was healing!  My doctor did a liver biopsy this year and it came back with no fibrosis which really shocked him.  Even my liver scan number came down by a lot.

I feel defeated.  I feel out of control.  I just can't seem to do this again even though I did really well before.  I managed 2 years the first time I did paleo and 4-5 months with the last year's paleo/keto round.  There is SO much junk food on the market now.  It makes finding 'keto' snacks easy and on bad days it is so hard for me to prep fresh meals.  I feel like a failure.  Like I don't want to get better. 

I want to come up with a food plan but I'm scared I won't stick to it again.  I'll cheat too much.  Right now I'm eating cough drops due to having a nasty upper respiratory infection and I refuse to use the sugar free drops because of the nasty stuff in them.  That means keto is definitely out for now.  I guess I'll start on paleo once I get off the cough drops. 

Maybe I need to get my mind off weight loss and switch to liver health again.  I still have a ways to go to fix it.  My numbers improved but I still have a fatty liver.  I can't make up my mind if I want to do this cold turkey this time instead of my normal easing into things.  Then again my body doesn't do well with sudden changes.  I need to come up with a better plan.  One that is both food and mental. 

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