my battle for better health,

My Battle for Better Health: Let the Torture Begin!

5/02/2017 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

I've moved! Read this post and more on my new website.

















































































Big things going on right now! They say to achieve a goal, you need to be accountable to someone, and I'm ready to live healthier. So, let's see how this goes...

I never dreamed I'd be sitting here with an appointment for me to see Den's oncologist. Before I scare you too much, don't worry—I don't have cancer! The oncologist is also a hematologist, which is a happy coincidence because, not only do I need one, it's nice to be able to work with a doctor we already know and trust. I've had anemia or borderline anemia most of my life, but it's gotten bad enough that the doctors finally decided to take it seriously. So, a few weeks ago, I was referred to hemotology. We're not sure what causes my low iron levels yet, right now we're focusing on getting my levels up from a 4 to normal range (80ish). So far, it looks like my body doesn't absorb iron properly (at least, it didn't like any of the supplements). So, I'm sitting here waiting for my second infusion of IV iron.

That was a few weeks ago. I haven't had the will or energy to finish this blog post, although I am feeling a bit more energy than before. I just finished my fourth weekly iron infusion. Now, I only have to do once a month, if needed, which means, we can start trying to figure out what's causing the anemia in the first place.

The other big thing is my insulin resistance diagnosis and treatment. The diagnosis isn't a huge shock. It's been a long time coming. In fact, when I first started writing this, I also had prediabetes for the second time. Thankfully, it's gone again.

The crazy part of all this is the treatment. After two very frank talks with my new endocrinologist (who I really like so far), we decided on a course of treatment. It's all about stress management and my diet. She told me that, in my case, it's not really about exercising and eating less. Apparently, between the thyroid, polycystic ovary syndrome (that's one I hadn't heard of), insulin resistance, etc., my body is a storm of hormones and I'm not going to lose weight until we get everything under control. She said even if I exercised all day long* and eat practically nothing, I wouldn't lose weight. The biggest thing that she says will help is completely changing my diet. Right now, my body cannot process carbohydrates/sugar and it is literally poisoning me. Until the insulin resistance gets better, I have a very strict diet to follow. *This doesn't mean stop exercising, it's still VERY important but the hormones and diet are keeping the weight on me.

The endocrinologist handed me a book (The South Beach Diet) and told me to follow a modified version of The South Beach Diet Phase 1 (see the plan below) until I could see the dietitian (about a two month wait). She said to keep the copy—they use it so much that they look for copies at used bookstores and hand it out to patients all the time. That's something I like to hear. First, because if they're going out and buying used copies, they're probably not getting any sort of commission for recommending the book (the company would have been sending them copies). Second, it's nice to not be told to go find the book and buy it on my own (which I probably wouldn't have bothered with, honestly. I've actually had problems with doctors in the past because they were getting paid to push treatments, books, and products on patients.)
So here's the plan. I have a very short list of basic foods I'm allowed to eat, and a huge list of things that are banned (including all sugar additives, whether natural or artificial). However, I can eat as much of the approved food as I want (my list is a bit different than the South Beach diet, as the doctor said I don't have to do low fat). Since I really don't want diabetes or to continue to live like this, I'm going to follow the diet and report to you, my readers.
Yesterday, May 1, 2017, I officially started Phase 1 of The South Beach Diet and weighed 358 pounds (yes, believe me I know. Yikes!), which is literally the most I have ever weighed before. So far, I notice that my appetite is WAY down (mostly because all I'm allowed to eat is food that's hard for me to stomach—very filling and I get nausea very easily). So, I spent a good part of last night avoiding dinner and pouting until I remembered all the housework I wanted to get done and knew I wouldn't make it if I didn't eat. Today hasn't been that fun either, but it is getting a bit easier to not eat like I used to. (Disclaimer: in the past month, even though I wasn't following the diet, I was trying to eat healthier foods, so this probably helped.)
I'll try to report back to you once a week and let you know how things are progressing. Today, I ate onion rings without the breading. It really sucked. But yesterday, I discovered my new favorite treat! Nugget Markets carry whole young coconuts that are peeled and shaved down to a thin shell, so you can stick in a straw and drink the coconut water! Makes me feel like I'm at a resort. But the dang things cost $5 a pop, so it's going to be just an occasional treat.

Foods I've forced myself to eat so far:
Milk, almonds, plain chicken nuggets (yes, I messed up and ate them breaded. I forgot about the breading until they were sitting in front of me and didn't have the will to try and eat something else), beef and broccoli with mushrooms (which was actually really good), and onion rings (with the breading taken off, which I mentioned before, but I'm just checking to see if you're still awake), tofu with cinnamon and vanilla, refried beans with cheese and hot sauce.

Foods I'm allowed to eat:
Meats
Dairy (as long as no sugar or other sweeteners are added)
Vegetables (except carrots, beets, corn, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
Eggs
Nuts
Seeds (like sesame and sunflower seeds)
Tofu
Seafood

You can probably see why this has had me freaked out a bit. Here's a basic list of some of the banned foods:
Starches (baked goods, pasta, rice, etc.), fruit (too much sugar for now, so I'll be getting my vitamins elsewhere), and all sugar and sweeteners.

****NEVER change your diet or health care without consulting a medical professional, which I am not! I am just sharing my experience with you.****

My goals

I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.

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