Growing up as an athlete, weight was not a problem… until my teen years. I stayed fit multiple ways; there was soccer, gymnastics, swimming, roller skating and ice skating, field hockey, tennis, weight training and the list goes on. As an adult, I controlled my weight by eating healthy, walking, weight training, waitressing, bartending, nursing, biking, swimming, pilates, yoga. I even taught pilates for a year when Drew Elizabeth was a baby. Best shape I’ve ever been in, and I was 35 and had 2 kids! I love pilates and thought I’d do it forever, but then I started my graduate program, and my exercise habits took a slow slide into the dumpster.
I was over 40 when my weight was creeping up, quickly, and I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong… I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! It all started just after my brother’s wedding in April 2012. My goal has been to get back into that dress.
April 2012, 40 years old and feeling good (before the gain).
So, when I hopped on the scale at the Y in January, I thought it was broken. I know that sounds like a joke, but, I really did. I went to my friend’s house. I told her I needed to use her scale, because I didn’t own one and the one at the Y had to be broken. I came back down the stairs stunned.
The scale wasn’t broken.
I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! WTF! How the hell did that happen???
I had a plan. I joined the 3 month weight loss program at the Y. I went to cardio classes at 5:30am, which is almost impossible for me (Fibro is a chronic fatigue disorder), but I did it. I was doing weight training, I was walking. I was working out 6-7 times a week, even won highest attendance in that contest. I lost 4 pounds in 3 months… What?? That’s it!! 4 pounds! I have never had trouble losing weight. It’s never been easy, but I know how to get it done. Well, I thought I did. I was struggling.
Off to the doctors… primary doc, endocrine doc, neither of them thought there was a medical problem. Katie was just gaining weight, it happens when women turn 40. WHAT!?! NO! That was not acceptable. But, what was I to do. I kept struggling.
In March 2014, I was heavier than I had been when I was full term pregnant with either of my children. This couldn’t be happening. How was this happening. I was crying almost every day when I got dressed. I didn’t want to get dressed. I was so depressed and disappointed with myself.
I went to a friend’s 50th birthday party and a college roommate’s wedding that month. I was so very happy for them, and I hated how I felt inside and how I looked on the outside.
I hid. These are the only pictures I can find of me at that time.
Top right, February 2014, before I knew, I was swollen and inflamed. Left and bottom right are about 4 weeks into my purge. You can see my face is a bit less swollen. But, my stomach was so upset in both of these pictures. I can still remember, and it was almost 7 years ago.
I had an epiphany one day reading a Fibro blog, I clicked on a link to yeast allergy because I was somewhat familiar. I was worried I might have some of those symptoms. OMG… Did I have some of the symptoms??? I. Had. Every. One.
Let’s see if I can remember them all…
- dry skin
- stomach upset
- asthma (it got so bad I went back on meds I hadn’t been taking for years!)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- thinning hair
- yeast infections (yup, those kind of yeast infections!)
- sleep problems
- dandruff, with fungal patches on my scalp
- UTI (never had a UTI except when I was prego)
- major sugar cravings
- mood swings
- the list seems to go on and on…
So, what to do? Fortunately, I’ve got this friend… Thank God I have all kinds of knowledgeable friends. Remember, Kathy, the allergy RN from my allergy posts? She got a text real quick… not only did she agree with me, she thought the same thing when she’d seen me the previous week.
So, how do I fix it?!?!? Avoid the following:
- Processed, packaged foods
- Vinegar, anything vinegar based
- Leftovers past 24-36 hours old, they start to grow organisms, a healthy GI tract can tolerate this, mine could not.
- Yogurt has a ton of sugar, beware.
- All berries/grapes and other fruits naturally have fungal organism, that white mold that shows up after 5-6 days. Our GI system should be able to break that down, unless it’s inflamed and leaky, like mine was!
- Breads with yeast (flatbread and crackers would be ok on occasion)
- Wheat is a cross-contaminant, so I should avoid that.
- Wine (!problem!) I had to do all this AND avoid wine… because it’s fermented. Oh, champagne is even more fermented. (A girl’s gotta have sip on occasion, so I do enjoy a mimosa (or 2) here and there!)
- Alcohol is fermented. (…but Vodka is distilled!)
- Change to coconut and olive oil, avoid vegetable oils because they are inflammatory, be sure to buy quality items.
- Balance your Omega 3 oils with your Omega 6 oils. (Fish oil, tuna, coconut, olive are Omega 3 sources.) I get my coconut oil here.
So, basically that leaves veggies and meats, with no marinade. I did come up with some good dinners like this one. This was actually last nights, and it was yummy.
Chicken with fresh lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, italian spices over baby spinach with peas and sweet potatoes. Now that I’ve changed, I think this is scrumptious. Actually, it was!!
I’ve learned more about cooking with dry spices, and now wouldn’t do anything else.
I’ve learned that I prefer to put my meat on a bed of greens, and don’t really need salad dressing if I have it that way. Good luck finding salad dressing without vinegar or soy. Soy is a huge inflammatory. I avoid it at all cost, along with the other inflammatory foods.
What I’ve learned in my research over the past few years is that inflammation is the root of most health issues, including obesity. Now that I know that, I look back at the struggles I had in my life with my weight, my fibro, my asthma, my skin, my irritable bowel, my anxiety, and it all makes so much sense. It was all because of food intolerances and gut imbalance that I knew nothing about. I know I’m not alone… look at the obesity epidemic in this society.
I encourage anyone that has weight challenges to learn about inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. Knowing this knowledge will change your world.
Besides diet changes, what should you do:
- Probiotics to help balance the gut.
- B-complex, Vit C 1000-2000 mg, Vit D 2000-5000 IU each day, omega 3. Most multis don’t have enough in them unless they are a high dose. In my recent readings, I’m learning more about the CRUCIAL role of Vit D, which is really a hormone, and essential.
- Purge from the above foods listed for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, then slowly try to reintroduce some things. Still only eat them on occasion. Adding fermented foods back into your diet is helpful for a healthy gut if you don’t have candida.
- Exercise, at least 3/x week, but daily activity is important.
- Find ways to manage your stress, this is crucial! Cortisol changes everything. High cortisol makes is really hard to be healthy in multiple ways.
- 8ish hours sleep should be a minimum. WE HEAL WHEN WE SLEEP!!
- Change your cookware to avoid non-stick chemicals like teflon. I use solid ceramic Xtrema by Ceramcor.
- I have found that eating Paleo/Anti-inflammatory is the way to go for me. I have decreased my grain intake significantly.
There wasn’t anything easy about it. I honestly didn’t think I’d see the day I got back into the dress I wore to my brother’s wedding. But I have, comfortably.
This was part of my journey that was and continues to be a real struggle. I wanted to share, because I think there are an awful lot of people out there going through what I went through. You don’t have to.
Of all the chapters I’ve lived, I must say, this was a really tough one. I have learned an awful lot from this part of my journey, and now I can share some pretty important health information with others.
I knew I needed to write this post when I first learned what was going on. I prayed my journey would have a happy ending. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I’m writing and telling you all about the successes. I hope it helps you!
January 2016, 44 years old, 50 pounds lighter than my max weight. BAM! HELL YEAH!