Triggers

I have narrowed down one of my main triggers for over eating and making poor food choices. Dinner. It seems that I can make good food choices up until about 4 pm. Even if I have the will power to fix a healthy and balanced meal I tend to stuff myself senselessly during dinner. The strange thing is that I am rarely hungry in the evening. I eat dinner because I’m supposed to not because I need the calories. I believe I over eat simply because at the end of the day I’m dead tired. In my mind I have made the erroneous link that if I increase my calorie intake in the evenings I will have the energy I need to power through my household chores. But the truth if the matter is that those extra calories in the evening are just that-extra calories. They do nothing but derail my weight loss goals. So I am going to experiment with having no “dinner” in the afternoon. I will consume the majority of my calories early in the day and simply have a smoothie for dinner. The smoothie will give me enough calories so that I won’t wake up starving the next morning. Hopefully this will help me change my habit of over eating in an effort to combat my fatigue levels.

Advertisements

To Wheat or Not to Wheat

Wheat

Wheat (Photo credit: Big Grey Mare)

Right now I am trying to decide whether wheat products have a place in my plant based diet.  On one hand there are plenty of websites stating that wheat was not a part of original human diet and should be avoided.  On the other hand, whole wheat has been linked to lower CRP levels indicating an anti-inflammatory effect in consuming whole wheat.  There is also the controversy in what exactly constitutes a whole wheat product.  Different “whole wheat” products produce varying degrees of anti-inflammatory effects.

Right now the jury is still out for me.  I plan to continue my research on whole wheat and then make a decision if and to what degree they belong in my diet. I tend to be less bloated and less hungry when I avoid wheat products. However that may be due to the fact that my diet tends to be higher in fiber and lower in calories when I avoid wheat.  So I don’t know if it is the wheat or the diet changes that come about from avoiding wheat. But for right now I will be keeping wheat to a minimum.

In other news I saw my rheumatologist yesterday-I get to take low dose prednisone for a month!  Oh well.  In any healthy journey there are ups and down and roadblocks.  Prednisone is a roadblock but I plan to go around it.  I am hoping that by limiting processed carbohydrates that I can avoid any prednisone munchies.  I’m hoping that by eating a diet high in good carbs my tendency to crave carbohydrates when I’m taking the prednisone will be avoided.  My goal is to be at least 5 lbs lighter when I have my follow up visit in a month.  We shall see!

Trust

Exercise Area

Exercise Area (Photo credit: VictoriaJZ)

Trust is a funny thing.  If you trust in someone or something it is total and all encompassing.  Your faith in them or that thing is a fact-unmoving and unyielding in the face of adversity.  Doubt is quickly pushed aside in the face of trust.  Belief defies knowledge and logic.  Trust, once broken, can leave a gaping hole in what was once a deep and fulfilling relationship.

Whether we know it or not we have a deep and enduring trust with our bodies.  We expect our bodies to obey our commands.  Those simple reflexes such as breathing and our beating heart are not given a second thought.  Our health is seen as a fact-unchanging and forever until it is not.  When our trust in the strength of our body is broken, when our bodies betray us and fail to perform at the condition we are accustom to-if we live-our trust is broken.

That is what chronic illness does.  Yes, we can vow to treasure our bodies once again.  We can treat our bodies like the precise instrument they are.  I know I have vowed to do just this.  I now have a new appreciation for what my body does.  One thing that RA has taught me is to treasure my body.  I now focus on eating clean because I now understand that my body needs me to help it work at its optimum level. Before my body failed me I took my role in good health for granted.

But no matter how much I now appreciate what my body does for me the trust has been broken.  I have been living in the fear of the next time my body would let me down.  Wondering when I would once again be blindsided by my body’s inability to support me in the daily tasks of life.

But today something changed.  Maybe it is the fact that I have been taking care of my body.  Or perhaps I have finally begun to listen and read the signs my body has been giving me all along.  Whatever the change is today I took the first steps in once again trusting that my body is strong, capable, and stronger than I give it credit for.

It was a simple decision but for me it was an act of faith.  I went to the gym.  My mind told me that it was too much.  The fatigue told me that once again 8 hours of work were all that I was capable of.  Stiffness threatened to keep me at home. But today I trusted my body.  I have been eating for nourishment. I have also gone back on my medication.  I made the choice to believe that my body was capable of more than I gave it credit for. That it was able to take care of me like I was not taking care of it. Even though I didn’t think I could complete an exercise routine on any level I had faith that my body would rise to the occasion.  And it did.  Even through the stiffness and persistent pain my body supported my goal of movement.

I can’t say that I will ever have the blind trust in my body ever again.  There will be days that no matter how much both my will and body want to accomplish a task chronic illness will win.  I accept that.  But I also relish the relationship I am forming with my body.  I am learning that it is strong and capable of fighting for quality of life with me.  And that goes a long way toward restoring trust.

Small Victories

I still don’t know what is wrong with my skin.  The rash doesn’t look as angry as it did last week but it isn’t completely gone.  I have a few areas that still look ugly but my main issue now is that my skin feels dry and scaly.  Thankfully I have good skin care products that are disguising how messed up my face still is.  Hopefully when I finally get in to see the dermatologist they can shed some light on the situation.

I am still trying to keep up with my clean eating lifestyle.  Right now it has been difficult because I am in a little bit of emotional duress and I am a stress eater.  What I can say that even my bad days look like a good day before my lifestyle change. I am endeavoring to find ways to channel my emotions into something useful.  The past few weeks I have been burying myself in late spring cleaning. It is constructive (my cabinets really did need to be organized) and it keeps me from thinking about my problems.  And it is so much healthier than drowning my sorrows in donuts.

So I’ve not had any new breakthrough the last few days.  But sometimes staying the course under adversity (even if there is some stumbling along the way) is a form of success.  I am proud that I haven’t completely thrown in the towel because life and my disease have been harder than I wish.  Instead I staggered forward, determined not to go backward. Today I am counting this determination as a victory.

Staying the Course Dispite . . .

50:365 - Allergy Relief Pinks*

50:365 – Allergy Relief Pinks* (Photo credit: Nomadic Lass)

So, I have a rash.  On my FACE!  I’ve turned into an itchy bumpy monster and I don’t know what to do about it.  I don’t even know what could have caused it but I fear that it may be due to my recent increase in my MTX dosage.  It seems like a rash can be a rare side effect of this medication.  Nothing in my routine has changed in the last few weeks except me increasing my total MTX dosage. I’m not sure what to do right now.  The only thing that controls the discomfort is Benadryl.  I am alternating between topical Benadryl and the pills.

Right now the plan is to call my rheumatologist office and see if they think that the MTX could be what is causing the rash.  I will also try to get an appointment with my primary care physician for them to check me out.  Maybe I have developed an allergic reaction to something I routinely come into contact with. Even if my primary can’t diagnose what is causing this rash maybe they can get me a referral to a dermatologist.  If I make my own appointment the office has a 3 months waiting list.  Maybe my primary can get me in sooner.

If my rheumatologist thinks my outbreak is a rare side effect from the MTX I don’t know what I will do.  This rash, if it is from the increased dosage of the MTX, is not an acceptable side effect. I will have to come off of it.  My symptoms are not currently under control so the thought of coming off the medication is scary. I don’t know what our next step would be.  We increased my dosage because my symptoms were returning-stepping down my dosage would be inviting a full-fledged flare.

To be honest I’m kind of scared.   Once again something is going wrong in my body and there is nothing I can do about it.  Tomorrow I will begin trying to figure out what has gone awry in my body.  Hopefully this latest health hiccup will be quickly resolved.  I have to remember that this bump in the road must not throw me off of my road to health.  I will continue to eat healthily, increase my activity level, and search for health.  Sure my face feels like it is on fire-but that is not an excuse to undo the progress I have been making.

Relaxing the Rules

Chicken sandwich on an onion roll served with ...

Chicken sandwich on an onion roll served with onion rings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many diet books recommend a “cheat” meal once a week as a way of keeping cravings under control.  Often this meal consists of high calorie and low nutrient foods.  Having a cheat meal is supposed to give the dieter a reward for strictly adhering to the dietary restrictions during the rest of the time.  Personally, I don’t believe in cheat meals.  I believe the idea of cheating or a rewarding oneself for eating healthy unconsciously signals people to think of a healthy lifestyle as something to be endured.  I simply relax the rules of my clean regimen during the weekends or for special occasions.  I also believe it is important to indulge in calorie dense/nutrient poor meals from time to time-but for a totally different reason that is given by many diet experts.

I find that having a fat laden, high sodium, and nutrient poor meal allows me to remember how horrible I felt when those types of foods were my primary choices in my day to day diet.  It is the bloating and sluggish aftermath after indulging in these “delicacies” that send my running back to my plant based clean diet.  This week I went out to dinner with a friend.  I had already planned to relax my clean eating rules and indulge in anything that caught my eye at the restaurant.  After studying the menu I decided that the chicken buffalo sliders with house made potato chips looked too good to pass up.

Just one hour after finishing this meal I was miserable.  Not only did my stomach rebel but my energy levels plummeted. I did not feel nourished after the meal like I normally do. Instead, it was like my entire system was in revolt.  Sure I enjoyed the food.  Fried chicken sandwiches paired with potato chips are still one of my favorite combinations.  But the price I had to pay after eating that meal was high.  I spent the next couple of days gladly loading up on fruits and vegetables trying to get my system back balanced after that indulgence.  What I took away from my meal was how much I appreciate how my healthier food choices make me feel.  Was that the last time I indulge in those spicy sliders?  No. I believe that sometimes we need to be reminded of why we make clean food choices.  And for me, nothing does that better than the after effects of non-clean meal.