Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Love/Hate Relationship With Food Since My Diagnosis

This is a hard thing for me to talk about and a post I had been dreading for awhile. Maybe even more so than the pain itself. It wasn't until a few months ago that I could even say the word "weight" without starting to cry. I have gone up and down on the scale in the past but never like this. Once I got into my college routine I naturally lost enough weight to a point where I was incredibly comfortable with where I was. I walked (read as: pretty much ran) miles a day and was too busy to snack. At my smallest I was a size 4. Before my pain started, as long as I was continuing to run around like a mad woman, I could eat what I want and manage to maintain.

I think it first started when I was working after graduation in my new job. I was so physically and mentally exhausted from my job that I just ordered take out all the time. After I was diagnosed and my pain hit me like a ton of bricks, food became even trickier for me. After I was disability from work, I couldn't grocery shop or stand long enough to cook anything I bought so I needed to eat things that were instant and continued the take out trend.

Even once I moved home, I solely relied on my parents all of my food. Days that I had major, major pain, I told myself I deserved it and ate literally anything and everything with little to no exercise or even mobility. There were months I couldn't move- period. It was a good day if I made it up the stairs.  Naturally, 2 years in, I went from a size 6 to a 14 and gained 50lbs. It's still hard for me. I've received a general amount of pressure from my weight gain--when I gained my most weight I was self conscious about people seeing me eat.

But once the pain kicked, that was it. I used food as crutch and I was fully aware of it. I didn't care if it wasn't good for me because good food made me happy and I figured once I was "better", I would lose the weight. Good plan, right? (Side note: I love cooking/baking/eating in general. I am a huge foodie and at one point in college I seriously considered being a food stylist.) It was my only form of control I felt like I had on my worst days. At that point, I couldn't control my pain and I just felt lost. I had a closet full of clothes that didn't fit. On any given day with pain (which was most of them), I would say to myself "I deserve ice cream for dealing with this shit." Or mashed potatoes. Or anything. I just wanted so badly to feel comfortable.

If I had pain and was hungry, at least I knew I could solve my hunger. If I could physically make it out to a restaurant (rare), I went buck wild and ordered the most ridiculous thing I could fathom, usually including apps, entrees and dessert. In my old days, if I had gotten to this point weight wise, I'd be dieting and doing serious gym time. But once I was diagnosed, I had masked my depression with cooking and baking when I was able to.

Limitations are still my problem. I can plan a week's worth of meals, feel good, go out and buy the groceries and then have 3 bad days after that. By that time, all my groceries would go bad. I've also had to take into consideration things like hypoglycemia (caused by my trigger points) requiring me to eat every 2-4 hours (which I'm still not used to) or my whole body starts shaking, sweating and I start to throw up. With the severity of my acid reflux, I have a STRONG sense of smell since my nose surgery and there are certain foods that even if I smell, I throw up. I've been working for months to figure out how to make a good salad dressing because every single dressing in the grocery store has vinegar/mustard, which is another ingredient I've had strong reactions too. I've cut alcohol (which I never drank much in the first place) soda, and coffee out of my diet. There will be another post on this, but alcohol was not just cut out of my diet for GERD purposes---it dehydrates my body/muscles and made my pain worse.

Now I need to have healthy meals/snacks consistently (which sounds easy, but I always thought I was invincible and skipped meals if I got too busy) and watch things that trigger my acid reflux. The other major issue has always been my over-ambitiousness to lose the weight--I would work out so hard that I would hurt myself. This would cause me to be bedridden from days to weeks. Because of my low blood pressure from hypermobility, I also get extremely dizzy so I also need to keep a lot of salt in my diet.

Now that I am slowly getting better, I am starting to see a difference. I've seen a dietician several times and now have a personal trainer who specializes in chronic pain. My trainer is helping significantly and I am finally starting to get excited about going to work out! I'm start understand what's hurting, when and what I can do for it, but most importantly when I'm doing too much.

I've recognized things I naturally gravitate to (like bagels and ice cream) and substitute them for quick, healthier things that are still fast to make. As much as I can (with the exception of injection days), I am aiming to eat as many non-processed, whole foods with high fiber as possible. The high fiber helps with IBS. Like I mentioned previously, I don't eat anything with vinegar, coffee or alcohol anymore. Most of my key items: almond milk, organic high fiber cereal, heathy muffins, green smoothies, apples, salads, soup, fish, "healthy" desserts, hot lemon water, veggie omelets, whole grain e'erythang, popcorn, eggs, slow cooker steele cut oats, organic yogurt, a shit ton of water and tea and as many fruits and veggies as I can stand by slowly cooking them into other things, you get it. Substituting doesn't feel like I'm constantly sacrificing what I like and I don't want to deprive myself. I also try and cut down my portions.

I make a lot of different things all the time now but these are some of my go to fast and yummy recipes (most of the stuff I eat now doesn't need to be cooked since I am slowly working towards my whole foods goal):

Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Farro (sometimes replace the farro with barley because Hershey's a shithole and sometimes doesn't have it) but this is a very good and filling lunch

Deep Dish Cookie Pie- this girl's healthy dessert blog is AMAZING--this recipe has a ton of chickpeas in it and is my favorite healthy dessert. So much fiber, I can't even handle it. 

Amazing Grass Green Superfood Berry- this is a great green supplement smoothie that I had 2 oz of water, 6 oz of orange juice and 3/4 of a banana too. Great for breakfast. Obviously, a green smoothie with real fruits and veggies would be better, but this is easier for me so it stays for now.

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steele Cut Oats- this is super easy to make ahead of time and last for awhile.

Pumpkin Cream Muffins- only 75 calories and delicious, seriously...

Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa- quinoa doesn't always cook as fast as I'd like it to but this makes a pretty good pilaf style side dish

Roasted Shrimp Quinoa Spring Rolls- these are a little messy (the quinoa falls out) and hard to eat but totally delicious and worth it.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins- easy, yummy, GF, what more could you ask for?

I've finally got a good salad dressing and I'm going to start experimenting with other healthy desserts and veggie noodles like zucchini and sweet potatoes. 

Have a good evening. :) 

1 comment:

  1. This is truly a wonderful post!! I can totally relate to it. Well, I like only the fast food. I know it cannot provide nutrients to the body so I take the Green supplements too for getting all natural nutrients.