Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I'm a week and a half in to being back on track, not counting the cupcake incident and i have a handful of corn chips with dinner last night. But beyond that, I've stuck to the plan. And I am starting to feel better. Its tough because feeling a little bit better makes me impatient to feel A LOT better and I'm definitely not there.
But I did want to document the improvements I'm experiencing already
- Sleeping better. I still feel a little wired at bedtime. In fact, the last couple nights I've laid in bed thinking I felt *almost* good enough to get up an exercise which is not how I want to feel when its time to go to sleep. But I also don't seem to take quite as long to fall asleep and my sleep is less interrupted. When I get up to pee, I have been able to go right back to sleep.
- I feel somewhat more ready to get up in the morning when my alarm goes off. I hit the snooze once instead of my usual 3 or 4 times and even that, I don't feel is completely necessary. I don't feel like leaping out of bed and running 5 miles but I'm not groggy and on the verge of tears at the thought of dragging myself through the day either.
-i think I've lost a few pounds, at least the bloating has left. I have not weighed myself and i don't think i will for awhile because i know it will make me panic. But my wedding ring is fitting again.
- my mood is better and more stable. I'm still not Suzi Sunshine but I definitely feel more balanced - also I'm past pms so that helps.
- my energy level is more consistent. I still don't really feel like exercising or cleaning the house, but it doesn't feel unfathomable. Last night, we were out with the kids and I was holding hands and skipping with them through the parking lot. And i typically don't have the energy for that. It was sort of a spur of the moment thing if that makes any sense. Like if i would have asked myself, "self, do you feel like skipping right now?" I probably would have replied, "That's a definite no, self". But I didn't ask. I just did it.
I seem to feel best when I'm at work. If I had the chance to do things like housework or work out around like 9 or 10 - I could probably handle it. I'm still having a crash in the afternoons. It might be more psychological though. I feel so overwhelmed with how much work there is to do around the house after a full day or work not even counting the attention I need to give my kids. ...... all that to say - I am seeing an improvement.
- Cravings are better as long as I don't go too long between meals. I still need to work on my meals themselves. The recommendation is have half your plate covered in vegetables but I just can't seem to get there. I'm just not that interested in vegetables. I keep trying to remind myself that I don't have to have everything perfectly dialed this minute, its a process and I've been out of practice. At breakfast, I'm not having any vegetables. I struggle with breakfast big time. I was doing frittatas for awhile but I got really sick of them. I know Paleo people often treat breakfast like another lunch or dinner but that seems overwhelming to me. I'm already mostly having leftovers for lunch. i haven't learned how to make enough leftovers for all that. and right now, I'm really into fried eggs and bacon. I'm sure I'll be sick of that soon enough, but my point is - i need to figure out how to get more vegetables. I've been thinking about incorporating vegetable juice back in but I'm confused about whether that would hamper or help weight loss efforts. There seems to be conflicting information. And also, I just haven't gotten around to it. I think I've been staying fairly low carb, not intentionally. I really need to start tracking. I just forget! and I hate that i either get obsessive with measuring everything and driving myself crazy with not having 100% accuracy or if i just estimate - then i don't have 100% accuracy. tracking always makes me crazy. blerg.
These changes are all positive and encouraging to me and am trying to not run before I walk. I just need to be patient with myself.
on a side note - i spoke to my son's teacher just to get her opinion about the behavior issues we've been having with them and she said that lately she's been getting the feeling that its not that he WON'T control his impulses, but that he CAN'T. And that's pretty much what my husband and I have been thinking and I'm sort of perplexed about how to proceed. I think an elimination diet is probably a good place to start but that seems like a huge undertaking. And I don't see how that would work with his school. It's a montessori school and they don't really let you bring lunch from home. So I'm still contemplating that. I have an appointment with an allergist but I don't really have any great hope in whatever they have to say. His teacher suggested occupational therapy. So I guess we'll explore that. I'm sure there's some kind of counseling or psychology thing we could do but i don't know that we can afford it to be honest and i think it would take some time and effort to find something useful.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I was feeling pretty good the last few days but today and yesterday I've been more lethargic again. The night before last my 3 year old had a terrible stomach ache and woke up every few minutes most of the time in pain. It was pretty distressing and affected my sleep, obviously. And then I stayed home with her yesterday and she had a few hours of pain and vomiting in the afternoon. I know it was a stomach bug, it was going around her school but I think the stress of it took a toll on me. I just can't handle any kind of stress anymore. I completely shut down and I get very tired. I also didn't eat very well. Although I stayed "paleo", I was having major cravings. So I made some paleo muffins and ate like 4 of them.
Probably the fatigue is a combination of too much (unrefined) sugar, the stress of my child, the fact that I'm probably withdrawing from the junk I was eating, and also my period is like 2 days away. I tell myself that to try not to get too frustrated, but I am frustrated.
On top of that - I'm having a lot of anxiety. I spend endless amounts of time researching food and homeopathic solutions to my issues and its such a rabbit hole. I definitely have that form of an eating disorder where you're obsessed with healthy food - orthoexia. The more I research, the more my head spins. There's barely any food left that I feel completely confident in being "ok" to eat and even food groups that are "ok" like vegetables - have limitations like conventionally raised, FODMAPS and night shades. And anyone who tries to tell me about moderation gets brushed off because clearly they just don't know as much or have read as much as I have. And I'm truly not meaning to be critical. That's just the process my mind goes through. I'm not sure anyone has the ability to "talk me off the ledge." I think it's something I have to work through myself. But it is difficult. I'm hoping that taking things in stages will help take some of the pressure off. Like this month is just about establishing good habits, not about nit-picking or isolating any food beyond what's not included in standard paleo. And then next month, I can try eliminating some things like FODMAPS for example and see if there's any improvement there.
But the thought of further restricting, even if only on an experimental basis, is so depressing. So I guess that's why feeling fatigued is frustrating. I need to try to stay in the moment more and not get too ahead of myself.
The other thing that's making me anxious is my kids - mainly my son. The two of them together are really trying. They bicker and do things to provoke each other and will not leave each other alone. And my son, who is 5, throws these giant fits every time he gets in trouble for something. If I tell him to go to his room because he didn't listen or whatever, he stomps in there crying and wailing and slams the door and kicks the walls and throws things. He is always cranky which has always seemed to me to be a result of being overtired but I'm noticing more and more that its ALWAYS that way. He goes to bed at 7. He may lay there for 30 min to an hour before he falls asleep. He wakes up at 630 on his own and he won't take a nap at school. He gets in trouble every day for not listening or throwing fits. Everyday, when his dad picks them up, he throws a fit if they can't go to to the playground OR if they do go, he throws a fit when they leave. He screams and wails at the top of his lungs all the way to the car. Every. Single. Day. and then we get home and he and his sister start. Either they fight with each other or if they are playing together, its wrestling or running or something where someone gets hurt and then the other one gets mad and lashes out and it turns into this whole episode. Then we have dinner and they bicker the whole time and whine because they don't like the food. Then shortly after that it's bed time and my son usually throws a fit because he doesn't want to go to bed or brush his teeth. It seems like the whole day is just one tantrum after another and my husband and I are both so worn down from it. I find myself being less and less consistent with them, even though i know that's only going to make things worse, but i just physically do not have the energy to put up a fight. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out, first of all, is this normal parenthood and I'm just unable to roll with it as well as other people? And if it's not, what is my son's issue? Is it just his personality? he seems unhappy so much of the time, unless he's getting one on one attention and everything is going his way. Does he have mental illness? Now im wondering if it could be a food intolerance? i recently read an article about how one of the signs of food intolerance in children is dark circles under their eyes. I've been saying to my husband for months, maybe longer, that i dont think he's getting enough sleep. 1 - because he always seems an overtired kind of cranky and 2 because he always has dark circles. I definitely want to transition my kids to a more paleo way of eating, but the thought of doing it right now when I personally have so much going on that I'm trying to get on top of, is so overwhelming. I made an appointment with an allergist. I dont have much hope for it. My insurance is so crappy. I've spent so much money on doctors trying to get to the bottom of whats wrong with me and most of the protocol i follow is what i researched and found myself. So racking up yet another unpaid medical bill and getting nowhere.... I'm not too excited about it. It's crazy, i can feel the tension I'm holding in my shoulders as I type this.
Anyway, that's just where I'm at today. I'm probably just feeling overwhelmed from pms. But i do wish i knew what direction to move in with my kids. i feel so lost when it comes to parenting.
At least I've not caved and gone for junk food. I haven't been doing too well with tracking. I'm just making journal entries because trying to enter it all into the food tracker is still too much for my brain to handle at this point. I LOATHE trying to figure out portion sizes.
Monday, February 17, 2014
I've been gone for awhile I know. Honestly, I don't even know if spark people is as motivating for me as it once was. My views and priorities regarding food have changed so much. I don't follow the low calorie/ lots of cardio dogma anymore. I just haven't felt motivated to log on like I used to and I'm not sure if that's why or if its because I've just felt overwhelmed with getting back on track in general. But I do like the accountability aspect, even if only to myself, of being able to keep a log and see what I've been doing and how it's working - if I actually make use of the logs which I have done half-heartedly in the past.
But that's why I'm back here. I want to be able to have a log of what I'm doing while I "biohack" myself. So.. hey again!
Last year I seriously crashed and burned with my health and food. Major life stresses caught up with me and after thinking that I was legitimately insane for a fairly long stretch of time, I was finally diagnosed with Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue - something I'd never even heard of. But now that I've researched it and learned about it, it's a total no-brainer that that's whats been going on with me. I've had a laundry list of symptoms that finally add up to something legitimate! I can't tell you what a relief it was to actually have a name to attach to how I've been feeling and a direction to go in.
But recovering from Adrenal Fatigue is neither quick nor easy. For one thing, a large component is how you deal with stress. And I don't deal with stress very well! I've never been a super positive person although I never saw myself as a pessimist either. But I can obsess and worry and freak out with the best of them. See any of my previous blog entries for verification. The number one thing I hear in A.F. recovery is - stop stressing. HA! That's like saying stop having hazel eyes or stop being 5 ft tall. That solution has been so daunting that I've spent the last several months ignoring any and all health goals and just trying to rest and not freak out and subsequently I gained back like 15 lbs. (and then stressed out about it) I got myself so turned upside down with what to eat that I just couldn't handle it and started eating everything.
I've finally come to terms with the fact that there's other parts to the recovery process that I need to embrace and when everything is lining up how it's supposed to, it will be easier to manage my stress. And I know that a huge part of success means planning and being preemptive which is where it all goes south for me usually. But I'm keeping a positive attitude about it. I don't need to have everything figured out to start. I can tweak as I go. I don't need to lose 15 lbs in a month. I just need to focus on health. The weight will come off as a by-product.
So my plan:
Eat strict paleo for 30 days. I'm not going quite as strict as Whole30. It's providing the basis for me but I'm doing a few tweaks to make it more manageable. I also plan to focus on walking as my sole form of exercise this month. I've been as sedentary as it gets for several months. I'm bringing a change of shoes to work and I'll walk during my planning period. I'm also going to track my food. I'm not going to restrict myself as far as calories or macro-nutrients. I just want to see how it all breaks down. I may attempt some yoga. I'm still very fatigued so we'll see how and if I can fit it in. I also started going to a Qi Gong class which I've heard is an effective treatment, so I hope to continue with that. So far, I haven't been very consistent but its a goal.
Then next month I will add in some weight training and maybe some of the cardio activities that I loved before like zumba and hooping but still emphasize walking. At that point, I may try watching my calories a little more closely - aiming at 1700-2000. But I reserve the right to scale back on any of that if I'm getting frustrated or otherwise not feeling up to it.
The third month, if I feel like I'm ready to progress, I'll add in some sprints and some combo running/walking. I don't think I'll go back to distance running, maybe ever. I'm convinced that that was one of the major contributing factors that sent me over the edge into A.F. But I do love running and I miss it so I would like to try to add it back in in a limited capacity once I've given myself time to heal.
The major things I need to focus on are:
-Consistency and Planning -- NOT giving myself a free pass to get pizza when we haven't been able to get to the grocery store. If I want this to be successful, I must be diligent. Even a small amount of gluten can disrupt digestive health and everything is connected. It will stymie my recovery from A.F.
-Supplements -- I'm taking several and I feel that they are helping but consistency is an issue there as well so I need to make sure to prioritize this daily.
-Sleep -- at MINIMUM 8 hours. non negotiable.
-Patience -- A.F. recovery is slow. I need to give myself time. I got frustrated last time because I didn't feel better after 30 days of strict paleo. So I just gave up. And when I started researching A.F. recovery, I got so overwhelmed with the abundance of information, most of which is conflicting. And since I didn't feel like I had the perfect solution, I just didn't bother. If I can't eat perfectly, I might as well have cookies! So I'm working on changing that mindset. I can't expect this to go away from 30 days of perfect eating but I can make adjustments to see what works and what doesn't. That's where tracking will be useful. Every other time, I've gotten on track, I get lazy with tracking and when when I stall, I don't have any idea what I've been doing. I also need to remind myself that If I go off the rails out of frustration or impatience, it will only take longer.
So that's where I'm at. It's frustrating to have gone so far in the wrong direction and to have these issues pulling me down but it really just makes it that much more important to get up and get going.
If anyone reading this has recovered from Adrenal Fatigue, I'm really interested to hear what worked for you.
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