Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 5 & Where I Started

Christmas 2004: Who cares what I look like?
Look how cute the other three are.
Starting at Point A: June 2004

  • Chronic sinusitis (4x/year)
  • severe heartburn
  • quick to anger
  • no energy
  • anxious
  • 178lbs
  • bad hair

    April 2011: Vegas, Baby!
    Not Stopping at Point B: January 2012

    • occasional sinusitis (1x/year)
    • occasional heartburn after sugar
    • temper after sugar
    • no more afternoon nod off
    • less worry (I'm still a working mom. You'd know I was lying if I said I was never anxious.)
    • 137lbs
    • great hair (Thanks, Amber!)
    Landing at Point A was a result of several bad choices and a few unfortunate genes, which I'll get into in another post. This one is way long enough on its own, but necessary so you know where I've been.

    After college, I started working. I had a beautiful baby girl. I struggled to lose the baby weight, but I whittled back down to 140 by the time she was three doing Sugar Busters. We welcomed our youngest three years later. I didn't really notice how big I got with her. I wasn't exactly one of those skinny pregnant chicks with my first, so I wasn't surprised when I gained quite a bit with my second. What did surprise me in June 2004 was my weight nearly two months after her birth. We had just returned from a trip to the beach where I avoided going to the pool or beach like the plague. I was in denial as to my size and I didn't want to go anywhere near a bathing suit.

    At this point in the story, I'd like to take a moment to address the subject of weight. Until this post, I have avoided even mentioning weight loss as an objective. My reason for this is twofold. First, your weight is just a frickin' number. It doesn't reflect your value, your beauty or anything else about you other than how much force the earth is exerting upon you due to gravity. That's it. It's a statistic used as part of an overall picture that also includes your vitamin and mineral levels, blood sugar or hormone levels. This leads into my second reason for putting very little emphasis on that number on the scale. Your first clue to your health should come from your body, not a test and certainly not a scale. If you are moody, suffering from headaches or constantly exhausted, you should already know that whatever you are doing, it isn't working for you. I wish we had another objective health number like smiles per hour rather than pounds. Can you imagine? I haven't had any nutrient-robbing processed food for a month. I'm up to 20 SPH.

    2005: Just after the move, at my youngest's baptism.
    That color did nothing for me. What was I thinking?
    Okay. When I left off, I was facing a meaningless number on a stupid contraption that sat on my bathroom floor. (Too much? Alright, you've got my point. I'll let it lie.) I decided to get that number down by doing Weight Watchers. I'll give credit where it's due. I lost fifteen pounds by the holidays of 2004. I wasn't feeling any better, but who cared? I'd dropped two dress sizes. Unfortunately, I stalled over Christmas, most likely because we were moving four hours north of our hometown with a kindergartner and an infant. We knew no one in the area and my man would be travelling more extensively. Plus, the move meant a new job for me and the loss of all the emotional support of family and friends. To say I was stressed is a massive understatement.

    We persevered and settled in. I also went back to Weight Watchers with a new friend. We kept each other motivated and I managed to drop another ten pounds. Again, I still felt awful. I was getting a sinus infection at least three times a year and I didn't have any energy to do anything with the girls. But, hey, I was down to 153 pounds. According to all the government charts, I was only three pounds away from the upper limit of a normal weight range. Yeah me!


    Me with the family not long after my trip to the hospital in 2007.
    The bottom completely fell out in 2007. I had managed to maintain around the 150lbs mark for close to two years. I was having a hard time sleeping due to extreme job stress and near constant heartburn. I also was a horrible wife. I was always angry with my man, no matter what he did. I was also way too sensitive to the kids' behavior. I would sometimes lose it over the slightest normal kid stuff. Then, one day at work, my boss was talking to me and I realized I wasn't hearing a word he was saying. My left arm went numb and my heart felt like it was in overdrive, about to pound out of my chest. I was having a heart attack for sure. I sat for a moment. A coworker asked if I was okay. Not wanting to be 'ridiculous', I waited until my heart slowed, excused myself and drove to the closest hospital.

    Yeah, that's me. Super Genius driving herself to the hospital in the midst of what I was sure was a heart attack. Geesh.

    The nurses took one look at me and rushed me into the ER. They did a bunch of tests and then ,with real relief, told me I had simply had an esophageal spasm. As a wave of embarrassment swept over me, the doctor assured me that what I experienced was precisely like a heart attack. She made me promise to never dismiss it, as the next time it truly could be my heart. She then said the spasm was a result of years of damage due to chronic heartburn, gave me some prescription acid reduction meds and sent me on my way.

    As I drove home, I made a decision. I was no longer going ignore what my body was screaming at me. I was no longer going to accept the condescension and smugness from my doctor when I expressed genuine concern about how I felt. I was not simply a working mom who needed to push away from the table. I was a person with a body that was pissed off and telling me I needed to change my ways.  What was so crazy is that I was doing everything everyone is 'supposed' to do: fortified whole grain cereals for breakfast, frozen 'healthy' or 'lean' lunches from a box and salads with 'lite' dressing for dinner. I was even walking on my treadmill every day. Why wouldn't my doctor just tell me what I was missing?

    He wasn't telling me because he didn't know. At my follow up appointment, he handed me a box of Pepcid AC and told me to start taking them for the heartburn. I asked for how long that would be necessary. He shrugged and asked how long I planned on living. I was 33 years old and he wanted me to start taking prescription meds for heartburn for the rest of my life. I should have told him I must not be planning to live long if I continued to see him. I took the box, swallowed a dose and went to the library in search of a book to tell me what he couldn't.

    What I found was a life changer and, I'm convinced, a life saver: The Insulin Factor by Antony J. Haynes. It's not that I think this little paperback holds all the anwers. It was simply my first step toward understanding what I was doing wrong and how I could start getting better. In the book, the author addresses not only insulin resistance, but also other common health problems such as heartburn. For that ailment, he recommended probiotics. The next day, I picked up a box of Pearl probiotics. Within two weeks, I could sleep without feeling like stomach acid was pouring into my throat. Within a month, I didn't need the Pepcid AC anymore. My doctor had put me on multiple rounds of strong antibiotics for two years without ever once mentioning I could develop heartburn without probiotics. I still wonder how many other patients he's sent into downward spirals, blaming them all along for their poor health.

    This feels like a rather dour and anticlimatic place in my story to stop, but I've got work tomorrow. Sorry to leave you in breathless anticipation. I'll pick up the narrative sometime next week. In the meantime, I challenge you to do what I did. Go educate yourself with a good book on health. I'll be posting a list this weekend of the books and blogs where you can start, or should I say continue.

    Thanks for being a part of my inaugural blog week! I'll be outlining a structure for the blog this weekend so I'm not so all over the place. I might still get random, but I hope you'll come back each day for something entertaining, thought provoking, mildy comical or perhaps a combination of the three.

    Take care-


    Day 5 Eats

    • Arbucks Modified Arbonne Protein Shake
    • 4 Almond Coconut Protein Fudge Cubes
    • Pumpkin Pie Arbonne Protein Shake
    • 1/2 of left over Squealer's Sirloin from yesterday
    Steamed Brussel Sprouts in Organic Butter

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