Well…I made it through week one. I spent some time last night talking into my tape recorder so that I wouldn’t forget anything I wanted to say. The past week has been interesting to say the least. Before I talk about my week one experience I think that it is important that I spend a little time talking about why I chose this program and where I’m starting from. This information will really help give perspective to why this week went the way it did. I’ll try to keep thing succinct because I talked to my tape recorder for 24 minutes–which could be seriously boring to most.
I’m not going to take you through my whole back history. Just know that I was an athletic child and teenager who, due to a myriad of reasons/excuses, became an obese adult. I have struggled with an ever increasing girth/weight and the unfortunate health issues and body aches that accompany it. I’ve tried lots of things in an attempt to turn my situation around and I’ve had a couple of moments of glorious success among the many, many, many (did I say many?) moments of discouragement and failure.
Things seemed to come crashing down around me a few years ago–I believe it was around late fall of 2009. I had just finished a biggest loser-type weight loss competition at my gym. I had participated in several of these over the three years previous and had seen a lot of success. That particular competition I was in a group that did our group training workouts in the morning. I also was so focused that I frequently did a boot camp class or another hard workout in the evening. I was monitoring my calorie intake and maintaining a calorie intake of between 1300 and 1700 per day and while I was “trying” to eat the right foods, I was still eating a lot of crap–sort of with the idea that 1300 calories was 1300 calorie (i.e., I can eat 1300 calories of fruits vegetables, lean meats, and grains or 1300 calories of cheesecake and it will have the same effect on my efforts). When the competition concluded I finished in about 5th place and was down a total of 88 pounds from my highest weight. Yay me!
A few weeks later I caught a cold and I never got over it. I felt/feel like crud. It was like my immune system crashed and burned in a big way. I took a lot longer break from working out than I would have liked and every time I tried to get back in the frey I would bottom out again. I tried two more competitions at the gym and ended out dropping out of both because I got to the point where getting out of bed was almost more than I could handle, let alone working out like a mad woman. I was tired but I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t feel well but I couldn’t find the right words to express what was wrong. It was hard for me to put my finger on what was wrong. I felt foggy and couldn’t concentrate. While things have gotten a bit better over the past four years, I could take every one of those descriptors and change them from past tense to present tense and they would still hold true. My eating habits went from bad to worse and I can honestly say that there were months where I never even went to the grocery store. That’s right friends, and I’m ashamed to admit it, I often was eating all of my food out. Three meals a day from a convenience store or a fast food or other restaurant. Not good for my health. Not good for my pocket book. And, yes, all of it was chased by a gigantic diet coke. My nemesis.
After several visits with my OB/GYN about all of the things that were messed up, she ended up referring me for a sleep study, a cardiologist, and to a rheumatologist. The cardiology tests showed that everything with my heart was fine. The sleep study produced a diagnosis of sleep apnea, but I wasn’t convinced that was my base problem. I remember the technician telling me after my initial study that I had the most fractured sleep he had ever seen and although I had some hypopneas, he couldn’t conclusively read the test as having sleep apnea. He indicated that my sleep pattern was such that I wasn’t getting any restful sleep until around 4 a.m. Having recently switched my work outs to the morning, it made sense that getting up at 5:15 rather that 7:15 had played into my overall lack of feeling well. I was getting about 2 hours less restful sleep than I had and it caught up with me.
The rheumatologist came into play because I had a lot of aches, pains, and fatigue that couldn’t really be explained. My joints hurt. I feel constantly like I have a bad case of delayed-onset muscle soreness. If I ever get to the point where I feel like I am doing a bit better and I do work out, it almost immediately sets me back and takes me three or four weeks to recover. After lots of tests the doctor came to the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. He started me on some samples of a prescription that seemed to work really well. I noticed a significant difference within a week. Unfortunately my insurance declined to pay for it. I had to try another drug that they thought was better (because they know better than my doctor what is best for me). Two days later I was so angry and irritable and dizzy. It didn’t work. Neither did the next one. We finally got the insurance to approve the first drug the doctor gave me. I was ecstatic. Unfortunately it was short-lived. One of the side effects was that my blood pressure spiked. I was on blood pressure meds and my blood pressure was higher than I had ever seen it. I had to make the difficult decision of giving up the drug and living with constant fatigue or staying on it and suffering the effects of wildly outrageous high blood pressure and possibly a stroke. So…..not pills for me. I do believe that the fractured sleep that I suffer from and the excessively long time it takes me to reach REM sleep stems more from the pain that is associated with all of this muscles and joint soreness than from an actual cessation of breathing while I sleep.
A while later I heard a local naturopathic doctor on the radio and decided to give him a try. I had done a lot of research into alternative modalities and had gone to a friend who does bio-energetic testing previously which had given me some benefits. Unfortunately neither of these choices were covered by insurance either. But….and MD who is also interested in alternative therapies interested me so I gave it a try. We did some tests and found that I have extreme adrenal fatigue and a pretty decent allergy to all things dairy. So sad….I love cheese. I took some prescribed supplements and removed dairy from my diet for several months. I was amazed at how much better I was feeling. This gave me some excellent insight into how much food affected my situation. Unfortunately as time passed I started to let more and more dairy items back into my diet. Some of the other things that I found in this testing was that my Vitamin D levels were extremely low. I started at a low of 10 and eventually got it to 47, but could never maintain it for any length of time above a 24. My C-Reactive Protein (CRP) was very high. A 3 or below is normal and mine started at 45, dropped to 35 at one point, and at my last test a few months ago was back up to 47. This is a measure of how much inflammation there is in your body and can also been seen as a cardiac risk factor. A few months back a blood test showed that my electrolytes were all whacked out and some pretty important ones were very low. The doctor offered me a package of 12 IV infusions of high-strength vitamins and minerals to be administered weekly, followed up by a blood test. Once again, money became a factor because each of these treatments costs me $112 and about 3 hours away from work (I have skinny veins). I opted to do four treatments with a follow-up blood test to see if it was making any difference. I could feel a certain burst of energy in the days following the treatment, followed by a bottoming-out effect when it wore off. Over the four weeks, it took longer to bottom out. Unfortunately, the tests didn’t show much in the way of improvement in the markers we were shooting for. I was at the end of my rope, both financially and emotionally.
I knew from all of the things I’ve discussed above that there had to be some changes that I could make with my diet that would help my situation. I have a few friends on facebook who work with BeachBody and I have watched them and their team members go through the Ultimate Reset program. I was intrigued by the things I heard and I looked into it more. I was impressed with the meal plan, particularly because it gradually works dairy and meat out of your diet over the course of the three weeks. If I could just find a way to move away from dairy again I knew I would see benefits from that. I also believe that, although I don’t want to be strictly vegetarian or vegan, I want to use animal products in my meals sparingly. At my core I just know that I feel better when I do that. The supplements that come with the program are very similar to some of the things my naturopathic doctor had me take. Many of the testimonials I read and saw spoke to not only weight loss, which is great, but also to overall well-being and health.
Losing a lot of weight would be awesome, but I picked this program because I need to regain my health. I am hopeful that this will get me headed in the right direction. Do I expect to be suddenly cured of everything? No. But I do hope that I can ditch some bad habits, give my body a bit of a rest and reset things so that the journey from this point forward won’t be as difficult as it has been.
This program isn’t cheap. The groceries aren’t inexpensive. The amount of prep and the need to have your head completely in the game is very overwhelming. But I’m trying. This first week hasn’t been a walk in the park. I’ve learned some things, or rather been willing to acknowledge some things, about myself that will be beneficial in my fight even if I don’t lose a pound.
So….that’s the long and short of my why. If you are still reading this, thanks for sticking with it. I know it was long. And really, how interesting can it be to read about someones medical history and lack of caring for their own body that leads them to weigh in at a sickly 330 pounds? Probably not very interesting. But I needed to put this out there because I know the only way I’m going to overcome any of it is to find a way to be accountable in a way that isn’t shameful but that is supportive. I hope that is what this will be. I’ll be back later this weekend with a run-down of week one and how I’ve managed to navigate it. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m still working at it.