Day 43: Health Journey Status Update

Hello, MOE Readers. I found the time on my lunch break the other day to write this. It was an overcast day, and I chose to skip my daily walk because I have turned into a Weather Wimp. And no, I have not actually kept track of the number of days since I decided to cut sugar and gluten out of my diet. I just Googled how many days have passed since I first posted about my decision. 🙂

Progress: I have lost 6 pounds, and my pain continues to remain minimal. I have been doing 10-15 minutes of yoga 2-3 times per week, and walking 30-60 minutes almost every day. I saw my new doctor last month, and he thinks I may have an under-performing thyroid. (Interesting.) I still need to get the blood work done since my appointment; but once I do, I should get some answers. I’ll keep you posted.

Those of you who keep up on our Facebook page (and if you don’t, please consider liking the page) may have seen my more regular updates since Day 1 and know that, save for one minor slip-up, I did stick to the no (low) sugar and no gluten for the three weeks before my doctor appointment. Since then, I have cheated a few times here and there — particularly the week of Thanksgiving — but for the most part, I have been keeping at it. (Okay, I may have binged on some Halloween candy one night when I was PMS’ing.) However, the continued results keep me motivated. And for the most part, I don’t even miss pasta or pizza. 🙂

What I’ve been eating to avoid sugar and gluten: I think the key to my success is that I have been eating less almost effortlessly because most of what I eat is high in protein or fat and keeps me full. I eat a lot of nuts, fruit, and low or no sugar yogurt for breakfast and lunch. I am now obsessed with dates. They are nature’s candy. And, I’ve been practically living on curry carrot soup for the past few weeks. I’ll have a bowl or two at lunch and a bowl or two with dinner. This is a great base that you can play around with. I’ve discovered you can add practically anything to it, including canned pumpkin, corn, and/or roasted peppers.

I got this recipe from a friend, but I have tweaked it in enough ways now that I think I can call it my own.

Curry Carrot Soup:

3 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil works, too)

6 cups veggie stock or bone broth or a combo thereof  (I usually use up whatever is open, and then do the remainder of the other)

8 medium/large carrots chopped (or 8 handfuls of baby carrots)

4 medium celery sticks (if you are out, fear not; it will still turn out well) chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 teaspoons curry powder

3 teaspoons salt

lemon or lime juice, to taste

black pepper, to taste

You could sautee the onions in the oil first, but it is not necessary. Except for the lemon/lime juice and pepper, bring all the ingredients to a boil and let simmer until the carrots are totally soft. (I usually just leave it simmering for a couple hours). Use an immersion blender to blend it until smooth and then add your lemon or lime juice and pepper to taste.

Enjoy a healthy, low-fat, no sugar, gluten free meal all week long! (And, this is fairly obvious, but if you are vegetarian or vegan, you can make it so by just using the veggie broth.)  I have been adding bone broth to everything I can these days for the collagen.

Cheers! And happy holidays!

Day 1: My Health Journey To Lose Weight and Eliminate Pain

In addition to being at least 20 pounds overweight for my height and frame (I have been unsuccessfully trying to lose the baby weight for 8 years now) I have been dealing with joint pain for the past 5-ish years. It started in my hips. I thought I had an IT-band injury five years ago after I ran a 10 mile race. Unfortunately, the pain has never gone away and exercising has gotten progressively harder.  (Which, of course, does not help the weight loss, either.)

Basically, I cannot run, lunge, row, weight lift, or do yoga without pain.  I mean, I can DO these exercises, but if I do them repetitively, over time I am in so much pain I cannot even sit at my desk without everything hurting. Stretching and yoga sometimes do not help but actually make the pain worse (like it did yesterday).

It’s getting to the point that I know I have to do something about it. I am only 40 years old. I know that I if I do not take proactive steps to correct this, it will only keep getting worse. It’s to the point that I cannot even bend over to do the dishes without it hurting.

I have been given tons of advice by well-meaning friends. I have tried many different things to help my hip joints (where I experience the most pain) — including diet and exercise changes. But nothing seems to work. (Admittedly, I am not always consistent with these things. But it’s hard to stay on a particular regime when it doesn’t seem to be making a difference.)

I suspect that my problem is arthritis, and I suspect that I have a gluten intolerance. I pay the price whenever I eat gluten in many ways. I know that gluten intolerance can cause inflammation, which I know can also only make arthritis worse.

Here are the steps I am taking to help solve my pain problem:

  1. I made an appointment with an integrative medicine doctor. My appointment is on November 15th. I am hoping he can determine what is causing my pain, as well as give me solid advice for managing it, be it in the forms of diet, supplements, physical therapy, and/or new exercises/stretching I can do at home;
  2. I bought new walking shoes yesterday for people who supinate (which I do);
  3. Until my appointment (and this is where you and this blog post come in): I am committing to NOT eating sugar and gluten. Between now and the 15th, that is 21 days.
  4. I am going to check-in on our MOE Facebook page every day and let you know how successful I was at avoiding sugar and gluten, and if it is making a difference. I am doing this publicly in the hopes that the accountability will help me stick to it!

I am committed to living my best life. Our move to the southwest was my first step in that commitment, and it was one of the best (albeit hardest) decisions I have ever made.  But I also want that best life to be at least 20 pounds lighter without hip/back/joint pain so that I can enjoy exercising again and feeling my best!

Thank you for your help!