More Really Bad Advice…

I’ve decided I’ve got to get really hard core about working out starting this week. Energy level has been a problem previously, but I’m feeling extremely guilty about NOT doing anything physical…which I guess is a good sign. In the meantime, please allow me the opportunity to get just a bit of silliness out of my system before I shift it back into high gear…

  • Keep a canister of helium near your scale and take in a big lungful before you weigh in.
  • If you must eat fudge, be sure and wash it down with a Diet Coke.
  • They couldn’t call them “Apple Jacks” if they didn’t have real apples in them, dumbass.
  • It doesn’t matter if you do one pushup or one hundred, so I always just do one.
  • A homemade licorice headband is stylish and can help you keep your energy up during a workout.
  • Marshmallows are mostly air. Air has no calories, so eat as many as you want!
  • If you insist, most waiters and waitresses will give you a “wild guess” at how many calories are in various entrees.
  • When adding up the calories from the frozen yogurt with sprinkles and frozen cookie dough you just ordered, don’t forget to subtract the calories of all the toppings you could have ordered but didn’t from the total.
  • Baked Cheetos are pretty good, especially if you give ‘em a whirl in a Fry Daddy.
  • One time this guy was jogging and he dropped dead; I’m not saying you shouldn’t jog… I’m just sayin’…
  • Tight pants are in this season.
  • To make a healthy banana split, substitute banana for the ice cream and ice cream for the banana (note: I’m still in the test phase, so I’m not absolutely sure this one’s good to go yet).
  • If you take the recyclables down to the street on time, you win “immunity” and are allowed to skip one weigh-in.
  • Drink lots and lots of water, or if you don’t have ready access to water, milkshakes.
  • If you’re going to go through the fast food drive-thru no matter what, at least get some exercise by going through on a unicycle.
  • Keep some snacks on a shelf close to your scale so you can scarf them down immediately after weighing in.

Officially hit 30 pounds lost!!!! Wahoo!

Was curious what that amounted to in terms of other objects…30 pounds is the equivalent of an average 2 year old…a microwave…240 eggs…4 gallons of water…10 pairs of cowboy boots…54 cans of Coke…5430 pennies! I can’t imagine what it would be like to have that many pennies “added back on.” It’s definitely a good visual to keep in mind to keep me focused on moving in the correct direction.

As far as my new life with Celiac – I’ve turned into one of those obnoxious people at the grocery store that studies each and every food label for minutes at a time…the girl that picks up the same food from 4 different manufacturers to find the safe one. 10 minute trips to the store have turned into 2 hour trips. Gluten-free foods are NOT all created equally! The taste of some of these things would lead even a person with no taste buds to jump off a bridge! Do they not test this stuff before they ship it out?!

While I’m a champ when it comes to grocery shopping or cooking at home, I’m still struggling with trust when it comes to eating out. Can’t someone just open of a completely gluten-free restaurant?! It would make me must less anxiety-ridden! Cross-contamination is my worst enemy!!

I’ve been gluten free (aside from a few unintentional glutenings) for almost a month now. Oh what a difference 30 days makes!! Feeling more and more amazing each day…now there are NO excuses for not being active!! Here we go…

“An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.” ~ General George S. Patton 

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A Lesson Learned…

First off…I want to thank all of you for your continued support. As of this morning, I’ve had over 3,020 visitors to my site and the number keeps growing! All the support, comments and encouragement I’ve received have me incredibly humbled. I feel like I’ve got over 3000 therapists out there waiting for me to spill my guts.  I may not always reply to each message I receive – but trust me, I read and reread them often. Thank you again for making this journey so worthwhile.

And now…a few mistakes I’ve made and lessons learned…

  • For some reason, almost all overweight African-American women get upset when you call them “Precious”
  • Only one person to a treadmill at the gym
  • It doesn’t help to get salad dressing on the side if you get three cups of it and use it all
  • All your clothes didn’t suddenly shrink in the wash
  • Brushing your teeth with Dr. Pepper isn’t such a good idea
  • A caramel apple a day doesn’t necessarily keep the doctor away
  • If you eat a meal replacement bar, you need to NOT eat a meal
  • There is no such thing as one bite of movie theater popcorn
  • Wheatgrass is a superfood; Peanut M&M’s are not
  • Personal trainers generally don’t like to be paid with a bucket of loose change
  • Playing on Facebook for eight hours is not the same as sleeping for eight hours
  • You’re probably supposed to eat 2,000 calories per day, not 20,000
  • Free samples aren’t necessarily free
  • Most employers don’t recognize a “Vitamin D break,” so I guess you need to take up smoking in order to get a little sunlight during the day
  • Despite the word Diet in its name – the Hot Dog Diet is not effective
  • Standing up while eating does not make your food digest faster – it makes you look stupid at dinner parties
  • Even though hemorrhoid/hydrocortisone cream is often used by body builders and fitness models to tighten up their abs before a photo shoot – it does not work if there are no abs to rub it on…But it does relieve itching
  • Fun-size candy bars = No-fun-size thighs

I did lose weight this week…a little bit anyway. So close to the 30 pound mark!

But this week was extremely tough for me. I am in the midst of severe meltdowns. Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m so pissed off that I my convenient life is gone. I’m ticked off that I have to be so OCD about everywhere I go – questioning what idiot line cook might have touched my food immediately after grabbing a hamburger bun. I’m feeling like I’m going to have to be a hermit. Feeling like family functions are going to be impossible unless I’ve sat every family member down for a 2-week seminar on what I can and can’t eat and ways to avoid cross-contamination. So yes, I am pouting. I just want a freaking Ritz cracker!!!

In the back of my mind, I know I need to get over it. I know this could be much worse. (Thank you Wx DA for reminding me of that this weekend.) I can still live my life with relative ease. There are soldiers back from Afghanistan who have lost limbs. Their lives will never be the same. I can eat rice crackers to get over my poutiness about gluten…they don’t have an alternative option. Cutting gluten out of a diet has not killed anyone (that I know of anyway). Time to put my big girl panties (ugh – can’t believe I just used that word) on and keep going. Bitching about it night and day is certainly not going to change the diagnosis. And thus…another lesson learned.

Despite being accidentally gluten’d on Friday night – I have found that going places where I’ve got a personal relationship with the cooking staff makes a huge difference. I’d like to give props to one chef in particular, who despite thinking I was doing this gluten-free diet for fun at first (not sure who the hell does this for fun), has since made me some amazing gluten-free treats.  If you’re ever in Greensboro – Alex at Natty Greene’s makes some amazing dishes on the fly. Favorite so far: Greek chicken, homemade cucumber sauce (best I’ve ever had), and sliced cherry tomatoes on top of a cucumber slice…you will seriously want to slap your momma!

Ok…so after reading that last paragraph…maybe this isn’t so bad after all. Despite my occasional Dorthea Dix worthy tantrums, I’m being forced to eat better…my weight is dropping…I’m at the receiving end of a few amazing test dishes at a restaurant…and I still feel more amazing than I have in a long time. So Celiac…Bring. It. On.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” ~Unknown

If I’d Only Known Then What I Know Now…

My, how time flies. It seems just like yesterday that I was a 10 year old kid, going for bike rides in Sardis Woods. Time was spent playing outside and daydreaming about boys in Teen Bop magazine. Summers were spent on the beach with no care about what was poking in or out of my bathing suit. Those were all good times and my only dread was finding out that we were having something gross for dinner.

Me - Around age 10.

Then one day it dawns on you that you’ve made quite a few mistakes over the course of your life, only now you’re wise enough to label them as “experience” instead of “mistakes”.  Whether your mother sits you and your sister down for an EE (educational experience) on an article she read regarding an uptick in deviant teenage behavior or you find out on your own in 8th grade that sneaking out at 1am with your best friend will lead to you being grounded – you learn. Hopefully. This weight loss journey thus far has let me to reflect on a lot of the lessons I should have learned a lot sooner in life. And with that I present you with another list of…

The 40 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was Younger:

  1. Don’t do anything to lose weight you can’t continue for life; the weight will just come back and HUNT YOU DOWN!
  2. Food isn’t a best friend, soother, lover or caretaker. It’s just food. Energy. Fuel.
  3. If berating myself really worked, I’d be thin as a Pixie stick. It didn’t. I wasn’t. Stop it.
  4. What other people might think of me is none of my business.
  5. Fat-free is not the answer. Snackwells will expand your @ss.
  6. Self-esteem is an inside job.
  7. Don’t let high school PE classes sour you on physical activity. Exercise is AWESOME. Those tacky gym suits are not.
  8. Eat whole, real, identifiable food. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
  9. When you find yourself in a hole, put down the shovel.
  10. You are enough. Just as you are. Today. Treat yourself like it.
  11. Prioritize your spending. A good pair of athletic shoes that you use will make you look better longer than a Brazilian blow-out.
  12. To thine own self be true. No one else will ever care about you as much as you do.
  13. Be charitable. There is always something you can give away – be it your dollars or your time.
  14. Be present in your own life. This is it. Now. Don’t wish it away.
  15. Don’t lose weight to get attention or please someone else. The only person involved in weight loss is you. (And anyone who treats you differently because you’ve lost weight isn’t worth your time.)
  16. There is life after high school/college. Don’t let those successes or failures determine the course of your life. Don’t rest on your laurels nor wallow in your failures.
  17. Even if it is all screwed up now, it doesn’t have to be that way forever.
  18. Never cosign. Ever.
  19. In consciously seeking healthy foods we like (or better yet love) to fulfill our real hunger, we’ve chosen to create opportunities versus destroy abilities.
  20. Learn boundaries – your own and others.
  21. Hard times, bad situations and bad moods will ALWAYS pass. ALWAYS.
  22. Drinking alcohol can be lots of fun, but hangovers really, really, really suck.
  23. Crying is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  24. Love is sometimes neither kind, nor patient, and especially not gentle. Love hurts. There is no getting around it.
  25. Disappointments are very often blessings in disguise.
  26. What people remember about you most is how you made them feel.
  27. You only have one family. Yes they are yours and they are not going away. Get used to it.
  28. Champagne, vodka, gin and beer don’t mix well.
  29. If he’s not ever calling before 11 p.m., he’s not interested in a real relationship.
  30. If you don’t have the money to pay cash for it, don’t buy it.
  31. Box dye jobs look like box dye jobs (especially if you’re going for blonde).
  32. Eyebrows really don’t grow back if they’re overly tweezed.
  33. Nude underwear is really the only acceptable color to wear under white pants.
  34. This moment — however good or bad it is — will be just a blip on the radar two years from now.
  35. A teaspoon is not the same thing as a tablespoon.
  36. Buying it one size too small won’t make you lose weight any faster.
  37. Learn to appreciate the contrast in life. If every day was Saturday and I could eat chocolate cake and pizza for every meal, wouldn’t that lose its appeal after a while?
  38. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
  39. Being fat doesn’t mean you’re defective, broken or damaged. It just means you haven’t learned how to take care of yourself yet.
  40. What matters is not where you start but where you finish.

Making more and more progress! Being forced to eat differently because of my celiac disease is definite doing wonders for my waistline – and my bad habits.

I’ve got things under control at home but out and about is a different story. Went to a wedding this past weekend, and I got angry. Soooo angry! All around me were plates of mac & cheese, rolls, chicken fingers and stuffed mushrooms. People were laughing over beers and cake pops. I was banned to the raw vegetable tray while sipping wine. Yes, I do feel much better so it’s definitely for the best. As my first event since diagnosis, it was hard. I was sad. I was pissed off. Yes there were tears shed. I didn’t have a chance to prepare ahead of time and research each and every ingredient before I got there. I felt like I was on a float in the middle of the ocean…Overwhelmed. My world was spinning.

I shouldn’t let food have this effect on me. And in actuality, it’s not all about the food. I’m in mourning. I’m mourning the care-free attitude I can now have at events. I can’t just go and toast with friends over fondue or throw back a beer at a football game over Bojangle’s chicken. I know I can make “arrangements”. But I don’t want to make arrangements…I want to just go and not worry about it. Those days are gone…and while I’m making it work, it isn’t without grief.

Nonetheless, I’m still feeling better than ever. Even my joint pain has disappeared! This has solved a lot of problems I’ve been suffering from for years. At the end of the day, this may not be an easy road, but it sure will be worth it!

Until next time…

“The years teach much which the days never knew.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good. Gooder. Bestest.

Those of you that read last week’s blog know I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease…If you didn’t know, or didn’t read the blog – SHAME ON YOU!! (Click here for the rundown.) In honor of the fact that I’m feeling much better, and to play off of my post from a few weeks ago – this week’s topic explores the GOOD…the GOODER (yes – I know this is not actually a word)…and the BESTEST (despite what I originally thought – bestest is a word in the dictionary. Learn something new every day!) facets of weight loss.

GOOD: You want to lose weight.

GOODER: You look for guidance and motivation to keep you going on your journey.

BESTEST: You check out my blog every week to know that there is someone else out there fighting the same battle.

 

GOOD: You walked a mile on the treadmill.

GOODER: You ran a 5K on the treadmill.

BESTEST: You made it to the end of the treadmill.

 

GOOD: A co-worker commented on your weight loss.

GOODER: A friend you haven’t seen in a while is shocked at how great you look.

BESTEST: Your mother makes you show her some ID.

 

GOOD: You buy lots of produce at the grocery store.

GOODER: You buy organic produce at the grocery store.

BESTEST: You grow your own vegetables…in your bathtub.

 

GOOD: Salad for lunch.

GOODER: Salad for dinner.

BESTEST: Salad for breakfast.

 

GOOD: You’re taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

GOODER: You’re biking to work instead of driving.

BESTEST: You’ve decided to swim to your European vacation.

 

GOOD: You do 50 sit-ups every day.

GOODER: You do 50 sit-ups every hour.

BESTEST: You never stop doing sit-ups.

 

GOOD: You do Yoga, Pilates or Zumba.

GOODER: You do Yoga, Pilates and Zumba.

BESTEST: You do Yoga, Pilates and Zumba, all at the same time.

 

GOOD: You achieved your goal rate on your heart rate monitor.

GOODER: You exceeded your goal rate on your heart rate monitor.

BESTEST: Your activity level melted your heart rate monitor.

 

GOOD: You have to cut back on cupcakes because of Gluten-free restrictions.

GOODER: You find a Gluten-Free bakery in town.

BESTEST: Your incredible sister bakes you a batch of the most delicious GF cupcakes with a dark chocolate ganache frosting so you won’t be left out when dessert is served.

 

 

GOOD: You watch what you eat.

GOODER: You don’t think twice about making a healthier choice when eating out.

BESTEST: You’ve lost the bad habits that got you in trouble in the first place. (Thank you, Celiac Disease!)

 

GOOD: Your clothes are a bit looser.

GOODER: You have to make a new hole for your belt buckle.

BESTEST: You have to buy suspenders to keep from mooning innocent bystanders.

 

GOOD: Eating healthier has opened the door to trying new vegetables.

GOODER: Your day consists of compiling a list 101 ways to cook a rutabaga.

BESTEST: You can now name every vegetable in the cruciferous family and accurately describe every aspect of their taxonomy.

 

GOOD: You feel comfortable being in public in a swimsuit.

GOODER: You feel comfortable being in public in a bikini.

BESTEST: Hello, nude beach!

 

GOOD: You drink 8 glasses of water a day.

GOODER: You drink your body weight in ounces of water daily.

BESTEST: Your city has just re-instated drought level water restrictions as the result of your daily intake.

 

GOOD: You’ve lost 10 pounds.

GOODER: You’ve lost 20 pounds.

BESTEST: You’ve lost 10% of your starting weight!!!

Not having any trouble with cooking at home, but I’m desperately missing the convenience I once had in terms of finding something to eat. Gone are the days of blindly going out to eat without doing research ahead of time…gone are the quick last minute trips through a drive thru to grab lunch on the go…gone are the days of recovering from a hangover with a chicken biscuit and a regular coke. (I know that accounts for about a zillion calories, but sometimes you’ve just got to grease it up to get yourself back to normal!)

I am now forced to be acutely aware of everything and everyone that might have touched my food. I have to guard my food to prevent someone from sticking their contaminated fork in my potato to have a bite. (Sorry dad – had to call you out on this one!)

I have to trust where I’m going to eat…have to trust that the person preparing my food doesn’t say “Gluten what?” and then proceed to grab my food immediately after touching a hamburger bun. I know that there’s probably a pretty good chance that everything will be ok…but right now, I’m not willing to take the risk. I’m not willing to undo what I’ve already done.

Why am I so OCD about it? Well…I cannot even begin to describe how amazing I have felt for the last week. Sticking to a very strict GF diet has done wonders for my digestive system, my energy level, and my skin, believe it or not. Do I miss bread, fried chicken, Campbell’s soup and licking envelopes? (Yep…the envelope lick-y part could contain trace amounts of gluten.) No I do not. Don’t miss the pasta, don’t miss crackers, don’t miss gravy…To go from feeling as awful as I felt for the last decade, and especially the last 6 months to feeling absolutely incredible – I don’t miss any of it…not for one second!

In honor of my digestive rebirth – I will leave you with this:

GOOD: You finally found out what’s been plaguing you health wise.

GOODER: You start to feel better after “treatment”.

BESTEST: You feel better than you have in 15 years!

 “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Diagnosis and the 5 Little Stages

I’m grieving. Yes, I am grieving the loss of bread…pizza crust…everything bagels…beer.  I’m grieving stress-free trips to restaurants…grieving easy family get-togethers and stress free events.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease last week.  So thankful (to the point of tears) that I finally have a firm diagnosis for what has perhaps been plaguing me for over a decade. It’s likely that issues I’ve been fighting since I was a child could be the result of CD.

As this is my first post about it…I’m going to go ahead and nerd it out for a paragraph or two and give you a few ins and outs of the disease (afterall, it’s helpful to be educational every once in a while)…

Celiac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease affecting mainly the small intestine that affects nearly 1 in 132 individuals in the US. Those suffering from the disease are unable to ingest gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye and malt. Eating gluten acts as a poison (always exciting), damaging the hair-like projections called villi that line the small intestine, leading the intestines to stop absorbing nutrients. (See picture below.)

The pictures show the difference between healthy villi (left) and damaged villi (right). The damaged villi gets brittle and flat. The efficiency to abosorb nutrients to our body has reduced tremendously.

If CD goes untreated, it can damage the small bowel and lead to an increased risk of certain long-term conditions and cancers.

The cause of celiac disease is unknown, although according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it may be linked to a group of genes on Chromosome 6. Some experts believe that stressful events such as surgery, severe emotional stress or childbirth may trigger symptoms for the first time.

What are the symptoms?  Well…there are many. Celiacs may experience some, all or none of these:  abdominal cramping, distention and bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation – or both, fatty stools, anemia, malabsorption, nausea and vomiting, depression, mouth ulcers, bone or joint pain, fatigue, infertility, and osteoporosis.  I experienced most of these (although to preserve any dignity I still have I will not specify which ones)…and there are also additional things my doctor believes may be the result of CD.

Now that you’re edumacated on the what and the why…you may be wondering how you cure it.

Well (frown) – there is not currently a cure for celiac disease. There’s no medicine to fight the effects of gluten should it be ingested. However, (happy face) the relief from the disease is 100% in my control (and some of you know how I am about control).  I am in charge of my “treatment” – no pill to take, no shots, no weird concoctions to drink every morning…100% Hannah E. Hayes regulated.

Eliminating all gluten from the diet is the only way to combat CD. It is the only proven treatment for healing the gut and promoting regrowth of intestinal villi. (Three cheers for happy villi!) The time it takes to fully recover depends on how long the intestinal damage has been occurring.

According to my doctor, my insides look like a war-zone…but after being on a completely gluten free diet for the last few days…I feel like I’ve been reborn.  Distention has been alleviated…stabbing pain in my side is gone. I feel incredible.

However, as a self-proclaimed carbohydrate addict, this has not been an easy last few days…I am currently in the midst of what I would like to call: My Gluten Free Journey through the 5 Stages of Grief

1)      Denial – My doctor had suspected that this is what had been plaguing me…but prior to the results, and even a while after, I was in a serious state of denial – As bad as I was feeling, I was sure there was no way some stupid bread protein was causing all my distress…afterall, how stupid does it sound? “Sorry…that pasta you just ate is making your villi lay down.”  Someone at work was eating pizza in front of  me and all I wanted to do was lick it. Certainly licking it wouldn’t hurt me (although it turns out, it may have), but he probably would have hurt me for licking his lunch. I was convinced that I’d never be able to live or follow this new diet…I of course was wrong.

2)      Anger – The day of the diagnosis – as I was trying to figure out what to pick up for lunch on the way to work, I became extremely upset. I felt like gluten was in EVERYTHING. And in all honesty…it’s in a lot of things: Soy sauce, vegetable broth, bread (obviously), beer, lunch meat, salad dressing, soup…even Communion wafers (how will I explain that at the pearly gates?!).  I was angry that even going to a family function where food would be served would be such an ordeal. I was pissed off about having to stand and wait for the pharmacist today so I could ask her whether or not my Adderall has gluten in it. (Side note : Some pharmacists need to get it together – not you of course, Betsy.  Pharmacist said, “well I don’t really know what gluten is so I don’t know what to tell you.” I can’t be the only one that has a gluten restriction in Greensboro…certainly I’m not the only one who has ever said anything to this Pharmacist about it. As cross-contamination is one of the most detrimental issues with a gluten-free lifestyle, I found myself quite frustrated with the lack of concern.)

3)      Bargaining – Maybe, just maybe, I’ll start to feel better…then a little bread won’t hurt…soup won’t hurt…a sip or two of beer won’t kill me.  Despite my doctor’s warning (that I needed to treat this like I would a severe peanut allergy) – I was contemplating whether or not I’d be ok with a cheat day…or a cheat meal at least.  Well, without really trying to “cheat”, I had a flavored vodka drink the other night. While plain vodka should be free of gluten, most manufactures make no gluten-free claims when it comes to flavored liquors as there is significant cross-contamination normally. Well – that one little drink, fought back. While it wasn’t severe, I could certainly tell that I had made my insides extremely angry…so despite my original theory…there is no cheating or slipping up. I can’t take feeling that poorly anymore…it’s not worth it.

4)      Depression – Am I sad about no more gluten? Hell yes I’m sad. I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy…for the food of course. The pasta, the pizza, the meatballs (why can’t I have meatballs? Breadcrumbs are used as a filler)…wine is ok…so I can enjoy that. But I can spend a lot less money and fly over a lot less ocean and enjoy wine here…I’m sad that I won’t be able to enjoy wedding cake at my sister’s wedding…I feel like such a burden with my family, especially in the event of a get together…I’ve got a cousin with a severe peanut allergy and no one has ever yelled at him for being special, so I don’t know why I feel like it will be different with me…I guess there’s just a lot more involved in determining whether something has gluten vs. whether or not it’s got nuts.  I’m sad that I’ve been diagnosed with a disease that I’ll never be able to get rid of. I’m sad that my future children will have to be tested for CD and may have the same limitations.

5)      Acceptance – While I may be sad at what can no longer be – I feel fantastic. All of my symtoms went away. All of them! I haven’t thrown up in 3.5 days (which is a record lately). I don’t hurt after eating. I have energy again! ENERGY!!!! I haven’t know what that was like for months!  I started researching the heck out of being gluten-free…I’ve read other blogs on the subject…downloaded recipes…even found an amazing Gluten-free bakery that just opened in the area (www.lindysgoodiesbakery.com).  Corn tortillas are my new BFF.  The vast array of gluten-free options coupled with the fact that I have never felt better or healthier in my life is why I have happily reached the point of acceptance with my celiac disease. 

And…the icing on the cake…I lost weight this week!!!

Can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am that I’ve got some direction. It hasn’t been an easy road, and to those of you that have suffered along with me, I apologize for the roller coaster…but get ready.  A new and improved Hannah is emerging…and she is going to let nothing stand in her way! Except maybe a biscuit…

“The most significant change in a person’s life is a change of attitude. Right attitudes produce right actions.” ~Willam J. Johnston