Saturday, April 5, 2014

APRIL 5th Oh So Close to the Two'sies!

 "I didn't have any desire to shake things up, or make huge dramatic changes." 

That's from my last post, back in January. All I have to say about that is:

What a winter I've had! Seven different medical conditions, one piled on top of the other... good griefus! I'm better now, and truly thankful. 

But honestly, when in the middle of all that, it's hard not to get discouraged and start feeling sorry for yourself. At least, that's what I struggled with. 

One of the conditions caused me to have severe... ahem ... diarrhea FOR 75 DAYS!! Yes, you read that right. 2 1/2 months. I almost ended up hospitalized. We never did discover what set it off, but they had me trying everything to stop it. 

From the BRAT diet, to heavy duty prescriptions. NOTHING WORKED. I honestly wondered if this was the way I going to go out... cr**ping myself to death. :-O

I finally said phooey to all the doctor's guesses, did some research, and put myself on a special, extremely strict elimination type diet designed by a doctor, for people with intestinal issues.

Tough to follow?? Not if you are desperate enough and facing medical complications. The dehydration and electrolyte imbalance played havoc with my congestive heart failure, and it was dicey for awhile. So yeah... I was willing to get extreme. 

The program is for people who struggle with Crohns, Ulcerative colitis, Diverticulitits, Celiac disease,  and more. I don't have those, but it DID help me stop the cycle, and heal.

I have to admit, though, that I was ticked off for awhile. You see... I was originally ordered to go on the BRAT diet, which is TOTALLY HIGH CARB stuff. Um... I have been extremelly low carb for 5 years!! That was so hard for me to do. And I was even surprised to find that some of the stuff I secretly expected to enjoy (like potatoes, white rice, toast, juice, pudding, etc) didn't even taste good to me anymore. Yet the high starch diet, which turns to sugar in my system, set me up once again for powerful cravings that I'd been free from for 5 years. Soooo frustrating.

Moral of story: I can't ever say I am "cured" of being susceptible to cravings, if I am once again exposed to the sugar and starches. I had to go through actual withdrawal again. And yes, it was very hard. My mind played all kinds of games with me, just like the first time. sigh... And I STILL am struggling a bit with it, even now. Like a lingering scent, catching your attention when you aren't expecting it, and triggering memories and longings. Don't know if that makes sense, but... it's a powerful thing.

Another thing I thought about during all this: that super strict diet was difficult and exacting to follow. To start out you only eat about 4 simple, plain items, plus homemade electrolyte solution. But I was totally willing, because I was desperate and ready to try anything. 

Which made me I think about all the times over the years I had thought "Oh I am so desperate to lose weight", yet I was NOT willing to try something. 

I was willing to try SOME-things, but not ANY-thing. 

Case in point: about 20 years ago when I first heard about the idea of not eating sugar and starches, I was NOT willing. I made all kinds of excuses, and argued that it should be "moderation in all things." Yeah, right. Tell that one to an alcoholic. It might work for some people, but not for me. But I wasn't yet willing to admit that.

It wasn't until I got desperate enough, and nothing that I tried had worked, that I was finally willing to even consider giving up sugar and starches. I spent 3 months reading, studying, learning about it. I had to be convinced it would be healthy, for me. That this was what would be the healthiest way for MY body. I mean, it was the opposite of what had been pounded into my head for decades... so yeah, I was a little skeered. 

I figured I would use my old "all or nothing" tendencies TO my advantage. So once I was fully convinced, I plunged totally in. 

Against my husbands preferences.
Against the preferences of anyone I knew.
Against most of society's preferences.

I was determined, I was committed, I was willing.

It's not been easy. Heck, at times it's been VERY HARD. There have been times I was so discouraged, and wanted to give up.

But I didn't. 

I'm convinced God had mercy on me, and brought this information to help me.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to see the 2 hundreds getting close. My highest weight a few years ago was a humiliating 460 lbs.

When I weighed in on April 1st, I was 304 lbs.

That's a total loss of 156 lbs!!! I still find it hard to relate to that... it doesn't seem real. It's still hard to stand, to move, and still a lot of pain. Sometimes I wonder if I am imagining it??

But it's real. 

And on the journey goes. Day after day. Just doing the little daily stuff. Not perfect... not by a long shot. But just continuing on, no matter what.

Enjoy the journey,


Updated to add: since some have asked about the diet that helped me recover, I thought I'd put it here.

The book I bought is "Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Intestinal Health Through Diet", by Elaine Gottschall, B.A, M.S. It gives her story (the amazing recovery of her young daughter, who the doctors basically gave up on), the science behind the diet, and recipes. It's on Amazon, and for me, was totally worth the price.

One site that was helpful to me was SCD Lifestyle.
The "official" SCD site Here.
Lots of links for SCD related info, including recipes.
There is also an active Yahoo group called BTVC: the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I picked up lots of useful tips here.

Hope this helps!


Marion Shaw said...

Hi Loretta, I'm so sorry you went through that! I am just finishing with a sour stomach myself and much of the same issues that you described above (only for 3 weeks, though)! And that is no fun at all! So you have my empathy, as we were probably feeling weak and pukey on the very same days! And yes, I ate stuff like bananas and rice, that I usually never eat! It's been strange to get back to eating low carb for me too. But if you've been doing low-carb for a long time, use your long-standing habits to help align you again. :-)

Wow! You are super close to the 200's!!! I hope you try extremely hard to get into the 200's. No matter that losing that weight was not the way you wanted to do it, you'll feel such a huge boost of confidence from getting into the 200's that will motivate you sooooo much! You'll think about yourself differently too. I want this so much for you, dear friend!!!!

And you deserve it! When I was very heavy, I used to think that my body was not made to be lower in weight than that. But that was just a messed up mindset that I had. You can succeed and maintain in your 200's, it's really not too much different than what you've been doing. Just a tiny bit tighter with your food, and maybe food journaling every day. But really, this is true. It's mostly a mindset issue. If you know I had that problem mindset but overcame it, then you can believe that you can overcome it too.

So there is a silver lining in all of the problems you described above. I want so many good things for you! <3

Retta said...

Thank you so much, Marion for your supportive comments.
The weird thing was that while I was so sick, I GAINED so much that it scared me. Turns out it was a ton of fluid, which affected my lungs. Then when I lost the fluid, I didn't expect to go farther down than when I started... but I did. So yeah, that's a hard way to lose weight.
You are right... silver linings. I was just thinking, and I realize that one if the things I learned was that when I was so sick, I couldn't eat very much at a time. And I realized that even though I had been trying, I had still been eating too large of portions. So being sick forced me to cut way down, and it opened my eyes. Hard lesson, but valuable!
I'm glad you are feeling better now, too.

The Brown Recluse said...

So good to hear from you!!!! First, I'm really sorry about the 75 days of...issues. My mom suffered with that for two years...I understand a little of what you went thorough. (She's much better now, too.)

So, the weight loss! Yayay!! Me? I gained most of my weight back, but have learned a lot! Back on the right track...will eventually write about that. But for YOU! Wow...doing a happy dance for the soon to be 200's! WhoopWhoop!!

None of us are perfect, ever, no matter what, and you are doing it exactly right for you! God is definitely merciful, and does not want us living in the chains of obesity and food addiction. That takes too much of our time and energy that we could be giving to Him.

Great news, Loretta! Great news, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Having had bouts of "get to the bathroom fast" diarrhea several times a week for 40 years, yes--forty, I can relate. (Complication of gallbladder removal when I was 20 years old.) Mine is embarrassing, stress-inducing, painful, and requires planning to eat out (Planning and Immodium), but is not debilitating like yours. You definitely have my sympathies as you must have had a continual, ummm, run of it. Ack.

Congratulations on the weight loss! Let's hope yo have a run of that, too!!!

What was the diet? Perhaps it could settle my on digestive distress.

Interestingly, I was just told of a medication that is used for the post-gallbladder runs. It has some sort of mitigating effect on bile. (When GB is removed, the liver puts a steady stream of bile into the intestines since the GB is no longer around to store it up until needed.) I've been thinking about asking my MD about it. (You know, since needing to be in running distance of a bathroom after meals is not always possible.) I so often have negative side-effects to meds, tho...

Anyway, if you wouldn't mind--what is the diet?

Congrats, again, on the weight loss.


The Brown Recluse said...

Deb...I, too, had my gall badder out years ago. I was told that if I go long periods of time without eating, after eating, it would hit me. They were right. Now, I have to admit over the years, that "long periods of time" became less and less, but it definitely affects the issue. If you know it's going to be a long while before you eat, grab a bite in between. This info has been a life saver for me. (face saver, anyway...I hate using public restrooms!!!)

Summerfun2014 said...

Hi Loretta, my name is Carrie, I've been following your blog for ages, I always look forward to your updates. I was getting a bit concerned when you hadn't been around for so long this winter. I'm sorry that you've been so sick. I had the same sort of sickness strike me down when my husband and I went to Yellowstone on vacation. We live in Oregon so the drive to get home from Yellowstone was the longest trip of my life and like you, I thought I would end up with a hospital stay. I was sick for several months, couldn't really go anywhere for fear of being away from the bathroom. Thankfully, after many, many tests and doctor visits, there was never a diagnosis but my body finally managed to recover. I am having many health problems again right now, most of which are unknown respiratory problems that the allergist THINKS are food problems but I'm just not sure. What was the diet that you followed that cleared up your intestinal problems? I have also been told to try the BRAT diet and I will say, all of those carb seemed to make my heartburn much worse. Anyhow, I am glad you're on the road to recovery, I was worried.

Retta said...

Hi Carrie, thank you for your nice words.
Wow, I hear ya on being stuck in a car with THOSE symptoms!! I remember being the feeling of total stress-out when I had to go to the doctor, yet couldn't leave the bathroom. :-O
You know, once I stopped eating wheat, heartburn is a thing of the past for the most part. So maybe the idea of a food allergy is valid, and worth exploring.
I put the info for the diet up at the end of the post. Hope that helps. :-)

Retta said...

Thank you, Margaret. And yes, we CAN learn a lot from our stumbles. I am SO SO SO grateful for God's mercy. And I'm glad to read you are on the right track again. Yay!!

Retta said...

Hi Deb.
Forty years??!!! No words...aagghhh.
Since a couple of you have asked about the diet, I put all the info up at the end of the post now. Hope that helps. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Loretta. I checked out the book on Amazon, but unfortunately, there is no kindle version. I can no longer rad print. When I get a chance, I'll read the book info on Amazon and the reviews. Maybe someone will let spill enough info for me to get an idea of what the diet consists of.

Retta said...

Oh, sorry Deb, I hadn't paid attention to the formats available. At the top of the page on the SCD Lifestyle site, they list their "Free" stuff. One of them gives a good "Quickstart guide to the SCD diet":
Maybe that would work?

twihnb said...


This is the first time I am on your blog. And I was excited by your painting close ups, wondered which famous artist those belonged to, then learned that they were yours. About your last post in january, I think the LIE holds for many fat people including me. And I think it is very important to figure it out that this is a problem and it exits. You certainly don't need to be thin to be a sucessfull painter. Anyway, I am on my way to buy the book. Thanks for sharing.

Retta said...

Hi Twihnb, and welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the paintings. And I really hope the book helps you as much as it did me. Thank you for visiting. :-)

Christine said...

Hey bud, Glad you are better! you are the third person I know personally on the scd diet. Two with ulcerative colitis...then you. Must be a good diet. Can't wait till you hit the two' you can't either. I know you will get there.

Retta said...

Thanks, Chris, I'm feeling mucho better now. Right now I keep bouncing around, getting close to the 2'sies, then popping up again... so frustrating. I think it's just a head/heart thing... no, I know it is. For whatever reason, I keep shying away and making stupid choices that set me back. I haven't figured out yet why I'm doing that, but I'm determined to find out so I can go ON. Thanks for the encouraging words. :-)

debby said...

Wow, Loretta! Just popped over to see if you'd written--wow! Okay, I have to admit you made me laugh with your line about "cr**ing myself to death." Probably the leftover nurse in me that enjoys that kind of humor. Anyway, I am so glad you found a solution. Its such an important story--that people need to be their own best advocate.

And also, I'll comment here--amen to your urging young people to do it now.And that life is short. Its SOOO short. I feel just like you--haha, only I only think I'm 29. 29 and I can't even stand up straight or walk when I get out of a car.

Retta said...

Hi Debby, Fellow Youngster. :-) Nice to read that others feel the same way. And yeah, I kinda chuckled too when I wrote that line about how I thought I might go out. Black humor I think they call it. :-D

Life is so short, yes. It's weird how when I was younger I always thought I'd have more time. Just the last few days I've been deciding to take a different direction with my art, and do something I've always wanted to try. I have no idea if it will be a bust or not. I have this "thing" about not wanting to waste time, so I've put it off for YEARS. But it keeps sneaking back into my imagination. And then I read some quotes by Maya Angelou (in tribute to her in her passing). One said: "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style." And right after that, I re-read a quote I had saved, and this time it sang out to me: "What is calling you? Follow the whispers." And once again this idea popped up with my art. It has to do, of all things, with paper mache as the base!

So, all that to say, life is too short to procrastinate! I'm gonna try it. Will let ya'll know if it pans out, or if it's a big but fun bust. A new adventure!

debby said...

Yes, go for it Loretta! Can hardly wait to see.

One of the quilters of Gees Bend (very poor, uneducated ladies who were "discovered"--their quilts have been displayed as art allover the world,) said "I thought of it, and I said to myself, 'I can do that.' And I did it!"

Retta said...

I absolutely LOVE that quote, Debby, from the Gees Bend ladies (I first heard about them from your blog). One reason that it's taken me so long to get going on my new project is because I just haven't found anything quite like it to learn from. Similar, but not the same. So I'm having to figure it out as I go. But then it's fun to cling to the preposterous notion that you've thunk up sumpthin unique! :-D)))

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