Tuesday, 25 October 2016

So it turns out there might be a medical reason for my weight gain

When I first started piling on weight back in 2012 I was seriously worried that something was medically wrong with me. I assumed I might have poly cystic ovaries since I basically had all the symptoms and it is a ridiculously common thing in women in their 20's as I was at the time. Or perhaps an underactive thyroid was to blame.

My doctor assumed I was just looking for excuses for my weight gain and dismissed me. I was also complaining of gastrointestinal issues at the time but those were also dismissed and I was told I probably had IBS and there wasn't much anyone could do. I was given tablets for the stomach cramps, even although I didn't really have any cramps and basically told to go away.

No matter how many times I went to the doctor it was always the same, 'you just need to watch what you are eating a bit better' blah blah blah. I have eaten like a toddler my whole life and yes I have always been a little overweight but it was spiralling out of control for no obvious reason.

At the time I was in the best physical health of my life, I was also training for a 5k run which is something I would never have contemplated before. I was out running every day either before or after work depending on my shift, every single day! One might expect to lose a few pounds doing all that running but my weight was creeping up and up. At first I put it down to being back at college and eating rubbish canteen food, so I started taking my own lunches and it made no difference.

I ran that 5k in an outfit two sizes bigger than I had been before all this started. I couldn't believe it when I tried it on. How  on earth had I gained weight when all I had been doing was training for the race? I ran the 5k in a little over half an hour which I didn't think was bad for someone who had never ran the length of themselves before.

The weight was bugging me though and I was insistent that something was wrong. it just didn't sit right with me that I was putting on weight when I was doing ten times the amount of exercise I used to do. We moved to the city at this time so I had to register with a new doctor and I told them of my concerns. They agreed to run bloods to check my thyroid but when they came back ok they weren't interested anymore.

I have mentioned it to different doctors at my practice since, the weight gain and the gastro stuff. no one is interested they all keep telling me to join a slimming group. I go to the gym all the time, ok I take the occasional week off but I go to the gym a lot. I don't eat well, I never have and I never will, but I eat better than I ever did before when I was thin.

Then I ended up in the emergency GP one night with suspected gallstones, and finally the GP was interested in something I had to say. They booked a scan for me, which was negative for gallstones but now they at least admitted something might in fact be wrong.

At this time I pointed out that my partner had helicobacter pylori a couple of years ago and had very similar symptoms to what I had been having for years. I was told 'oh we don't routinely test family members of people who have that' I pointed out that I have had symptoms for years and probably have it but was again dismissed. I was started on omeprazole because I was still having what we thought was gallbladder pain before the scan.

When I went back to tell them that the omeprazole did in fact seem to be making a difference I mentioned the helicobacter again and finally my doctor agreed to test me. I really don't know what the fuss is about, if you have never had it before the test is just a simple blood test its hardly difficult. I had the test done that day and a few days later the phone rings.

Its the receptionist from the surgery asking me if I would be available the following day for a phone appointment with the doctor. I knew then that I had been right all along, the test was positive.

As it turns out, unexplained weight gain is a symptom of untreated helicobacter! I have been going on about this for four years and no on has listened! Unfortunately, getting rid of the helicobacter is no guarantee that the weight will drop off but it certainly wont hurt and it should hopefully stop the nasty GI symptoms I have been having.

The treatment is dual antibiotic therapy and working in an admissions unit in the biggest hospital in the country, being on lots of antibiotics is not a great idea when I am at work. Antibiotic use is a risk factor for some nasty infections and I don't want another infection on top of what I already have so I will wait till my annual leave next week before starting it. Hopefully the antibiotics don't make me feel too yukky.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Well the shakes worked!!!

Ok from my last post you can tell that I was really worried how I would handle my shake challenge and really sceptical about it working.

I am very proud to say that I have lost five and a half lbs! in seven days!

I wasn't brave enough to try them out while I was working in case I felt really hungry so I waited till I was on annual leave and started them last week. The first day wasn't easy I will be honest but within the first three days I had realised that I could have a very small lunch by splitting my calorie allowance and the weight started dropping off, by day three I had lost three lbs.

I can honestly say that after the first two days I was not feeling hungry at all after my shakes and they actually tasted really nice. I had loads of energy which is not like me, I attribute that to the extra vitamins in the shakes since my regular diet is so rubbish.

in fact I loved my shakes so much I have decided to join my friend in becoming a distributor for forever living. I have now had the chance to try many of their products and there are none I don't love. I am using the heat gel on my sore back and shoulder, and the moisturiser on my dry skin. I feel great and I am noticing a massive difference in my skin.

I will always be a picky eater, and I think I will always struggle with food but maybe I have finally found something that can at least help with the weight.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

I have to lose this weight - drastic measures

I know I need to lose this weight, it has very much been at the forefront of my mind recently. I feel awful, I am tired all the time and I have been sicker this year than I ever have been in my life.

This is almost certainly related to my diet, but more so I think to my weight. My diet is bad, I am fully aware of that but I am making the effort as much as possible and things are definitely better than they were. So why do I feel worse?

The obvious answer is my weight. Although my diet has improved somewhat, my weight has never recovered. I remain heavier than I used to be, and only three kilos lighter than I was when I started this journey. Something drastic needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon.

I started taking these tablets that reduce your body's absorption of carbs and fat from the foods you eat. I don't eat that much fat, but I sure do love my carbs. The problem is I take medication that can't be taken at the same time as the tablets, you need a clear two hour window between them. Since I do not have two hours to wait around in the mornings I can't take the tablets at breakfast. Not a huge deal I figure, better to take them twice a day than never. Only problem is that I have been forgetting to lift them to take them to work with me so they are really not doing anything for me. I am also a little worried about the effect they might have on my medication so although I was really into the idea when I bought them, I am now not so sure.

A good friend of mine has recently started working with one of those companies that sell all sorts of supplements, shakes and skincare stuff and was looking for some people to try their shakes for a week. I signed straight up! What the heck am I thinking? The plan is to have a shake for breakfast and lunch then eat a 600 calorie meal at night, you can have as much fruit and veg as you like as well.

It honestly sounds great, only breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and the only one I eat reasonably consistently (not every day, but most days), I have no idea what a 600 calorie meal looks like and I don't eat a single fruit. I do eat four vegetables, but not on their own so that is no use either. What the heck? I am never going to be able to do this!

And this is without thinking about the taste/texture of the actual shakes, I have no idea what they are going to be like or if I will manage to even drink them in the first place. I have a feeling I may have bitten off more than I can chew here.

On the plus side, I guess it shows how serious I am about getting rid of this weight. I need to do something and it is only a week. If it doesn't work I guess I haven't lost much. I just hope that missing breakfast before work doesn't leave me hungry all day and affect my concentration because as a nurse, people's lives depend on my ability to concentrate and do my job safely and well.

I guess I have nothing to lose by giving it a try; except some unwanted weight that is!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Back to the gym

I started back at the gym last night. It has been ages since I have been there. I got so disheartened with not losing any weight, then I took ill and it was the perfect excuse to stop going for a while.

I am getting pretty much nowhere with trying to change my diet, and absolutely nowhere with losing weight. In fact according to my scales, I have put three of the kilograms I lost back on recently. I am still under the weight I was when I first started on this journey by five kilos but putting anything back on still feels bad.

The good news is that I finally got a date for my ultrasound scan to see what is going on with this gallbladder. My bloods all came back ok so my own doctor is a little confused by the whole thing but I am sure that is what it is because sometimes when I eat I am in agony afterwords which is classic of a problem gallbladder.

What is not classic of a problem gallbladder is that the foods that set it off aren't always the same. For example on the rare occasion I go to the works canteen I will always get macaroni cheese if it is available because it's about the only hot thing I can eat that they make. I have had this at work several times since the gallbladder became a problem. Since I finished my old job off a nightshift on Sunday morning and started my new job on a dayshift Monday, I have had no time to go to the supermarket in between so have relied on the canteen this past week. For the most part this is a nightmare for me, but old faithful macaroni cheese was one of the choices on Tuesday so I got that. The pain was immediate, I hadn't even finished eating and I was in agony which lasted for three days!

I need to lose weight, I need to eat better.

I simply don't know what to do. I have even considered contacting an eating disorders charity based in the city, their website lists both SED and ARFID as disorders they are familiar with. I don't know what, if any help they could give me. There really isn't any help out there but I definitely do need help. If only I knew how to get it.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Pressure King Pro - My latest attempt at eating better

So if you have been following my posts you know that I have tried many things to help me eat better and pretty much nothing has worked. Expanding my diet is possibly the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. I have resigned myself to the fact that I have to first start by eating the things I can eat more often, instead of relying on junk to fill me up or living on breakfast cereal which being honest is something I would be quite happy to do.

The area that needs the most improvement is absolutely what I take to work, I tend to buy rubbish that can be microwaved quickly. Part of the reason for that is that I am absolutely rubbish at preparing things in advance. I struggle to find the time and motivation and on top of that I struggle with how limited I am in what I eat because lets face it, not everything can be cooked in advance, transported to work and then reheated in a microwave.

My latest attempt at improving things is the Pressure King Pro, which is an electric pressure cooker with varying pre-programmed settings. My mother bought one recently and absolutely loves it, and if she likes it it must be absolutely awesome because I swear to goodness, that woman likes nothing.

It sounded like just what I needed. It cooks things quickly, cooks a reasonably large amount (it has a five litre capacity), is easy to clean and doesn't really need any input from a human after its set up. All you do is chuck everything in and choose the appropriate setting. Sounds so easy, even I can do it so I went out and bought one yesterday.

Now I admit I actually used it for the first time last night, but I had the idea that it would make a good blog post after the fact so I hadn't taken any photos so this is actually the second time I have used it. Last night I made a chicken and rice dish that cooked in exactly 12 minutes (plus time for the machine to build pressure and my prep time) and was delicious.

Today's offering is my idea of a chicken stew (remember I am a picky eater).

Firstly I chopped the chicken and added it to the rather large pot. Since this blog is about my life as a picky eater, the picture below is the amount of chicken I cut off and binned because it didn't meet my ridiculous standards (see even I know how ridiculous it is) Some of it has weird white bits on it, some has cartilage and some veiney bits - all in the bin!

I then peeled, chopped and added the carrots and potatoes. Carrots are one of the four vegetables I can eat so I am trying to eat them as often as I can.

I added water and one of those stock pot things, closed the lid and selected the 'meat' programme. There is a stew programme but that turns the machine into a slow cooker rather than a pressure cooker and since the whole point of this meal prepping thing is that I am going to cook several meals today and do it quickly, using the slow cooker function seemed to defeat the point. I added a few extra minutes to the timer because 13 minutes didn't seem enough and noted to myself that I need to figure out how to adjust timings and get my head around these programmes somehow.

And this is the finished product - 

Ok so I had to add some gravy cubes because the one stock pot thingy was nowhere near enough but that was very easy to do, I just crumbled them in and put the machine back on without the lid for a few minutes so I could stir it in and that was that.

I have to say it tasted fantastic and including prep and heating time couldn't have taken much more than half an hour to prepare. Best part is because you don't need to do anything while it is cooking, you are free to use that time for something else, for example, writing this blog post.

I have since washed the machine and currently have a whole chicken cooking in there which means I will get a whole cooked chicken, and more than enough stock to make a pot of soup too.

Meal prepping is turning out to be really easy with my new Pressure King Pro; in fact I am doing so well that I think I will need to order more bags for my vacuum sealer to store it all in!