To My Palaeo and/or Low-Carb Friends,
My name is Sarah and I need your help!
Let me tell you a little about me; I turned LC about 8 years ago because I was morbidly obese (24 stone/336lb to begin with then, thanks to the NHS, I ended up at 30 (420)!).
I have PCOS (as, I suspect, quite a few lassies who turn LC do) and, if you don't know, it predisposes you to insulin resistance/insensitivity and diabetes and, yes, I was diabetic.
My GP sent me to a dietician and I was given the usual LFHC cow-plop. She also instructed me to drink Alpro (soy milk) and eat Alpro 'yoghurt'. She actually told me that soy was beneficial for those with PCOS (I think she must have had shares in Alpro's parent company, because we all know the dangers of consuming unfermented soy, right...?).
Well, I think you know how this story goes; I adhered to the diet - and the exercise plan (the usual 'the harder you push it, the more you'll lose' crap) - with the net result that, in around 6 months, I ended up weighing more than her scales could take (they only went up to 28 stone (392), most scales in the UK seem to)! Of course it was my fault, I was still eating too much fat, I wasn't exercising hard enough for long enough, etc., you know the usual.
Knowing she was wrong, I knew the 'diet' must be to blame. I'm sure you can guess what I'd been told to eat: - porridge/Weetabix (I'm sure you have something similar wherever you are; it's basically whole wheat, ground down and compressed into 'biscuits')/Oatibix (as Weetabix, but made from whole powdered oats)/muesli, etc. with fat-free soy milk, of course (or soy yoghurt if I was having granola). Lunch was any soup of not more than 250kcal - and 5g fat - a serving and a wholemeal roll, bagel, oatcakes, Ryvita (any variety. Ryvita are basically rye crispbreads (though they make them with oats and wheat now, too) which are flavoured with various things (they have to be - the plain ones taste like - and have the texture - of chipboard (they all have the texture of chipboard!) or rice-cakes spread with fat-free cream cheese. I was also allowed a jacket potato, with cream-cheese, baked beans, and half-fat cheese (revolting stuff!) or tuna and sweetcorn in extra-light mayo.
Tea was something starchy: - pasta, spuds, rice, etc, with very lean meat (chicken was preferred) and a tomato-based sauce.
Snacks could be oatcakes, Ryvita, rice-cakes, fruit (fresh or dried), or any biscuit, cookie, or cake provided it was no more than 150kcal (I was recommended Special K Bliss bars (never, in the history of diet junk, has there been a product so ironically monikered - they are GROSS!)
In total, it was 1,200kcal - and about 250g+ carb!
One night, I had a bit of an epiphany; what if I chucked the carbs, and upped the fat...? What had I to lose (aside from 20+ stone)?
So, that's what I did. I went cold turkey on grains, starches and ALL sugars (including fruit). I was rather nervous at first (old habits die hard, after all..) but, when the pounds started coming off quicker than they went on, I went all-out.
I then began doing some online research and found Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint on Amazon. Intrigued, I bought it, and read it from cover-to-cover that night. It simply made so much SENSE! I then learnt about intermittent fasting and downloaded his Primal Fitness eBook. I began fasting; 12hrs at first, but that quickly became 16, then 18, 24 - until I was doing whole weekends. Following his instructions for fasted cardio, I was managing to shed 5 or 6lb in a weekend (though, obviously, that slowed down the more I lost).
In just over 2 years, I lost 22.5st (315lb) and 15 sizes (34/36 (30/32) to 4/6 (0/2).
Everything was rosy, until the day I was told I had gallstones and, of course, I was ordered to eat VLF (of course we all know - I hope! - that fat DOES NOT cause gallstones!). I knew the truth about gallstones by that point and I knew that they'd most likely been caused by the diet I'd been ordered to eat right back at the beginning.
Obviously, I refused, and carried on eating palaeo. Then, about 2 years ago, I began feeling unwell and the more fat I ate, the more poorly I felt. It seemed to disappear after about 6 months but, in the middle of last year, it hit me like a cannonball.
I went to my GP and was basically told it was of my own making because I'd not done as I was told and I'd not receive any kind of help or treatment until I began eating a "sensible, healthy, LOW-FAT, diet".
To cap all this off, about 3 months later, I began showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism (I blame all that soy shite I was told to consume!) and I ended up bedridden. I couldn't eat much fat, because I'd throw up and/or pass out, and hyperthyroidism makes you constantly hungry, lethargic, tired, nauseous, bloated (because everything passes through so fast). I'm losing my hair and, because I've been trapped in bed for pushing 18 months, I've developed curvature of the spine!
I can cope with the bloating, the alopecia, and most things, but what I CAN'T cope with anymore are the hunger, nausea, and the fatigue! I used to be able to listen to the radio, but I don't even have the energy to do that now!
If all the above wasn't enough to deal with, I'm also severely autistic (I have Asperger's and my interpersonal and communication skills are zero). There's no support for autistic adults where I live (South Buckinghamshire, just outside NW London) and the advocacy agency I found refused to support me because I refused to do what I'd been told!
I live with my parents, who are the kind of people who take their doctor's word as gospel, and NEVER question a single thing they're told ("Why would I ever have need to...?" says my mother) and they're refusing to support me for the same reason as the advocate ("it's high time you stopped thinking you know everything, and started listening to - and taking advice from - those who know more than you! How can you claim to know more than someone who's spent 5 years at med school...?! If you'd done what the consultant told you to do, then you'd not be in this situation now! Dad and I don't eat like you do, and we're not lying in bed all day! We're perfectly healthy, because we listen to the doctor and do what we're told, instead following rubbish we find on the Internet! (They seem to have conveniently forgotten that that "rubbish" is what lost me nearly a third of a ton!) Start doing as you're told and then, maybe, we'll help you...").
"Perfectly healthy" is relative and subjective; my father's on 80mg Lipitor, a PPI, antihypertensives, antibiotics (not the foggiest idea what they're for - the nagging cough he's had for as long as I can remember, I've always attributed that to the statins) and strong antacids (he's got an ulcer which, as we all know, is NOT caused by too much acid - quite the opposite).
So NOW what do I do...?! I'm at the end of my rope! 18 months is long enough and I'm physically, mentally and emotionally DRAINED; I'm typing this lying in bed, and it's taken me most of the day. I'm struggling with food; because I'm stuck in bed, I don't want to push the carbs up too much (if they go over 50g/day, I start feeling nervous).
My health is being held to ransom by a system which WILL NOT accept that what I'm doing is right, is healthy ("Isn't the fact that eating a lot of fat is making you ill proof that it's not a very sensible idea...?" said my GP who's been doing every slimming club going since I've known her, with the net result being that she's expanded. I REALLY felt like retorting "Isn't the fact that you've got bigger proof that NOT eating a lot of fat, and eating a lot of carbs, isn't a very sensible idea...?!" But my autism means I can't talk to her at all, I have to write everything down - and she NEVER reads it!)
I can't stop crying (and I've NEVER suffered from depression in my life!) because I can't see any route out of this (apart from the one I DO NOT want to take (and I DON'T mean giving in to the NHS!)).
All I've done these past months is email, and post to fora and FB/Google+ groups trying to find advice/help/support, but most of my posts/emails have been ignored (I blame that on my autism; I'm s**te at communication skills aren't the best when I'm NOT feeling stressed, frustrated, desperate, hopeless and despairing but, when I am...).
I feel like I'm being punished for doing what I KNOW to be right; healthcare is a basic human right - why deny it to someone just because they believe - sorry, KNOW - that the conventionally-accepted wisdom is completely WRONG...?!
This is like some kind of interminable waking nightmare; I would feel less frustrated, stressed and frightened if I knew there was something I could DO (particularly to have more energy, and feel less hungry, so at least I could do something other than lie in bed all day!). Is there anything I can do to get this feckin' stone to shift, for example? I believe it's blocking the common bile duct because, about a fortnight ago, I ate what would have been a 'normal' meal for the old me (fatty steak, 4 eggs, EVCO, salad) and I crashed out on my bed for 8 hours. When I awoke, I needed the loo and - sorry if this is TMI - my pee was the colour of very strong tea!
The fact that NOBODY seems to want to help me makes me feel that nobody really gives a flying f**k whether I'm alive - or dead!
Apologies for the length of this, but my Asperger's makes me frightened I might have missed something, so I probably repeat myself too much!
Thank you for any help you can give me...
asked bySarah__2 (11)
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on June 20, 2013
at 02:22 AM
You have an eating disorder, you need to calm down, embrace your family and compromise some of your beliefs.
on June 19, 2013
at 11:00 PM
I'm not sure I have the answer for you, but I'm gonna try here. Kudos on how far you've come. Seriously, you've pulled off what most people only dream of, and your other health issues may or may not be directly related to your diet, and bedridden is certainly not where you want to end up. I think it would be prudent to be tested for hepatitis, kidney disease, and have a full thyroid panel done, there is no way to guess what your thyroid status is without testing. The soy foods you ate years ago probably aren't to blame, but things could have gone off the rails for other reasons.
First off tea colored urine can be an emergency and indicative of serious kidney or liver problems, or even that you need your gallbladder out. So, get that one checked out stat, like today if you can. They'll probably run all sorts of tests that might help illuminate some of your other health issues if you seek emergency treatment for this. I don't think any doctor with a conscience would turn you away to treat something that could be as serious as that could be, so please don't let previous experiences delay seeking help, and it might help to skip seeing your GP and go straight to a hospital for this if your history with them is strained. Definitely be upfront with your Asperger's, and show up prepared with all of your current symptoms written down and ready to show them.
Moving on to your diet. While obviously effective for weight loss in your case, there are all sorts of vitamin deficiencies that can happen with a vlc/hf diet. Which deficiencies you have I don't know, but I would urge you to check out the Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. Cutting all fruit, including citrus fruit might be part of the problem with the gallstone if Paul is correct in this Q&A on his site when someone was inquiring about gallbladder health:
"I think PHD would help. It is good for liver function and typically good bile flow will help clear any gallstones or sludge that may be preventing bile release. She should supplement NAC and vitamin C and try to get lots of citric acid ??? lemons, lemon juice, grapefruits, grapefruit juice, limes. Try supplementing taurine as well."
Do you eat organ meats, or just muscle meat? Deficiencies can happen if you don't get enough of the "nasty bits" like liver, kidney, marrow, and heart on a vlc diet. Fish and fish eggs are beneficial too.
You might not need to fear carbohydrates as much as you do either, as long as you stick to "safe starches". I've repeatedly tested my blood sugar after a balanced meal that also contains potatoes, and there hasn't been a big bump. So, experimenting with root vegetables might fill in some of the holes in nutrients. If higher carbohydrate and lower fat helps with the gallbladder attacks for the time being, root vegetables will likely be your secret weapon to stay full and keep the weight off.
Is it possible that you've been ingesting too much protein in any given day? Your sample meal up there would be what I would spread across a full day. A steak for one meal, eggs for another, etc. Excess protein can be toxic for the kidneys in people who are susceptible, and that might be the hand you were dealt. Once again, more root vegetables, and a little less protein per meal might help.
I would also stop the fasting immediately if you have gallstones. Going for long stretches without eating, at least in women, seems to mess up bile flow. And you want the smoothest possible bile flow you can get if you have been developing stones, to try and flush them out before they can grow.
I would urge you to accept that health is moving target, and what works for some things, might actually make other things worse, there is no "right" answer that can be applied to everyone and every condition. And, you may or may not want to do this, but I've found it sometimes useful to not tell my doctors what I'm eating, it just starts arguments. Smile and nod at whatever nutrition info they give you, and then figure out what really works for you. That way they won't view you as a hostile patient, and you'll get the treatments you need.
I hope some of this helps, and wish you the best of luck.
on June 20, 2013
at 12:19 AM
I totally agree with the answer from @HappyNow and want to underscore the importance of not fasting if you are having any gall bladder issues. Try and eat smaller, more frequent meals. No food and then a load of protein and fat is a recipe for horrible pain. Best of luck
on June 20, 2013
at 06:09 AM
I think you should maybe look up GAPS diet...
on June 19, 2013
at 08:31 PM
Most people here can understand how alone you can feel when all your conventional docs cannot help you heal because they have all it wrong with conventional medicine and nutrition approach.
If you haven't discovered yet, I'd recommend you to get to Dr Jack Kruse's website and register to his forum. I think his leptin reset and protocols could help you a lot but not just for this, his community is full of women that had been into a situation pretty much like yours and most have seen a lot of improvement, and at least you won't feel alone over there.
Don't give up in your way to optimal! You have made a huge work getting down so much weight, on the forums they'll tell you that you need to take full comprehensive blood tests to quantify how are you right now and then work out from there.
Hope that can help