Saturday, June 1, 2013

I knew the time would come

For so long I have been sick.

If it's not something major (Cardiomyopathy anyone?) it's the colds, flu's, viruses I pick up wherever I go. My immune system is shot, I am constantly sick and tired. I became tired of being sick and tired very quickly, but considering my first major illness occurred  at 2 years of age and I've had ongoing issues since then I figured it was just what my life was going to be. I thought I'd done everything I could to change things. I always followed my doctor's recommendations, took my medications like a perfect patient and followed the diet set out for me by a dietitian. But I was still sick.

As a teenager I also struggled with my weight. Being sick all the time and too tired to exercise led to a very low self esteem and I was hard on myself. I quickly became underweight and was praised by my doctors. The truth was, I was too tired to eat and was struggling to do anything. Fast forward to my mid twenties when after my pregnancy I developed Dilated Cardiomyopathy and my weight troubles reversed, I began to gain weight like crazy. And no one believed me that not a thing had changed. I was still too tired to eat much, although the important change here was that what I did eat was high in sugar in a poor effort to give myself energy. I saw a dietitian again and followed the strict plan she gave me and still my weight went up. Nothing was working and I felt terrible about myself. There is this underlying feeling when an overweight person goes to the Doctor that any symptoms or problems that have are their own fault. And I began to believe it too. It got to the point I was barely eating as I was just too sick, and still the weight would not come off.

Now it took a comment from my Cardiologist at the end of last year to change my mindset and decide not to accept what I had been given. I was finally given the all clear, that my heart was doing well. In his words, I could now "Go out and get my life back." I was excited, I left the office and went home only have it to all sink in. I burst into tears the minute I saw my husband. If this was it, if this was as well as I was going to get, it wasn't enough. I had no energy, my heart still raced, I still get sick all the time. My body was still broken and I felt so far from what I had hoped it felt like to be well that it broke my heart. I was losing hope that there was more out there for me. And then I came across the notebook I had made notes in when I went to a nutrition course last year.

At the time I really enjoyed the course but it all seemed so overwhelming at that time to make changes to my diet when I had a lot of other things going on. But in that moment as I read through the notebook and flipped through the handouts something hit me. I had to make time for myself or I would never get better. I needed to drastically change what I was doing. I remembered reading this on a website showcasing Albert Einstein;

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

You can’t keep doing the same thing everyday and expect different results. In other words, you can’t keep doing the same workout routine and expect to look differently. In order for your life to change, you must change, to the degree that you change your actions and your thinking is to the degree that your life will change.

I had to stop doing the same thing over and over and hoping that this time it would work and I would be better. I made the decision to go back to the nutritionist who had run the course and ask for help. I chose to love myself regardless of what I look like. This body might be bigger than I would like but it has also been through a lot and survived. Just a couple of decades earlier and I would have died from my heart condition. I am finding things to be thankful of and I am working hard to decrease sugar from my diet. As it turns out, I am extremely sugar and carbohydrate sensitive. There is no doubt in my mind that had I continued on with current dietitian recommended diets I would have become diabetic. The food pyramid has an entire bottom layer recommending vast amounts of carbohydrate every day (Remember fruit contains a lot of sugar!) Everyone is different, and as such a one size fits all approach to eating and food is ridiculous. So this is my way of documenting my journey to finally becoming well. I have hope again that this time I will get there. Along the way I'll share recipes, struggles and challenges.