A Health Update

As many of you may have surmised (between my call for stomach pain remedies and my weird diet), I had some GI tests (both upper and lower) last week.

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(I hope not too many of you under the age of 50 have had to experience this nasty stuff…yuck!!)

Long story short, I’ve been having abdominal discomfort and nausea for months (remember when I got my cast off and discovered I had lost weight?). I lost 5 pounds when I was injured that never came back…in fact, this time last week, that number had risen to 7 pounds. It all accumulated into some big time abdominal pain and a 101.7 degree fever the days after Thanksgiving. That week, I saw 3 different doctors at 3 different Kaisers. GI tests were ordered and antibiotics were prescribed for the infection/diverticulitis the doctors thought I was experiencing.

I did the weird diet, I did the fasting, and I did the prep. My sweet mom took me to Kaiser, where my friend Mike‘s mom (you may know Mike as the YouTube celeb behind the Sexy Sax Man video) was randomly my nurse and did the Gangnam Style dance when she found a vein for my IV, haha. Great nurse, or GREATEST nurse??

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Anyway, the initial results were pretty inconclusive. Based on what he saw in my stomach, my doc thought I might have a food allergy, but everything they tested for (I’m guessing common “allergies” like dairy, gluten, nuts?) came back negative.

So, I’m stumped.  Since then, I’ve been feeling alright. Not 100% better, but not as bad as I’ve been before either. I am almost done with the antibiotics, and I’m wondering if maybe what I was feeling for the past few months was directly related to my post-Thanksgiving sickness. Maybe I had a low-grade infection for a long time and suddenly it finally blew up?

I am also convinced that a lot of my issues are mental and anxiety-based. I have a pretty severe fear of vomiting, so the second I feel sick I get panicky. So I’ve decided to focus on eating better. And as my parents and boyfriend have been urging me, eating more. These issues all began 3-4 weeks after I moved into my apartment…which makes me wonder if I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should be.

I recently read this article titled “When Eating Healthy Turns Obsessive”. The article uses a term for a new kind of eating disorder called “orthorexia” to describe people who eat healthily to the point of cutting out too much. I don’t know about coining a term for a new eating disorder based on the tendencies of a few people, but I did find it frightening that I related to a lot of what the women profiled in the article were saying. I wonder how many healthy food bloggers also relate…

“I worry that if I start eating in an unhealthy way I’m going to start having stomach issues.”

“I basically cut out everything from my diet. I convinced my mind that food made me sick.”

(If I had a dime for every time I said that sentence about food making me sick to T-Man…)

So, I am setting goals for myself. I’ve used Lose It, a calorie counting app, for a long time, and since September I’ve set my program to “maintain weight”. I never seem to hit my daily max for calories, but I think the biggest benefit of the app is being able to track nutritional stats. So in an effort to get my body what it needs, I’m going to set out some nutrition goals to be tracked on Lose It. I also will keep track of what I’m eating, and look back at days when I feel sick to see if maybe there is some kind of food allergy going on.

Daily Nutrition Goals

Protein = 43.6 g (sedentary) – 70.9 g (active), 10-35% of total calories

Definitely an area where I need to improve: My average is between 35-43g per day, and in the teens percentage-wise. Definitely should try to stay stocked with Greek yogurt and chicken in the future, and focus on protein-packed meals on the days that I am active!

Fat = 20-35% of total calories (I usually aim to not go higher than 40-45g)

I’m pretty good about this one, but I think I will survive if I restrict myself less. Avocado and hummus are two of my favorite foods AND they are healthy fat sources! Bring ’em on!

Carbohydrates = ???

There’s a lot of conflicting opinions these days about carbs. A lot of Paleo Diet enthusiasts swear that grains are killing us, but I love bread too much to believe that! I’m a believer in the benefits of carbs coming from whole grains. As far as sugar goes, I don’t really eat too many sweets or fruit, so I don’t think I’m at risk of overloading on sugar.

Fiber = 20g+

I’m usually good here (I do love me some beans and salad!), but I often skimp out on the weekends, which I often spend at T-Man’s place. Gotta get him to buy some whole wheat bread for a change! 😛

(Nutritional daily goals gathered via cdc.gov, health.com, fitsugar.com)

Do you ever feel like you’re eating too healthily? Do you think that’s even possible?

Check out my blend (blog friend :)) Emily’s take on how to be healthy during the holidays. She is a dietician-in-training, so I trust her tips!!  It’s refreshing to see someone say that it’s OK to indulge.

16 thoughts on “A Health Update

  1. I hope it gets better for you! I guess it’s good that you have some theories. I tend to try to eat healthy but sometimes it goes astray. What I think happens is I beat myself up over certain things and the stress causes more weight gain than the food?

    Who knows.

    “Keep Calm and Carry On”

  2. Oooyeeee I have so many things to say about this post! First, thanks for the mention, such a doll! Second, my boyfriend had to do the double-GI test a few months ago for a lot of issues as well, all they told him was that he has IBS but after a lot of trial and error he came to the conclusion that it is simply due to anxiety. And once he settled with that as the answer, issues started to ease up! It may also be a hormonal thing where at certain stages of your life you are more prone to flare ups. The only thing he found that really upsets his belly is BEER, of all things. So now he’s a whiskey man. And lastly, yes! Orthorexia is a very real thing and yes, many healthy-living bloggers are victim to that. It’s not as physically destructive as other eating disorders but mentally, it’s a cycle of obsession.

    PS I love that you’re setting goals, Hope that they help!!

    • Yeah I wondered about IBS for a while, but my BFF has it (along with ulcerative colitis, so she was a super friend/coach when I was taking the prep cuz she’s been there!) and it didn’t seem like I had the same symptoms.

      I had a scary felt-like-I-was-gonna-get-sick moment when we were driving home from Thanksgiving and Tristan convinced me to take a Xanax that my dad gave me (my dad has anxiety-linked GI issues as well)…it helped tremendously, and ever since, I’ve been able to tell myself that at least 50% of it is all mental. Taking long, deep breaths has been really helpful.

      Thank you for all the input!!

  3. Okay, it’s so weird reading this from someone else. It could have been written by me! Down to the Upper GI, inconclusive answers, serious phobia of vomiting, wondering how much of it is psychological…yeah. It’s weird to think other people struggle with that too. I would “relapse” about every 3 years when I was growing up.

    I still don’t know exactly how I got over it each time, but I seemed to have a real breakthrough when a doctor said, “I don’t know if this is psychological – but the pain is real, and we’ve got to treat it.” Something about having it validated really helped me somehow. She prescribed me anti-nausea medicine, which could have been sugar pills for all I know, but having them calmed me down enough to eat regularly enough to get my system back in order.

    That was the last time it happened – I’ve since learned a lot more natural ways of dealing with nausea/gastro upset which work quite well, but I’ve come a long way in overcoming my fear of vomiting. If you want someone to talk to, I’d be glad to listen!

    • Crazy! My dad and I have known for years that we both have vomit-phobia, but he never told me that he had actually developed serious anxiety and GI problems because of it until recently when I told him my symptoms. As I said above, I tried one of his Xanax once and it helped so much that now I’m pretty convinced a lot of it is psychological. Plus, hearing comments from others like you helps 🙂

  4. Do you eat organic? I have a sensitive stomach myself, and I have had substantially less issues after I went organic. When I don’t eat organic, I get sick. Also, when I eat meats, I make sure they are quality meats. (proper diet, storage, distance, etc) Some folks buy cheaper meat, thinking they are saving when it really pays in health! Whatever method you choose, good luck. My experience counting calories was that it made me too anxious. Recently, I’ve implemented a lot of the raw/vegan meals into my diet. Mmm, they have made me feel spectacular. 🙂

    • I do try to buy organic, and during the summer especially I buy most of my produce from certified organic farmers markets. But this problem started in the summer when I was eating mostly organic! Interesting theory though! That’s great that you’ve found out what works best for you 🙂

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