- I got married.
- I bought a house. (Getting a mortgage is very painful. I swear it's all I did for two months.)
- I am presently moving into said house. (Why don't we have teleporters yet?)
- My work is trying to kill me and possibly succeeding. *dies quietly in the corner*
This is going to be kind of long (a lot of friends and family wanted to know what happened). Let's dive right into this thing, shall we?
Sexy, Sexy Insulin Resistance: Where This Adventure Started
I had my first physical last summer and my first ever blood test. It was mildly traumatic because I don't like the doctor. My new doctor is pretty cool, though, so I'll be going back every year like a normal, functioning adult. After talking with me and examining me, my doctor said that he believes I have insulin resistance:
"Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
....In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells.
The beta cells in the pancreas try to keep up with this increased demand for insulin by producing more. As long as the beta cells are able to produce enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance, blood glucose levels stay in the healthy range." (Source)
He wanted me to go on the Glycemic Load Diet to head off diabetes and PCOS, which I have fledgling symptoms for. I even read and loved his book The Glycemic Load Diet (I'm such a nerd that I had him sign it <3). I was going to quote the book in this blog, but it's packed away somewhere and I can't find it to save my life. Basically, the glycemic load diet is where you can eat just about anything and don't restrict calories BUT you're not supposed to exceed 500 on the glycemic load table daily. You generally avoid/limit starches such as rice and bread. You can see the list here. Think of it as a sort of low-carb diet.
The human body was never meant to eat as much starch as we do. It should have been really easy for me to follow and it was, for awhile. He also wanted me to walk for about 30 minutes a day to activate the slow twitch muscles in my body to get them to process insulin better. I can't explain it very well, but here's an article. These muscles are supposed to be active and process insulin. Due to my genetics and lifestyle, mine stay dormant and take longer to turn on and process insulin (I am probably butchering this and simplifying it too much. Remember: I AM NOT A DOCTOR).
The Not So Sexy Intense Cravings
Sometime in December of 2014, I kind of let go and ate whatever. It was the holidays! WOO! Food everywhere! Something happened in that time (I have a theory as to the specific incident since this incident had me crying for a week, but every time I try to talk openly about things that happen on here, people claim that I'm attacking them. Just know that someone hurt me) that triggered me to keep eating with abandon. Stress and poor decisions and Lord knows what else led to me to start having extremely intense cravings for sugary foods. Have you ever had a craving so bad, so intense, that you cried as you tried to fight it? I have. It was awful. I wanted something along the lines of cookies and candy so bad that I cried as I ate grapes and a banana and tried to eat enough natural sugars to make it stop. It was truly awful and it did not stop until I gave it what it want.
Work picked up and I stopped taking lunches to meet the demand. I stopped being active as the amount of stress in my life kept increasing (hello house buying!). As I neglected myself and became more and more painfully stressed, my cravings became stronger and stronger. I've been hiding cookies and candy in my car so that my husband can't see. I have gained around 10 pounds. It has been truly awful (which is the only word I can think of to describe this sensation). It's like having a monster ruling in my head with me and I cannot vanquish it.
I went from eating well and being active to out of control with no idea how to stop myself. I will be mid-binge trying to tell myself to stop, but the compulsion is so strong that I don't stop until the food is gone. It's been almost three months and I just can't do it alone anymore. I cannot protect myself from myself. The monster in my head is too strong and I can't fight it.
Reaching Out For Help
I started out thinking that this was due to feelings. I've been self-medicating with food since I was a child (I had an.... unpleasant childhood) and have a long history of suppressing emotions, which lead to me being emotionally stunted for awhile. I had to learn how to properly process and handle emotions as an adult.
I purchased The Food and Feelings Workbook and began to work towards breaking the link between food and feelings (hence the title). I cannot recommend this book enough, even if you don't have issues with food. It's amazing and I love it. I try to work in it a bit every day and it has helped me a great deal in the emotional realm. I have had some great breakthroughs and have been working on stress management with it.
Despite my progress on the emotional front, the cravings were still there. They weren't just coming when I was having any particular feeling; they appeared randomly. It felt that all my work was doing nothing.
I was starting to seriously think that I had developed Binge Eating Disorder. I was getting increasingly worried that this was how my life was going to be forever. How can I fight myself? I like to think that I'm a pretty strong person, so this weakness was really hurting my pride. I began to look into support groups at NEDA, which is kind of a big deal for me since I NEVER reach out for help. Nothing seemed like a good fit, though (I'm not a 12 steps with God and restrictive dieting kind of girl). The support groups for Ramey Nutrition seemed like they would be good, but the times didn't work. I reached out to therapists, but not a lot of them worked with eating disorders or could work with my work schedule. I was losing hope when I finally decided to reach out to Ramey Nutrition again.
My Initial Assessment
I scheduled an initial assessment and had it yesterday. I was nervous going in and I secretly wanted to have an eating disorder; I wanted something to fight and I desperately wanted it to not be all my fault. I didn't want to hear that I was weak.
I spoke with Mike Lynch there and I really liked him. I told him about my past and about what I'd been doing. He asked me about my cravings and medical history. I am probably going to butcher what he said here, but I will try my best. I think I will bring a notebook next time. I want to stress that I have only had ONE session, so nothing is set in stone. Right now, we basically have some theories.
He said that some of what I described does sound like an eating disorder, but he doesn't think I have one. I didn't think I did either, if I'm being honest. He said that it sounds like I've been having (here's where I'm gonna butcher it) cravings because my blood sugar gets low and my body suddenly needs sugar. Part of me goes primal (fight or flight) and I associate sugar needs with cookies and junk. My cells are starving and they will NOT be ignored. Basically, my metabolism is whacked. It sounds like hypoglycemia, which wouldn't surprise me because sometimes, when I let myself get too hungry, I get kind of dizzy-ish and sick feeling until I eat something. I don't usually get that a lot anymore, but it has happened. When I told him that my doctor said I had insulin resistance, he said that he'd already determined that from talking to me.
I brought up that I had secretly hoped that I had an eating disorder and that I was terrified that he would tell me that I had no willpower. He gave me some homework then. He told me about the difference between self-control and willpower and wanted my to explore that, which I will do in the next section of this blog. I have another session scheduled for Wednesday next week. I asked him to help me come up with an easy exercise plan that didn't have me at the gym for two hours a day like I did when I was following other plans.
I'm kind of relieved that it's not all just ME and my lack of strength. I am excited that I have someone that can help me through this and help keep my accountable while I work with him.
MY HOMEWORK BONUS: Will Power vs Self-Control
First, let's see what the dictionary has to say:
Willpower: the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.
Self-Control: the ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations.
Huh. That's basically what he said. Will power is what you use to do the things that you WANT to do. I have used my willpower to get ahead. I have used it to loose weight and work on health. I have used it to get a good career, a house, and the life I ALWAYS wanted and that I thought I deserved. I am not weak. I just have weaknesses.
Self-control is what we use to keep from doing the things that we don't necessarily want to do, like when I keep from screaming at customers. It's what I will use as I work towards changing my life for the better and working to stop bad behaviors.
I will use self-control to get back to the life I was enjoying. I loved being active. I took my lunches no matter what and rarely skipped them (I used my lunch to workout). I will use willpower to make sure I go to the gym again and become more active. When I was active, I didn't have a lot of cravings. I WANTED to eat healthy all the time. It helped me relieve stress.
Thanks for sticking with me through this long and rather rambling article. I will work very hard to get back to where I was. I will learn more about my body and metabolism and about what I need to do to fix it.
<3 - CFC
If you think that you have an eating disorder or you need help, please reach out. Tell someone you trust. You can go to www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for resources. They can help you get the help that you need.