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Gravyboat's Log, Stardate 59575.1

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  • Gravyboat's Log, Stardate 59575.1

    (I've been pseudo-journaling here, but decided it was time to graduate to an actual journal.)

    Hello. I'm a 25 year-old woman in Ohio. I live alone with my two cats in an apartment. I don't have a lot of money, but life is currently not bad. I am on SSI for, ostensibly, bipolar and agoraphobia. I have very low energy, am sleepy most of the time, and basically can't deal with the stress of even basic everyday obligations. But I've discovered that my problems are, in actuality, endocrine-based. Thus, they can (probably) be fixed. By this time next year, I fully expect to be a completely different person. It's time to reclaim the life I should have had all along.

    So let's do a run-down of how I wound up here on MDA.

    I'd been flirting with the idea of going paleo/primal for nearly a year before I actually started. Last spring, I was diet-shopping and came across paleo by chance. It sounded doable and pretty healthy. It did not set off my bullshit detector like most diets. It sounded sustainable, and didn't sound overly restrictive. I thought about it. Then I decided it was time to get serious and lose some weight (this was around May) and I started working with a personal trainer I was friends with. She was really gung-ho about wanting to help me, but she was also really into low-fat everything and chronic cardio. I strapped on my big girl pants and started doing a ton of exercise even though it sucked and I hated it. She told me to buy a lot of low-fat products, eat mainly dry chicken breasts and fruit and salad and plenty of "healthy whole grains". Basic CW.

    I honestly sort of thought that her diet advice was bullshit, based on what I had been reading about paleo, but I didn't quite have the knowledge or the self-confidence to go all the way with it against the trainer's advice, so I ended up eating oatmeal, a fair amount of vegetables, lots of nuts, egg white omelets (I know, blech), very little fat but still 2% milk, apples, a lot of tuna.. Basically, a CW "balanced" diet that was not especially satisfying. I felt morally good that I was able to suffer through this diet without cheating, but that's about it.

    With the daily workouts kicking my ass, and the obsessive counting of calories, I was able to lose about 15lbs and get down to 245ish. Then I started slacking. Then I eventually stopped talking to her. Quite frankly, she kept spouting a bunch of fat-phobic bullshit about how I'd love myself so much more when I wasn't a big tub of lard anymore, and how I'd finally be hot when I'd lost a ton of weight. Really insulting stuff! I did not (and do not!) subscribe to the idea that fat people are worthless and inherently gross and ugly. I LIKE my body, even though it's large. I wanted to lose weight so I could be healthier and do more physical things without being exhausted and out of breath. And I really resented her trying to fill my head with self-hatred to "motivate" me. Fuck that! The negative messages along with the exhausting exercise and crappy diet drove me away pretty quickly.

    Fast forward to the holiday season. I had maintained ~250lbs without trying since my fall off the wagon in May. Then I stayed at my dad's house for thanksgiving and ate about 5 packages of Ho-hos in one day. Then ate way too many homemade cookies (some with CRISCO!!) and restaurant food over the next month. Gained 10lbs rapidly and knew I needed to do something. My dad also gained weight in that time and decided he wanted to do Atkins again soon, because he'd had good results with it in the past. Great! I decided to do Primal with him for moral support and solidarity.

    During all this, I had been trying to figure out, from a medical perspective, why I felt like crap all the time and couldn't ever seem to rest adequately. In May, I gathered up my nerve and went to see a doctor in a big fancy hospital. I told her that I have PCOS and thought I might have hypothyroid and maybe even Cushing's Disease as well, and asked her to please take blood tests so we could figure out what is wrong with me. She basically took one look at me and decided I was a delusional hypochondriac who was wasting her time. She flat-out ignored every one of my concerns and refused to do any blood tests.

    In November, I went to another doctor, and finally had blood tests done to check for hypothyroid (along with a test for antibodies) and even got a thyroid ultrasound. The doctor said my levels were "fine" and that my thyroid was "slightly enlarged", but whatevs. He did not recommend that any further action be taken.

    Frustrated and still without answers, I decided to go a different route. I decided to get a sleep study.

    For my entire life, my sleep has been long, deep, and completely unrestful. I would usually sleep 10-12 hours a day, dream vividly the entire time, and wake up feeling like I'd been run over by a bus, basically exactly as tired as when I went to sleep. I never actually felt refreshed upon waking, ever. I was also completely unable to keep to a set sleep schedule, always going to bed and waking up at different times. I could NEVER wake up in the morning. I also slept just as poorly at night as in the middle of the day, and felt just as exhausted on 2 hours as I did on 12. So, I thought, maybe this was a sleep issue. The sleep doctor thought it might be apnea, since apparently women with PCOS are very likely to also have apnea (interesting and apparently true -- I was also annoyed that no doctor had told me this before).

    Well, long story short, I didn't have apnea according to the data. This bummed me out because it meant I still didn't have an answer. At the follow-up appointment, my doctor first suggested that I try melatonin and light box therapy. Then he conferred with his superior and decided that, scratch that, he instead wanted me to just try harder to get on a set sleep schedule and maintain it through sheer force of will. To just try super hard to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day for 3 weeks and then come back. And if I still couldn't do it, they would refer me to a psychologist, who would tell me about how to relax at night, and only use my bed for sleeping in, and how to have good sleep hygiene. As if I haven't tried these things a million fucking times in my life, and as if I have never heard them before. Thanks, but fuck you. I decided to follow the original recommendation and not bother coming back.

    I picked up some melatonin and started taking it. To put it plainly, it worked. The melatonin is able to knock me out within 2 hours. I found out around this time that people with Bipolar tend to be super-sensitive to light, and that any tiny bit of ambient light in the evening can keep you from getting tired. The fact that I rarely lay down in total darkness unless I am already about to crash (and that I always felt tired but not tired ENOUGH to fall asleep at night -- super annoying) jived well with this idea and made a lot of sense. So, with the melatonin, I can tell my body when the right time to sleep is even if it can't tell by itself. It became my first solid tool on this crazy journey.

    After my awesome experience with the sleep doctor (not), and my subsequent luck with the melatonin, I decided that the time was now. I rolled up my sleeves and decided that I would continue taking the melatonin, start sleeping at night like a normal person (since now I was able to), change my diet to something low-sugar and low-inflammation that I could sustain long-term, and try to get healthy, once and for all. I wanted desperately to fix what was wrong with me. I wanted to be able to sleep normally and actually feel energized during the day like I'm supposed to. I wanted to fix my extremely obvious hypothyroid symptoms even though I was told that I was "fine". I wanted my body to function the way it is supposed to function! I already knew I had PCOS and I knew that that wasn't right; that something was wrong in my body. I wanted to fix it, but doctors were not helping at all!! So I decided to do it myself. And so that's why I'm here.

    So far, I've learned about healthy fats vs unhealthy fats (and now I cook with coconut oil and butter exclusively). I've learned what exactly is wrong with grains (and I no longer eat them). I've learned about iodine deficiency (and now I take iodine). I've learned about adrenal fatigue (and now I take raw adrenal cortex and will soon be taking an adaptogen to help even more). I've learned about leptin resistance (and now I am following the leptin reset program). I've learned more about what different supplements do (and now I take a bunch every day, and can describe how each one affects me).

    Lots of good things are happening, and this is only the beginning. It has only been a month! I am now primal for life, and the good stuff will only keep coming. I feel absolutely no desire to eat bread or beans ever again (aside from my beloved carrot cake, ilu bb!!<3) let alone any sort of low-fat sugar-bomb bullshit. I no longer consider processed "food" to be suitable for human consumption, and it does not tempt me one bit. I will admit that I still eat peas and carrots as main staples in my diet. Maybe that's not the best thing, but I think it's ok for now. The main thing is that I don't feel deprived or weakened when eating this way. I can do it longterm without worrying about starving myself to death or losing muscle mass or ending up vitamin deficient or losing bone mass. I don't have to exercise until I long for death. I WANT to keep doing what I'm doing! And so I shall.

    So far, after 35 days, I have lost 16lbs (most of it in the first three weeks, and basically none since then, though I am still seeing smaller measurements and feeling muscles and bones that were previously covered by fat).

    I will update this journal whenever I have something to say!

    _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -

  • #2
    I recently made a list of all the changes I've seen so far, and so I'm pasting it here (with some modifications):

    In no particular order:
    - My keratosis pilaris is gone! My upper arms, butt, hips, and outer calves are totally smooth now.
    - My body feels different! My skin seems "thicker" and I have noticed a moderate loss of the softest portions of my fat.
    - The backs of my upper arms feel much firmer in addition to being smoother. It doesn't feel like my arms!
    - My inner thighs have shrunk slightly.
    - My butt shape is less weird.
    - Every part of me feels ever-so-slightly smaller than I am used to, and I can feel more muscle underneath.
    - I can more easily feel the contour of my hip bones.
    - My goiter has shrunk! I lost an inch of neck circumference and I can swallow easily now!
    - My knuckles aren't "innies" anymore..
    - My ankles are normal-sized now and my feet have lost girth! They actually look flat in the mirror now which is amazing.
    - My sex drive has awakened slightly.
    - I am able to tolerate (and even love) more bitter food now that I couldn't before.
    - I'm better at cooking! You can't slack off on preparing food every day when dipping into a can of Chef Boyardee and a tub of ice cream is no longer an option.
    - Hair loss seems to have calmed down slightly.
    - I now go to bed at ~9:30-10pm and wake up with the sun. Sometimes I still sleep in because my goddamn fluffy little darlings decide to run around the house in the middle of the night like the police are at the door. But that is ok. I still go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. No more crazy daytime sleeping.

    And now, what has stayed the same:
    - I still have a hard time regulating my body temperature, and end up sweating upon the slightest temp change.
    - I still wake up with a temperature of 97.7 every morning.
    - My nose is still plugged up 90% of the time.
    - I am still out of breath by the 4th floor when walking up to my apartment.
    - My belly still hangs down.
    - Still not much of an appetite and I know I'm probably eating less than I ought to.
    - Still feeling guilty about eating when I am hungry due to money.
    - Still have some cravings for carrot cake and ice cream. But if it really comes down to it, I can make primal versions.
    Last edited by Gravyboat; 02-22-2012, 09:37 PM.

    _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


    • #3
      I also want to record some measurements.

      My starting waist measurement was 39.5". I'm at 37.5" now.

      My starting waist-at-navel measurement was 47.5". I'm at 44" now.

      My starting hip measurement was 53". I'm at 51" now.

      My starting NECK measurement was 16". I'm at 15" now. (Gtfo, enlarged thyroid!)

      My starting wrist measurement was 7.5". I'm at 7" now.

      My current calf measurement is 19". (same as before)

      My current forearm measurement is 12". (same as before)

      _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


      • #4
        Finally broke through my stupid plateau with some IF. Does it really count as breaking the fast if I take a handful of pills with a handful of pecans? I mean, I don't want to skip the pills I need to take, and I don't want to take them on an empty stomach, so I feel like that should be acceptable. And I am down 2lbs (and half an inch on my waist) this morning after skipping breakfast and lunch yesterday (aside from the pills and nuts upon waking) and having a small meal for dinner.

        Today I'll be eating normally again so I guess we'll see what happens. Whether I keep losing tomorrow or my body hoards it. Hmm.

        _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


        • #5
          Gravyboat, I'm so glad you started a journal. Thanks for your honesty. When you have time, check out some other people's journals and post there too. It is a good way to make friends.

          So far, my iodine and Maca experiment is going well. I have tons more energy and my PMS, TTOM symptoms seem to be better. Not so much crazy b!tch as simply cranky.

          You and I both have very good reasons to stay true to this way of eating. Keep it up.
          Primal since 9/24/2010
          "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

          Created by - Free Weight Loss Tools
          MFP username: MDAPebbles67


          • #6
            Thanks, Pebbles! I'll definitely check out some other people's journals. I've been kind of hesitant to comment because I didn't want to seem like I was butting into someone's personal space if I don't know them very well.

            Yay, I'm glad the maca is helping! My ashwagandha should be here today and I'm super excited to take it. I'm not expecting miracles but I think it'll probably be noticeable anyway. At least I hope so!

            Full speed ahead. Good luck to both of us!

            _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


            • #7
              Hi Gravyboat I'm curious after reading your posts as to whether melatonin might help me - what you said here:

              "my sleep has been long, deep, and completely unrestful. I would usually sleep 10-12 hours a day, dream vividly the entire time, and wake up feeling like I'd been run over by a bus, basically exactly as tired as when I went to sleep. I never actually felt refreshed upon waking, ever"

              IS me! I can never ever get up willingly in a morning, even though I've slept for upwards of 8 hours solid, even though my bedtime is always between 10-11pm. So pleased to hear it's working for you, and you've inspired me to try this out for myself, and if it makes as profound a difference to me as it has to you, I shall recommend it to my best friend, as he has some real bad sleep problems, he really has tried (almost) everything (cos I bet he doesn't know about melatonin) so anything that isn't harmful meds (something I think we all want to avoid...) that actually works might help him. I figure it's worth a shot anyways...

              Looking forward to reading more of your posts

              Can I ask what dosage you take? Just been googling it and there's a few variants.
              Last edited by WhiteQueen1982; 02-23-2012, 10:27 AM.
              Jojo. x


              • #8
                Originally posted by WhiteQueen1982 View Post
                Hi Gravyboat I'm curious after reading your posts as to whether melatonin might help me.
                Can I ask what dosage you take? Just been googling it and there's a few variants.
                Hi! I just take one regular 5mg tab about 2 hours before I want to fall asleep. My friend uses some kind of capsule with a blend of other calming herbs and that works too if you want. Melatonin will not knock you out like sleeping pills do, they just signal to your body that it's time for bed, and so you get sleepy. Since your own body produces melatonin naturally (or at least it's supposed to) in response to lower light levels, it's not like you are drugging yourself with a sedative. You're just providing your body with something it's clearly not producing enough of.

                I have an alarm on my computer set so I take mine every night at 7:30, I get to bed around 9-10 (unless I'm bad and I leave all the lights on and push through the sleepiness like last night), and then I wake up when the sun comes up.

                I found that it took me a week or two to get a feel for how much sleep I needed when I started taking it (since I woke up feeling more rested and didn't need to sleep as much as I was), and how to time taking the pill so I would wake up at the time I wanted. But, after a little troubleshooting and adjusting, it works like a dream now. And I could tell from the very first night that it did in fact make me sleepy and I did sleep better, even though it took me a little time to work out a good schedule.

                The stuff is really cheap and pretty much immediately solved a problem I've had for over 20 years, so definitely give it a try!

                _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


                • #9
                  Thanks for that, certainly going to get my mitts on some and see what happens
                  Jojo. x


                  • #10
                    Good luck!

                    _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


                    • #11
                      Did another small fast yesterday because I wasn't feeling hungry for lunch or dinner. Lost another pound today! Ate a normal breakfast and will eat a normal dinner tonight.

                      The ashwagandha really works! I feel so energized when I take it in the morning. Finding out that if I take another dose a couple hours later though it makes me sleepy. I mean, I feel good still! But a little too relaxed.

                      I'm about to break through 37" on my waist, so that's pretty exciting!

                      And man, I cannot wait until summer! I am going to spend so much time at the pool this year. Last year I went a couple times with my friends and had a blast. I had always been way too self-conscious before, but I decided to just get over it and have a good time, and I did! I think I had this image in my mind that everyone at the pool would be thin and physically perfect, and would look at me like I'm some kind of diseased leper, and I would end up feeling so bad about myself that I would burst into tears and run home. The truth is that everyone there has a real human body with scars and fat and cellulite and everything. It was not a big deal at all. And I say this as a large woman with 100% natural (and dark) body hair. No one cared! A lot of ladies even smiled at me.

                      Anyway, I'm really looking forward to buying a new swimsuit in a couple months, since mine isn't going to fit anymore (and I never liked it much anyway). But I'm even more looking forward to sunshine and swimming!!! The pool is only a mile and a half from my house, so I imagine I'll be walking over a lot.

                      I have to wonder how dipping myself in chlorine is going to affect my iodine levels, though. I have a feeling I'll need to keep tabs on that.

                      _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


                      • #12
                        Yay for summer and the pool!
                        Primal since 9/24/2010
                        "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

                        Created by - Free Weight Loss Tools
                        MFP username: MDAPebbles67


                        • #13
                          Damn, that IF really works! No matter what I've eaten since then (even had some milk chocolate last night -- and no, it didn't taste as good as it used to ) I've been losing like a pound a day again. Down to 240 now, so I've hit my first goal!!!

                          The point of the first goal was to prove that I can lose more weight eating bacon and eggs every morning with no exercise than I managed to while eating "heart-healthy whole grains" and doing chronic cardio. And I was so miserable then, and I feel so good now! The last few days I've been eating basically nothing but eggs, pulled pork, cilantro, and sour cream. Lol.. Been trying to sneak in some spinach, though, so at least I'm getting enough minerals. Need to keep things at least somewhat balanced.

                          Woke up having sexy dreams again today. I don't know how I feel about my sex drive waking up. I was pretty content with it dying, to be honest. Makes things simpler. In fact, I recently broke up with someone mainly because my sex drive was nonexistent and I wasn't feeling any "spark" for them at all. I don't regret breaking up with them, though, because they actually ate fast food for basically every meal.... It had been several months since they had even gone grocery shopping.... So there is basically no way I would date them now that I'm primal, sex drive or no!!

                          Anyway, 240lbs! Hooray!

                          _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


                          • #14
                            Oh! Just took some new measurements for my body fat percentage and I've officially dropped below 30%!

                            weight = 240lbs
                            waist = 37"
                            hips = 51"
                            calf = 19"
                            thigh = 29.5"
                            wrist = 7"

                            "You have 29.6% body fat.
                            You have 71 Pounds of fat and 169 Pounds of lean (muscle, bone, body water)."

                            Based on that, I should be around 20% body fat at 200lbs, assuming I don't lose a lot of muscle mass (which I might, just by virtue of carrying around less weight).

                            Apparently, in order to not lose muscle, people should eat 1.2 to 1.5 * (their lean body mass in kilos) per day. So that means I should get around 90g - 115g protein per day. No problem there!
                            Last edited by Gravyboat; 02-27-2012, 09:48 AM. Reason: wanted to add waist measurement

                            _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


                            • #15
                              Wow, You are doing so well!
                              Primal since 9/24/2010
                              "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

                              Created by - Free Weight Loss Tools
                              MFP username: MDAPebbles67