Tag Archives: SCD Weight Loss

Holiday Survival Strategies

Holiday lights

I had a really trying Thanksgiving.

My husband, Chris, and I traveled back to Pennsylvania to celebrate it with our families. Both sets of parents live there and we haven’t been back for the turkey day festivities for over 10 years. It should’ve been wonderful… and most of it was, except that I was dealing with some major gut issues. I was suffering from my old nemesis, fructose malabsorption AND was having major problems with the rest of the FODMAPs, too.

We ate Thanksgiving dinner at his parent’s house, at my sister’s house, then at my parent’s house. You know what was on my Thanksgiving plates at all 3 of those places? Slabs of turkey. No cranberry sauce, no green beans, no nut butter-thickened turkey gravy. Turkey. That is it. My body simply wouldn’t stand for anything else.

Since then I’ve been doing much, MUCH better. I’ve really incorporated the low-FODMAP diet into SCD and have seen WONDERFUL results. Really, it is amazing.

What I’m trying to tell you is that I’ve navigated the holidays waters and have come out the other side without too many scrapes.

The following are my strategies to remain sane during digestive-problem-flares (to be utilized during any time of the year):

1.  Take care of yourself

First and foremost, make sure that you have plenty of your feel-good food. For those of us who suffer from malnutrition or have lost weight during the introduction phase, get enough calories. If you need a few extra portions of frozen chicken soup, make it and stick it in the freezer. If you believe that bone broth will help heal you, by all means, buy those stewing bones, drop them in a pot and let it simmer away on the stove!!

It is also critical to get enough sleep. I’ve borrowed this next part from the Paleo folks; make your bedroom dark and get to bed early! Bow out of those get togethers before your normal bedtime. Sometimes we all must draw those boundaries and guard your “recharge” time. For goodness sake, it will help you ward off colds and leave you feeling ready to face any holiday gatherings that you’ll attend. Best of all, sleep will give your body a chance to heal.

2. Pamper yourself

Over Thanksgiving, I had a few cups of tea everyday. I really enjoy a steaming mug of green tea or peppermint tea, but what you drink is your choice. It always makes me feel better.

I also love to sit by the fire with a good book. Or snuggle up with a cozy blanket around your shoulders and watch a great movie. For the men out there, watch a good football game.

For the women out there, other ideas include getting a manicure/pedicure or paint your nails yourself! A hair cut and weave always leave me feeling good and well taken care of, with little energy expended (but my wallet is a bit lighter when I leave the salon). Buy some special lotion or facial scrub, whatever will make you feel happiest.

3. Do NOT watch the Food Network or Cooking Channel

This one is self-explanatory.

4. Steer clear of bakeries and eateries with incredible (SCD-illegal) food/beer

When my health is poor, I often feel wistful about the food that I used to eat. And what I enjoyed A LOT was baked goods and fantastic restaurants. Damn those inventive bakers and chefs.

This category includes microbreweries with awesome ales (ah hem… this one is for the men) and wine/beer stores. If you must go into a store like this, steer clear of the dangerous aisles that are stocked with lots of craft beers. Stick to the aisles of dry wines (wines with low residual sugar) and buy something that you’re dying to try.

5. Focus on anything other than the kitchen and food

It really helps to keep my mind and body occupied with other thoughts and activities.

Wrap presents. Run errands for your mother. Get that last minute holiday gift (but avoid the mall’s food court).

Those ideas work during the holiday season, but what about during the festivities? These are my strategies to employ during holiday meals or parties:

1. Only help with the food preparation if you must

It is difficult to cook/bake food that you can’t eat, depending on how you feel.

2. Don’t look at the food on the table (if it is filled with stuff that you can’t eat)

Seriously, at Thanksgiving, I focused on my plate and on other people’s faces at the table. I didn’t let myself look below their faces. I kept my gaze fixed on them from the neck up and pretended that the table was just blurred out and fuzzy.

3. Focus on others by asking them questions

This useful strategy is a great mind-distracter. I used this one while at a Christmas luncheon at work. My colleagues ordered a few amazing appetizers that weren’t SCD-legal. While they began eating, the discussion lagged. I took this opportunity to lead the small talk. Not only did I learn more about my co-workers through my questions, but it also gave me a chance to tell them about things that interest me, which I usually don’t mention.

At the very least, employ one of these lines (depending on who you’re talking to):

Are you ready for Christmas?

What are you going to do for New Year’s Eve?

How was your Hanukkah?

4. After the meal, get away from the table ASAP

It is better not to linger at the table, especially when there are serving dishes with a few pieces left of delectable-looking fill-in-the-blank left on them. Do the dishes while coffee and dessert is being served. The hostess will thank you for it! If you must, go watch football with Uncle Billy and your 2 brother-in-laws. Get your nieces to show you what their favorite presents were. I’m not kidding, just get outta’ there!

I hope that you, dear Reader, are in good health and don’t need these strategies, but if you do, then good luck.

You will get through the holiday season. If I can do it, you can do it.

Happy Holidays and XO,

Theresa ~SCD Griddle

 

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My Venture into Exercise

Yep, there she is. That’s my mountain bike, which I affectionately call Black Beauty.

I’ve missed my bike.  I will tell you why in a minute.

First, let me tell you about myself. It is obvious that I’m not your average mountain biker. By now you probably know that I’m not a twenty-something-year-old male. No, I’m a 37 year-old woman and I enjoy a wide range of activities that your typical almost-40-year-old-woman doesn’t; I enjoy riding my bicycle on trails.

Here’s the truth: I’m not a good mountain-biker, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of tackling my fears. I get afraid when I come upon steep, rutted hills or big rocks. Most of the time, I get off my bike and walk when I think a part of a trail is above my skill level, because I’ve encountered more than my share of falls. But there are times when I accept a physical challenge and I complete it successfully. I like that the best. It gives me confidence. And I love speeding down dirt trails on my nearly 15 year-old bike and feeling the wind in my face, the sun on my shoulders.

At this point, I should say thank you to by brother, Steve, for “lending” me those bar-ends seen in the picture above.

This is the Liberty Canyon connecting trail. It winds around, over and through those little hills. It is good for beginners and is one of my most favorite routes.

So back to why I haven’t been riding. I began the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) about 7 months ago. I had read Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall and decided to change how I was eating. My gastrointestinal problems were getting increasingly worse. I had had enough. But I was totally unprepared for the massive changes that I experienced when I began SCD.

Chicken soup and even plain old hamburger upset my stomach. It was rough. I had no energy. I couldn’t think very clearly. I lost a lot of weight. I kept myself on the introductory diet for a month (huge mistake) because I thought anything else I ate would probably send me to the bathroom, too. If I ever eat chicken soup again, it will be too soon.

But with the help of family members and a lot of research online, I figured out a few things. I progressed from the introductory diet into the phases. I made more mistakes, but they have informed me of what I can tolerate and what I cannot. And I’ve read a bunch of research about my GI issues.

For a few months, things have been going well. I’ve been feeling more full of pep and I’ve put on some weight.

I decided it was time to get back in the saddle again… the bike saddle.

I’ve gone on a few rides. I’m trying not to over do it. Firstly because I’m out of shape from inactivity. Secondly, because I’m afraid if I go too long, leaky gut could make another appearance in my life! Ugh, NO THANK YOU!

Since I began biking again, which was two weeks ago, I’ve gone on probably six rides and I’ve gained a few pounds from the additional muscle that I’ve built in those two weeks. I can see a difference in my body and I feel stronger, too. Things with my GI tract seem to be holding steady but I will continue to be cautious.

I’m telling you all of this because I know what it is like to have GI problems and to be unsure if SCD is going to help you. It is difficult to make it through low-energy times. It is disappointing to step on the scale only to find that you’ve lost more weight. I found it extremely hard not to be able to do activities that I enjoyed because I didn’t feel ready.

Hang in there. Do the work. Research your problems. Keep a food log. There is health and life ahead, just keep trying.

Next up, surfing! 😉

xo

Theresa ~SCD Griddle

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Skinny Bitch

I am a skinny bitch.

I’ve been thin my whole life. There have been times when I’ve hated this title and instances that being called a skinny bitch gave me a little jolt of confidence, too. But these days, I loathe it.

During almost any point in my childhood, while trying on clothes for my mother (to see what I’d outgrown or what items I may need), she’d invariably say, “Theresa, you are so slight.”

My mother never said this to make me feel bad and I truly didn’t mind. She was right, I was thin. I didn’t care very much about it. I was how I was. I just wanted to stop trying on clothes so I could go out and play.

In middle school I became more self-conscious about my weight. The girls would say out of meanness, “Theresa, you’re so skinny.”

I understood that I was not a good skinny. I felt bad about my body. I was a toothpick, not a curve in sight. All bones and no meat. That growth spurt was difficult to live through. I would have given anything for a little heft. I was embarrassed about how I looked, but wasn’t everyone at that age?

Well, of course when I stopped growing so quickly, I gained some weight. I survived high school and college, and managed to feel pretty good about myself.

In my twenties, being a skinny bitch became an inside joke between a few friends and I. They were a little on the heavy side and liked to sarcastically call me that… at least I think it was sarcasm. I thought it was a funny joke and I liked the title. I liked my body and how I looked, never mind that eating at restaurants always upset my stomach. I tried to keep the fact that my digestive tract wasn’t working properly a secret. I looked thin and normal, but was totally unhealthy.

I had a great body image (and practically non-functioning guts) from then until…. I started SCD. (If you don’t know what SCD is, check this out). I made a HUGE MISTAKE and remained on the intro diet for almost a month. I lost more than ten pounds. The weight melted away. I looked more angular and bony and didn’t know what to do. I lost it so fast that it scared me.

My activity level also took a hit. I’ve always been an active person, but when I began SCD, I had no energy. I quit pilates. I stopped biking to work and began driving. In fact, I barely had enough energy to go to work.

Skeletal with zero energy.

I tried to hide my weight loss. I started dressing differently for work. I wore layers and baggy clothes, but my coworkers still noticed (even my face got thinner). They started commenting about my weight and asking me how SCD was going. They were suspicious of this medical diet. They wondered if I’d developed an eating disorder (which really pissed me off).

My ‘Intro Diet Fiasco’ was seven months ago, but lately, one of my neighbors has brought it upon himself to tell me that I’m getting too skinny. Good lord. As if I needed his opinion. And I thought that I haven’t looked better in months!

Thankfully my husband, family and friends were and are supportive. This has been a huge help to me on my SCD journey.

Now I find myself in the opposite position from where I was in my twenties; these days I’m getting healthy on the inside, but am too skinny on the outside. People don’t understand this concept. They think if you look good, then you are good. Those of us on SCD know that this is not true.

Currently, I am building momentum. I’m not in such a bad place anymore. My energy level has been great for months. Occasionally I go on walks or hikes. I have more variety in my diet with each passing week. I’m slowly gaining weight as I’m getting healthier.  And about my clothes; most of my pants are still a bit too large, but I wear a belt (I refuse to buy a whole new set of business-appropriate work attire because I will gain the weight back some day. Besides, I like my current wardrobe, or at least I did when it fit…). And hey, my shoe size didn’t change. I can still wear all of the cute shoes and boots that I want!

Insults from jerks are difficult to deal with; comments from well-meaning people are often really hard to take, but I can deal with both types. You may think I’m not healthy, that I’m too skinny, but looks can be deceiving.

You have no idea what is really happening; it is called healing.

 

 

Let me know if you have had a similar experience while on SCD. I’d love to hear about it.

XO

Theresa, SCD Griddle

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