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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day 20 - Why I Am Doing This

Day 20 is almost in the books.  I can't believe it has been almost 3 weeks!

First off, I was able to sleep in the bed last night.  The sciatica pain that was shooting through my hip the last two nights, and had me sleeping in the recliner, seems to have righted itself.  Yay!

I continue to have upper back pain off and on.  And my neck is still sore.  I have been wondering more and more whether this is fast-related or just my normal aches and pains (although new ones seem to be cropping up).  I did some reading on a message board and it seems that others have had similar experiences.  Pain in areas they had not had before, but were fairly severe for a number of days.  So that makes me think it is fast related.

As for the neck, the area it is hurting would be the area where I had the fusion.  So it very well could be the body breaking down diseased tissue.  Surely I have scar tissue, and certainly I have had bone spurs in that area.

The upper back is an area I had been having recent trouble with, off and on.  It flares up more when I am working more hours and spending a lot of time at my desk.  I am sure there is diseased tissue there, too.  I will be interested to see how it feels next week when I will not have to sit at a desk for over a week.

I have so many problem areas in my body.  That is one reason I felt this fast needed to be extended.  I have to give it time for the areas to heal as much as possible.

I have been reading (and re-reading) more of Shelton's book (referenced in my post yesterday).  My body is doing just what you would expect.

Just as I was getting ready for work this morning and it was near time to walk out the door, my digestive system started feeling upset.  The bowels have pretty much shut down, but I have had random times I will slough off something.  Sorry for the TMI, but I want to document my experience in case others want to try this.  This morning's "sloughing off" was much more foul smelling and my stomach and colon felt more upset.  Shelton says that happens when the body is ridding itself of toxins that have been released into the bloodstream after breaking them down out of the muscles and fat, etc.  After the sloughing off was done, I felt better.

Not that weight loss is the immediate goal here, but I am now down below 235.  I could possibly be in the 220's next week!  I try not to celebrate that too much in my mind, because I know some will be put back on, but I do believe a lot of it will stay off as long as I am eating as I should when I break the fast.

In case anyone is interested (or wonders what the heck I am doing), here is an excerpt from Shelton's book on the benefits of fasting (from the chapter "Does Fasting Cure 'Disease?'"):

1.  It gives the vital organs a complete rest.

2.  It stops the intake of foods that decompose in the intestines and further poison the body.

3.  It empties the digestive tract and disposes of putrefactive bacteria.

4.  It gives the organs of elimination an opportunity to catch up with their work and promotes elimination.

5.  It re-establishes normal physiological chemistry and normal secretions.

6.  It promotes the breaking down and absorption of exudates (a mass of cells and fluid that has seeped out of blood vessels or an organ, especially in inflammation), effusions (an instance of giving off something such as a liquid, light, or smell), deposits, "diseased" tissues, and abnormal growths.

7.  It restores a youthful condition of the cells and tissues and rejuvenates the body.

8.  It permits the conservation and re-canalization (the formation of canals) of energy.

9.  It increases the powers of digestion and assimilation.

10.  It clears and strengthens the mind.

11.  It improves function throughout the body.

Shelton's book was written in the 1930s.  Think of all the ways our environment has become infinitely more toxic since then.  It is no wonder our bodies cannot keep up and we become diseased as a result.  Fasting gives your body the chance to right itself  It does not cure disease.  "To sum up, fasting, by affording the organs of the body a rest, by withholding raw materials and by stopping the inflow of decomposition-poisons from the alvine canal (intestines), permits the repair and recuperation of the organs of the body, the consumption of a burdensome nutritive excess, the removal of circulating and deposited toxins, the normalization of blood chemistry, cellular and tissue rejuvenation, the absorption of deposits, exudates, effusions and growths, and improves the body's powers of digestion and assimilation."

That, my friends, is why I am doing this.  And as my body chemistry returns to normal, all of the impediments to my losing weight should have righted themselves as long as I no longer fill my body with toxic food.  I will practice intermittent short fasts to help cleanse on a regular basis so there is no buildup of toxins in the future, which would send me right back where I started.

That's it.  Day 20 is done.  I'm going to bed.  Tomorrow is the last day before vacation!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day 19 - Doctors and Fasting

First let me say, I do not have much confidence in doctors in certain areas these days.  Doctors typically prescribe drugs to treat symptoms.  Many don't know much about nutrition and when they do give you nutritional advice, it is most often the lower calorie/low fat/higher carb/more exercise method.  (My internist is all for my gluten free, plenty of fats diet, thankfully.)  On a positive note, I am seeing more and more doctors coming out and saying that low fat is not the way to go.  And I wholeheartedly agree.  You know why?  Because I tried the old way for many, many years and had either no results or temporary results.  Most recently (about 7 years ago), I did the typical weight loss diet described above and I lost 63 pounds.  I went to get my first physical after that weight loss and was anticipating better numbers all the way around.  To my dismay, they were worse.  And for the first time ever, I was basically diabetic (my blood sugar was 124).  That after exercising faithfully at least five days a week and often 2-3 times a day for the better part of a year.  I was in much better shape, but I was less healthy.  Then I went through menopause and later had a hysterectomy and all hell broke loose.  I immediately gained about 50 pounds.  I could not stop eating (more about that later).  When I finally started getting that together, I tried week after week the "old way" and could not lose a pound.  I also tried Nutrisystem and didn't lose.  One thing led to another and someone told me about Wheat Belly (because I was having debilitating chronic headaches).  That was the beginning of the answer for me.  And that is when I started taking a more holistic view of health and weight loss.  The point is to get to the root of the problem.  I believe many doctors do not want to give that advice because there is so much money to be made by pushing pharmaceuticals (or weight loss surgeries) at us.  Meanwhile, we are getting more and more unhealthy and toxic.

Another book I read, Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, said that obesity is a hormonal issue.  If our hormones are messed up, our body demands more food and will keep telling us to store fat.  My functional medicine doctor told me we hold onto weight as a protective measure.  When my body feels safe enough to release its fat stores, it will.  Did you ever want anyone to tell you that obesity is not your fault?  Well, it is true to a great degree (unless you know the truth and don't act upon it).  It is the fault of all the toxic and genetically modified foods we eat.  And the high carb diet most Americans eat is a lot to blame.  Food companies market foods as low-fat, making us think it is healthy, but they are loading it with sugar and other carbs, which makes our blood sugar go haywire and put out more and more insulin.  Insulin tells your body to store fat.

I want to qualify that there are other ways I know medical doctors are needed.  For instance, no matter how healthy I ate, I was never going to regrow the cartilage in my knee.  Even my functional medicine doctor agreed that if I went through the nutritional changes and still had that much pain, a knee replacement was the way to go.  And so I did and I think that was the right choice.

I used to kind of ridicule people (in my mind) who believed in all the holistic treatments.  But after reading Wheat Belly (written by an M.D. cardiologist, by the way) and after following the diet for a while (and giving up wheat and grains), the headaches I had suffered from for 30 years were gone (unless there was some accidental exposure).  That showed me I was on the right track and gave me hope that the rest of the healing the author said would happen would really happen.  Admittedly, I have been a tough case.  My body was really screwed up.  But the fact that eating wheat again brought the headaches right back, and I realized eating grains and sugar made me ache all over, helped me keep going.  It lost 40-50 pounds on just the Wheat Belly protocols (eating all the fat I wanted).

Dr. Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, encourages intermittent fasting.  That is where the idea for doing this first started.  I fasted 4-1/2 days last Labor Day weekend and 1-1/2 days earlier this year.  (He recommends doing it more often that that.)  I felt better, but it did not seem to be long enough to do the amount of work I needed it to do.  I read a lot about water fasting.  I went into this fast intending to fast for 10 days.  During the process, I came across a couple of books, Fasting and Sunbathing (really) by Herbert M. Shelton, and Therapeutic Fasting by Arnold Devries.  I haven't read the sunbathing part, but I studied the fasting part pretty thoroughly and read all of the shorter book by Devries.  It countered all the arguments you typically hear against fasting in a way that made sense to me.  And the further in this fast I get, the more they are being proven.  That is when I realized that 10 days was not going to be long enough for the issues I was facing.  Shelton is a big proponent of fasting until either your hunger returns or when you have had the healing results you need.  When your hunger returns, it is time to eat because at that point you are entering starvation mode and that is not good.

That brings me to this.  I made the mistake today of telling someone at work about my fast.  Of course she jumped right in and started telling me how horrible it is for you.  I stopped her and said I had done a lot of studying on it and encouraged her to check it out before she makes that judgment.  After saying that, I decided to google (again) water fasting and see what comes up, looking for the negative side.  And of course it is there.  Here are some things the "experts" say and my comments about it.

1.  Fasting is not a good way to lose weight.

Comment:  I partially agree with this.  If you go on a fast for the sole purpose of losing weight, it is not a great way to do it.  Mainly because if you drop some weight and then go right back to eating what you did before, you will gain it all back.  If you are not prepared to make lifestyle changes after the fast, you might as well not do it if losing weight is all you are looking to do.

2.   When you fast, your body will feed on its own muscle tissue (or organs).

Comment:  This is true in starvation, but not in fasting.  As long as you have other stores for your body to feed on -- fat, diseased tissue, tumors, etc. -- your body will not use your muscle tissue as fuel.  The human body is very discerning.  It will protect the tissue that is needed to thrive and will use what it does not need for sustenance.  You will not start using muscle tissue until you have used everything else your body does not need.  The same goes for organs.  Your body will not feed on heart tissue until there is nothing else for it to feed on.

3.  Fasting slows your metabolic rate (it is implied permanently).

Comment:  Although your metabolic rate slows down during the fast (your body is resting from the work of digestion and does not require as much energy), Devries says fasting actually permanently rejuvenates your metabolic rate.  Shelton says something similar, but I could not find the passage at the time I am writing this post.  This remains to be seen in me, but I do know I feel more energetic right now than I did when I was eating.  But I do believe a lot of the impediments to weight loss are being healed as I fast.  Hormones are being balanced, toxins that reside in your belly fat are being released as the fat is burned away, etc.  This and the pain issues is a big reason I decided to do this.  I was kind of stuck and I knew there were still hindrances to weight loss still present.  My body will be "brand new" when I get done and can assimilate the food I eat much more expeditiously.

4.  Fasting does not detox the body -- the body does that real well by itself.

Comment:  I have no doubt that fasting detoxes the body, by my own experience.  I went on a 30-day fast when I was in my 20's (it was more of a spiritual fast), drinking water the first 10 days and juice the last 20 days.  That first 10 days was grueling as far as throwing off toxins.  My tongue actually developed sores on it from the toxins being released, my joints hurt for a few days and then felt incredibly better.  During this fast I have had different symptoms of detox.  I again got some bumps in the back of my throat for a day or two, nasal discharge off and on, have the foul breath associated with fasting, coated tongue, etc.  I think the detox was not as bad this time because I had already gone through a lot of detox when I changed what I ate, haven't eaten wheat or grains for over a year and had not had sugar for a couple of months before I started.  I did have some caffeine withdrawal.  A couple of days I had a medicinal taste in my mouth, which I think is detox from the pharmaceuticals I have taken over the last few years (although I am still taking one).  There is no one in this world that can tell me that my body was keeping up with flushing out toxins.  I think that is a large part of where the everyday, all-over pain came from -- a toxic body.  I feel so much cleaner, more energetic, and except for isolated areas, freer from pain.

Even this article I was reading that talked about some of the "dangers" of fasting went on to talk about the benefits.  Even to heal diseases such as cancer, digestive diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease, etc.  If I received an early diagnosis of cancer, the first thing I would do is start a fast.

Enough of the lesson; now back to how today is going.  I feel pretty good today.  I had to sleep in the recliner again last night because sciatic pain was shooting through my hip again.  As a result, I have kind of a kink in my neck, but that was from sleeping "wrong."  My upper back has twinged a little today, but is better.  Lower back pain is there, but not bad.  No real thoughts of food or anything today.  I did dream about eating last night, lol.  All in all, I feel good, I feel like I am moving forward and I feel clean, energetic and pretty good on the pain front.  I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 18

It is interesting to me how different I can feel from one day to the next during this fast.

One thing that does not change is that energy-wise I feel great, and the allover pain I had chronically is gone.  I do have localized pain.  It remains to be seen if the fast will help those things enough without medical intervention (as in back surgery or some kind of treatment for my upper back).  The problems in my lower back are/were severe, so it would be pretty miraculous if the sources of that pain are healed up.  Of course, weight loss will help.

Anyway, back to the difference in the way I feel day to day.  My "complaint" during the last week has been upper back pain.  That has been pretty severe.  I do not know if that relates to work being done through the fast or just because it is that bad in that area of my spine.  I do think overwork plays a part.  But even pain med did not keep it in check.  That seems to be doing some better (at least pain meds keep it in control), but last night I could not go to sleep because of sciatic pain running through my hip.  That is not a problem I have been having.  I have the everyday pain that runs down the backs of both legs, affects my hips and thighs where walking feels like I am walking through deep snow or something, but not the sharper "electric" pain of sciatica when it gets bad.  I tried every which way to get comfortable enough to go to sleep, adjusting my bed (I have one that you can raise and lower the head and foot of the bed), etc., but the only way I got to sleep was to sleep in my recliner.  I woke up in the early morning hours (with one "large" Yorkie and one large kitty cat in my lap) and decided to try the bed again.  Nope -- there came the pain again and I could not go to sleep, so I moved back to the chair.  I have been feeling different kinds of pain in the lower back during this fast -- it comes and goes -- so I have to think this is due to work being done on diseased tissue because of the fast.  I don't know, we will see.  But I hope I do not have nights like this on my vacation (and I sure hope there is a recliner in our cabin, in case I need one!).  I will not have the benefit of my tempurapedic mattress or my adjustable bed (although I am taking bolsters that help with that).

Then, as I was leaving for work, I noticed that walking seemed almost normal.  Go figure.

Later

I'm home from work now and as soon as I changed clothes and was getting things ready so I could settle down a while, the pain starts shooting through my hip again.  I sure hope this is fast-related and that it will settle down soon.  It just seems weird that it is starting up right now.

I'm feeling my less than stellar sleep -- I can barely keep my eyes open.

This is day 18 and there has really been no temptation to eat.  The only time I really think about it is when I smell food (and it usually smells mighty good to me), but I just tell myself I can have something like that later and focus on the benefits of the fast.

We have been trying to decide where to stay when we go through Memphis on our trip.  My boss always stays at The Peabody and I have wanted to do that.  My sisters have wanted to keep things less expensive so I decided since I will not have to be spending money on food, I have enough extra where I could pay the difference of what The Peabody costs and somewhere else (it's just one night).  Turns out, through one of those websites like TripAdvisor or something like that, I was able to get a double room for $219!  So I won't have to pay much extra and my sisters are thrilled about getting to stay there too.

That's about it.  I'm going to get this posted before I nod off to sleep.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Nothing I Want More in My Life

I can't say I woke up with the same pep in my step as I did yesterday, but I still feel the benefits of the fast in multiple ways.

My upper back is better so far today -- not sure if it was the time I got away from my desk over the weekend or the fast finishing up its work in that area (probably both), but I only feel little twinges of pain there.  Hopefully that holds true for the rest of the day.  (Later in the day it started trying to hurt, so I took 20 minutes away from my desk and that seemed to help.  The problem is, we are renovating at the office and there is not much of anywhere to go to sit in anything but an office chair.  However, one of my bosses is on vacation and has a couch in his office -- though not the most comfortable one in the world -- and I went in there to get away for a bit.  He will be gone all week, so I will continue to do that, as needed, and hopefully will get enough rest during my vacation that it will have cleared up by the time I get back.  I never did get to hurting like I did last week, so that was good.  Actually it was great!  It hurt A LOT last week.)

I have the sniffles today -- another sign that I am detoxing.  From my reading I have learned that we do so many things to treat symptoms of things that are actually beneficial to our body.  We get mucous-y discharges, etc. because our body is throwing off some germ or substance it sees as a threat.  We treat the symptom and do not allow the body's natural response to do its job.  The same goes for taking aspirin or ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.  Our body has an inflammatory response because it is fighting "an invader."  We turn it off and do not let it do its job.  The production of mucous is expected when you are flushing toxins from your body, so I will let it do its work.

Of course, in our toxic world, our body becomes some flooded with "invaders" that it cannot keep up.  Our inflammatory response goes into overdrive.  But it is always better to go to the root of the problem, not just treat the symptom.  That is what I am doing.

My weight was down a little more this morning, but weight loss has definitely slowed down.

I got mostly packed for my vacation.  Just have odds and ends and things I use daily to gather.  I'm starting to get excited now, although this trip is definitely not planned like I planned my last one.  We know generally what we are going to do, but we haven't set the course for each day.  Whatever we do, I know we will have a good time.

I have made the decision to continue the fast while on vacation.  I know that sounds strange, but I feel like I would be quitting before the job is done and I do not want to have to go through the days of getting past my hunger by taking a break and starting up again.  As I have said, this trip was not going to be about food anyway, since my diet would be so restricted anyway.  My sisters are both fine with it.  I will either find something else to do while they are eating meals or will visit with them while they are eating.  Or if the occasion makes it possible, I can use that time to rest.

I was discussing this with a friend (one of the few people I have told that I am doing this) and she encouraged mw not to make that decision set in stone -- to allow myself to partake if I want to.  And I will leave that open in my mind to a certain extent.  In fact, when I got to my desk, I gave it some real thought.  If I did that, that would mean I would need to start breaking the fast Wednesday with juice.  I gave thought to what I might miss -- as she said, something that I would not have opportunity to experience again.  But the more I think about it, the more I know I want to keep going.  I guess no one can really understand until they have gone through what I have for the last few years.  Chronic pain is no joke and any experience I might have of eating something on my trip is nothing compared to my desire to be free from so much pain all the time.  Nothing.  Do I wish I had done it earlier so it would not affect the trip?  Yes.  I originally planned to do a 10-day fast.  But the more I read and studied and then experienced how much it is helping, the more I knew I wanted to keep going.  I feel like certain aspects of my health would return to the way they were if I stopped now.  I don't think I have completed what I set out to do and there is nothing I want more in this world, as it relates to myself, than to be free enough from pain so I can begin living life again.  I may change my mind, but right now, I want to keep going.

Another reason I started this fast (a very small reason) is that nothing was sounding or tasting good to me.  For example, my family likes to cook roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon bits (real ones).  I had gotten tired of that and it never sounded good to me anymore.  My daughter was making up some meals for herself this week and made some for herself last night.  It smelled really good and I know when I get back to eating, that will be something I will enjoy eating again.  I was thinking I might add some onions to the mix next time I make them so they caramelize in the baking process.  That sounds really good.  It will add a little sweetness to the dish.

When I get more toward the end of the fast I will start looking at things I want to cook so I can get a good start on my eating again (probably when I get to the juice phase of breaking the fast).  I would really like to make up some food to put in the freezer, so I could do it then.  That way if I did a little tasting to get the flavor right, it would be okay.

There are times the last week or so when I think about breaking the fast (it is usually when I am smelling food).  But honestly, I do not want to break it.  I want to get the job done as completely as possible.  Not in terms of weight loss, but in feeling like I have totally removed obstacles to weight loss and let my body heal.  I will have more weight to lose and that is okay.  I just want to feel better so I can finish the job in the more conventional way.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Feeling LIke a Million Bucks (Comparatively Speaking)

I have to say, compared to the way I have been feeling over the last few months (actually, years), today I feel like a million bucks!  I woke up with only a little pain when standing up, which goes away after moving around a bit.  I have only a little residual pain in my upper back (so far), but otherwise I am feeling pretty good.  I feel amazingly energetic compared to the way I usually feel.  I had a few errands to run today and I actually felt like getting out and doing them.  I didn't have much pain with the walking I did.  The only thing I can "complain" about is my extremely dry mouth.  I guess I am just going to have to live with that.  I did take a dose of potassium and magnesium yesterday, in case I was low on those.

I was talking to my daughter when I got home.  I had cleaned the kitchen yesterday and she was cooking some meals for herself for the next few days.  I told her to be sure and leave the kitchen clean.  I could tell that kind of miffed her.  You see, she has always been far better about that kind of thing than me.  Although she does not clean the whole house much, she herself is fairly neat and tidy and keeps her room and bathroom that way.  I acknowledged that she was much better about that than me and I said that as I feel better, I will do better. And it is true.  In many ways I have not felt well for 35 years.  The headaches started up as a teenager and I was plagued with them throughout my early marriage.  They only grew worse as the years went by and then the other pain issues set in.  I am not going to say that is the only reason I was not a good housekeeper back then, but as the years went by and I matured, I think that became the reason why I did not do better than I did.  Going to work, keeping the kids fed, running around for their activities, etc. took all I had with the chronic headaches.  I am no longer afraid of working hard and I know as I feel better and better, that is going to get better.

Weight loss is slowing down.  If that were the reason I was doing this fast, I might be discouraged by that.  I am not doing this for the weight loss.  I am doing it to heal up pain issues and to remove the obstacles to losing weight when I am eating.  I have been eating the "right things" for the last months and I have been stuck for a while.  I know from my reading and what my functional medicine doctor told me that your body will not let go of fat unless it feels healthy enough to do so.  There are many hormonal things going on, and the fat you store is full of toxins and things that can inhibit weight loss.  I feel that when I do start eating again, my body will release fat much more readily.  And I think I will be able to eat a few more carbs (the right kind) when I start eating again.  (That would be a little sweet potato here and there, some beans and certain starchier vegetables.)

I am also hopeful that I will be able to add in some exercise (starting very slowly) after I am eating again.  I may add in a few minutes a day on the recumbent bike now because I think that would help my knees be less stiff, but I hope to be able to walk on the treadmill on an incline like I used to, and do some strength training once I am done with the fast.  I also want to finish strengthening my quads from the knee replacement, since I left therapy before I was released.  Then, everything I did stirred up back pain so I could hardly walk.  I made the choice to give it a break (I had regained range of motion, just needed to strengthen).  I have been getting stronger in that respect, just by living life, but there is more work that needs to be done.  I would like to get to riding my bike, too, for enjoyment and for exercise.  I am so looking forward to being able to do that.  I think more movement will help with any residual pain issues, as long as it is done wisely.  One other thing I would like to be able to do is climb stairs (and go down them) a little easier.  We had an emergency situation at work the other day (false alarm) where we were required to go down a few flights of stairs.  I couldn't do it.  I want to be able to do what is necessary when things like that arise.  You never know, one day I might be required to walk down all 25 flights.

So, I am going through my days (rather easily, really) and feeling better and better.  My plan right now is to go 42 days (at the most).  I will listen to my body and if I feel like it is time to stop, I will.  But I don't want to stop before this good work is done.  My body has plenty of reserves to live on for a good long while.  The main thing is to heal up these pain issues as much as possible.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Two Weeks and Going Strong!

Afternoon

This has been a good day.  I feel very upbeat, reasonably energetic, and pain issues are improving.

 The upper back issue is much better (although definitely still there).  I find that doing things away from my desk helps.  I think so many hours in front of the computer is a big part of the issue.

Otherwise, I am noticing walking is becoming easier.  I stand up and sit with relative ease (although there is still some sciatic pain down the backs of my legs), without having to wait for the pain washing over me when I stand up.  I don’t feel like I’m “walking through snow” like I usually do.  That tells me some healing work is being done.

The biggest issue I am having relating to the fast is that my mouth is really, really dry.  I am drinking plenty of water, so that’s not it.  I read that I could be getting low on certain nutrients, like magnesium and potassium.  I bought some Smart Water today to see if that helped and it does seem to have helped a little bit.

Otherwise, I am enjoying getting smaller.  I am wearing one of the new blouses I bought for vacation today.  When I bought it last Saturday it was tight enough where I wouldn’t have wanted to wear it quite yet.  It’s still tighter than if I bought it to fit, but it is fine (it is an XL -- not a plus size!).  I am wearing some black jeggings and they are getting pretty baggy in the seat.  (Pretty sure leggings are not supposed to be baggy.)

Evening

I worked until 7:30 tonight, and as the day wore on, the upper back was hurting more and more.  Earlier in the day I tried to alternate doing things not sitting at my desk with things on the computer.  But it got busier toward the end of the day and I had no choice but to keep at the computer.  It was hurting quite a bit by then.  Hopefully the weekend will help it settle down a bit.  Plus, one more week and I have a week's vacation.  I have never felt so much that my body needed a rest from the work I do.  For other reasons, yes, but not something like this.  I still do not know if it is fast related.  In some ways I don't think so, but maybe a little of having an issue there and the work being done by the fast.  I felt it in different parts of my lower back today, too.  So much healing to be done.  That is why I do not feel anywhere near ready to stop.

I am finishing up two weeks today!  This is the longest I have gone on a water fast.  I did a 10-day water fast once, followed with 30 days of a juice fast.  But I have read that juice fasting is not really fasting.  Your digestion is still going and it doesn't have the same effects as a water fast.  Still beneficial, but not as much.

I do not feel hungry in the least, although when I smell food, or think about it sometimes, it sounds good.  But the feeling that I need to keep going is stronger than ever.  I am so tired of being in pain and I want to do all I can to get better.  Late in the fast I will begin planning how I will be eating, but right now it would cause me to think about food too much.  Of course, I know basically what I am going to do --follow a ketogenic diet for as long as weight loss is needed.  Then I will be adding back carbs on a limited basis, but still no wheat, no grains and no sugar.  Those are not my friend if I want to stay feeling good.

Guess that's it for tonight.  I'm tired.  It has been a tough week with the upper back pain, but it seems like the week, as far as the fast is concerned, just flew by!  I'm trying to nod off here, so I'll stop.

Good night and have a great weekend!

Day 13 News

This is a just a short post to give news on yesterday (which was Day 13).  I ended up leaving work early because my upper back was hurting so much, it felt like I could not sit at that desk one minute longer.  Although I was trying not to, being on the fast, I took a muscle relaxant when I got home (the kind that makes me really drowsy) and I basically slept from 4:30 yesterday afternoon until 6:30 this morning.  I do feel much less tenderness in that area this morning.  I also wore my cervical collar (the one they gave me after neck surgery) to make sure I was not tilting my head in such a way that I was causing that area to get out of whack.

There is new tenderness in other areas.  My lower back to the far sides is tender today and areas under my arms, which I presume to be lymph nodes.  That lets me know there is detoxification going on.  I also have a bitter taste of pharmaceuticals in my mouth this morning.  (You have pretty bad breath and a coated tongue when you are fasting and that is from detoxification.  I carry some breath spray with me and freshen it up every once in a while.)

The big news this morning -- I dropped into the 230's!!  It is very possible I could be in the 220's during my vacation.  That will make walking around and doing what we plan to do a lot easier than the 263ish I was at when I started this.  Again, I know I will gain some of this back.  But I am paving the way for better weight loss when I do start eating again.

That's it for now.  I will try to post again tonight about today's "events."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 12 - Upper Back Problems

Today has been a little tough, in one way.  This place in my upper back is hurting pretty badly so that, at times, I feel like I cannot sit another minute at my desk at work.  I am still feeling that way even after medication and a pain patch (which uses capsaicin - the thing that makes peppers hot - as its active ingredient).  A heating pad might help, but what would help the most would be to get away from my desk and rest.  I have been working altogether too much lately, always working through my lunch so I am at my desk AT LEAST 9-10 hours per day without much break.  There is just so much to do and, to me, it is better than staying late (although sometimes I still have to do that, too).  At least I will have a week off soon.  Hopefully there is work being done on my back through the fast, but if it continues, I am going to have to go to the doctor for it.  It is that painful.

I did not drop any weight this morning, but I am extremely thirsty today and retaining water (puffy).  Probably toxins being dealt with.  Whether it showed up on the scale this morning, I did the work.

Otherwise I am feeling very good -- mood is good, energy is good (although feeling a little sleepy this afternoon).  Sometimes food smells really good to me, but no temptation to break the fast.

Later

I left work at 5:30 tonight instead of my usual 6:00.  Need to get away from the desk.

My thoughts try to turn to food a little more than they did at first, but I deliberately turn them away.  Today I had to deliberately think about something else a couple of times to do that.  I'm not stomach hungry, though.  It's just cravings.

I don't have much on my mind except to feel better.  Hopefully this upper back thing will clear up soon.  If I knew I was going to hurt tomorrow as much as I did today, I would call in.  It hurts.  We will see.

Going to take a hot bath and see if that will relax my muscles a bit.  I don't want to take muscle relaxants right now because they can have a stronger effect when fasting.  Plus I want to get away from taking pharmaceuticals all the time.  If pain levels continue to drop (they have, except the upper back), I want to start halving my dose of pain med.

That's it.  More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Encouraged and Hopeful

I felt better, physically, today.  The upper back pain was better, although started being aggravated a little by the end of the day.  I'm at home now, making use of the heating pad.

The amazing thing about this fast is that I have barely struggled with any hunger (the first 3-4 days, yes; but your hunger shuts down after that).  And I have really had very little thought of food and certainly have not been tempted to break the fast.  But today I have had my first thoughts of food.  I quickly turn those thoughts away and I still have no temptation to stop.

It seems like my pain is improving.  I got up and down today without having to stop to wait for the pain to flood over me before I take my first steps.  Those are always the most painful times.  But I was getting up and down without much thought today.  I still have other symptoms, like the feeling in my hips and thighs that makes me feel like I am walking through snow or deep sand.  But lots of improvement.  I struggled with sciatica pain when trying to go to sleep last night.  I was finally able to drop off.  It was better this morning and only had one little twinge today.

That being said, I guess it's time to tell you where I am in my fast.  This is Day 11.  My longest ever water fast.  I am going to let my body tell me when to stop.  I have lost a little more than 20 pounds so far.  (The larger you are, the more quickly you lose weight, at least at first.)  I seem to be losing an average of 2 pounds per day right now.  I started in the low 260s and have 2.2 pounds to lose to be in the 230s -- will be the first time since about 2002.  I need to be at about 210-215 to be able to have back surgery, if that became necessary, but I am really hopeful that it will not.

My energy is good throughout the day.  I actually had a long-time client come up to me and say, "I just wanted to tell you that you look particularly bright and lovely today."  I was thinking, "If you only knew why!"  When I get home and settle down to rest, reading or watching TV, I start nodding off.  I am not feeling any weakness going through my day-to-day activities, although I know that could change as I go along.  From what I have read, it takes your body less effort to burn your stores (fat, diseased tissues, etc.) than it does to digest food.  Especially unhealthy foods.  They get stuck in the intestines and putrify, leaking toxins into your system.  I have not been eating the average American diet, so I think there is less of that with me, but still a lot of toxins to be released from the fat tissue, etc.  Anyway, my energy is very good right now -- better than when I was eating.

The next two days I will be wearing dresses I bought a while back, but they were tight enough where I didn't feel comfortable enough to wear them yet.  I can now!  That part is pretty fun.  I have made an effort the last two or three months to dress up more and not be ashamed of my shape.  I have had good reaction from it.  My daughter also gave me some clothes today.  She has lost some weight and they are too big for her (although I would still be wearing them, if I were her; I wear my clothes until they are pretty loose since replacing them is quite expensive).  Anyway, it's fun to be wearing some new stuff.  :)

It just occurred to me that this coming weekend is my last one before we leave on vacation.  I will need to do the bulk of packing then, since I don't have a lot of time during the week.  I am pretty sure I am going to continue the fast, even on vacation.  I want to make sure I do a complete fast.  It's easier than having to start another at another time.  Then, hopefully, I can get to doing some exercise, strengthening my quads more (since my surgeries) and generally living life.

I gave a little thought today to doing some cooking when I feel like it and freezing individual meals for when I am eating again.  But I am afraid that will get me to thinking about food too much, so I'm not sure that's a good idea.  Maybe closer to time to breaking the fast.  I will think about it.  I am also not wanting to be looking at recipes, etc. to decide how I am going to eat then.  Too much thinking about food.  That will wait.

I want to reiterate that I do not expect that all of the weight I lose will stay off, but I do expect that the impediments to my losing weight will have been healed up so that the efforts I have been making over the last year will have better effect.  I also expect to feel better so I can do a better job of planning my meals and I know that will help.

I'm going to shut this down and get some things done before bed -- might go to bed a little early.  I should post some pictures soon, but want to get a little further along.  Maybe vacation pictures.  I am encouraged and hopeful.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Keeping On Keeping On

What do you know, two days in a row.

This has been a tough day, in some ways.  No temptations to break my fast.  I've just been in quite a bit of pain and that made it tough.  But I have a theory about that.  The added back pain I have been experiencing the last 2-3 days has been different.  For the last 3 days it was lower back pain and I have had pain shooting down the sciatic nerve more than I have in a while, even while sitting or trying to go to sleep.  There has also been pain in my back, but it has been different somehow.  I really believe it is the reparative work being done on my body as a result of the fast.

I have been having upper back pain the last few months, also.  It usually feels like something is kind of out of place and the pain results from that.  But I don't feel like that today.  I have increased pain in my upper back -- pretty bad, actually -- but it's like something is zoned in on that area -- kind of like a surgeon taking a scalpel to that area, but no anesthesia.  I believe it to be reparative work also.  We will see in a few days, but that is my theory.  Not very pleasant, but then the life I have been living with all this pain the last few years has not been pleasant, either.  If this helps like I hope and believe it will, it will be worth it all.

My energy is good.  I did struggle with wanting to get the day done and go home this afternoon, but that was more about the pain than being excessively tired.  I do feel sleepy at times, and when I sit down to read, I often doze off.  But I am working 9-10 hour days (or more) most days and doing fine.

My mood is good, too.  If it weren't for the pain,  I would be feeling pretty darned good.  I know that sounds funny, but depression has been an issue and it has been all about the chronic pain.

It helps that I am losing weight and feeling better about how I look, but honestly, that wouldn't bother me so much if it were not for the health issues.

I have been examining my body more than usual lately, and the area that bothers me the most is my belly, and more particularly, the pouch below the belly button level.  I was thinking last night that if that would trim down, that would take an enormous amount of pressure off my lower back.  Hopefully that will begin to melt away soon.  I am sure it already is, but much more is needed.

Tomorrow I will be wearing a dress I bought a couple of months ago, but didn't feel really comfortable about wearing it until I lost a few pounds.  Since I have been losing weight (although I have been stuck for a while), it makes no sense to buy clothes that fit you perfectly now or they will be too big in no time.  I could have worn this dress already -- I see plenty of people wearing their clothes much tighter than this -- but I would not be comfortable.  I think I will give it a go tomorrow.  :)

Things I am thinking about:  I will be happy to feel good enough to walk my dog again.  I feel so bad for him, just being in the apartment all the time.  He gets carsick, so it is difficult to take him anywhere, but I haven't felt up to walking him much in the last couple of years.  I also see my bike on the terrace and would like to get to feeling good enough to go riding at White Rock Lake.  I need to take it to the shop for a couple of things, but it would be easier than the walking.  I need to finish up some therapy from my knee replacement -- I do not have the quad strength I really need to be back to "normal," but it was causing such a flare-up on my back all the time, I had to give it a break.  I want to get to where I get comfortable wearing a little heel every once in a while, but would not right now.  I am ready to get back to dating, but haven't felt up to it.  I go to work and I go home.  Sometimes I do something with my kids, but that's about it.  I'm ready to have a life again.

If this fast (and more to follow, if necessary) and the subsequent weight loss does not do the trick, then I need to be at a weight where I can safely have the back surgery I need.  I am not willing to keep living like I have the last few years.

One thing I can say for myself -- I do not give up.  I can't.  If I quit trying, I might as well go on to heaven.  And I certainly would never try to make that happen.  There is no giving up.  I have to keep trying.  And I do believe I am on the right track.  I am just undoing a lot of years of the wrong kind of eating/living.  And ignorance is a big part of that.  If I had known then about what wheat would do to my body, I could have saved myself a lot of pain and heartache.  But you have to go from where you are now and that is what I am doing.  I will keep plugging along and look for answers everywhere I can find them.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I'm Still Here

Well, it's been a while.  Not sure why I have not been blogging.  I certainly have not given up.  My weight right now is near the lowest I have gotten in years.  But I seem to be stalled.  I have done so much studying, beginning with Wheat Belly and branching out from there.  I knew there were still things blocking my weight loss.  Hormonal things; belly issues (microbiome, leaky gut, etc.).  All my reading led me to this the last few days.  I need to fast.  I know this will be controversial to a lot of you, but I believe strongly that it is the path I needed to take.  I started reading online and came upon two books that I have learned from.  I haven't figured out how to attach a pdf, so if you are interested, give me a shout and I will send them to you.

For me, the fasting is not about weight loss; it is about the things that are blocking weight loss.  It is also about healing up the pain issues which are still dominating my life.  The back problems are all but crippling and I either have to get to a weight that helps the pain, or be at a weight where I can have surgery that helps the pain.  At the weight I have been at, there was nothing I could do except take pain medicine or get injections (which I have not done this year because they come in at about $2,000 each).  After all my reading, I am hopeful that the fasting will be very beneficial to my back problems.

Unlike you may hear, fasting is very safe and it is one of the best things you can do for your body until you get to the point where hunger returns.  Your body uses your reserves (consisting of fat and unnecessary tissues -- scars, tumors, possibly even bone spurs) for fuel.  I do not want to share at this point where I am in the fast, but will when I am positive of the improvements.  I have lost weight, of course, but it's the other things that motivate me.

Speaking of pain issues, it is mostly the back stuff that bothers me, but I have developed an upper back problem as well as a lot of pain in my right arm, both elbows, wrists and hands.  At work I am highly functional.  I have to be -- it has been so busy!!  But when I get home there is nothing left and I am barely getting around at times.  I do not feel like cooking, which causes me to take the "easy way" out on what I am eating.  I have had some accidental exposures to wheat and that makes the headaches come back, lasting for about a month with each exposure.  That makes me want to be in control of what is going into my food, so I don't eat out much.  But when you have no energy to cook, that makes it very difficult.  I have not really been living, just existing.  Some things have improved, but those that haven't are dominating my life.  I have been totally grain and sugar free for at least two months before the fast (except I ate a little sugar the night before I began the fast) and wheat free since April 2015.

My wrists and hands are better, I am noticing today.  I am still going through some of the detoxing issues that come from fasting, so that causes some discomfort, at times.  But those will pass.  I do not know how long I will fast; I am letting my body tell me.  I will know when it is time to eat.  I think by then I will feel better and have a new attitude toward food so cooking will be more appealing.  I already have so much more energy.  Fasting lets your body rest from the biggest job it has -- digestion.  Especially if you overeat.  It allows your body to turn to other things, such as healing and strengthening weak areas.  I have more energy now than when I was eating.  I know I am on the right path.

I will likely regain some weight when I am done, but that is okay.  Hopefully the things that are blocking weight loss will have reset and as long as I eat as I am supposed to, I will continue losing weight.  If I did not know I could do that, I don't think I would have done this.  But already being wheat- and sugar-free I think helped make beginning the fast a lot easier and, of course, that will continue when I eat again.

There are many motivations for this, but one big one is coming in October.  I am going to be a grandma!  I have always wanted to be a big part of my grandchildren's lives when the time came, but I knew the way I had been feeling, I would barely be able to hold him when he is little bitty, much less chase him around when he gets bigger.  Yes, it's a boy!  His name will be James Carter and they are calling him Carter.  James is a long-running family name -- his father's name is James Thomas -- we call him Tom, and Tom's father's name is James and we call him Jim.  I am not sure about before that.  Anyway, I am very excited about that, but I want to be ready.  I have been wanting to make a baby afghan for him, and the wrist and hand pain has kept me from being able to do that.  Now I believe I can do it, so I have ordered my pattern and will be getting my yarn this week.

I am going on vacation in two weeks.  I am taking a trip with my two sisters to Tennessee to see various sights there and on the way there.  It will be a long road trip, so that is another reason to have less pain.  I have not decided about the fast as it relates to vacation.  If I don't feel "done," I am going to continue, even on vacation.  The vacation was not going to be about food anyway, since I am pretty restricted on what I can eat already.  And that's okay.  I am going to enjoy the other aspects of the trip, including time with my sisters.  If I am still fasting then, I will try to find other things to do while they are eating their meals.  It depends on how much watching them eat bothers me.  So far, it has not.   Pain is a biiiiiiig motivator.  And it is really true -- after the first 3-4 days, your hunger shuts off.

That's all for now.  I am working very hard on my weight and my health.  It's not like I can give up.  Life would be unbearable if I went back to my old ways.