Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Last Meal

Many people I know have made the new year resolution to lose weight, get healthier, get stronger, or run in X race.  While I don't typically make resolutions, it seems 2012 is going to be about all of those things for me. 

Tomorrow I start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  The diet is not for weight loss, it is for healing my small intestine.  However, it is my hope that as it begins to heal and my body becomes better at absorbing nutrients, it will be easier for me to reach the rest of my goals.

In the past when I have started a diet, I have tried to avoid the "last meal" temptation.  If my goal is to truly lose the weight, then 1) I shouldn't be eating enormous amounts of calories now and 2) I want to be able to sustain the "diet" so I always had the plan to work my favorite "unhealthy" foods into my eating.  Unfortunately, this diet isn't that flexible.  There are foods that are legal and foods that are illegal and a few foods that aren't legal till later, but for the most part it is black and white. 

So when I decided that I wasn't going to start the diet till January 1st, I had two many reasons for waiting. 1) I needed time to prepare and 2) I wanted to enjoy my favorite "illegal" foods a few more times. The last several weeks have been packed with eating whatever I wanted, no matter how unhealthy it was.

On the list? Cookies, chocolate, and M&Ms mostly.  About a week ago I realized that I wouldn't be able to have beer either so I have enjoyed several beers this week.  Then last night we headed to Hopworks Urban Brewery for a "last meal" consisting of their awesome pizza and beer.  It was a perfect way to end these few weeks of gluttony.  While I am not sure it would my real "last meal" of choice, it was exactly what I was looking for.

So if you were to have a "last meal" before a specialized diet like mine, what would it be?  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Save Me from the Post Christmas Celebration Explosion!

Okay, I am ready for Christmas to be over now.  I am ready to take down the tree, put away the decorations, and to have my home back.  Normally I want to hold onto the "Christmas feel" for as long as possible.  Last year I think I even convinced my husband to leave up the snowmen (that I am addicted to buying) till after Superman's birthday party because I wasn't ready for them to be put away.  But this year?  I am done.

I think part of the reason is that I now have a toddler.  Toddlers take up more space than most people and it isn't just because they have more stuff. Superman likes to spread everything out nice and wide when playing with it.  Downstairs that means that when playing blocks, every single one of them are out and on my floor and since my Christmas tree is also taking up a large portion of my living room, I feel like I can't walk anywhere without stepping on a toy.  He also likes to lay down when he is playing with certain toys (as do most toddlers, I suppose) and that just means more surface area of my floor is gone.  Add in two giant dogs, a baby, a baby's toys (including a play gym and exersaucer), and I really don't have any space to walk around my own living room.  I want my living room back!!!!!!

I feel like the weeks leading up to Christmas result in us throwing out our usual routine to celebrate the season (or do thinks in preparation of those celebrations).  Now, post Christmas celebration explosion, I just want to get back into our usual routine...back into our groove, if you will.   Our usual routine of going to Baby Boot Camp is out since there are no classes this week, so that leaves us at home, surrounded by toys and decorations and holiday chaos. 

I'm not the only one feeling the holiday hangover*, I posted on Facebook yesterday that Superman was VERY moody and on my personal page I posted this:
S wants me to play with him, but tells me "no" every time I touch a toy, T is exhausted and almost inconsolable, and Clyde is barking at the wind.  Stick a fork in me, I am done.
There were several people who let me know that they were in similar boats.  Then I began to see other people post that their kids were "off" and were desperate for things to return to normal asap.  One friend called it the "holiday grouchy" and another wished she could bring back her "elf on the shelf".

For people with school age children, I now understand why so many of you can't wait for school to start back up.  It isn't so much that you don't want your kids around or to spend the time with them, you are just seeking your normal routine to return for the sanity of both you and your kids.

So what do you do to get things to "return to normal" even when "normal" can't be achieved until after the new year?  Me? Well I am going to start by taking down all the decorations.  Till next time....

Devan from Accustomed Chaos posted an article called 7 Signs Your Dealing with "After Holiday Aftermath" that I read after I had already started this post.  I was sure she was going to have the same complaints as I, but her post has a little different twist.  Go check it out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Operation Happier Baby and Momma

 I feed Mr. T almost every two hours during the day.  He nurses at 7:30 before going to bed, gets a bottle at 11:30 from my husband, and then still will wake 2-3 times more that night.  This is not working for me, but what are you going to do?  I have a big baby and he needs to eat a lot, right?  Well, today I learned that he does need to eat more, but maybe we can do something so he isn't needing to do the eating at night. 

This problem solving started when I called the doctor because he started spitting up again. He has gained 1.5 lbs since our 4 month appointment, so I thought maybe he needed his acid reflux meds adjusted.  The nurse did the usual discussion about my diet (and as you all know I am not adding things to my diet, but rather taking things away) and his eating/sleeping patterns.  She is convinced it can be better than it just may take some tweeking.

So here is the initial plan:

  • When he wakes up in the morning give him solids before nursing him.  (If he wakes up at 6 I can still nurse him and put him back to bed, but when I get him up for the day I should do solids first.
  • Increase his solid intake from two times a day to three and always have either rice or oatmeal as part of the meal.  She prefers the rice cereal because she said it is easier on the stomach. This was not the case with Superman, but T is so different than S so I will try it. The idea is that the rice/oatmeal will be heavier in his stomach and hopefully keep him from spitting up. (I am making my own per the directions in Super Baby Food.)
  • Work on getting "good" feedings during the day.  (Meaning: quiet room with minimal distractions and let him tell me when he is done.)  This will be difficult with a toddler, but is something I have already been working on.  
  • If he wakes up in the middle of the night, try to get him to go back to sleep without eating. However, if he is hungry- feed him.  Hopefully after a few days he will stop being hungry and we will just need to break him of the habit of waking. 
Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's wrong with Mommy C?

Back in November I talked about trying to figure out why I wasn't losing fact, I was gaining weight!  I am not a fan of my current primary care physician.  She doesn't seem to really care about figuring out what is wrong with me.  I don't know if she doesn't believe me when I say I don't feel good or just isn't good at her job, but I am done dealing with her.  Unfortunately, I can't get into my doctor's office for an initial visit till late December.  I decided to see a naturopath in the meantime to at least get the ball rolling.  Now that I have gotten a bunch of tests done, here is what I learned.*
-My thyroid is totally wonky. My TSH and T4 are low.  My T3 is mid-range.   So not really hypothyroidism, but not really not either. Confused? Yeah, me too.  Apparently a normal profile for hypothyroidism would be low TSH and low T4, with a mid-range T3.  We are going to try some T4 meds and see what happens.  We will start slow and see what happens.**

-I do not have Hashimoto's Disease!  We did the test for antibodies and were ecstatic to learn that this is not my problem.  I had an autoimmune disease when I was little so that makes me more prone to one now (and in the future).  I forget why the doctor thinks this (an autoimmune disease) is part of my problem.  She is recommending that I go on a gluten free diet.  I don't fully understand the connection between gluten and autoimmune diseases, but it is something that I will explore in the months to come.

-I have Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)...or rather, I had SIBO back about 5 years ago and although I took antibiotics at the time and felt better, it is something that can continue to come back over and over again if you don't fix what caused it.  I could go through the 3 hour breath test again, but it is probably a waste of time.  In my case, the cause has to do with a lack of acid in my stomach (which is also the cause of my acid reflux).  The lack of this acid results in food not being digested enough in the stomach and bacteria entering the small intestine and chowing down on it (or something like this).  This is the likely cause for feeling like crud.  Thankfully there is a solution.  It has three parts and unfortunately, it will not be easy.
  1. Go back on antibiotics.  This will kill the bacteria that are there now.  (okay, that part is easy)
  2. Fix the acid levels in my stomach.  I will take stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes to fix it every single time I eat.  (Mildly difficult since I have to remember to take them and quite expensive.)
  3. Change my diet for a minimum of 6 months and heal the lining of my small intestine.  I will follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for 6 months.  At the end I will slowly add foods back into my diet one at a time (very similar to how you introduce solids with a baby) to ensure that each food doesn't bring my symptoms back.  It is likely that there will be foods that cause a reaction and I will never be able to eat them again.  (OMG this is going to be SO hard!!!)
I am not going to make the official change till the new year.  It is just too difficult to try and work around the holidays and learn a whole new diet.  It will also give me time to learn the diet and work out the getting my insurance to pay for some of meds.  I am working with a health coach and she is helping me find resources that will help me survive.  I will post those resources in a different post along with how I dealt with learning about this diet (there were more than a few tears shed) in my next post.

Anyone else ever have to go a new diet that seemed really daunting? I would love to hear from you. 

*Because my insurance only covers my appointments with the naturopath and nothing else, I ended up cringing my way through another appointment with my primary doctor.  It was awful, but at least I got the tests I need done. **I am sure there is a better medical description of this, but this is what I retained during the crazy whirlwind of appointments.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

5 Easy Steps to Making New Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is upon us!! Since we are a family with few traditions for the season, my husband and I decided to start some of our own.

The idea I am going to share with you today originated from Once Upon A Family (OUAF) and their November workshop in the Family Holidays Monthly Workshop kit.  I made some modifications so that it works for us though (instead of it only being tasks that need to be completed anyway, we have included fun things that we want to do as a family). 

Step 1:
Buy an advent calendar that allows you to put a small card in each compartment.  There are lots of choices out there.  You can buy something that hangs on the wall or one that is wooden (like ours).  If you buy a wooden one, it is helpful to find one that has equal sized compartments or at least ones that will fit your card for the activity of the day.  You would be surprised how many I saw that wouldn't work because of different sized compartments. 

Step 2:
Identify 24 family activities that you would like to do before Christmas. To make the season less overwhelming, think of the things that you are doing already and add them to the list.  The OUAF kit suggested including tasks like mailing Christmas cards so that your kids are included in all that you do.  We didn't do that because our kids are too young right now.

Here are our 24 activities: 
  1. Make a hand wreath with everyone's hands.  (And introduce the Advent calendar.)
  2. Christmas coloring - we have a Christmas coloring book that Superman will get to color in.  
  3. Go to Powell's books and pick out a new book. 
  4. Make Christmas cookies
  5. Sing Christmas carols
  6. Go to CHAP and make gifts for Grandparents
  7. Make Paper Chains
  8. Watch personalized video from Santa (from Portable North Pole)
  9. Watch "Charlie Brown Christmas"
  10. Get Christmas tree
  11. Decorate Christmas tree
  12. Go to Zoo Lights
  13. Decorate cookies
  14. Have a picnic dinner by the Christmas tree
  15. Watch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
  16. Cookies With Santa at Children's Musuem
  17. Decorate Gingerbread house (my husband's employer is putting on this activity)
  18. Watch "Frosty The Snowman"
  19. Go see Christmas lights 
  20. Read "Night Before Christmas" as a family (we will read it other nights, but this will be the first reading of it)
  21. Drink hot chocolate and read books by the fireplace
  22. Go to the snow!
  23. Watch "Santa Claus is Coming To Town"
  24. Put out cookies and milk for Santa
Step 3: 
Identify the days that you want to do each activity.  My brilliant husband created a shared calendar in Google just for this.  We already share our Google calendars with each other so this worked out really well.  Why do this?  Just in case someone gets their hands on the calendar and removes of all the cards, it is a good idea to know when you were planning to do each activity so they can be put back correctly.  It is also nice to have it on your calendar so you don't have to keep opening up the little doors to figure out what you are doing the next day. 

Step 4: 
Write each activity on a card and place it into calendar.  I found little gift tags that fit perfectly.  I took the little string off them, wrote down the activity inside, and placed it in the box.  If you want to get really fancy you can print each activity out with a printer and put them on some nice card stock. 

Step 5:
Implement activities.  Remember to be present when you are doing the activities.  Turn off distractions (ex. phones, computers or tvs) and put any other tasks aside so that you can really focus on spending time with your loved ones.  Feel free to take pictures, but don't let the picture taking become more important than the activity itself (I need this reminder on occasion). 


While there is some work initially to plan it all out, each consecutive year should be easier.  We will make some tweeks here and there so that the activities are age appropriate.  Also, our goal is to add more activities that involve acts of kindness and service as the kids get older (ex. donating toys, food, clothing or making treats for the folks at the nursing home that don't have family).   However, many of the activities will be done each and every year, creating some fabulous family memories along the way!

What family traditions did you cherish growing up?  Which did you continue with your children?  Do you have any new family traditions?  I would love to hear from you!