Wednesday, 30 May 2012


I'm currently recovering from surgery. An operation became necessary for my health, and I went under the knife on Saturday morning. I am sore, sore, sore.

I've been advised by my consultant, nurses and a physiotherapist that any heavy lifting, strenuous activity or exercise should be avoided for a minimum of 4 weeks, up to 10 weeks. So that throws a spanner in my works! My lovely plan of getting in shape for summer by regular running, long-distance walking and weekly kickboxing is a officially a no-go. I'm still allowed to walk as much as I am comfortable but unfortunately I'm not very comfortable at present.

Of course it is early days, and being told that walking can't do any harm provides some comfort to me in that, when I am feeling more able, at least I will be able to keep a little bit of this fitness that I have been working so hard for. I will be able to go for longer walks as I recover and, though I can't go running, a 5 mile walk three or four times a week should keep me from becoming the total couch potato that I was before I started the Couch to 5k program 5 months ago.

The weather has been so lovely as well - the evenings are very inviting. They almost beckon me forth to scramble out of my little blanket-nest-pit on the sofa, straighten myself down and step outside. Even if it's just one step for now, or two or three... It's something.

Monday, 14 May 2012

No weigh in this week

Yesterday was supposed to be Weigh In (WI) day. That didn't happen. My mum's partner asked if we could do it another day, as he needed to complete his tutor-marked assessment as part of his Open Degree. I can understand that having the 5 children (my 3, and my younger brother and sister) running excitedly around the house might have been a little distracting, so my mum and I agreed to WI next Sunday instead.

I was secretly relieved as Saturday was my husband's surprise 30th birthday party and I had made the decision that I was going to take the day off of my diet. I regretted eating. The food wasn't as great as I remembered or imagined it would be, and I was in flare up with my Crohn's disease all night and all of Sunday. I'm not beating myself up for 'falling off the wagon', though. After all, it didn't feel like a loss of control, but rather a bad decision. I knew what I was doing, weighed up the pros and cons and made the choice to break my diet. I was in total control. And I can learn from this.

From the full 7 days that I completed on the VLCD before Saturday, I have learnt that I can take or leave food. And that I can actually do this diet. I am a little nervous about how my gut will react to food when I refeed, and if I will instantly go into flare up when I am trying to eat solid food, but I'm trying not to think of that for now. For now I am getting some relief from the pain and sickness, and I am losing much needed weight along the way. I will cross all the other bridges when I come to them.

From eating on Saturday, and the pain and illness that followed, I have learnt that food is - without any doubt - not worth it.

Not weighing in was a bit of a bummer but it gives me a week to correct any damage done by my 'day off', to work out hard and to lose as much weight as possible.

Short term plan: Stick to VLCD 100% for the full week (No crafty splashes of milk in my tea!), work out 3 times a week, walk the school run (total 8 miles a day). See AMAZING results on WI day.

After that, I'm just taking each day and week as it comes for now.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Random things that motivate me #005


Although the reason behind me doing this VLCD was to ease my crohn's disease into remission, I have had to keep myself motivated in other ways to break my eating habits and, especially as I have started to feel better in my stomach, I've had to keep reminding myself of the various reasons that I am sticking to this diet - aside from preventing belly ache and bloating. One of the things that has kept me motivated the most this week has been my competitive nature.

My scales have broken so I have taken to weighing in every Sunday at my mum's house. My mum is also trying to lose weight. Last week when we weighed in she had lost 2 lbs and I had gained. The sense of competition and wanting to lose as much as, or more than, my mum has kept me on track this week and I have stuck rigidly to this Very Low Calorie No-Solid-Food Diet (Bar, one or two hot drinks that shouldn't strictly have had milk or sugar in. There have been no major slip-ups.). I am aiming for a really strong end to the week with no drinks other than water and my 3 VLCD shakes a day. I am eager to weigh in on Sunday and discover who has been the biggest loser!

Random things that motivate me #004


I felt particularly fat after my shower last week and decided to take a photo of myself to serve as a reminder. There have been a few times that I have been tempted to cheat on this diet, but looking at this photo is always enough to change my mind. I have a copy on my phone that goes everywhere with me and every time that I think about food, I look at this. I am reminded that the only person who I'd be cheating, by eating, is myself. I look at this and I reminded that food is just not worth it. It's not worth it at all...

Monday, 7 May 2012

VLCD Update

I've been on the liquid diet for a few days now and I have amazing news to update you with:

For the first time in a very long time, I am not in pain with my crohn's disease!

This is an amazing result in such a short space of time! It would seem that food really has been aggravating my symptoms. I can see why really, as the nature of crohn's disease is that my insides are inflamed and lined with aphthous ulcers. Everybody knows that mouth ulcers heal faster if they are not rubbing against anything else in the mouth, so it stands to reason that giving the ulcers inside of me a break from the friction of food moving over them will help them to heal. 

Over the last few days, I have only been tempted to eat food once. I actually thought about buying myself a veggie burger while on a day out, and for a time I was not sure what I was going to do. It was touch and go, but I then realised that I simply had to decide that I was not going to eat, and after that it was easy. At the end of that day I was so proud of myself for having made the right choice. I feel certain that it would not have tasted as nice as I was imagining it to be, and I can only imagine how bad I would have felt in myself if I had given in to temptation on day two! It would have been full of gluten as well so it would have really made my tummy bloat out, and would have caused me a lot of pain.

Now that my stomach is feeling better, it is important that I remember just how poorly I've been over these past few months. I need to keep telling myself that eating will probably make me feel like that again. I'm quite excited at the possibility that this diet may get my crohn's disease completely into remission!

As well as the health benefits, I am now starting to get really excited about finally seeing some great results with my weight loss. I weigh in next Sunday at my mum's house (my own scales are broken so I can't take any sneaky peaks!) and I'm really hoping to see a significant loss. Although this 'lifestyle change'-now-cum-diet has always been first and foremost about getting healthy, my weight has also been an issue for me for a long time.

The next few days should be relatively easy for me in terms of sticking to the diet, as my husband is on leave from work until Thursday. I haven't been tempted to binge yet (touch wood), but if I do feel the urge, it should be easier to ignore, or, rather, harder to listen to with him around, as I only ever binge in private.

There are a few aspects of this diet that I am finding more difficult than the actual abstinence of food itself. For a start, I feel very irritable and find it hard to concentrate or think straight, the amount of water that I need to drink makes me need to pee like Seabiscuit, which is rather uncomfortable, and while we're on the subject of drinking, I am really, really missing tea and coffee!

I'm trying only to drink water as, while I am technically doing this diet to give my stomach a rest from solid food, I know that I will see the best weight loss results if I stick rigidly to the VLCD rules. I feel quite tired and drained at times, probably due to caffeine withdrawal, but most of all I miss the social, habitual and comforting nature of drinking tea and coffee. I think that I could live without food forever, if I could drink as much tea and coffee as I liked.

All in all I am feeling very positive and determined, and my stomach feels a lot better for not having food passed through it. It's all good for now!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Serious change, Drastic measures...

It is time to face facts. The 'Eat-Less-Move-More' lifestyle changes that I have made are not working. I am still weighing in at 14 stone and I am sick. I am about as far away from 'healthy' right now as it is possible to be.

To bring everybody up to speed with my health situation, I have Hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovarian  Syndrome and Crohn's disease, which all work against me in my attempt to lose weight. The Hypothyroidism isn't well controlled currently; We're still trying to work out the right dose of levothyroxine for me to be on, and an underactive thyroid unfortunately does cause weight gain. On top of this I am on a cocktail of steroids for my Crohn's disease, which all list "Weight Gain" amongst their most common side effects. It's all good fun, eh?

I, along with Dr G (my gastroenterologist), am really struggling lately with trying to get the Crohn's disease into remission. Prednisolone (a strong steroid with nasty side effects) hasn't worked and almost everything that I eat is making me feel sick. I have extensive villous atrophy and am, as a consequence, not absorbing any nutrition from the food that I eat. I feel like I could really benefit from just giving my gut a rest from trying to digest food altogether.

It is based on that feeling, that I have made the big decision to try a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD). This will be a liquid-only diet. It's extreme, and goes against all that I have been trying to achieve here in this blog (eating healthy, normal portion sizes and making good food choices - not allowing myself to fall into either extreme of binging or starving myself), however I feel at this point that giving my stomach a rest from solid food will be the best thing for me. It will hopefully give my digestive system time to recover and opportunity for inflammation to settle down.

The VLCD products that I will be using are nutritionally complete shakes and soups that, across the course of 3 packets a day, will provide my body with complete nutrition in minimal calories, no solids and with as little irritation or aggravation to my gut as possible.

I've previously believed that VLCD's are not suitable for me, due to my history - my urges to binge and starve (and purge), but I have proved to myself over the last 4 months that I am in control of my diet and I am capable of making good, healthy food choices. And I will go back to this healthy lifestyle once I reintroduce proper food to my diet later on.

I would not chose a VLCD purely as a means to lose weight. I think the best way for me to 'diet' would be to continue on with healthy food choices, controlled portion sizes, mindful eating, calorie counting and regular exercise, but this is not working for me right now due to my poor health, uncontrolled hypothyroidism and the medication that I am on.

I am aware that starting on a VLCD may trigger my bing-purge behaviour, but at the moment I trust myself that I am assertive enough to recognize if that occurs, and be honest with myself that if that is the case, VLCD is not for me and I will have to try a different approach.

That said, I think I will find a the diet relatively easy to stick to at the moment. I am so desperate with my illness and I am in so much pain that I don't want to eat anything. And I am so fatigued and generally unwell. Lately, eating anything solid seems to make these symptoms flare up big time. I need some relief. For this simple reason, that I am feeling so unwell, I don't think there will be an issue with me wanting to binge while on the diet. I obviously won't know until I try, but if I start to feel negative urges again I will have to reconsider whether this is something that I can afford to do, emotionally or psychologically.

I'm trying to set off with a positive mental attitude, though and I'm really hopeful that not eating will give me some relief from my Crohn's symptoms and help aid the steroids in getting me into remmission.

On another plus side of course weight loss will be a massive benefit as I've been at a standstill since I regained back to 14stone. Aaaanyway, that's the plan for now! I may not stick to this diet for long as, if I start to recognize I'm not coping and it's doing me harm mentally, I'll have to give it up. However I am hoping that as I am doing this diet for health reasons, and because I feel so ill that I don't even want to eat most of the time anyway, that it won't be an issue. Fingers crossed that this works out!