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!

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