At age 27, I began to experience chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and chronic inflammation. The quote I gave the rheumatologist assigned to my case was: “Doc, I feel like a train wreck.” Ironically, my job at the time involved helping other people to regain their health. Meanwhile, I felt the control of my own health slipping right through my fingertips.
As my pain and mobility grew worse, my prescription drug count climbed and my bank account drained. Due to the pain, I gave up exercise. I turned to caffeine and sugary, high carb foods for short-bursts of energy. Consequently, over the course of six dark years, I gained 60 pounds.
At my highest weight ever, the results from my yearly blood draw showed an elevated HgbA1C of 6.3% (considered pre-diabetes) and an elevated LDL and total cholesterol level. As a Registered Dietitian, I knew these new developments in my biochemical profile were due to the excess weight I carried, as well as my lack of activity. Unfortunately, like many others in my shoes, I felt incredibly stuck.
Five years ago, I began to read about people with autoimmune disorders, similar to mine, who regained their lives through radical dietary changes. One of my clients sealed the deal for me when she mentioned that her rheumatoid arthritis moved into remission through dietary changes alone. Anecdotal evidence seemed to support her theory, and I was desperate to try anything within reason, especially since I had already exhausted most of what was offered through traditional medicine. My criteria for trying a regimen was: it had to be affordable, non-surgical, relatively easy-to-do, and something that didn’t involve adding another medication to my already-long list.
To my surprise, I started seeing trends in how different foods made me feel.
Over time, I eliminated highly-processed foods, artificial sweeteners and concentrated sweets. Naturally, I began to lose some of the weight and started feeling better. Then I was able to begin low-impact aerobic exercise and moderate strength training. With just these few changes, I felt so much better in body, mind and spirit.
Throughout the past four years, I have been able to lose 40 of the 60 pounds, and I have maintained that weight loss. I am still making progress on the next 20 pounds. Interestingly, the weight loss reversed all of my disease trends; my HgBA1C and Cholesterol levels are back to normal.
Today, at age 38, I have regained control of my health, and I feel great! I enjoy more good days than bad pain days, and I have fun wearing cute clothes. Most of all, I feel like a great role model for my children and my co-workers.
Slow and steady has truly been my race. No quick fixes, just faithfulness in the little things, over a period of time. I couldn’t have done it without joining an online support group and a support group in my town. Plus, I have been able to encourage some of the GateWay women who also struggle with health issues.
As a Registered Dietitian, I am living proof that knowing all the right things is not the same as doing them. All of us need support, accountability, AND lots of encouragement in the journey to better health. I am now thrilled to be employed as a health coach where I encourage others in their journey to feeling great!