Dieting

Dieting

So we all have been down the road of feeling like we really want to lose those few extra pounds.  Whether it’s so our cloths fit better, our joints hurt less, or we just want to feel more comfortable in our own bodies, dieting with a rare disease can be tricky.  I have over the years gained and lost weight a few times but finally found something that worked well for me.  

First thing is that we all need to realize that one diet does not fit all.  We each need to find the diet that works best for us.  For me it was a low calorie high protein diet.  I eliminated alcohol and 95% of soda, switching to lots of water, iced tea, and water flavored with artificial sugar free sweeteners.  I made sure to have a healthy supply of pre-packaged 100 calorie snacks and larger meals less than 300 calories.  I also eliminated milk and most other dairy products.   Next is to calculate the minimum number of calories I needed each day to lose weight if I didn’t do any exercise.  Once all that stuff was done, calculated, and factored the last step was to prepare my kitchen.  As devastating as it was to complete the last step it was necessary.  All the junk foods, temptation foods, and otherwise unhealthy snacks and treats that usually reside in my kitchen than took up residence in the trash.  Avoiding temptation and foods not pre-pared in portion sizes is the easiest way to quickly get on a good schedule and routine with eating.  It took me about two weeks of logging my foods and measuring, yes with a measuring cup, all my foods to know just how much I could have.  I would eat pickles instead of chips for salt, fruit cups for sugar instead of cookies or other sweets, and jerky of some kind for protein snacks on a regular basis.  I also made sure to always have more then one large size water bottle or other container to hold liquids with me so I always had enough to drink.  Sometimes when you think you’re hungry your body is actually trying to tell you you’re dehydrated.  So also make sure to drink at least 8 ounces of water or other liquid prior to eating if you think you are hungry before when you should be.

Interestingly I found that my stomach immediately shrank so I also had to learn quickly to throw away extra food rather than finish those last few bites.  Those last few bites add up and before you know it there is a few extra pounds where you don’t want them. 

The next unexpected thing was how I started to feel physically.  I found that the less I ate the better I felt.  Both my GI system and musculoskeletal systems started doing better.  When I didn’t consume large meals I didn’t experience excess fatigue afterwards, and there seemed to be a small degree of less pain.  It was like my body was working to hard to process the food I was eating and so in eating less my body got a break and started feeling better.  

Having to do all this while suffering from HPP is an extra step since there are certain dietary considerations.  For example I switched to Almond milk which contains more protein per cup but has twice the amount of dietary calcium.  This meant I had to watch my calcium intake even closer because what used to be one of four meals/snacks witch calcium I could have a day I could now only have about two to two and half.  I also needed to watch phosphorus and Vitamin D since many foods made for dieting are highly fortified and contain extra vitamins and minerals I really do not need.  Once you establish a relative schedule and range of foods all it takes to lose that weight is 30 minutes a day of some kind of cardio activity that causes sweating.

Given that going to the gym can be a task for someone with a chronic illness it is also important to be able to establish a few good exercises that can be done at home and stick them on days you can not make it to the gym.  By sticking to the diet and exercise program I set out before me I was able to lose nearly 30lbs in three months.  

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