Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Body Measurements

I've already started to lose weight, so I'd better put up my measurements!

Weight (clothed): 215 lb
Bust: 46.5 inches
Waist: 43 inches
Hips: 49 inches

Can't think of anything else to measure that's as important as those. I'm not going to measure each leg and arm, that seems a bit excessive.

Just for fun, my shoe size is 8.5. I don't expect that to change ;p

What is the Paleo Diet?

I've had a lot of positive responses to my last post, and a lot of questions about the Paleo Diet. Also called the Paleolithic, Caveman, Hunter-Gatherer or Primal Diet, it's a way of eating that returns to our pre-agricultural menu. It's a low-carb diet, with no grains and most beans. The rule of thumb to go by - if you can't eat it raw, it's not allowed. That includes grains like wheat and rice, potatoes, and legumes - all of which are toxic to the body when in raw form, and only less so when cooked. I really reccommend the book I'm reading right now - called Going Against the Grain. It's based on scientific research and shows how grain consumption is behind the health epidemics in Western society.

For an introduction to the ideas behind the Paleo Diet, please read this web page:

For more resources on the Paleo Diet, go to - it's an entire page of links and books etc. As far as I can surmise from this page, the best books on the subject are the one I'm reading, The Paleo Diet (Cordain) and the Primal Blueprint. They're all available from Amazon. I'll be ordering The Paleo Diet and some books on how to cook vegetables and how to use herbs. Eventually I may get the Primal Blueprint and Good Calories, Bad Calories.

I do think I have more energy the past few days that I've been entirely grain free. I've actually been sitting up at my kitchen table to eat and work/play on the web, which is something I haven't done in the past year at all. I didn't even do this consciously, it just looked like a good thing to do and eventually I realized what a big step it was!

I'm getting used to sleeping on the oxycocet - normally the codeine keeps me awake, but I went for so long without sleeping, I think my body got the idea that it better learn to fall asleep on it if it wanted to sleep at all. Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night in pain, took another oxycocet, and after about 45 minutes was able to get back to sleep. This is the first time in about 10 days I've been able to sleep when its dark outside. I'm not saying this improvement has anything to do with my diet, but it's important for me to keep a record of everything!

The more I read Going Against the Grain, the more I want to recommend it to everyone, especially anyone with chronic illness. The evidence really does point towards our grain consumption causing many of our health problems. I'm not sure how much pain reduction it will result in, but I am convinced I will lose weight and have more energy. Also, the author herself had chronic fatigue syndrome and discovered that going grain-free was her cure. So, in my opinion, it's worth reading, even if you don't decide to go grain-free.

by Lierre Keith (link to Goodreads). I have gotten some grief in the past about not being vegetarian, and the Paleo Diet is definitely not vegetarian! I would like to read this book to support my decision and also to be able to defend myself against more challenges. Though I expect my health improvements to be the only justification I need.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Year of Desperate Measures

So. I was going to start a whole 'nother blog to chronicle my health progress this year. But geez, I already have a Tumblr, Facebook, this blog...and a caringbridge health site. I thought about doing it on the caringbridge site, but I've decided to do it here. All in one place is good for me, and this blog doesn't get enough posts anyway.

Here's the story:

On Dec 29, my pain doctor informed me that he was dumping most of his patients, including me. He didn't say it like that, of course, he said he was 'changing the focus of his practice'. He's only going to be seeing new clients for diagnostic purposes only, and keep his current clients only if they are on certain medications. I was on one of these, but since it wasn't helping that much, and increasing the dosage would result in the bad side effects I had last year, he decided not to give it to me anymore. He then told me I was "stuck" and my only options were 'natural therapies'. As if I can afford those.

Needless to say, I was unhappy. I felt betrayed and like he'd given up on me. He sent me away with a 3 month prescription for oxycocet and a letter for my GP saying he might want to try clonazepam to help me sleep (since I've tried everything else and it doesn't work). I have used it in the past, and didn't really like it, but I'm pretty desperate. Yes, desperate is how I felt the few days after my appointment. What was I to do?

Gradually I stopped focusing on my anger and started to come up with solutions. I can't afford massages, acupuncture, chiropractic or any other treatment like that. But I might be able to change my diet, and take a few more supplements - if I stopped seeing my psychotherapist. She's in Toronto like my pain doctor, but the medical transportation costs were only covered to see him, not her. So I can't go see her. She's been on vacation, so I haven't told her the news yet, but I talk to her on Wednesday. I can't say this is a great thing, she has helped me so much, and she's pretty much the only person I talk to about my problems (aside from my online friends). But on the other hand, it will free up some money so I can afford a couple more supplements and healthier groceries.

In that department, I've decided to go on the Paleolithic diet. It's based on what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, what humans have evolved to survive on. We aren't genetically capable of digesting grains very well. So this diet will be grain free and dairy free. I have yet to get a copy of the Paleo Diet book, but I'm currently reading Going Against the Grain, which describes why grains are so bad for us, and how they contribute to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in our culture. It's a pretty radical diet from the standard person's point of view, but it's a low-carb diet, which I already know is helpful for me for losing weight.

I told myself on New Years I was going to make this huge switch - the Paleo diet, daily yoga & meditation, quitting smoking...but I failed to do those things because it was giving up too much. I felt like I was asking myself to give up my best friends - being so poor and isolated, some of my greatest pleasures have been food and drink (like coffee, not alcohol). I was miserable at the thought, and I failed to quit smoking.

Since then, I have slowly started shifting my diet. I made a big pot of chili (without the beans - they have the same issues as grains), and have been eating eggs with spinach and some bacon for breakfast. I've had trouble giving up coffee, and I'm still smoking, but at least I feel like this is manageable. It's too much to ask for me to become a different person overnight.

So I'm starting by focusing on what I eat. I think it will make a big difference on its own. I'll soon be taking some measurements and posting them so I can track any body changes that happen as a result.


I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.