And no. It wasn’t a plan. And no, I’m not a fan.
If you’re looking for a diet, stop reading NOW and find another writer.
If you’re looking for the Magic Answer to Weight Loss, stop reading NOW and find another writer.
This is serious, albeit some of it is pretty funny. But this IS NOT DIET ADVICE. Not in the slightest.
Given that, let’s play.
First. Kindly, it’s a really bad idea.
Second, it was completely unintentional.
Third, I am trying hard right now to stem the tide.
Fourth, no, this is not an old ED raising its ugly head like Smaug in the castle.
Fifth, no, I do NOT need to eat an effing sandwich.
On July 20, 2020, four days before closing on the sale of my Colorado house and purchasing my Eugene home, I weighed about 143. Having packed my scales, I didn’t realize that I’d also packed on a few pounds.
Okay okay OKAY more than a few (like 20) under quarantine. I still worked out, but I stress ate. I’ve had a lot going on, running back and forth between Oregon and Colorado, the house up for sale and not selling, finding a new place and dropping big dime, blah blah blah. Moves are among the most stressful events in our lives.
Oh, and let’s not forget our buddy Covid-19.
I was doing this solo, packed my house solo, traveled solo, all of it. I was scorched. Still, I ate well. In the beginning of the quarantine I joked about --and really did buy — some Very Large Bags of chocolate almonds. Ate too many, then gave the rest--most of it-- to my new neighbor. Who gained the rest of the weight, thankyouverymuch.
I ate nut butters for fat and protein, gobbled spinach salads, snacked on almonds by the bag (thank you Walgreen’s half-price sale on Blue Diamond Smokehouse, YUM ). Lots of eggs, gallons of yogurt, catsup on my egg yolks, on and on. With the exception of the chocolate, largely a pretty good diet, and plenty of exercise.
On July 20th, I had a horrible kidney stone attack and was hospitalized with both kidneys infected. The last truly full meal I had was 7/22, lunch. Then I had to fast for surgery. They blasted a big nasty stone. Ow.
I was in constant pain and had no appetite. While most of my body felt better, my kidneys and bladder were hurting. That subsided enough to stop taking even Tylenol. Good to go. I thought.
Meanwhile, I forgot to eat. Not only did my body hurt but I also wasn’t hungry. Too much to do.
About a week later, the day I left for Eugene, I had driven close to twelve hours when pieces of the big stone that had been broken apart caused me to flip my car while barreling along at 65 mph.
Well, that’ll put a dent in your day, if not your car. And your head.
Okay okay. Everything.
Back to the hospital, more wicked-ass pain that didn’t stop for weeks. I can’t begin to try to line out the stress, multiple insurance claims, a house to move, a car to replace. I had to sleep on the floor for 13 days, then move some 4000 cubic feet of boxes, alone, because I couldn’t afford the moving team. Had to buy a new car. Organize repairs on the house (and on me). Yeah. With a hand down. You try that. Run back and forth to urgent care, the VA.
Never. Ending. Stress. But that’s just the backdrop. Here’s the fun stuff.
Part of that was knowing, finally and unquestionably, that my otherwise healthy diet was the reason for my condition. Eat healthy, right?
The most common kidney stones are oxalate, which meant that nearly every single food I loved and considered good for me had just been the collective authors of my agony.
I also have Interstitial Cystitis, which is a whole other ball of beeswax, and that requires a whole other set of restrictions.
Suffice it to say that some, if not many, of the foods recommended for avoiding IC problems cause oxalate kidney stones.
You see my problem.
On top of this I don’t eat processed foods, grains and I don’t get along, and with the exception of chicken and some fish, no meat. Eggs, the yolks anyway, which were my main source of B12, are now off the menu. Along with fermented foods, like yogurt, which I ate by the gallon to support my gut bacteria. Nothing fermented, if you have IC. So now I am on antibiotics for several weeks straight and I can’t eat the very foods which would help my belly bacteria.
So, yeah, probiotics, but food sources are better. But not if they make you sick.
Food is medicine. Food is toxic. You see? Hippocrates was absolutely right. Because with each of us, it depends. It’s a lot more complex than a peanut or shellfish allergy.
Beginning right after surgery, I just didn’t eat, largely because I hurt. I also had a three-page, twelve-point-type, single-space to-do list. That was BEFORE the accident in Idaho.
Right now every single counter space in my kitchen, including the stove, is covered with to-do lists, demands from USAA for this or that, bills, bills that didn’t get taken care of by the title company, important shit dumb shit critical shit.
No place to make food or cook food but the microwave.
Lots of friends offer advice. Drink cranberry juice, take this cranberry supplement. Sorry, nice thought, but studies show that cranberry juice can increase the likelihood of oxalate stone formation.
The weight peeled off. I was -- and am still -- utterly mystified about what I could munch. I do eat a great deal of applesauce, chicken. And chicken and applesauce.
Did I say applesauce and chicken?
Gallons of water.
The weight continues to peel off.
In fact I am down another two pounds this morning.
Ann Litts and I have spoken several times. She has worked for a kidney doc and she also has IC. The kidney doc argued that lemonade helps prevent oxalate stone formation. AND citrus -- certainly oranges, and I grew up in Central Florida for crying out loud -- is expressly forbidden for IC sufferers.
Any and all acidic foods, and much of what I like is just that (okay okay, but for Krispy Kreme donuts): acidic.
Kindly, I am not without a sense of humor. I might as well leave my dentures out all day if all I eat are rice and applesauce.
But that can also be challenging. To wit:
On that list are a great many foods I can’t eat (grains, citrus, fermented stuff) because of IC.
You see what I mean.
Again, I’m not without humor.
I am, at the moment, without an ass, which is disappearing faster than my hair coloring, which faded REALLY fast after the accident.
I used to LOVE lentils. Nope.
I used to LOVE beans. Nope.
I used to love canteloupe. Nope. Ann is an IC sufferer, and while she allows herself a bit at a time, she and I can’t chow down on an entire melon.
As for tea and coffee?
Holy shit, Batman.
Losing weight this fast is a seriously harmful thing to the body. It’s a shock, and to say the least, anyone who’s ever done this late in life can speak eloquently to what happens to skin elasticity.
I’m accustomed to being very strong and energetic. I’m still energetic, I’m still strong, but I can feel the difference that rapid weight loss has caused. Besides that, kindly….
my biceps have wrinkles.
It’s a damned good thing that a) I have a sense of humor and the absurd, and b) I’m a journalist.
I don’t mind the research. I’d just be a lot happier if I could get some better news out of it.
One thing I don’t have to worry about these days is a food bill. My cupboards are packed with beans, bean soups (when quarantine began I shopped for the Apocalypse at my local organic store, which was the only place in town that had canned goods, which is why everything has beans). Can’t eat any of it. Good thing we have shelters here, for they are going to receive some major donations.
I will be consulting a nutritionist from the VA in a few weeks.
I hope there’s still enough of me left to advise.
For all those who want to accuse me of being a picky eater (they have) and shove that ham sammich in my face?
Kindly: I can’t eat the bread. Can’t have mayo. Can’t stomach the pork. Can’t have the tomato.
As long as the green stuff isn’t spinach, I can have the lettuce.
Because this: I’m not picky because I wanna be skinny. I have to be picky to stay out of the hospital.
So if you push a sammich in my face?
Kiss my ass.