7 months ago, I discovered I was gluten-intolerant. I've been suffering since I was 14 years old. It really came to a head when I was in college and I had such horrible abdominal pain the doctors performed every test they could think of and I was taking pain killers daily. I missed a lot of class. I stopped living my life. While my friends were out dancing, I was home in agony, with heating pads and sobbing into a pillow. My relationship with my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) suffered as well because I was getting really depressed. I had no idea what was wrong with me and I was starting to feel like the doctors might think I was a hypochondriac! They couldn't find anything wrong with me.
Fast forward to 2004. After visiting every doctor I could think of, I finally saw a gastroenterologist. She informed me I had IBS and was definitely lactose intolerant (which I had known for years just by my reaction to milk.) I finally had SOME sort of an answer. For a while, I was on a drug that helped alleviate some of the symptoms. It was recalled from the market and I was back to square one. I tried some other meds, but nothing really helped.
3 months before we were ready to start trying for babies, I had to go off all meds. It was miserable. Pregnancy brought on really bad days and really good days with my IBS. My last trimester, I was pretty good to go. After I gave birth, I could eat anything until I hit the 3 week mark. Then, my IBS was back full-force. Because I was nursing, there was absolutely nothing I could take.
After being pregnant and nursing for so long, I just didn't even think to go back to medication. I suffered through the symptoms every day. I got pregnant with my second some a couple years later and had similar reactions. Last February, things came to a head for me. I was SO incredibly miserable, I couldn't bare it. I didn't want to eat any more because I couldn't picture myself any more miserable than I already was. I finally conceded to going back to see my gastroenterologist.
I had dreaded for years what she told me...DREADED it!!!! "Well, Hope. Even though I've tested you for Celiac's disease and it came back negative, I suspect you're gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive. I'd like you to try a gluten-free diet for at least 2 weeks." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Not the dreaded "GLUTEN-FREE" diet!
In one sense, I was terrified. Mad. Bothered. In the other sense, I was excited. Almost giddy. Hopeful.
I was told to try this gluten-free diet for 2 weeks, and if that didn't work, I was told to try the FODMAPS diet.
I stuck to the diet for 2 straight weeks and kept a detailed food diary. I felt about 20% better. It was enough for me to want to keep going because 20% better was WAY better than I had been feeling for the past 19 years!
After 2 months, I was down 7 lbs. and feeling 100% better. After 3 months, I felt 200% better! I have accepted my gluten-free lifestyle. I took a positive attitude. I had to.
Then, during month 3.....I started gaining weight. Rapidly. It was depressing and I didn't know how to make it stop. You see, being gluten-free, you start to feel a bit sorry for yourself. You can't have the cookie everyone else is having, so you make yourself a batch of flourless brownies. You find every excuse to eat those flowerless brownies because everyone else can have this, that and the other thing you can't have. Bacon was on my weekly list of things to eat because I could. I couldn't have the pancakes the rest of my family was having, so I compensated with other things. I felt hungry all the time.
I finally had enough. I bought a Jillian Michaels DVD and started working out at the end of July. For a week and a half, I did it every day! I was going to be "Ripped in 30" like Jillian Michaels said.
Then, Andrea Walshaw of FitAddict Training randomly "walked" into my life. She sent me a message through my A Busy Mom's Slow Cooker Adventures page about her "FitAddict Program" she thought would be perfect for my busy mom fans. Always a sceptic, I asked her to give me more info. She told me to try it for myself and I did just that.
I was hooked after the first 3 days. I could walk down to my basement, turn on my computer and workout. No drive to the gym. No juggling the kids around. I could DO this!
And so, I've been doing it now for 6 weeks. Along the way, Andrea and Julie have both helped me with a daily meal plan. I've started cooking even healthier and I'm determined to stick to it. I want my husband and kids to see the hard work I'm putting in and what can become of it when you really work for something.
Eating healthy doesn't have to mean flavorless. You just learn to use ingredients in different ways. Greek yogurt has become my new BFF. Eating healthier has helped me stay focused. I actually eat about 6 times a day. I LOVE it because I don't ever feel "starving" like I used to.
This has been a long journey for me, but such a rewarding one. As I move forward with my FitAddict Training, I know I have SO much potential. My clothes are feeling so good! I'm actually seeing something I admire and like when I look in the mirror. I'm feeling more confident. More energetic. I'm able to handle stress in a way I never could.
Here is me now. I'm still a work in progress, but that's ok! I'm going to be the best ME, I can be!
I guess in a way, you could say it was being diagnosed as gluten-intolerant that has changed my life so dramatically. That, and Andrea Walshaw randomly walking into it when she did. Timing is everything.
People have saying to me "I don't know how you do everything you do." "I could never get up that early and workout like you do." "I'm so busy, I just don't have the time." Here's the key. You have to WANT it. You can do ANYTHING you WANT to do. But, you have to want it bad enough.
What's my secret to fitting it all in? Not only do I WANT it, I make it a priority. I am worth that. Sometimes that means not getting a blog post done. Sometimes that means working out when I'm dead tired. Sometimes that means waking up at 5:30 a.m. before the kids and family are up. But, you know what. It's worth it. Every second of it. It is making me a better person.
Do you have fitness and health goals? Are you afraid to start something? Let's chat about it below. I would love to hear what YOU are thinking!
*For more information on FitAddicTraining please email Andrea and Julie at Fitaddictbootcamp@gmail.com
*For more information on Sassy ConFITent Bish program, please email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org