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A Year of Putting Myself First Blog

Hi everyone!

Just a quick note that I moved over to a new blog. It’s called A Year of Putting Myself First.

After 2 years of heavy-duty recovery from my binge-eating disorder, I want to share how to apply practical skills I found helpful during my recovery so far. If not practiced on a regular basis, these skills can be easily forgotten. Therefore, I am dedicating a year (or longer) to focus on experiencing life again, taking care of my health, and stepping out of my comfort zone from time to time.

I invite you to join me in A Year of Putting Myself First and hope that something I share will help you on your own journey.

Hugs,

Nickie

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Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Food Addiction

 

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Subclinical Hyperthyroidism – Now what?

English: Scheme of the thyroid gland. Français...

Scheme of the thyroid gland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I wrote about going to our military hospital to request some lab tests.  (Click here for previous post.)  That Thursday, my PA’s nurse called me to see if I could come in before my scheduled follow-up appointment to discuss my thyroid test results.  I figured something was up, but of course, she couldn’t tell me anything about the results, so I had to wait and ponder until Tuesday after Memorial day to see my PA.

At the day of my appointment, I sat in the small room where the Red Cross volunteer took my vital signs again.  I was nervous, because of my recent elevated blood pressure readings and having to go back onto blood pressure medication if my numbers didn’t improve.  But as it turned out, my reading that morning was only 124/82, much better than the reading from the week prior of 154/105.  Relieved that I was almost back to normal, I could now return to worrying about my possible thyroid issue, while waiting for the PA.

Thyroid Panel Results

She didn’t waste much time and told me my thyroid panel test results.  I added normal ranges in parentheses:

♥  Thyroxine            10.0               (4.8 – 10.4)
  T3                      1.32               (0.970 – 1.69)
  FT4                    1.29               (0.78 – 2.19)
  TSH Sensitive     0.245   Low     (0.465 – 4.68)

The PA then explained that a low TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone value accompanied by normal T3 & T4 values is a sign for subclinical hyperthyroidism, which could eventually turn into full-blown hyperthyroidism.

I must have given her a blank stare, so she continued questioning me about symptoms, and if I noticed any of the following:

  Hair loss (notice more hair on the brush)
  Fatigue
  Palpitations
  Weight loss, etc…

Yes, I have these symptoms, but figured that the hair breakage was due to the dry air in Colorado, the palpitations due to the altitude, and the weight loss, yet slow, was intentional with eating low-carb.

The PA checked my neck again for any growths, but did not feel anything abnormal.

The plan for now is to repeat the blood test in 2 weeks, and if the results are the same or worse, she will order a scan of my thyroid and we’ll go from there.  If the test comes back normal, we’ll just follow-up with tests in 3-month increments.

Lipid Panel Results

My lipid-panel wasn’t that great, either, but the PA said, that we’ll keep an eye on the numbers.  There is NO WAY I’ll go on statins for cholesterol, because of the horrible side-effects they cause and science has proven, that especially women see no improvement in taking them.  Chris Kresser has a lot of resources and scientific backup to prove this point.

Here are my numbers:

  Cholesterol         206         (<200)      okay, a bit up
  Triglycerides         86         (<150)      thanks low-carb
  HDL                     36         (40-60)     gotta work on that
  VLDL                   17         (5-40)       not bad
  LDL Direct          154         (<100)      oh, oh – but I do not have particle size
  Risk Ratio           5.7         (0.5 – 3.5) high

A1C Results

My A1C was excellent with 5.3.  I’m down by .3 points from 2010, when I had it tested the last time.  It should be under 6.  Yay!

Outstanding Test Results

I’m still missing the Vitamin D and the standard test results.  I also do not see LDL particle size on the report, which I requested.  Maybe this test is not done at this hospital – the PA gave me a confused look when I asked her for the LDL particle size as we were discussing the results.  Instead, she kept referring back to the risk factor value.  I’ll ask her again at the next appointment. Stay tuned for updates of my next Dr. visit.

To be continued….

 

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A Low-Carb Friendly Military Healthcare Provider – Really?

English: Blood pressure measurement.

English: Blood pressure measurement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago, I scheduled an appointment at the clinic of our new duty station to get some blood work drawn, mainly to have a baseline to measure my progress for next year’s low-carb cruise.  I was so inspired by the success stories of this last cruise, that I made a promise to myself to make this year count.  I was particularly inspired by the stories of Andrew DiMino from Carbsmart, Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan, Susan Winkler, Kent Altena, Kim Eidson, and Vanessa Romero, just to name a few.  With all this motivation, this is definitely the year to get healthy!

At first, I was worried about the reaction of my new doctor, because every time I went to see one at the military clinic at our last duty station, which was usually a different physician each time, and mentioned that I was eating low-carb, they were appalled that I did not eat any HEART-HEALTHY GRAINS and that I ate SATURATED FAT.  Of course, they told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy.  At that time I didn’t have any ammo to counter with yet.  But this time would be different!

Before my appointment, I made sure to do my homework.  I asked my new expert buddies at the Low-Carb Cruise Facebook Group, which additional blood tests I should get done, and made my list:

  Standard tests
  Full Panel Thyroid
  LDL Particle Size
  A1C
  Vitamin D Level

 I also played out in my mind what I’d say to the doctor, when the low-carb thing would come up.  None of my previous physicians were open to this lifestyle, so I wanted to be ready.  Some things I wanted to say were:

  I eat more veggies than ever in my life.  What’s wrong with that?
  Isn’t this how diabetics should eat?
  Isn’t this how food addicts in recovery eat?  Nobody says that that’s unhealthy.  Why can’t I?

So, confident that I was ready for my appointment, I drove to the post hospital, ready for battle, if the need would arise.

At the clinic, a Red Cross volunteer took my vital signs.  I was shocked that my blood pressure was 154/105.  What?  It’s never been that high!  Yes, I had high blood pressure for years around 145/95, which was easily controlled by meds.  Then, after I lost some weight by eating low-carb, I stayed off my low-dose HCTZ and monitored my blood pressure, which was usually fine.  When I returned from the cruise, it was still normal for a few days, then shot up to the 150s/90s and I thought my machine at home was broken.  Since I had no way to test it, I just waited a few days for my appointment to verify that my blood pressure machine indeed went belly-up.  But I was wrong.  We checked twice.  Yep, I was really up there.

The volunteer then told me that my physician assistant will be with me shortly and left the room.  What?  I’m seeing a PA?  Nothing against PAs, but I really expected a doctor.  Oh well, nothing I could do at that point.

A few minutes later, the PA came in.  After some small-talk, she asked me why I was here.  I told her that I’m due for a physical and that I just came off the Low-Carb Cruise with a lot of experts and that I wanted some blood work done, so I can compare results right before the next cruise.  She nodded and got her pen ready:  “What tests do you want?”

Really?  No push-back?  I like that lady!!!  So, I rattled off my list to her.  She repeated the tests to me to make sure she got them all, did a quick physical and then we discussed the blood pressure issue.  She thinks that it could be the altitude, since I just came from a week at sea-level back to Colorado at 6200 feet.  She wants me to come back in two weeks for a follow-up and to see if my pressure goes back down.  We’ll then discuss my test results and if I need to get back on blood pressure meds.  As I went down to the lab, I was still amazed about my PA’s reaction, or non-reaction.  That was easy!

Update:  Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from the nurse.  My PA wants me to come in sooner to discuss my thyroid test results.  Great, now I have to wait until Tuesday to find out what’s off on my results…

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Burger King’s Low-Carb Whopper Review

Yesterday evening after work, I had dinner at Burger King on our military installation before going to the movies.  I had to eat something substantial, or I would’ve caved in to the seducing aroma of movie popcorn – of course, drenched in butter and a bit of popcorn salt on top.  In my opinion, that’s the ONLY way to REALLY enjoy popcorn.  Yet, it’s still a No-Go for me, as I can eat almost an entire bag on my own.  Can you say CARB-CITY?  I just don’t want to ruin the progress I’ve made in my health so far.

The Old Way: Since starting on Atkins, I’ve eaten at Burger King a few times for lunch.  Normally, I order a double whopper with cheese, leave off ketchup (and pickles – just because I don’t like them), and buy a bottle of water, since the German diet cokes are way too sweet of my taste.  If I must have some soda, I just grab a small bottle of American diet coke in the PX next door before I get  my lunch at the food court.   When I sit down to eat my burger, I just toss the bun to the side and eat the burger with a fork and knife.  I’ve gotten some odd looks here and there, but I ignore those… heck, I’d probably do a double-take, too, if I’d seen someone eat a burger with a fork & knife.

My Find – The LC Double Whopper: So, yesterday when I went to BK, the manager was working at the register.  What a great opportunity to ask about this low-carb burger they had advertised when I arrived in Germany a year ago.  “Can I help you?”, he asked.

“Yes, do you still have these low-carb burgers you were selling a few months ago?”

He punched a few buttons on his register. “Let me see if we still have it listed in here.  Ah, there it is!  Yes, I can still get that for you.”

“Yay! I want one, please!”

He punched some more buttons.  “Would you like this to be a double whopper with cheese?”

“Sure,” I answered, “no ketchup, no pickles.”

“No problem.”, he said. “It doesn’t come with mayo, as it gets messy, but I can give you a packet, if you like.”

“Sure.”

I paid for my burger and small bottle of water and patiently waited for my low-carb whopper.  I expected a little confusion from the kitchen area, since I’m probably the only person in the last 6 months who ordered one of those things.  Sure enough, a head poked out from behind the warmer.  “Dave, what’s a lc double whopper?”  So the manager gave the guys in the back a quick crash-course on how to put together my low-carb burger.

My number was called 3 minutes later and my lc whopper was presented in a little salad bowl with a lid.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I sat down and opened the lid.  At first glance it looked like a salad, but yes, I found the meat on the bottom as I poked my fork into the veggies.  I squirted some mayo on top and I was ready to eat.

Culinary Delight: The first thing I noticed was that it was a little bit difficult to cut, since it was in a rounded container, but I didn’t mind that too much, because it was presented very well and people don’t stare at you, since it looks like you’re eating a salad.  Loved the tasted, too!  You have your meat to fill you up, the crunch of the veggies, and the creaminess of the cheese and mayo.  Once I was done with my burger, I was pleasantly full and was able to go to the theater without being tempted to eat popcorn.  I didn’t even miss it while watching the movie.

Toss the Bun vs. LC Whopper: I think, I prefer getting the low-carb burger instead of performing surgery at the table on a normal whopper.  Maybe they have a flat plate next time instead of the bowl that I can eat out of… Hey, have it your way, right?

One final thought on BK fries: The funny thing is, I used to be a french fry addict, but I can leave them now – they don’t have the power they used to have over me.  Sure, I’d love to eat them, but sometimes, when I’m out with my family, I’ll sneak just one for the flavor off of their plate and while I’m sitting there chewing it, I realize, that they don’t really taste as good as I remembered them.  Weird…

 

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2010 in Low-Carb Diet, Reviews

 

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Sorry, can’t eat that!

Pasta is a feature of the Argentine cuisine

Pasta is a feature of the Argentine cuisine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you tell well-meaning people who offer you things that you can’t eat on your low-carb diet?  I’ve been on Atkins almost 2 months and I have people at work and in our little village offering things to me that I can’t eat.  Countless times I had to say “No thanks” to some wonderful things like black forest cherry cake, breaded chicken wings, french fries…etc, you get the point.

I’m starting to feel bad when I have to turn stuff down from my neighbors.  On Tuesday, we were invited to stop by for my neighbor’s birthday after work.  I was already starting to make dinner before walking over, but they said they had cooked for us and the other guests (must be a German thing) were waiting on us.  Just to be on the safe side, I ate a slice of salami before I left.  We walked to their house and a big table was set with family greeting us.  Then I saw a huge pot of spaghetti and tomato sauce sit on the table.

My first thought was: “Oh, oh.  How am I going to say no?”  So I just got it over with.  I nudged my neighbor and told her that I have to pass on dinner, but not to worry, I’d be fine.  Of course, her daughters, who are nurses, heard the conversation and started grilling me.  So I told them that I have to get my blood pressure down or I will have to be on medication again.  After a few minutes, the conversation was over.  I still felt a little awkward by not eating, but was really okay food-wise.

Later on everybody ate some cake.  I know I had to shoot it down as well, but I asked my hubby for a small bite just for a taste.  It was wonderful and I showered my neighbor with compliments!  This one bite was all I really needed, because the first bite is always the best anyway.  We still sat around and talked for a little while before going home.  What a nice evening!

Sometimes I get a little nervous when making special requests or when denying food that’s not good for me, but I’m getting used to it.  When I’m really hungry and we’re in town and food is not readily available, we stop at the Doener booth and get a Doener (like a gyros with a little spice and cabbage) and hubby eats the pita.  Or, like today, we walked by a bratwurst booth on a street fest and I ordered 2 little brats without the bun.  I told the guy at the grill that I cannot eat the bun and he was happy to put the brats in some foil.

So, trust me, it gets easier as you go along.  People may look at you funny if you eat your burger without a bun, but you’ll be the one not on meds or not having the weight issues anymore just a bit down the road.  I keep telling myself, that ultimately, I have to take care of myself.  Nobody can do that for me.  So, most of the time when people offer me some food I can’t eat, a little “no thanks” will do.

Other responses that worked for me are “Thank you, I’d love to but…

  • I’m still full from breakfast (lunch…)
  • I cannot have this (…for medical reasons).
  • Bread (flour, sugar) gives me a belly ache (or bad gas…hahaha – they’ll definitely leave you alone then).
  • I brought my lunch.
  • I already ate

“I’m on a diet” seems not to work out too well, because people still try to talk you into trying their goodies anyway, so I don’t really use that one.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to keep people from pushing some food on you that you don’t want.

Until the next entry,

Nickie

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2010 in Low-Carb Diet

 

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