Beginning Elimination Diet

Taking the first step is probably the hardest step to take, because I thought I’d end up eating ‘hippie’ or ‘rabbit’ food and that any food I eat would be bland and lacking in taste as I’m BIG on taste!  But I was mentally prepared a few weeks before I actually started the elimination diet on June 1st.  So how did I get to where I finally took that step of faith to lose weight?

Here’s my backstory: I don’t have perfect health, but my health was ‘normal’ with some few issues as a result of congenital defects at birth: hip dysplasia, cataracts, heart murmur, and hearing loss.  Being female and hitting puberty my menses were always irregular and crampy.  I remember always being tired and taking lots of naps from high school on until I turned 30 in 1989.  That was when I was diagnosed with low thyroid and will have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life.  Two years later in 1991, I developed Reiter’s Syndrome in both knees: Reiter’s is a rare form of arthritis that behaves like rheumatoid arthritis but is not RA.  Reiter’s tend to hit women harder than it does to men.  I did well with my arthritis and even hiked all over New York City when I visited there in 1999 and 2000.  Then in 2002, I started to have seriously painful menses which eventually resulted in getting a total hysterectomy (no ovaries).  Right after that I ballooned up to 154 pounds post-surgery within a month.

With no hormones to protect my bones, my knees started to progressively get worse in the next 3-4 years until I had no choice but to sell my 2-story condo and buy a one level home for easier navigation with my painful knees.  After I had my left knee replaced in 2007, I kept gaining weight.  That weight gain put a lot of pressure on my knees, lower back and on my lungs where I ended up breathless or winded after a short walk.

I knew I had to do something about my weight, but at the same time I considered giving up on losing weight as I have 3 strikes against me losing weight:  low thyroid, no hormones and being middle aged. I thought I’d just sit there and accept the fact I can’t change my body.  I think it was my chiropractor who told me about a naturopathic doctor that deals with hormone imbalance, so I took that first step in the right direction.  It was my naturopathic doctor who was adamant that I take the elimination diet before I could take the hormomes or supplements.  I thought he was joking,  I thought I’d eat ‘rabbit’ or ‘hippie’ food…he looked at me as if I were nuts to say that.  But he was serious…he gave me a booklet to read and come back in two weeks to discuss the diet.

During that two weeks I read the booklet and I did some research on recipes and foods that I CAN eat and I thought to myself, ‘hey, not bad, really…but what about bread? pasta? all the carbs, the sugar?’  I was more worried about how I’m going to live without those eliminated food than how I’m going to live and eat differently.  I decided to take baby steps before I start the diet full-on.  I ate more chicken, more rice, tried to get into fruits, veggies (not easy!) I slowly eased out of bread, and if I had extra, I gave it away.  I had other foods that I know I won’t eat, so I gave that away as well.

Starting my diet full-on was TOUGH…I didn’t have support, in real life or online…I was pretty much on my own.  The first week was tough, seeing breads, pastas, pies, cookies, cakes, etc–not only on TV ads, but at work where we have our monthly “goody days”  I bought organic foods, I bought non-dairy milk, I bought frozen unsweetened fruits,  I bought rice-based pastas. I ate so much apples, cantaloupes, raspberries, bananas.  Between the second and third week, I had an epiphany:  I’m losing weight…I’m *finally* losing weight. I liked the CLEAN feeling within my body, I liked the food I’m eating,  and I liked the challenge to make meals tasty with flavorings that I’ve never used before.  This is the change I’m committed to keep me healthy, strong and CLEAN.

By the 4th week, I was ready to re-introduce the eliminated foods…glutens was the first food group, and I have to say that after eating wheat bread for breakfast and lunch, within a half hour after each meal, I felt slightly sick to my stomach and had a heavy feeling in my gut.  I knew right away that I can’t tolerate gluten.   All other foods that I re-introduced in the next 30 days I had no reaction to them…but I know now that like coffee, sugar, and some other food groups can be taken, but very seldom.  I can have coffee, but not every day…just once or twice a month is all I need.  I don’t miss bread or sugar that much.  I have my own version of ‘sweet’ that’s better for my blood sugar.  I use stevia or agave nectar, when it is needed.

Since the month of June, I have lost 29 pounds in total. I’m still in shock, because I thought with the three strikes against me, I thought I’d be stuck with it and just accept it.  But I knew I couldn’t, only because I know my health is being jeopardized by increasing weight gain that results in back pain, knee pain, and constantly out of breath after a short walk.  I had to do something, but what?  Just asking my chiropractor that one afternoon about hormones and how he referred me to another doctor, little did I know that I’d be on this path to a better way of life and healthier eating.  And to that, I’m grateful for that little nudge.

Because I did this diet on my own, and doing research on recipes and looking for foods that I can eat and enjoy, I shared it on Facebook and in emails to few of my friends.  And once friends and family noticed my weight loss, they were very supportive, and never did they roll their eyes when I tell them I can’t eat this or that, because my weight loss depends on my commitment to eat healthy and clean.  And because I did this diet on my own, I knew that if anyone wants to know how I did it, I’d be too happy to share my success and to encourage anyone when they’re feeling like they can’t do this.  I know how THAT goes!  It IS tough–yes, but if I can make it despite the three strikes against me, then anyone can do this, too!

I sincerely hope this will encourage anyone to try this way of eating for the benefit of getting healthy and feeling better about their bodies.

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