12 weeks being on the ketogenic diet! How is my pain? You would be surprised! I know I was!
If you’ve missed it, you can still read about the reasons why I’ve started the ketogenic diet on January 11, 2016 in Part 1 of this segment.
You can also continue with my journey by reading my follow ups:
Part 2 (my 1st month)
Part 3 (my 2nd month)
Part 4 (my 3rd month)
WEEKS 9 & 10
Experience: So, in my last post with the 2nd month update, I talked about starting physical therapy again. This was put off for 3 weeks due to 2 weeks of miscommunication between the clinic, my insurance company, and what was told to me. The other week was because my physical therapist was on vacation. Long story short, always be your own advocate. Don’t wait for the clinic to call you to tell you that you have the pre-auth for visits before scheduling. Especially when you’ve already told them that you don’t need a pre-auth because you’ve spoken with your insurance. They tell you to call back in 2 weeks if you don’t hear from them. Don’t just accept what the clinic tells you and wait! Call your insurance a 2nd time, and then call the clinic back again. Can you tell that I was feeling rather frustrated in this situation and just let it play out without fighting the system? We get so tired of fighting with the medical system! Anyway, the good news is that I was sick. Like, crazy virus knock me on my couch for 2 weeks sick (so I couldn’t have started physical therapy anyway). I ate a lot of “sugar free” Ricola (had to count sugar alcohols towards carbs). I think I stayed in ketosis, but I’m not sure. I didn’t lose any weight those 2 weeks, but I didn’t eat any sugar and stayed within my carb limit. As we know with chronic pain and fibromyalgia, getting sick throws our body off even more.
Encouragement: If you’re sick, don’t beat yourself up about it. Continue to advocate for yourself when navigating the medical/health care system. Do the best you can and move on. Also, watch out for the “sugar free” stuff out there! Those sugar alcohols are as nasty as aspartame, and can cause all sorts of problems with the digestive system (especially if you’re eating 15 cough drops a day).
Experience: I am finally feeling a little better. I had a lunch date with a friend that I only see once a year (even though we live about 5 miles from each other … yeah … how pain affects us socially!). We went to one of my favorite organic restaurants. I know the food options well, so I am finally feeling comfortable “winging it”, and eyeballing how many carbs may be in the salad, and how many ounces in the chicken, etc. I was not even tempted to get my favorite gluten free carob brownie! I am still a sugar addict, but the cravings are gone!
Encouragement: Measuring and weighing my food has been a pain in the you-know-what. However, it has also allowed me more control over portion sizes, and given me freedom to feel good about my food choices when I’m out to eat. Being off of any type of sugars and artificial sweeteners (other than the liquid stevia on occasion), has helped me to beat the cravings! They say not to feed the cravings because they’re like stray cats. Once you feed them, they never go away!
Experience: I am FINALLY feeling back to my “normal” self. I also realized that I might be feeling a little better than my “normal” self as I’m back to averaging 3-4x a week at the gym! I still haven’t gotten into see the physical therapist but have an appointment later in the week to finally start working on my thoracic outlet syndrome. I have had a job offer (to go back to my old job). Miss Type A resurfaced and for a second thought that I was feeling so great that I could work THREE part-time jobs and go to school! My chronic pain and better judgement told me otherwise, and I turned it down. My cravings for junk food have disappeared, and I am not waking up every morning feeling like I have been hit by a truck. I also don’t have the brain fog anymore! It is GONE! My overall pain and inflammation has decreased significantly, and I find myself able to focus more. The food menu has gotten easier to handle because I have a routine set of things that I eat and change it up a little every day in how I am using my carbs and fats (yes, because of my sugar addiction, I still feel a lot safer tracking in my app). I have signed up to take some training and an exam to enhance my career. To date I have lost a total of 11 lbs since starting keto, and a total of 18 lbs since last fall. I have lost a total of 13.5 inches off my body (3 1/2 off my hips alone!)! I don’t have the awesome energy that everyone talks about (fibromyalgia and narcolepsy may do that to you), but my sleep routine has improved. I am feeling really good about myself, and very proud that I have made it this far! I have actually decided that I will continue on the ketogenic diet until I hit the actual “90 day” mark (April 10th). I’m also thinking that I will keep going after that because I have been feeling physically a lot better (even though I’ve been slacking on my weekly acupuncture appointments!). I also want to keep shrinking until I get down to the weight I should be at.
Encouragement: Nothing feels as good as making it to a goal that you’ve worked really hard to reach! Whether it’s “I will make it to the pool for exercise 2x this week”, or “I will choose to eat at least one healthy high fat/low carb/moderate protein meal three days this week”, the change will still affect your body and how you function. Positive improvement doesn’t have to be overwhelming and entail an immediate massive overhaul of your lifestyle. Start with bite sized increments and smaller goals, and work your way up larger goals. Revel in the accomplishments and be gentle with yourself during the set backs.
I will continue to write updates to let you know how my pain is or is not improving on the ketogenic diet, so stay tuned!
Pain Camp is a safe place to share your thoughts, experience, strength and hope. Have you heard of the ketogenic diet before? What types of changes have you made to your diet to help with your pain symptoms?