Monday, July 18, 2011

My Love Affair with Food is Under Attack

It's no great secret that I have a deep and abiding love affair with good food. This is somewhat of a miracle given that I was anorexic in high school. Said anorexia was easily accomplished - my stepmom was a crap cook so it was easy to simply not eat, or to eat just enough that no one would notice I wasn't eating. Even with all the exercising I did and how little I consumed, I was never thin. Given my genetics, that just isn't in the cards for me.

When I met Alan he took me out to a chinese restaurant and I almost did our relationship in when I ordered sweet & sour chicken. I didn't know better. That's what Chinese food was to me. That and Le Choy. [shudder] Now I have a great respect for Chinese food. Dim sum is one of the world's great meals. When we'd been dating for about a year I worked up my courage to go to a sushi restaurant with him. The texture grossed me out and I declared that ginger tasted like Lysol. Here I am today and sushi is one of my top three favorite foods. I even eat uni now (provided it's fresh). Growing up in the Jones household we ate our meat one way - brown and tough. I'd never seen a pink steak, much less a medium rare one. It took years to get me over that threshold, but eventually both my sister and I grew to love steak the way it should be served. A good steak, with a perfect baked potato and a glass of red one is one of my all-time favorite meals. Finally, after "We Are the World" I thought Ethiopians had no food, much less the fragrant and spicy stews of meat, vegetables, and/or lentils. Kitfo - raw minced beef seasoned with mitmita (spiced chili powder) and herbed butter sauce - is maybe my favorite food in the whole world.

Unfortunately, with as bad as my GERD has gotten, no matter how much I might love a meal, or savor the flavors and experience, I always end up paying for it with sleepless nights, chest pains, and what I've come to term "fire belly." I'm currently working with a gastroenterologist to try and figure out the extent of my problems and then assign a course of treatment, but in the meantime, even the most basic meal is problematic. This morning I had cereal. This afternoon I'm popping tums. The other day I had an apple. My chest pain was out of control. Most days I have to wear a sports bra because a regular bra causes too much constriction in my esophageal area and that worsens what is already a less than lovely experience.

After a particularly bad night of GERD I started Weight Watchers figuring that it was my love of cream, butter, meat, cheese, and alcohol that was the source of my GERD problems, not to mention my ever-expanding waistline. I have had approximately three good, satisfying meals on WW this past month. Everything else is bland, boring, and not what I want to eat. For all of that sacrifice (depending on the scale) I've lost six or ten pounds. I've given up basically everything I love - with the exception of cheating on my diet when in Ohio and then this weekend when camping - and that's all I have to show for it. It's rather discouraging. So, not only is the weight not melting off, but "eating healthy" hasn't improved my GERD one single bit. A little purple pill called Nexium and lots of Pepcid and Tums has been the difference - not a healthy diet.

And before you ask, no I haven't thrown in much exercise. I know that would make all the difference in the world when it comes to the weight loss portion of this discussion. After my ER trip with severe heart palpitations and my ongoing investigation I've been told not to "overdo it." This weekend we went on what was a pretty grueling hike and 3/4 of the way through my chest was pounding so hard and I was dizzy and weak. Something is wrong, but we still don't know what and until we have a better inkling of what that is, I am not going to faint dead away while on an elliptical machine and then find myself in the hospital with head trauma. So until we get the results back from my echocardiogram and EKG, I'm not going to push anything.

So here I am - pretty much not able to eat anything because no matter what it is, I have problems. I had thought a change in diet would drastically alter my weight AND make me feel better but that's proving to be a bust. And I'm pretty much in a constant state of "in pain and pissed off." I love food and I've voluntarily given it up in an effort to "get better" and that's not working. I'd love nothing more than to go back to eating and drinking what I love because while I'd later be in pain, at least I'd be happy and satisfied in the short term.


  1. That just sucks big donkey balls. I hope the gastroenterologist can figure out something good! Have they tested for all potential food allergies? None of that bs with cutting from diet and seeing -- friends have told me there are blood tests for many common food allergens but they often don't run them for adults.

    Don't let anyone give you sass about exercising. Like you said, one step at a time, and finding out the cause is step #1.

  2. Chelsea Latimer2:40 PM

    Oh darling....I can absolutely relate to this one 100% and I'm sending you so, so, so much love. 

  3. Ugh, I feel like such an ass because I'm undoubtedly saying something you've already thoroughly covered. Really, I just wanted to lend some moral support, but give you unwanted/redundant advice.

    Looking forward to things getting better for you.

  4. Er... NOT give you unwanted/redundant advice. Sigh.


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