On January 8th, 2007, I started Weight Watchers, developed a much healthier lifestyle (food- and fitness-wise) and lost 55-60lbs. My doc has consistently given me high 5s, gold stars and recommendations to be her “poster child for overweight patients.” Over time, I’ve fine-tuned my diet to include more whole/clean foods, less processed foods, eliminate chemical substitutes in favor of the real stuff, eat more produce and more local foods, learn to eat intuitively and continue to challenge my physical fitness.
I’ve practically completely eliminated breakfast cereal from my diet (because of carbs and sugar). I don’t consume trans-fats. I eat whole, healthy foods most of the time.
Today, my doc essentially told me it’s still not good enough.
Back in March, when I went in for my physical my C-reactive protein
(CRP) levels were high (13-point-something). Slightly elevated suggests a greater risk for heart disease. Anything over 10, suggests inflammation and is a sign of one of many health issues, including:
- autoimmune disease (arthritis, lupus, etc.)
- a viral or bacterial infection
- metabolic syndrome
My doc wasn’t concerned at the time. She thought maybe I had a viral infection and didn’t realize it. She said wait 6 months, retake the test (she was also testing my Vitamin D levels which were low) and then let’s see what happens.
So I waited about 7 months, and then I had a sinus infection which would have skewed results, so somewhere around the 8-month mark, I had more blood drawn. Yesterday, I came home to a lovely little voicemail from the nurse saying she needed to discuss my bloodwork results with me.
Ruh-roh! That always means that something is not normal.
I called the office as soon as they opened at 8am today and waited until 10:30am when the nurse finally called me back.
She said: “Your c-reactive protein has improved–it’s dropped from 13 to 10–but that’s still high. Dr. Chang says this is probably related to your PCOS
and wants you to monitor your diet and exercise better.”
Sidenote: Evan is totally going to flip his shit when he hears this. I’ve already played food Nazi (sorry for the insensitive metaphor, folks–I’m a little riled up right now), started a Santa-style a list of “naughty” restaurants that I will no longer go to and limited dining out to two dinners a week. I DO typically give myself an indulgence (around 150 calories) daily and work it into my diet (typically chocolate-something at lunch), I no longer feast on sugar.
But back to my health issue.
My doc still intends to monitor the CRP. She thinks its inflammation due to my Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOS). PCOS–or at least my experience with it–includes being insulin resistance
which impacts my body’s response to carbs and generally results in more difficult weight loss. She wants me to watch my diet and exercise more
carefully (ha!!) and will retest me again in Feb/March when I’m due for my next physical.
So… this is interesting. I find this frustrating. I have just started to become comfortable with eating intuitively and naturally balancing my diet and now I’m being told to slap some reigns on my diet and do “better.” Whatever the hell that means.
I just don’t see this as an option that is do-able in the long term and conducive to leading a happy life–even if it does make me a healthier person. Am I wrong?
So, yeah, it sucks–especially around the holidays–but I’m going to play along. I’m cutting out the refined carbs again. No white pasta. No processed carbs. Limited white potatoes, corn and other starchy veggies a bit more. Food logging to the bite. Maybe even food photographing. Calculating calories, carbs, fat, protein and fiber to the gram. Taking my vitamins and supplements. Every day. Fortunately, I do have a good stash of “healthy” and protein-rich carb-type foods: lentils, quinoa, barley. And I do like them. But, all of this just makes me go “ugh.” But I can do this–at least for now. And if my bloodwork isn’t damn-near perfect in February, you can bet I’ll be asking to see an endochrinologist to give this a closer look and get it in check for once and for all. (Perhaps this is why my weight loss has essentially stalled out on me?)
This is gonna be tough, but I gotta do it.