Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Almost Seven Months Raw- Then and Now

(Photo: My blood pressure and pulse reading this week- not bad!)

(Note- I know there's a typo or two in here but I can't find them!)

When I first started this blog, I was a pretty sad person. I was tired of being overweight, depressed that I hadn't figured out how to keep the weight off, and was suffering from physical ailments that decreased the quality of my life. They say that when you start to feel that you are not making progress in your new healthy habits, it's good to look back at where you started. Since I'm thinking about having some decidedly not-raw treats over the next few - and because I've been frustrated over bouncing within the same weight range for many, many weeks- I thought this might be a good time to compare where I stand today to where I was on January 1st, 2006 when I first embarked on my Raw Odyssey. Below are entries (with some paraphrasing for succinctness) from my first blog entry, followed by comments about how things have changed since I went raw.

OVERVIEW
First of all, I started at 341 lbs. I am 5′6". In 2001 I started to regain the 190 lbs I'd just lost and eventually reached that weight, size 30. I couldn't walk from the car to the grocery store door without running out of breath, nor could I read a passage from a book out loud without stopping frequently to breathe. I had obstructive sleep apnea and qualified for gastric bypass surgery. My doctor said it also appeared I had developed asthma. I couldn't wash the dishes for more than a few minutes due to the pain in my back. If I went to the mall I had to sit down frequently because I was tired and in pain. My arms and hip felt like they were pulling out of their sockets. My knee and leg felt so week that climbing stairs was scary because I feared collapsing.

Things sure are different today- despite having over 100 lbs left to lose, I'm much healthier and happier. Check it out with me:

THEN
-Eyes water for a couple of hours each morning
-Stuffy nose/post-nasal drip
-Sneezing in the morning
-Sides of tongue hurt for days at a time
-Bad gums (probably gum disease)
-Stiff neck and back

NOW
My eyes still water from time to time and I sneeze once in a while, but I'm not "suffering" the way I used to, and no stuffy nose these days. My tongue stopped hurting after my first week eating raw. I've yet to see a dentist (no insurance) so I can't say much about the dental issues yet, but the stiff neck and back are largely gone. I only seem to get them these days from carrying my heavy bookbag or working out.

THEN
-Blotchy complexion, some acne
-Low grade headache in morning, sometimes throughout day
-Severe lower back pain all the time
-Pain in knees

NOW
My complexion cleared up amazingly after being raw for a few months. It happened gradually, but the teeny bumps and darker pigmentation on my cheeks went away. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I recently added smoked salmon and increased the amount of cheese I eat so that I could get more protein in my battle aganst hair loss (which started after eating raw helped me to lose a huge amount of weight in a short amount of time). Since adding those foods, the roughness in my complexion has slightly reappeared. Proof positive of the beneficial effect that a raw diet has on my skin- and I do love evidence! It is making me reconsider the salmon. I have no more daily headeaches, but I did develop headaches when I was eating smoked salmon from Trader Joe's and grocery stores. When I started getting my salmon from Costco the headaches stopped.

THEN
-Depression
-Low energy, low stamina
-Uneven sleeping patterns
-Often feel hot
-Very noisy digestive system
-chronically dry skin

NOW
I noticed relatively early on that my depression just kind of melted away. I still tend towards depressive thinking when I'm stressed out, but I don't LIVE depressed the way I did before.
I'm not sure that my energy level has increased, but I definitely sleep better. It used to take me hours sometimes to fall asleep. Since starting raw I've fallen asleep within 15 minutes sometimes, and I sleep through the night soundly.
I still often feel hot. When I was a size 10 I was always cold. I'd love to feel cold again because it's hot here in the southwest. Guess I've still got too much insulation!
My digestive system was embarrasingly noisy in the old days and guess what? Since adding the fish and increasing the cheese, the noise has started up again. More proof that my body seems to like my more-purely raw diet better than the one I've morphed to. I'm definitely reconsidering the fish.
My skin is still dry, but no more alligator legs! I drink water all day and really miss it when I don't have any on me. Water comprises 95% of what I drink; the only other beverage I drink is kombucha tea from Wild Oats and Whole Foods, usually once a week or so.

THEN
-Resting heartrate = 80s and 90s
-341 pounds (about 200 lbs to lose)
My blood pressure is high
-My cholesterol is over 200.
-I am anemic.

NOW
Check out the photo up top- that was my blood pressure and resting heart rate this weekend at a pharmacy. My recent blood tests show my cholesterol to be in the 170s with the good and bad cholesterols both at healthy levels. I'm at 272 lbs these days and I'm not anemic any longer. I'm a size 22W.

EATING HABITS

THEN
-Salt, caffiene and sugar make up a large part of what I eat.
-Pepsi, some days, is the only thing I drink. Other days I drink very little of anything.
-High saturated fat and trans-fat

NOW
I consume no caffeine at all. My sodium levels were fine until- you guessed it: I added the fish and increased the cheese. (I am really reconsidering that fish....) I've had no Pepsi since December 31st 2005. I'm conscientious about drinking enough water and although I'm not perfect, I do have an average of 7 eight-oz. servings of water a day, I'd say. My diet consists of no trans-fats. The only saturated fats I get are the healthy, plant-based kind.

FITNESS LEVEL
THEN
-Fitness? What fitness? I can’t climb one short set of stairs without huffing and puffing. If I have to hurry down the street even a little, I’m breathing heavily for a ridiculous amount of time.

NOW
Today, even at over 100 lbs overweight, I can run up a flight of stairs (I know this because I've been doing it at work since last week!) My knee and leg are FINE- so fine I forgot I ever had a problem with them (or with my shoulders, for that matter, until re-reading my first blog entry). When I visited the gym last week, I actually ran a little on the treadmill, too- so there!

CONCLUSIONS
All I can say is WOW- I'm so glad I re-read my first post! I've come a long way. I've learned a lot, too. The biggest lessons I've learned are that 1) junk foods have strong psychological and physical effects on me, and 2) My raw odyssey must be tailored to my lifestyle and body and no one else's 3) It's a good thing to experiment and to try new things. If something doesn't work for me, it doesn't work. There's nothing bad or good about that; I just have to adjust and find what does work. The fish and cheese thing, for example. I'll probably end up cutting out the fish and keeping low-fat cheese on my menu (cottage cheese comes to mind).


Now, does all of this mean I'm not going to have a few junky treats over the next few days? Truthfully, I don't know if I will or won't, but I'll be keeping in mind where I used to be. To those who wrote to me warning me not to overdo it, thank you very much. I'll be careful! I'm kinda hoping any treat I have makes me queasy so that it'll be easy to cross it off my list. I'm not doing anything until Friday, at the earliest.

1 comments:

plantationchick said...

Congratulations!!!! You have come a long way and will continue to go further.

I must say that reading your blog has been inspirational and educational for me. As a vegetarian of going three years, I find that recently I feel as though I need to reach another level in my health and well-being and started researching the concept of raw food, your site has provided me with so much information and inspiration....Thank You!!

Keep up your fantastic journey.

Blessings

PlantationChick
(P.S. sorry for making the comment so long but I had to let you how inspiring I find your journey and your decision to share it with others)

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