Day 21: Like-minded folk

Today I spent time with an old friend, who lives with her partner and their 11-month-old baby in a small seaside town about an hour outside of the city. It was a nice relaxing drive and spending time with them is always interesting.

David, the partner, is 43, and was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago, after many years of incredibly unhealthy eating and other poor lifestyle choices. He told me today that an average breakfast would be French toast with bacon and syrup, and from then on, the day would just continue to go downhill with crisps, pies, pastries and anything deep-fried. Basically, anything and everything junk.

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He said that if you’d ever spoken to him about ‘healthy’ food, he’d have scoffed and refused to eat it. Until his diagnosis, that is.

He’s completely turned his health around. He’s lost a ton of weight, looks healthy, and only buys organic products. He and my friend are strict adherents of a natural, organic lifestyle, and carefully choose each and every product they buy. They are also keeping their son away from sugar (though I’m sure he’ll root it out eventually), and avoid all processed, unnatural products.

It was great spending time with people who understand, and don’t just think you’re being completely anal and ridiculous in  your eating habits. I even learnt a few things from them, like which honey to buy, and the very useful tip that once an avocado is ripe, you can keep it in that same state in the fridge for up to a week – it won’t ripen further.

Anyway, David has never been better, and he’s fanatical about his diet. He believes, unequivocally, that diet has everything to do with health, and I cannot disagree. He’s in the peak of it and says he’ll never go back to his old lifestyle.

Diabetes is not UC, but the overarching point here is the same: The power to transform your health is totally in your hands. He is living proof. And if he can do it, trust me, so can we.

The tendency to overeat

Tonight we had dinner at my sister. They had a Mexican feast – chilli poppers, quesadillas, the whole shebang. I took leftovers from last night’s dinner – same again with rump steak, gem squash and butternut – and again ate too much! I actually had some cramps after dinner; just short fleeting ones.

As always, I’m reminded of my tendency to overdo it – whether I’m eating carrots or cake – and I must make a concerted effort to keep my portions small.

How I feel (and probably look) after dinner every night

How I feel (and probably look) after the average dinner

Tomorrow is my last day on Phase 1. I haven’t phased in spinach yet, but I’m ready to move on. I’ll get to the spinach in due course.

Had a really good BM this morning and I’m hoping that this trend continues.

Cravings

I haven’t had unmanageable cravings so far, but today was definitely the worst. Knowing that we were going to my sister for a games’ night with friends made me crave:

– Booze

– Cigarettes

– Crisps

This would kinda have been a perfect day for me

This would kinda have been a perfect day for me

These cravings showed me how much emotional attachment we have to food: When we go to my sister’s place, I always drink wine and gobble up the bowls of crisps in front of me. That also makes me crave a cigarette, which is also out of bounds at the moment: I’m not a full-time smoker and treat myself to a cigarette from time to time, when I feel like one (which is seldom). Since starting the SCD however, I’ve had one cigarette every day… until I met with my financial adviser on Thursday.

UC and dread disease cover

My adviser has suggested I take out dread disease cover, which makes sense now that I’m 30, and while I’m still healthy. If you’re a smoker, they may not cover you – or they might ‘load’ your premium, which means you pay a penalty every month for being a smoker. All traces of your last cigarette need about 10 days to get out of your system, and he wants to send the nurse to do blood tests ASAP, which means no more smoking until after the test (in about a week). I also found out that I won’t be covered for any colon diseases (such as cancer) as a result of my UC diagnosis.

SMOKING IS SO SO SO BAD for you. I know this. I don’t deny it. But I guess I was taking pleasure in it being my last remaining pleasure – and now it is gone too!

(as an interesting aside: doctors aren’t sure why, but smoking has actually been known to have a positive effect on the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. HOWEVER, they warn that the overall negative effects far outweigh any benefits that smoking may offer in terms of UC).

So that’s where I am now. Horrible cravings have abated, and I didn’t cheat – not even by a morsel. Even I am surprised by my steadfast adherence to this diet – but very proud of myself too.

That doesn’t mean I’m not counting down the days ’til WINE!

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