Sorry I have not been here lately, the holidays kept me offline.
I subscribe to a newsletter called Nutrition Action, which shows you which foods are good and which are not. They recently sent out a call to anyone who had lost weight, asking for their stories. While my story to me is not really about weight loss but about IBS, I decided to send them my story anyway. Here it is:
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20009
23 April 2003
I feel strange writing this...for 3 years now I have been an activist in the size/fat acceptance movement, and still am. I believe it is fully possible for a person to be happy at whatever size she/he happens to be. I also do not believe most people need to lose weight to be healthy unless they have other health issues affected by their weight. I have been a big woman for about 21 years and not once has it ever impacted my health negatively or my social life. Having said that...
Let me say that two years ago I began losing 100 pounds without trying to or intending to. Ever since the age of 16 I have suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS (I was quite thin at the time I was diagnosed, by the way, so weight had no bearing on it.) At the time (1976), they didn't know much about it, except that it comes and goes, and at the time was treated with Donnatal for stomach spasms.
Two and a half years ago I discovered a book called Eating for IBS by Heather Van Vorous. This book outlined ways to treat IBS naturally to prevent attacks (I had been having attacks frequently, induced by my recent pregnancies, after having seen them go into remission when I was 21) Heather's plan included:
Avoiding high fat foods, or eating them only in very small quantities and not very often;
Exercise to regulate bowel function;
drinking plenty of water;
avoiding artificial sweeteners;
reducing red meat intake and dairy intake;
eating plenty of soluble fiber;
eating smaller, more frequent meals as opposed to three larger meals daily.
Avoiding stress as much as possible
Because of the severity of my IBS attacks (which often left me fearful to leave the house), I adopted her plan immediately. That was 2 years ago and I have lost 100 lbs as a side effect. I'm not really excited over the weight loss, because I enjoyed being a large woman and was content with my size. What does delight me is that my IBS attacks have stopped entirely! At this point I cannot even remember how bad they were, and all my Imodium and Bentyl meds that I used to practically live on have expired from non-use!
But as for the weight issue, I went from an all time high of 305 lbs to my current 200 lbs. I continue to lose weight. I do not weigh myself at home (I never have), but I know what I weigh when I visit my doctor, who weighs me there. Basically what I do every day and will do for the rest of my life to keep IBS attacks away, is:
Eat smaller more frequent meals--
Drink nothing but spring water, and occasionally skim milk and fruit juice--
Eat low fat or fat free foods--
Eat an occasional junk food treat, but in small quantities so as not to trigger IBS--
Exercise aerobically (recumbent exercise bike) for one hour to 90 minutes five days a week (used to be 7 days a week but my doctor told me to take two days off for a break)--
Add extra complex carbs to my meals since I am exercising daily (complex carbs also help keep IBS at bay)--
I also do not eat sugar very often, but this is not IBS-related (sugar does not cause IBS attacks yet artificial sweeteners do). We have avoided most sugar in our home ever since my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 4 years ago.--
Using meditation and visualization to reduce stress (stress triggers IBS attacks too.)--
Please note that I must eat this way and live this way for the rest of my life. It is not a quick fix and because of the permanency of my new lifestyle, I doubt the weight will ever come back. Or the IBS!
(For your information: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a non life threatening, non health threatening condition found mostly in women. It is usually diagnosed in the teen years, and manifests itself with sudden, severe diahrrhea alternating with constipation sometimes, occasional vomiting and nausea, and severe stomach pains. The unpredictability of attacks and the fact that different things can trigger attacks in different people, tends to leave IBS sufferers with a fear of traveling or being anywhere without immediate access to a restroom they can occupy for extended periods of time, since spasms during an attack can come every few minutes.)
"A waist is a terrible thing to mind".