Friday, April 23, 2010

Dieting and other stuff

This dieting is an interesting adventure. Once I get over the idea that I MUST eat everything in sight and I DESERVE it, not eating too much actually feels good.

Before I started my diet, I sometimes had coughing spells I couldn't stop. I would occasionally even cough until I threw up. I found out from my doctor that, rather than post-nasal drip (which I sometimes still have), I have GERD.

Many nerves are in the lower esophagus. Some of these nerves are stimulated by the refluxed acid, and this stimulation results in pain (usually heartburn). Other nerves that are stimulated do not produce pain. Instead, they stimulate yet other nerves that provoke coughing. In this way, refluxed liquid can cause coughing without ever reaching the throat! In a similar manner, reflux into the lower esophagus can stimulate esophageal nerves that connect to and can stimulate nerves going to the lungs. These nerves to the lungs then can cause the smaller breathing tubes to narrow, resulting in an attack of asthma.

GERD is aggravated not just by spicy food but by putting too much food into the stomach as well as being overweight, which doesn't leave much room for the stomach. I started a regular regimen of omeprazole and began eating Tums Smoothies like candy every time I had a coughing fit. After 3 months, I've cut way back on the Tums because I cough much less.

The side benefit is the diet. I had already decided I needed to lose weight. I looked at a video of myself doing a tai chi form and didn't recognize that fat lady with the gray hair. Yuck. And, my biggest pants no longer fastened. DINGDINGDING. Time to take it off.

Before the diet, I would eat because I thought I was hungry. I think (totally unscientific thought) the GERD was triggering a nerve that said I needed to do something to stop the icky feeling in my gut.

Now, with a stomach that is much less full, I don't really feel hungry. If I think I do, I chew a little sugarless gum (not much because of the laxative side-effect) or drink more ice water. When I do feel hungry, it's usually time to eat anyway.

And, best of all, I'm down 13 lbs. and one pants size. Goal: another 37 lbs. by Christmas.

Oh and I'm finally knitting up Ruby's yarn. Ruby was a lovely golden brown alpaca. She is becoming my first knit sweater since I became a yarn snob and learn a better way to make the stitches. Pictures to come.

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