Home > Uncategorized > In which I am melodramatic, but truthful

In which I am melodramatic, but truthful

It’s negative 6 degrees Celsius out there. I verified this by the thermometer on the Sopher Real Estate billboard outside. It’s negative 6 degrees Celsius, but I couldn’t have guessed this just by standing outside. My innards felt warm

And I wanted to weep, because I knew then that I would be all right, that 2009 – the lost year – was over.

Understand that the past 12 months have been spent in a haze of cold, infertility, cognitive dissonance, and increasing despair. And this all started out as  – well, we don’t say diet anymore, do we? A healthy lifestyle choice. A   “Paleo”“Evolutionary”“Primal” lifestyle choice, which included a dash of intermittent fasting. I still believe, with a caveat, that these are the evolutionarily correct pathways to health and fitness.

The caveat is this: my daily experience on the regime, the incessant cold and intolerance to cold, the amenorrhea, the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior, the bingeing, the purging, the depression. These are all classic and recognizable symptoms of starvation. What got to me most was the cold. In Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, Marya Hornbacher writes, “I wish I could find words to explain what this kind of cold is like-the cold that has somehow gotten in underneath your skin and is getting colder and colder inside you. It isn’t an outside sort of cold; it’s a cold that gets into your bones and into your blood and it feels like your heart itself is beating out the cold in hard little bursts through your entire body.” And it is, it is. It’s the feeling that your internal organs have turned into ice. People tell you to put on a sweater, but how can that help the cold lives in the very core of your belly?

The thing is that I knew all of this. But I was getting, according to fitday.com and its ilk, plenty of calories and nutrition for my height and weight. My bloodwork was stellar and even called “textbook” by a lab tech. Even still, it seems to me that you can be getting plenty of almost everything, but if you fail to obtain enough of any one essential nutrient, you can in fact be malnourished enough to have a starvation response.

It took a year of trying everything and jumping through bureaucratic hoops. (Did you know that insurance companies can take months to recognize that they cover you if you have a hyphenated name? Did you know that naturopaths can’t order bloodwork for NY state residents? Now you do.) But I think I’ve finally identified the nutrients that I, personally, was deficient in. And I’m finally getting better. I finally have hope. 

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  1. Lynn Dunning
    January 14, 2010 at 9:58 am

    “The caveat is this: my daily experience on the regime, the incessant cold and intolerance to cold, the amenorrhea, the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior, the bingeing, the purging, the depression. These are all classic and recognizable symptoms of starvation. What got to me most was the cold. In Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, Marya Hornbacher writes, “I wish I could find words to explain what this kind of cold is like-the cold that has somehow gotten in underneath your skin and is getting colder and colder inside you. It isn’t an outside sort of cold; it’s a cold that gets into your bones and into your blood and it feels like your heart itself is beating out the cold in hard little bursts through your entire body.” And it is, it is. It’s the feeling that your internal organs have turned into ice. People tell you to put on a sweater, but how can that help the cold lives in the very core of your belly?”

    – I had the EXACT same response from a VLC diet. I thought it was just me and that I had some sort of psychological defect. Well, the steel like cold was caused by a thyroid issue which I believe I had for MANY years before VLC. The cold feels internal and is like having steel inside your back. The binging and obsessive thoughts however, came directly from VLC. Unbeknownst to me, VLC was causing me to experience reactive hypoglycaemia!

    I have now come to the conclusion that we need to listen closely to our bodies. SOME people do well on ZC/VLC while others (particularly women) need a bit more carbs to function well.

    • commutergrrl
      January 14, 2010 at 9:02 pm

      I’m so glad I’m not alone! Thanks so much for your insights. I have tried higher carb intakes (sweet potatoes, sprouted grain bread), which didn’t work for me, but maybe I didn’t give them enough of a chance. Still, if it is reactive hypoglycemia, perhaps I can buy a blood sugar monitor to check it out.

  2. Lynn Dunning
    January 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    No, you really are NOT alone. When you had a bit more good carbs did you make sure to have a high fat intake? Lots of low carbers say high fat and carbs together are bad, but there are others (like Matt Stone) who believe that high fat and good carbs are the perfect diet combination as long as the diet is sugar and PUFA free.

    I only discovered it was reactive hypoglycaemia by testing my blood sugar. Normal hypoglycaemia is a number below a certain point (like below 60 or 50) but reactive hypoglycaemia is when blood sugar levels FALL from your pre meal or fasting levels. You can only see if this is an issue by testing yourself with the very EXPENSIVE strips.

    • commutergrrl
      January 16, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      That’s so good to know! I generally ate the carbs with butter. It did cause weight gain, which I note that Matt Stone says might keep on for weeks/months/a year/a long time…and I just couldn’t take it. I m not that strong! I may look into the very expensive strips, though. It might be worth it to know!

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