This pattern is getting really old.
I recently tried a very strict Paleo diet (the Autoimmune Protocol) to see if I could make any strides in symptom management for my fibromyalgia. My dedication and determination was met with another disappointment: not a whole lot changed. My sinuses did clear up quite a bit, but everything else was as unpredictable and uncomfortable as usual. My intestines were wishy washy, my sleep was a nightmare, and my pain/tension headaches still made random visits. I followed the A.I.P. for about 3 weeks and then began reintroducing some whole foods that I assumed would be “safe” for me. My grand plan was essentially ruined. I wanted to gauge how individual foods affected me, but since I never got around to feeling better, the whole thing was kind of a wash. I gave it a good month of clean eating before getting to the next inevitable stage: “Screw it! Where’s the ice cream?!”
I did figure out that coffee makes me flare up big time. I’m pretty bitter about this, because I don’t even drink it that often. I can’t even enjoy an occasional cup without feeling sick all over. I also learned that bananas (despite being a lower-fructose fruit) always make my belly feel rotten. My theory is that the large amount of resistant starch+fructose causes a bacteria feeding frenzy.
I also had one of the worst colds I’ve had in awhile during my trial. Since the diet was meant to calm the immune system, I wonder if my defenses went into sleep mode and let things get out of hand. It’s possible that my body was just in the process of adjusting and didn’t have the energy to fight off a bug simultaneously. My histamines were out of control. My eyes would water to the point of continuous involuntary crying. It was truly bizarre. Weird hospital critter or strange diet response? Who knows!
The past few days, I have been overeating/binging again. This hadn’t been a problem for a long time. It’s not uncommon for restriction to lead to feelings of deprivation which develop into binge eating of “forbidden” foods. This may be an underlying factor, but I think it’s more likely that I just slide back to my old habits when I’m feeling defeated. I put all of my effort into a new approach and when it fails, I give myself permission to stop giving a shit for a little while. I gravitate between mental and physical battles. Sometimes, it’s just easier to stop trying and allow daily stomach aches back into my life. It really doesn’t help that overeating makes me feel better temporarily. It gives me a nice serotonin boost which means I sleep like a baby and have less pain.
On the diet, I wasn’t feeling particularly deprived. I just got bored and am frustrated with my results. My Paleo meals were delicious and satisfying, but you can only make so many lettuce burgers, stir fries, and stews before wanting to shake things up a bit. If I didn’t have so many limiting factors (histamine & FODMAP intolerances, reflux, history of disordered eating), a Paleo diet might actually be a realistic template for a health nut like me. I have no problem eating fruits and vegetables in lieu of pasta and Cheetos. Unfortunately, a lot of “healthy” foods make me feel like death. Onions and bananas make me sicker than potato chips. A bowl of mineral-poor oatmeal sits in my stomach better than a plate of vitamin-rich sweet potatoes.
CAUTION: WAH WAH WOE IS ME RANT…
Perhaps it’s a cliche, but I get really sick and tired of being sick and tired. I also feel sorry for myself and believe most people are unable to grasp how terrible it is to have such a malfunctioned nervous system. I have received insensitive comments such as “Coffee is amazing! I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to drink it everyday!” after already explaining how sick I feel when I have it. Thanks for rubbing it in though! Fibromyalgia is gaining ground as a “legitimate diagnosis”. It always has been “legit”, but similar to IBS, it has a reputation for being one of those illnesses that people assume is “all in your head”. There’s no actual damage taking place, so how bad could it be? It can be really horrible actually, thanks for asking. Sometimes it seems as though my intolerances are an inconvenience for people and are not taken seriously just because they are not life-threatening allergies. Sure, an onion won’t kill me. However, it can give me such bad brain fog that I feel like I’ve been drugged. Neuroticism breeds illness breeds enhanced neuroticism. I keep trying to fix my brokenness, because I refuse to accept that I may be broken forever. I may have to bite the bullet and have some testing done to see what my (non-diet!) options are, because…
This pattern is getting really old.