My Diet Plan – Part 1

Alright, it is time to get serious. I know I need to be eating better, that the person who works at the local Einstein’s Bagels should not know me on a first name basis. It has been a slow road down this hole of fast and convenient foods. I know better: I know a lot about nutrition and how the body works. I used to be much better about my diet. However, commitments and time constraints had me making every excuse why I should just head over to DQ for my lunch.

My goals for this diet have several prongs:

  1. Get my GERD (diagnosed) under control
  2. Have a diet that will help with heart disease (no diagnosis, but a family history).
  3. Try to reverse any damage already done to my heart
  4. Prevent diabetes (a strong fear I will get it)
  5. Beat my sugar addiction (self diagnosed)
  6. Prepare my body for pregnancy (went through it once with issues)

Breaking it Down

With all these goals, it was tough deciding which diet plan I was going to follow. I decided to go with the DASH diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, ” Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan to lower or control high blood pressure” (Mayo Clinic, 2019). I have tried this plan before with good results, and many other members of my family are on it. While I do not have high blood pressure at this time, it runs in the family so I would like to nip HBP in the bud. I have also read that this diet can be good for those with pre-diabetes. Once again, I am not pre-diabetic as far as I know. However, I have a fear that my sugar cravings will one day take it’s toll on my pancreas. To help it out, I want to take the precautionary measures that someone with pre-diabetes may take.

There is mixed research out there on whether or not plaque buildup in the heart can be reversed. However, I found a couple of articles that talked about foods that can help reduce plaque buildup. Because the foods they listed are already considered healthy, I feel there is no harm in incorporating them into my meal plans. No harm in trying!

For GERD, there is no set diet plan. From the research I have done, the best thing to do when you have GERD is to avoid overly acidic food. I will modify the DASH diet to eliminate things like tomatoes, ketchup, citrus items, and such.

With regards to sugar addiction, pretty much the best way to beat that is to cut out sugar. I plan to drastically reduce my sugar intake, which is part of the DASH diet anyways. I hope to curb the sugar cravings naturally with fruit. I feel that this may be one of the toughest parts of this plan. Lets hope it goes well!

Preparing for pregnancy is to take a prenatel vitamin for at least 6 months before getting pregnant. According to the doctor I talked to, it can take that long for the needed vitamins (especially folic acid) to build up in the system. I have been taking a prenatal vitamin, but I have not been very consistent. As part of my plan I want to make sure I am consistently taking the vitamin so I am ready for baby #2.

I will be doing a Part 2 that will have more details of the DASH diet. 🙂 Stay tuned!

-Aurora

Starting Out: The “Before” Me

This was the post I was not looking forward to. The “before” part where I have to face how far I have let my weight and eating habits slide. I will say – this is the most I have ever weighed in my life – including when I had a 9 pound baby inside me. 188 pounds! For a small person, this is a big number. It is even more confirmation that I need to make this change in my life.

I have never seen the scale go that high before!

Most of what I am trying to conquer is directly affected by weight: Heart disease, pre-diabetes, GERD. The diet I am choosing isn’t specifically designed for weight loss. I assume though that since it will be lower in calories and high fat foods that I will loose weight as a great side effect. If this turns out not to be the case, I may need to look into modifying my diet even more so I can shed some pounds.

At this point I am working on just my diet. I am afraid adding on too many chances will hurt my progress. After a couple of months on this new diet I will assess my progress and see if the time is right to incorporate exercise into my routine.

Stats as of October 19, 2019

  • Weight: 188
  • BMI: 30.3
  • Weight Classification: Obese
  • Waist Circumference: 43 inches (109 cm)
  • Blood Pressure:

I plan to check my stats once a month, around the same time. For the first month though I am going to check every week, since I feel that the first week will yield the most triumph and heartaches. I am excited to see what happens in the next several months (and a little apprehensive). I am going to do updates in the “Fitness Journal” section of my blog if you would like to check them out.

Thank you everyone!

-Aurora

My GERD Story

GERD (which stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a condition where the bile from the stomach overflows into the tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. THe lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the “lid” that keeps the bile within the stomach. With GERD, the LES doesn’t close all the way and the bile backs up into the esophagus. In other words: GERD is pretty much strong, constant heartburn.

GERD Trigger Foods
All of these are no-go when you have GERD

There are a variety of symptoms that can come along with GERD. When I was first diagnosed with the condition, I was having chronic stomach pains. I would eat a bite or two of something, then have to stop because of the pain. About that time, several people in my family were having their gallbladders removed due to a variety of issues. I thought my symptoms were the result of my own gallbladder issues. I went to my doctor, and he diagnosed me at that time with GERD. I had never heard of GERD, and was really surprised that it wasn’t my gallbladder. I learned that tomatoes and citrus were triggers for GERD, so I went home and immediately got rid of anything that had those items in it. It took about 2 weeks, but I started feeling so much better. This was about 5 years ago. I am happy to report that I have not needed to go on GERD medication in that time.

However, in the past year, I have been cheating on my GERD more than I should. A slice of pizza there, a piece of lemon cake there. I have also noticed my symptoms creeping up again. The familiar pang of heartburn that directly correlates to my lapses in food judgement. If left unchecked, GERD can cause serious problems with the esophagus. It can cause corrosion, and possibly even cancer. As I take this path to my best self, it is important that I get this under control. I do not want to have problems in the future, knowing full well that I could have taken care of them here and now.

The best way to treat GERD is with a healthy diet, although I have to cut out tomatoes which is normally considered healthy. Obesity can also contribute to GERD, so managing weight is also important. I do have a weight problem, so getting that under control will help.

That being said, pretty much any healthy diet coupled with eliminating trigger foods will work for managing GERD. I plan to use the DASH diet (see the other post for information) with some modifications.

I hope that this part of my journey will find my GERD symptoms eliminated, and a happy esophagus. 🙂

-Aurora

Setting out on a Self-Improvement Journey

It is the same thing that has happened to countless others. It has different looks and forms, but the root is the same: stagnancy. Those of us who eat out far more often than we should, because it is easy than meal planning and cooking. Those of us who are too busy to exercise, organize, learn, or enjoy the moments. Those of us who are slowly becoming tired and overworked without even realizing it.

I am one of those people. I have come to realize that I am one of those people who has a terrible diet, no exercise, and a life that feels like it is in chaos. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a mother and wife. I have a good job, and a sweet white cat. I also have a roof over my head and a car to drive. I am blessed to have all these things, and I am grateful for them everyday.

However, I can feel myself becoming overwhelmed. I eat out almost every day because it is easy. I lose sleep because I stay up late cleaning the house. I am tired so often, that I have a hard time enjoying the time I get to spend with my family. All this dawned on me one day, and I decided that I wanted to change. I want to live a long time and watch my baby grow up. That might not happen if I continue to eat garbage and stress all the time. It is time for me to take action.

“Your Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change”

-Jim Rohn

My goals for this blog are varied. While I want to do some obvious things, I also want to improve some of my other skills. It is going to take some time, but I have made a list on how I want to improve myself:

  1. Diet Goals:
    1. Use the DASH diet to get control of my eating
    2. Get my anemia under control
    3. Eat food for diabetes prevention
    4. Get my GERD under control
    5. Prepare my body for pregnancy
  2. Build my endurance
  3. Body strength
    1. Exercise for back injury prevention
    2. Increase my arm strength
    3. Strengthen pelvic floor for delivering a baby
    4. Increase my shoulder flexibility
  4. Knowledge base that will allow me to take care of myself and my family
  5. Learn to pick up after myself when I am finished with something
  6. Improve my emotional intelligence
  7. Become stronger in my faith

I am sure this list will change as I continue this journey, but for right now this is a good place to start. Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this, and I hope that you are happy with your journey at whatever stage it is on. 🙂

-Aurora