Saturday, March 25, 2017

Shingles, Weight Maintenance, and Food Addiction Recovery 2017, hint, there's an anti-viral for that!

*** If you have shingles or think you do, go to your doctor, get diagnosed ASAP!!!!!***

The accounting below is based on my own experience. Your diagnosis and treatment can and will differ.

Here's my scoop on the latest in my weight maintenance challenge: Shingles. Yep!
Early in March 2017

QUICK DIAGNOSIS : The short story.Due to fast action on my part, I went to my doctor and got diagnosed and on anti-viral meds (Valacylovir for 7 days) within 8 hours of the rash appearing. Rash and most of the mild pain went away in 14 days.

Pain: The pain has been mostly mild to slightly moderate. I have not taken a single pain pill. Doc was going to put me on Gabapentin for pain, if needed. Early use of the anti-viral probably saved me a lot of pain. I suspect it will save me from PHN- postherpetic neuralgia. If I can avoid long term nerve pain, I'll be very pleased. 

Research Pre-Diagnosis: After I saw the nasty rash, I was 99% sure it was shingles, so I made the earliest appointment I could with my PA.

Mainstream: I googled ONE mainstream source of info: NIH Shingles  I will trend to a 85% use of mainstream medicine when sick with common, treatable diseases. My doctor or PA and I are the top decision making team together.

Take-away: Get the anti-viral meds since the rash was <72hrs old.

Paleo/ LCHF/ Keto: I googled ONE article that was written by someone on the internet who used mainstream medicine and functional medicine and had a prior Auto-Immune disease. Back Country Paleo shingles information.

I'm picky and choosy when selecting off mainstream medical advice. Too much woo and down right miss-information on the internet. With Back Country Paleo,  I liked how Sue navigated her shingles case. And I had already decided to use an anti-viral, so I was interested to learn from Sue. I grew up in a rural area, next to a small-ish medium sized city, so the rural fixes are of interest to me.

Take away from Sue: Get traditional treatment, improve your gut bacteria and inflammation later via your regular Paleo/ AIP food template.  Exactly how I like to roll. A very good example of combining mainstream with principles that keep your immune system well. I have to keep my GI system running  as part of a low inflammatory life anyway, so this approach fits well into my post shingles living.

Dealing with my existing diseases: the Food Addiction is still in remission
You'd better believe that my food addiction voice came out to play a few times. "You're sick, poor thing, don't worry about your food template right now....." "You'll be in pretty bad pain soon, eat whatever, go easy on yourself, it's okay to eat extra carbs". WHAT!?

Good news. I have trained myself to recognize destructive thought patterns. I did NOT give into food addiction. I told another living person I would not due to the acute illness or potential pain management. That I would get through this disease without "using" food.

So far, so good. As always, my food addiction voice can show up without warning, even after the event. Knowing I stay true to my abstaining food template  24/7/365. I can ask for and get support with the same speed keeps me well, safe, and in remission.

I weighed in daily, just data, no big deal. Really I just cycled between 2 weight plateaus within my weight maintenance range. It's very interesting to me how things like viruses effect my weight.

Had Shingles early March '17, small weight change

Post Hashimoto's Disease and Shingles:
So far so good, I'm taking great care in the post acute phase of Shingles. I'll be 20 years post Hashimoto's disease this summer. Generally,I try to stay as well as I can as I age to avoid another round of a different auto-immune disease.  Hypothyroid is a super easy treatment for me by using the synthetic thyroid hormone, Levothyroxine- AKA Synthroid.

How I dealt with Shingles:
I've now gone from the acute phase (rash, teeny tiny almost not there blisters, fatigue, some cold intolerance)  to the more chronic phase (mild pain) and am on the mend.

Working: If I were contagious, for only a few days in my case, I was completely covered by 3 layers of clothing at all times while out of the house. I had almost no visible blisters that healed up in 2-3 days. This kept small babies, pregnant ladies not previously infected with chicken pox, and the immunocompromised (treatment and or elderly) safe.

We are talking teeny, tiny, almost couldn't feel blisters.

Since I don't see patients in a hospital or clinic setting in my current job assignment, I arranged to work at home until I got onto the anti-viral meds. I stayed clear of all kids, elderly, and any child bearing females.


Eating: I kept my same food template, adding in chicken broth, probiotics, and I ate some tasty sauerkraut I had on hand. 3 meals a day, 1 Tablespoon of the Diablo Sauerkraut seemed to keep my GI system running well, despite the disease and the treatment.  The day I forgot to eat the kraut while on the anti-viral meds was pure misery. Of course, it could have been the meds, the disease or both.

Batch cooking: I had most of this in my freezer already cooked
Beef off the bone and chicken broth broth and sauerkraut all help my GI system, seemingly. I cooked up some beef short ribs in the Instant Pot and put them on romaine, with radishes and cilantro. Tasty!

You or family WILL get sick. Prep food before that happens so all you have to do is microwave.

GI stuff: I needed to eat sauerkraut at every single meal while on the anti-viral. After the 7 days, I tapered and now eat fermented at one meal every 2-3 days.

I also craved salt before I got the rash, so much so, that I finally ate salt out of hand a few times and salted my water with pink salt a few times.


Other symptoms: I had some cold intolerance and fatigue. Both mild compared to Hashimotos like 1/3 the strength. I could still function and never fell asleep at dinner. LOL.
Long beach walks helped me


Other Treatments: Exercise if you can
Walking: low to medium to medium high intensity walks helped much of my nerve and skin pain. The first 10 minutes was a little painful, but walking seemed to decrease my skin pain for 6-8 hour blocks.

Short Showers: My showers in the AM increased my pain so fast showering, moving to washing my hair every other day helped decrease skin/nerve pain.

Gym: I had some weakness, so I took a few weeks off the gym and kept doing home pushups and stretching.

Of course, I'm thinking about prevention now: 

Root cause: 5-6 medium stressors that appeared one by one in a 2 week time frame in Jan 2017.  Nothing that is unsolvable, nothing that I couldn't or didn't ask for help and got it, but perfect storm conditions.

ALL things that were outside of my control. ALL things that are dealt with now and are humming a long just fine. And I was meditating, taking long walks at the beach and thinking I was going back to normal. Nope!  I really thought I was doing well. What a kick in the butt. Sigh.

All the sea glass collecting in the world wasn't enough to keep me off the edge, this time. Infections happen, squeaky clean food and living or not, sometimes you get sick.

Contributing cause: Going against my gut feeling in Sept 2016 and NOT paying $200 out of pocket to get the shingles vaccine. My insurance doesn't cover the shingles vaccine until age 58 (I'm almost 51), so I made the decision, in conjunction with my doc and good health, to wait.

The vaccine won't prevent a Shingles outbreak, but the severity may be lessened. I tend to react well immune wise to vaccines. Guess what I STILL have to do this Fall, yep, get a shingles vaccine and pay out of pocket. DANG IT. Even if you have had shingles, the vaccine may help future outbreaks.

What is working now:
1. Early Diagnosis so I qualified for the anti-viral Valcylovir
2. Keep other diseases in check by eating in my food template
3. Batch cooking, with a special emphasis on beef, sauerkraut
4  Priority on exercise sleeping and meditation and, setting limits
5. Getting any other vaccines and prioritizing my extra cash for prevention, insurance or no!

What did not work in the past:

1. I didn't always go to the doctor when I needed to go.
2. I almost developed type 2 diabetes as a result of my Food Addiction being out of control.
3. I bought "sick and comfort food" like frozen dinners, icec ream, and candy. Ugh!!!! NOPE
4. I said yes to all people, no matter what. Couldn't set a boundary to save my life.
5. I ignored my gut feelings. Poor risk management skills.

Have you gotten shingles? I know many cases are much, much worse than what I had. I'm very fortunate.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Weight Maintenance 5 years 1 month check-in, not answering the food addiction knocking on the door...nobody's home


May 2011 to Feb 2017

May 2011 to Feb 2017





















Starting weight 187.4 lbs
Goal Range 115-125  lbs
Current Weight 115.6 lbs
Keeping off  71.8 lbs

Time in maintenance 5 years, 1 month

Age 50
Menopause 3+years
Height 5'1"
BMI 21.9
BMI ave this month 
BMI ave last month 21.6
Ave glucose (fasting & 2hr post this month = 73mg/dL)
Ave glucose (fasting & 2 hr post last month = 71 mg/dL)

Food Template:  Ketosis- mild and  LCHF Paleo, AKA- NSNG
Abstain from all grains, sugars*, dairy. Nut free, artificial sweetener free **
* 85% chocolate 1X per day
** Tiny bit of stevia in my Natural Calm

Food Timing or Time Restricted Eating Window or Intermittent Fasting 17:7

17 hours fasting (water only)
7 hours eating, 3 meals
Eat 6am Stop eating at 1 pm


Auto-Immune Hashimotos 1997, 100 ug Synthroid daily
Food Addict in Recovery: 5+ years
High Risk, but never diagnosed Type 2 diabetes

Walking 13,000-14,000 steps per day

Weight lifting 1-2 days per week, 

Sprints on the rowing machine 1 days per week OR stair sprints 

Stair Ave/day for the month 18 stairs (Apple Health Kit)

Oh boy! I've had an acute illness this whole week. Sigh. Separate blog post about that very soon. Happily, I have not let my food addiction back into my life. The FA is still knocking on the door, but I won't let it in at all.

A little voice that says, awwwww you're sick, it's a little painful, you should treat yourself to.....  That's when my recovery brain steps in and says you WILL treat yourself to FOOD SOBER living. And with that, I'm brought back to reality.

No matter what, I refuse to regain, to entertain food addiction and I stay on my food sober template. I need to  live free from FA or I  will die having let that disease back in is simply not an option. I won't let it be. All the nopes! There's almost no gray zone here. It's clarity vs disease in 60 seconds of slippery slope thinking.

Sometimes the food addition is more mentally painful than the disease and my acute disease is physically painful.......

I do think I'm transitioning to the chronic phase of the disease. March is my birth month and some of my birthday gifts to myself are books. I also got myself a membership on My Heritage (like Ancestry) for geneology. And, as luck has it, moderate to light walking really helps my condition.

I'm reading the Secret Life of Fat by Sylvia Tara, PhD.  I'm only a few pages in and I could have written the book. Seriously, that was me as a teen.



Follow me over on Instagram and watch my videos for chapter reviews. I'll blog about the book soon. I have a camping "papasan" chair (Costco <$40.00) that I call my chair of wisdom.

video


So all things given, I'm very fortunate. I choose THIS! I choose to eat well, move well, sleep well. The only thing is stress which probably got the better of me this time. But hey, I can and am working on that, too. I thought I had stress in the bag. Stress may take the most time for me to manage.

What's working 

1. Staying on my food template, even though I'm sick.
2. Taking time to sleep, read, rest, do hobbies that I love
3. Continuing Education into my obesity and Food Addiction diseases.
4. Fermented foods, helped me a lot this week.
5. Daily weighing and My Fitness Pall recording. It works. It's the lock on my food addiction door.


Here's what didn't work in the past

1. Using illness as an excuse to binge eat whatever I wanted- pooooooor baby, I deserved that Hostess Snowball and cinnamon toast. Doing that kept me sick for many years. I'm not a baby and to stay well, I need real food that is low inflammatory.

2. I didn't sleep enough or prioritize me.

3. I did work continuing education just fine, but I failed to prioritize my recovery in food addiction and weight maintenance.

4. I binge ate everything carby- toast with cinnamon and sugar, oatmeal, and it made me more sick.

5. I didn't weigh or track if I was sick. I thought a pass on the scale was treating myself well or kindly. No, it was sitting down and making my food addiction a cup of coffee and having a chat. It was slippery slope thinking.

Onward, to my graphs. I had a 1-2 pound weight gain with the illness and the drug for treatment. Still in my preferred weight maintenance range. Going low in my maintenance range has had a good outcome for me.