I have never been someone others would call a healthy, or fit person. Mostly this is because I have been a pretty sick person for most of my adult life. When I was 14 years old, I had severe pains in my stomach, which turned out to be an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit. It was operated on and I was much better. . . for a few months. Then I started having similar pains again. Doctors assumed a cyst had returned but found nothing in my ultrasounds. The pain persisted and severity increased so they took me in for an exploratory surgery to see if they could find the problem once they got in there. They found nothing more than some extra fluid on my bowel; however, after surgery, the pain had subsided inexplicably. This same procedure happened again within the next year. By this point, the doctors were telling me that the pain (which was so severe I was doubled over, burning myself with a heating pad, and often throwing up) was all in my head. I knew I was not making it up, or crazy, but this diagnosis, combined with being cut from the basketball team due to my health being too much of a risk to the team, my “friends” getting bored with me being sick all the time and dropping out of my life, and the fact that I basically couldn’t function like the normal teenager I wanted to be, bread the need for some anti- depressants to bring me out of the black hole I felt I was in.
Throughout all of this, I began to gain weight. I was always a “hefty”/”big-boned” girl, but never had a weight problem because I was so active with basketball, soccer, and softball. As my depression and health problems enveloped me, the pounds slowly packed themselves on. When I was sick, I would lose, but once I was better it would come right back. I was finally diagnosed with Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS). It was explained to me that basically, because there are no tests to say definitively if one has IBS or not, it is the diagnosis given when everything else has been ruled out. IBS is also untreatable except for modifications of one’s diet, eliminating any trigger foods. Doctors recommended I restrict my intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as, nuts, seeds, and spicy cuisine. This all helped but I continued to gain weight from eating safe food like bread and pasta. I also continued to eat lots of sweets to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Skip forward through university, and I reached my peak weight of over 200 lbs. Somehow, I didn’t even realize how big I had gotten, but when I started having to buy my clothes in XXL, I knew I had to do something. On top of that, I had begun feeling sick to my stomach after almost every meal and often threw up some of what I was eating. I was miserable. My aunt had had great success with the nutrition and weight loss program Simply For Life, losing 40+ lbs, and looked fantastic. Her success motivated me to call and go in for a consult late in the fall of 2009. The program sounded great, but with a new house, new job, and new stresses, I was not ready to get started just yet. Finally after seeing myself in some unflattering Christmas family pictures, and feeling nothing but sick no matter what I ate, I called again in January 2010, and said I was ready and sign me up!
Fastforward again to now (Aug 2010). I’ve lost 40lbs to date which feels like such a huge accomplishment for me. But that’s not even the best part – I feel a million times better than I have in 10 years. I have had only one IBS outbreak in almost 6 months, as opposed to feeling sick all the time and having IBS outbreaks weekly. Brent, my nutritionist, and I have come to the realization that I am basically allergic to refined SUGAR! While this has been devastating for my sweet tooth, it has been liberating for my health and moral. I finally feel better and I know what was making me sick! I now believe that my health problems for the last 10 years have largely been around my inability to properly digest sugar. At first my body reacted by causing pain and messing with my bowels. When I didn’t listen to it, it continued to wreak havoc on me other ways, such as causing me to be sick after every meal.
I have learned more about myself and my body in the last 6 months than I have in my whole life. I feel better than ever and I hope my story can help others by inspiring them to listen to their bodies. I now eat a diet of whole, natural foods, rarely eating anything refined or processed, and I believe the Simply For Life program can help others with their health problems as well.
Note- I have not been hired, nor paid by Simply For Life to write this blog, and am doing it simply to educate and encourage others to seek alternative ways of becoming healthier versions of their wonderful selves! I have no formal training in giving nutritional advice and can only vouch for how the program has worked for me. That being said, if you decide that joining the SFL program is right for you, please tell them I referred you. This will give me the bonus of a free week with each referral (offer open to anyone who refers a new client). Thanks!