Confession: I’ve been bad today

Years back, a friend of mine who got into health and wellness way before me told me about a study she’d read. I wish I could find it, but the gist was that when people are told they need to change their habits (especially around food) for the sake of their health, a staggering number like 90%+ don’t. Instead, they continue to suffer and, eventually succumb to their ailment(s). I’ve been thinking about that article now more than ever. Of course, it seemed silly at the time. Why wouldn’t someone change their habit to have a better quality of life? How couldn’t they? If I were in their shoes, of course I would!

As some of you know, I’ve been dealing with lower back and sacroiliac pain pretty consistently for about 5 months now, so I’m officially in the “chronic pain” stage. It’s been frustrating trying to explain to my doctor how the pain feels, that it changes–it’s constantly moving. One day it’s extreme pressure on my sacrum/tailbone, the next day it seems like sciatica, making one butt cheek miserable and numbing a leg (or two). Sometimes it seems to be in my upper back as well. I’ve had a few days where it’s not terrible, but it’s always there. Some days I can’t walk, much less do some of the activities I used to enjoy, like the elliptical machine (yes, I love it) and Barre class. Teaching yoga is sometimes challenging because with the pain constantly there, I forget my words and have to focus a lot more than I used to. After normal x-rays and the “most beautiful MRI” my doctor had ever seen, a blood test did finally reveal some abnormalities. The most important one is that I tested positive for was the HLA-B27 antigen, which was supposed to rule out an auto-immune condition. The  most likely diagnosis is one of Anklosing Spondylitis, which sounds like exactly what I have. I guess this the my new normal. Regardless of the fact that I can’t see any rheumatologist until the end of August, you can guess that steroids and other typical drugs are not an option for me.

I’m going instead to The Wellness Place, where I’ll be tested for gut infections and treated accordingly. Holly was great about not asking me to change my healthy diet just yet, but the more we talked, the more I got inspired to entirely give up gluten and dairy. Now, for the record, I don’t like bread, cheese, or butter very much. I do enjoy Fage yogurt with gluten-free granola and berries, or Paleo almond bread with eggs and bacon for breakfast, and the occasional potato chip or muffin when I’m out and about. So, while I haven’t loaded up on gluten or dairy per se, I also haven’t been super strict about it. I got this idea that I should start to be, just to see if it makes any difference. Oh, that includes eliminating eggs too.

All this was fine. I read Amy Myers’ book cover to cover, bought more meat (even though I don’t like it as much anymore), and made a bunch of new yummy things. But, I hate wasting food, so my plan was to begin this 100% gluten and dairy and egg free elimination diet May 1 (I like fresh month starts). This was especially convenient because in the freezer is a container of Whole Foods dark chocolate gelato, which i completely forgot about (and don’t even usually have). So, it’s April 29 and what do I do? I’ve had maybe one bowl of it over the past week or so, but today I ate THREE. My brain tells me I’m going to be deprived for 3 months at least, and so I must get in all my pleasure and satisfaction NOW. (This despite the fact that I haven’t had gelato in months.)

Hmmm…so folks in the article my friend mentioned all those years ago? I get you. I may be in pain, but/and gelato is one of my few pleasures. And when I’m in pain, it’s hard to forgo the pleasure–at least until I see real results from having done so, which I hope I do when I beginon Friday, May 1 day 1. I may write more here as I go through this process. Before, being GF and dairy free wasn’t something I had to do, it was just something I sort of did. And eggs and Greek yogurt, my staples! Guess I need to find new ones. I struggle with you, my friends. Don’t ever forget that.




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