In 2017 I was determined once again to find a way to lose weight and exercise and find my way to a healthy state. I did not know that many of the healthy foods I was eating were actually making me sick and preventing me from achieving my goal.
Back in May 2017 I had been trying to eat more healthy, but really was not getting anywhere. I just did not have the mental fortitude nor the right diet at the time despite eating a lot more healthy vegetables. Turns out they were the wrong vegetables.
More baked potatoes, more bell peppers and tomatoes, lots of spicy foods, cayenne too, supposedly great for digestion and of course lots of intermittent fast food when making my own was not convenient. Too much alcohol, too much sugar, too many empty carbs and too many vegetables and fruits I was actually allergic to.
Plants contain many different anti nutrients, substances like sapponins, lectins, salicylates, oxalates, phytates, and more – natural compounds to make eating them less likely, toxic to insects. And of course, heavy metals like nickel too. Although most people can tolerate these anti nutrients, there seems to be a significant number of people who do not.
As it turns out that since my separation and divorce that I changed how I ate. Partially the batching process of making large pots of stew, chili, spaghetti sauce and more became even more common once my dog Dylan became seriously ill and I had no choice but to stay home with her for long periods. Unable to just run errands, I ate big pots of food I made, unfortunately containing mostly nightshades plants, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers in particular, continuously for days, even weeks at times.
As it turns out, now that my memory is much more clear and the brain fog I experienced has lifted, the effects of eating these plants it turns out I am allergic to, primarily caused serious cognitive difficulties including complete memory loss to the point that I could not recall words or memories and could not form new memories. I could not maintain attention on anything, losing my train of thought hundreds of times in a day.
So many different symptoms from migraines and other headaches, visual aura’s, to memory and attention loss, mood swings, depression, manic episodes. Gastrointestinal, cardio pulmonary symptoms, itching and burning in my hands, feet, face and elsewhere. Inflammation in joints, my spine in particular. Needless to say, the start of any health plan must begin with a healthy diet, both to make sure proper nutrition is maintained, but also that metabolism is maximized and mental strength is capable of the fortitude necessary to uphold the new diet and exercise regimen.
Once I straightened my diet out for my unique requirements, my mind finally began to gain strength and clarity. With some simple, but absolute rules and a basic diet of meat and vegetables, no artificial dyes nor flavours, no fast food, no candy, no filler carbs, no alcohol. It turns out I have some very specific and unique restrictions. For more details on food I react to, I maintain a separate post of my current diet and the many reasons I eat or restrict specific foods.
For specific reasons that heat and the histamine and chemicals released as a result that cause me trouble; and I release far more of these than a normal person does, I needed to lose weight first. I needed to lower my weight so that when I did exercise, there was less load to carry and in fact less insulation which would prevent the heat loss I need when I exercise.
Keeping as cool as possible is essential for me since it causes increases in histamine which translates to signalling my mast cells (cells of the immune system that reside all over the body) to dump their contents and signal an immune response that occurs throughout my body, including within my central nervous system (CNS). This response creates the symptoms I have struggled with that have led to failure of every other previous attempt to exercise.
I am allergic to exercise, but thanks to my new knowledge, once I dropped to my first goal of 185 lbs, having lost 45 lbs, I began working out. My next goal was 170 lbs, but I new that with exercise this would be a slower process. But as I did in the first phase, I have been able to significantly increase my bodies metabolism.
In the first phase of weight loss only, this meant varying the amount of food I ate daily. Some days I would eat very well. Some days I ate small amounts all day long. Other days I did not eat at all. Also in that phase I only allowed moderate exercise. This allowed my body to heal in many ways now that I was no longer ingesting food that my body could not tolerate. But the variability in calories ingested and activity levels was still essential.
If the body believes we are not going to get enough food, it will shut down metabolism and conserve resources. This is the opposite of what we want. We want it to feel free to burn fat. To do this the body must believe it will get food at some point. Although activity was required, I found it easier to resist eating and endure hunger if I did not overdo exercise. And enduring hunger was required and why my regained mental fortitude made it possible to succeed.
Once I reached 185 lbs, I started doing longer and harder dog walks for cardiovascular exercise. My dogs pull hard and we walk fast. Once again my unique situation means I have to be very careful of creating extra heat, but this knowledge has helped not to manage my exercise and I have grown these walks throughout the 2nd phase to where in one hour I walk about 8 km (5 mi), running a good portion of it, average pace of 8 km/hr and a maximum pace of 15+ km/hr (~10 mi/hr).
My work in the gym I limit the duration of my workouts and keep them shorter than I have in the past. But once again my plan has been to get metabolism going as much as possible and varying the intensity of my exercise from killer pushing to my limit and exhausting myself in shorter hard working bursts, followed by more moderate levels of activity, but never really resting.
I have been successful in this as I feel my body burning calories all of the time. My body burns not just when running, walking or pushing weights. It burns calories while sitting and while sleeping. And I continue to vary what I eat, except that throughout the second phase and currently now that I am no longer trying to lose weight (3rd phase), the goal is to feed exercise and muscle growth with higher levels of protein in particular. when activity is lower such as on rest days, I reduce what I eat and can allow fat burning as needed.
At this point I don’t know what my final weight will be. My goal is to continue to reduce body fat, although I do plan to maintain a healthy layer. Given that I can get sick and stay sick and that GI symptoms can prevent eating. Exercise itself can cause stomach cramps, bloating and heartburn and even leaky gut to a level that prevents eating and further activity.
I intend to continue to build muscle and improve my cardiovascular fitness. The latter is going to be essential in order to maintain exercise this coming summer when heat will begin to be a major issue for me. I may not get as much benefit, but I will be able to walk long distances without generating as much heat. Summer is likely to be more of a maintenance period. Excessive heat disables me. It has caused failure of my fitness plan in the past, but once again the knowledge I now have will help me manage my health and fitness much better than any time in my past.
I am looking forward to continuing on this path. I am not worried about regaining weight as I don’t ever see myself ever being able to nor wanting to go back to my old ways. This was a permanent change I am enjoying immensely. Some are worried I may become obsessed with losing all of the fat on my body, but I also know that won’t be the case.
My goal is and always has been better health and fitness. It has never been just about weight loss and body fat. And I am going exactly as planned.