Fibromyalgia and Insulin Resistance
I remember the day this picture was taken. The pain in my body was real and not in my head. My arms hurt. I was fatigued all the time. I couldn't sleep at night. I was exhausted all day every day. I had no energy. And the cycle repeated each day.
Why am I in so much pain?
How am I supposed to live this way each day?
If the pain is from what I'm eating, I must change my diet.
The last thing I wanted to hear was that I needed to change my diet. I'm comfortable eating my favorite foods that taste delicious and feed my anxious soul. Even though the supplements I was taking helped some, there had to be something else causing the pain. And then I learned I was insulin resistant. For my health to improve along with hormonal changes affecting my skin, I needed to get on the bandwagon and implement a healthy diet.
You noticed I didn't say, "healthier diet". That is because I didn't have a "healthy" diet. My diet consisted of what my taste buds were craving or the level of stress for the day. I would grab whatever fed my feelings at that moment which was mostly high in carbohydrates surging my insulin level. Here I am a Naturopathic Doctor, consulting with clients about natural supplements and the importance of eating a healthy diet and I am not listening to my own suggestions.
I must change my diet
This journey began in 2019 when my health took a deep dive on the wrong side and fueled my fibromyalgia pain. My oldest daughter bought me a Fitbit for my birthday to encourage me to walk with her each day. When you start something new, a rush of dopamine floods your body, and you can't wait to take the challenge. It's like the anticipation of waiting for a package to be delivered, but when the hit of dopamine begins to wear off, the excitement of walking each day becomes challenging. I pushed through the "I can't do this" mindset and told myself that I had to do this to feel and look better.
You see, I've had a weight problem my whole life. Well, it isn't a weight problem, it is a mindset problem. I told myself all the time that I wanted to lose weight, but I couldn't for some reason. I would always be a BIG GIRL. That was far from the truth. This time things would be different, and I would push through no matter what I was telling myself.
The journey begins.
I began walking each day, counting calories, and focusing on self-care. Within six months, I dropped forty pounds and then the pandemic hit. Work became busier and busier until I didn't have time to walk each day and my diet consisted of what was quick and easy. Within a few weeks, my health took a turn for the worse, I gained back the weight I had fought so hard to lose and I couldn't function anymore, mentally, or physically.
How could I grow my business the way I felt? How can I take care of my family when I can't take care of myself? Why am I in so much pain daily?
I hit a wall. I didn't know where to turn. I have fought fibromyalgia pain naturally with supplements since I was a teenager, but I no longer had the fight in me. So, I called my doctor who prescribed me muscle relaxers and prednisone to reduce the inflammation. Within a few days, I felt normal again but the overwhelming emotion of living with this much pain and having to rely on medications to function threw me into a deep depression.
My doctor asked me to come in so he could do an evaluation and check my bloodwork to see if anything has changed causing the increase in inflammation. I made the appointment, went in for the visit, and walked down the hallway to have my blood drawn. When I walked into the room, a friend of mine who draws your blood came around the corner and I noticed she had lost a substantial amount of weight. We began talking about what diet changes she had made, and I thought, this might be the diet for me.
What was I eating that caused the pain?
A couple of days later, she called me to explain how the diet works. It consists of a high protein, high fiber, low carb, low sugar, and a low-fat diet. The dopamine hit rushed through my body and I was all in. A couple of days later I began implanting my new diet and within two days the fibromyalgia pain was GONE. I don't mean partially or feeling okay one day and not the next. No, I mean GONE. My arms didn't hurt. The fatigue was gone. I had tons of energy. I felt like a WHOLE NEW PERSON!
A low-carb diet has many potential benefits. Studies have shown that it can help reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss. Additionally, low-carb diets tend to be high in fiber and protein, which can help keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. Eating a diet low in carbs can also help reduce cholesterol levels and triglycerides, which can lead to a healthier heart and circulatory system. Finally, a low-carb diet can improve mental clarity, energy, and overall well-being.
Why high protein?
There are many great ways to improve your health through high-protein and mindset approaches. First, focus on adding high-quality protein sources to your diet. These can include lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds. For snacks, try adding high-protein snacks like Greek yogurt, nuts, and seeds to your meals. Incorporating mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling can help you develop a strong, positive mindset.
Why did I wait all these years to change my diet?
Over the next few months, my energy levels increased. Since starting my new health journey, I've lost 100 pounds and my skin became clearer and younger looking, and am still fibromyalgia free.
I'm not perfect but human
After being on the diet for a month the family and I were out for a celebration, and I cheated on my diet and ate fettuccine. I'll just say it tasted so good, but a few hours later I noticed something happening in my body. The fibromyalgia pain came back, and the stomach aches I had in years past returned.
This cheat day taught me a few lessons about my body. First, I'm insulin resistant. When I eat too many carbs or grams of sugar, my body has a tough time processing it. It then increases the inflammation in my body feeding the fibromyalgia pain.
If you are experiencing inflammation and sore muscles due to an elevated sugar intake like me, then keep reading. This is a common issue amongst many people and can be treated. To get started, it's important to adjust your diet and reduce your sugar intake. Eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, ginger, and leafy greens can help reduce inflammation. Additionally, regular exercise and stretching can help keep your muscles healthy and reduce soreness. If you're still having issues, I recommend talking to your doctor or a nutritionist to discuss further treatment options.
Second, I'm allergic to wheat and gluten. All these years of intense stomach pain, gas, bloating, and constipation came from wheat and gluten. It too turns into sugar, spiking my insulin output, and feeding the inflammation.
The cheat day was a good thing. I've learned what foods are healthy for my body and skin and what foods cause intense health issues.
This journey hasn't been easy. When I'm stressed, anxious, or fighting seasonal affective disorder (SAD), I want to eat carbs to get a dopamine hit. I will not say I haven't cheated again because I have, but after the dopamine hit wears off, my body will tell me. Then I go into another spiral hating myself for giving in to the lust of my flesh.
I'm not perfect. I have my issues too. The best part is, I can be authentic and transparent with y'all, and I know you will understand because I know you too have your own mental or physical struggles.
Here is what I do know.
I haven't gained the weight back
I'm still on the diet
I do cheat and tell myself that it is okay to cheat occasionally
I take time for self-care especially when I'm stressed or overwhelmed
I know I have another 50 pounds to lose, and the weight-loss journey will take time
I can love myself in each stage I'm in
It is always good to ask for help
And I hope this blog post helps you.
Disclaimer: Health is an important topic, and it's great to take steps to improve it. Your mindset is a powerful tool, so it's important to focus on positive and healthy habits that can help you achieve your goals. A low-carb diet can be a fantastic way to improve your overall health, but it's important to do your research so that you understand the potential benefits and risks associated with this type of diet. You can find plenty of information online about the benefits and potential risks of a low-carb diet. Additionally, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to make sure that a low-carb diet is the right choice for you. Good luck on your journey to better health!