A while back I announced that, after several months of eating gluten free, I had fallen off the wagon. I decided then to avoid gluten completely through the end of 2013. So, after about eight weeks of going gluten free (for the second time around), here are my observations:
- Immediately after cutting gluten out of my diet I noticed an increase in energy.
- I also noticed that my constipation was no longer an issue.
- Right off the bat, I felt a little less bloated, although that bloated feeling has returned now that I’m into my second trimester.
Here is what I noticed several weeks into the challenge:
- I found myself craving (and eating) carbs that were gluten free, but unhealthy. I don’t know whether to chalk this up to pregnancy cravings or sugar cravings related to the changes in my diet that resulted after I cut out gluten.
- When I would eat gluten free, unhealthy carbs, I felt an immediate dip in energy (duh).
- I found myself eating more carbohydrates than I did when I was actually eating gluten, which, in a lot of ways, defeated the purpose of avoiding gluten.
So, a little over a year after being diagnosed with PCOS, and trying all kinds of dietary changes, here are my thoughts about PCOS, weight gain, and food:
Only months prior to moving to Georgia and being diagnosed with PCOS, I was at my “happy” weight. I was listening to my body, eating the foods I wanted to eat when I was hungry for them, not even thinking about food when I wasn’t hungry, and not struggling with a myriad of tummy troubles, not struggling with energy highs and lows, and feeling great.
So why the sudden weight gain? I have a hard time blaming it all on PCOS since, as far as I know, I’ve displayed other PCOS symptoms for years and years. But a few of other things came with my PCOS diagnosis too, and I think they all play a part in the weight gain that followed:
- Depression- The move to Georgia was really difficult for me. I felt isolated from family and friends, and felt as though I were battling infertility alone. It took us a long time to find a church, and since I was working from home, I had very few opportunities to meet people and make friends. If I had not been trying to get pregnant, I probably could have benefited from anti-depressants or something.
- Focus on Food- Prior to being diagnosed with PCOS, the foods I ate were of little consequence to me. I realize now that what we choose to put into our bodies is significant, but before being diagnosed with PCOS, I ate with an “everything in moderation” attitude that I think was quite healthy. Any freedom I had with food was lost when I was diagnosed with and began researching PCOS. And suddenly, I found myself obsessed with food: obsessed with what, how, and when to eat. Obsessed with what not to eat. And usually, when someone is obsessed with something, they just want more of it. So the more I focused on food, regardless of good intentions , the more I ate it… whether I was truly hungry or not. This had never in my life been an issue until after my PCOS diagnosis.
- Emotional Eating- My extreme focus on food, and how foods impact PCOS, meant that I was thinking about food constantly. So when I was discouraged, depressed, overwhelmed, stressed, or happy, my first thought was that I should eat. Again, this is a type of inner struggle that I’d never faced before. And since it was incredibly embarrassing, I was facing it alone.
The deep depression that I fell into during our first many months of living in Georgia has abated. I still dislike living here, and miss home every day. But I am not depressed. And now that we are finally pregnant, I feel nothing but hopeful and happy.
But the other things? The focus on food, and the emotional eating… Those things are still issues. They are issues of the heart and mind that have already affected my physically. And until I am able to resolve these issues, they will only continue to impact me more and more.
You may be wondering why I’m posting about this topic on New Year’s, when others are posting about their goals for the 2014, inspirations for the new year, etc., etc.
These issues really need to be addressed before I can come to terms with food and with my body. These issues have to be resolved before I can raise a daughter who views food in a healthy way, and who views herself in a healthy way.
So somehow, some way, one of my big goals for the New Year is to learn to be at peace with the foods I am eating, and with the body I am living in. I don’t know if this means I should avoid gluten and/or dairy, if I should focus on a low-carb lifestyle, if I should eat the way I did before my PCOS diagnosis, or eat the way that the dietitian recommended I eat. I want my family to eat well and to eat wisely, but I also want my family to feel freedom regarding food. I do not want them to feel in bondage to it the way I have for the past year or more.
I have other goals for 2014 as well. You can read those here.
I would love to hear what some of your goals and hopes are for the New Year!