I owe you all this update, so here goes!
I will keep it brief.
I have long been in pursuit of dietary methods of pre-conception healing that will aid in the prevention of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), also known as extreme nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
I ran across one promising line of thought, the very low carbohydrate (VLC) diet, and used it successfully (in combination with the probiotic approach) in the prevention of HG. I went from out-of-control nausea and vomiting, controlled only by high doses of powerful drugs (Zofran), to a pregnancy in which I didn't even throw up once. (Except during labor, but that's another story.)
You can read all about my use of the VLC diet here.
(I should also note that I experienced additional health benefits from the VLC diet in addition to avoiding HG, for example: (1) healing of seasonal allergies, and (2) the remission of my persistent postpartum nausea. I have also seen VLC/ketogenic diets used with rousing success in other cases where extreme healing was needed, such as in the treatment of neurological disorders and with autoimmune diseases.)
My plan was that - after some serious post-partum diet fudging - I would simply go back on the VLC diet and stay there through my fertile years. That seemed only sensible, considering how successful it had been in preventing recurrent HG.
But there was one problem.
Namely that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make it work.
First came the procrastination. As the postpartum weeks crept past, I kept making bargains with myself. Just one more week. Then I'll restart the diet. Okay, one more week. And... how about another three months or so?
And when I finally did get started, I couldn't stick with it longer than 72 hours, regardless of how many times I tried.
Here are the problems I ran into this time with the VLC diet, with some brief details:
Boring? As opposed to recurrent hyperemesis gravidarum? You've got to be kidding me.
I know, this is minor.
But it's very, very difficult to keep going on a diet that is mostly meat and green vegetables. Severe boredom sets in. I couldn't muster any enthusiasm, and everything tasted bland and boring.
(2) Constant Hunger
I could not feel satisfied when eating. I could eat to the point of feeling physically uncomfortable, and still feel hungry and unsatisfied. As (I believe) Stefani Ruper says, carbs are part of satiety as well as fats. I found this out by experience.
(3) Carb Cravings
As in, I can't think about anything other than grabbing the nearest carbohydrate and chewing on it.
Man on the street: Can you tell me the way to the airport?
Me: Why yes, yes, I would like dessert.
Man on the street: The airport?
Me: Bananas! Oatmeal! Cornbread! Yes!!!
I simply could not make this diet work past the 72 hour mark. Inevitably, by that time I was so desperate for carbs that I was chewing on any carbohydrate in sight, usually including massive amounts of white sugar.
In case y'all are coming to the conclusion that I'm a lazy, good-for-nothing diet bum, I can say in my defense that I did go nearly an entire year absolutely carb-free. Yes, not just just sugar free, but carb free. I've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
But this time, I couldn't make it work.
(The fact that I am under a massive amount of life-and-raising-children stress has made keeping up the VLC diet doubly difficult.)
(5) Stalled Weight Loss
This time around, I didn't lose any weight at all.
And you're probably thinking, "Well, if you're going on sugar binges every three days, no kidding."
But I can also say that even in my carb-free year, I only lost an additional 10 pounds and never got lower than twenty pounds above my ideal weight.
Despite all of the above, I kept trying for many months. But finally, I gave up.
I just couldn't do it any more.
There are two possibilities:
(1) I am a lazy bum.
(2) Being on the VLC diet long-term was harmful to my body, and my body stepped in and physically prevented my staying on the diet. (Rather like how one can hold one's breath for a while, but eventually, one's body will force one to begin breathing again.)
Honestly, I'm open to either possibility.
So where did I go from there?
I decided to join up with Trim Healthy Mama, a program that I have admired from afar for months.
I hope to post my review of the THM system soon. But in short, the THM program can be summarized thus:
Snacks and meals are either E (protein + carbs) or S (protein + fat).
And I love it.
I can feel full again. I can have carbs again. Food is interesting. Life is good.
(Though I do cheat, like the delectable piece of lemon meringue pie that I just had for Easter dessert. If you're wondering why I'm having Easter dessert at this time of year, I will just say that it's been that kind of year.)
I've also added back foods that are low-carb but not very-low-carb. Examples: cottage cheese, plain yogurt, berries.
The mind-numbing fear that has resurfaced, of course, is the fear of recurrent hyperemesis. The VLC was a guarantee, of sorts. In giving up the VLC diet, I relinquished that guarantee.
There are several possibilities:
(1) The VLC diet has healed my body, and that healing effect will (in combination with the other pre-conception therapies I utilize) prevent future hyperemesis.
(2) I am going to pay. Horribly. (i.e. Repeat hyperemesis, here I come.)
I hope for #1, but it's #2 that keeps me up at night.
Right now I'm a confused mess. But I am forging ahead with (1) Trim Healthy Mama, and (2) my other pre-conception routines, such as the probiotic method and magnesium supplementation.
As to the outcome of this mystery?
Time will tell.
Most likely, time will tell very soon.
And I will let you know what happens.
At this point, most readers are of one of two minds:
- She's showing some sense at last.
- She really is a complete idiot.
I would agree with both.
And there you have it.
Dear readers, I would welcome your thoughts!