IF I am being honest, Admitting Mistakes

My health is my responsibility – when doctors are dismissive

I have maintained my weight for the last two months. I am frustrated partly due to a recurring health issue – chest heaviness, angina-like attacks, extreme fatigue. The chest heaviness began in February when I thought I may have had pneumonia since many of my co-workers were sick at the time. The check x-ray found nothing except a small pericardial cyst. My primary care physician said it was nothing to worry about. Then in June and July the angina attacks started to occur again. My last one was a few years ago.

Why did these symptoms start again? I am in much better in mind, body, and spirit than I was 9 years even 1 year ago.

I made an appointment with my cardiologist who had initially determined I may have small vessel angina in 2011 but left it the diagnosis as undetermined. Several ER physicians and cardiologists at the time dismissed it as a bad case of GERD. At this recent appointment, my EKG was normal. The cardiologist went into a dismissive discussion on how Intermittent Fasting should not be continued long term. We debated the topic as I told him it was the first time in over 20 years that I had lost more than 3 pounds and I have kept it off. The debate continued somewhat hotly as he believed Weight Watchers is the best program.

SIDEBAR: Every single physician and specialist I have seen in this hospital system raves about Weight Watchers and it has been a topic at every single appointment regardless of why and who I was seeing for the visit. It makes me wonder if they are receiving a good referral fee for every patient that is referred to the Weight Watchers program. IF I am being honest, it should not be about a referral fee but a lifestyle a patient can maintain based solely upon the patient and not $$$. (Disclaimer: just my assumption on physician referrals.)

As I told my cardiologist, I have attempted Weight Watchers twice without seeing any weight loss or benefit primarily because it does not work with my lifestyle. I am not a tracking-points counting kind of person. Intermittent fasting works for my lifestyle and it is easy for me to do because I only need to consider the quality and quantity of food I am ingesting when I break my fast. I also educated him on the fact that not everyone who fasts intermittently follows a KETO diet, which I already knew is a cardiologist beef (pun intended).

I ended my cardiologist visit with a dismissive GERD diagnosis and to take an over-the-counter heartburn medication for at least 3 months. If my symptoms continued, my cardiologist recommended I see my gastroenterologist as he believed my intermittent fasting conversion has messed up my gut. He pronounced what I was experiencing had nothing to do with my heart even though this same cardiologist had prescribed me Nitro tablets for the exact same symptoms in 2011.

After 3 weeks of following the cardiologist’s recommendation of taking Prilosec otc every morning, I decided to return to my primary care physician for his recommendation. My symptoms had not changed, but in fact were worsening.

Let me just say, I love my primary care physician, Dr. “C”  who is in a different hospital health system than my cardiologist.

Dr. C was surprised that the cardiologist did not order any further tests and could simply diagnosis me with an EKG. He referred to a cardiologist within Dr. C’s same health system for further testing.

My second cardiologist was pleasant, listened intently, asked health history questions, never commented on anything except to answer my questions. He had a medical assistant in the room to scribe the entire appointment into a laptop so the doctor could give me his whole attention. I was impressed with my visit.

SIDEBAR: Heart disease runs rampant on both sides of my family. My father died at 52 years of age from heart disease followed by his younger siblings primarily in their 50’s and 60’s. My maternal grandfather died before I was born of a stroke related to heart disease. 

Within 3 weeks, a treadmill stress test and an echocardiogram were performed. My health care insurance would not pay for both tests to be performed on the same day. I received a call the cardiologist’s office after my stress test. The results were normal.

A few days after the echocardiogram, I received a call from the cardiologist’s office from a young-sounding office assistant who said in a very chipper voice that my results were normal, and that the cardiologist did not need to see me again. “What?” I asked. “The technician that performed the test was quite concerned that my resting heart rate was in the 100’s which is abnormal for me. I still have questions.” In her chipper voice, she responded, “Well, you could make an appointment with your primary care physician. Look, on the bright side,” she went on to say, “the results are normal!” Of course, I was relieved, however, I still did not have any answers. I immediately went back to see Dr. C.

Dr. C greeted me with a copy of my tests. Again, he was surprised the cardiologist’s office didn’t bother to send me a copy of them. We reviewed the tests and then he suggests, “perhaps this is psychological stress.” My face told it all. My anger rising. I was being dismissed again. It was all in my “head.”

“No, I do not believe I am overwhelmingly stressed. I have a great marriage. My kids are doing great as 20-something can be at their age, and my job does not cause me any stress which my husband can attest to as well,” I began to cry. He apologized and said he needed to ask the question and asked me to go through all my symptoms again. I told him it wasn’t his fault  and that I trusted him. I was just tired and exasperated at the feeling of being dismissed. It was all in my “head.”

He said, “Sheri, we will get to the bottom of this, so let’s look again at your Hashimoto’s diagnosis and get more detailed blood lab work done including testing for other autoimmune diseases.”

IF I am being honest, IF or GERD are not the cause for these symptoms.

I wasn’t fasting prior to 2019. The assumption that GERD was causing my angina-like symptoms seemed absurd to me since they occur well into a fasting state. My health is my responsibility. Even though there are many times, especially after seeing a dismissive doctor that I just want to say, “to hell with it, I will live with it,” my quality of life matters to me. I am willing to take the doctor’s advice even if I am proven wrong.

IF I am being honest, I do need to consider my IF mistakes.

I am sure that many of you who have been following this blog series, IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness have spotted at least one mistake of mine. Or should I say, a mistake that I am in denial.

My exercise mistake

In continuing my intermittent fasting research to help me determine why I have stalled in my weight loss, I found Dr. Stan Ekberg’s video on YouTube, 15 Mistakes of Intermittent Fasting that Make You Gain Weight.

While I have not regained weight, I have kept the 27-30 pound weight loss but I have so much more weight to lose. This video showed me that I have made all 15 mistakes over the course of converting to the IF lifestyle. My number one mistake has been my relationship with exercising, or the lack thereof in any meaningful way. So, I set out to find an exercise besides walking, golfing, and reading (just kidding, no, I’m not) that did not require a gym membership, a fitness class, or expensive equipment. My second requirement is the exercise couldn’t consume a good chunk of my precious (reading) time.

KettlebellKettlebell

I found an inexpensive and short exercise routine on YouTube using a Kettlebell. There are numerous routines lasting 5 minutes to 40 minutes using Kettlebell weights from 5 lbs. To 50 lbs. I am going to start with 10-pound Kettlebell for a $15 investment.

Tomorrow, I begin!

IF I am being honest, I am praying this is the answer to incorporating a daily cardio exercise routine that doesn’t cause any damage to furniture, electronics, or a trip to the ER. Don’t worry, I will report back here next month.

If you have any Kettlebell video routines or advice, tweet me @TheBloggingOwl, email  Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com, or leave a comment on this post.

IF I am being honest, my next post on The Blogging Owl

My next post will discuss my other mistakes I have made in converting the IF lifestyle and a grocery list of my favorite go-to foods when I break a fast. IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness continues to evolve, but I am fully committed to getting it right in mind, body, and spirit.

Until next time…

I will continue to post monthly in this series, IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness until January 2020. I will then post occasionally until I reach my weight goal. Blogging my progress helps me to keep it real for me in mind, body and spirit. If you need me to be a part of your tribe for wellness in mind, body and spirit, I hope you will reach out to me. I would love to hear from you. I sincerely appreciate my readers following The Blogging Owl and my other blogs too.

Peace,

Head shot 2019 - revised

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email:     Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

IF I am being honest – 7 Lessons

This is the 7th post in my series, “IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness.”
Seven months into converting to an intermittent fasting lifestyle, I have learned 7 important lessons in mind, body, and spirit.

Lesson #1: Addiction

Intermittent Fasting is what I can only imagine as similar as entering a rehabilitation treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction. At first, IF seemed easy in its’ adaptation to withdrawing from food and fasting for prolonged periods of time at least in my personal experience. I felt almost immediate freedom from joint inflammation, insomnia, and I saw positive body composition results. I began losing more weight than merely water weight than I had in over twenty years.

If I am being honest, the motivation went up after seeing immediate results after just a few short weeks with intermittent fasting. But just like drug and alcohol addiction, food addiction is a lifelong journey. Notice I didn’t use the term, battle. I am not at war with my mind, body, and spirit.

Battles are won or lost.

A journey is to a destination.

My journey to wellness is for peace in mind, body, and spirit.

IF What waters

Lesson #2: The Spirit

If I am being honest, my journey to wellness began almost ten years ago. Traumatic life events that capsize one’s life rarely appear out of nowhere. They too are rooted in a journey that began even longer ago. The reckoning begins when God intercedes in that sinking, and in my case, I grabbed a hold of His life raft.

In my opinion, the mind and body can never be at peace if the spirit is not.

The spirit always leads the way.

Once I grabbed onto that life raft and began feeding my spirit with God’s help, my mind began draining of all the lifelong junk much like the junk food I was feeding my body. It is my spiritual life that ultimately feeds my mind and body.  Together, it is what encourages me to stay focused on the right path.

IF Weight

Lesson #3: The Mind

When I began daily OMAD (one meal a day) during the Lenten Season, I was not only purifying my spirit but my mind too. I began to feel the euphoria of fasting for prolonged periods of time and my craving for junk food turned into a craving for all things pure – free from self-defeating thoughts on auto-wind and free from processed foods and sugar that comforted those thoughts.

IF 7 fuel

So why do “rehabilitated” addicts’ relapse?

If I am being honest, my journey to wellness was only beginning in mind, body, and spirit because the doors of my self-imposed rehab treatment opened to the outside world after merely a few months into this intermittent lifestyle.

Lesson 4: The Relapse

July was vacation month. It meant enjoying all those things associated with relaxing, enjoying the sun, sand, and water – barbecues, macaroni salad, potato salads, cookies and ice cream. No one says that intermittent fasting must be restricted; however, it takes willpower of a veteran faster to overcome the temptation. I have more empathy for the reformed alcoholic or the junky who finds difficulty in mingling with family and friends at the bar or party.

While I continued to fast alternating between varying fasting time frames, I was slipping back into old eating patterns. While bypassing winter comfort foods were difficult early in my intermittent fasting conversion, I was now finding summer fun foods were not a breeze either. I was deluded into thinking that with fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries, I would have no problem with sticking to my IF regime.

How can I redeem myself?

IF secret

Lesson 5: Redemption

Currently, I am in my eighth month of intermittent fasting. Although I am not completely back on track, I still have too many days where I eat 3 meals. I have occasionally backslid into eating fast food for convenience, and if I am honest, for the pleasure of it too.

So how I do recover from my food indiscretions?

IF post 7 - photo 1.png

I have been writing in journals almost all my life. I have another blog, The Prayer Journals, Facebook page and a Twitter account for The Prayer Journals. Above is what I posted on August 5, 2019 and the topic of my prayer journal for that day. My prayer journal is where I go to help me keep going on my wellness journey in mind, body, and spirit.

Lesson 6: My Tribe

We all need a tribe even if one is described as a loner. If I am being honest, I have become more of a loner over the years by burying myself in my writing and poetry. I was also never one for support groups, especially the ones my physicians would suggest when trying to advise me in a variety of weight loss programs. I am just not a “joiner,” I replied.

Who is my tribe?

An Intermittent Fasting Facebook group I found is one. These intermittent fasting members from around the world post everything from there before-after photos, their fears, their concerns, their encouragement to other members. I never thought I would find such motivation and encouragement from a support group, and perhaps; if I am being honest, I don’t have to drive anywhere or mingle. But to give you an idea of the motivation in this group, a member whose first name is, Jenny posted this recently.

“I met my goal weight this morning of 120lbs my SW was 438lbs 4 years ago.” I cannot think of anything more motivating for an obese person to read and see someone else’s persistence in their journey to wellness.

Secondly, they are my soul-sisters, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers who share my Christian faith and who lift me up in their presence and prayer in my journey for wellness in mind, body, and spirit.

And thirdly, and most importantly, is my husband and our two sons. I love and adore these three men who have put up with so much from me in so many ways. Yet, they still love and support me in all ways on this life journey. While my journey is mine alone, if I am being honest, I want to live long enough to share in their journeys as long as God sees fit.

Lesson 7: Perfection

Perfection is impractical. This is but one of the most difficult lessons for me to learn. A planner/perfectionist personality is always analyzing every move, every event, and every failure or misstep. If I am being honest, it is going back to all these lessons I have learned to this point in my journey to wellness and more lessons I am sure to learn that will help me to overcome any relapse or wrong turn.

Failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of success.

Peace is possible.

IF 7 truth

I have God. I have my tribe. I have you, my readers. I am grateful for all of you.

Until next time…

I will continue to post monthly in this series, IF I am being honest, my journey to wellness until January 2020. I will then post occasionally until I reach my weight goal.

Blogging my progress helps me to keep it real for me in mind, body and spirit. If you need me to be a part of your tribe for wellness in mind, body and spirit, I hope you will reach out to me. I would love to hear from you. I sincerely appreciate my readers following The Blogging Owl and my other blogs too. Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me by email at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

Peace,

Head shot 2019 - revised

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF – I am being honest, Invisible Weight

In all my blogs not just The Blogging Owl, I consistently speak of the balance of mind, body, and spirit. In the first post of this series, “IF I am being honest” about my conversion to intermittent fasting, I admitted to my readers that I am physically obese in medical terms. Thirty days later I confessed my mental and emotional food love tendencies. And now 90 days later, God has led me to take on the invisible weight of my spirit.

As a Christian, I am a firm believer one’s spirit is the driver of one’s mind and body. Why else would God place the heart between the brain and the stomach? Even if you are not a person of faith, I hope you will continue to read on about what I discovered in the last 30 days.

Invisible Weight

What is weighing on my spirit?

I wanted to tap into my spirit for the clarity of my overall life’s mission, my purpose. God has been driving me to something and my hunch was that I cannot complete whatever He has intended for me to do if I have a flabby, unhealthy mind and body.

For the Lenten season, I had decided to do 40 Days of OMAD (one meal a day) with the sincere desire for clarity of mind, body AND spirit. As I discussed in my last blog post thirty days ago, I started a week early with OMAD on February 27th and I would continue OMAD until Easter Sunday, April 21st.

I ended the 40 Days of OMAD on the 15th day. Was I a failure?

Let me back up to the beginning of my 40 Days of OMAD. In my prayer journal I wrote the following prayer:

Dear Lord, bring clarity to my confusion. Rescue me and bring rhythm to my calling just as you set the sun and the stars in motion in precise rhythm of day into night. Instill within me the patient endurance to enlighten me of my specific mission with the wisdom and maturity through an unwavering faith in Christ. Grant me confidence in Your mercy and hope in Your promises. Help me to watch You in Your passion that I remain awake to the infinite power of Your Love. In Him give me courage and strength. Amen

So, what happened?

Reviewing my journal entries over the last 30 days, I did indeed begin shedding that invisible weight on Saturday, March 9th when I genuinely believe God guided me to this verse:

“The Lord is your guardian. The Lord is shade over your right hand.” Psalm 121:5

The significance of this Bible verse on this day was I was getting my first tattoo. I had originally decided to have Martin Luther’s Rose tatted on the back of my left shoulder. Each color of the image has a special meaning.

After reading Psalm 121:5 that morning, I decided at the last minute to change the location to the back of my right shoulder with Psalm 121:5 written underneath the tattoo.

Image-43My focus began to change.

The following morning, I was led to this verse:

“But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

My prayer for that morning:

Dear Lord, allow me to see the world the way you do and join in your eternal rescue mission. Give me compassion for the those around me and help me to be an instrument of Your Grace. Help me to focus on Christ rather than on my circumstances and lead me to focus on what God is doing through the situation through Your power and goodness. Amen

My journal entry ended with “physical fatigue, emotional fatigue, spiritual fatigue.” As I re-read those words, I thought to myself, “Wow. I don’t remember writing those words.”

Two days prior to ending my 40-Days of OMAD

I transcribed these 5 Bible verses into my prayer journal: Romans 8:28, Hebrews 2:18, Joshua 1:8, Proverbs 8:33 and lastly,

Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.”

I purposely will not share with you what I wrote in my journal after those five verses except for this excerpt: Five different Bible verses and five ways to encourage me to keep going….

Spiritual clarity was taking root.

Breaking 40-Days of OMAD

I was physically, mentally and spiritually sick on the 15th day. I did not think I could get through the day or through the night. I was extremely fatigued. The only way to explain my mental state was that I was delirious with a migraine, and spiritually, I believed I had failed in my mission for clarity of purpose.

After eating a big, healthy Paleo breakfast, I spent time meditating as I usually do in the morning with Bible devotions and my prayer journal. I was led to Acts 4:8-12, and Romans Chapter 12 which speaks to dedicating our lives to God and I transcribed verse 2 in my journal:

”Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”

I truly believe God emptied everything out of me in mind, body and spirit up to this point to fill me with this message:

I cannot focus on my circumstances, not one day, not on the next 30 days or in the past years of life on this earth, but on Him who really has the power to change me in mind, body and spirit. These are the last lines written in my prayer journal on that day:

“I do not feel bad because I learned a powerful lesson. I am stronger in mind, body and spirit when I look at my “blips” as just a blip and not throw in the towel completely. The same will prove true in God’s purpose for me.”

Miraculously, I felt almost instantly better after eating that breakfast and meditation. And two days after breaking my Lenten OMAD promise, I wrote this in my journal:

“If I want to know God’s will, I have to stop being led by my circumstances. If I trust my circumstances, even though they may look good, my circumstances can still lead to disaster. My circumstances can lead me the wrong way. I can misinterpret them, put unwarranted trust in them, and evil (if you will) can manipulate them. Every single day, I need to check my circumstances against where God is leading me in His Word. Psalm 40.”

IF I am being honest – 3 facts

Remember that journal entry I spoke of earlier regarding physical, mental and spiritual fatigue? Well, it all makes sense to me now.

1) I cannot be the best I can be if I do not unburden the invisible weight of my spirit. My spiritual health is the leader for my physical and mental well-being.

2) Turning food love into self-love is a process that takes more than weeks, months and perhaps even years of undoing the negative tapes looping within my mind.

3) I did not suddenly become overweight overnight. It was a slow culmination of self-neglect of mind, body and spirit.

IF I am being honest in my next 30 days…

During the remaining Lenten season, I am doing OMAD Monday through Friday and 18:6 and 20:4 on the weekends. OMAD helps me to stay disciplined during the work week and breaking OMAD on the weekend allows me to enjoy meals with family and friends.

While the last 30 days have been spiritually enlightening, God is still working on bringing clarity of mission and purpose. I am open to the possibility that it may always be evolving. I do feel, however, that the mind and body are beginning to follow in a positive way. I will continue to build upon the 19 pounds I have lost in the first 90 days of intermittent fasting, which is an average of 1.5 pound weight loss per week. Exercise is still not where it should be and as the spring weather continues to improve, I will be outside walking and playing golf. AND I am behind on my book reviews! Exercising the mind, body and spirit will be the topic of discussion for my next post in 30 days.

In closing, I know my readers may not believe spiritually as I believe, and this post is not about converting anyone but to share with my readers how my Christian faith is an essential component in whatever purpose God has for me here. It is also an essential part of me becoming healthy in mind and body. Yet, I strongly believe, if I am being honest, that each one of us has an invisible weight of the spirit.

Blogging about my progress about converting to an intermittent fasting lifestyle helps me to keep it real for myself and perhaps for my readers too. I sincerely appreciate my readers following The Blogging Owl and my other blogs too. Please feel free to leave a comment and any IF tips! 

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

 

(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved