Sugar, we’re going down

I feel good. I feel very good. Better than I have in a year and a half. As you all know I have been battling a back issue along with extreme shoulder pain and a stiff neck. It has caused problems like you wouldn’t believe. I just wanted to feel better and so, I started working on it. My doctor couldn’t tell me what was wrong and really didn’t look much into it but through some research, friendly conversation and more research I was able to figure it out and I’m on my way to recovery.


How it all started…
About a year and a half ago I was at work and suffered a dizzy spell. Now, I have had dizzy spells before from getting up too fast but I was standing and speaking to someone. When I went to move everything started to spin. It was horrible and I almost passed out. That weird feeling continued for a few weeks until I finally got a chance to see my doctor. The first visit lasted about ten minutes. My symptoms were a feeling of being off balance, stiff neck, shoulders, back and joint pain as well as extreme exhaustion. This was daily. My doctor told me to start taking my high blood pressure medication again. So I did…and it was horrible. The main side-effect? A dry cough and mine was crazy. Months passed but my health continued to spiral down.


The daily pain was unbearable but no one could tell me what was wrong. I had blood work done, a urine test, and neurological tests because of the odd headaches caused by the tension in my neck and nothing relieved it. I was drinking more than usual because at night, I couldn’t relax due to the pain. It sucked and I travel a lot for work so at the end of the night when all my work was done and I no longer had to hide the pain I was dealing with I would relax with a cold beer. It worked but I was tired of feeling like shit. And feeling like shit daily is hard to keep up with. After a while it takes a toll. My body was breaking down and I didn’t know why.


A conversation and a change
After almost a year of constant daily pain, not knowing what was wrong, seeing a chiropractor every other day as well as seeing my family doctor and being sent to physical therapy I had had enough. I needed to change something and I thought, “maybe it has to do with something I’m doing that is causing this?” The first thing I did was stop drinking. Within that first week my back started feeling better. I still felt like shit but not as much as before. I started doing yoga every morning. The constant stretching of my body helped out with the stiff neck, shoulders and back. My legs were getting stretched out and it was helping. I continued this but every so often I felt like crap. What was left to change?


I remember a conversation with a friend and co-worker of mine and he mentioned “candida.” What the fuck is that? I know, a rough way to ask but that’s exactly what I asked when I heard this. I didn’t believe it at first but as I continued to go back and forth with my health I started to believe it more and more and I did a lot of research. As you all know I am no doctor and I do not claim to be one. Plus, my own doctor has not diagnosed this. I had to try it for myself first. Candida, according to Wikipedia is an opportunistic pathogenic yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. It does not proliferate outside the human body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth in 40-60% of healthy adults. Weird right?


Apparently it is more common then people would believe and everyone has it and at normal levels it’s fine but when it grows out of control it can be problematic. So when I quit drinking it helped significantly because what is one of the main ingredients in beer? Yeast. Yep, I was feeding this candida shit and it was growing out of control. But I still didn’t feel great and my aches and pains were still bothering me. So what next? I researched further on this candida crap and there is a diet, an anti-candida diet. There are many pages dedicated to this diet and it’s crazy. I say it’s crazy only because I have never done anything like this but like I said before, I was tired of feeling like shit and I needed to change.

The diet consists of cutting out all fruit, all grains, all sugar and because I’m lactose intolerant, no dairy.  Sugar and grains feed candida so the concept is starving it by cutting out what feeds it. Make sense? I understand it but I still think it’s crazy. All I can eat is meat and veggies. Which is good because I love meat and veggies but I can’t eat vegtables that are high in starch and I can’t eat mushrooms. I love mushrooms but it is a fungus and so is candida so it would be feeding it. Sad face! The first couple of days on this diet was hell! Quitting sugar is what I think quitting heroine would be like. I know that seems extreme but believe me when I say that it was very tough! I was craving sweets like you wouldn’t believe and that is definitely something because I’m not a sweets person when it comes to candy, cakes and such. It was more of the pop I was drinking. I was not a fun person and I was getting ready to travel for a conference too. It blew but something changed.


Road to recovery
After a week out of state for work at a conference where I would normally eat whatever I wanted I changed, rather, my body changed. My symptoms have mostly died off. I get flare ups every now and then but they are few and I can actually take a deep breath now. Before I felt like I had something blocking me from taking a deep breath. I used to be bloated and everything would cause gas. I was uncomfortable all the time and constantly taking meds for gas and acid reflux but now, it’s gone. Back pain? Gone. Shoulder and neck pain? Stiff on occasion but nothing like I was dealing with for the last year and a half. It makes me want to cry at the thought of how it was before compared to how I feel now.


I was pretty much killing myself through my diet. My body started to break down and it forced me to slow down. I needed to change something and I did. Again, I’m only two weeks into this month long diet to reset my stomach and restore my gut health but I’m feeling great. Sure…I would love a cheese burger and an ice cold coke or beer but instead it would be a deconstructed burger where there is no bun, no ketchup or mustard or cheese or pickles, just meat and onions with an ice cold glass of water. Not appealing I know but it’s for my health and mental well being. Once this month is over I can slowly introduce fruit and grains back in but slowly and eventually I can take on a burger but if I get used to this I might just stick with it. I enjoy feeling good.


Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge
This is my story and the reason why I jumped at the opportunity to do this with Jim and Ryan. My change was well on its way but I didn’t realize what I had until I was deep into this challenge. The three of us were dealing with our own issues and we thought, “if we are dealing with shit then maybe others in the industry are too.” We wanted to inspire people to do better for themselves. In this industry we do for everyone else and never think of US. With this challenge we are doing for US while pushing each other to be healthy and do what’s best for our individual situations. Now that you know my story I would love to read yours. If you would like to share you can email it to wttpodcast@gmail.com or if you have joined the Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge group on Facebook then please post it there. I’m on my road to recovery and I am honored to share this journey with all of you.

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