Saturday, 10 March 2012

Diet Report 8: Exercise And No Gluten

Not for me, of course, I love gluten, gluten and I are the best of friends still. Mrs Monkey and gluten, however, have had a bit of a falling out.

It's a reason for healthy eating I had never considered but had it not been for this process the diagnosis may have taken a while still. Here's the central point. Mrs Monkey and I have been dieting for the same time. I have lost twice as much weight as her, which is possibly more of a difference, I now reflect, than our genders alone might furnish.

Whichever way you look at it I am bouncing with health and filled with the joys of spring, I feel better, I sleep better, I am better. She feels like rubbish. So we went to the doctor's and said "Look here, we're eating almost identically. Mr feels terrific, Mrs feels shady, what gives?"

So after a battery of blood tests it turns out that Mrs Monkey is almost certainly coeliac. Now, for those of you who may know a thing, or indeed two, about coeliac condition you might not expect the Mrs to be overweight. And yet she is. Because the same battery of blood tests also revealed that Mrs Monkey had an underactive thyroid.

The revealing of the results was a small comedy of errors. Part one of the meeting was a lecture about cutting down on her alochol intake. Mrs Monkey does not drink. "Oh," the doctor said, "but your liver...". So after this was sorted out part two of the meeting was a lecture about not eating enough greens. "My husband and I eat large salads three times a week at least," quoth Mrs Monkey. "Come now, really?" said the doctor, disbelieving. "Seriously," Mrs Monkey said. "Seriously?" the doctor asked weakly. Mrs Monkey nodded grimly. "But... but... you have no nutrients in your blood at all. It is as if you are starving to death!" the doctor said. Thus was the truth uncovered.

Mrs Monkey is now recovering nicely and we are discovering the joys of wheat-free produce. She had more blood tests this week to ascertain the exact level of the coeliac condition in her case.

Here's the thing. If we hadn't dieted, if we hadn't explored the tabulation of nutritional data and the compilation of these statistics the diagnosis might have been deferred some further time still. Occam's razor states that if an overweight person presents to a doctor complaining of pain, aching, lethargy, insomnia and freely admits to eating a diet of salty, sugary, greasy carbs and no vegetables to speak of there is a simple explanation for their condition even if that simple explanation happens to be dead wrong. But if you spend two months playing the game, counting, measuring, identifying the shortfall the easy explanation is no longer good enough.

In this way Mrs Monkey dodged a bullet. It is worth doing this for a couple of months even if you don't care how much weight you lose. Who knows what other useful advice you could pick up.

Here endeth the lesson.

For myself the flappy skin problem has started to manifest. I had believed that such a thing would come as little pinchy bits at the bottom of the belly. I believed they would deepen and flap and that would be the clue. I believed that I would just be able to eat more to compensate and slow the rate of change.

Actually what happens is that your belly fat just hangs more pendulously because of the slack weight of unused skin around it. When you are properly fat the skin is tight and taut like a drum skin. It holds up by itself because it has no real choice. When there's less fat it slouches and attempts to skulk around your waistline at the cut off of your fat store. Not only that but I fond myself eating quite adequately enough and do not wish to stuff my face arbitrarily.

The only solutions are targeted exercise and some moisturisation to make the skin supple. So in addition to walking this week and skipping when I could (the daylight fades too quickly and in the morning it is too loud and I have no desire to be obnoxious) I have instituted a regimen of stomach crunches, leg raises and step ups. I intend to increase sets and reps over the coming weeks and hope that targeting those areas will allow the skin to shrink back. I shall keep you updated.

My weight readings this week have been fairly stable, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this wasn't a second week of duck egg. Still, we shall see. Later.

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