Tis better to give than receive

Or so the saying goes. My birthday gift to the world was a unit of blood this afternoon, donated right before I went to go teach. I’d just come from the gym, so my blood was all sorts of eager to be pumped around and gotten out – I was done in six minutes! I can’t even run a mile that fast! 🙂 Maybe someday…

I’ve also baptized my new shoes, quite by accident, also in blood. See, this morning I decided to wear them around the house to break them in a little bit more (after having done so last night, since I knew I’d be running my easy 3 miles in them today), but as I was lacing them up I failed to notice a cut on my finger, which then dragged on the laces. Which are white! Augh! Oh well – it’s only a couple of tiny spots, but now I feel like the shoes are mine, and this is meant to be. The 3-mile run wasn’t the greatest – my legs were more like wooden tree trunks than legs, but this is the sort of day where you just have to push through and finish – but my knees didn’t hurt a whit during or after. I am encouraged by this, and quite excited for Saturday’s 4-mile race.

Running stuff is done here; I’m going to talk about icky stomach things, so stop reading if you’re not so much into that.

I had what I hope is my last appointment for several months with my GI doctor this morning. Given that the foam medication she put me on has done its job quite nicely, without almost all of the nasty side effects of the first medicine I was on, we decided that I should stay  on it, but as a tapered rate. Since it’s a steroid, it is bad for long-term use, so next week I’m going to start using it every other night, and then (fingers crossed) be able to taper down to maybe once a week, once a month, as needed. That would be pretty awesome, especially since my symptoms right now are nearly non-existent – I do get the occasional bout of stabby-cramping, but it’s very temporary and doesn’t interfere with my ability to do things – and it might be nice to not have to be shoving something up my rear every single night. (Ahem.)

But – and there’s always a but (HAHAHA sorry) – one thing that’s not quite abated yet is the bloating. Blorgh. Today, and many days, I felt like a whale, with a big old round belly that threatened to give me the dreaded muffin top ™ with a pair of pants that I know fits me and does not ever give me muffin top. It’s been happening a lot lately, and I can’t tell if it’s the steroid, or if it’s the addition of more carbs to my diet as marathon-training fuel, but I don’t like it. If anyone has any suggestions on carbs that maybe make you not so bloated, or non-carb nutrition replacements for carbs that will still fuel me for running, I am all ears. Right now I try to limit my grain carbs to whole-grain cereal, steel-cut oatmeal, and whole-grain snacky bars, but I eat at least one of those (either the cereal or the oatmeal, plus a snacky bar) once per day. I get a lot of carbs from apples and vegetables, especially sweet potatoes, and when I do eat pasta it’s whole-grain or quinoa. I don’t know how much I could cut out without making nutritional sacrifices, though.

It’s just… frustrating; I’ve never had a flat belly, and never will, but this bloating is ridiculous. I feel like a fatty when I wear something remotely not-loose because my stupid belly just pokes out over my waist, and I’m waiting for someone to ask me when I’m due. The last time I had a nearly non-belly was three summers ago when I was barely scraping by and barely eating anything at all – like, 800 calories per day, and exercising about as much as I do now, which is so not healthy – and while I looked good, I felt awful. I was tired all the time, I was cranky and irritable, and I felt weak and dizzy a lot. Now that I eat better, and eat the right things, I weigh about ten-fifteen pounds more than I did at my lowest weight then, but I by and large feel fantastic – I feel strong, healthy, vibrant, well-rested, and frankly I think I look better with some muscle on me than without. Except I have this stupid big belly, and while I know I am not reducible to being defined by one body part, it’s irksome.

OK, whining over. 🙂 After all, tomorrow IS my birthday proper, where I say ‘screw the bloaty belly’ and take a nice, long rest day ending with some Hopslam and doing whatever the hell I want. Huzzah!

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6 Responses to Tis better to give than receive

  1. notnecessarilyokay says:

    Well, I finally made an account here, mostly because I need someplace new to blow off steam. Can’t do it on FB and my LJ is all but dead, so… here I be.

    I’ve been reading ever since you sent out your email(aren’t you glad I respond to such things in a timely manner?) and was sort of horrified about the UC. I know 2 people who also have this and for them it’s basically bland, boring diet. But it sounds like you’re figuring out how to make it work for you, so that’s good.

    Re: carb stuff, I cannot eat much in the way of carbs or else I’d end up being one of those people who gets cut out of their house. I have an extremely low carb/high protein diet and that works just fine for me– and I’m not sedentary either. If you want a non-carb nutrition substitute, I use these: http://eas.com/product/advantedge-carb-control-ready-to-drink I like them a lot and they come in 4 or 5 different flavors(dark chocolate is the bestest).

    And… I guess that’s all I have to say at the moment, lol. Oh, btw, this is Alex, the one who enjoys having pictures taken with large scary German men after VNV Nation shows, hahahaha.

  2. kmt4n says:

    Yo G. I totally knew it was you at the first sentence, btw. 🙂

    I’m certainly not one to talk about never responding to stuff, so no worries there. Thanks for the tip on the drinks – I especially like the zero-sugars component to them. I’ll keep an eye out for them next time I’m at the store; I’ve been thinking about adding some sort of drink- or shake-like supplement to my diet, but have been hesitant to make the jump for some reason.

    Do you mind telling me what else you usually eat? I’m fine eating eggs and/or Greek yogurt every day; I probably should eat more chicken and definitely fish, and I have canned tuna once a week (I read somewhere that the mercury in it is bad enough for women that we should only have one can per week, though that’s mostly for child-bearing-intending women, who I am not, but the idea of possibly actively poisoning myself gives me some pause). I eat a high-protein cereal, which is admittedly somewhat of a carb bomb but I’m willing to keep that as my non-veggie/non-fruit carb and scrap the rest.

    I think my issue is that protein is most useful for building muscle in the way that weightlifters want it to, but since I run I need the complex carbs to keep my system going – not necessarily to build muscle (though I don’t mind that either since it helps me be a better runner). So I keep going back and forth on whether I should be eating more or less carbs. I think my running DOES do better on more carbs, but there’s the belly tradeoff… if it even IS a carb issue, and not a steroid issue, after all.

    Blablablablaba. Isn’t this fun?? OK, time to go get ready for my race… after I eat some more cereal. LOL

    • notnecessarilyokay says:

      I like those shakes a lot, I actually use them as a breakfast replacement, even though that’s not really what they’re intended for. But I’m never hungry in the mornings, though still figure I ought to get *something* inside me, so… there you go.

      As far as food, I eat a lot of eggs(good thing they’re cheap), usually cooked up with bell peppers and onions and cheddar cheese, and some spices or whatever. Eggs are really quite versatile, lol. I also eat a lot of chicken, prepared in various ways, again with spices and the like, generally served with some type of vegetable, usually broccoli or green beans(I seem to have gotten over my green bean phobia), and sometimes peas & carrots. I’ve become ridiculously good at cooking and coming up with things on the fly, so I get a little entertainment out of it as well, haha. I will occasionally eat ground beef, the leanest I can possibly find(usually 97%, but it’s so damn expensive), though I don’t eat it often as I try not to consume too much red meat. So that’s maybe like 2-3 times a month, if that. I prefer chicken anyway, as well as ground turkey. When I do beef I like to season it with cumin and again serve it with some kind of vegetable.

      I do eat fish, though not frequently due to the whole all-teh-mercuries-will-kill-you aspect(also, being a Pisces, well, it just seems wrong…). I like salmon a lot, but that’s pretty much a “treat” because it too is so expensive. I buy the single packs of tuna in water and eat maybe 2 of those a week for lunch or a snack or whatever. We also occasionally have tilapia. And again, except for the tuna, I make a vegetable to go along with it. Maybe you can kinda see a pattern here, lol.

      I consume very very very few carbs, simply because I just can’t(I’d weigh 8 million pounds). My one real spoiler is I do go to Starbucks pretty much daily and get a drink, but I learned recently that what I get(vanilla latte) has way fewer carbs in it than one might expect, and it doesn’t seem to cause me any problems. I know it’s good to get at least *some* carbs every day, but I try to stay under 40. I’m at my lightest in several years and intend to stay that way. I also feel just fine, though I know that this type of diet doesn’t always go over so well for some people. It has a lot of benefits besides maintaining proper weight, but some just can’t tolerate it for whatever reason.

      I also take supplements– niacin, B-12, biotin, DHEA, and DHA/EPA fish oil(these are the really important ones when it comes to omega-3’s– skip the flax, go for the fish oils). I’m on 3 types of px medications too, to control my crazy, 2 of which are known to cause (sometimes substantial) weight gain, but I keep losing anyway.

      Katy works in a bakery where they make everything fresh and don’t use any crap ingredients(no HFCS or preservatives or anything like that). The breads are very good and I will occasionally have a slice or two, but I’ve got it so burned in to my mind to avoid breads/pasta/rice/etc that I don’t get much of it, even though I know that this bread has the “good” type of carbs in it.

      Oh, I’m sorry, did you want a novel? lol

      I do wonder if your bloat problem is due to steroids rather than carb intake. Steroids are notorious for causing weight gain, among other things… I imagine bloat could be a part of that as well. Or it could be the carbs, lol, I can’t really say either way. I will say that when I was eating things like rice and pasta it would cause the worst bloat imaginable in me. Just another reason for me to avoid that kind of stuff.

      All that said… it’s not like I NEVER eat anything carb-heavy. I will treat myself periodically, though yet another issue I have with carb-heavy foods is that they make me extremely tired, almost immediately. At one point I was told that this was a symptom of diabetes, but I was tested and do not have diabetes, so…

      BUT ANYWAY. For you, you probably need the carbs. You probably don’t have the body fat to go low/no carb, because what happens is when you stop taking in carbs, your body switches to burning fat for fuel(whereas when you eat carbs, it will use those carbs first, and if you’re not doing anything to burn them off, they get stored as fat and then eventually you need much larger clothing…). But if you don’t have the fat to burn, your body will start to go after muscle, and you don’t want that.

      I don’t factor calories in to anything, ever. But that’s a completely different rant.

      So… did you get anything out of that? Haha, sorry, I’ve been in a babbly mood the past few days. 😛

  3. kmt4n says:

    Your novel is actually really really helpful. 🙂 Pardon the pun, but I’ll digest it for a little bit and give some of that a go – I know I can eat more lean meat, and I can certainly dress up my eggs more than I do (which is to say, not really at all). Couldn’t hurt, right? And, with any luck, once I back off the steroids I’ll see some improvement.

    THANK YOU. This has been really excellent!

    • Alex says:

      No problem. Glad it was helpful, even if it took hours to read, lol.

      2 things I forgot to mention–

      Watch your sodium intake. This can cause bloating due to water retention, and of course in general high sodium intake is not good for you. Don’t know if you drink stuff like Gatorade(I’m guessing not since it has HFCS in it), but the sodium count is off the chart in that stuff. Most of the foods I mentioned above are really good about being low in sodium, so if you switch to something like that all should be well. Watch some of your spices, if you use any, as some may have added salt(I don’t put salt on anything– at all. Seriously. But there’s a reason besides sodium being so bad for you– being bipolar, high sodium intake can cause me to bounce off the walls. It’s why lithium is often the treatment of choice[I can’t tolerate that either, lol], because it regulates sodium. Anyway.). If you want good, cheap spices, try the “ethnic foods”(or whatever your grocery store calls it there) aisle(it’s usually made up of mostly Mexican type stuff) as they are significantly cheaper and don’t have a bunch of extra garbage in them.

      The second thing is if you decide to add a niacin supplement to your diet, as in pill form, watch out for what’s referred to as the “niacin flush”. Basically it makes all the blood in your body rush to your skin and you will turn bright bright red like you’ve just gotten the worst sunburn of your life. I had been on 500mg pills and just today switched to a lower dosage(because 500 is way way more than you need in a day), but the new ones I switched to are in gel capsule form, so they release quicker, and I was in more pain than you can even imagine. The 500mg ones didn’t do that– they DID cause the flush, but not the pain, I suspect because they were slower to release than these new ones are. Now I’m only on 200mg, which is really still more than you need in one day, but my entire body turned bright red and hurt like a mofo. With the previous ones, I’d only turn red on my face, chest and arms. These ones are just… awful. LOL I’ll continue taking them, but am going to try just 100mg instead and see if that makes any difference. Anyway, just things I thought I ought to mention. 🙂

  4. kmt4n says:

    OK, so this is like eight years later, but I told you I was going to take a while to digest (har har). And I have been thinking about this for a couple of days, just haven’t had the mental wherewithal to actually bang out a reply. Anyway…

    My sodium intake is, I think, rather low. I only ever drink water and coffee and very rarely milk (when I go on cereal binges but those don’t count LOL), and of course beer and wine *never* count, and I take great care to make sure that anything with a label on it has as little sodium in it as possible. I never salt my food either, because I don’t care for the taste of salt to begin with; mostly I use pepper and a shit-ton of other spices as needed because I’ve learned that, for example, a little bit of curry powder can go a long way.

    The niacin flush sounds pretty awful – yikes! Definitely something to keep in mind if I decide to go that route with the supplement. I think, and this goes for pretty much everything diet-related (esp the EAS drinks you referred me to above), that I’m going to wait until *after* my half-marathon is done in April to do any adjustments to my diet; I’m only about four weeks away from the race, and it’s my understanding that now is not really the time to start experimenting with stuff. Since I am nearly religious with my feeding and drinking routines as it is, I feel like this is fairly good advice to follow, and will start messing around with things when my brain isn’t trying to tell me “but this could mess up your training!”. Also, this week I’m finally going to start reducing my steroid dosage from every day to every other day, as I start a verrrrry slow taper to eventually once a week. It’s my hope that that will help too, in and of its own accord.

    Again, good stuff, so thanks. 🙂 Definitely filing this away for the future!

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