Exactly four weeks ago, when I was taking my little blog break, I decided to conduct an experiment. It seems, within the course of a few weeks I had been seeing a lot about gluten* intolerance and it's symptoms. I found more than just a few of them seemed to describe different things going on with me, so I decided to try to pin it down. Besides a blood test done at the doctor's office, another way to find out is to eliminate gluten from your diet for a month to see if the symptoms subside.
I did a bit of research; I even started another blog which I have since abandoned (see why further on) and found out what items from my prior diet I could still eat and what I would need to buy and eat during this period.
Now this is where I try to let you know just how much this here girl loves bread and wheat-made products; from cooked oats, Cream of Wheat (Duh!!), barley, and whole grain products. To find out one must avoid these things, including cakes, pies, and most CUPCAKES was a daunting thing. However, most of these can be replaced by products made with rice and other grains AND I did find the most delicious cupcakes ever, gluten-free or not. (Shout out to the moist, dense, coconut cupcakes with luscious cream cheese frosting made by 3 Fellers Bakery in Goochland, VA!)
I first started out listing my daily food intake in the new blog, but really wanted the calorie information included. That led me to dailyburn.com, where I could search for my usual food items or enter the dietary information for the items that were not already in their database. After doing this, I didn't want to duplicate the same information into the blog, so I ended up scrapping the blog pretty quickly.
Using dailyburn taught me a few things about my eating habits. Most importantly, I found out that I don't eat enough; rarely making it to 1,000 calories a day, and when I did it was only because I ate half a bag of potato chips or something else high fat and unhealthy. I sometimes exceeded the carbohydrates or fat I should be consuming per day; however, I was always far below the amount of protein that I needed daily. No wonder I felt sluggish and tired all the time, my body wasn't getting enough nutrients to create any energy.
It was shocking to find out that on a regular basis I've only eaten about 800 calories a day when the normal calorie count recommended in order to maintain my weight would be 1600 to 1800 calories a day! I also frequently skip breakfast. So, I definitely believe that the body can go into "starvation mode" and hold on to calories and pounds. Because despite this calorie deficit I've been under for months , I hadn't noticed any weight loss which it seems I should have experienced having effectively cut what is considered a normal calorie count in half! Not that I want to lose any weight, but presumably my metabolism is now so extremely slow because of this (and my sedentary lifestyle), that my body is not letting go of anything!
So this is what I need to work on:
Add more protein to my diet on a daily basis
Take my daily vitamin daily
Eat more vegetables (a rare occurrence, unless I eat out) and fruit
Get some exercise
Drink more water ( I've been recording only 2-3 glasses a day.)
Develop a consistent sleep pattern. Instead of falling into bed after midnight and having an understandably hard time getting up in the morning (after thoroughly exhausting all of the snooze options at my command)
* Gluten is a form of protein found in many grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye.