This is a difficult post to write because the temptation to feel like a failure is there.
I have mentioned before that I’m not well in touch with my body and the messages it’s trying to send me. So for the past few weeks that I have been feeling slightly off (vaguely nauseated, weird burning sensation in the vicinity of my intestines, and a roller coaster ride of bathroom unpleasantness) I have been chalking it up to either anxiety or just me feeling sorry for myself over not being able to enjoy autumn apples.
Last week at the clinic the endocrinologist overseeing my weight loss mentioned that my liver enzymes were “elevated” but that it was probably something to do with my birth control pills and it was fine for me to continue the program.
Concerned and confused, I called my family doctor and asked them to review my blood work and explain to me a bit more clearly just what “elevated” means.
Last Wednesday morning the nurse practitioner called me at work and told me that the numbers for my liver enzymes had gone from textbook normal the week before I began the liquid diet program to four times higher than that. They also strongly recommended that I cease consuming all products given to me by the weight loss clinic immediately and resume a normal diet. They said that the reason I’ve been feeling off is because my liver is sick – and whatever I’ve been consuming needed to stop. Right then. That day.
This resulted in what I can best describe as a disagreement between the endocrinologist at the weight loss clinic and my family doctor. The endocrinologist argued that in his 26 years of experience this result is something that happens with some overweight patients, our livers are unhealthy to begin with because of our excess body weight and as it begins to shed the numbers go high, level off, and then drop if we just continue the program. My family doctor strongly advised me not to take the chance that he was wrong since my liver showed zero signs of being unhealthy before I began consuming nothing but the liquid diet and vitamin pills provided by the clinic.
That Wednesday afternoon I stopped the program.
I lost my gall bladder trying to become slim on Jenny Craig, I absolutely cannot take the chance of something happening to my liver as well for the sake of this vanity. I was numerically healthy before I began, and now I am not. There has to be a way to achieve healthy weight loss without sacrificing any internal organs in the process.
I’ll probably never know what really happened. The endocrinologist could very well be right and in a few more weeks the numbers would have begun to drop off to normal again. He asserted that a “woman my size” must have had a fatty liver to begin with, and for some reason the test numbers just weren’t showing it.
Maybe I had vitamin toxicity because all the vitamins in the food plus two big extra pills a day were just more than my liver could deal with.
Or my body was really choking on a diet consisting only of pills, protein shakes and saccharine chemical sweetener and its cries for real, fresh food that grows from the ground or off of a tree could no longer be ignored.
So I’m back on real food, but I’m not giving up. I’m using the Daily Plate again to keep my daily calorie consumption in control at around 1,300 / day as I try to figure out what to do next. Since I think I need the pressure of a weekly public weigh-in I’m leaning toward going back to Weight Watchers. A bunch of the ladies I work with go so there would be friends with me at the meeting and people to help and be helped by the entire time I’m at the office.
I’ve immediately quit all caffeine and chemical sweeteners again (which is a huge relief) and begun a daily regimen of lemon cleanses and liver-healing foods. A lemon cleanse is basically just the juice of one whole, fresh lemon squeezed into a 16 oz. bottle of very cold water and chugged first thing after I wake up. Tart, but refreshing. Liver-healing foods are things like grapefruit, apples, garlic, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables… basically all the foods I’ve been dying for during the last month anyway, so that’s not a tough prescription to follow.
In another four weeks my family doctor will test me again, and hopefully my body will have begun to heal itself.
I need to make it clear that although the diet I’ve been on is extreme, I still don’t consider it “bad”. It absolutely works for some people, it worked for my father and my sister – that’s how I found out about it. The good, caring folks at the clinic have helped many, many people to achieve their health and weight loss goals.
Something not being the right plan for me does not mean I think it’s not the right plan for anyone. Every body is different, and one size does not fit all.