We’re Still On It…

So today we’ve been on our diet for three weeks.

At our two week check in with the dietitian she weighed us and gave us a slightly “friendlier” eating plan than the one we’d been on for the first two weeks. As with the kick start phase, we each have our own plan as my Glugster – being a man – is allowed a little more food than I am. She split his afternoon snack into two so that he’s not half starved when he gets home from work, and she split my morning snack into two so that I can resist the temptation of sweets while I am working in my kitchen. We’re now also allowed a little Coke Zero or other diet drinks, but must still keep fizzy drinks and sugar to an absolute minimum.
I lost 1.5kg in the first two weeks, and we had cheated a little over the Easter weekend. I was very pleased with how little we’d actually bent the rules over Easter, and we went right back to eating according to our plan. She will be happy with me losing half a kilo a week but I would like to lose a little more – which she says is possible with more exercise.
We go back to see her in a month’s time.

We are upping our exercise levels – we did a few laps of the dog park yesterday where we usually sit or stand under a tree for the majority of our visit, we take the stairs instead of the lift, I’m trying to walk faster when I walk Riddick and I discovered that simply running around the back lawn playing ball with my puppy is quite a workout indeed! I’m also thinking of getting a skipping rope or a hulahoop…

We’re sticking to our eating plan on weekends, and whilst I know its a long term life style change and we feel better and we’re making progress and and and, I get really fed up with having to prepare food three times a day! I LIKE ordering a pizza or getting KFC, and having so many fargin dishes EVERY day of the week is annoying. And make no mistake, my Glugster is cooking too – I’m not doing it alone.

But I hate what I look like more than I hate having to prepare food several times a day and unpack and repack the dishwasher constantly.

We took “BEFORE” photos of ourselves a couple of days after we started our diet, and we’ve decided to take a new picture every month so that we can see any visible changes as well as being encouraged by the weigh-in at the dietitian’s office. I won’t be posting them here until we reach our goal weights – which between the two of us is a whole nother person – and we have a semi-decent “AFTER” picture to post alongside it!!

Two Weeks In Hell…

That is where I have been banished to.
Okay, we. We are in hell.
My Glugster and I both will be spending two weeks in the very abyss of deprivation.

Today we went to see the dietitian. After a good long appointment which included calculating our weight and muscle, discussing our current eating habits, our lifestyle, our practically non-existent exercise regimen and so on, we were sent home with a very strict two-week programme to get us started.
Whilst I can happily live with no coffee, alcohol, junk food or sweets for the next two weeks, its going to be really hard to give up my Coke…
Its only for two weeks, and when we go back we’ll get a “friendlier” version, which will let me have some Coke every day, but I will have to switch to Zero. I can live with that.

She told us a lot of what we already knew when it comes to food, which wasn’t unexpected. And she suggested when it comes to exercising that instead of trying to start a whole new routine that we simply try to increase the exercise we are getting by walking faster and longer, and taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. As we make progress and get fitter we can look at joining a gym or some such.

The fact that my Glugster and I are both dieting, and both need to lose weight certainly helps because I’m not doing it alone, but I do know how pathetic I am when it comes to self control…
And working in my kitchen all day doesn’t help!
What also makes it a little tricky is the funding – we’re still battling some when it comes to finances and things like fruit, low GI bread and cottage cheese are luxury items for us… But we’ll make do.

Its only two weeks.

I have to keep telling myself that.

I think I’ll keep telling myself that even after the first two weeks is over. 😛

Food, Glorious Food…

I love food.

I love to eat, I love to bake, I love to cook.
I’m not terribly inventive when it comes to cooking but I can follow a recipe no problem, and I love experimenting with my baking.

I have a sweet tooth, but my favourite “snack” is chips – Lays Plain Salted or Nik Naks or bread sticks… I can polish off a tin of condensed milk in five minutes flat and I love it when its ice cold!
I can ignore my baking ingredients – the chocolate, nougat, créme caramels and icing – but if I experiment with a recipe and make caramel or toffee or some such I can’t leave it alone!

I love junk food…

I love Coke…

And any occasion is an excuse to eat.
Celebrating a special day like birthdays or Christmas.
A shopping trip is incomplete without fast food of some kind.
When I stress, I eat. And then I stress about the fact that I am stuffing my face and I am fatter than I have ever been in my entire life, and I eat some more.
The only time I don’t feel like eating is when I get really angry…

I have no self control. No self motivation. Not when it comes to food.
I joined Weight Watchers once, and spent a year paying off the six or eight weigh-ins I attended, and I lost and regained 5kg.
I have joined a gym three times – paying the discounted rate you get on Vitality – and all three memberships have lapsed because I couldn’t get my arse in gear to go to the gym often enough.
I was seeing a dietitian once, but that fizzled out.

And I know how I am supposed to eat. I know my sugar metabolism is slow so I should be watching my processed carb and refined sugar intake. I know I will do a WHOLE lot better if I just try to do the “everything in moderation” thing, I’ve done it before.
Once my Glugster and I bought into a prepared meal programme and we lost a lot of weight because our meals were prepared for us, they just had to be microwaved. That worked well. But its expensive.

The only time I lost a significant amount of weight was after my Hiatus Hernia surgery in 2006. And the reason I lost so much weight was because it was physically painful if I ate too much! Breads and chicken were too dry to eat and if I ate more than a teaspoonful of food at a time it would get stuck and I battled to swallow it.

And now looking at myself in a mirror makes me want to cry. And feeling like that doesn’t help me stay motivated and focused on other aspects of my life either.

My Glugster and I have an appointment with a dietitian next week, and unless she beats me with a stick for not eating properly, I don’t know if seeing her is going to help at all…

Something On An ADHD Diet And Supplements

Let me start by saying that research and products change over time – so recommendations and opinions need to change too. My own view point about treating ADHD has changed vastly since my son was diagnosed!

So why has ADHD (and Autism) become so prevalent?

One of the main reasons is that our diet is just plain terrible!

Our metabolic process is drastically affected by a lack of nutrients, especially Essential Fatty Acids. EFAs can be defined as follows: Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. The term “essential fatty acid” refers to fatty acids required for biological processes, and not those that only act as fuel. And what that boils down to is that our bodies cannot manufacture EFAs and we have no choice but to get them from our diet.

What is different about our diets now, compared to say, 30 years ago? Well, we eat on the run, in front of the TV, in the car, and often only once a day. We eat microwave meals, and instant meals and quite simply, it makes it impossible to get all our nutrients and vitamins we need from our food. Unless you grow our own veggies, make your own fertiliser, keep chickens for fresh eggs, keep a goat for fresh milk and so on, its not going to happen.

  • More fast foods means more fat, trans-fats in particular
  • More processed foods means more colourants & preservatives
  • More frozen foods, foods picked before they’re ripe, and foods eaten out of season means a lack of nutrients
  • And there used to be far fewer added hormones, preservatives, colourants and flavourings in our food

You want to know something scary? The average adult South African takes in 65kg of fat per year!! Unfortunately, good and bad fats are absorbed by our bodies; the bad ones just don’t get used like the good ones do. When it comes to what we eat, our carb intake provides glucose for the brain (from bread, pasta and cereals). And since the brain only uses what it needs, any excess becomes glycogen which is stored in the liver and muscles, and becomes fat. Because the brain needs the glucose, it’s not a good idea to cut out carbs completely, but balancing them is vital and good fats like avo, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil can aid in slowing down the body’s carb uptake and provide a balance.

Changing your diet is a process, not a quick fix. Sudden sweeping changes may actually result in crankiness and moodiness in anyone- adult or child. Here are some food tips for picky ADHDer eaters:

  • When it comes to snack foods try some of the following:
    • Apple and peanut butter! Its an American favourite!
    • Raw veggies and cottage cheese or mayo to dip them in. If your ADHDer is old enough, let them slice and dice and chop their own veggies!
    • Add a little milk and fruit pulp to yoghurt and make it into a “shake”.
    • Add fruit pulp to plain yoghurt and freeze into “lollies”- and ZipLoc bags work just as well as plastic lolly makers do.
    • Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches into funny shapes, this works well for younger kidlets.
  • Lots of children won’t eat plain bread, so try cubing it and frying it “dry” in a non-stick pan (or toast it in the oven) and have “croutons” instead. Add them to salads and soups for a little extra carbs.
  • When cooking, use palm or coconut or grape seed oil as the olive oil has a low heat tolerance and it becomes unhealthy when it gets too hot.
  • At the same time, try not to snack too much between meals. An ADHDer with a small appetite will already battle to eat his lunch or dinner, and if he has had too many snacks between meals he’ll be even less inclined to eat a plate of food.
  • Don’t be afraid of eggs! If your child doesn’t already have a cholesterol problem and is not allergic or diabetic, they can eat several eggs a day. And try plain or cheese omelettes instead of fried or boiled eggs!
  • Plant a veggie garden and let your ADHDer grow and eat his own raw veggies from his own garden!
  • Consider Ensure or an equivalent meal replacement milkshake instead of a meal to encourage them to “eat”, but you may want to avoid too much milk.
  • If your ADHDer didn’t eat a specific type of food a year or 6 months ago, try re-introducing it at a later date.
  • Ask your ADHDer to choose a vegetable or fruit to “try out” when doing your groceries, whether or not they go to the shop with you.
  • Offer a straw to drink soup with rather than eating it with a spoon- straws are more fun after all!
  • If your ADHDer likes something like mac-n-cheese or spaghetti bolognaise, try mixing in a little wheat germ or shredded chicken to boost the nutritional value, and you can do the same by adding puréed veggies to pasta sauces.
  • Try not to make a fuss if your ADHDer won’t eat something in particular, or won’t eat at meal time. Remember that our ADHDers thrive on negative attention AND positive attention so praise your ADHDer for what he or she has eaten. Making meal time stressful won’t help encourage your ADHDer to eat.
  • Try to avoid all the artificial sweeteners in fizzy diet drinks.
  • When it comes to colourants, one on its own may not do much harm, but we take in such a hectic cocktail of colours and flavours every day it actually gets quite overwhelming.

I’m also not saying that you have to avoid kids parties and never, ever eat out again. Moderation is the key! Our ADHDers already have so much stress and so many limitations that the occasional party really isn’t the end of the world. I wrote a post about kids parties a while ago that states my opinion on that subject.

🙂

As for supplements? If you’ve ever stepped into that aisle in a Dischem store, you’ll know this can be quite a minefield. And you must be careful of how you supplement!

When you’re looking for an Omega3 supplement, look for the highest levels of EPA and DHA per dose that you can possibly afford. It will be clearly noted on the label. And yes, the price will be scary as shite in some cases, but some frightening recent studies have shown the “cheaper” supplements contain no fish oil at all! You may also want to try the liquid rather than the capsules as it is often cheaper, and in many cases is easier to get down ‘coz you can mix it into a shake! It may seem unreasonable to spend so much money on supplements when you’re already paying for ST, OT, meds, specialists, play therapy, psychotherapy, extra lessons and in some cases private schools, but if you supplement correctly and try to eat right, you may well be able to stop spending on all the other things!

It is ideal of course, to supplement and eat right, but for very picky eaters like our ADHDers often are, just adding a good Omega3 supplement WILL make a difference! Blood tests have shown that ADHDers have very low levels of DHA, and symptoms of ADHD will be reduced with a good Omega3 supplement. Supplementing Omega3 has long been known to be important, and new studies demonstrating its importance can’t be ignored. For the longest time though, people have not supplemented enough to see a real difference.

If there is the risk of a fish allergy, or if you are strict vegans, there are other Omega3 supplement options, but a plant based Omega3 is harder to metabolise. If you haven’t heard about it, Krill oil is another Omega3 supplement (and a bit of a buzz word at the moment) but it is dreadfully expensive and it can contain shellfish contaminants like iodine. Curcumin is another Omega3 supplement but as I already mentioned, the plant based ones is not as easily metabolised and this particular one is expensive. And it doesn’t have to be a salmon oil specifically, just get the best one you can possibly afford.

Studies have also shown that we actually get more than enough Omega6 in our diets already, and over-supplementing can actually cause ADHD symptoms.

Supplementing Omega9 is virtually un-neccessary if you eat correctly and supplement with Omega3 because our bodies are actually capable of manufacturing Omega9, which we can’t do with Omega3 and Omega6. A good multivitamin is also a good idea, but if you don’t eat properly a multivitamin can make your ADHDer very nauseas.

Another minefield id the “Herbal” or “natural” supplements. Herbal doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, and if your child is on medication for ADHD you may actually do more harm than good. One of the problems with these supplements is that different farms- even in the same area- can’t guarantee the same levels of the active ingredient in their crops. And another problem is that South African legislation doesn’t test the contents or potency of these supplements. Anyone can buy a recipe and set up a manufacturing process. How can you evaluate a product? As yourself these questions:

  • Is it too good to be true?
  • Can you trust the label?
  • Is there a little bit of science and whole a lot of infomercial? Paying a movie star to say he uses a product doesn’t mean it will work.
  • Is there third party testing?
  • Can you contact the company and ask questions?

If you can answer these questions satisfactorily, then consider trying it.

And if something claims to be a “cure”, run away screaming!!

A very important thing to keep in mind is that no two people respond to supplements or medications the same way, and you must take the placebo effect into account. For example, if you have a headache, and a doctor gives you a Tic-Tac and tells you it’s a revolutionary new pill, it may well take your headache away. It may not work a second time, but the simple act of believing something will help will have a positive effect. This is the same for ADHD treatments. When we start something new we watch our ADHDers like hawks, waiting to see side-effects or positive results, and the extra focus will make a positive difference even if the supplement or medication or therapy you’re trying isn’t actually working.

And some ADHDers will still need some form of medication even if they are eating right; the trick is to find a balance that works best for your child.

So to sum up- find the right Omega3 supplement, find ways to encourage your ADHDer to eat right, and give it time to work before deciding it doesn’t work.

Weigh-Less… Erm…

I’m not going to weigh in today.

scale7I know I shouldn’t miss a weigh-in, but a weekend of cheating because we were away, and then a 27 Dinner last night means I am 110% sure I have gained the weight I had lost at last week’s weigh-in, and then some.

I have decided to get back on the wagon as of this morning and see if I can’t reverse the dietary damage I’ve done before next week Wednesday’s weigh-in.