January 20, 2020
If you suffer from joint pain, you might want to read this (this is not an advertisement):
Feeling Like a Spring Chicken
By Rita Renee Lange Weatherbee
All my life, I’ve eaten what I wanted when I wanted. Most of the time, it wasn’t an issue (at least weight-wise). But after menopause in my early 50s and stopping smoking in my late 50s, I gained a tremendous amount of weight, even though I wasn’t consuming any more than before, when weight wasn’t that much of an issue. Being tall I could get away with carrying extra pounds until recent years.
It’s embarrassing to say that in the last ten years I have gained more than sixty pounds. I fought to get it off, but the weight only fluctuated a pound or two. When stopping smoking, it became even more of an issue.
I’ve suffered from joint pain since my twenties, but just took massive amounts of ibuprofen. The extra weight was killing my knees. After damaging a knee this past summer by twisting it a bone specialist said I have some osteoarthritis in my knees. The knee joint could be repaired from the twisting, but there wasn’t anything to do about arthritis except to get the weight off. He never told me certain foods cause inflammation. In fact, no doctor has ever told me that a high amount of carbohydrates cause inflammation. Through all the years of complaining about the pain, no one said it might be your diet aggravating your joints with inflammation. Not once.
My two daughters, Arin Diedrich and Angel Nemec tried the keto diet this past year with great success even though neither of them had that much to lose. They liked keto so much that they began urging me to try it. My two sisters and cousin were having success with low carb and or/keto diets as well. I held back trying things my own way. Extra exercise didn’t work. With intermittent fasting, I would lose a few pounds and gain back more. I was a carb addict and didn’t realize it.
After listening to their advice and suggestions for about a year and researching and taste testing recipes that were low carb and keto-approved, skeptically, I agreed to give keto a one month trial more to appease my daughters than to think I’d have any success with it.
January 1 seemed like a great time to start as three years ago on January 1 I quit smoking cold turkey. Knowing little about how to track the keto diet, I used an app called Carb Manager to track carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. There is a formula to be used and there are hundreds of places online to learn about it. All I know is that I completely cut out bread, pasta, candy, junk food, and my beloved McDonald’s sausage, egg and cheese biscuits.
The first day the shakes and lack of concentration got the best of me. I couldn’t even pull it together to make supper. My diet was hard-boiled eggs, bacon, cheese, and pickles throughout the day. I wasn’t hungry but felt icky. I got bitchy too. Al cooked supper while I watched him and barked instructions at him for a keto chicken dish (which turned out so amazing). My moods were all over the place.
The second day was a little better physically, but then I got the chills and couldn’t keep warm. Sleeping seemed the only solution. I look back and see that what was probably happening was that my body was going through sugar withdrawal. I often ate foods heavy in sugar like pasta and bread.
The first week I was ecstatic to see the scale go down four pounds. I kept going trying new foods and sticking to the plan. Arin was my main cheerleader with Angel offering her input along the way. The second week I lost a total of six pounds. It was so easy. I never felt hungry. The only time I had cravings was the third day, which was for salt, which you are supposed to have extra salt on this diet.
I am hovering at six pounds on this third week, but much more important is I feel years younger – like a spring chicken! This past summer and all through the fall, my mobility was getting very limited. I could hardly get out of a chair and much of the time needed assistance. I couldn’t get in and out of a vehicle without help or it taking a long time to maneuver. Even after the knee surgery that repaired the problem, I was still having problems with my hips making me feel like a much older person. I thought that was going to be my lot in my golden years, to struggle with walking and movement. Forget dancing, which I love, I could barely stand up. What exercise I did, was while sitting in a chair. The lower back pain, which had been an issue for years, was getting worse.
During the first week, I immediately began noticing that my mobility was back to normal. I could walk upstairs at a regular pace instead of a snail’s pace. I could walk around shopping areas without my knees killing me and with a bounce again, instead of a waddle. An MRI was done on my lower back in December. The doctor suggested physical therapy, and if that didn’t work, then later surgery, but they never called back with a referral, but it doesn’t matter now. This keto or low carb diet has practically eliminated the pain in my lower back as well. There is still have a tinge if I stand too long, but it’s nothing like it was!
I didn’t believe it was the change in diet until researching it on the internet and finding out that carbs cause inflammation. Geez, where the heck was this information all these years I complained to my doctors (to be fair, I rarely saw the same doctor twice since going to military doctors). I also read a story on one of the keto support group sites about a woman who was mostly in a wheelchair because of her painful joints and mobility issues. She too started the keto diet and long before she lost the weight, she began to be able to walk and stand and do things she hadn’t done in years.
Yes, I started this process for weight loss, but now I see that it’s going to have to be a lifestyle change if for nothing more than improving my mobility and being able to feel like me again. The weight will come off, but more importantly, I can dance!!! Honestly, I feel like it’s a miracle – praise God!