Welcome!

Looking for makeup content? I separated my two blogs, Not26Anymore and Not26AnymoreBeauty! This way you only see the content you’re interested in. Visit www.not26anymorebeauty.com for makeup and beauty content.

Welcome to my blog. If you’re looking for clean eating tips,  health and fitness articles, and information about weight loss, you have come to the right place! I have found plenty of stuff online about all those things, but nothing that really focuses on how different health or fitness is when you’re “not 26 anymore.”

I’m in the middle of my weight loss journey at the moment, but clean eating has definitely become a lifestyle for me. I also have a lot of goals that have nothing to do with weight loss, such as being healthier overall, and lowering my body fat percentage. I like to feel good, and feel good about what I eat, because I LOVE FOOD! If you’re interested in specifics on my weight loss journey you can check out my page about that.

If you’d like to know more about me, please visit the About page. I love comments, so please if you have questions, comments, or tips of your own, share them! Thanks for reading. ❤

yes fit challenge virtual race

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All content © 2010-2017, Stacey E. Aldridge, unless otherwise noted.

How I Lost 15 Pounds in 2019

How i lost 15 pounds in 2019

How I lost 15 pounds in 9 weeks

We are barely into March and I am just about ready to hit the 15 pounds lost mark for 2019! I am amazed at the results that I have had. I have lost and gained weight many times in the past but this has been the most consistent weight loss I have ever had.

(The photo on the left of the collage is me at my heaviest weight, around 215 pounds. I’m almost 30 pounds down from that weight.)

Slow weight loss means sustainable weight loss

Gaugegirl training 6 week shred meal planAlthough I have been losing less than 2 pounds per week – which incidentally is the most that experts recommend you lose – I think anyone will agree that if they lost a pound a week they are not going to feel upset at 15 pounds lost! The faster you lose weigh, the more likely you are to regain it because extreme measures are what result in extreme results and extreme measures aren’t a lifestyle.

Diets do not work

Most experts agree that diets do not work. The ones that tell you diets work are usually trying to sell you on their diet. It has to be a lifestyle eating change that you can keep up in order to have lasting results. I did use a meal plan but it is one that encourages healthy lifestyle changes and is not a deprivation diet and that’s the GaugeGirl Training 6 week shreds. Christine from GaugeGirl training has over a dozen meal plans that follow the same principals – counting macros and cooking your own food in order to lose weight by eating healthfully.

One days food on GaugeGirl Training Italian 6 week shredI started losing weight immediately

Starting my first 6 week shred, I started to lose weight right away but it was super slow. In fact, if I was basing it only on pounds I would probably be upset but Christine was smart and has you take your measurements. I lost 5-1/2 inches off my waist over the 6 weeks. All of my clothes were too big after just a couple weeks!

What is macro approach to weight loss

Macros, short for macronutrients, are the things that make up all the foods we eat. We know them as protein, carbs, and fat. Instead of counting calories, the GaugeGirl Training plans focus on the balance of macros. Christine does not allow the macros to be shared or the recipes, because this is her business and it is worth paying for! I wish that I had tried it sooner, I had been following her on social media for over a year before I finally decided to pay for the plans.

How i lost 15 pounds in 2 months

Egg muffin recipe from Gauge Girl Training 6 week shredFollowing the GaugeGirlTraining 6 week shred exactly, as Christine laid out, was not easy but it was not that hard either. I purchased the Vegetarian shred and the Italian shred and I was able to make substitutions pretty easily as long as I didn’t mind focusing on what I was doing and doing the math. This is what I did to be successful:

  • No cheats during the shred, which is one of Christine’s rules. She also does not allow alcohol during the shred but I don’t drink so that was not an issue for me.
  • Meal prep for the entire week each Sunday. It took 3-1/2 hours and messed up my old back injury but I prepped every breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire week so I had no temptation to cheat. I knew if dinner wasn’t prepped I would be too tempted to get take-out but I wouldn’t throw away food.
  • Utilizing the facebook support group. When you purchase a shred or plan from Christine you get access to a private facebook group and asking questions plus asking for support and providing support to others was a big part of what kept me motivated.
  • Taking measurements was key, like I said above if I was just going on the scale I would have felt disappointed but the amount of inches I lost blew my mind. My body was reshaping even though it wasn’t losing huge quantities of pounds. Yes fit medal American Cancer Society fundraiser
  • Being patient was also important. It takes time to gain weight so it will take time to lose it. Not expecting it to happen overnight and committing for the long haul were also important for me.
  • FOLLOWING THE PLAN!!!!!!!!!! Sticking to the macros even when I was making substitutions was really important.

I see people in the support group saying they’re not going to follow part of the plan or they are going to drink alcohol or they’re not calculating macros when doing their own thing. WHY!?!? You’ve purchased a meal plan, if you don’t follow it what’s the point?

weight loss tracker calendar 2019While reverse dieting I have continued to slowly and steadily lose weight and inches. I am beginning another shred this week (March 11th) because I am not yet at my ideal weight. GaugeGirl Training recommends doing no more than 2-3 shreds back to back but you can reverse diet and do another shred once finishing your first. I am currently about 10 pounds from my current goal weight but I’m still 9% higher in body fat than I want so I still have a ways to go but the 6 week shred has definitely jump started my progress!

Homemade Vegan Yogurt, Part One

Or – What not to do.

home made instant pot vegan nut milk yogurtI can’t remember where or when I discovered that you can make yogurt in an instant pot. I didn’t even know what an instant pot was a month ago! As soon as I knew it was possible I could not stop thinking about making my own vegan no sugar added yogurt. When you are lactose intolerant and watching out for FODMAPs, store bought yogurt is pretty much off limits. SO after thinking about it for a bit I bought an amazon warehouse deal crockpot brand slow cooker/pressure cooker for $50, some vegan yogurt starter, and after having read several yogurt making blogs and recipes – both vegan and non vegan, I was sure that it was going to be easy! All it took was time.

The first thing I noticed was that unlike the Instant Pot brand pots, when I hit “yogurt” and then “temperature” as the recipe instructed, it did not say BOIL on the display. It was at that point that I read the completely useless directions that came with the crock pot that said yes, you can adjust the temperature on the yogurt setting but nothing about boiling. I did not have a food thermometer, something I would come to regret, so I decided to just hit the yogurt button and hope for the best.

8 hours later I had some very yummy smelling lukewarm almond milk. I decided it must have been the not boiling that did it so I set out the next day to get a digital thermometer with a cord so that I could set it to let me know when it hit 180 degrees. I also bought the recommended silicon whisk and two more containers of almond milk. I was certain that it would work the second time.

After heating my milk to 180 degrees and adding the yogurt starter with the silicon whisk, just as the instructions said, I placed my almond milk mixture back in the crock pot and hit yogurt. 4 hours later, I really wanted to see what it was looking like in there so I opened it up – again it was full of very good smelling almond milk that was no thicker than when I poured it into the bowl. It was at that point, more closely reading the instructions that came with the Cultures for Health vegan yogurt starter that I saw the sentence “You can make yogurt most nut milks except commercial almond milk.” Noooooooooo! I decided to finish the 8 hours after I stirred in some flax meal to hopefully thicken it, as some blogs suggested. 4 hours later all I had was a bowl full of almond milk with 4 tables of flax meal at the bottom of it.

This time I saved the now-fermented almond milk with probiotics to use for smoothies.

However I have now determined that I MUST make vegan yogurt. I can’t not. I have now put 16 hours, a $50 crock pot, a $9 yogurt starter, 4 containers of almond milk at around $4 each, a $15 digital thermometer plus my order of new yogurt starter, a nut milk bag, and pectin from Amazon. I will make vegan yogurt, no matter how long it takes! Stay tuned.

Concealing To Hide Fine Lines and Wrinkles

I get really heated when I see Youtubers and Beauty gurus around my age (36) telling women that we are too old to do anything. Isn’t this like not wearing white after labor day, y’all?! Old, antiquated, ridiculous rules that mean nothing for us millennials. Come on now. I’m old but I ain’t stupid.

Yes You can use concealer in your 30s and 40s

I have seen women say that in your 30s and older you cannot bake; you can’t use concealer like ShapeTape; you can’t use powdered highlighter.. Enough! In my latest video I am showing you dos and don’ts so that you can hide your fine lines and wrinkles rather than accentuating them. I also have really dark circles, so I also color correct as part of my routine. Check it out!

Make your skin look perfect, younger, and glowing

Key products I use in this video:

  • Benefit Boiing Industrial Strength Concealer shade 01
  • Catrice Wake up effect concealer
  • Tarte Shapetape contouring concealer Fair & Fair Neutral
  • Covergirl Outlast Stay Luminous foundation 810 Classic Ivory
  • Up & Up beauty blender, Ulta brand mini beauty blenders
  • NYX Mineral “Set it & don’t fret it” Matte finishing power light/medium
  • Tarte Amazonian clay Smooth Operator translucent powder
  • Makeup Revolution Ultra Base Corrector Palette
  • Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair Eye
  • The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Lotion
  • Bioderma Sensibio eye

My Low Carb Vegetarian Adventure – Yes You Can Do Keto Meat Free!

In any long term health and weight loss journey, you’re going to hit points where you lose momentum. Any time you’re attempting to lose a significant amount of weight, 50, 100, 150 pounds, sometimes more, it is going to take a significant amount of time. If you lose a large amount of weight very quickly, like people do on shows like The Biggest Loser, you will likely gain it all back. Losing slowly, you have a better chance to keep it off but you are talking about doing this over years. It’s very easy to get lazy, cheat too much with food, not put your all into your workouts, especially after you’ve lost a lot of weight.

I hit a plateau and decided to try low carb

On a whim, after seeing it on a friend’s Instagram, I decided to try Bodybuilding.com’s “Still in it 17” challenge. I knew my eating had gotten lax, I wanted to kick the sugar and kick my own ass so I decided that I wanted to try a high protein diet. I have been a vegetarian or a pescatarian (eating seafood but no other meat) on and off for most of my life, and after a bad experience with some raw chicken 7 or 8 years ago I have been sickened by the thought of ever eating it again.

I knew that I did not want to add any animal proteins to my diet but I was sure that there was a way to do high protein without eating more meat.

I tried eating high protein without adding meat

Eating more things like peanut butter, tofu, and cheese had an unanticipated effect – when I looked at my macro breakdowns I found I was actually eating high FAT not high protein, so I decided to try the ketogenic diet (usually called keto), which is a high fat low carb diet since that is basically what I was doing anyway. While not counting macros I check my percentage breakdowns in SparkPeople (you can do the same thing in MyFitnessPal if you prefer it) to make sure that I was getting higher percentages of fat and protein that I am carbs. My goal is 50-60 grams of carbs maximum per day.

Vegetarian and vegan sources of protein

Because I found that eating eggs makes me nauseated, I decided to try tofu scrambles instead of eggs. Tofu is not carb free, but it is high in protein. I made a spicy Sriracha tofu jerky recipe from Pinterest and I highly recommend it for an easy to grab snack. If you are not concerned about consuming soy, edamame frozen in or out of pod is also a great source of protein.

I start every day with a spoonful of peanut butter and as a peanut butter addict I think this is the great thing ever. Because I am also lactose intolerant, I try to avoid milk products. In the past I used whey protein but my favorite protein shakes are the Vega One vegan All-In-One Nutritional Shakes. My favorite flavor is mocha because you can mix in coffee. I make them with almond milk but you could also make them with dairy if you don’t limit your dairy. As with the tofu, these do contain carbs but not huge amounts. When I first tried the Vega One I ordered the variety pack from Amazon so that I could try a couple different flavors without having to buy a big expensive jar. I do find that the prices on the Vega One are in line with most other protein shakes and powders but they have no added sugar. Sugar = carbs.

Keto helped me drop body fat very quickly

The point of the keto diet in a nutshell is that when you don’t consume enough carbohydrates to fuel your body, it will begin burning the fat that you currently have stored. Losing fat is what makes your body more attractive – we all want to lose belly fat but diet and exercise alone don’t necessarily reduce your body fat quickly. The combination of being in ketosis and lifting weights helped me lose almost 2% body fat in 2 months. As long as I stay in ketosis, which for me is around 50-60 grams of carbs max per day, I will notice the body fat percentage on my scale drops every day. I use a product that I bought on Amazon to identify when I am in ketosis, Nurse Hatty® – Ketone Strips 150ct they are $6 and it is good to make sure you get into and stay into ketosis when you are just starting out.

Vegetables contain carbs but that’s ok

Low carb is not no carb. It is unhealthy and dangerous to attempt to eat zero carbs. The best thing to do is to keep track of your carbs to make sure you stay within your target grams.What you want is for your carbs to come from vegetables and NOT from refined carbohydrates like oats, any bread including wheat bread, crackers, pastas (even gluten free pastas are high in carbs!), corn products, etc. I choose to eat some beans but I do it selectively. Make sure that you measure everything because it is very easy to go over on your portion sizes and end up consuming much more than you mean to!

If you are vegetarian, eggs and milk products are also good sources of protein, just make sure to go with full-fat not low fat. The point of keto is to consume high fat don’t forget! Eat the whole egg not just the egg whites. If you eat seafood, as I do, it’s easy to make sure to eat salmon or shrimp for one meal. It can be expensive though. Aside from frozen wild pacific salmon I mostly only eat seafood when I’m in a restaurant. It is very tough to eat low-carb and vegetarian at fast food restaurants but in general you should avoid fast food as much as possible.

My Daily diet – what i eat on a vegetarian keto diet

My average day of food is a spoonful of peanut butter with coffee; plain 2% Fage yogurt with liquid vanilla stevia and pumpkin seeds either before or after my workout depending on how hungry I am and my schedule. I typically have a Vega One protein shake after my workout. Snacks are peanuts or mixed nuts. Lunch is a tofu scramble with lots of fresh peppers, and I might have a morningstar farms veggie sausage or some frozen vegetables depending on what I have going on – if I know I am going to be eating out for dinner I might save carbs for that. I find that eating this way I do not get really hungry or have food cravings like I used to but if I want an afternoon snack it is usually some cheese, I might eat half an apple if I have those around. Because of my fructose allergy I cannot eat a lot of fruit whether I’m doing ketogenic or not. Dinner is baked salmon with salad dressing on it, or shrimp on a giant salad, if I’m eating out I tend to choose the same type of thing, grilled fish or shrimp. Be careful with sauces they almost always have sugar in them! Some days I plug everything into SparkPeople and find that I am under 1200 calories so I will eat some cheese or nuts to make sure my daily calories are not too low. If I want a treat often I will have a protein shake because they really are good but I might have some dark chocolate or some Halo Top ice cream.

My results so far pictures speak louder than words

I have lost a little weight but the body fat is what makes a huge difference in the way that I look and feel. In just four weeks of the Bodybuilding.com challenge I have had huge visible changes. I now wear a size medium t-shirt, something I have not done in years! It was hard for me to believe at first but after buying three different shirts in three different brands, including one on vacation in Canada, I have accepted I do wear a size medium shirt now!

The saying is true: Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym. Workouts are important but you CANNOT out-exercise a bad diet.

My Weekly workout plan

I work out  for 30-45 minutes, 5-6 days a week alternating cardio and weight training. Upper body, cardio, lower body, cardio, active rest, core work + lower body. For this current challenge I have been doing the BodyBuilding.com Still In It 17 workouts. I am Not26Anymore on Bodyspace, feel free to add me!

This post contains affiliate links. Using affiliate links helps support this site, thank you for your support!

Starting out on YouTube is not as easy as it seems!

Let me start off by stating what should have been obvious: It is really tough creating a Youtube video. That being said, my very first Youtube video is live!! Check out my channel.

My YouTube Pixi by Petra Review

My first video is a review of Pixi by Petra’s Mesmerizing Mineral Palettes, and their Shades of Brows Palette. I decided to start a YouTube channel for two reasons. First and most importantly, I love makeup; I buy a lot of makeup; and I have a lot of opinions about makeup! I was writing long reviews on my instagram posts and I thought, “you know, people probably aren’t reading these, wouldn’t it be more fun to make a video talking about it?” The second reason is that I have a lot more time on my hands since I have been working from home and I hate being bored! I also watch a love of makeup reviews and tutorials on YouTube and they make it look fun and easy. Well it’s fun but it sure ain’t easy! One day I spent about an hour doing my makeup, sat down in front of my laptop, and realized that the lighting sucked, there was no audio, and this was going to be a lot more complicated than I realized.

So I did the logical thing, I went to YouTube! I watched a bunch of videos about lighting, cameras, backgrounds, what to do, what not to do, and I started over. It took about three weeks for the first video to make it onto the internet – and it is NOT perfect. The audio sounds great on my computer but some people reported that they couldn’t hear me. That’s not even to mention all the things that did not make it into the video! Here’s what I learned making my very first YouTube video.

  • My dogs have very full lives until I sit down in front of a camera. Once that happens, they want to be on my lap, licking my face.
  • Cameras pick up every sound! Even though my first video had some sound issues, what I found was every sound in the house ended up on the video! The dogs whining, the fan in the other room, and even worse the camera that I had chosen so carefully makes clicking sounds when it focuses. So that one had to go back and I got a new one on ebay.
  • You learn a lot watching yourself on video. I begin 2/3 of my sentences with the word “so.” I wave my hands around when I talk. I ramble when I get tired. That’s another thing –
  • It’s tiring! It takes a lot of energy to be upbeat and speak in front of a camera. With the time it takes to make myself up and shoot a video, I’m pretty beat by the end of it.
  • No matter how much light you have, you could stand to have more.
  • Editing takes 4-5 times as long as shooting.
  • It’s not cheap to start.

I’m actually going to be making a video about starting a channel. There are tons out there but sharing our unique experiences on video is kind of what YouTube is about. Even though it’s been an adventure, with good parts and tough parts, I plan to keep doing it. for a new video on my channel every Monday! I figure Mondays are everyone’s least favorite day so why no throw some new makeup in there?

Adventures in FODMAPs part two

Continuing from my last post, in the middle of an IBS flare-up due to stress from being laid off from my job at the beginning of November, I decided that now was the perfect time to get this stuff under control and hopefully beat the fatigue once and for all. I read everything I could, I was already suspecting that I had fructose malabsorption, and I decided to do a FODMAPs elimination. FODMAPS if you are not familiar, are basically carbs and sugars found in healthy foods that actually work the opposite way in the GI tract of people who have IBS/IBD. You can find tons of information on FODMAPs all over the internet, many of it good but some of it conflicting. Nearly every legit site says that you should attempt the elimination under the care of a dietician but I figured I could handle it on my own. After all, I am once again without insurance and I’m only working very little on a contract basis so I don’t have a lot of money coming in to pay to see a dietician. I bought the Monash University FODMAP app which I highly recommend, even at $8, and started off my elimination. I decided to do it for 14 days since a lot of what I read said it wasn’t necessary to do it for 6 weeks as some other sources advised. Since I am a pescatarian, eating all the meat you want wasn’t going to be much of a help for me. The vast majority of healthy foods that I eat – black beans, cauliflower, apples, edamame, sweet potatoes, everything cooked with garlic, are all high FODMAP foods.

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Left, bloated. Right, the brief two days I was less bloated.

So I bought a couple bags of potatoes, and set off on 14 days (planned) eating nothing but oats, zucchini, potatoes, yellow squash, shrimp, salmon, eggs, spinach, and carrots. I figured an added benefit would be to get my raging sugar addiction under control. Monday, I felt great. Tons of energy, It definitely seemed like I was less bloated, and I was feel really hopeful about the process. I kept my food log, recorded symptoms, and for the first two days, everything seemed to be going really well. Then, it all went to shit, no pun intended. For some reason, I had diarrhea after breakfast, which was exactly the same breakfast I had Monday and Tuesday. It didn’t make sense but I figured maybe it was just residual FODMAPs in my system since the elimination phase is to “heal your gut” and get your GI in good working order to try adding back in potential irritating foods. Things started getting worse as Wednesday went on. I put Paprika on my potatoes at dinner and reacted after eating it for dinner and brunch the next day so I decided perhaps the paprika had hidden onion or garlic even though the container said it was just paprika. By Wednesday I felt even more bloated than I had before starting the diet and by Thursday, I couldn’t make it through my regular morning workout. I felt so exhausted, I could barely lift my legs to work out. Frustrated, I sat on the couch and cried. I felt defeated. I felt like of course this diet that was almost magical for other IBS/IBD sufferers wouldn’t work for me, I was doomed to be tired and bloated for the rest of my life. I cut out the paprika but the symptoms didn’t go away. Friday, I was tired plus depressed as I went about my day. I bought more FODMAP approved items, having plowed through my bags of potatoes which still somewhat triggers me, since they aren’t “good carbs.” I felt a rumble in my stomach while shopping at DSW and wondered in horror if I was going to have to run to the bathroom while standing in line waiting to check out. Still I went on, reading the ingredients of all the gluten free breads, trying to find even more bland foods, wondering why every single gluten free bread contains corn syrup, agave, or pear juice, all high-FODMAP. I told my boyfriend we were going to have to move to Australia, since the US hasn’t caught up with them on FODMAPS. In the end I bought exactly what I had been eating plus a pint of vegan gluten free ben & jerrys.

15194455_10157877402780327_2465925602768258538_oMy boyfriend sent me an article about egg intolerance, which has the exact same symptoms of everything else intolerance: bloating, fatigue, GI issues. How are you ever supposed to figure out what is making you sick? I cried again. I decided that I was going to have testing done to try to narrow down what I shouldn’t be eating, only to read dozens of legit internet sites saying they are all just rip-offs, there’s no blood or hair test that can definitively tell you and allergists have you do just what I was doing – eliminate and then test to see if you react. My best friend said maybe it is coffee, I’ve been eating so little the last week there’s not a lot the could be making me sick. I told her that we will never know because if I had to stop drinking coffee and I can’t have soda, a caffeine headache on top of everything else would definitely make me do nothing but lie in bed and cry. Saturday I woke up feeling like I didn’t have enough energy to make it through even a couple hours. I gave up on everything and emotionally ate a Cinnabon which let me tell you was a horrible idea after a week of no gluten, dairy, soy, or sugar. My body freaked the f*** out. So now, I’ve decided that maybe it is an egg intolerance so I’m giving up eggs for a week too. It’s really clear to me that I was not qualified to do this on my own and really should have believed everything when it said to work with a dietician. However, I feel better Saturday and Sunday than I did Wednesday – Friday. I don’t see how that’s even possible. My new plan is rather than giving up everything to eliminate FODMAPS one category at a time. Fructose, then fructans, then oligosaccarides, etc etc etc. I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last two months and if I have to stop working out, plus eating potatoes, I’m terrified that I will gain it all back which I am so frustrated with. I have vowed to never regain this weight again. I’m tired of yo-yoing. I’ve yo-yoed my whole life and I refuse to continue. So yeah. That’s where I am.

If you’re thinking that you need to eliminate FODMAPs, don’t try to do it on your own. Work with a dietician and/or doctor. This has been an exhausting – both physically and emotionally – week. I’m really not sure that I’m moving in the right direction but the elimination was SO restrictive and I felt so deprived that I know that I can’t continue it, especially when I’m still having symptoms. My boyfriend agreed that they actually got worse as the week progressed. I’m moving in the wrong direction. I’m at a loss. 😦

Adventures in FODMAPs

This week, I started a FODMAP elimination diet. It has been quite an adventure, not in a good way. I want to start out with a little information on how I got to this point, but if you don’t care, skip to part two, I decided to make it a separate entry. 🙂

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Left – summer of 2009, Right – fall 2016

My current weight loss journey really began in late 2008 when I had what I now call “a nervous breakdown.” I was working full time, 8-5 monday through friday, and I was a full time undergraduate student, taking classes at night. I also started volunteering so my life was beyond full, every minute was taken up by something. It became rather stressful, but I was holding it together until my parents announced that they were getting a divorce. It also is important to note that I was dating a person who was emotionally and psychologically abusive. About three weeks after my parents announced their divorce, right before Christmas, I just didn’t get out of bed one morning. I didn’t call in sick to work, I just didn’t go. I turned off my cell phone and went back to sleep and didn’t listen to my voicemails for about 4 days. I felt like I had lost the ability to function. After a day or two of not calling anyone back, I obviously couldn’t go back to my job, although I did go back to pick up my personal items from my desk and I gave the owner a card of apology. I decided that I would live on student loans and focus on school and as it turned out taking care of both of my parents. My mother was an emotional mess, since she didn’t want a divorce, and my dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer a few months after they split. Emotionally and mentally, this was the lowest low of my life, I was giving everything to my parents and had hardly any emotional energy left for myself. I spent a LOT of time lying in bed eating fried chicken. I told myself “I deserve this fried chicken because I feel so bad right now.” I made it to the heaviest I have ever been in 2009. I never weighed myself but my guess is it was around 215-225. fatpic

It was during that time, in the spring of 2009 that I started developing really upsetting GI issues. I was under a lot of stress with school and my parents, my dad started dating AND had kidney cancer. I remember distinctly a lunch with my dad and his girlfriend where I felt like my stomach was tied up in really painful knots so all I could order was a green salad with grilled chicken and I just picked at it with barely any appetite. Then, near the end of the meal, I had to run to the bathroom. I have never been a “use the bathroom for more than  peeing” type of person but I had the urgent need to go. That was the beginning of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome type symptoms. I have never actually been diagnosed with IBS/IBD because 2009 was also the beginning of a long period where I had no type of health insurance, so I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. If you have IBS/IBD, or any GI issues, you understand the hyper-vigilance that comes with never being sure when you might desperately need to use the bathroom. You have to always know where a bathroom is, anyplace that you go you are constantly making sure that you know where a restroom is. That same year I went on a trip to New Orleans with friends and I remember sitting outside, on the steps across from Jackson Square eating beignets from Cafe du Monde and saying “I am going to the bathroom, I’ll be right back” and desperately searching for a restroom in a town full of places with no public restrooms.

When I started trying to get healthier and lose the weight in 2010, I was pretty successful but I noticed that I was tired ALL THE TIME. Fatigue became a permanent part of my life. Even though I eventually lost a total of 40 pounds, my life was ruled by the fatigue – I would get up, work out, and then have to go take a nap because I was so tired. Friends that have fibromyalgia told me that this was similar to what they went through, but I’ve never had any other symptoms of fibro. I googled and read everything that I suspected it could be I didn’t meet the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, or anything else I could find. I was just someone with IBS who was tired all the freaking time. Weight loss and healthier eating helped some, but I have never managed to shake at least mild fatigue for the last seven years. During the last 6-7 years I have lost and gained and re-lost dozens of pounds, managing to stay under 200 (for the most part) but never getting any lower than about 182. My IBS symptoms are mostly managed by healthy living and stress reduction but they resurface when I am under severe stress, like recently when I was laid off from my job. I experienced a surge in symptoms after I was laid off, which is very frustrating because the year and a half out of the last decade that I DID have insurance, I didn’t use it to go to a GI doctor because my symptoms were pretty well managed. Frustrated, I decided now is the best time to get my symptoms under control and hopefully conquer this fatigue which it’s hard now to remember a time that I wasn’t tired all the time. I decided to try the FODMAP elimination to identify which foods cause me trouble. For more about the details of FODMAP, read part two.