I have wanted to try eating "clean" for a while, but like most of you I've become addicted to things like carbs, refined sugar, and eating when I feel like it - not necessarily when I'm hungry.
I'm not overweight by any means - I'm 5'9", approx 145-150 lbs, with a desire to lose about 10 lbs. However, more importantly, I want to be healthy!
I've been suffering from insomnia for the last year and a half, but over the last 6 months it's progressively gotten worse. I can't sleep without taking a strong sleep aide, and even then I may wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep!
I've been experiencing headaches, earahces, body aches, and overall sluggishness. I think a lot of it has to do with not being able to sleep properly, and that it takes a while for me to feel fully awake due to the sleep aide. Yet I think it's also because the worse my insomnia gets, the more the tiredness effects my desire to eat healthy. I've definitely been eating more carbs, and less vegetables and protein.
My doctor said the head/ear aches were due to my lack of sleep, but I think if I ate a more balanced diet, and cleaned things up I'd feel a lot better!
Any ideas how if this assessment is accurate, how to get started, or if anyone else can relate?
Well what kid of foods do you eat now? As for insomnia, there are so many things that can contribute to it, and diet is just a small part of it. Personally I would ask doctor to get a CAT, or some other kind of brain, scan or something if I had such a bad insomnia and headaches.
You could try planning out your meals. Carbs are not the enemy. Fruits and vegetables contain carbs. Avoiding overly processed carbs is usually a good idea. Skipping fast food restaurants and sugary sodas will probably help a great deal.
Starting cooking your own meals, 1 serving of protein, one serving of whole grains, several servings of fruits and vegetables. Use healthy fats for cooking or making dressings and you're set.
I personally feel better when I eat reasonably well, but it doesn't have to be perfect, there's plenty of room for treats when I plan well.
If you are not already I'd recommend starting to exercise. If you are already exercising look at changing your routine some to make it more strenuous. Exercise may help you to get to sleep more easily. I'm a dad with 2 kids so I know about not sleeping, it's really hard to eat well if you are tired.
I'd certainly also go see another doc about your other issues just to get a 2nd opinion. Maybe even a 3rd or 4th if you are not happy with who you see. Pills are probably a short term solution and have their own side effects.
I'm pretty good about what I eat! I don't eat fast food - and if I hit McDonald's I get their Asian Chicken Salad. When I eat out, I modify everything - dressing on the side, grill it instead of fry, leave off the cheese, etc. As for the meals I plan for myself - I eat a lot of oatmeal and eggs, cottage cheese, cereal, wheat bread, low-cal treats, and soup. I keep it simple!
That's normal for me. But the habits I've gotten into over the last few weeks have been more bread, muffings, eggo's, ice cream - things that I'd eat in moderation I'm eating more of. There's a candy dish sitting on my desk (I'm a receptionist) that I keep full for other employees that I rarely touch - but can't seem to leave alone these days.
I know carbs aren't the enemy, but they seem to be taking up about 60-70% of my diet, and I'm wondering if that's what's contributing my headaches, etc.
Have you tried putting candy that you don't like in the candy dish? For instance I do not like almond joy and milk chocolate I can generally pass on. My candy dish contains dark licorice, candied ginger, and chocolate cover expresso beans which almost no one but me eats but I don't scarf like there's no tomorrow.
Personally, I simply can't keep muffins and ice cream around the house as I am good for a couple days, but then one day I want them all! I buy ice cream from the shop when I really, really want it. I bake black bean brownies which I don't eat as quickly most of the time and they're healthier.
For the most part I can keep things like muffins and ice cream in the house without being overly tempted - not like it used to be! I used to start shaking at the sight of a brownie and could NOT control myself. And it's not that I don't have any control, I'm just not eating the way I normally do.
I am concerned about the aches, but I'm just wondering if I'd feel better if anyone could give me tips on incorporating more clean foods into my life. I've heard of people doing drastic things like completely giving up sugar, or living a raw-food diet. That all sounds good, but I don't want food to completely take over my life!
I find that when I have reasonably healthy planned meals readily available that I'm tempted by far fewer sweets.
If you're tired your body might be looking for the quick energy that carbs provide.
Really hope you're able to do something about that insomnia- that has got to be rough.
Oh... it is!
It's hard because I just got married 3 months ago, and I feel like I've been a total bum! My husband is very understanding and supportive, but I feel like I'm not myself most of the time because I'm so stinkin' tired!
You didn't mention what sleep aid you're taking....but if it's a benzodiazepine I can tell you first hand that it can be causing you more problems than it's helping. You don't get a restful & restorative type of sleep. After you take it for awhile it can actually make your insomnia worse. It can also cause problems with muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, etc. You might want to consider getting off of it to see if you feel better.
NOTE: Check with your Dr before you stop taking your sleep aid....you may need to be weaned off it to prevent withdrawal symptoms! (even a low dose for a short period of time can cause very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms)
I was prescribed Trazodone and Ambien. I've also taken Melatonin in the past, which stopped working.
The Trazodone isn't as strong as the Ambien, but I don't find it as difficult to get out of bed in the morning when I take it. My mother-in-law was on it and said that 1/2 of one totally knocks her out! I started out taking 1/2, then moved up to one. That stopped working, so I called my doctor and she said to take 1 1/2 consistently for 2 weeks straight to see if it will train my body to sleep. We'll see!
The Ambien was horrible! It definitely knocked me out, but I could NOT get out of bed in the morning, and I was absolutely starving (it says one of the side effects is an increased appetite).
At this point I'm just trying to figure out what works!
Samantha, I'm concerned about what the underlying cause of the insomnia is. A lot of other physical problems can result from insomnia like depression, profound tiredness, inability to focus, among others. While eating healthy is always a good goal, I'm not sure changing your diet will have much of an impact. You and your Dr need to try to determine the cause in addition to treating it with sleep aids.
I've thought that, too. I've experienced all of it - depression, profound tiredness, inability to focus, etc.
The doctor that I've talked to is actually my husbands therapist (he has depression). She's trained medically, and is familiar with an extremely wide variety of medications, drugs, and prescriptions. I called her about a week ago to ask if she could recommend an actual physician (I've only lived here for about a year, and I rarely get sick so I haven't ever had a regular doctor). I only started talking to her because my husband kept pushing me.
At this point I don't feel like I'm getting any real direction, and I haven't been under the impression that insomnia was a big issue. That, accompanied with the fact that I avoid going to the doctor at all costs, is why I haven't gotten on the ball to figure this thing out!
But I'm tired of feeling tired, and thought an improved diet would solve a few things...
(I'm sure that sounds really naive)
My husband has issues similar to yours...have you tried a hypno sleep cd? I got him one when his meds didn't seem to be helping. It doesn't always work, but he sure is happy when it does...
He had some bad experiences with Ambien...getting up in the middle of the night, falling down and walking into walls...it was really bad. I've also heard other people doing crazy stuff while on it, makes me wonder why it's prescribed
I haven't tried that! I'm not sure I could focus long enough to be hypnotized into sleeping! Lol.
That's like the sleep aids, though - they don't always works but it's nice when they do!
Do a search in your community for clinics that run CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for insomnia groups. CBT has been demonstrated to be just as effective, if not more so, than sleep medications without any of the difficult side effects you mentioned. Diet certainly plays a role in sleep and mood. A good CBT program can educate you about many behavioral changes you can make to improve your ability to sleep and it will help you examine how your thoughts about sleep (and thoughts about not being able to sleep) may exacerbate your problems sleeping.
Alright, time for one of the crazies to weigh in, here:
So yeah, you mentioned raw and living foods; I know you said you don't want food to take over your life. I felt the exact same way.
However, I started doing raw fasts; meaning I would eat only raw foods for 10 days straight. I would always feel SO GOOD and have SO MUCH ENERGY during the fasts, but then when I started adding back cooked foods, I started to feel the same again. Then, I realized there was a whole community of people who just never went off the fast...I went to a raw food potluck, and sampled cheesecake (made from cashews), brownies, decadent chocolate pudding (made from avocados, believe it or not), tacos, fajitas, pizza, etc..., all raw and living, all vegan. It tasted so good, I thought 'why ever eat cooked food when raw food tastes this good and makes me feel so good?'
I did have to learn how to make food for myself and how to survive day to day as a raw foodist, but I got the hang of it. And rather than feeling like food became my life, I felt like my diet gave me my life back. Because really, once you get the hang of raw 'uncooking', it's actually quicker and easier than regular cooking. It's just different.
I don't eat a 100% raw and living diet (I used to, for about a year); now I'm at about 50% raw and I still feel good, but not as good as I felt at 100%.
Anyway, I'm just saying that the raw diet might be a small price to pay for the energy and feel-goodness that you'd get from it, so maybe don't dismiss it as an option right away. Maybe try 10 days in a row eating raw or something and see how you feel? I mean, raw is as clean as it gets lol!
Just a suggestion! Good luck!
I would stop actively trying to lose weight because reduced calories are not going to help you feel more energetic... Start with a reasonable calorie target and aim for a good 2000 cals a day as your starting point ... this is the typical maintenance amount for the average, healthy women. And then I'd suggest the following. You may do some or all of these things already but I'll cover all the bases just to be on the safe side.
- Start taking a daily multivitamin. Even mild shortages of vitamins and minerals can cause problems
- Base your meals around plenty of fresh vegetables, pulses/legumes and wholegrains, using meat, fish, dairy and oils as flavourings rather than foods. This is to further shore up your nutritional base
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol... both are stimulants that could affect your sleep
- Eat regularly.... starting with breakfast, aim to have a light meal or small snack every 2 or 3 hours. Reason for this is to keep blood-sugars more stable... which helps feelings of calm
- Eat supper no closer than 2 hours to bedtime... Rich food or food in large amounts will affect sleep.
- Ditto for exercise. If you're exercising do it in the morning rather than in the evening when it can be over-stimulating. Try to exercise in the fresh air as this promotes natural fatigue.
- Read a book rather than watch TV after 9pm. TV can be over-stimulating whereas books are more relaxing
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, amply darkened and a cool temperature. Noise, light and heat can all affect sleep.
- Relax each evening with a cup of camomile tea, a warm bath and lavender fragrances... Camomile is a very good sleep aid.
- Lactose combined with carbohydrates are also good sleep-promoters. So a warm malted milk drink like Horlicks with a simple digestive biscuit would be a good choice just before bed
- Be as well-hydrated as possible during the day. Headaches can be dehydration-related
And I would keep bothering your doctor if the symptoms don't improve.
You mentioned that you have not seen a MD yet, I'd certainly see one as quickly as possible. As mentioned before you should get at least 2 opinions from different doctors (MDs). I understand you may not like going to the doctor but sometimes you need to. I don't like the dentist but I go regularly so that I don't end up having to get a root canal. Same thing with docs. Just bite the bullet and go. It can't be worse than what you are experiencing and you should be enjoying your life now since you are newlywed (congrats).
oh yeah and about the raw thing I also wanted to add that it is proven that raw diets are helpful to cancer patients and people with terminal illnesses, mostly because the raw diet does not cause acidosis and generalized inflammation and leukocytosis that cooked food can cause. So it may not solve problems, but it almost always generally helps. We were meant to consume raw foods; look at nuts as the perfect example: the fats turn rancid when they are cooked, making roasted almonds pretty bad for you, whereas raw almonds have all of the benefits.
There is legitimate science backing this up, it's not just a bunch of hippies in a commune somewhere lol
But yeah you said you're seeing a doctor, and that you're under the supervision of both a regular doctor and a psychotherapist, so I'm not going to tell you to go see a doctor again.
The side effects of allergy medications keep some people from using them. Natural remedies can be a great alternative, but some are more effective than others.