I started using the LoseIt app again last week.

This seems completely unfair to me, that I need to count my calories, because I run nearly every day. I should get to eat whatever I want!! Anytime I want!!

But alas. That is the kind of logic that makes one need to get back to LoseIt.

Because exercise is stupid.

It is stupid because it doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as it feels like it should. I burn barely over 100 calories a mile, which is officially the biggest rip-off in the history of humanity. A mile should be worth a giant hamburger and a milkshake – not a piece of watermelon or a slice of cheese.

But my real reason for going back to LoseIt is that I haven’t been feeling great this summer. My brain has been functioning at approximately 10% of its normal processing speed – you might have noticed by the quality and quantity of my writing and interactions. I can’t process stuff, I can’t remember stuff, I can’t accomplish stuff, and I have trouble staying on task – something I’ve always excelled at. I’ve been trying to narrow down the causes to this breach of health, and my eating habits are on the list of possible causes that I sincerely hope I can rule out. Ultimately, it’s most likely another symptom of my Dysautonomia, but if I can find anything that helps me locate my brain, I’ll do it.

(Just picture me as Carmen Sandiego, searching desperately in Moscow, Brisbane, and Beijing for my missing brain. Because that’s totally how I picture myself.)

I’ve been to the doctor and they’ve run all the tests and they even gave me a new drug to (maybe) help me on my quest, but I know the mantra – the three main things that help Dysautonomia are regular exercise, outrageous water consumption, and eating healthy.

Two out of three should be good enough – haven’t I already changed my life enough? But NO. Dysautonomia is the worst. It is a master that demands everything be attended to. And so I am finally facing my diet – which has, admittedly, actually gotten worse since I started running. Because after all, every mile feels like a hamburger and a milkshake.

So I even tried the Gluten-Free Lifestyle – for a full twelve hours, y’all.

(It didn’t help.)

(Yeah, yeah I know they say you’re supposed to give it six months to start seeing a difference, but six months whimpering every time the basket of hot, buttery rolls is passed cannot be worth having better cognitive performance.)

After I discarded my Gluten-Free self, I moved on to a Caffeine-Free lifestyle. That lasted significantly longer – 38 freaking hours.

This second experiment in futility was my Mom’s fault. On the same day I adopted my Gluten-Free Life, I had been at my parent’s house and was feeling especially awful. Mom noticed I’d been drinking Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee, and after I left, she did a little research – turns out, Cold-brewed coffee has twice as much caffeine as normal coffee – 240mg in a Venti.

(They really should advertise this fact. I told Chris in horror of its insane amount of caffeine and he said “I gotta go get me some of that!”)


The Cold Brew, combined with the 5 Hour Energy that I’d had before my run that morning (200 mg of caffeine), led me (and my mother) to believe that I had severely overdosed myself in the caffeine department, and that perhaps all my problems were from an inability to metabolize caffeine and that maybe I should quit that mess.

Personally I was thrilled for a reason to put a pause on my Gluten-Free diet – that twelve hours had been rough – and I was starving.

(Things without gluten have about as much filling power as a single M&M has chocolate-craving-curbing power.)

My thrill left me the next morning. When I was desperately in need of a pick-me-up. And I also realized that I had not actually been gluten-free the day before because I had inadvertently snacked on Noah’s pancakes to collect my Mommy Tax, as I do every morning. So yeah. GF for twelve hours is IMPOSSIBLE, y’all.

But decaffeination isn’t any easier.

And what did I learn in those 38 painful hours?

– I cannot converse without caffeine.
– I cannot run without caffeine.
– I do not feel nice without caffeine.
– I am not nice without caffeine.
– A lack of caffeine makes me feel depressed. And gives me caffeine-lusting thoughts.
– Caffeine makes me a better person.

So, after trying to function without the nectar of life for 38 hours, I threw my caffeine-free lifestyle in the dumpster right next to my gluten-free lifestyle and decided that maybe caffeine in moderation is necessary for a healthy life, but caffeine overdoses are bad. “Because moderation is always the answer, right??”, I thought, as I sipped my first Iced Caramel Macchiato after what felt like half a lifetime of agony and pain.

As soon as that caffeine hit the back of my throat I started feeling better. I felt happy. I felt chipper. I once again had words to share with other humans.

And so, I decided to go back to what I knew wouldn’t kill me – a calorie counting lifestyle. It would keep me from eating crap (and also quickly made me realize how much crap I had been eating when I began to remember what types of foods maintain a 1,500 calorie diet), it would force me to eat more good-for-me stuff, and I could have my gluten AND caffeine. In moderation.

I’ll let you know if and when this is the clue I needed to track down that missing brain, gumshoe.

(In the meantime, I hope you can abide my meandering and sometimes sparse posts.)

21 thoughts on “It’s All In My Head.

  1. I think gluten free is way overrated. When I contemplate trying to eat healthier (and I am already a kale and spinach loving, no read meat eating, hardly any junk kind of person) I research the heck out of different plans. I was thinking about Whole 30 and then really did the research and put a stop on that. I looked into Gluten free and found out that a very minute amount of the population are affected by it but that the placebo effect is great. I have several friends with Celiac disease and they think people are crazy for trying to go gluten free. Everything in moderation. I don’t calorie count but I do wish that each hour of exercise equaled a free hour of eating. it really should.

    As for caffeine. Well right now one of the reasons I am contemplating eating healthier is to survive my husband’s snoring and my insomnia. I went off of coffee for 2 weeks and only noticed that it took me until 2 pm to wake up and no other difference. So I am back to it, but only my 1 cup a day, okay sometimes 2.

  2. i don’t have any advice for you. all i have is encouragement and an “atta girl”. you inspire by your transparency.

  3. I love this post! I am sending a link to Jason. You have 100% from top to bottom described his philosophy on food and exercise. For what it’s worth, one out of one cardiologists agree that you’re on the right track.

  4. gluten free is only healthy if you are actually allergic/unable to process gluten. eating less processed sugars and eating healthier options of “carbs” is much much better for you (unless of course you really cannot have gluten and then by all means.. avoid it!)
    also. I had a carmen sandiego computer game as a kid and LOVED it. …. hmmm maybe they’ve turned it into an app?
    im also doing the lose it app (since it syncs so nicely with fit bits) and I’ve noticed that I can stay within my calorie and not feel hungry MUCH easier if I have pre done snacks in ziplocs int he fridge.. .. grapes, carrot sticks, etc.

  5. First, your mommy tax reference literally made me laugh out loud – because, YEAH!

    I started counting calories for about 2 months this summer. Not so much to loose weight (although I HAD put on 6 pounds since I started running a year ago!), but because I wanted to eat healthier. I used the My Fitness Pal app and it was so enlightening to me just how many calories I’d been unknowingly consuming. I’m not much of a believer in the whole “low carb” diet fads, but when I started watching calories my carb intake plummeted. And it forced me to put serious effort into finding low cal foods that actually kept up with my exercise induced hunger. (I also realized that I could easily replace the sugar in my coffee with Stevia, but skipping out on half and half was totally not worth it!)

    Anyway, I know you probably know all this already, but I wanted to say that I’m with ya and good luck! Also, if you find any low-cal dinners that your kids will eat, please share!

  6. Over the course of the last 3 years I had began drinking WAY too much caffeine on a daily basis. So 4 weeks ago today I decided I would give up caffeine and consume nothing but water. That lasted 2 full days and I was a wreck. I found myself singing the second verse of Open Arms by Journey and giggled at myself because I was missing my beloved Coca Cola Classic that much and we needed a reunion.
    So now I drink my 1 cup of coffee every single morning, and limit myself to 2 Cokes per week. I’ve come a long way from drinking 2-3 a day. I was on caffeine overdose. Now my boys see me drinking water from 12 noon until supper time and they are now requesting more water. Imagine that… set the example and they will follow.

  7. Sorry you’ve been feeling rough(er). I’ve had to cut out a few things with this pregnancy that have really helped me overall:
    Coffee. I was sad to see this go, but the smell of it made me run to the trash can. It’s always wreaked havoc on my blood sugar and made me jittery anyways. I’ve replaced it with lots of tea (hot and cold) and get the caffeine (and water) without the side effects.

    Aspartame: there’s well documented research that Aspartame can increase anxiety and mood swings, especially if you’re already prone. My dad and mom (a dr. and nurse) are both very skeptical of any hocus pocus and scare tactics, but they swore that cutting it out helped them. It’s made a difference for me too. Sucralose (splenda) and Saccharin (sweet and low) don’t have the same adverse affects. All Publix brand diet drinks are made with Sucralose, so maybe give those a try?

    I’ll be busting out the LoseIt app againin January after baby is here. Merciful heavens, i hope this scale is wrong.

    1. Thanks! I actually don’t drink any carbonated drinks anymore (I gave those up when I got diagnosed with Dysautonomia), so I don’t think I’m getting any artificial sweeteners. Interesting that tea doesn’t have the same effects as coffee!

  8. So sorry you’re feeling bad again. I noticed that you’ve been posting a lot less and was wondering if you were. I cut out pop for 10 days last fall and turned into a monster! I told my husband the sugar in the soda must make me sweet. Lol. So we went to one pop a day. I’m all about the moderation. I have logged my loseIt every single day since January 1st! Yes I’m very proud of myself, but I have really let things slide this summer now that I’m pregnant and can’t lose weight AND get 300 extra calories a day. Unfortunately I have filled those extra 700ish calories with unhealthy things like desserts and french fries. I need to get back on the health food wagon!

  9. I didn’t read anything after the Carmen Sandiego reference – I was too busy trying to remember/butcher the lyrics – “She’ll blahblahblah in Pakistan and blahblahblah in Scandinavia”

    Feel better soon!

  10. I have a gluten intolerance so I have to eat gluten free and it was hard at first. Heck there are still days I miss the hot buttery rolls. Good luck on your quest and I hope you found out what is making you feel bad and it gets better.

  11. Healthy fats are soooooo good for your brain. There’s the good ol’ Omega 3’s you can get from fish oil (Barlean’s brand is our favorite, no fishy burps throughout the day). And coconut oil. When my grandpa’s memory started getting sketchy last year, his doctor told him “I could prescribe you all kinds of fancy medication but the truth is, coconut oil is the best thing for it. Eat a tablespoon of coconut oil every day.” It made a HUGE difference for him. And when I got a concussion from a car accident last month, I started taking a regimen of vitamins that are good for the brain and it really helped my symptoms. I hope any of that helps. It’s a huge bummer when your brain rebels.

        1. Disclaimer. I meant to add disclaimer. Sheesh. Maybe I need more Omega 3’s and coconut oil! I don’t know for sure if fish oil and coconut oil will help with your particular issue, but at the very least, they can’t hurt. :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *