Friday, May 17, 2013

Little Things

Since seriously going low-carb and whole-food in about September of last year, I've seen a lot of changes in my body.  Lots of things improved that I didn't even know I had a problem with.  It's these little things that astound me the most, because now it's like, I could never go back to living with all the little problems I used to have.  That would be unbearable now that I'm feeling like a whole person. 

So I thought it would be fun just to list all the little things that have changed since last September, in both me and Chad.

First, mood.  Chad's mood has evened out remarkably.  He used to be kind of emo and often had a short temper (and he's a big guy so he's a little bit scary when he's mad).  It's kind of like this:

Only now I have to be like "Chad, eat some bacon." 

My mood has evened out as well.  I used to be very easily depressed, constantly worrying, insecure, and the littlest thing would offend me and make me cry.  I still get that way once in a while, but now it happens in a predictable time frame, as in when I'm PMSing.  Yes, I'm now officially a cliche.

Next, sleep!  I used to be an extraordinarily light sleeper.  I was tossing back and forth all night because even the littlest thing woke me up.  It usually took me at least a half hour to get to sleep in the first place, and then I was up pretty early.  The summer was the worst, because the birds start singing about 4 in the morning, and once they start, it was hard to get back to sleep.  But now, I sleep much more soundly.  I still have the occasional night where it seems like I'm tossing and turning all night, but for the most part, I sleep pretty well all night long. 

I used to have a problem with digestion.  I don't know what to call it, honestly, but I guess the best description would be IBS.  I was never diagnosed for anything.  Honestly, I didn't know I even had a problem until I stopped living that way.  I don't want to go into any details, so I'll just say that I went to the bathroom a lot, and sometimes my stomach got really upset.  I thought I was healthy because I never got constipated, but it wasn't a pleasant way to live.  Now that I'm eating better food, I see that the way my body was acting is not the way things should be.

I don't drive, and that's because when I was a teenager, I had a very serious problem, and the thought of having this problem while driving a car scared the living crap out of me.  The problem?  Severe wrist pain.  It wasn't exactly carpal tunnel syndrome, although everyone wanted to believe that's what it was.  It was similar, but the pain affected different areas than carpal tunnel does (I'm pretty sure, anyway).  The pain radiated around my wrist and sometimes, when it was really bad, would shoot down my arm.  On the worst days, I couldn't use my hands for much of anything.  Writing hurt, sitting hurt, walking hurt, everything hurt, and I couldn't lift anything heavier than a couple of pounds.  I went out practice driving once when I had this pain, and I almost drove the car right into a five foot ditch.  That, along with another couple of incidences, is what convinced me that I should wait until I had this problem under control before trying to drive again.

But you know what?  I haven't noticed the pain in a long, long time.  Like it just occurred to me one day that I don't hurt hardly at all anymore.  It's only when I really strain myself that I have a problem, like the day I spent carrying around about a dozen 40 pound bags of compost and building a new garden.  This is shocking to me, because I always assumed it was my excessive computer use that caused me to be in so much pain.  I

It's pretty funny, actually, that now when I look up carpal tunnel syndrome, they say that some of the main causes are diabetes and obesity, whereas I'm pretty sure back when I first had my problem, most people said it was caused almost exclusively by repetitive movement. 

Chad also improved in this way.  He's a programmer, and so spends all day typing.  He didn't have severe wrist pain, but he would sometimes mention that by the end of the week, his thumb and maybe his fingers would hurt.  But now, I'm pretty sure the problem is all gone.  I can't say for certain, because he's a guy, and guys don't like to tell people about their weaknesses. 

Energy is another improvement.  Chad especially has seen lots of improvements here.  He used to get worn out so easily.  He said that he used to only be able to get about 4-6 hours of work done a day because he just couldn't focus, or couldn't find the mental energy to finish his work.  But now he's consistently working 7 or even 8 hours a day, with the occasional off day (because we all have those).  I think I'm just as lazy as I was before, but now when I do go to do the work that needs done, I'm not like physically exhausted the way I used to be.  I have all the energy to do it, it's just that I sometimes lack the ambition, lol. 

Our outlook is better!  We're both so much happier now, seriously.  I used to be very depressed, couldn't find happiness in almost anything, crying at least a couple times a week just because the sadness was so heavy on my shoulders.  Chad would sometimes dream about leaving everything behind and just driving across the country because, I think, he felt trapped in an unhappy job and a small town.  Neither of us had any goals or ambitions in life, no dreams of the future.  There were times when we couldn't even imagine what our lives would be like in five years.  But shortly after changing our diets, our outlook started to change too.  Pretty soon, life didn't seem so dismal.  We started dreaming about the future, or at least I did.  We're really happy in the life we have now, Chad's happy with his job, life is just so pleasant.  The future is full of hope now.

I probably shouldn't bring this up (Chad's going to kill me)...  But in the spirit of Super Size Me and also Fat Head (where Chereva asked Tom if he was a moron when he brought this up), I have to mention our sex life.  In a word - awesome! 

Hmmm, what else?  Oh!  I started putting on muscle like no one's business, and so did Chad!  The difference between me and Chad, though, is that Chad regularly lifts weights, whereas I sit on my butt watching him lift weights.  Yes, friends, that's right; I put on muscle while being a lazy bum.  How's that for cool? 

Then there's my fingernails.  I've said this before, but I think it's totally worth mentioning.  I used to have really terrible nails.  I could probably pass them off as normal through the summer, but once winter came, that charade was over.  My nails were always very thin and brittle no matter what time of year it was, but the dryness of winter made things even worse.  They started breaking at the sides, and then peeling, layer by layer, off the top.  I couldn't grow them at all. 

This was actually the first change that really caught my attention, because it wasn't something subjective.  It wasn't some wishy washy "oh, I feel better".  It was real, physical proof that something positive was happening.  Suddenly one day I noticed, holy cow, my fingernails are super long!  I never really had to trim them before because they constantly broke, but now I have to actually actively cut them or I start looking like catwoman.  And they're not just long; they're also very strong.  I used to be able to bend my thumbnails in half (when I had enough nail to bend, that is).  Now I try to do that and it's just too solid.  It doesn't budge.

I'm sure there are a lot of other little things I'm missing, but those are the ones that really stick out in my mind.   Plus, we've only been low-carb whole food for 8-9 months, and who knows what changes will continue to happen?


  1. I remember you saying your hair had started to fall out due to PCOS or veggie diet. Has it grown back in? Your hair looks beautiful and thick in your picture so did the paleo/low carb diet do it? thanks. I am enjoying your blog and may just get a profile going.

  2. @Anon: Good question! Truth be told, my hair looks thicker than it actually is because it's naturally curly. If you were to grab a handful of it, though, you'd notice there wasn't much actually there (I get that comment sometimes from the women who cut my hair). Since I've only been seriously paleo/low carb for ten months, and my hair is so long, I haven't actually seen much difference in my hair thickness. However! I do know for a fact that it's growing faster than it used to. And it's shinier and smoother near the roots!