Intermittent Fasting and My Endometriosis-Eating Journey

We left off with me living on smoothies and protein. Still do for the most part. Not yesterday on Thanksgiving. I definitely ate turkey and stuffing. But we will get to that.

Let’s back up. Start here.

I would have continued that way forever but the weight loss slowed down and sometimes seemed to plateau. Losing one pound only every week or two was disheartening considering how strict I was being with my diet.

I lost fifteen pounds by August of this year, I haven’t weighed myself since then, but I know I’ve lost a little more since- so maybe a total of twenty so far, and am still roughly twenty pounds away from my desired weight. So back to my books I went.

I didn’t want to cut calories any further. If anything I wanted to be able to add some in knowing the holidays were coming up. In my research I kept coming across intermittent fasting. At first I dismissed it. I could never do that I thought. I need breakfast. I also do hot yoga three times a week and need calories when I practice.

But it kept niggling at my brain. I looked in the library I have access to through the University I work for. There was actual scientific evidence that intermittent fasting lowered insulin levels and blood pressure. I read a lot. Everywhere. I read people’s blog posts. I read scientific literature. I read articles in Women’s Health and on every other platform I could find. Then I decided to take the plunge.

The idea of intermittent fasting is to eat for a certain time period every day, and not eat at another time period. I chose to do 8 hours on, 16 hours off, 11 AM-7 PM being the time period when I could eat.

Day 1: not eating until 11 AM made me slightly grumpy, but I was still cheerful because I was excited to be trying something new. I made it until 11 no problem. Then I had my first smoothie and a protein bar. I think I probably had some fruit, then home for dinner. I realized the timing of me being home for dinner would be an issue.

I generally work until 6 or 7 and making it home by 6:30 PM at the earliest. There have been more than a few nights of me hastily eating a meal and gulping down a glass of wine between 6:30 pm- 7:00 PM.

Day 2: I was grouchy as hell. I wanted to eat damnit. When I made my smoothie I didn’t put peanut butter in it because I was scared if I opened the peanut butter and spooned some out I would reflexively lick the spoon. It also just smells sooo good.

Since that first “day 2” I’ve had other day 2’s and I have sat breathing in the scent of peanut butter.

Day 3: Still starving before 11 AM. But oddly less grumpy. Feeling lighter. Well rested. Less bloated in general.

I’ve never done more than three days in a row. I do four days a week like this. The three days I practice hot yoga I don’t fast.

In the weeks since that first week of hell I’ve learned how to curb myself. Today was bad. I realized I was being very short with the boys because I was starving. I’ve learned that on a day after I’ve had carbs (aka Thanksgiving and a lot of carbs) the wait until 11 AM is worse. I try extra hard not to have carb overload on non-fasting days to avoid the carb-under-load grouchiness on the fasting days. But alas. Not yesterday.

I have to remind myself that this is my choice, and that I can’t be irritable with my kids because I am choosing to not eat in that moment. It’s hard.

Why do I keep doing this? Well the benefits I’ve found far outweigh the negatives. For instance my endometriosis is far less triggered. All the time. I still tend to avoid gluten/wheat/dairy, but I’ve found that if I have some form of gluten on a non-fasting day, I’m not in debilitating pain the next fasting day.

I have no idea why. I thought it was a fluke at first. But it’s not. I’ve tested it a lot.

For some reason the fasting, even though it’s not every day, and not all day, seems to calm down my endometriosis.

I can’t have a ton of carbs the three days a week I’m not fasting. I still maintain low carb, no gluten/wheat/dairy for the most part most weeks. But when there is a holiday and I want stuffing, I can have some and not fear that I will be in pain for the next week.

It’s kinda nice.

I’ve also lost more weight. My skin at first broke out like I was fourteen. But now seems to be clearing up.

Overall it’s been a nice addition to my endometriosis friendly life. It’s also enabled me to truly feel my hunger cues. When I’ve been trying to eat a lot between 6:30 and 7 PM on my fasting days, I find that I can’t. Because I am much more in tune with my “full” signal.

Today I had hot yoga. I ate a bun this morning that I made yesterday. For lunch I had turkey. Later I had a smoothie.

Tomorrow I will fast. Sunday yoga. It’s taken me some time to get my groove down. It’s hard when I don’t pack enough for work and end up staying late, and not getting home until 7:30 or 8 PM on a fasting day. I don’t want to mess it up, but I don’t want to starve either. I mean I do starve a little during the fasting time, but I don’t want to actually starve myself. There is a difference.

What’s been helpful was that I had been eating healthy before I started fasting, so my meals are still the same as before just condensed into eight hours a day. This sometimes leads to me only eating two meals a day if I run out of time.

I drink coffee in the mornings before 11 AM. I checked on many sources and they all ok’d coffee, tea, and water. Nothing with sugar. Nothing that would trigger your body to start metabolizing anything.

Intermittent fasting has led to mindful eating. When I am sipping my coffee in the morning I truly savor each sip because it’s the only item with flavor on the menu until 11 AM. I also enjoy that first bite or sip of whatever’s first on the menu when I can break my fast.

I can’t tell you why or how intermittent fasting has helped decrease my endometriosis pain. But I can tell you that it has and I am grateful.

The negatives to fasting: the urge to binge when you can eat. But like I said, being more in tune with my “full” cues means this hasn’t been a problem for me. Being grumpy in the morning. I try to be cognizant of this. That’s about it for me.

 

****I got the wolf/fox cuddled together tattoo in September on my left calf. I have a different Celtic knot on my right calf, now they match. The wolf and fox signals transitions to me and the wolf is wisdom and moon based, while the fox is sly and cunning. Both powerful creatures in their own right. In the Celtic tradition fox is associated with seeking alternative healing such as herbalism and diet. When I’m fasting I remember the 3.5 hours that it took for this tattoo and the two hours it took for the one on my other calf. Then I think waiting another hour to eat really isn’t that bad.

5 Things I’ve Learned in Four Years as a lesbian mom of twins.

  1. I’m going to jump into this because I hate those blog posts that say they are a recipe and you have to scroll through ads a mile long and some personal story that no one cares about to find the damn recipe. Anyway. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that being married to a woman has nothing to do with how we raise our kids. Our sons are normal, monstrous, horrible, temper trantruming, sweet and loving four year olds. They breast fed the same as kids raised by straight parents. They learned to walk, talk, and potty train exactly the same as kids raised by heterosexual parents. They say that they love us, and we say we love them. On the regular. They’ve figured out they have two moms. They’ve figured out that some kids have Daddies and not Mommies. They don’t care. Neither should you.
  2. Consistency is key. If you say you are going to go home if they act out one more time. Go home. After they act out one more time. It seems simple. But I hear so many empty threats made by parents. Then they complain their kids don’t listen. If you can’t tell I’m eye-rolling. Hard. I’m not a perfect parent. I lose my shit. I swear in front of them. And I still put on Jackson’s socks because he freaks out if I don’t even though Declan’s been putting on his own damn socks for months. It’s one of those battles I’m just not going to fight. Declan talked back to me twice. He hasn’t a third time. Because he didn’t like the consequences that happened after time number two which he was warned of after time number one of talking back. Be consistent and follow through no matter what. Trust me.
  3. Take time for yourself. Everyone says it. Few actually do it. Hot yoga makes me a better mom. Taking the time to get myself on my mat and exercise in a space where people know me as just me, not as a Mom is empowering. It reminds me who I am. I own a business and am self employed. I work hard. I want my sons to be proud of me. It’s not selfish to take time to be yourself. After being pregnant, giving birth, and nursing there was never a time I felt so out of control of my body. It didn’t feel like it belonged to me anymore. It took me some time, and I’m not done yet, but it’s definitely back to feeling like mine.
  4. My life will never be about me ever again. (See above. Hence the importance of time for me). When I was hospitalized for my asthma all I could think of was being with them. And as soon as I got home those babies were all over me. When my Dad died I didn’t get time to grieve. I went to work that week and Mama’d just like every other day. I don’t get time off from being a mom no matter what is happening to me personally or professionally. It’s incredibly draining emotionally and physically. It wasn’t healthy for me to not have time to grieve. But I had no other options. Self-employment doesn’t come with PTO/vacation days. I needed to work. The boys didn’t need to see me as a wreck. I had to keep it together around them. I know that will get easier as they get older. At least that’s what I tell myself. Every day. It’s not about you anymore! Get over it. Don’t be a martyr about it. Because thats annoying.
  5. Don’t listen to anything anyone ever tells you about parenting. I received so much bad and unsolicited advice from people about parenting. People who had never even met my kids. They potty trained at 3.5. We went without diapers one day. When we felt they were ready. People had been telling us to do it from age 2! They were not ready at age 2. They were not ready at age 3. They were ready at 3.5. They’ve had minimal accidents and no pull-ups ever overnight from the start. I knew my kids. I knew how they would be able to handle it and when. I shut every one out. I did what was best for them. Would I have liked to not have diapers in my life a year sooner?! Absolutely. But my kids weren’t ready then. People asked why I was bringing them to the dentist so early. Guess what, Declan has an enamel deficiency. I brought them very young because I felt like he had some plaque in his teeth and I thought it was weird. The dentist told me I was right and had I waited he would have a mouth full of rotting out teeth. So yeah. Don’t listen to anyone but your own gut. You know your kids. Tune out everyone else.

Mostly I’ve learned to just survive, don’t judge other peoples parenting even when they are giving you really bad advice and not following through on multiple empty threats…yes even then don’t judge. Because we are all just trying to get through the day with happy and healthy kids.

I feel grateful for the last four years. I feel incredibly blessed to have these boys in my life.

Oh and one more thing. NEVER tell a parent who has a two year old that “Three is so much worse” or any other age combination in there. Because that’s wrong on so many levels. You don’t know what they are going through. They may be hitting rock bottom and you are kicking them when they are down. Every stage is different. Three’s were not harder than two’s in some ways. In other ways they were. Don’t spread negativity about parenting, we all know it’s hard. Maybe be supportive and positive.

My business partner has twins who older than my boys. She’s never told me how bad certain stages sucked. I appreciate that about her. She’s given me goals- once you make it through…it gets so much easier! She provides me with hope that life gets easier. Do that. Spread hope.

 

How I Mom Like My Dad…Reflections as the Boys Turn Four!

The boys turn four tomorrow. We brought cupcakes to tumbling this weekend. Had my family and a few friends over on Sunday and cupcakes to daycare today. Forty-eight cupcakes. Two birthday cakes (one with Spiderman on it that I made I felt like a pinterest Mom!).

I’ve learned a few things about how I Mom. I’d like to think I’m okay at it. I mean they are alive and happy and generally potty trained. They ask to snuggle with me all the time and they seem to enjoy my company even though I put them in timeout when they break the rules.

I basically Mom how I live. For example, I’ll make it to hot yoga class before they lock the door. But I’ll roll in dropping my towel that I just pulled out of the dryer and as I billow it out over my mat inevitably a pair of my underwear falls out. Not the plain black ones. The lacey thong that I wear once a month or less that I only wear when I literally have no underwear left.

It’s happened. Twice.

Considering I don’t wear the lacey thong more than four times a year. I’m mildly cursed.

Same thing with how I Mom. I’ll get to daycare on time before the Halloween parade starts. I may forget their sheets/blankets and they never have extra clothes there that fit. Which means today Declan had an accident and came home in his bathing suit bottoms. Because it was the only change of clothes he had there.

I’ll remember the check to pay for them to be there. But I’ll fill it out in the parking lot.

I iron their pants and shorts and our cloth napkins. And sometimes my sheets. But I am up until midnight every year on Christmas Eve and their birthday and Easter. They don’t have Easter baskets. I forget. Yes I forget major holidays that fall on the same day every year. Maybe not the actual holiday. I just don’t realize how quickly it comes. Then it’s the 24th and I’m like holy MF I am screwed.

I’ve actually had dreams of shopping on Christmas Eve. Maybe nightmares.

But they know if I say I’m going to do something we do it. When I say we are going to bake cupcakes it happens. When I say they will get to go to the store the next day it happens. Follow through is important in parenting. Both positive and negative. They know if I say they will go to bed early if the nonsense doesn’t end now…they stop the nonsense.

As I threw my towel out tonight at yoga and the freaking underwear flew out, and I fell leaping to grab it before the full class of people looked and saw- half of them did. I thought, wow, I’m a Mom. I’m responsible for two other humans and there’s my thong on the yoga mat.

It’s how I roll.

My Mom is very organized. She would never have been up wrapping presents the night before Christmas. She still has our Easter baskets from our childhood. Actually I think maybe mine’s in my basement.

She decorates for every season. I was looking through birthday pics from last year and saw our pumpkin candelabra from the mantle that we got last year and yelled at my wife asking where the hell it was this year and why she didn’t grab it when I asked her to grab our one Halloween decoration that I remembered.

She looked at me like I was nuts with no recollection of ever grabbing the witch/cat candle thing. She did. I swear it. Because it’s on the mantle. And I didn’t grab it and I know we did put it away last year.

Anyway. I’m that kind of Mom. My Mom often says she doesn’t know where I came from. With my last minute planning yet OCD ironing. I appreciate my Mom. A lot. She went and dealt with a birthday gift return/exchange when I realized I bought boots a month ago two sizes big- but they grew three sizes in a month. So I needed two sizes bigger than I got.

Anyway. She dealt with all of that. When I have a specific task my mom is good for the follow through. I appreciate that about her because I know that is not at all part of who I am.

I would have kept the wrong sized boots in the car for about three months with the intention of returning them, then met a mom of twins (because I swear to God they drop in front of me ALL the time- not kidding! It’s like I have a magnet for twin moms) who was in need of boots for her kids and would have just given them to her. Leaving my sons still bootless and me without a birthday present for them.

I met a twin mom. She did my pedicure. I brought her our stroller used maybe twice. Because my wife left ours in a parking lot right on the cusp of us not needing one…yeah long story. Anyway almost new stroller and pac-n-play delivered to her the next day. It just feels right sometimes to pay it forward.

I know how much being a twin Mom drains you. Physically, emotionally and especially financially. It would have been nice to sell the stroller for a hundred dollars or something. But it was nicer to have her hug me with two kids in her belly and thank me and tell me how she raved about me to her husband.

Some day someone will pay forward a free babysitter for a night to me. Just throwing out there to the universe.

So I’m not perfect. I forget some stuff and obsess about other stuff that other people feel is not important to obsess about. I walk around naked sometimes and the boys are getting to an age where they tell me to get dressed. I do. Get dressed I mean. But I’ve also put them in time out holding up my towel because they hit each other while I was in the shower. It happens.

I procrastinate. I make a fool of myself. But mostly I love those boys.

I may look like my Mom. But I’m my Dad all the way. When I forget stuff. When I lose my temper. When I bake with them. Even when I’m ironing. I picture him standing at the ironing board. Talking to me. Sometimes yelling at me. Likely deserved. And I feel okay about it. Because I loved my Dad so much. I miss him. And if I parent like him. I’m good with that.

I miss him on my son’s birthday. Because he should be here with us. He should see his grandkids turn four. And I know he is from somewhere else. But I wish he was here. When I’m ironing of all things…I feel like he is.

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