Living Maintenance - In maintenance, and now feel awful (possible food intolerance? Seeking advice.)

09-03-2013, 12:50 AM
Hey, sorry, I've never really posted in the maintenance forum, but I've been really struggling with my food and how I've been feeling lately, and was wondering if anyone had dealt with something similar. The rest is kinda long and deals with digestions, so sorry for any TMI.

Some background: I hit my goal weight about 2 and a half months ago, and I was feeling pretty good, both physically and about myself. I know I had some diet fatigue going on and was looking forward to getting a few more calories back, but I remember still feeling decent physically. It might sound kinda strange, but I was actually really proud of how good my digestion normally was. I was very regular, with consistent stool. Well, fast forward to this week, where a few days ago I had terrible diarrhea and last night I had awful abdominal cramping for hours (upper, lower and the sides, especially the left) from gas and constipation. Oh how things can change in a short time :(

I feel like the change has been gradual, with my stomach problems getting worse as time goes on, with other issues popping up as well. My cravings for sweets and carbs have gone from occasional to frequent, and I've been giving in :( I'm probably up 5-10 pounds, but I know a lot of that is probably bloating. And now after I eat the sweets/carbs, I sometimes feel like my heart is pounding. I don't think my pulse has sped up, but more that I would feel my heart beating in my chest, when I normally don't. And perhaps hardest for me to deal with emotionally, my Trichotillomania (hair pulling and skin picking) has been coming back after almost a year and a half in remission. I get sores on my scalp that I pick and sometimes pull the hair from, and I have several right now, whereas before I just had one or two. I do remember feeling like the skin on my scalp had gotten less healthy last month, so I'm not sure if the sores from coming scratching my scalp or if I'm scratching at developing sores.

(Ugh, sorry this is so long). Anyway, I traced the start of all this back to a two week trip to Chicago two months ago, where I pretty much ate what I wanted. I overate a few times, but mostly I just had a moderate amount of very good restaurant food for the two weeks. When I came back I had a harder time staying away from the sweets/processed carbs and started a bit of a cycle of eating very cleanly for a bit (veggies, meat, fruit) and then having a day where I ate a lot of sweets (mainly pastries, but sometimes pancakes or bread). A few of these were actually binges, which is hard for me to admit, and I think is when the pounding heart started. My digestion issues also started right after getting back from Chicago, although at the time I thought it was from starting birth control pills. I was constipated a lot and just felt pretty awful. I got off the birth control after only a few weeks, and at first I thought that fixed everything, but obviously not.

Based on how I feel after eating, I kinda think that a lot of this may be related to the bread products, sweet or not. After I eat them, it almost feels like sticking plaster down a pipe and plugged everything up. It feels so heavy in my stomach. But my real question, or what I want advise on I suppose, is what to do now. I had been reading a lot about Paleo separately, and realized it was relatively similar to how I ate when I was calorie restricting and felt better. I was probably having one to two severing of grains a day, and sugary foods only occasionally. Because of this similarity, I was actually planning on doing the Whole 30 challenge to see if I felt better. I was then planning on introducing things back in a systematic way to see if something like gluten or lactose was causing a problem, but now I'm not sure if that's a good idea to do on my own. I'm a scientist by trade, was already planning what would basically an extended experiment with my own body, but I'm a chemist not a medical doctor. ::Sigh:: I was going to start the elimination diet tomorrow, but now I'm not sure. I'm also not sure if I'm getting cold feet for a legitimate reason, or if I'm making excuses so I can have a few more cookies next week or if I'm just scared to go to the doctor.

I know that was a huge info dump, and part of me writing it was to organize my own thoughts and I'm probably leaving a few things out, but I'd be happy to hear if anyone has any advice, even if just to say that I'm making things way more complicated then they need to be. Thanks.

09-03-2013, 08:17 AM
Hi flashfacts. The heart racing is probably a result of your blood sugar spiking. The rest of your symptoms could be due to wheat intolerance, but I'd be thinking excessive sugar in what you eat. Also, you don't say what you ate the day before the diarrhea episode.

We can't really tell you what's going on. You need to see a doc. Have your glucose tolerance tested as well as your fasting blood sugar. And see a gastroenterologist about your intestinal problems.

Sugar isn't a good thing. High fructose corn syrup is even worse. Stop overdoing it on these foods--they set up a vicious cycle.

I hope you can find some relief.


09-03-2013, 09:00 AM

Thank you. I really needed to hear that. I actually have an appointment with my GYN already scheduled, due to the birth control connection, and I was hoping to get a referral for these other things. And sorry, I really wasn't hoping to get a diagnosis over the internet, I think last night in my mild panic I was just hoping for someone to reinforce that I shouldn't try to figure this out on my own. I think I'll focus on cutting out the refined sugar before seeing my doctor, to see if that helps, though I supposed I need to leave in some bread so I don't also cut out gluten entirely.

Anyway, thanks again, especially about mentioning the sugar element, which I wasn't paying as much attention to as I probably should.

09-03-2013, 09:05 AM
flash - I'm a LONG way from being a doctor - more of a nuisance nutritional hobbyist and self-experimenter, but I agree with Jay that the extra sugars might be upsetting the balances of your gut flora. Look into fermenting some veggies (easy and cheap - see, or get your hands on some unpasteurized kefir or yogurt. Probiotics might be the fastest help.

09-03-2013, 09:18 AM
Thanks, I ICUwishing. I'll look up the probiotics. And yeah, reading both of your post put this in a different light, since I know that I had a high veggies/healthier day when I had the diarrhea last time, so maybe its an issue with switching back and forth between having lots of veggies for a few days, then followed by mostly grains and starches with sugar in the mix, rinse repeat. (Though I'm not sure how far back that goes, which is all the more reason for me not to jump to conclusions and just see a doctor.)

The more I think about it though, I think I'm going to try to set up an appointment with my GN, rather then wait a week to see my GYN, since the pain a few days ago was actually really terrible. But talking to you guys has really helped me consider a few more data points that I can tell him, so thanks again.

09-03-2013, 09:26 AM
See your doctor. But realize that, once you take something out of your diet for a prolonged period, your body might very well totally object to having a bunch of it back suddenly. I have that experience with alcohol and with diet colas. My body now rejects these substances in a graphic excessive way :yikes: pretty much every time I try them.

Dagmar :dizzy:

traveling michele
09-03-2013, 12:37 PM
Welcome and I agree that you should see a doctor.

That being said-- I also have heart pounding when I eat sugar now. I even passed out once in a pool of sweat. I think by body just isn't used to it at all.

Hope you feel better soon!!
Please keep posting!

09-03-2013, 07:33 PM
I wonder if there is a psychological component, and you are also experiencing a high level of anxiety or some other emotion while indulging in the sugary substance which exacerbates the blood sugar spike.

You might want to look harder at those binges of yours, especially since you say it's "hard to admit" that is what you are doing.

09-03-2013, 08:58 PM
A racing pulse after eating is also sometimes a sign of a food intolerance - just to muddy the waters further. :) I think the advice you already got re: cutting back on refined carbs and sugar is sound. Whether it's sugar itself or a food sensitivity trying to rear its head, cutting back or cutting out should help. (And adding fermented foods or other sources of good gut flora is also always a good thing to try.)

09-03-2013, 09:38 PM
Thanks so much guys.

My PCP was able to fit me in today, and I'm glad I went while I still had symptoms. I went after lunch, and even though I ate really cleanly for breakfast and lunch and overall was feeling a lot better than over the weekend, I was still having some lingering cramping and after listening to my abdomen he could tell that my colon was overactive/spasming. He gave me a Rx to take if I needed them, but over the afternoon the cramps became less frequent, and I'm going to see how I feel after dinner. We talked, and came to the conclusion that I probably transitioned too quickly from my eating habits while losing to a more 'standard' diet during my trip, threw off my gut flora and body in general and have been fumbling around ever since. I have a better plan now for an elimination diet to see if any particular food was actually giving me problems, but I can't draw any conclusions now since I brought in everything at once. He also gave me a probiotic, which hopefully will help in the long run.

Mudpie, yeah, I've definitely thought a lot about this. I went so long without eating certain foods, that I shouldn't be shocked that my body went "Wait, what?!?" when I just dumped them back in.

Traveling michele, its good to know its not just me with the sugar, even if its unfortunate for you that you have such a big reaction.

saef I think you are probably right about the mental aspect. Even though I tend to fuzz out when I binge (not feeling much of anything), that doesn't mean my body isn't reacting in some way.

And I know you are right me needing to look harder at my binges. This thread was actually part of that, since I'd been avoiding the forum lately (probably so I can ignore it). I made another big stride today though, and actually had a good conversation with a friend in person today. Admitting that my binges were back out loud actually felt really good, and she helped me think though what may be go on. I've struggled before and I never let it go on for this long, but I also wasn't dating then. My boyfriend and I meet when I was at maybe 145, and I'm nervous about what will happen when me having lost a lot of weight will change in his mind from just being this 'good' thing I did to something that I actually will struggle with for the rest of my life. But that's a whole other can of worms that I'm still working though.

Desiderata thanks, and I'm not ruling there being some food sensitivity being there, especially with the mouth/tongue tingling that I've been having (which I didn't have today...). Still I need to be systematic about, which I certainly haven't been.

09-03-2013, 11:55 PM
Make sure you haven't become lactose intolerant (many people are low-level intolerant- they can handle yogurt and even a little aged cheese, but not milk, butter and fresh cheese like cottage). I know several people who've misinterpreted symptoms like yours as gluten sensitivity or reactive hypoglycemia, when in fact it was a dairy issue.

09-04-2013, 01:17 AM
Neurodoc funny you should mention lactose...

I know this isn't the best test, but I had some bread around 6, and was fine, no issues for several hours. Got a little hungry again around 9, and had two baby-bell white cheddar wheels and two slices of pancetta, just to see. Half an hour later, my stomach starts being noisy, then I had some mild cramping, and now I swear I've added two inches to my waist since before eating the cheese/ham. I know I ate the bread and cheese too close together for publishable results, and I'll repeat eating each one under better conditions, but its probably the cheese. ::Sigh:: This actually makes me pretty sad, since I love dairy.

I really, really appreciate everyone's comments. I think now that I'm pretty sure where the stomach problems are coming from, I can move forward with the sugar monster that I know is still on my back. But I've dealt with him before and hopefully now that I'm being honest with others and, most importantly, myself, I'll be able to figure it out.