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Charlie horses = malnutrition?

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Old 04-18-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
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Default Charlie horses = malnutrition?

My husband and I are in the very early stages of going through a divorce. It has been very stressful for both of us. Neither of us is really eating much (our clothes are falling off -- not in a good way) and now I've started getting charlie horses in my feet and also my hands.

I'm a little scared because I read online that this could be a sign of lacking calcium, potassium, and/or magnesium. Or just dehydration. I suppose that would make sense since I've been drinking a crapload of coffee and I doubt there's much calcium, potassium, or magnesium in an English muffin and a few bites of chicken.

I know the answer is to eat more/better. I just don't think I can. This is the first time I've said this aloud, but I'm a little worried I'm developing a bit of an eating disorder. With so much going on in my life, I feel like controlling what I (don't) eat is one of the only things I can do right now. I don't want to hurt my body -- I have two little kids who count on me. I'm going to start taking a multivitamin today. I'm also going to focus on planning out a detailed menu for the week and sticking to it exactly. Maybe that will help me feel a little more in control.

Has anyone been here?

Last edited by rachinma : 04-18-2010 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Grammar!
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:41 PM   #2
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I am so sorry you are going through such a tough time right now. If you are unable to eat healthier you might consider adding a calcium, potassium, and magnesium supplement along with a multivitamin Would you be able to drink some protein shakes. It is an easy way to get your vitamins and if you like banana's you can blend them in as they are full of potassium.
You are right; you need to stay healthy and strong for your children and for yourself.
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:41 PM   #3
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Totally. But I chose to control it with eating everything in site and then 'getting rid of it.' (no details...they aren't pretty.) It almost killed me, and now I have serious internal damage that can cause extreme pain from time to time. It's not worth it. Trust me.
As for the dehydration/charley horse thing, maybe try to drink one of those small bottles of gatorade and spread it out through the day. I'm not sure how many calories are in one, but since you aren't eating, it might make you feel a bit better to get a few plus all the electrolites.
Going by your ticker, you've done great in your weight loss so far. Remember that when you don't eat, you will go into starvation mode, and gain a lot of weight when you finally start eating again. Think about all of the work you have done.
Or think about your kids. If you stop eating, it only ends one of two ways- you gain it all back, or you keep starving yourself. Think about how scary it would be for your babies to see you suffer like that. I won't go into details of how ugly it can be.
If you feel you have to get control over something, try a completely new hairstyle. Maybe a totally different color. If it's long, try short. If it's black, try blonde, or even auburn red. A new look can do wonders for your outlook. I know it sounds shallow, but it really can work.
Anyways, sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps. Just remember, you aren't alone here! And it may take awhile, but it WILL get better!
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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I am sorry that you are going through a hard time. Stress can cause the body to do all sorts of things. I used to get charlie horses in my thighs. It helped to do gentle stretches every morning.

You might want to check with your doctor if these things keep going on.

You take care now.

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Old 04-18-2010, 07:53 PM   #5
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If you don't feel you can eat, start drinking lots and lots of skim milk. Will help with calcium, potassium, and dehydration. Not sure about magnesium.
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:41 PM   #6
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I started getting horrible charley horses in my calves and the soles of my feet very often. Also while going through a divorce and neglecting even minor amounts of food. Potassium, magnesium and calcium helped. Sometimes it was all I could do to choke down a banana and a glass of skim milk, but it did help. I'm not a big fan of most supplements, since they tend to release in the wrong part of the digestive system alot of the stuff you want is flushed out in urine and feces. A quality multi vitamin may be your answer, but I'm one of those, 'get it from the source' kind of people.

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Old 04-19-2010, 06:22 AM   #7
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Two words: V-8 JUICE. A small chilled can to help wash down the chicken. Or before bed if you get leg cramps at night. It comes in a low sodium version, but perhaps the regular would be best for you at this point.

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Old 04-19-2010, 11:44 AM   #8
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I have been there. I had 4 little kids who depended on me. And I went totally numb. It's not a good place to be.

I know exactly what you mean, about food being one of the few things YOU can control. About finding no pleasure out of eating...and some odd sense of power over not eating.

So take your power back. Food will help. Believe me. Eating will help YOU feel better, make you more able to handle the stresses and pressure. Your mind and body will thank you.

Good luck. It does get better, I promise.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:11 PM   #9
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Sorry you're going thru such a hard time right now.

This sounds weird but my docotor gave me an old wive's remedy for charlie horses that she said worked for her. Put a bar of soap in bed with you, placed around the calves. Rub it lightlly over your calf muscles right when you go to bed and try to keep it positioned so it will touch your legs during the night. I used lever 2000; I think she said Ivory would work too. Yes it sounds stange and I don't really know if it works. I tried it and the results were mixed.

I'm not sure about calcium and magnesium, but I know potassium can be dangerous for the heart if you take too much so be careful with that one. As a previous poster said, check with your doctor. If you are on any medications, charlie horses/muscle cramps may be a side effect.

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Old 04-19-2010, 01:26 PM   #10
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I would not take mineral supplements without talking to your doctor. I tried calcium, magnesium, and potassium supplements (one of each, and I forgot about the other electrolyte sodium, which normally a person doesn't have to worry about because there's plenty available in food, even if you don't count table salt) because I thought one was bound to help. The cramping got much worse.

I forgot that excesses of the mineral can cause muscle cramping too - and also that some of the minerals are antagonists (meaning that too much of one can cause a shortage of another).

Gatorade and foods would be a safer way to get the minerals you need without taking in too much.

Oh and the bar of soap did help for me too. Don't have a clue why or how it works, but it does seem to help.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:01 PM   #11
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The bar of soap worked for me, too. And I have absolutely no idea why it worked. . . . .

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Old 04-19-2010, 10:37 PM   #12
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I heard that charlie horses are causes by dehyration. I drink a lot more water than I used to and I don't get them anymore (maybe once a year), I would try that and take more potassium/calcium.

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Old 04-20-2010, 03:36 AM   #13
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lactose acid build up causes muscle cramps/ charlie horses. Milk is the worst thing for it. Magnesium stops cramps. Eat tree nuts. They are a good source of magnesium.
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