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Dieting with Obstacles Those with special health concerns such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, pregnancy, etc can post here for extra support and help.

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Old 12-23-2008, 09:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: beautiful Oregon mountains
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Height: 5' 5.5", age 59

Default serious cramping, any advice?

I don't know if anyone else has trouble with this, or if it's even related to my diet, but I'm having a rough time today, and it's been building up for at least a week. But I think I also have trouble with this at times when I'm not trying to watch what I eat.

I was cramping up in my legs and feet this morning while trying to shovel snow (not from being chilly), and then later today, I had to go shopping and couldn't wear my snow boots any more (because of foot problems), so was in the store parking lot, trying to pull them off and switch to flip flops (yeah...I wear flip flops in the snow when my feet hurt). I couldn't bend over to pull my boots and socks off. My sternum area was going into serious spasms.

I don't if this is dehydration (today it was possible because I didn't have much time to drink water) but normally I drink a ton of water every day, and I"m still getting the cramps. I'm eating healthy, and don't know if it could be some kind of deficiency, but don't think so and here's why. When I was in my thirties, the same thing happened to me. Only then I was on diuretics. I went skiing one day and could only ski for half the day because my legs and feet started cramping up so badly. At the end of the day, I walked to the car with my friends. and then try to bend over to take my boots off, and cramped up in the sternum like today...it was so bad, I started crying and my friends had to pull my boots off for me and put my shoes on.

I've suffered with cramps (at night, during the day, all over my body) all my life...on and off. Right after that ski trip I went to the doctor to get my blood tested for deficiencies, and it tested fine. All my electrolytes were fine. But I'm not fine when I cramp up like this. I often have to get up in the middle of the night and use a hair dryer to blast my legs and feet with heat to relax charlie horses. They get so bad, some times I"m bruised for days.

I really don't know what to do. I've tried potassium and other supplements, eating bananas, increasing my water...nothing seems to help.

Any advice out there for me? Tonight I'm cramping all over from the snow shoveling. My back is spasming, my lower legs, me feet, my arms, and I still can't bend over without my chest cramping up. Sometimes this gets so bad I can't wipe myself after using the toilet.

Could this be from not eating enough right now? I'm on 1000 calories a day, and I didn't have time to eat a thing today, till I got home (just now, at 6pm). I started shoveling snow at 7:30 this mornign and have been on the run all day, trying to get everything done today before we get socked in again tonight. It wasn't that I didn't want to eat, I just plain didn't have time.

If anyone else has this problem and has found a solution, I'd really love to hear it.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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Yah, that is so strange; I would definitely ask your doctor about this, esp since you get it in your chest too. Sounds kind of like muscle spasms. My DH and I both, get these muscle cramping all the time now.

HISTORY: I used to get them in my calves a lot when I was in my teens, then they went away. DH started getting them in the back of his thighs last year; and this summer I was having hysterics watching him; laughing so hard it was awful. I felt so bad for him but it was so funny to see. Not long afterwards, I started getting them too; in the back of my thighs. We have no idea what is causing them either. DH says that he gets them all the time now.

My legs and feet were really suffering this fall; with horrible pains of some kind that felt like frostbite. I thought it was the sudden cold and dampness; and I feel chilled a lot too. I know there are a lot of weird cold and flu bugs going around these days; and a friend told me this week that she heard on the news that there is one flu bug going around that mimics MS symptoms (a kind of Multiple Schlerosis).

At first, we thought it was the cold; and trust me, it's cold here. I know that we are getting older, and it has been unusually cold here, but the attack he had this summer: it was nice and warm outside. I am taking vitamin supplements already; and I try to have a banana or an orange every day. DH isn't into fruit much so I sneak it into his muffins.

I also have been changing my shoes and boots trying to find some comfort. Plus I put my legs up and rest; which is doctor's orders. He wants me to do this twice a day and it does help. I have to get my DH to help me walk and get up some times becuz my feet hurt for seemingly no reason.

We were wondering if it's a circulation or nerve thing. My doctor and his nurse once suggested that it might be a nerve condition. My DH also has what is called 'RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME' ... during the night his legs flail and kick about and I have to wake him up so I can sleep and not get banged all the time. He doesn't even remember it; but now I wake him up and he changes his sleeping position.

Well, it is a quandry ... that's for sure. I guess we all just have to keep searching and trying different remedies. I have started doing slow stretches and am getting Dh to do the same. We are putting heat on as well; we bought an extra little heater and blow it on our legs.

This is an added problem none of us really needs. Hope you find some help really soon ...
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Last edited by Justwant2Bhealthy; 12-23-2008 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:47 PM   #3
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I get cramps in my calves if my potassium level is low.
Drinking orange juice helps.
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" - Michael Pollan
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Location: beautiful Oregon mountains
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Height: 5' 5.5", age 59


I upped my calories to about 1200 for a sedentary day (and it goes up if my activity goes up) and it seems to be helping. I'm still cramping a little, but not nearly as much. I have a banana every morning and have an orange or apple or serving of pineapple every evening. I don't think it's a lack of potassium.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:20 PM   #5
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I upped my calories to about 1200 for a sedentary day
Um .. you "upped" your calories to 1200? What were you eating before? Oh, wait, I see .. 1000 calories.

Even before yo uposted this info, I was about to say sounds like a massive mineral deficiency combined with dehydration, but now I'm sure of it.

Sweetie, at 200 lbs, below 1000 calories is dangerously low for you. At 200 lbs I'd say even 1500 calories would be skimming the edge of too little. At 200 lbs, I was eating around 1800 calories and continuing to lose weight. I didn't drop to 1500 calories, until I got down into the 170s.

And on top of that you're shoveling snow and running around w/out eating anything all day in the freezing cold (which makes your body work overtime)?

And let me add this warning - I mean this very seriously. Your heart is a muscle that relies on minerals and especially potassium to function properly. When you under-nourish yourself and deprive your muscles of potassium, you are not only damaging your long muscles, you are damaging your heart.

I'm gonna say it again ... really loudly EAT MORE FOOD and eat it regularly.

You don't have time to eat? Do you have time to lie in bed with cramps, dehydration, and congestive heart failure because you starved yourself?

It takes 2 minutes to slap some peanut butter on a slice of bread, fold it over and eat it.

It takes 2 minutes to eat an apple.

It takes 12 minutes to boil a couple of eggs and throw them in your purse when you're on the go.

****, if you're in that much of a time bind, it takes 2 minutes and $2.49 to grab a Clif bar at the grocery store.

EAT. Eat eat eat eat eat.


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