Hi, I’m Karen and I’m a Foodie. While most people eat to live, I’m one of those that “lives to eat”. If you have been following my food and travel blog over the last six years, you know that Back Road Journal usually revolves around the food I’ve enjoyed during my travels. My laptop and camera have been a constant companion on trips with my husband as I share our latest food adventure. I’ve also devoted hours blogging about what new dishes that I have created and shared with friends.
I’ve always felt that if you eat the foods that you enjoy in moderation, your weight won’t fluctuate all that much. If I gained a few pounds, I’d watch what I ate for a week or two and quickly go back to my previous weight. As I’ve aged, those pesky couple of pounds got harder and harder to lose.
What I hadn’t realized was that when you make a change in your lifestyle, it can also make a big difference in your weight. Before our move to Florida two years ago, I took care of our home in New Hampshire as well as our 13 acre property. I was always busy gardening, mowing the orchard, going up and down on ladders pruning trees and picking bushels of apples. If I was inside, I seemed to always be going up and down the stairs in our antique colonial home and I was constantly on my feet. I used to say that I could eat whatever I wanted all winter because I knew that the few pounds of weight I might gain would be quickly worked off during the rest of the year taking care of our farm.
No more stairs to climb in our new home in Florida, no garden and orchard to maintain meant very little exercise. Instead I was now spending hours sitting at my computer and it resulted in a slow weight gain of about a 1/2 a pound each month. While it doesn’t sound like much, the overall effect was creating a problem I really wasn’t aware of. My husband was the first to bring it to my attention.
I had developed a constant little cough. My husband mentioned it to our doctor and she to ordered a chest X-ray. It was normal and suggested that I see a gastroenterologist as she suspected that I might have silent reflux. That doctor wanted to know if I had changed anything in my eating habits since the cough had originated. While I hadn’t, I did mention that I had gained almost 15 pounds over the past two years.
The doctor said he suspected a problem called GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and that I needed to lose the weight. He thought that the occasional heartburn that I was having would then go away. He also suggested that I have an endoscopy and colonoscopy to rule out any other possible medical issues.
The day of my “routine tests” as an outpatient at the hospital was anything but routine. During the endoscopy, I stopped breathing, stomach fluid was aspirated through the endoscope into one of my lungs, the tests were aborted and I had to be resuscitated. I was put on a six day treatment of IV antibiotics. I also given a prescription for a PPI (Proton-pum inhibitors) whose main action is a long lasting reduction of gastric acid production.
Fast forward a couple of months and I’m doing very well. I take a PPI pill each evening before dinner and it has worked wonders with the reflux problem. At first I avoided garlic, onions, tomatoes, citrus, alcohol and chocolate. I’ve been able to slowly add things back but I no longer have an after dinner cocktail and limit wine to one glass or two if we dine out at a restaurant. I don’t drink orange juice anymore and limit caffeine to one cup of tea each morning. My one little treat at night used to be a little Hersey’s special dark chocolate bite but I’ve given those up for the time being as well. To complete my lifestyle change, I started walking a mile a day and when the weather in Florida gets cooler I’ll increase the distance.
As a result of the lifestyle changes I’ve made, I’m slowly losing some weight. I’m now one third of the way back to my ideal weight. Now you might be thinking that I’ll stop sharing recipes or taking you on my food adventures but that is not the case. In my next post, I’ll be giving you a recipe for a salad that you will definitely want to make for your friends and family. After that, I’ll be letting you know about our fall trip to Europe and the fabulous cities and mountain resorts we will be visiting.
I’m happy to be back blogging and I hope you will follow along.