www.Hypersmash.com Beating Lyme: oktober 2013

zondag 27 oktober 2013

losing fat

13 years ago I moved from New Zealand to London and into a lifestyle of long hours at work fueled by caffine and junk food. To unwind I used beer and partying. Within 4 months my weight had gone from 78kg (172 lbs) to 96kg (210 lbs) and things that had seemed easy 3 months before were a real struggle. It gave me a wake up call and I moved away from London partly to try and get my health and fitness back.

But even with an improved lifestyle, my body seemed to have chosen 96kg as my new 'norm' weight. There was a couple of brief periods where I was able to lose a significant amount of weight but it always came back on again after a couple of months and settled back at 96kg.

When I got sick with Lyme disease my weight continued to go up even though I was taking much better care with my nutrition and exercise. It seemed like my tolerance for certain types of food and drink (namely sugar and alcohol) had been affected and even consuming a little bit of these caused me to gain weight.

My weight topped out at 103kg (227 lbs) in January 2012 which gave me a BMI of 33 (obese). This was also when I was really struggling with quite a few Lyme disease problems including insomnia and low energy and I felt terrible.

Since then I've been on a mostly positive trajectory with regaining my health and losing fat.

In April this year I got down to 87.5 kg (193 lbs) but over the next few months I slightly fell off the healthy eating wagon which caused my weight to balloon out to 97.8kg (216 lbs) 4 months later (August 2013). As well as the weight returning, my problems with insomnia and low energy also returned.

In the 10 weeks since then I've been super strict with my diet and am now down to 89kg (196 lbs). My goal is to get down to 84.5kg (186 lbs) by December 15th 2013. That's 8 weeks away.

Getting below 85kg is a significant milestone for me. The last time I was down to that weight was at my wedding 9.5 years ago. And the last time I was consistently down to that weight was more than 13 years ago.

Here are the strategies that are working well for me in losing weight. I believe everyone is different in the sense that what works for me may not be suitable for someone else. But I'd like to share what worked for me in case it can help you. I don't see the points below as a diet that I'm following. More a lifestyle change that I hope will allow me to be able to maintain a healthy weight for the long term.

- Plant based

The food I eat now is more than 90% whole plant food. My diet now is based around green smoothies and salads. I make a large green smoothie each morning which is my breakfast and 3 small meals during the day. I also have a large salad for lunch. For dinner I eat what my wife makes which is always delicious but not always plant based.

- No alcohol

For me I've found that when I drink even one or two glasses of wine or beer it's almost impossible to lose weight regardless of how clean the rest of my diet is or how much I'm exercising.

So although I really enjoy a glass of red wine, it doesn't form a regular part of my life anymore. It was hard to give up at first but I don't miss it anymore.

- Cutting out the naughty treats

I've got a real sweet tooth and often used to snack on chocolate, biscuits or nuts. It's so easy to take on unnecessary calories that way so I've cut these out. Again, not easy at first but after a few days the cravings go away.


So what motivates me to lose fat?

- Firstly I find that I can manage my lyme disease problems when I eating cleanly (as outlined above) and exercising. I sleep much, much better. I've got more energy, am more focused and can get more out of each day.

- Secondly being at a healthy body weight means I'm much less susceptible to a whole host of diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer).
- I feel better when I'm at a healthy weight.

- I can perform in the sports I do much better when I'm at a healthy weight.

zondag 13 oktober 2013

4 things I wish I'd done differently with Lyme...

This is sort of a continuation of the theme from my last post. Whereas there it was about things I wish I'd known, this is more looking at a few key things that I would have done differently...

Better Prevention and awareness

4 years ago I was only vaguely aware of lyme disease. I had no clue about how it was transmitted or what the symptoms were. I did a lot of walking in the bush (forest) back then but I never took any precautions in terms of the clothes I wore, etc. So things I would do differently if spending time in forests or other tick prone areas are:

- Wearing appropriate clothing (shoes/boots in place of sandles, long sleeve shirts and trousers in place of t-shirts and shorts)

- Using effective insect repellent (such as one containing deet)

- Avoid walking through high grass or bashing through leafy areas

- Check myself (and my family) daily for ticks or rashes

- Check my dog daily for ticks and make sure he has an combined anti tick/flea treatment

Go to the doctor sooner

I got sick in late May but it wasn't until late July that I went to the doctor. Initially it seemed like a flu and then the symtoms were so weird and varied that, for some reason, I decided to try and ride them out hoping they would come right by themselves. This was definitely not the right thing to do!

I was very lucky in that when I did eventually go to the doctor it was only a matter of a couple of weeks before I was in the hospital and getting treated. I fully appreciate how fortunate I was in this regard (for many, many people it's a nightmare to try and get treated).

So what would I do differently? Go to the doctor much, much sooner. I really feel that if I had further delayed going to the doctor or hospital it's unlikely I would have made a full recovery as the severity and frequency of my problems was exploding just when I was diagnosed.

Think holistically (sooner)

I needed the antibiotics to recover but I wasn't able to recover by solely relying on the antibiotics.

It took nutrition, alternative treatment, supplements, visualization, among other things. My doctors in the hospital rubbished these alternative approaches to healing. For them it was at best a waste of money. But it wasn't until I began exploring some of these options that my symptoms began to fade and I slowly began to reclaim my health.

Take it easy!!!

When I was first undergoing treatment I had the idea that Lyme disease was not that serious and that I should be back at work. Not only back at work but back studying (I was doing some extramural study) and doing the other day to day things that I was preoccupied with prior to lyme.

Rather than try and rush back into my pre-lyme busyness, I should have just tried to relax and focus on getting my health right. And just to give myself more of a break rather than continually pushing myself to achieve things when I was still trying to recover.

woensdag 9 oktober 2013

4 things I wish I'd known when I was diagnosed with Lyme disease

This post is dedicated to Amber. My best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

Recently I had a message from someone who was recently diagnosed with late stage lyme disease and who is about to begin treatment. Reading this made me think back to that day 3 and a half years ago when I was diagnosed with late-stage lyme disease and the weeks and months that followed.

Recalling this time I remember feeling scared, confused and depressed. I felt worse during the treatment than when I started and had no idea why. I would trawl through lyme disease forums and read that I would never recover. Regaining my health and positive feelings was a journey that took many months and years. There are so many things I have learnt during that time.

When I think back about the things I wished I'd known at the beginning of the treatment these 4 spring to mind:

- Herx reactions
In short, when the bacteria die off from the antibiotics toxins are released into your blood stream that can cause really nasty reactions (big flare up in symptoms for example). I herx'ed like crazy but had no idea what was happening. I just figured the antibiotics weren't working.

Google 'herx reaction' and learn about what may happen when you're undergoing the antibiotic treatment. The worst aspect for me was a feeling of helplessness that nothing was working. If I'd known about Herx, it would have been easier to summon the mental fortitude needed to grit my teeth and get through the day knowing that it would subside.

- Nutrition

Eating predominatnly vegetable and fruit whole foods has had a huge positive impact maximising energy and minimising my Lyme diesease problems. Everyone needs to find what works best for them but for me personally this plant based way of eating had changed my life.

Note that when you first start this diet it may be hard initially. But, at least in my experience, if you perservere you will grow very quickly to love the new way of eating and start to crave those green smoothies and salads and the way they make you feel!

If you have Netflix check out 'Fat, Sick and nearly dead'. It illustrates the tremendous positive effect eating a plant based diet can have on health.

- Acupuncture

When I was being treated I went about 6 weeks without any decent sleep. I was drugged up to the eyeballs and still not able to sleep for more than 20 minutes. After my first session of acupuncture I slept for 5 or 6 hours. Bliss! I would have paid 10,000 euros for that sleep!

Acupuncture is very dependent on how good the practitioner is so if it you're not seeing benefits after a few appointments I would suggest to try someone else.

Stay positive - you can get better!!!

When I first got sick I was so sick and in so much pain I could never imagine a time when I might feel human again let alone have energy. And it took a long time to reclaim my health and it's still an ongoing journey with insomnia but I'm getting there and I can honestly say I feel much better now than I did before I got sick.

I don't want to give false hope as everyone is different and some people do not respond to the treatment. But statements that Lyme is incurable and that you'll always suffer are heart-breaking to read and frankly bullshit. Don't give up hope. Even if it gets super bad (and I had some days where all I could do was crawl up in a ball on the floor) cling to hope, do the things like nutrition and acupuncture to give your body the best chance of healing.

zaterdag 5 oktober 2013

ramping up the battle against lyme

I haven't written much in the last few months. Here's why...

For about 7 months from September 2012 I slept well and by early 2013 I felt I had really beaten Lyme once and for all.

Then from about June 2013 onwards I started having persistent problems with sleeping. I went from getting 6 to 8 hours a night back to between 3 and 5 hours a night. As I've said previously, the insomnia I suffered from with Lyme disease was by far the most insidious of the problems I had. So to go back into a pattern of not being able to sleep that dragged on for months was pretty soul destroying.

Recently (over the last 2 weeks) things have improved. And I've now had 3 days of decent sleep in a row. It's far too early to think I've got the sleeping sorted but at least getting a couple of decent night's sleep in a row is pure bliss :-)

So what happened?

From April onwards I slowly slipped back into a pattern where I wasn't putting the focus and discipline into my nutrition and exercise. Having a beer or two at night became the norm. Prior to that I'd spent about 6 months booze free. Although I still ate really clean (i.e., a focus on plant based whole foods and little or no sugar and processed foods) it became a habit to have snacks in the evening. It didn't seem like much at the time but the little things add up and before I knew it I'd piled the weight back on again (in 6 months went from 87kg to 98kg).

As I lost focus on nutrition and exercise my sleep suffered which meant I struggled to perform during the day leading to stress and anxiety at work leading to even poorer sleep and so on.

And before you know it, it's a vicious circle...

Breaking out...

A couple of weeks ago I committed myself 100% to going back to the principles that worked when I first got over my sleeping problems in 2012.
- A diet based on whole plant foods
- No alcohol
- No drinks other than green tea or water (and one coffee in the morning :-)
- Exercise

It was not easy the first week or so but now I'm loving the process and have so much more energy. On days when I have only had 3 or 4 hours sleep I can cope. On days when I've had 7 or 8 hours sleep I feel amazing!

I really feel that Lyme has been a great teacher in terms of my own self-development. For example, to maximise my energy I need to really be aware of the foods I'm putting into my body.

Prior to Lyme I never really thought about it. It took Lyme to really knock me off that mindset of complacency.