Listen to your gut

I have been waiting to write about this until I had several weeks under my belt. If you have been following my journey, you know that I started this blog just over two years ago.

My two-year anniversary was July 14, 2019 – the same day my sister died of a heart attack.

When I started my blog it was with the intention of sharing my authentic self and being honest, especially with myself. It started with a focus on my health and morphed into telling my story along the way.

But my health has been a steady focus from the beginning.

I wrote that Mom died at 48 of a heart attack and after my sister’s death from the same disease I was heartbroken, stunned and even more determined than ever to be my healthiest self.

But it honestly took getting acute diverticulitis to shake me out of my complacency and make a change.

Let me back up a bit.

Two years ago I was about 30 pounds overweight, and for the four years prior I struggled with losing the extra pounds. So for the first time in my life, I tried different diets.

October 2017

From one diet to the next, the results were always the same – weight cycling. I tried Ketogenic and Intermittent Fasting this year and I am pretty sure the Keto Diet is what landed me in Urgent Care on Labor Day.

I followed the plan of “Eat what you want and just exercise more”…which didn’t work at all. And with each plan, no matter what weight I lost my belly fat was always there.

And belly fat equals heart disease.

So when my doctor read the results of the CT-Scan and prescribed a few different antibiotics, I knew I needed real help. A friend of mine recommended a nutritionist and I made an appointment right away.

What a difference knowledge makes.

My nutritionist asked me about my history and health throughout my life. When she found out my mother and sister both died young of heart attacks she asked, “When was the last time you saw a cardiologist?”

When I told her I have never seen one, she was shocked. In all the years I have been seeing doctors, who knew my family history, not one suggested I see a cardiologist.  We spent over an hour together and she sent me home with a plan to log my food, activity and even bowel movements on an app she could monitor.

She spent the next week poring over my lab work and test results from the last three years. At the end of the week, she sent me a meal plan which eliminated dairy, gluten, red meat, processed foods and alcohol for three months.

She also told me I was under-eating.

Because of the diverticulitis, I stopped eating dairy and meat early in September, so taking out the other irritants wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it would be.

And since then?

I lost weight, lost belly fat, don’t have the aches and pains I had, have my energy back and most importantly feel 100% better.

October 2019

The moral of this story  – diets don’t work – at least in my opinion. Getting to the root cause of why you feel bloated, why your knees or feet hurt and why your gut isn’t happy is priority one.

I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner now which includes lots of fresh veggies and fruit, healthy fat and some fish and eggs. I incorporate whole, gluten-free grains daily. My goal is to heal my gut first.

I will be seeing my nutritionist in December to start phase two of her plan for me and in the meantime, I am focusing on my heart health as well.

Look, I don’t have all the answers and I’m sure not saying you should follow my plan. The trick is to find out what works for you, but I will say, please put health first not weight loss.

Thanks for following my blog these past two years and sticking with me during a difficult summer. Now that I am feeling better, I will get back to writing … because there is more to my story.

Reader Comments

  1. Anita

    Loretta, I’m so glad things are looking up for you! Not that I ever felt that your life had major issues. I’ve always admired your zest and positive outlook, even throughout your loss, but I guess we all have our demons. Keep up the good work. You look marrr-ve-ous!

  2. Amy Kennedy

    Fantastic post, Loretta! I feel I have so much in common with you, and this makes fantastic sense to me. You are so good to share this with all of us, and I know it will help me and lots of other people. So glad you are feeling better, and will learn from your experience!

  3. Linda on the Run

    Wow. You have been through a lot. Thank you for sharing your nutrition tips. I feel my best self after I gave up sugar & processed foods. Good luck as you begin Phase II.

  4. Hilda Smith

    I admire your tenacity with this and glad you are feeling so much better. I am still very tired but nothing showed up in my bloods except my usual low white blood cells which I have had since 2010.

  5. Kim Cook

    Love this post Loretta and so glad you are on the mend. I firmly believe that you must find what works for you. I have been at this for over 7 years and its constant tweaking. Your body changes all the time. I don’t eat dairy or gluten either. Those were game changers for me. I feel more energetic and light. I also am working on cutting out all meat except fish and eggs. I do love seafood so that helps.

    Have an amazing day!

  6. Rebecca

    I so love following this Loretta. I was 176 pounds in 2004. I was lucky that it was early menopause. Since then, it has trickled off. The difference in the pics you posted is amazing. How gorgeous you look…in both. Yet, you look so relaxed in the latest one. 🙂

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