If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably have read about these horrible, incurable and unidentifiable stomach pains I occasionally get. They leave me buckled over in pain, unable to be comfortable in anything I do. Everything from walking to wearing buttoned pants hurts like a mother f-er. It takes me off the gym track just as I’m having success. I’ve been to multiple doctors, spent thousands of dollars to be tested and spent a day in the ER because of it. No one can tell me what it is or what causes it. I even had one doctor tell me that the pain would go away if I just lost weight. No sir, it was even worse when I was 30 pounds lighter. (Also, can we talk about how he just looked at the number on the scale and NOT my overall fat vs. muscle weight!!)
My latest “let’s test this and see if it helps” is giving up acidic foods. For the last few months, I’ve cut out tomatoes, apples, hard cider and the rare carbonated beverage from my diet almost completely. The results: it still happens, though less frequent.
The pain comes out of nowhere and I can never tell how long it will be sticking around. Sometimes just a day, but definitely as long as four.
Today is one of those days. While I’m celebrating that it’s been an entire month in between instances, I sit, complete with pain, wondering what caused it and wishing with everything I am that it would just go away.
I think watching the acids has certainly helped. I miss tomatoes more than anything, but they are worth giving up if it means I no longer have to walk from my office to the bathroom with tears in my eyes. I’ve taken an extra dose of the omeprazole I’m prescribed, which helps every now and then. I drank kombucha to help the internal inflammation. I’m about to chew my 20th tums of the day. I celebrate a little every time I fart 💨 (#realtalk) because it relieves some of the pressure. I’m mad at myself for hardly being able to leave my desk all day (barely 3,000 #fitbit steps).
Kudos if you got through this post. I know there are worse things in the world than a temporary mysterious pain, but I needed to have my pity party for a moment. I’m determined to one day have an answer for this, even if it’s as little as an official diagnosis.
For years I’ve had this agonizing stomach pain that was just as annoying from the pain perspective as was from the brain. It just makes its way into my body whenever it feels like with no true way to relieve it. None of my doctors seemed to have an answer for it, despite multiple tests taken and thousands of dollars spent. I’ve been to the ER for it, I’ve had to quit or put-off working out because of it and I’ve had to spend many nights hurled over in bed from the pain. I finally went to a Gastroenterologist, who seems to think my body doesn’t process carbs, garlic, tomatoes or anything acidic at a normal pace. So, the chubbarita (thanks Emily) in me instantly died a little inside when he told me I needed to give these up (or at least restrict them… basically the same thing to anyone who loves food, amiright?!). But actually, the first whine out of my mouth was, “BUT I’M A RUNNER!!” Despite the fact that many of my reactions are, this is not an exaggerated claim.
This was about a month and a half ago – I’ve gone about 75% carb-free and still get the stomach pain, but not nearly as often as I used to. Now that I plan to up my running mileage though, I predict another obstacle to add alongside insult and injury. What am I going to do when I need to run in the double digits and I can’t have my wheat toast with peanut butter and bananas (also another item he added to the ‘give up’ list… I know, I … I KNOW). The doctor’s response was to focus on protein intake, but I still find myself very lethargic when working out. What’s most upsetting is that it puts a dent in all of my nailed down race/training routines. But I guess it’s good to throw complacency out the window… or something.
I thought I’d put a call out to all my readers for their advice on this one. Does carb-intake affect your running routine? What do you do in lieu of? This blog was meant to make people feel like they are not alone, myself included, so lemme hear ya!
(PS; also on the list of can’t-haves: hot lemon water, ibuprofen/advil, gum or mints. So, sorry in advance if my skin isn’t glowing, I’m in a lot of uncontrollable pain and my breath smells.)
Quick update with a side of relief: doctor says my feet could just be inflamed, but at worst, show signs of plantar fasciitis. I’ll be resting for a few days, icing three times daily and upping my Ibuprofen dosage. Positive thoughts will have me back in no time, right?
I’m a creature of habit so of course I have certain routines down. One of them is doing all of my meal prep for the week on Sundays – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It’s a nice stress reliever and sets me up for success every week. If it’s there, I’ll eat it. If I’m unprepared, I’m more likely to eat out, spend more money on food and eat rather unhealthy. Plus, I get more time to myself when all I have to do is pop my portioned food in the microwave.
Breakfast happens to be my favorite meal of the day. Nothing warms my belly more than the scent of eggs in a pan or bread being toasted. I typically go for two types of breakfasts – either a sandwich or a scramble. If I start my day with a workout, I’ll up my protein and carbs. If I’m getting ready to run, I’ll eat toast with peanut butter and a banana. I don’t count calories, I eat clean and am always focused on what’s going to fuel my body for the day. What’s my workout? What mindset do I need to be in? How does this food make me feel?
There’s so many cliches I can fit in here – like breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or that you need food to fuel your workout but I’m going to make it even simpler than that: I just like to eat!! Here’s a few ideas for meal prepping a week of breakfasts – try one, try both, switch up and savor the flavor:
- Thomas Double Protein English Muffin with two sunny side up eggs, two slices of turkey, and low fat cheddar cheese seasoned with salt, pepper and red pepper. Enjoy open-faced.
- Switch up: instead of cheddar, you can also try plain whipped cream cheese
- Protein: up the amount of turkey or use Canadian Bacon
- Good fats: Add a slice or two of avocado
- Make enough for the week, wrap in tin-foil and pop in the toaster oven for a few minutes to heat up.
- “Sara Scramble”(at least that’s how I have it in MyFitnessPal) – brown a pound of lean ground turkey, add in six eggs, a carton of egg whites and all the veggies you want. I usually go with green and red bell peppers and spinach. Season with salt, pepper, cilantro and red pepper.
- Split into mason jars for the week so it’s pre-portioned and ready to pop in the microwave
- After you’ve reheated, add goat cheese or feta cheese and a couple tablespoons of fresh salsa (always check the ingredients!)
- If you’re eating after a workout, add an English Muffin, dry, for carbs.
For other meals, I really like these containers from Amazon.com. They are durable and compact, making it easy to store plenty of meals on one shelf in my fridge.