Sunday, May 5, 2013

CF Awareness Month Blog #5 - Diet

As soon as I saw this topic, I shook my head and rolled my eyes...this has been a problem my entire life! Every doctor appointment growing up I just remember them saying. "We'd really like you to gain more weight." Easier said than done! I've posted lots of blogs on the topic of gaining weight, and it's really not fun. The way I see it, is that it's just as hard for me to put on weight as it is for a 'typical' person who wants to lose weight. Currently I'm trying to eat 3,000 calories a day, which may sound very easy. I used to think, "This part of CF is awesome, I can eat whatever I want." But I've really been trying to consume  much healthier 3,000 calories rather than crap...because I feel like crap (and I have to crap) when I'm putting junk into my body.

Basically, with CF, my body does not produce natural enzymes to break down food and absorb nutrients from my food. So if I don't take manufactured enzymes (Creon, Zenpep, etc) then everything goes right through me and it causes lots of bloating and stomach pains = not fun!! So before I eat anything, I have to take my synthetic enzymes to assist my body in breaking the food down and absorbing the nutrients. Even with taking these enzymes, my whole life I've still struggle with gaining and maintaining a 'healthy' weight, based on my BMI:

Generally speaking, your BMI tells you your current weight status. Here are the rankings and what they mean:

Right now I am 5'3.5'' tall and weigh 109lbs and using this BMI calculator, my BMI is 19 which is on the very low end of normal. My dietitian and CF doctor would like me to be at least 20-22 (which is 115-125 lbs). My goal is to juggle a full-time, physically demanding job, exercising several times a week, eating 3,000 calories per day and gain weight. To me all of those things don't go together, so I'm hoping that this summer when I'm not working, I'll be less stressed and burning less calories throughout the day which will help me gain weight...we'll see.

Just to give you an idea of what a typical daily diet consists of to achieve 3,000 calories:
Breakfast: 955 calories 
Scrambled Egg (78)
Two sausage patties (380)
Two slices of whole wheat bread w/ peanut butter (375)
8oz of 2% milk (122)

Lunch: 869 calories
Grilled pork chop - dinner leftovers (440)
Barbecue sauce (139)
Potato chips (150)
Yogurt (140)

Snack: 150 calories
One bag of popcorn (150)

Dinner: 1,059 calories
Bigger pork chop (587)
Barbecue sauce (139)
Corn (150)
12 oz of 2% milk (183)

Snack: 296 calories
Apple (126)
Caramel (170)

Total: 3,329 calories for one day - and this is on a good day. It's really hard to not feel like I'm eating all day long on days like this! Plus I'm burning a lot of calories at work because I'm on my feet all day long. Then subtract any calories burned from exercising that night, so this easily drops below 3,000 on those days.

I actually have an app on my phone and about once a week I'll track my calories for the day just to make sure that I'm getting enough. You can imagine how much food we go through in our house with me having to snack all the time!! It gets expensive eating like this! Can you see now why I shake my head and roll my eyes when this topic is brought up, it drives me nuts!! I feel like I am getting better about snacking on higher calorie things more often, it's just frustrating when I'm doing all of this and it's still not working, as in I'm still not gaining weight.

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