Several years ago, when my set point weight was around 180 pounds, I utilized the Nutrisystem diet to lose weight. At the same time I began running 2 - 4 miles a day. I kept both up for about three months and my weight dropped around 17 pounds.
The Nutrisystem diet, is a relatively low calorie, low fat, high in carbohydrate diet that has you eating six times a day. It is expensive but because weight loss results are obtained it is easy to be convinced it is working and should be continued. Since I was running at the same time, I wasn't sure which was contributing most to my weight loss but I didn't want to change a thing, the combination was successful.
Until my knees yelled at me. I had developed a very painful condition called runner's knee. Naturally I thought it was caused by running so I stopped running. I also lost interest in the diet, I was at a decent weight and figured I could take it from there. I went back to eating the food I serve my family - meals that focus around, as RLB likes to call it, some kind of dead animal; roast beef, roasted chicken, hamburgers, meat loaf, steak, eggs and bacon, etc.
The pain in my knees subsided and gradually I regained all the weight I had lost with an additional few pounds.
The next time I experienced pain like that I was doing Crossfit five times a week. This time the pain was in my right toe. Again, I was following a diet that was high in carbohydrates ("good ones") full of lean protein and obviously low in saturated fat. The pain shot through the roof on the unfortunate day when I tried to forcefully move my 70 pound basset hound away from our new baby kitten. Okay...I kicked the dog, there, I said it.
I honestly thought my big toe was broken. I went in for an X-ray and a follow up doctor's appointment. He was a funny old doctor, in his mid 80's, who teased me for kicking the dog, and then said, "No, kiddo, you didn't break your toe. You've reached that fun age where you need to start taking some ibuprofen before you exercise. You have an inflamed joint, that's all."
That inflamed joint persisted for a couple years and was joined by my other big toe. Now both screamed at me so I upped the ibuprofen. Last summer my right thumb had the same pain. Then my right hip, then my left hip. I started to get really concerned about how Ill be feeling when I am 50 if at 39 I am in this much pain. At my yearly physical with my new doctor (we moved), I told her about all of my pain. She convinced me it is not arthritis or cancer or gout or any of the other things I was worried about. It was just inflammation and she put me on a regimen of 500mg of naproxen twice a day. She told me it needed to "build up in my system to work so no matter the pain level, keep taking it." When I was consistent about taking it, the pain did subside. I'm terrible at remembering to take pills though and I hate the idea of being so dependent on medicine but when RLB would see me limping or wincing in pain he'd remind me that there is something I could do about it.
I had been eating like crap at the time and continued through Christmas. Over the holidays I indulged in all of our family favorites knowing that shortly I'd be turning 40 and I would again start the attempt to lose weight. "I'm going to get serious about losing 40 pounds when I'm 40, but for now I'm going to pig out."
At about the three week mark of my high fat/low low carb diet it dawned on me that I hadn't taken naproxen for a while and that my toes didn't hurt and my hips didn't hurt. My thumb hurt a little when I put pressure on it but not enough to need pain reliever. Today, two months in, the pain is gone. Also gone is 2 1/2 inches of fat around my waist, a nice aesthetic benefit.
Could what I had been eating or not eating been the cause of this inflammation and pain?