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I asked my sister Michelle to share her story of using food tracking to help her maintain and even gain weight as she lives with the disease of gastroparesis. As the Food Tracking Momma, I know that counting and logging your calories will help with many different issues including losing weight, maintaining your weight, and even gaining weight if you are an athlete or in the case of my sister, fighting a medical condition.
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Michelle’s story: my struggle with being underweight
This is the first time I have ever written a blog article, but Andrea really wanted me to share my story and how food tracking has helped me. I have a different perspective and a different reason for counting and logging my calories. I have struggled my whole life with weight issues. Not being overweight but the opposite, being severely underweight.
For years I struggled with being underweight which was primary because I would get sick after eating. I finally had a lengthy bout that left me extremely sick and unable to eat anything. I went to the doctor and found out I had an acute infection in my stomach. I went through weeks of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Yet even after the infection had cleared I still struggled with not being able to eat.
Diagnosed with gastroparesis
I went through a great deal of medical testing before I was finally diagnosed with a progressive disease called gastroparesis. To explain this in the simplest terms, it means that my body basically doesn’t digest food well, and it is getting worse as I get older. On the good side, the diagnosis was an answer to prayer and explained many of the symptoms I had been dealing with for a very long time. On the bad side, the reality was that if I wanted to not be sick all the time, I would have to go on a strict diet and avoid the foods that my body doesn’t digest well.
The foods I’m able to eat are very limited and when you are already severely underweight from being so sick, that’s not very encouraging. To put everything in perspective, I’m a 5’9” women and my goal weight is 135 pounds. After the serious bout and stomach infection, my weight dropped down to 109 pounds.
Food tracking to monitor and gain weight
Before being diagnosed with gastroparesis, I had used food tracking and was able to increase my weight to 120 pounds. I didn’t know about the disease and that I would need to change and monitor my diet. Even with food tracking, I could never get my weight much higher because I was still getting so sick from the foods I was eating.
After my diagnosis, I had a new understanding regarding this condition and with a combination of food tracking, a diet of easily digestible foods, and eating small frequent meals, I have my weight up to 122 pounds. I’m on my way to my goal weight of 130 pounds.
It’s so hard to get the calories you need when you are underweight because of a disease. Food tracking is a great way to be able to consume the number of calories needed to help you gain weight. I plan to continue to use food tracking to help me maintain especially as my disease progresses. I believe I will be able to slow the progression of my gastroparesis by continuing to track my food intake so that I can stay at a healthy weight. It’s so hard for me to share my story because I feel many people don’t understand that there is a struggle for people who like me are underweight.
My prayer is that this blog article will give a different perspective on how beneficial food tracking can be, not only for the people that need to lose weight but also for those that need to gain or maintain a healthy weight.