When I last posted, I was having some decent success with the SCD intro diet. But the next few days really went downhill. My body seemed to rebel and I couldn’t keep any food in me. And to make matters worse, my energy levels were at an all time low. I really wasn’t able to get enough calories in to fuel my cycling training. I was hungry all the time and when I did eat, the food seemed to run right through me.
Perhaps the worst day was Thursday. I had a specific work-out to do, which I managed to get through but then I was about 30 minutes from home, I completely ran out of energy. In cycling we call this “bonking” – very similar to runners “hitting the wall”. I could barely make it home – what normally takes me an easy 30 minutes of pedaling, took an hour of very forced and lethargic pedaling. This was when I realized that I simply couldn’t keep going with this diet.
I know that many of you are wringing your hands and shaking your heads – ready to post a comment telling me that I need to give it time and eventually when I’m in phases 1, 2, and 3 I’ll be able to add in more foods. But the same problem still exists – there are not enough carbohydrates to fuel my cycling training. A banana or liver is not going to help me out. On an average 90 minute ride, I burn 1,000 kilojules – I need to replace these kilojules with foods that will restore my glycogen stores, repair my m muscles and help me benefit from the hard training sessions.
I truly believe that the only reason I was going to the bathroom less is because I was simply eating less food. My body basically didn’t have anything to process…. I do recognize that I do react to large amounts of carbohydrates. I don’t have a gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, or any other food allergies. I’m one of the lucky ones in this regard.
My decision to go on SCD was an attempt to heal myself so I wouldn’t have to take the steroid medication. My doctor agreed to let me try SCD and if I wasn’t feeling better and my quality of life was not improved, then I would have to make the decision – maintain status quo (of going to the bathroom all the time) or taking the steroids (Budesonide). Well, I have decided to take the Budesonide. I’ve researched the drug – the side effects are minimal and at this point, I don’t have much choice.
I need to get myself healthy so I can focus on my job. Yes, my job is racing my bike. I don’t have the time to eventually get into phase 3 of SCD where maybe I can start eating some carbohydrates. I need to be out riding my bike, pushing my body and getting ready for my upcoming race season. My first race is in early September so unfortunately I’m not afforded the luxury of time.
This being said the one thing I have learned from being on SCD for a week is that I do react when I eat a bulk of carbohydrates. So I’m focused on better carbohydrate timing and learning which carbohydrates I tolerate best. I have read the Paleo Diet for Athletes(thanks Kat for the suggestion) and this book does follow the SCD principles but also includes important information for people like me who are elite athletes and need to fuel their bodies for performance. I recommend this book to anyone who is an athlete – great information about how, when, and why to incorporate carbohydrates into your diet with still maintaining a diet of primarily lean meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
Maybe in the future, the SCD path will be the right path for me . But right now, I simply can’t follow the restrictions and perform at the level I need to. I think it is great that so many of you have found success with SCD – I guess it really does go to show how individual and specific ulcerative colitis is for each of us.
I’ll continue to post here about my experiences – I’ll let you know how I’m feeling with the new medicine as well as let you know what changes I have made to my diet and how I’m doing. Oh, I’ve also started using a free iPhone application called Crohn’s Diary. While not specific to ulcerative colitis, this application works for us – you can use it to track your diet, bowel movements, symptoms, energy level, etc – all with some simple clicks on your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Alright, well, I best be off and get out for my ride. If you’re interested in my bike racing life, check out my website. Thanks for reading.