04 September 2009

Is this what it's like to get older?

Last weekend, while the twins were napping on Sunday afternoon, I decided to do some cleaning. That was all well and that was all good, but every time I bent over to pick something up off the floor, I was struck with what I guess is reflux: a burning, unpleasant sensation in my throat.

Ugh.

Mind you, I carried twins to term without so much as a whiff of reflux or heartburn. I love spicy food and eat it all the time and I'd never so much as reached for a Tums. This was the first time I'd ever had this sensation, and I'm sure that there are many of you who know firsthand that it's not pleasant.

It was cured easily enough by a glass of milk, but it's plagued me throughout the week off and on. I'm starting to think that it's coffee. I've gotten pretty bad with the coffee habit, drinking at least two big cups a day, sometimes more. And I've been drinking soda most weekdays, too, sometimes diet, sometimes regular. Would that aggravate it? Bleargh.

So there's that, the icky reflux-y thing. Then there's my weight. Coffee and soda notwithstanding, my eating habits of late have been pretty good. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, not too much ice cream, overall better in general than I've done in years. Plus I've been running multiple times per week, which is the first regular exercise I've gotten in a few years. Why, then, do I weigh more than I've ever weighed except during pregnancy? I weigh three pounds more than I did when I joined Weight Watchers back in 2004, and a full 12 pounds more than I did when I got pregnant.

I'm lucky in that I've never had to work all that hard to keep my weight in the healthy range. I've never been super thin, but I've never really been seriously overweight, either. I don't monitor my weight closely, as I can tell by the way my clothes fit how things are going. When the waistbands feel tight, I control my portions better, rein in the snacking, and everything gets back to the way it should be.

This time around, though, I've been doing what I need to do by eating better and exercising more, and my pants still don't want to button. I'm starting to think that I need to rejoin Weight Watchers and really make myself accountable for everything I'm eating. I've been measuring my portions of cereal, making sure I don't sit in front of the TV with a package of cookies, choosing an apple instead of chips . . . but it's not working. It's just not. And then the reflux! I feel old and chubby.

Like most (all?) women, I struggle with body image. I firmly believe that the most important thing of all is to be healthy, and that healthy comes in a lot of different sizes. The size I am now is healthy, but yet I'm confess that I'm not happy with it, which in turn makes me feel some kind of bad or guilty for being wanting to be a smaller size of healthy. I want to enjoy food--the last thing I want to be is the person who orders, to paraphrase Margaret Cho, her "life on the side." But I also want my skinny jeans to fit. Frankly, part of the issue is that I don't want to spend money on new clothes. But really, I just want to be smaller.

And I don't want to have reflux.

To add to the healthier eating + more exercise effort to make myself feel prettier, I finally booked a haircut for a week from tomorrow. I have not had my hair cut in almost four months. I look like the shaggy dog. I have long hair with some layers; the shortest layers are just past my chin. My hair is thick and straight, but not flat-and-shiny straight, more unruly-and-tangly straight. Anyone have ideas for a brilliant haircut? I'm willing to wash most mornings and blow dry, but that's about the extent of the effort that I'll make. Losing length is fine, but I need to be able to put it up in a ponytail when I run. Suggestions appreciated.

37 comments:

Fairlington Blade said...

Having faced that issue starting in college, I can say the various antacid pills are magic. It's like aspirin for acid indigestion.

PS - We played one of the CDs of M&R tonight. Primo was talkinga bout M&R live in Boston. We had a fun time as I explained that they liveD in Boston and now live in Portland.

BB

Rose Connors said...

Try daily Pepcid. Reflux is best treated preventatively.

Kim said...

Not to raise the red flag but heartburn type feelings are sometimes the only sign in women of a heart condition. I'd rather be safe than sorry and get it checked out.

Anonymous said...

I've had heart burn since I was a teenager; found out it is - more often than not - the result of a lack of acid in the system. Either way, in my situation at least, coffee was doing it for me. As a PNWer (I was in Portland last weekend, and it totally made me think of you!), I drink coffee like water. I found that adding in unsweetened iced tea really helped - even just subbing it for one of your two coffees per day may make a significant difference.

As for the hair cut, I've only seen a couple of photos of you, but I think you could pull off an amazing A-line. Very easy to maintain (think: a blow dryer and large round brush for a couple of minutes), plus you can pull them into a cute little ponytail and/or half pony tail that still keeps it out of your way.

Good luck!

Andrea

mamabird said...

If your pop (soda) drinking is more than usual, I do have a friend who used to drink diet pepsi on a regular basis. She also took prescription anti-acids. When she quit the diet pepsi, she was also able to stop the anti-acids. Then again, it's all easy to say when I have absolutely no ability to give up my diet cokes. Seriously addicted to them (even though everything I drink is caffeine free these days).

Linz said...

I've had reflux since high school, and really suffered during college when I was constantly sucking down the caffeine. Any of the following can be triggers for me: orange juice, tea, coffee, tomatoes, spicy food or ANY carbonated beverage. (Once I figured out that pop was triggering attacks, I switched to flavored carbonated water, and that was almost worse!) Reflux was awful during my pregnancy with Baby Girl, and we went through 2 gal. of milk/week because I followed every meal with a glass of milk to squelch the reflux. Long story short, if I want to eat/drink a trigger food or beverage, I only get 2 a day. And when I eat/drink a trigger, I have to follow it with a glass of milk.

Bert Bell said...

Both the acid reflux & the weight gain is the pop. It is the carbonation causing your acid reflux. Also most pops are loaded with salt and would cause the weight gain....give it up and I think you should be fine with both the acid reflux and the slight weight gain.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I hear you on the heartburn. I had it with my pregnancies and it is not fun.

Sorry you're feeling a little snug in your clothes. I can completely empathize. When I hit 30, it was like my metabolism shifted into reverse. Ugh...

G Love said...

I have also never had heartburn til my pregnancy - and it never left! Blargh. I just take a Tums now and again - heck, they've got calcium, it can stave off my inevitable osteoporosis, seeing as how I'm ancient. (31 is my age, by the by.)
I also feel the weight gain. since moving to the city I walk or cycle about 10 miles a day, in addition to daily yoga, and still I'm 15 pounds heavier than I want to be. Not overweight, but flirting with it. Getting older . . no fun.
I'm interested to see what people say about your hair. I have the same type, and I hate walking into a room and feeling like Ms. Frizz while everyone else seems cool and beautiful!

Watercolor said...

prilosec otc. don't waste time or money on the lesser ones.

weight gets harder to lose as we get older. stinks.

both issues are probably from getting older, and yeah, the carbonation in soda makes mine worse. but the prilosec otc every day keeps it in check.

being over 30 (are you yet???? can't remember) brings all kinds of fun things...... wait til you hit 40. gah.

Christine said...

I had nasty heartburn when preggo with the Boo, and I still have it. Turns out I had severe gastritis, AKA a major irritation in the lining of my stomach that could lead to an ulcer. Yeccch. I will say that cutting back on coffee, soda and fat (the trifecta of my diet) helped a lot.

As for the hair: I was born to be a wash-and-wear girl, and now that I have a kid, it's a necessity. I have long layers toward my face and longer in the back so I can still put it up when needed. It's flattering and easy.

Anonymous said...

Another red flag--sorry. I have a friend with GERD, and what you don't want it to lead to--and it apparently can--is esophagal cancer. The constant irritation apparently is what can make things go bad. So if these other suggestions don't stop it, maybe a talk with a doctor is a good preventive thing to do.
BTW, my friend is overweight; but to what extent we are talking causation as opposed to coincidence, I don't know.
Pat

DEBRA said...

Metabolism changes as we age, the trick is finding what triggers weight gain for you. Like so many other women, I simply threw my hands up and decided to "embrace" my curves. Well my curves embraced me with a diabetes diagnosis and just when I had decided to quit worrying about my fuller figure. I went back to my old WW ways and restricted my bad carbs and the weight dropped and I also lost my diabetes. Since then I have embarked on a healthier lifestyle, with exercise. All of these plans that purport the answers aren't cookie cutter, just find what works for you and also what will make you happier, and fitting into those skinny jeans will be reward enough!
Good luck!

Sarah said...

Any extra weigt gain can aggravate reflux. I had the same amount of gain and the reflux so I went to the doctor. It actually turned out I had low thyroid. Best to go to the doctor vs just buying some tums I think. Just in case.

JK said...

Hopefully the heartburn is just a side-effect of the caffeine, or the need for more exercise. Get it checked to make sure it's not a problem, but then, exercise! It's considered a great anti-aging treatment! http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongfitness/tp/exercise_longevity_life_aging.htm I could link to a lot more, but you are capable of googling.

I can tell you more about all the benefits of exercise as we age, from a first-hand perspective, if you want. Feel free to email me. I think my email shows up to you.

django's mommy said...

Just wanted to empathize with the body image thing... I dropped 10 lbs when Josh died, and since I'm not eating his (very delicious) cooking anymore, I'm now at my lowest adult weight. It's in the healthy range, and yet... I feel mushy and squishy. I never thought I would, given the number on that scale, but it's there. I know our metabolism changes as we age, so I guess if I were you, I would give WW a go, and then if you're still eating well and exercising and the clothes still aren't fitting well, I'd see the silver lining and go on a shopping spree.

On the hair? You got me. Usually I just go in and say, 'Give me something that is very low maintenance' and let her at it.

Really glad to see how well you're doing, btw. I love hearing the Maddie & Riley stories.

Keen said...

Heartburn sucks. I went through several bottles of Tums during pregnancy, though I suppose I should be glad that was about the worst thing that happened during my twin pregnancy!

No suggestions, but I can't wait to see a picture of your new haircut!

Mary Ellen said...

Well, goldarnit - yes, this is the mid-life condition. Yes, lots of coffee (and a job that puts some demand on you as well as mucho caring for kiddies) can add to reflux. I personally find relief in popping some Xantac-clone and making sure I don't go for long periods without eating (AND cut down on, umm, chocolate, coffee, tomato sauce, alcohol, and fatty foods). Hair? I went curly, which made me feel lots better about the thinning factor. The good side? MUCH more access to whimsy, irony, balance, and sense of proportion.

So Not Wishy Washy said...

1. Heartburn. I've only had it ONCE in my life. Thank God. Never had it when I was pregnant, and all I ate when I had my little parasite inside my uterus was HOT Mexican and Italian. Will wonders never cease?

2. Weight. Amen, sister. I've been getting more exercise as well because changes in eating don't seem to be doing me a whole lotta good. I loathe being 38 some days.

3. I want pics of your hair when it's done! I haven't had a cut in almost 3 months and will likely be pistol-whipped when I return to my hair girl later this month.

mlg said...

I have found just in the last 6 months that I get blaoted so easily, something that never happened before. The pants were in fact tighter. Heartburn too, but not the main symptom. Mostly just terribly uncomfortable.

I love water but sometimes need flavor (who eats popcorn with water?)

I started making a big pot of VERY Strong decaf green tea (antioxidents and it is decaf so it counts as water for WW)

Then I put it in one of those fridge containers with a spout and add water to make it the right strength. Next to it in the fridge I keep a bottle of lemonaid. Whenever I get thirsty it is so easy to get a big glass of decaf tea with a splash of lemonaid. Just as easy as popping a soda and much better for the heartburn and bloating.

Anonymous said...

I was about to make the "welcome to your 30s" comment too. Welcome! :)

carosgram said...

The sad fact is that as we age it is harder and harder to lose weight. I think it has to do with hormones or the decrease of same. And as the weight goes up the acid reflux and sleep apnea increase. Good luck with both.

Juicebox.mom said...

For me, heartburn comes back when I fall into a high fat diet...coffee/soda don't seem to matter, if i'm on low fat, no heartburn. Also, just a suggestion, but the only one that works for me: pepcid complete, the chewable ones. Good Luck

Anonymous said...

I'm a Zantac-girl myself. Works fine, as long as I don't OD on soda (the carbonation bothers me a lot more than the acid in coffee. Go figure). I was intrigued by an earlier post that mentioned low thyroid and weight gain. That might be worth getting checked out. If you are suffering from hypothyroidism then no matter how much you cut back on calories and increase the exercise you won't a see significant change. It's easy to get checked and easy to fix.

Anonymous said...

Definitely talk to your doctor about getting your thyroid evaluated. Lots of women have hypothyroidism, especially after having given birth. With your increase in exercise and watching your diet, it is worth a check-up. I had no other symptoms except the weight gain. One simple blood test is all you need!

Julie

OTRgirl said...

Jrex had the reflux issue. Coffee (actually the caffeine) does make it worse. It relaxes the esophogeal sphincter and creates the reflux. He went down to one large cup a day with a mix of decaf and regular and was able to stop the Tums.

For haircut, with thick, slightly wavy/straight hair, I like a shoulder length style with long razored layers.

Anonymous said...

Whenever you have heartburn, don't drink milk!! It's a quick solution but it will make it worst at the long run.

Aside from coffee and soda, definitely avoid anything dairy or fat.

Pepcid works the best and Rolaids

Acid-expert

MFA Mama said...

I've had reflux since I was a teenager (I also have a hiatal hernia), and take Nexium for it every day. In my case it's not bad UNLESS I drink coffee. I can be 90% reflux-free or have coffee in my life. So I am not a big coffee-drinker. Tums are good at putting out the fire in the short run but you need a PPI (Protonic Pump Inhibitor--keeps you from cranking out overmuch acid) if it's become a regular problem. I also hear you on the tough-to-drop-weight thing. FWIW I do have hypothyroidism. Might be worth getting checked out next time you have blood drawn; I find it much easier to maintain a healthier weight on Synthroid.

onethirdless said...

i've given up on WW and been using that "you on a diet" book by mehmet oz, the handsome doctor who is also on oprah.

it's really, really sane. i am rarely hungry. i eat a ton and i don't ever, ever count calories or points. just all whole grains, no HFCS, all the fruits and veggies i can eat (because, really, carrots have points? nobody ever got fat eating carrots!)

Pam said...

I agree I think an A Line (inverted bob) would be cute. It can be done in varying lengths, so you can still have it long enough to put up in a ponytail. I have one and it's easy. I wash, blow dry and run a flat iron through it. I would just be sure you are going to a decent salon to get it done.
As for the heartburn, caffeine is a big culprit.
As for the weight, I too am at a healthy weight, but weight about 10pounds more than prepregnancy, even with the same diet and MORE exercise. Welcome to our late thirties. SIGH.

Anonymous said...

if the soda is new and the reflux is new, try dropping the soda. Carbonation bothers me, especially for some reason with diet sodas ... and it never used to. I also find that without enough water, I can get some burn.
Plus, if the soda has sugar, that can be an easy 250 calories ...and that's 250 calories extra you don't need .. and that counters your great renewed other healthy habits ... to lose, as you know, it's a simple formula of burning more than you take in. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

My hair is just wavy enough to be annoying. Not too thick, not too thin. It is all one length, just above my shoulders. All I do is blow dry it, not even with a brush. I pull it straight a little, kind of combing it with my fingers, while I blow dry it, and it's enough to get it straight. I live in a ponytail outside of work.

Anonymous said...

No help re reflux here.

Re haircut: What I do, is tell my hairdresser what my requirements are (similar to yours actually: low maintenance and need a ponytail to work out in) and then let him work his magic. Although, I've been going to him for 10 years, might be harder to trust someone if you don't know them that well.

Jen said...

ahh.. don't worry about it. you're still hot!

Anonymous said...

I have been struggling with my eating habits and weight too. Just wanted to say, that you look great in the first day of preschool pic. And pictures don't lie! ;-)

ainiin said...

I carried twins to term without reflux. Three weeks after they were born, however, I had the worst GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) attack that landed me in hospital because everyone thought it was a heart attack. The condition didn't get diagnosed till 10 doctors later, and that one who actually diagnosed the condition put me on so much medicine, and he also suggested exercise (I've always been chubby + overweight). Coffee does aggravate, as well as alcohol. Tired of taking the expensive medication, I did the exercise, and also googled on natural remedies for reflux. A tsp or two of apple cider vinegar, mixed with a pinch of bicarbonate soda, half an hour before meals. That helped each GERD attack I got (and I would double up in pain, fall to the floor in extreme pain, while having the twins still clambering over me for attention). The gastro specialist was horrified to hear me taking apple cider vinegar, but you know what, it worked each and every time for me. Still, like another commenter suggested, it may not be a bad idea to get checked out that reflux is all that it is.

Crying Baby Help said...

Reflux may trigger the baby to cry but in order to prevent it, there are ways to follow such as keeping the baby upright after feeding, using wedge pillows and trying not to lie the baby after feeding. In a way this can help to stop the baby crying.