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Looking For Fellow Athletes?
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One of the most difficult things with overcoming for me is my passion for athletics. While it is a prime motivator for me to get healthy [i'm underweight, anemic, and can barely function at times through the flareups--makes it really hard to participate in sports for longer than a few good months until I'm out sick/injured again]...it can also be the biggest challenge when it comes to sticking to my diet.

I want so bad to be "normal." I love sport nutrition and sometimes just think if I just "eat healthy" everything will heal. Suffice it to say I have found repeatedly that it doesn't work to eat all the nutrients, calories in the world when my body can't digest it. Still, I feel like having such picky intolerances sets me a part and makes me the "sick girl" instead of the athlete.

In reality I know it's not this way--if I learn to eat what I need, I can build the body and life of the athlete I dream of being. And it would really help to hear stories of other athletes who have or are coming through these kinds of hurdles too--both for friends with similar goals, and so that I know that Celiac doesn't make me a living invalid, but that treating the condition can keep me from being just that.

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One of the most difficult things with overcoming for me is my passion for athletics. While it is a prime motivator for me to get healthy [i'm underweight, anemic, and can barely function at times through the flareups--makes it really hard to participate in sports for longer than a few good months until I'm out sick/injured again]...it can also be the biggest challenge when it comes to sticking to my diet.

I want so bad to be "normal." I love sport nutrition and sometimes just think if I just "eat healthy" everything will heal. Suffice it to say I have found repeatedly that it doesn't work to eat all the nutrients, calories in the world when my body can't digest it. Still, I feel like having such picky intolerances sets me a part and makes me the "sick girl" instead of the athlete.

In reality I know it's not this way--if I learn to eat what I need, I can build the body and life of the athlete I dream of being. And it would really help to hear stories of other athletes who have or are coming through these kinds of hurdles too--both for friends with similar goals, and so that I know that Celiac doesn't make me a living invalid, but that treating the condition can keep me from being just that.

If you are serious about trying anything please read Eat To Live by Dr Joel Fuhrman. The book literally changed my life.

I lost 15 pounds, shed my headaches, hypoglycaemia and gained great muscles at the gym.

It is hard to stick with so you have to decide how commited you are to being healthy.

It has vegan/meat eating menu plans and the author does not allow grains, just lots and lots of healthy vegetables. The reason you should read the book is to learn why that is healthiest.

See testimonials: http://www.drfuhrman.com/

It was actually ridding myself of all the chemicals in my diet that made me realize that I was so sensitive to gluten.

Now I'm a total gym rat and I love how strong I am getting despite my digestive problems.

Also try sublingual B12 for more energy.

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Tinku,

Thank you for responding! I guess I rambled a bit and was confusing in my entry though...

The thing is, I know a lot about nutrition and how to eat healthy, especially for athletics--the part I have a hard time with is the fact taht standard healthy eating DOESN'T WORK if my gut can't take it. So I need to first focus on eating to heal and finding what I can tolerate before everything I can apply about sport nutrition even matters.

In any case, I'd still love to hear from any other athletes out there, roaring strong [or building to that] despite a touchy gut!

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Celiacs disease didn't slow me down a bit once I got used to the changes I had to make. You have to change your view of what "healthy" eating is, because it's different for you now. I run, hike, backpack, kayak, just started tennis lessons, planning to climb Kilimanjaro in 2 months, ... I've become more active since I was diagnosed because I have more energy now that I know how to eat for me.

There are loads of gluten-free pastas and breads out there to substitute for the "regular" stuff that's recommended eating for athletes. And a lot of nutritional eating revolves around fruits, vegetables, and protein.

For pasta, I love the Ancient Harvest quinoa pastas. Quinoa is high in protein, and they're so tasty my husband eats them too.

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It's been pretty tough for me. Normally I'm at practice 3 times a week and in the gym another 3 days, but if I get glutened then everybody has to count me out for at least 2 days, which can get pretty frustrating. The worst part is in team sports, when the rest of the guys are working really hard and I don't feel well enough to run at all. Generally my teammates are understanding, but I feel like I'm letting them down.

As far as lifting goes I'm completely off any protein supplements, because even the gluten-free ones mess me up pretty bad (I must have some other allergy...) but that hasn't kept me from increasing in strength, even if my size is dwindling because I can't get enough food in.

Whenever there's something I can eat in the dining hall I just dominate it, because I never know if I'll get something else later.

And finally I know exactly what you mean about wanting to be normal! Today I was whining to my friends about some...less than pleasant experiences I've been having and one of my buddies made a comment about my life being a shamble of what it once was, and it's so true; this condition is miserable. But hey, what can we do? Everybody's got something, so I just keep working as hard as I can to make up for the times when I'm not 100 percent.

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Hello!

I understand your frustrations. Before I got diagnosed I played softball for my military team, ran half marathons, lifted 4 days a week and was thinking about doing a figure competition. This was with all my physical celiac issues (my symptoms aren't as severe as yours though). It was not without having to skip a few games and some runs. Let me tell you, doing long runs with celiac GI issues was NOT fun. Lots of pit stops along the way. I never deviated from my routes because I knew where every porta john was at. Softball games were always torture. I never could get through one without my tummy going crazy. Lucky for me I played outfield so nobody would have to suffer along with me. I didn't want this mystery illness take over my life so I was determined to be somewhat normal.

Anyway, since I got diagnosed I had to change my atheletic dietary needs. Getting the right balance of carbs, proteins and fats has been a struggle. As a result, I have lost 7 lbs in 2 months. Pounds I didn't want to lose. I am 5'2" and 105 lbs. At the beginning I lost a lot of energy and my fitness suffered as well. Now, my diet is getting on track and I'm back to running/lifting etc. It seems like this has been a hard struggle to get on track.

You can be an athlete. The fact is we/you have health issues, just know your limitations and accomadate for it.

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Ugh, I can so relate!

I was rowing 4-5 days a week, big bike rides 2-3 days, bike commuting 4-5 days, doing massage 4 days and 4 hours/day/week... And running when I felt like it.

Of course, this coupled with some crazy family stress may have set off the celiac.

The best thing I've found to do is to just go with my body - if I'm tired, headachey, feeling anemic, I don't work out.

Right now I'm exercising very lightly - fun hikes, walking around the neighborhood, XC skiing down the street in this crazy snowstorm has been about my speed. I really can't push it without feeling it for a couple days, but I'm glad to say that my energy overall is up, and I'm finally gaining some weight!

I am disappointed that it's taking so long to get back to uber-competitiveness, but I feel in my gut (ha!) that lots of rest, and lots of good food, is exactly what I need.

Hang in there, y'all. Maybe we could form a celiac intramural eating team? The Gut Busters?!

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One of the most difficult things with overcoming for me is my passion for athletics. While it is a prime motivator for me to get healthy [i'm underweight, anemic, and can barely function at times through the flareups--makes it really hard to participate in sports for longer than a few good months until I'm out sick/injured again]...it can also be the biggest challenge when it comes to sticking to my diet.

I want so bad to be "normal." I love sport nutrition and sometimes just think if I just "eat healthy" everything will heal. Suffice it to say I have found repeatedly that it doesn't work to eat all the nutrients, calories in the world when my body can't digest it. Still, I feel like having such picky intolerances sets me a part and makes me the "sick girl" instead of the athlete.

In reality I know it's not this way--if I learn to eat what I need, I can build the body and life of the athlete I dream of being. And it would really help to hear stories of other athletes who have or are coming through these kinds of hurdles too--both for friends with similar goals, and so that I know that Celiac doesn't make me a living invalid, but that treating the condition can keep me from being just that.

Hey Girl,

Fellow athlete here...and I understand. Beating this Celiac thing is a mindset. You have to accept it, make the adjustments, and move on. Don't let this thing define you or restrict you. By dipping into the cookie jar, you might get some satisfaction out of rebelling against the diet restrictions - but in the end you lose. Just decide that it doesn't matter that you need to avoid a handful of foods, enjoy everything else that you CAN safely eat, and focus on living your life. Every war is won in the mind...

JAX

Montreal, Canada

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Spunky,

Give yourself time. I've only been gluten free since mid-November, and it has made such a difference already in my performance in class, rehearsals, and shows. I'm a dancer. I've always been the fat one. No matter what I did, I couldn't lose weight, and in spite of any efforts, it crept up and up. (All of my group's dancers are of a healthy weight, none the too thin type; we all eat healthy, nosh well, dance a lot, and thoroughly enjoy our food.) Especially over the past three or four years, the weight, lethargy, joint pain, breathing difficulties, headaches, balance issues, clumsiness, tummy troubles, etc. increased. It all impacted the dancing. I dreaded even going for a hour class because I wanted to stay in bed and sleep like a dead woman and was already, before even donning the dance shoes, in so much pain. I was doing less and less and branded as lazy and not trying hard enough, even though I came to every class or rehearsal and pushed as hard as I could. Felt like a lot to me, but I kept falling behind.

I went gluten free and steadily I'm improving. I'm keeping up in classes better; dancing a straight 20 minute set doesn't knock me down; my joints only hurt in old injury spots; my turns are improving; I'm remembering sequences better and don't have to ask for repetition; I WANT to get up and dance; I'm more motivated and energetic. I can't wait to see how I'm doing in 6 months. There's a lot to catch up on. Fellow dancers have been great (and they've noticed the changes). Much of our downtime together revolves around food, yet not one has looked at me like an odd man out. Whatever it takes to keep healthy. The weight is slowly shedding; I've lost about an inch. Four more to go. (I'm not trying that hard lose right now; making sure I listen to my body is more important at this particular nanosecond.)

You will figure out what your body needs. You will gain weight. You will improve. You will be strong, healthy, and happy. Keep us updated on your progress!

Kat

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I agree, it does take some time. Sometimes it's hard for me to distinguish between overtraining and glutening because both make me feel run-down and both cause me to sleep poorly. I only figured out my diet 3 years ago, but now I've healed enough that I'm running a half marathon in a few weeks. (I ran 12 miles today.) One thing that helped was figuring out that it isn't just gluten that gets me. I also have to cut out dairy AND take my probiotics (so that I'm not completely wrecked from all the iron supplements I take).

It took a lot of trial and error, but I'm finally able to train hard again. It's really only been in the last 6 months that I've gotten everything under control. A big reason is that I've finally accepted that I can't go out to restaurants like I used to, because I get glutened. I cook a lot more, both because of my gluten intolerance and my training. I make an effort to go to bed on time, so I don't end up with a sleep deficit right before a big workout.

One thing I've learned is to work around issues. For example, my asthma flares up when I do sprinting, so I sort of fell into (slower) distance running. The other thing I've learned is that sometimes I need to skip a workout and take a nap or eat extra.

The one thing that's really tough is all the carbo-loading events in running. My running club has monthly breakfasts (gluten fest) and a lot of races host pasta parties the night before. Trying to translate nutrition articles in Runner's World is challenging... although last month they had a little blurb about an olympic steeplechase winner who is gluten intolerant.

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