Burning Mouth Syndrome & Your Weight

The Obesity Code by Jason FungAs I described in a previous post (Weighty Decisions-Life with BMS), Burning Mouth Syndrome has added weight to my body, mostly from stress, but also because eating feels good. The pain stops momentarily, and after a meal, for even up to thirty minutes or so. Unfortunately, that means that we are tempted to eat too often and too much.

My younger daughter will marry this fall, and I desperately wanted to turn back the scale twenty pounds or more, and I have done that. Since her engagement, I have lost twenty-two pounds and dropped a dress size and two pant sizes.

How did I do it? Well, it would be trite to say diet and exercise but it would also be misleading. You might assume that I went on a low-fat diet and started hitting the gym every day and that just isn’t true. Instead…

I maintained my weight lifting/circuit training three times a week and made no other major change in my physical activity.

In addition, I read three books that guided my decisions about eating and they were, in order of importance, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes, “The Obesity Code, by Dr. Jason Fung, and “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” by Gary Taubes. The two by Gary Taubes have much of the same information, but for those of you who want the science in your scientific journalism, GCBC is your book. Those of you who want quicker, but informative and eye-opening reads will enjoy “Why We Get Fat” and “The Obesity Code.”

I based my eating on a few cardinal principles that are explained in the books.

  1. Avoid sugar and sugar substitutes with the exception of xylitol (in moderation).
  2. Avoid processed foods and particularly processed carbohydrates.
  3. Limit the number of carbohydrates in general, and focus on high-quality protein, fats, and vegetables with fruit in moderation.
  4. Stay hydrated! My body often confuses thirst with hunger and I will eat something when a glass of water would have been much more satisfying.

In addition: Don’t beat yourself up if you slip a bit at a party, but use that old Weight Watchers trick of not going to a celebration hungry and staying extremely hydrated. Know that this is a long-haul trucking adventure and that there will be plateaus and even hills along the way.  Stay. The. Course.

Since reading “The Obesity Code,” I realized that insulin resistance runs in my family and has often resulted in Type 2 diabetes with all the wonderful treats that come along with it. Kidney disease, hypertension, neuropathy, vision loss, even the loss of limbs…it is an amazingly destructive disease and it is so preventable. What I found in Dr. Fung’s book, was an awareness of insulin and its function and ability to malfunction in our bodies. I learned about insulin fatigue and a practical way in which to prevent and even take a shot at reversing it. I am using his techniques now, and find when I hit one of those persistent plateaus in my downward journey of poundage, it has been the key to breaking through it. I have also weaned myself off of sugar and the substitutes for it that can often increase insulin levels. I had not realized how addicted I had become to sweetness and it is interesting to really taste my coffee for the first time and enjoy it with just a dab of cream.

The million-dollar question…did the diet or losing weight help my Burning Mouth Pain?

No. I found no correlation whatsoever between the components of the diet, fasting, or even losing the weight and the intensity or duration of my pain. Sorry.

Am I where I want to be yet?

No. I would still like to lose more weight, but now I know how to do that without feeling deprived or getting fixated on food and those are both good things.

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