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Brain fog and eating less


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I have noticed recently that there is a very close link between how much I eat and how much brain fog I suffer. The less I eat, the faster and thicker the fog. When I reduce my portion sizes, I feel weird. I get shaky and the wall in my head comes on thick and fast. I am grupmy (ok, extra grumpy :lol:) less tolerant of noise and bright lights than usual and it takes much longer to recover.

So, my question is...how on earth are you supposed to get rid of the flab?

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Dawn,

I have only been on diet for 2 weeks and would murder for a choc bar or Danish pastry lol perhaps I could blame my

dieting on my miseries

Been eating since I left hospital in 2010 omg !! no wonder I am dieting now.

Anyway I hope you feel better soon and you have to eat even if it's fruit xx

Be Well Dawn

Winnie wobblybot lol xx

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Dawn, I spotted this early on as a pattern for me too. My doctor explained its probably because the brain is using so much energy to heal itself as well as run its usual programme of body activities, it needs extra fuel.

I keep a stock of those energy and vitamin milkshakes and then have one of those instead of snacking if I need a boost. Or I have good nuts, not the bad ones that Win likes ! :lol: or was that salty nuts win?

If I can I try to eat healthy brain food, so avocados on crackers are my current favourite snack or scrambled egg with spinach. I would say don't stop eating while youre healing but maybe look at what youre eating and see if theres anything you can swap out to help lose weight. Oh and dark chocolate . Yum.

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As I gave birth 6 months ago; and was recently told by a nurse that I needed to lower my cholesterol; I feel somewhat qualified to answer this question!

When suffering with fatigue, diet is one way to help offset some problems, because the correct food gives energy. So restricting calories can lead to greater fatigue, (probably due to blood/ sugar levels.)

There are certain types of food however, namely complex carbohydrates, which are slow release - they fill you up for longer slowly releasing energy, as opposed to a sudden high sugar rush.

Complex carbohydrates include oats, (I always start my day with porridge!); pasta, (I’ve switched to wholemeal and am surprised how much I like it,) broccoli, potatoes, lentils, beans, (try making a soup,) low fat yoghurt and skimmed milk.

Through eating sensibly I have lost weight, but have managed to eat foods that provide energy. I have not restricted food, rather I’ve made adjustments.

I only have one packet of crisps a week now, which was a hard adjustment because I love crisps, but homemade popcorn is a good substitute if you need to munch on something.

I have drastically reduced how many biscuits I eat – another difficult thing to do; but they really are empty carbs i.e. they don’t provide sustained energy and are full of calories.

Pancakes are fine to eat, but it depends what you put on them! I steam fruit – blueberries are nice; or apple with cinnamon.

I also had to stop eating butter – such a shame! There are many healthier spreads, but I am able to eat a sandwich now without any spread at all. If this seems difficult, just put spread on one side.

I allow myself a treat at night, but in moderation. I allow myself a few small pieces of chocolate whereas I used to eat the whole bar.

Preparing homemade sandwiches when out and about is also healthier than shop bought alternatives.

In making these adjustments, I have managed to lose weight, but I am never hungry.

L xx

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Well Said Lin, I get brain fog as part of my fibro always have the SAH & stroke were the icing on my cake! I also have high cholesterol and eat similar. I only have my bad number too high but there is no way possible to exercise enough to lower that. I also have to limit the amount of good fats as well as I love nuts and avcados etc....I was eating about a cup or more of walnuts a day.

Small healthy snacks in a baggie help Dawn. I always leave home everyday with my salt and sugar free peanut butter on whole wheat bread sandwich. I eat it in 1/4's. In the US they sell a low carb pasta ( always wondered why I craved chocolate cake after spaghetti). Called "Dreamfield". I make a pumpkin pancake with walnuts. I can eat them cold.

And I only drink 1 1/2 cups of coffee in the morning with no soda or pop except a rootbeer or ginger ale once in awhile. Good Luck,something here helps. maryb

Edited by MaryB
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Hello,

Well Dawn, it sounds like my house. I try to eat sensibly but if I don't eat enough I get the brain fog. My problem is if i eat a walnut I gain 3 pounds. It is hard to lose. Being on an anti-d is known to retain weight also. I have a banana after lunch and that seems to get me through to dinner.

Working full time does not allow me to plan and be super picky about what I eat. There's jus not enough time. I used to manage an IT call center of 160 people that was so busy I didnt even take a lunch or eat. I didnt even have time to pee. I lived on granola bars. But I cant do that anymore. If I dont eat by noon the fog starts. And gets worse by the minute.

I'm not giving up on losing weight but after 9 months of trying, eating healthy and not losing beginning to think it's too tough right now. Some people are naturally skinny and others not. Can someone roll me home today?

David

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Well said Lin Lin. I eat often because I've noticed the pattern too Dawn. My husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes months after my SAH. We eat differently now, as Lynne describes. I still have my chocolate stash though! Whole grains, yogurt, skim milk, lots of fruit and veg, nuts, lower calories.

We eat every 2-3 hours but it might only be 12 almonds or 5 dried apricots as our in between snack.

Our dinner plates are divided up as 1/2 veg, 1/4 meat (or some protein), 1/4 whatever else (starch - potatoes or pasta or brown rice).

And I drink a ton of water all day long.

It makes a difference. If my brain is hungry or processing empty calories then my energy is focused on that instead of something I'd rather be doing.

Sandi K.

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I used to be a weight loss counselor many years ago, but I never have had any weight issue so I can't fully grasp the issue from the inside...just as an outsider.

I do however notice the energy drain that seems huge when I don't eat after SAH too. I snack A LOT...healthy of course.

I've also found that anything with any electrolytes helps me almost instantly. I go by how I feel. I'm very intuitive and seem to know what will help me at any given time.

My Snacking Staples that don't take any extra time or thought (except when you first buy them):

Unsalted raw nuts (variety)

Root veg chips with less than 100mg sodium

Cottage cheese and organic whole grain crackers or celery

Prunes (any explanation needed?)

Eggs

Organic Yogurt

Organic Fruit

Various Decaffeinated Teas - no sugars

Electrolyte concoctions or vitamin waters

Mix of lemonade/Perrier when I need a fast energy boost, but I always par this with proteins/complex carbs which then energize for longer

If you don't want to be eating something, rather than beating yourself up about 'Slipping', just don't have it around in the first place then you only have the healthy options to choose from. We all like to eat. Having only healthy foods available doesn't make eating any less enjoyable.

I have confidence that you'll find what works for you. Try different things and see.

~Kris

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I love choc (dark),belly pork, chops, bacon, all the wrong things. decaff cokes etc

Coming from a big family money was scarce, so Mum made lots of stews, pies, etc. I call it stodge not to her face

as she would have hit me . Noo I was her baby.

My lowest weight was 8.5 stone but since op I have ballooned up, I blame the hospital for bliming feeding me

through the nose, my nose weighs more than me now lol. j/k.

Pass me tethering rope as I am about to take off.

I have been on a load of diets best one was my carrot cake yummy lol

Be Well All and pushes David up hill heave ho lol

Hope fog goes

WinB143 xx

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Thanks everyone, there are some really good ideas in there as usual! I went food shopping with Andy after work today because I only did 6 hours. He has been doing the shopping for me ever since I went full time and so this is the first time I've been in any kind of a position to tag along.

Not long after we started the shopping, I started to feel fatigued and remembered what you had all said about nuts. I bought some raw unsalted cashews and ate a small handful. Quickly, the fog started to lift and I felt much better. Not only have I bought some raw nuts, I also bought dried fruit and some tiny little pots to put them in so that I am not tempted to scoff the lot.

I am serious about eating differently because since working full time, I feel so tired and I have very little energy for other things. I get home at about 17:45 and am in bed by 21:00. While I am managing ok, I don't fancy that kind of a schedule forever so I think the answer to that will definitely lie in making better food choices.

Dawn x

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It’s nice to hear that you have a plan – and it sounds like a good one.

Supermarkets are very difficult places for us brain injured folk so congratulations for venturing into one! I’ve been shopping online for some time now. This has many advantages. Not only does it save me from the dreaded ordeal of a supermarket shop; but in shopping online, you can make sensible choices. The entire design of a supermarket is set so that we inadvertently spend more money and it is very difficult to pass the bakery counter without salivating! Also, they stock expensive brands at eye level and the healthier options are stocked at the top. Not to mention the chocolates at the counter! (I think you deserve a medal for being able to make a sensible food choice in a supermarket – especially as Cadbury Crème Eggs are out!!)

Another tip is to cook in batches so that you will have leftovers for the next day. This can help with fatigue because you’ll reduce the amount of cooking time per week which is important if you’re working. This means you can eat healthy without having to cook every night.

One pot meals are good too as there is less cleaning up!

L xx

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Dawn, I am still trying to wrap my head around the shopping thing but I hardly ever go down an isle I spend the time on the outter rim of store. Produce, meats ( YCUK GAG), dairy, peanut butter and bread last. I go down an isle if I need something on my list only. I tend to really stock pile the dried fruit and nuts -when I have bits and pieces left i make pumkin muffins and use all that up. I also put flax meal etc in most of my cooked meals and if I can throw fresh spinach in the dish I will.

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Dawn...go girl...go nuts!

I love that we are all mini investigators trying to find a pathway that leads out of the fog! It sounds great with the small tins and stuff at work too. Keep it up and let us know if you hit a bump again!

I'm so glad you have a small, but big passion for something in your life.

~Kris

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Today was my second day of eating very little but healthily and often and my goodness, what a different day I have had! Monday's are always a hard day for me for two reasons, 1) by 11:00 we usually have taken 2,500 phone calls and 2) I work 30 minutes extra so that I only have to work 6 hours when it gets to my Saturday shift. The combination of these two things mean that by the time I get home, I generally feel like amputating my own head.

Today, I grazed lightly on nuts and fruit whenever I felt a drop in energy or an increase in fog and I have had a very good day. It cannot be a coincidence that today was my highest ever productivity rate, I took 79 calls and usually I average about 63. It seemed that I had fewer challenging customers today, was that really the case or was I simply better equiped? Also, when I woke up this morning I felt cheerful instead of shattered. In the 18 months since sah, it has truly never occurred to me that the fog could be beaten or at least eased. Thank you everyone for the suggestions!

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Well done Dawn.

Diet is an important way I manage fatigue and if I eat unhealthily I always pay the price for it and feel dreadful.

I never venture out of the house without healthy snacks and on the occasions I’ve forgotten to, cognition takes a dip.

The words, ‘Lynne is hungry,’ are considered a medical emergency in my family. Bananas are brilliant portable food and I’ve usually one in my handbag.

It is important to allow yourself a treat as complete abstinence can lead to relapse! The timing of such treats is important to me. I don’t eat a piece of chocolate in the day when I’m out. It isn’t a substitute for food because it won’t give me the energy I need.

My treats (minimal of course!) are eaten at the end of the day, when I am not hungry and they are not eaten instead of other foods, but rather in addition. It is something to look forward to and a reward for healthier choices.

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Dawn,

Way to go Dawn. We should call it the Dawn diet. I am still trying but having trouble losing weight. Can't exercise on my current medication. Bananas are great. I cant have nuts due to my colon issues. If I had nuts theyd have to put me in stirrups and have like an operation or something. So what if you can't have nuts?

Lin- you mentioned choccies. Before my Sah, I never had chocolate. Now I eat it all the time. Is it some kind of brain high I'm seeking. I'll have some Mand M's after lunch and not good for the stomach.

It is so hard to eat right on a tight shcedule. Trail mix? Need to lose 2 stone maam.

David

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Natural proteins, peanut butter without salt and sugar. I know itis bland! But I look at it as medicine not food!

I will send a photo of the kind I buy, also almond butter is good. You can eat it with celery or an apple. I personally stay away from ...........can't think of what I was gonna say......hahahahahah

Anyway if I had a strip of bacon or sausage I feel it for daysssssssssss! Good Grief bacon is like the devil but I love it! It messes up my body, i try to avoid lunch meat as well and make chicken breast or "real" meat to have for lunch. Yesterday I had left over salmon steak and left over fresh cooked spinach. Took nuts and dired blueberries and cranberries for a snack. I had a greek yogart ( with a few walnuts). Cereal for dinner. I had peanut butter on whole wheat brownberry bread for breakfast cut in my 1/4's. Sardines are gooda as well. Avocado's or any WHOLE FOOD. If it grows you can eat it. I will also sometime eat just some black beans. I will share that with Keith my summer to go salad but I can eat just them plain. It took awhile to get use to. Trader Joes has trout in a sardine can, love that!

If I must go to McDonalds for whatever reason usually in desperation I order a egg mcmuffin the orgional with ham on it. I avoid dairy as it hates me.

I look at food most of the time as what my body needs as a medicine until someone brings in good bakery donuts or makes a dessert. I am so good at home as i have not touched the carrot cake my friend made me but I fold at work so fast it is pitiful.

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Before my Sah, I never had chocolate. Now I eat it all the time. Is it some kind of brain high I'm seeking.

David,

I spoke to my GP about my extreme increased desire for sweet foods. He told me that he has another patient who had sah and she is exactly the same. While I know that I was supposed to gain comfort from this, my main thought was 'there's someone in town who's had sah? who?where? I want to go for coffee'(ok, I really mean hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows;-)).

I think you have hit the nail right on the head, our bodies are craving energy and if we are long-term bad eaters then the only way we know how to provide a quick boost is to eat sweet things. I have not experienced the benefits of healthy eating before (I've been overweight forever) and it would never have occurred to me that what I ate could change the symptoms I suffered. I always assumed I felt so shattered all the time because I jumped from 20 hours to 40 overnight, not because I eat like it's my last meal at every meal.

In my new role, I am no longer surrounded by people who eat constantly like I was before. (This new role just gets better and better!) In fact, I found out this afternoon that the girl who sits to my left lost 6 stones and has kept it off for 5 years. As you might imagine, she doesn't fill her face all day long like my old colleagues did. No-one brings in bags of doughnuts and cookies and there are not 6 or 7 packets of biscuits lying aound at any one time waiting to be eaten.

Lynne, you make a very good point about not depriving myself. I have found that my cravings have completely dropped off at the moment, I hope this is long term but I will keep an eye one it. I assume that my blood sugars are more stable now. I used to eat my meals about 6 hours apart on a work day and didn't realise the effect this was having. Can you all tell that this has been an utter revelation to me?

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Dawn,

This is a really good thread. I experience all manner of sensations that I have to assume are related to my brain recovering from the SAH. Internal vibrations, balance problems, heavy and uncoordinated legs, headaches and sheer exhaustion the list goes on and on...........

Since the early days I have attempted to eat regularly and reasonably healthily, though I have to confess to giving in to my sweet tooth more than I should have in the first 6 months.

The snacking sounds like a fantastic idea, so I have raided my baking cupboard which has been somewhat redundant since my SAH......one day perhaps I will feel fit enough to return to baking which was one of my greatest loves since childhood.

In the meantime I am now snacking on all manner of dried fruits and nuts, in the interests of research for all fellow SAHers, ..............and ignoring the 'Best Before' dates! Only joking!

Wem

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