One of the hardest things about finding out that my kidneys were dying was hearing that I needed to take a drastic plunge in reducing calories and water intake. The less I consume, the less my kidneys will work and the longer time they have before they fail. My nephrologist told me it would be best to reduce my calorie content to around 1000 a day and to drink no more than eight eight oz glasses of liquid a day. I also was told only 16 oz of that could be tea.
Are you kidding me. I drink pots of tea a day. Or rather i did. As I have simply learned to get by on very little liquid intake.
Reducing my food intake by nearly 2/3rds is the real challenge.
I found the 1000 calorie a day far too challenging and I have opted to forgo this. Yes, it might bring on the dialysis quicker, but if I only have 5ish years, I want to make them enjoyable, and drastically reducing my calorie intake, and with it my weight to 89 lbs, seems the antithesis of enjoyable.
As people who knew me in high school (i graduated weighting 99 lbs) and college (never got above 120 lbs) will remember, that is not exactly a good look on me. And I seem to have my crazy metabolism from that time period back, as before I got the call to reduce my calorie content I had lost 12 lbs in two months, all the while eating pretty much everything in sight.
So I instead went to a renal nutritionist and we crafted a plan where I will eat 1500-2000 calories a day, while trying to stem the tide of weight loss. One of my biggest concerns about weight loss is that ever since I have had to use a cane and brace my goal was to lose the cane and be able to ride a bike again. The only way this will happen is if I can grow into a larger brace that allows for greater than 75 degree movement in my knee (where i am at today). And if i continue to lose weight this will never happen.
Even though I have rejected the furthest extremes of changing my diet, there are many concessions I have been willing to make. The hardest is to completely swear off bananas forever. For some this may seem easy. For me this is like forgoing breathing. I have eaten at least one banana a day for pretty much ever. And more often more than one. But potassium is impossible for the kidneys to process, so it they are out along with other high potassium foods such as coconut, apricots, acorn squash, and beets. And since protein is extremely hard for the kidneys to process only 10% of my calories will be coming from protein, 20% will come from fruit and vegetables and 70% will be from grains, breads, and such. But the best thing about my nutritionist is that she said these are goals, not something to beat myself up about if I fail to adhere to them at times. I just need to focus on eating small amounts often. But when I go out to eat, I can focus on enjoying being social and not counting calories.
As I slowly transition to this new diet, I have found that I have more energy and need to sleep far less. It is far too early to tell if I have stemmed the downward spiral of my weight loss but I am hoping.