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Thirteen Things About My Weight Loss Journey
1. If I hadn’t started getting sick, this probably never would have happened. As in, I wouldn’t have recognized that there was a real problem and that I was going to have to make drastic changes.
2. In September of 2006 I started working at a daycare and it wasn’t long before I started getting ill on a regular basis. One particular illness lasted around 2 months and at the end of November I was at my worst. This was also around the time that Kevin and I started dating. The reason I bring this up is because I never really got better. One week it would be intestinal, the next it would be and upper respiratory infection. I missed out on a lot of things that I had going on in my life. I had to drop out of the ministry team that I was on (due to a class, but being sick had made staying active a real problem). I felt like a loser being sick all the time. There had been things I’d dealt with in college, but nothing like this.
3. It was during this time that I started getting really, really tired. My hair was falling out. I was gaining weight. I didn’t reach my heaviest point until around the summer of 2007, and at that point and beyond I was eating healthy, balanced meals and exercising on a regular basis. None of it made any sense.
4. I was in a Pilates class and very active on SparkPeople.com to try and take control. I strongly recommend SparkPeople.com and if you go by and sign up, please list MISSWISABUS as your referrer. I’ll send you cool stuff on there because I have points running out my ears.
5. No matter what I did, nothing helped. I was listening to all the advice. Eating healthy foods. Could I chalk this up to “happy relationship weight”? At one point I thought I could, but seriously…what relationship is that good? I had gained nearly 20 lbs since Kevin and I started dating.
6. Finally, I got scared. I was having too many health problems — weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, migraines, muscle cramps and joint pain, abnormal menstrual cycles, low basal body temperature, heat intolerance, impaired memory, reactive hypoglycemia, increased need for sleep, irritability and mood instability. A description I gave someone of my life at the point when this was so bad:
I get up early in the morning for work or class, depending on the day, come home, eat a late lunch, and immediately crash for 2-3 hours. I get up, work around here and do homework, hit another tired point around 7 or 8 pm, press through that, and then I can’t get to sleep until around 12 or 1 a.m. Right now I am concerned that I could have some thyroid issues because I could literally sleep all day if I let myself.
Everything seemed to point to my thyroid.
7. In January, I visited my family doctor. Explained everything to him, expected to get my thyroid tested, get medicine, and start losing weight. The problem runs in my family and it seemed that simple. It wasn’t.
He is fairly certain that it is either my thyroid or PCOS. Knowing what that was, and being completely unprepared for that, I nearly lost it in the office. Kept calm though. Tomorrow I will have all the tests done. Then we’ll either medicate the thyroid condition (I’m hoping it’s that) or move on to a specialist (either my gyno or an endocrinologist). My doc thought the symptoms sounded more like PCOS, but my gyno never caught anything. It is possible that if there are cysts they are very very tiny and couldn’t be felt.
That floored me. Having been told that I had endomytriosis whenever I was in junior high/high school, I was familiar with PCOS. Did. Not. Want.
8. I was tested for everything under the sun.
All my tests came back clear. In a way, it’s a relief, in another, I am terribly discouraged. If it was hypothyroidism I could take the medicine and pretty much be done with it. This means that I have to go on to an endocrinologist for more tests and I’m not looking forward to it.
9. I went to visit the endocrinologist in March. I wasn’t happy with what he told me and was basically ready to follows his rules, stick my tongue out at him, and show him that they wouldn’t work. Disclaimer: This was my reaction before realizing exactly what kind of problems I was having and their cause.
First of all, for future reference, be prepared to take off all your clothes (except panties) when you visit one of these doctors. I had not been informed and consequently had hairy legs. Oh well. Plus, it was a male doctor who was seeing me naked and that was unexpected as well. It’s not like it killed me, but I would have preferred a female doctor had I known that was going to happen.
He started out by asking me questions about my symptoms, I went down the entire list to him. He checked my reflexes, my feet, my breathing, and lymph nodes.
He asked me if I’d do a radical diet change if he needed me to. I said sure. Then he said “Atkins” and I just about checked out. I don’t agree with the diet. I think it’s a fast way to get results that are not permanent once you go back to eating balanced meals. Just wanted to get that out in the open. However, I have to do it for 90 days. God, give me strength. We’re going to focus on getting the fat off my body while we deal with the other problems.
Soon I will have to go in for some blood tests (about 10 different ones). What he was most concerned about is the chance that I may be producing too much cortisol. If you have seen commercials for various diet pills you will know that cortisol is the nasty little chemical that causes fat to build up in your middle section. That’s definitely where mine is.
Anyway, I’m getting a lot of hormone tests done in the near future and hopefully we will have some answers soon. And for the next 90 days I’ll be following a diet that I whole-heartedly disagree with, but at this point I am willing to try anything. Tomorrow I am going to the grocery store to buy meat and cheese. Yum.
10. The hormone tests came back and my endocrinologist told me I had PCOS and that I needed to see my family doctor. Only…my hormones weren’t the right levels to suggest PCOS, so I’m not exactly sure where he was getting that from. Either way, since starting the diet (or WOE – “way of eating” as it’s preferred in many circles due to it being a total lifestyle change and not your regular “diet”), all my problems have disappeared and PCOS doesn’t seem to be on the radar anymore. (More on that below)
11. So that was that. Little did I know what would soon happen. After the two week induction phase which ALMOST killed me, I was feeling great. I had so much energy. My need for a nap was completely gone. And I lost 9 lbs in the first week. I know, that’s a lot, but it was mostly water weight and the remainder has been much, much slower. Every single health issue was GONE. The digestive issues I had grown up with had disappeared completely. Even early on, I felt like a new woman.
12. I am to a point where I can say to the world, “This is how much I weigh.” I am a woman and I’m telling you my weight. This is a breakthrough. Why? Because I’ve felt fat since I was 6-years-old. First, I’ll tell you where I started. My highest weight on SparkPeople.com is listed as 168 lbs. That’s right folks. However, I distinctly remember reaching 171, being too depressed to enter it, pouring a jar of hot fudge on some Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, and dying a slow, fudgey death.
NOW…I am at my halfway point. I weigh 146.5 lbs on the dot. And my goodness, it feels good to say that. It’s less than I weighed when I graduated high school, maybe less that when I was in junior high. And I’m proud.
13. The point is: I FEEL GOOD. About myself (inside), my body, the things that I’m eating, the steps I’m taking to stay healthy, the direction my life is going in and EVERYTHING really. I had gotten to a point where I was looking at plus size clothing online and resigning myself to the fact that I would always be overweight. Looking for cute clothes that would hide the “fluff” I was so desperately ashamed of. Trying to make myself think that it was okay to remain at an unhealthy weight for the rest of my life, convinced that I couldn’t be where I needed to be.
What I had to realize was that I have a problem. I cannot handle the sugar and all the refined starches and such. My body just doesn’t do those. No matter what you think about low-carbing (I’m not “no-carbing”, I get my carbs from healthier, more natural sources like fruits and nuts), for me it is what works and what I have to do. I have made a life change and I praise God for bringing that crazy doctor into my life.
You do not have to stay where you are. If you are overweight (or under, though I’ve never experienced that and can’t really imagine) and dealing with the issues that come along with it, listen to me — realize that it is NOT okay to be content in an unhealthy place. You are killing yourself. You are worth more to God and the people around you and you have got to see that. Your excuses don’t fly. Tomorrow isn’t when you change. And understand, it’s not the world holding you back, not your friend or your family, your career or school — it is you. You have to take responsibility, understand that it is your body, and YOU have to want the change. That may sound harsh, but it is true. I learned it the hard way, but thankfully started crawling out of the pit before I was too far in.
You can too. And I’m serious, if anyone reading this wants to talk to me about what I went through, what you’re going through…whatever…feel free. Find me on SparkPeople or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: 134 lbs as of 6/24/09