Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

10 weeks

January 10, 2013

The obsessive craving for spicy pickled pepper seems to have abated, and with it my intake of salt. Which has helped me keep my weight more or less under control. I seem to have gravitated to about 202 – 203 lbs for the last few week. I’m hoping to hold it there until the end of my first trimester. At that point I’ll have a full appointment with a midwife and can find out what a reasonable weight gain is for someone of my original weight during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Pregnant!

December 20, 2012

Took the home pregnancy test yesterday… and another one today… and both agree – I’m pregnant!

I’m very happy about this. My partner and I struggled for a long time to try to get through the adoption system, we haven’t given up on that but we knew we needed to think about bio-babies in case adoption didn’t work out. Then when we tried for bio-babies we found out there were complications, but fortunately it seems that this has worked out.

Of course I know a lot could go wrong from now to a live birth and beyond, but this is the first big step.

I began to suspect when I had a fairly large spike in weight, followed by an even larger drop – which is usually what happens before my cycle starts, and then there was no cycle. So we waited for a week and then took the test. I still need to confirm with my doctor and get the estimated due date.

This also means big new changes for diet. I’m seeing my doctor tomorrow. I suspect because I am overweight they will see if I can gain no more than 15-20 lbs. I’ll need to know when I’m supposed to gain that weight and at what rate, and if eating the current calorie load I do now and how I do now is good for the baby.

I’ve already gained a bit of weight, but I think that’s more reflective of having a celebratory dinner last night and I think I’m safe at least for a week go to stay on the Paleo plan I was on and to try to lose those 1.2 lbs I gained.

Starting pregnancy weight: 200 lbs.

NOTE: This pregnancy unfortunately ended in a miscarriage. So, don’t get too invested in the next few posts. I figured I would leave them there since they are part of my health journey.

Milestone

December 6, 2012

 

I have been having a bad week generally in terms of weight loss. Perhaps a bad two weeks. Some lack of progress seemed reasonable because I had some high sodium meals, and other times I couldn’t figure out why I was seeing no progress.

I still haven’t figured out what was going on, but today my body seems to have dumped a bunch of water weight and I miraculously find myself at 201.2 lbs.

Why is this odd number important? Back in the summer of 2010, which was my last serious “I’m going to get fit and loose weight” attempt this was the exact number I made it to before life happened and I slid back up to 237.8 lbs.

I remember being very disappointed with myself that I had been within 1.2 lbs of cracking the 200 lb mark and I didn’t make it.

To be fair it was a brutal diet and I was exercising at the gym everyday and I was riding my bike to and from work (a total of 26 KM/day). I think I was simply unable to maintain the rigor of the diet and the huge level of activity.

This time round has been much easier. The diet mostly takes care of itself. I certainly have moments of frustration where I feel like I am doing everything right and nothing is happening. But, then there are days like today.

Ghhhaaa! Bleck! Bad Day!

November 29, 2012

Today is not a good mental health day. I’ve been teetering on the edge of this 202.8 lbs = no longer obese milestone for days now. I went down a little bit, then more, then back up, and up and up again. No real progress in over a week.

I’m getting better at talking myself through the bad days. Reminding myself that some days I lose a pound and some days I do not and that is good because my body needs to adjust. That it’s not all about the numbers on the scale it’s about how I feel.

Today I feel bloated, cramped, back aches, hip hurts there’s a new pain in my knee and I feel emotionally miserable. And, the scale went up again. There’s no reason I can identify as to why. I’ve been sticking to paleo, I have not gone over on my calories, but still… no progress.

Here is the choice: I can give up, throw the towel in go get a large bag of chips with sour cream and wallow in my perceived failure. Or, I can stick it out another day and a day after that and the day after that and know that I am doing the right thing and eventually the weight will come off, but only if I keep trying.

I don’t need to do anything different yet, it feels like a long time right now but in the span of success this time round it’s a short time and in the span of time I have tried to lose weight it is an extremely short time.

So, I feel crappy today. I don’t feel like giving myself a pep talk and I do feel like eating crap just to validate my current mind set that this will never work, but there is enough of something inside me to know that I will not do this. I will make it through this day and look forward to better days.

Obese No More! (Still fat)

November 22, 2012

When I started this journey (again) at 237.8 lbs that put me at a BMI of 35.1, which is severely obese or obesity class 2.

< 18.5 – Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 – Healthy Weight
25 – 29.9 – Overweight
30 – 34.9 – Class 1 Obesity (moderately obese)
35 – 39.9 – Class 2 Obesity (severely obese)
> 40 – Class 3 Obesity (morbidly obese)

In some ways I have been more eager to hit the 202.8 lb mark than making my 40 lb goal (although that will be no small achievement). At 202.8 lbs I am officially no longer in an obesity category I am merely overweight.

I know this is really just some invisible, imaginary and in many ways arbitrary line. However it is a line that is felt, especially working in a health-related field. I constantly see the statistic:

“Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one-third of adults are obese.”

That emphasis on obese makes it feel like those of us who crossed that line are somehow pulling the western world into the dreaded OBESITY EPIDEMIC. We are pulling down the ship. I hear the word obesity and I think of all the stock footage of people’s disembodied stomachs and bottoms jiggling down the sidewalk on the 6:00 pm newscast. I worry that it could be me!

In reality I know it is not true. Even at 237.8 lbs and 5’9″ I looked more like the cute chubby girl, than I did the 6:00 pm news footage. And as Jimmy Moore pointed out in Fat Head, the “obesity epidemic” is in large part created by the CDC’s adoption of BMI. Before widespread knowledge of BMI ‘fatness’ was measured by a number of different factors including weight, percentage body fat and overall size. But since BMI we now do a simple square and lump people into categories.

BMI is a terrible indicator of health:

National Public Radio
Globe and Mail
The Guardian

It ignores other health indicators such as cholesterol and triglycerides, total body fat as compared to body muscle, and cardio-vascular health. And, at 237.8 lbs I was a healthy woman. No arthritis, no elevated levels of any kind to concern my doctor and good heart health.

However, I do have to admit that BMI is, in my case, a reasonable starting point for a health indicator. Yes, BMI may put the super-fit Russel Crowe or Olympic athletes into a morbid obesity category because their muscle mass tips the scales in the wrong direction. But I wasn’t overweight – or obese – because of an over abundance of muscle.

I’m just plain fat and that is okay. There is nothing wrong with being fat. I’m happy and healthy at a BMI of 35.1 and now at a BMI of 29.9. So, why worry about BMI? Why celebrate my transition out of the obesity category and into the overweight category? Well, because as much as I hate to admit it, I’m one of those people the health statistics are warning us about. I’m not an anomaly. I may be healthy now, but if I keep the weight on then I am increasing my chances for a whole host of obesity related health problems. I may never get any of those problems if I am not genetically inclined, but since I don’t know if I am genetically inclined why roll the dice?

I really don’t know how much I have improved my health or decreased my chances of becoming unhealthy by moving out of the obesity category. All the ‘obesity treatments’ simply suggest losing 10 per cent or 20 per cent of the body mass can ‘greatly improve’ health outcomes. So, I’ve done that. And, I think I’ll keep doing it for a bit. I know more than anything keeping the weight off over the long term is what will improve my chances of staying healthy into old age.

Weight Loss vs. Baby Pressure

October 25, 2012

No. I’m not pregnant.

Yes. My partner and I are trying to get pregnant.

My partner and I started to try to get pregnant nearly a year ago and discovered some problems along the way. Without making this blog about that, one of the issues is weight. It’s not the defining issue. I’m border line PCOS which means that I have 12 follicles on each ovary. Less than 12 follicles is considered PCOS and one of the major contributing factors to PCOS is weight.

The main fertility challenge I have can supposedly be handled by fertility medications. That is what we are currently doing. PCOS can also be helped by other fertility medications, so I’m on two rounds of fertility medications just in case. My doctor did let me know that, with regards to PCOS, ┬áin studies of women who were given the fertility medications and those who only followed a low-carb diet that those on the low-carb diet were equally as successful at conceiving as those who took the PCOS medication.

I meant to ask him if it was specifically the low-carb diet that increased their chance of conceiving or if it was the associated weight loss. My suspicion is that it was the associated weight loss in which case I don’t need to be too concerned about carving fruit out of my diet in addition to already eating a paleo diet which means I am currently not eating any grains, refined sugars or white starches.

What all this means for me is that I’m not really sure what my overall goal is.

Is it to get pregnant as fast as possible? Or, is it to lose as much weight as possible?

Time is a consideration. I’m approaching 33 (in July) which means ideally I will conceive in the next year to avoid being considered a high risk pregnancy at 35.

However, I’m still in the obese weight category according to my BMI, so should I be focusing on my weight loss and trying to lose as much weight as possible before getting pregnant so that I increase my chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy?

The reality is that I can’t make the choice. I just have to take it one day at a time. Most days I focus on weight loss. I know that losing the weight increases my chances of getting pregnant. The more weight I lose before getting pregnant will help me stay healthy through my pregnancy.

At the same time we are trying to get pregnant, so I can’t help feeling a little sad each month when it doesn’t in fact happen. Strangely though, at this time I’m also a bit relieved since it allows me more time to lose more weight.

Right now I’d like to lose at least the 40 lb goal for two reasons. First it will put me below the obesity BMI and second, if I lose the 40 lbs then that is also what I am likely to gain during a pregnancy. In theory I already know my body can carry that extra 40 lbs and I will already know that I can lose it again.

Part of me would like to double that goal so that when I get pregnant I would be in the “normal” weight BMI and the pregnancy would take me to just below the obese BMI and I wouldn’t have to worry about going into that weight category while pregnant.

This is all really just an academic debate that I cannot and should not control. The only way to guarantee weight loss before getting pregnant would be to stop trying to get pregnant and age can have the same negative effects on pregnancy chances as weight can so it’s best to just keep trying to both lose weight and get pregnant and handle the situation as it hopefully arises.

The real frustration for me is knowing that by getting pregnant I am guaranteeing that I will have to walk this weight-loss journey again. I have some hope, because now I know I can do it.

One decision that is solidifying in my mind is to keep eating paleo through my pregnancy, if it happens (knock on wood). I have not found any evidence that a pregnant woman needs grains or dairy. I do feel terrible when I eat them. The one barrier would be if I do suddenly get my appetite back and have cravings.

Anyways this is all just baby-on-the-brain. I’ve got another month ahead of me of trying to get pregnant. That is at least the fun part of all of this.

Monthly Cycle

September 27, 2012

I know at some point in women’s cycles women retain water. I think that’s fairly common knowledge. What I have always understood is that women retain water during the week leading up to their period.

I am wondering if there are other factors in a women’s cycle that influence weight loss. I have noticed a definite cycle to my weight loss. I lose the most weight right after my period. I will sometimes lose over half a pound a day. Then, around the middle of my cycle my weight will level off, dropping to very small increments, staying steady or even going up for a few days for no apparent reason. The overall trend will still be down, but it will be very slow with frustrating jumps that put me back a week or more so that I’m repeating the same loss for two or more weeks.

I’m reasonably sure this is all normal, since it seems to be part of a cycle that is consistent over months and is keeping me in a healthy weight loss zone, but I’d still like to know why it seems to kick in for me around day 10-14 of my cycle instead of day 21 which would be the last week.

Positive vs. Negative

September 13, 2012

I work in a health-related industry. What does that mean? It means I work with a lot of information about health but I am not a health practitioner like a doctor, nurse etc… As such, I get a huge volume of information about health, and despite that I still struggle with weight. So, I’m pretty much case in point that you can have all of the information and it will not change your life.

One of the debates in health information, specifically about diet and exercise is if it should be communicated in positive or negative language. Is it more effective to warn people about the dangers of certain foods, the dangers of inactivity and tell people what not to do? Or, is it more effective to focus on positive language about what people should do, easy tips to increase activity and what foods you should eat. The reasonably simple answer here is that both types of information must be provided. If the patient / consumer doesn’t know that pop contains two cups of sugar and sugar will do all sorts of bad things to your system then they may think it is part of getting their daily intake of water. Likewise if you tell someone who has been raised on a steady diet of pop to stop drinking pop you also want to give them healthy alternatives and suggestions for how to transition off of pop.

As an individual I find that the positive vs. negative speak still merits a lot of consideration, especially as I think about food.

Common wisdom on the internet seems to lean towards the positive side. That when attempting a life style change that the direction should be to think about what foods you can have, what healthy foods you enjoy and to avoid focusing on what you cannot have and what you are not allowing yourself. Increasingly there is a push to not deny yourself foods so that you don’t end up binge eating on foods that you have denied yourself.

I believe all of this is very good advice. Especially if you have grown up on the Standard American Diet.

However, I am finding that the negative food speak is actually working better for me. It is not entirely one or the other. I still think a lot about what I do like to eat and what I do enjoy. However, to keep myself on track I am finding it easier to have a simple check list of “do not eat”. If I run down the checklist to make sure it does not have:

  • Dairy
  • Refined sugars
  • Grains
  • Legumes

Then I am all set to go. I feel confident in what I can select. I know what I’m cutting out and I don’t feel panicky about if I am going to go over my calories if I eat that piece of cake. I’m not going to eat the cake unless it’s a flourless cake. Simple.

I know this approach is not for everyone. I also realize it would be too restrictive for many and would result in a dive off the wagon and into the bag of chips. But, for me it is working so I thought I’d put it out there.

Surviving the cottage – sort of.

August 30, 2012

I am back from the cottage and covered in black fly bites. Covered may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the 10+ that I have are super itchy.

To prepare I cooked all my own food in advance and brought it with me to the cottage. It was an odd experience. I did feel like a bit of an outsider with my own food. The girls brought a counter full of chips, another full of sweets, and probably at least ten times as much food as the group could actually eat. Alcohol included:

  • 32 bottles of wine
  • 2 bottles of sangria
  • 12 bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade
  • 1 case of beer
  • 2 bottles of gin
  • 1 bottle of malibu rum

At the cottage I stuck to my food and didn’t even allow myself so much as a chip, because I knew if I went there I was going to dive all the way down the rabbit hole. It wasn’t as hard as I expected. I found that being away from home for the first time since my brother passed was difficult. I had a lot of difficulty sleeping and my appetite really wasn’t present.

I did allow myself one or two drinks per day. Only wine. I was concerned about the grain in the beer and the sugars in the Mike’s Hard, and Malibu… and I simply don’t like gin.

Being an observer of the weekend more than a participant I was more acutely aware of the peer pressure these girls put on each other to eat crap. The girls, for the most part, are of average size. Some skinny, some a little plump, but I would be one of the heaviest. There is a lot of celebration about letting go of their own structured eating and diving into crap food. A lot of them complained of stomach aches, and by day three many were taking extended naps.

On the one hand I’m glad the girls have the outlet. It’s important to be able to eat without guilt. On the other hand, it gave me a fairly good reminder that my body is feeling better eating the way that I am currently eating. I don’t want to go back to a place where I am constantly craving chips, cookies and ice cream – eating them, feeling terrible and still craving them.

When I returned home and took my weight the next day not only had I not gained any weight, but I had lost another 0.2 lbs. I was very happy with myself.

… Then the next day I gained 0.6 lbs for no apparent reason. And, I reminded myself that this is not a straight arrow journey and to keep doing what I’m doing, because for the most part it is working.

Mini-Goal: 21 lbs!

August 9, 2012

I’m mid-way through my eating out week. I have my lunches out and the cottage weekend to go. However, so far so good. I just hit my 21 lb loss mini-goal and the first mini-goal in my second 20 lb goal.

I have earned myself a rental from apple TV. I still need to get a new top and have my hair trimmed from my last 20 lbs, but I did do the pedicure yesterday.

I have planned out my food for the cottage so I am hoping I can stay healthy and stick to my eating plan because I know that there will be real health consequences, not just weight gain, if I do not. And, I would of course prefer to spend my cottage weekend having fun, not chained to the bathroom (yeah TMI – sorry).