Posts Tagged ‘Obesity Epidemic’

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.

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.

Mini-Goal: 35lbs!

November 15, 2012

I have been hovering just above this mini-goal for almost a week now, so I was super happy when the scale showed the loss today. My new weight is 202.8 lbs. The reward for this mini-goal is to go buy new pants – even though I don’t need them yet. I have to admit I’ve been terrible at fulfilling my rewards.

The rewards I have banked include:

222.8 lbs – New top

217.8 lbs – Hair trim

216.8 – Apple movie rental

215.8 – Eye / lip wax (and I REALLY need to get on this one)

212.8 – manicure

207.8 – pedicure

202.8 – new pants

Reaching 35 lbs though puts me in the last leg of this goal. 5 more lbs until I have lost a total of 40 lbs and I put myself under the 200 lb mark. I can do this.

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.

Yuck, Food.

October 18, 2012

Not sure what is up with my digestion lately. I’m having a lot of problems eating food right now. It started a few days ago when I would just lose my appetite in the middle of a meal, and now the thought of food is really just disgusting to me. Eating for the last couple of days has triggered a gag reflex. This is bad.

I’m hoping it’s simply the heat. I’m writing this entry on a 34C day in June. So heat could be a reason, although both my home and my office are air conditioned. Maybe its the air conditioning?

I couldn’t eat my dinner last night, but I did manage to get myself to eat a very large ripe mango, as well as lots of water.

I am hoping this is not is a slide back into anorexic ways. Can I even be anorexic at 200+ lbs? I suppose the answer is yes. Still, I am not experiencing the body dysmorphia that usually accompanies anorexia. My body is looking stronger, slimmer and yes there are still curves and roll, but I am not disgusted by them.

What’s up body?

Mini-Goal: 30 lbs!

October 11, 2012

I’m feeling a bit stunned that 30 lbs is a mini-goal. Looking back on my weight tracking the last 10 lbs have not taken me any longer to lose than the previous 10 lbs, but it has felt longer. This is a warning sign that I am becoming a bit too pre-occupied with the number on the scale and becoming impatient for it to go down.

I am of course extremely happy to hit a 30 lb loss. It’s not a small achievement. At the same time I feel conflicted that I got to a point where I could hit a 30 lb loss and still not be under 200 lbs. I’m trying not to judge myself harshly, and I’m also trying to realize that I am doing something to address this right now and all I need to do is to keep doing what I am doing. It does give me some confidence to know that I can do this and if I can lose 30 lbs I can definitely lose 10 more lbs after that. So 40 lb goal, here I come!

Fullness

October 4, 2012

My appetite is slowly starting to come back. For a long time this whole switch to paleo and restricted eating has been very easy because it’s been a struggle to simply get me to eat food in the first place.

I’m feeling actual hunger pangs now, and have been for a few weeks, but they are not what I remember from before my grief-imposed fast.

I am still unsure if this reduction in hunger is because of that fast, or because of eating a paleo diet now. If the hunger returns with a vengeance then I suppose I will have my answer. But, if it does not I will never really know if it was the grief that reduced my hunger or the paleo. Either way, I’m relieved that I’m not hungry all the time.

What has surprised me though is my body’s response to those times when I am hungry. Dinner is the main one. In the average workday I have a longer period between lunch and dinner than I do between breakfast and lunch. That and I bring my lunch to work so I can eat it whenever I get hungry, but I never really get my act together to pack a snack, so when I arrive home I’m quite hungry.

This has actually proved useful. I tend to take care of dinner first thing now, leave the chores for afterwards. Which means I’m eating dinner earlier and as I understand it this is healthier anyways.

I generally eat whatever I have pre-prepared and already portioned out. During the week it’s simple. I grab a tupperware container out of the fridge, stick it in the micro and voila: dinner. I cook three or four large meals during the weekends and those usually last me for dinners and lunches all week.

In case dinner isn’t enough – which I always think will be the case when I’m looking at it – I give myself permission to grab more, or a snack if I want one later. Strangely, that almost never happens.

Snacking from dinner to bed has always been a bad habit of mine. I’d get home eat a tin of vine leaves stuffed with rice to hold me over until dinner was ready, cook a fairly large dinner each night and then snack on chocolate, ice cream, chips, popcorn or whatever was handy. Sometimes I was that hungry and just couldn’t fill myself, sometimes it was mindless snacking and sometimes I would end up stuffed to the point it hurt.

What I’m consuming now is a tiny fraction of what I would normally eat in an evening. Yet, I am finding myself satisfied, full but not uncomfortable after dinner and usually if I want a snack a tea with honey is about all I want.

I’m still waiting for my body to rebel, to demand more. I suppose time will tell.

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.

First compliment

September 20, 2012

Today, slightly past the 25 lb mark I got my first “hey, you’ve lost a lot of weight” compliment.

I never know how to deal with these. It’s different when it’s people who I know are aware that I’m losing weight. Then I can be frank and open about the struggles. But, with people who don’t know and I don’t discuss these things with it’s hard to know how to respond.

It is of course very gratifying that someone notices, it feels like effort is paying off. It’s also a little terrifying that if I fail then they will notice that too.

For me at this time it’s also difficult to accept the compliment gracefully. I’m still struggling with the numbers. I ‘feel’ slightly over 200 lbs. I felt that way at 201.2 lbs, which was my lowest weight in 2010. I felt that way at 220 lbs, my default weight for the last five years. And, I felt that way at 237.8 lbs when I was wondering why my clothes were all too tight. So, in some ways I don’t feel as though I have lost any weight until I cross that 200 lb mark. At the same time I am trying to push myself to recognize that if I do lose 37.8 lbs that’s no small task, so I’m also trying to celebrate that.

Unfortunately, I ducked the issue in public and changed the subject quickly.