Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

Ups and Downs

February 7, 2013

 

I’ve been fighting with these last five pounds of this 40 lb goal for a few weeks now. I can’t really complain because it is not mystery lingering weight. It is simply poor eating choices. Salt primarily. I will get within a pound or two of the goal and then eat a chips, or popcorn or overdo it on Thanksgiving… so it’s taking awhile to get back into weight loss mode.

That’s okay though. Including the pregnancy and miscarriage the fact that I’m only bouncing around in a 5 lb window is a good sign that I’m at least able to maintain my weight which I know will be the longer term goal.

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,  in 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!

Bad Food Choices

June 21, 2012

I noticed in my last entry that I mentioned my weight was consistently going up when I made bad food choices.

That choice of words has given me pause. What do I mean by bad food choices?

First of I find it interesting that I still use the word “bad”. I could have chosen: poor, negative, unhealthy, junk or others. But I chose bad which demonstrates that I’m still using a lot of value judgement with my food.

It also runs counter to what I said in and earlier post about listening to The Fat Nutritionist and giving myself permission to eat.

So, my vocabulary is showing some cracks in the philosophy I am trying to adopt, but I do think I am learning.

What “bad” food choices mean for me right now are:

  1. Mindless eating
  2. Allergy eating
  3. Uncontrolled eating

Mindless eating is see-food, eat-food. For example I was playing a game in the university cafeteria (some friends and I meet there sometimes for gaming). That night when the Tim Hortons staff came out and dumped tonnes of bins of donuts, muffins, cookies, timbits, croissants, cinnamon buns and more. All the students in the cafeteria descended and started grabbing food. When all this started I wasn’t hungry, I don’t really like donuts that much, I really don’t like Tim Horton’s donuts, especially day old going stale donuts… then one member of our group put three bags of chips in the middle of the table. As the evening went on, I don’t remember when I decided to have chips, timbits or more chips, but I did. They didn’t taste good or satisfy a craving. I just ate them because they were in front of me and other people were eating.

Allergy eating is when I ignore that certain foods make me feel awful but I eat them anyways. This often goes with either mindless eating. Sometimes it happens with social eating. It goes with mindless when I don’t really think about what all the ingredients are of what I am putting into my body. With social eating I hate feeling like the high-maintenance picky eater and I feel like I’m being a nuisance to others when I ask too many questions about food. Because food is so social I don’t want to upset the social balance so I eat things even when I suspect they are bad for me just to keep the social balance.

Uncontrolled eating is mostly alcohol. I have a very high tolerance for alcohol, I’m still usually in happy-drunk mode around drink 12-15. What I have figured out is that anything over usually drink 3 is going to tip the scales. But, since most of my friends know I can drink and I don’t want to feel like a priest at a pageant I often let my guard down and allow myself to drink more alcohol than I intended. This goes back to the mindless see-food, eat-food problem.

In other words I’m okay to give myself permission to eat chips, pop or ice cream if that is what my body is truly craving. But, when I eat it simply because it is there, despite it being bad for me or because I didn’t manage my alcohol consumption I see these as “bad” food choices.

What About Exercise?

May 24, 2012

Diet and exercise.

Healthy Eating and Active Living.

They are almost always paired together. But, there is increasing evidence that it is diet, not exercise that plays the key role in weight loss.

I encountered this idea the first time I hired a personal trainer. At some point the trainer said something to the effect that weight loss was 80% diet and 20% exercise. More recently I’ve started to see numerous articles published citing that it is diet, not exercise that is key to weight loss.

MSNBC: Diet, not exercise plays a key role in weight loss.
Time Magazine: Why exercise won’t make you thin
Mayo Clinic: Better to cut calories or exercise more?
Guardian: Why exercise won’t make you thin

As this idea gets unpacked a familiar food-politics theme emerges: the role of the food industry in our health and nutrition. More specifically what the food industry will do to protect their profits at the expense of the health of the public.

Here are some more articles on this topic:

University of California Berkley: Lecture, Dr. Marion Nestle How The Food Industry Influences Diet and Health
How The Food Industry Influences Diet and Health (book)

One of the best examples I have seen recently of food-politics promoting exercise over nutrition is Coca-Cola Canada’s partnership with participACTION and sponsorship of  Sogo Active. This campaign promotes getting youth active.  It has great examples of programs that get youth active, but it completely fails to mention that drinking Coke is really bad for your health.

This is not to say that exercise is not important. Exercise does some pretty important things like: strengthens bones and muscles, improves mental health and mood, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

I will credit my reasonably active lifestyle with the fact that although I am in an obese BMI range I have not faced any serious health problems, or even minor health problems. Except for the fact that I am fat, I’m healthy. The fact that I’m healthy, and reasonably active led me to my own conclusions about the role of exercise in weight loss.

Each time I have tried to lose weight in the past I have included exercise as a key component of that weight loss. And, I have generally been more successful at getting myself active than I have at being mindful about what I am eating and how it is effecting me. My general assumption was that I don’t eat a lot of junk food (I think), and if I’m exercising everyday and eating reasonably ‘good’ foods then I should be able to lose weight.

Sadly, this has never, in ten years proved true. My assumption at this point for why this hasn’t works are two-fold.

First, I don’t think I have taken a close enough look at what it means to have a healthy relationship with food. To truly make a food lifestyle change. I’ll come back to this in other entries.

Second, I think that I am proving case in point that while exercise is good for my health, and is likely the reason I am as healthy as I am, it is not having any significant impact on my weight.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to give myself permission to shun all physical activity. I will however, be placing much more emphasis on learning to eat well, in a way that makes me happy, healthy and facilitates weight loss. I will not be putting a significant amount of emphasis on if I made it to this gym each morning.