My First Journal Entry
My story is probably like many others. I'm in my 40s and my weight has been yo-yoing since I was a teenager. My mom was model thin (like her Dad) and I inherited my grandmother's large-boned German frame. As a child, I had been tall and thin, always a head taller than the other kids. When puberty hit at an early age, the height stopped and the German frame began. So I suppose my mother was shocked. She started harping on me about my weight. What is ironic is that I wasn't really overweight and if I hadn't started dieting I am sure my frame and metabolism would have been just fine. I skipped meals in high school, breakfast and lunch, and I lost weight. I got a part-time job, I took ballet twice a week (loved my thighs for the first time) , started archery lessons, was a straight-A student. And then I go mono and was in bed for a month. I lost weight and reached my all-time low of 114 pounds (still not my mom's 110) and I LOVED that. Yay mono! The problem with mono was, although it helped me reach my lowest weight, it also sucked out all my energy for over a year. I gave up ballet. I did little. I went away to university. And we all know how that went, don't we? Yep. Up and down, up and down. Each time I got down, I vowed never to be fat again. And then, as I tried to live a normal life with a normal diet, the weight would creep on. Sigh. I tried aerobics. I skipped meals. I remember one summer in particular where I skipped more meals than usual and drank diet ice-tea all the time. It worked but I remember (TMI here) the horribly slimy bowel movents. But hey, I lost the weight and that was all that mattered. After university, my first adult relationship was with a member of the national biathlon team and a phys-ed teacher in the armed forces. Ever lived with one of them? Hello exercise! Holy crap, our whole life revolved around it. Not only was I now skipping meals, I was also working out almost every day, cycling 25 miles to go swimming at Wasaga Beach, cross-country skiing for hours on end, and running. I ran my first 10 km . I liked running and I was quite proud of myself.Once again, I looked fantastic. The only problem was the relationship. I won't go into the details of living with an elite narcistic athlete but suffice to say that by the end I was sick of his cheating on me and I was sick of the constant exercise. The relationship ended. My weight started to creep up. With my old stand-by of skipping meals, I added on other types of dieting. The soup diet. Fasting with juices only. salad only. Diet pills. Energy pills. As soon as I tried to eat normally, the weight came back. Eating normally by the way consisted of regular sized meals, without added fat or salt, and rarely having dessert unless it was fruit. I should add that because of the family history of stroke, gallstones, and both grandmothers having mature-onset diabetes, my mother follwed healthy cooking long before she had to and basically banned desserts from the house. That was how I learned to cook and always have done so. After a period of time, my hate relationship with extreme exercise ended, and I was ready to start running again. I really loved running, especially very early on summer mornings when it was so quiet and the sun was glistening on the lake I ran beside. I met my first husband at this time. He was a very jealous type it turned out. If I even looked at a certain street, I was accused of having an affair. I look back now and wonder how I ever married this guy. When they say love is blind, they meant this! I curtailed all activities that would give him any chance of thinking I was cheating on him. Yes, It turned out to be an abusive relationship, that I was sucked into bit by bit. My weight started up again but it wasn't too bad. i tired weight watchers for the first time. The weight came off slowly and I was hungry all the time. It was horrible. I berated myself for eating. I'd eat an apple and within a half an hour, I would be starving, the starving feeling in the pit of the stomach that is uncomfortable and growly. But I ended at a good size for my wedding dress. Six weeks after the wedding, I was unexpectedly pregnant. I was one of those tiny percentages where the IUD didn't work. I ate healthy during my pregnancy and was happy to do so. I didn't skip meals, took the vitamins, continued to work out, and became huge. It was a good pregnancy and I admit, I enjoyed eating normal. I walked to work until my ankles started swelling. My blood pressure went sky high and then I was on bed-rest. I will also admit I quite enjoyed being able to watch all the summer olympics at that time. I I gained a lot of weight, I think 50 pounds. My baby was a good size (8 lbs 13 oz) and tall. i breast fed. I had heard all about how breastfeeding would suck my tummy back in in no time. It did not happen. I was determined to breast feed for a year as recommended in the baby books. I went to aerobics classes, even taking the baby with me to do so (no babysitting back then).I did go down in weight but I was not able to reach the size I was pre-wedding. Weight watchers again. Susan Powter. Exercise. No fat. eating by points. The GI diet. Fat blocking meds. I was consumed with trying to lose weight. And it wasn't working. I was hungy all the time and the weight wasn't moving like it used to. I remember one night I was crying my eyes out and I vowed to myself that I was not going to eat again until the weight was off. I would drink tea and walk to and from work and I wouldn't eat. Of course this couldn't and didn't last long. In fact, my weight continued to rise as the stress in my marriage went up. The added weight wasn't helping my stress level either. It was like the body was desperate to hold onto every ounce. I was diagnosed with depression, the never-ending-always-on-meds kind. Eventually the marriage failed, I was happier and less stressed, and started going to the YMCA almost every day. I lost some weight but nowhere near where I should have been. I met my current husband who loved me for who I was, not for being a curvy goddess. He loved (loves) my fat ass. I was about 187 lbs then as I recall (I'm 5'2"). I had had enough. Nothing was working. My mom had started Atkins for her and dad and recommended it. It was great. I loved the meat and caesar salad and cheese. I stayed in Induction for almost two years. I lost 60 pounds. I wasn't hungry!! I did not have cravings!! It was wonderful!! I had started taking meds for high blood pressure at the same time - my pressure had always been higher than normal. I tried to get out of Induction. Strawberries and blueberries and sweet potatoes were added back in. But that was as far as I could go. Then, out of the blue, I experienced these intense headaches at the back of my head. It wasn't migraine. It turned out to be an exercise induced headache, not uncommon but something I had never heard of. My dr sent me for a MRI 'just to be sure' that nothing else was happening. That summer I was experiencing really unusual symptoms. I was so tired all the time. Being outside was unbearable heat wise. I could barely walk to work. And then my dr called me to tell me that the MRI showed that there were areas of white matter in my brain that were dead, something that night be seen in 60 yearolds, but quite unusual for someone in their early 40s. Combined with everything else i was experiencing, I was certain I had multiple sclerosis. I was scared it might be early onset Alzheimers (my grandfather had that). I went through a ton of testing. I gave up the Atkins diet. If I was going to get some horrid disease, I was going to enjoy my life and that included eating normally. It was almost 7 months before I got to see a neurologist. And my weight was up. No kidding, eh? I got some peace froom the neurologist. Given my always high blood pressure, the continual spiking of it over the years had created the dead areas. As for the MS, he said, if I didn't come in with my leg dragging behind me, he wasn't even going to look at it so that my insurance didn't get cut me off.He asked me to have another MRI in 6 months and then a year. Of course, now that I didn't seem to have something horrible, my 6 month MRI occurred a year later (just recently, by the way,, and came back no change - yay!). I was ready to return to Atkins to get the weight off. It didn't work this time. And now I was also placed on high cholesterol meds. The dr was concerned when I weighed in at 197 pounds. I was worried. So I decided to do the heart healthy Mediterranean diet as a lifestyle change and I picked a 5km run to train for. I love the Mediterranean way of eating and its focus on fruits and vegetables, olive oil, high fibre breads, lean meats, fish. I trained for running my race. I raised almost $700 for The Run for the Cure. I did the run. And saw my dr the very next day. I got on the scales and -No Change. It was like being punched in the stomach. All the hard work for nothing. I had run 5 km and I didn't lose any weight. Now during this time, my arms had started to feel weird in my triceps when I did movement. It wasn't pain exactly but it wasn't comfortable-feeling, like there was this cord running from elbow to elbow that would pull taut and then vibrate. I figured I had overextended my reach at some time. But within weeks, full out spasming back pain between my shoulders and arm pain occurred unexpectedly. To me, the pain was only second only to labour pains. Keeping it short and sweet, after x-rays and drugs and massage therapy, I have osteoarthritis in my spine and a compressed nerve in the C 7/C8 vertabrae that caused that weird feeling in my nerves in my arms, causing painful spasms and now numbness. No more running. Oh and I have managed to gain more weight. I'm up to 211. That's a BMI over 38. My dr is loathe to do any surgery on the spine. I agree with that! So here I am in my mid 40s with osteoarthritis, compressed nerves, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, at risk for stroke and diabetes. My clothes don't fit. And we won't even touch on depression right now. I asked the dr if he would consider, given the BMI and co-morbidities, gastric bypass surgery. He said yes. And here I am.