Monday, September 29, 2008

My Body Says, "NO MORE."

I had an interesting wake up call this weekend, on Sunday. I have shared before that I used to have heart palpitations when I was morbidly obese. Those arrhythmias used to scare me something awful... but apparently not enough to stop eating like a workhorse while sitting around lamenting my "inability" to lose weight. I even ended up in the ER one time over them (this was about 4 years ago at 278 pounds). I had gone to my son's baseball game, and was calmly and slowly slugging my way over to the bleacher seats so I could watch/eat 3 hot dogs and an order of nachos on that bright spring morning. As I reached the bleachers, suddenly I felt my heart begin to pound. It was racing out of control. I got dizzy. I started coughing. Someone had told me once that coughing can stop palpitations sometimes, and it usually worked, but not this time. My heart kept thudding out of my chest. I did deep breathing. I was sure this was not a panic attack because I had not been upset... but I was starting to GET upset! I excused myself and drove to the ER, with my heart feeling like it was about to hammer right through my chest. No pain, but it was going 100 miles an hour!

When I got to the ER they treated it like a heart attack. They raced me in, hooked me up (at which point the palpitations stopped) and poked me a million times. It was horrifying. As I lay there on the metal table with 6 nurses all around me, I knew, I just KNEW I was going to die if I did not lose weight. My life flashed before me. It was truly horrific.

They kept me awhile and declared me "fine." I had not had a heart attack, but they wanted to watch my heart. My father passed away rather young from a heart attack, and I have a murmur myself. I spent the next week hooked up to a Holter monitor to record my heart rhythms. Guess what? No palpitations. The cardiologist said, "lose weight, cut back on caffeine, and watch your stress levels." That was that. I went back to eating Ho Hos and (decaf) Coke, until the fear and urgency faded a few weeks later and then it was back to real Coke. I still had minor palpitations, but nothing like that episode.

Fast forward to this year. Last summer I was still having those scary, but short, episodes of thudding, thumping, racing heart. I would cough a few times, take a few breaths, they would go away. Sometimes at night though I would feel my heart beating really hard. I hated that. It made it very difficult to sleep. But after I lost weight and started eating healthy, the heart palpitations disappeared COMPLETELY. I have not had any in oh, about 6 months.

Yesterday, after a few days of healthy eating, I gave in to my FOOD OBSESSION and went to eat brunch at a buffet. I had coffee. I had 5 sausage links, some eggs, hash browns with cheese, and half a sweet roll. I was completely STUFFED. I felt ill. I was sitting there in the booth, regretting the meal, when suddenly it started. Thud thud thud... my heartrate was really rapid. I felt it in my chest, in my throat... kathunk kathunk kathunk... I coughed. I coughed some more. I took deep breaths. I started getting dizzy. My son was looking at me... "are you ok?" In my head my thoughts were racing: "should I call 911? am I dying? is this panic? calm down... is it the caffeine? it will stop in a minute. what if I fall over with my face in my plate? come on... stop...." I really wondered if I was gonna pass out. I stood up, thinking a change in position would help. I coughed some more. I tried to ignore it and walked towards the door. Finally it slowed back down. I was okay. Or was I?

When we got home I thought about the past few weeks. I have been eating healthy for a few days, then slipping back into junk. Just enough to keep me from LOSING any weight, but not enough to cause a gain. I have been eating at night, and when I go to bed, sometimes my heart beat is rather heavy, rapid, and noticeable and I can't fall asleep because of it. I have been drinking coffee in this cold weather, which could be the trigger. But it does seem that when I overeat and my stomach is packed full, that is when they are more likely to occur.

Last night I laid in bed, heart pounding away. I do have a lot on my mind, and maybe anxiety is beginning to play a role. But I know the eating and the weight are contributing to my problem. I laid there for 2 hours, drifting in and out of sleep with fitful nightmares, waking up with a start, heart racing, feeling very scared and alone.

My body has had enough. It is tired of being abused. This body was not meant to hold the sheer volume of food I stuff into it, not to mention the quality issue. I lost all this weight and felt so great but now, frankly, if I didn't have a scale and clothing telling me I weigh 230 pounds, I would guess I weigh about 265. That is how I FEEL. I FEEL like I gained back almost all my weight. The heart palpitations, the heartburn, the aching joints, the daily headaches, all tell me my body is saying, "NO MORE." I have to treat myself right. And I have to do it every day, not 5 days out of 7. Because eating crap 20% of the time is giving me a lot of unhappiness. Eating healthy 80% of the time is just not enough. My body needs me to do better.

20 comments: said...

Wow, are we living similar lives or what? I have similar tales to tell. More later.

new*me said...

Listen to your body Lyn! I truly believe my wake up call was divine intervention.

Take care of your "house." We only have one.

Anonymous said...

I know you're not really old enough, but sometimes when you're in perimenopause or menopause you can have heart palpitations. Just to be safe you might want to get a checkup though.

PaulaM said...

I posted the last comment and put my name Lyn, but it showed up as anonymous, don't know why


happyfunpants said...

You know, I've been having a similar thing...where one night a week, I'll eat the junk...hoping that me being healthy the other days will make up for it. I've been losing weight (even if only a small amount) weekly, but I've realized that even that isn't healthy. If this is going to be the way I eat for the rest of my life, it's not practical to have one free night. I need to incorporate that in my eating plan.

I've had the heart palpitations that you're writing about and they ARE scary...although I haven't been able to link it to anything other than times when I am more anxious than other times.

Good luck and way to go for posting honestly about what is going on. It's freeing to read it.

spunkysuzi said...

Way to go on recognizing the wake up call. I can definitely relate. When i binge i go to bed and the heart starts pounding and i feel nauseous. Knowing this has helped me stay on the straight and narrow because i know i'm old enough that if i don't do it now i'm going to slowly kill myself with food.
And knowing that i've had to be on anti-inflammatories and pain killers since i was 22 is said to give me a 70% higher chance of a heart attack.
Time to get with the program.

Name: Lynise said...

Hi Lyn,

As I battle on with my own stuggle to lose weight (and get healthy) I often avoid making suggestions on people blogs as I feel I am certainly not in any position to be giving advise but yesterday it was the start of school holidays her in NZ (New Zealand).
I had dropped my daughter at a holiday camp in the morning and arrived home, flicked on the tv and discovered that Oprah was on and she was talking about her struggle with weight.

Sometimes the task of losing weight can seem SO daunting that we doubt our ability to do it, but as Oprah stated, if we are unhappy with our life, only we can change it. Only I have the ability to live the life I want. At the present time it almost seems like a decade has slipped by without me noticing. I have hidden myself in relationships and allowed myself to focus on everyone else but myself.

I am not living the life I want so its up to me to turn it around. In regards to emotional eating, Oprah of course also had a lot to say about this. When we are gorging out way through fast food and unhealthy eating options, what are we really trying to do. Are we seeking comfort in the food? Or a non judemental friend? or perhaps unconditional love?, its not about the food, we are medicating ourselves and our prescription is food, but WHY.
The food will be the medication, but the key to why we eat it will be getting to the bottom of what we are really wanting when we do it.

I hope all that makes sense. You don't have to feel like this journey is a constant battle off will power. Once we can recognise our emotions we are in a powerful position to really question ourselves before we binge. Over the weekend I could have inhaled a horse, I wan't hungry but just wanted to eat.
Instead I was able to use my knowledge and really think 'ok, why do I want to eat, and for me it was total boredom. I was on my own and food was going to be my friend.

Instead I make a call to a proper friend and spent the next hour catching up on each others news etc. It felt so good to get off that phone and realise that food doesn't have to provide me with everything I need in life.

Friends can provide friendship
Men can provide romance
work can provide forfillment

Whatever is missing in our lives, food is not the answer.


Dinah Soar said...

I had the same heart palpitations you are experiencing in my late 40's...due to perimenopause. They are scary and the more anxious you are when they happen the worse they are--I almost passed out a couple of times initially because the fear I experienced added to the problem. It is very scary...

Wanted to comment on the way you said you "feel" like you've regained all the weight.

I've learned that what I feel is a clue to what I am thinking. Examine your thinking. Something is off. The reality is you have not regained all the weight. But you are feeling that because of something you are thinking.

Example--when I feel like I'm a failure it's generally because I'm having thoughts that are not true... and I'm dwelling there.

Say I'm thinking "I just can't do this anymore." That becomes my truth, I believe it, and the result is I feel hopeless, like a failure.

But the thinking "I can't do this anymore" is a lie. Why? Because I can do it...there's nothing stopping me except the false belief that I can't.

To correct the erroneous thinking I replace the error with truth. In my case, because I am a Christian, it would be "self--you can do this--you can do all things through Christ, who will help you". Knowing that Christ will help me, and believing it, counters the belief that "I can't". And I quit feeling like a failure as a result.

Again, what you are feeling is a clue to your thinking. Examine your thoughts...what are you thinking that is leading you to the feelings you are experiencing? Then examine those thoughts--are they true? If not, then replace them with the truth--and you will see, I think, the way you feel changing.

Karyn said... are an amazing lady. You are coping with more than most of us AND you are changing your lifestyle to boot!

Listen to your body, as Annette says, and make for yourself a place where YOU are in control. (your health)

Know that there are many people out here that truly care about you - not only the inspiring and encouraging posts you write- but YOU.

Heather T said...

As I have 'battled the bulge' I've had heart palpitations as well. There have been times when I have thought I was having a heart attack. SCARY. I also have headaches, joint pain, and other issues caused by my weight. I'm down 25# but September has been a heck of a month and I've pretty much gained and lost the same weight all month.....thanks for your inspiring post. Gotta stop abusing my body!

Twix said...

Palpitations are friggin' scary!! We have to do this 100% of the time. I whole heartedly agree!

Anonymous said...

happyfunpants, i suspect that your one cheat meal is actually working for having that cheat meal you avoid binging on other things.....once you keep losing that weight every week no matter how small you are going to accomplish your weightloss goals [even while having the cheat meal]..please reconsider giving up that one single cheat meal....i bet you that you would not gain back any weight once you continue doing what you are doing

..i think restricting too much is not a good idea for some people...

Lynne said...

Yeah, I think you know where this is going... You are telling yourself to STOP or DIE and that's a tough pill to swallow. Do it though... and try try try - NEVER GIVE UP!!

Sheri said...

I have been there with those heart palpitations. Mine were so strong they were making the back of my tongue vibrate. Sometimes physical exertion will make my heart race, but I expect that. The palpitations were different. However, mine were panic and anxiety driven by depression. Once medicated they subsided. Sometimes if I am excessively nervous about something I will get them, but rarely since I've been on medication. Could depression be a triggor for you?

Ceres said...

Wow, that sounds very scary. I had a similar wake-up call when I binged on ice-cream and then was really-really thirsty. We have a history of diabetes in my family, and then I read that it was the dangerous rise in blood sugar levels that caused the thirst. I don't know, I just felt so stupid for doing this thing to myself!

These palpitations aside, though, I think that you should pay close attention to your feelings right now. It struck me that you said you felt like you had regained all of the weight back. Don't say that to yourself, or at least keep reminding yourself that it's not true at all! You've come such a long way, and you will move on!

Try thinking hard about why you are feeling that, what's behind it. Are you feeling like you failed in some other aspect of your life, and somehow transfer the same bad feelings to your weight loss? You know you are a champion, a wonderful mother and a good writer! So why feeling failed?

Most people losing a lot of weight go through a similar phase of gaining some back, before getting back on track, so maybe that's what you're going through right now. But you should check yourself on those negative feelings.

2bhealthyandhappy said...

I know what you are feeling... I go through that feeling from time to time... It is scary.. I am 29 yes I said it 29.. and have the health of a 65year old or maybe worse.. I never understood how I know how to lose and keep it off and exercise but then I dont do it.. I will do good for a few weeks then fall of the wagon and so on and so on... why do we do what we do to our bodies... I just found your blog.. Excited to read more.. I love to learn about how others are doing it... I have my own blog too.. Just started a month ago... Stop by sometime...
Keep up the great work.. You are doing it...!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I used to have them ALL the time. I went from 205 to 170, they stopped. I've gone back up to 178-182, depends on what I ate the day before, and they've started again. I need to wake up and stop playing with my health.
Thanks for your post.

Hanlie said...

I am so proud of you for listening to your body. It really does speak to us and when we don't listen, it begins to shout... I'm right there with you!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, you feel fatter than 230 because you are fatter now than when you weighed 30 before. When you lose weight, it is inevitable that you do lose some lean muscle mass. When you regain those pounds again and again you are just gaining fat, not any new lean muscle mass. So every time you lose and re-gain you are getting fatter and fatter and fatter. Make sense? Have you thought about counseling or hypnosis to help you with this addiction/obsession?

Teale said...

Yikes, this must have been scary for you. Once in awhile I feel a little flutter, and it does worry me... my dad died at 38 years old from a heart attack. I should know better. I should know better. Wow, thats the first time I ever wrote that. But it's true.