Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Doing It For ME

For many years, I didn't really notice the effects of my morbid obesity and poor eating habits. Oh, I knew I couldn't walk to the mailbox and back without becoming exhausted. I knew I woke up choking on my own vomit/reflux at night when I went to bed with an overstuffed stomach. I felt the pains of plantar fasciitis, severe degenerative arthritis, and constant headaches. I bought bigger clothes, saw holes in the inner thighs of my stretch pants, and was well aware I had broken lawn chairs by sitting in them. But somehow it felt sort of normal to me for a long time. Like they say, put a frog in a pot of water and heat it up slowly, very slowly... and the frog won't even notice it is boiling to death. I don't know if that's true, but even with a rather rapid weight gain (80 pounds in under a year) it just sort of felt like the norm to me. Not sure why. Well actually, I think I was using food to block out emotional pain, and the same mechanism allowed me to escape the reality that I had become so obese and unhealthy. I was looking the other way, really hard, so I wouldn't notice my feelings OR my condition.

I try to pay attention to my health now. It's not the best, surely. But it has improved a lot. No more plantar fasciitis or daily arthritis pain. Much fewer headaches. The heart palpitations are gone. The reflux went away with the excess weight. I feel better, generally speaking. But I am very aware that even 100 pounds lighter, I could ruin my health with poor eating habits.

Really, the struggle for me at this weight has been that I can eat junky stuff semi-frequently if I am moderate in my other choices and eat healthy 75% of the time, without a huge weight gain. The payoff is a delicate balance of being "able" to have a day or two or three eating nothing but chips and pizza and cookies each month, while eating healthy, low carb, Medifast, with a nice dinner of lean protein and veggies each night... and I stay about the same weight, bouncing up and down 5 or 8 pounds here and there. And I could keep doing that to "maintain" around 180 pounds. But it's not good for me, for my body.

Many of you know I am coming off a month of sickness and a winter of eating as I just described, which has let me stay in the 180's for about 6 months. However, I can tell now that this is degrading my health. Specifically, I have the following reactions to food:

If I eat sugar (like, say, a bunch of cookies or a slice of cake), my joints ache and hurt and I get headaches.
If I eat too much fat (way more than the 2 "healthy fat" servings recommended on Medifast), I get severe stomach pains, which some have told me may be linked to my gallbladder.

Those eating choices also affect my mood. If I eat sugar, I crash a few hours later and actually have a sort of 'sad' feeling. And I want more sugar. If I eat a lot of fat, I get extremely tired so I am not motivated to do ANYTHING.

I think this whole journey, for me, is about more than weight or size or looks or even mobility (which was my #1 motivator and reason for losing weight). It's truly become about health. This is for ME, for my health. Even if I could eat candy Easter eggs and French Fries all day and get to my goal weight, I honestly wouldn't do it now. I would have in the past. My mind still *wants* that. But I know it would make me sick, not well. I don't like hurting myself anymore. And that's why I am working very hard to stay on plan and be very, very careful about any sugar or fat I ever bring back into my life.

Still doing fine, took my last Augmentin tablet yesterday (yay) and now have about 3 or 4 days of the other antibiotic to finish and then I'll be done. I made some tofu last night for dinner and it was pretty darn good, so I will share that recipe here soon. I have a couple of blocks of tofu in the fridge that I am experimenting with, since I'm not really familiar with cooking with tofu, but a whole 16-ounce block (!!!) is a lean portion on Medifast, which makes a huge dish when combined with a cup and a half of cooked veggies, so it's a good meal to split and half half for lunch and half for dinner on hungry days. If you have any good, low carb tofu recipes, please share in the comments! I have extra firm as well as soft silken kinds. Scale says 186.


Candy kankles said...

I can relate so much to this.Im working on this "normal" feeling right now.Its nice to see that there is a way out of it and a healthy future down the road.Congrats on your accomplishments you are truly inspirational!

~ Lyndsay The Kitchen Witch said...

I agree with Candy, you are truly inspirational. I related to this as well and liked your frog in water analogy - so true.

Big White Granny Panties said...

I broke down and ate two girl scout cookies that somehow wandered into my house. Husband ordered them and tried to hide them, the sweet thing. But I had a WICKED head ache last night. I mean really really wicked. Do you think this is sugar/carb related?

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

A few years ago, I woke up every morning with my overweight body creaking and groaning like nobody's business. Stupid me... I chalked it up to getting older and just figured it was something I'd have to learn to live with.

Today, I pretty much spring out of bed (well, not so much since Daylights Savings Time hit, but you know what I mean). I have NONE of the aches and pains I was suffering from before.

We don't have to simply live with a lot of the stuff we choose to live with. We have the power to affect our own future in a positive and profound way.

Lyn said...

Granny Panties (lol)~

Yeah, for me it could be. Two cookies has a lot of carbs/sugar in it, comparitively speaking, if you are usually eating low sugar/low carb. If your body is sensitive to sugar it can magnify the pain, in my experience.

Ria said...

Your frog in the water analogy really resonated with me -- that's exactly what happened to me last year!

Here's a really great tofu recipe from Rose Elliot's website -- http://www.roseelliot.com/catalogue_item.php?catID=2033&prodID=10999

Ria said...

I forgot to say, I always bake the tofu instead of frying and it comes out fine :)

Tiana MacLeod said...

I have the same problem with foods, I can't eat sugar or greasy foods without feeling horrible after eating them. I almost feel hung over! Your body tells you in funny ways how it likes all this nutrition and incase you didn't hear before it reminds you how much it doesn't like the other stuff. Eventually you just realize that it's easier to not eat that stuff or eat it in very small quantities.. too much of anything isn't good for you, but too much of bad foods is even worse! Your body is healing from all the years of bad things you've been putting in it.. that's how I look at it! You just have to listen to your body ;)

Karin said...

So, I haven't posted on my blog lately but yours and GP's comments sure are blogworthy. At this very moment I just finished having a glass of "Lambic Frambois" with my newly turned 21 year old daughter (BD TODAY)(I seriously dont' feel old enough) Her dad also had a jar of gummi bears soaking in midori in the fridge that we put a few in our glasses (long story). Needless to say, 15 minutes later, we BOTH feel like shit! It's so funny...we're not partying types...she's not into alcohol (thank goodness) and we've both been on hcg (we're on maintenance for a bit now) and we both don't want sugar anymore..it was like a "mandatory you're 21 drink" and we've both said....oh no more!
Sugar + too many carbs = feeling like proverbial crap... we're done with our "party" and geeze louise I can't wait to eat some dang vegetables later!
You're an inspiration Lyn...God bless ya!

spunkysuzi said...

I had a talk with my Dr quite a while ago about the fact that when I ate things with sugar i'd wake up the next day so stiff with arthritis! He was not surprised.
That is one of the main reasons that i try to eat as healthy as i can. I do however fall back on junk food until i feel really bad and then go back to eating for health again.

Beyond Willpower said...

heya, this is lottie63 from 3fatchicks and I have a few tofu recipes on my blog. One is for a silken tofu based alfredo that I love. :D


One is a 'breakfast' taco recipe for scrambled tofu tacos. just go to www.beyondwillpower.blogspot.com and click 'gf/vegan recipes' up in the bar. :D

love your blog, the frog/water thing is so true for me as well!

debby said...

Tofu recipe:

Don't know the exact portions, but this is a dynamite combination: grilled extra firm tofu, edemame, corn, and sesame oil and sesame seeds.

Hanlie said...

Sugar makes my joints hurt too... I'm told that I'm in the beginning stages of rheumatoid arthritis. Fortunately sugar is no longer part of my diet. Of course, being a near-fruitarian, I am so much less prone to inflammation now, so that makes a difference.

And yes, excess fat makes my gallbladder ache!

Life is so much better when we stop doing what hurts!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lyn,
I have been reading for a while now-thank you for putting everything out there, so honest and clear. I just want to suggest not pushing the weight-loss to quick and hard, especially now that your body is also struggling with antibiotics. My friend's sister went through a major weight loss, and ended up having gall bladder stones she had to go in surgery for. If your body needs to stay on a plateau for a while, it could be because it needs a break, before the next weight-loss.

C. Dudley said...

Wow, I sure can relate to your food struggles...how you feel after overdoing it with fats and sugar. I've recently come to some of the same realizations as you. I don't want to over-indulge on fatty foods, or high sugar foods. They make me feel pretty sick when I do. I weigh 172lbs after losing 12lbs in the last 2 months. I'm right there along with you. I just started a blog about my journey to health and fitness, and I look forward to journeying with you for yours.

Julia Stambor said...

You´re so right about not really noticing the effects of obesity. What struck me most about that was how long I did that, even when standing in front of a mirror or on the scales. The first time you see that three-digit number with a two in front you´re horrified, but even that wears off quickly.At least that´s what happened to me. And you´re so right about watching the way your body reacts to different food substances. The problem with that is that the "medical establishment", even if it´s in the guise of the friendly family doctor, very likely will tell someone who describes such an effect to them that it´s "all in your head and has no scientific base". That´s wrong! The base of every science is observation. So, if one does observe a certain effect, that is scientific alright. We are the experts for our bodies, after all, we are the ones living in them, and we can observe their reactions first hand. Of course, we have to pay attention to our bodies.
Congratulations to you for doing so!

R. Reed said...

Yep, I too completely relate to this post! I have pondered for years the normalcy of being fat. I am trying so hard to lose weight, trying to change my mind not just my body and am still having trouble. I will get there just as you have. Thanks for the heartfelt posts :)

timothy said...

i totally understand, i used to weigh 300+ ,i lost 75 pounds then just stopped at 225, (just when my goal under 200 was in sight) i ate what i wanted and stayed withing a 5 pound range for 5 years. mostly because i did NOT think i deserved to be happy/thin and it scared me to lose that security blanket (fat) it's easy to blame everything on the fat, then all my failures aren't my fault. well no more i'm doing it, 3 pounds this week and counting and i'm no longer happy with such an unspecific goal (under 200) now i want 179 which i haven't seen since high school. keep up the good work and keep the faith you have lots of folks rooting for you!

Beyond Willpower said...

Can you do nondairy milk? That's what I Do.

plain, not vanilla! ;)

but also the silken is so thick you can prolly just add enough water to thin it out to a nice cream.

Stace said...

You Should be so proud of your accomplishments and I hope you are. I am working on the weightloss myself and I am down about 50 with alot more to go! Good post though .. I love when bloggers put themselves out there becasue it reminds us we are not alone.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising sugar makes your joints ache, it's a well known inflammatory for the body. I just wish it wasn't so alluring, yannow?
-KathyA, a fellow sugar addict