Thursday, December 1, 2016

The State of Me Address-Part One, Weight Gain

About half the time I feel positive and encouraged. But in the midst of that positivity I can't help thinking I do not like where I am right now. The state (of being) I'm in is just not where I WANT to be. Some of what's going on is NOT within my control and I am powerless to change those aspects of the reality I am living. Although many things are within my power to change, the lines are sometimes blurred.

I want to give an overview of where I'm at right now. This is more for my benefit than anything else but I believe when we are open and transparent, people can not only help us but can also be helped by us. This overview will be in several parts and will spark several other posts along the way.

First off...I'm FAT. That word has gotten a bad rap. The definition of "fat" (as an adjective) is having a large amount of excess flesh. "Flesh" is the muscle and fat between a person's bone and skin. "Excess" means an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desired. ("Large" is relative.) I (currently) have (considerably) more flesh than I desire. So, I'm FAT. There's no shame involved in that sentence.

excess...that's what this is a picture of...excess

I've gained a solid 20 pounds since I stopped my "Whole 30" (30 pounds if comparing my lowest to my highest weights). For the record, I didn't like the amount of "flesh" I had even THEN. Until recently, I wouldn't blame the gain on steroids. I blamed it all on myself, because the food I have eaten between then and now.

My diet right after W30 was an experiment that was largely successful (pun intended). I wanted to see if I would have any "health issues" by eating certain foods. In the past when I would eat dairy* I would end up with sinus issues. Garlic* gave me weird swelling and pain. Gluten* and/or sugar* seemed to cause negative emotions/irritability and swelling. Tomatoes* caused headaches. Sweet potatoes* resulted in me swelling up like a blow fish! (*Okay, not EVERY time I ate these foods, but enough that I saw a pattern.)

Since starting the steroid treatment I have been able to eat ALL those foods without any of the symptoms popping up. Those issues had been going on for about 6 years. They might go away for a little while, but they always came back. Until now.

Steroids suppress the immune system. Suppressed immune system means suppressed immune reaction. To me this is proof positive those reactions I was having really were immune reactions. While I'm happy to be able to eat ALL the food with no immune reactions, almost none of my clothes fit! When weight gain is the "only" side effect of eating all those yummy foods, it makes it a little harder for me to not eat them! (Much easier to not eat cheese when you can't breathe well afterward!)

Almost the whole month of June I was in Dallas visiting my grandparents (who have now both passed away). I then went to the Mayo Clinic the first week of July, and then back to Dallas for my grandmother's funeral. I didn't weigh myself the whole time I was gone. I also only wore "comfy clothes". I slowly put on pounds without having objective measures staring me in the face. When I got home I had surpassed my all time heaviest weight (other than when I was pregnant) by about 2 pounds. The actual number doesn't matter because that number could very well be a "goal weight" and/or represent health and vitality for some people. What's important is that it represents "completely out of control" and "undesirable" for me. For almost five months I have bounced all around that number, but it has become a solid average.

I do NOT like that average.

I'm torn because I want to believe I have control over my weight. That makes it my choice to gain or to lose. Let me be clear there are TREMENDOUS, HUGE, MASSIVE, HERCULEAN cravings that come with steroid treatment. Steroids also cause water retention. But it's my choice if I eat all the food or not. I can give in to the cravings or I can fight them. Yes, the battle might be made harder because of the steroid treatment, but I want to believe it's MY battle to fight.

What I'm being told, by those who are in the know, is that it's really not completely my battle. I can fight valiantly and I will still gain weight (until I'm off the steroid train).

However...I can at least slow the roll if I do all I can to do the best I can.

I think it's like aging. My grandfather's last months were spent in an assisted living place. One thing that was remarkable to me was to see the fighting spirit of so many people living there. There was a woman in a wheelchair who would walk her feet along the floor, making several laps around the place each day for her "exercise". (I found this out when I mistakenly thought she was trying to get somewhere and offered to push her.) Many residents played checkers and put puzzles together, not simply as something to pass the time but as a way to keep their minds strong. They were living life as fully as possible given their circumstances.

Then there were those residents who seemed to be just giving in to the aging process...just killing time until inevitable death. I call that NOT living life.

There are conditions that can hinder a person's ability to sustain a "healthy" weight (what exactly "healthy weight" is encompasses A LOT of factors, not the least of which is psychological). Medications and medical/physical conditions, amoung other things, can adversely impact weight. Weight gain and/or the inability to lose weight is also a symptom of autoimmune disease in general. Steroids affect metabolism and how the body deposits fat, particularly increasing abdominal fat. They also SIGNIFICANTLY increase appetite.

But that doesn't mean I should just surrender to it and give up the fight.

Eating/not eating used to be about weight control. Then it became about fueling my body for workouts. I don't know what THE healthiest way for me to eat is, or what THE healthiest foods are for me to eat. But I do know eating all the junk I have been stuffing my face with is NOT the healthiest or the most LOVING thing I can do for my body. Having a plan makes the choice easier. So...I'm officially back on Whole 30. Today is day 5. I get steroids tomorrow. I don't know if I'll actually be able to fight the cravings. But that's the plan.

Thanks for stopping by and for sticking around.

1 comment:

  1. You have a plan and a goal... That's a great start. Just do what you can do and let the rest roll.


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