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The Nachos from Hell!

deepfriedbutterLong story short: I got on a new medication (see other blog), and it worked great!

But I noticed I was putting weight back on. In a matter of three months, I’d gone back up 25 pounds and two sizes.

Not cool.

I kept trying – and failing – to stick to my calorie count, and I kept trying – and succeeding – at exercising.

What gives?

I went to see my psychiatrist, who is normally super awesome, and I asked a very important question that I should have asked three months ago.

“Is one of the side effects weight gain?”

He looked at me, perhaps weighing me in his mind.

“Are you insatiably hungry?”

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Because of that, and other unenjoyable side effects, my med got swapped out. The downside was that I had some highs and lows on the new medication, and so getting back into shape wasn’t at the top of my list.

Now I feel better. Good enough to get back in shape.

Except my body seems to disagree with me.

While I eat less and try to stay active, the scale (and my clothes) are not being kind.

In the space of two weeks, I managed to lose two pounds. Yup. That’s it.

Two.

But it was movement, and while it was slower than I wanted, it was movement. Downward movement. I’d take it.

Then we had a movie night out. I splurged. I went over my calorie count by about 350 calories because, after the movie, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and I had nachos for a late dinner. Less than a third of the plate because OMG that serving of nachos was huge!

The next morning, I hopped on the scale.

I had gained back half a pound.

Because of those damned nachos from hell.

I’d say it was a fluke, that it wasn’t the nachos, that I’d just eaten my dinner too late that night. But that was a week ago. My weight has been holding steady all that time. Even with having two days of extreme nausea from a stomach flu that had me only eating soup.

It’s super easy to give up now. To blame the nachos. To decide that, clearly, I was not meant to be in shape.

But I have a whole closet full of clothes that attest to the fact that, once upon a time, and not that long ago, I was actually in shape. I felt good.

It may suck that I’m back up 23.5 pounds, but maybe if I avoid any more nachos, I’ll get there again.

* Because this is the way it always works, I wrote this late last night. This morning when I hopped on the scale, I had lost a pound. What?

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Because some medications suck

25333223 splashed capsulasSo anyone who reads my other blog will know that I had a bad time in December and wound up in a psych ward for a week. One of the things that changed during that week was my medication. The doctor there added a new medication to my regimen, and other than making me sleepy, it seemed to be working pretty good.

Except.

Except that I gained weight once I was on it.

Sure, I wasn’t depressed anymore, but I was watching the pounds come back. Pounds I had worked hard to make go away.

The worst part was that I was still trying to be good. I was trying to snack on healthy food, trying to not eat too much, trying to exercise.

I went to a regular visit with my psychiatrist, and I asked him about the medication – I asked if it had any side effects like weight gain.

He looked at me and said, “Oh, have you been insatiably hungry?”

Yup. That’s exactly what he said.

And I realized that was a pretty good description of what I’d been feeling for the past two months. Insatiable hunger.

It actually helps a little to know that. It helps to know it’s not me – it’s the medication trying to sabotage me. It isn’t easy to say no when I feel hungry, but I know it’s not really being hungry. I’m eating enough. It just doesn’t feel like enough.

I’ve gained back 15 pounds. I’m not happy about it. But I’m reminded of years ago, when I started my weight loss journey, when I heard another woman say that she’d rather be thin than happy. I don’t want to be that woman. I want to be in shape. I want to be healthy. And part of being healthy means being mentally stable, which means taking my medicine.

I’m working on losing that 15 pounds and getting back to where I was, but if I don’t manage it, I’ll still survive. A little bigger than I want to be, but if I can do it and stay healthy, then I’m still in good shape. Right?

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Seasonal Spread

24745478 red velvet and candy cane

It was winter. It was the holidays. It was time to gain weight!

No, but seriously, it was that time of year. The time when it gets too cold to do much outside, and the time when there is great food (and hot food!) everywhere, encouraging you (well, me) to eat more than I should, and excuse it, saying it’s the holidays.

I’ve gone up a size and gained back about 8 pounds. Whoops.

I’m not too happy about it, and I’m honestly not sure how much of it is because of those holidays and how much of it is due to a change in my medications. (Check out my blog posts on being hospitalized last month if you’re interested…)

Anyway, regardless of the reason, the end result is the same: I stopped eating right, I stopped exercising, and I gained back weight and got a bit out of shape.

I’ve started to rectify it, though. I’ve begun tracking my food on my phone again, I’ve begun exercising, and I’ve swapped out my clothes as a reminder to myself that I gained the weight. When I look down and see a size 12 on my jeans, it’s a bit of a jolt to see that I’ve slipped, and it helps me remember that I need to watch what I do or I will be going down that slippery slope, making myself sick by not taking care of myself.

So for all those people out there who also suffered from seasonal spread, realize you’re not alone and know that I’m fighting it with you. We can take care of ourselves and make ourselves feel good and healthy. Sometimes it just takes a little more will power and self-control than we have.

 

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The Magical, Mysterious Mammogram Machine

6289731 X ray of Breast Cancer

Boobie! But not mine…

I know this might not seem like it belongs on a ‘diet’ blog, but this blog is more than that. It’s about my journey to a healthy and happy life. With that in mind, I think this belongs here, and maybe sharing my mammogram experience, someone else will go ahead and get theirs.

It started in October.

My left hip hurt for no reason that I could figure out. It was keeping me from biking and exercising, and even walking too much on it hurt. If I had the nerve to sit in a position for too long, just standing up was torture.

I decided I had enough in December. (It takes me a while sometimes.)

I went to see the doctor, convinced that she would tell me I was old and had arthritis. I am over 40 now, after all.

The doctor poked and prodded at me, asked me some questions, and decided to send me off to see an orthopedic doctor, thinking they would have better luck. In the meantime, she gave me some anti-inflammatories to try to make it feel better.

That’s when she noticed it.

She looked at my computer chart and said, “Hey, you’ve had a birthday since the last time I saw you! You’re over 40 now!”

“Yeah…” I said, because who doesn’t like being reminded that they’re over 40?

“I have a Christmas present for you,” she said. “We’re going to get you set up for a mammogram!”

“You know,” I said, “that’s okay. I don’t need a Christmas present from you.”

She just laughed, put the orders into the computer, and told me it was a good time for a baseline.

Which is how I wound up going to get a mammogram this morning.

I had been warned by so many people. It hurt. It was cold. It was miserable. You couldn’t wear deodorant to it. It was embarrassing. It was the worst thing ever. You would take the whole day to recover from it.

Suffice it to say, I was not looking forward to it.

I got there early, and they brought me back before I could even finish reading two pages of the book I had with me.

They took me to a room with a weird looking machine, and they asked me if I had worn deodorant. I got to sound all experienced and say, no, I hadn’t, because I had heard from other people not to.

The tech said that was great, and then she gave me a gown and told me to take off everything above the waist and make sure that the opening was in the front.

She left the room.

I stared at the machine.

mammo machine

Did I need to do something special with my feet during it? Was there some sort of drumming test?

It looked weird. Not really torture chamber weird. But like a really strange x-ray machine, which is what it is. I snapped a picture on my cell phone real quick because what else do you do while you’re waiting?

The tech came back.

I would like to state now, for the record, that I have never had a woman handle my breasts that much, and I have never had them put in such weird positions.

“Here, let’s turn this machine sideways, now rest your left breast here, let me shift your right breast so it isn’t making a shadow, don’t move your feet, stretch your arm out to the side…okay, don’t move!”

It was a strange fifteen minutes of contortionist breast positions. I could do a circus act with my breasts.

But here’s the thing – it wasn’t that painful. I mean, sure, there was pressure, but it hurt less than getting my blood drawn, and it didn’t make me want to faint afterwards, so that was a plus.

And, yes, the machine wasn’t exactly warm, but it’s a December morning, and it’s in an air conditioned room.

It wasn’t embarrassing. The tech was totally professional, and she didn’t make it feel awkward, except for some of the positions, which were just awkward on their own.

The best part might have been as she was shifting me around, and I realized that the overhead was playing “Oh Holy Night.” Definitely a bit surreal to have someone shoving my breast between two squeezing plates while hearing “It was the night of our dear Savior’s birth…” I pointed it out to her, and she giggled, too. I think they should pipe in dance music so you can at least feel like you’re getting felt up at a club.

My point?

It’s not that bad. Yes, I know it can hurt people worse is they have very tender or sensitive breasts. But it doesn’t last long, and if you have a professional tech, it’s easy. Just keep a sense of humor and go with the flow.

Oh, and because I’m awesome like that, my results came back to me 30 minutes after my appointment. According to them, my impression is

BILATERAL BREASTS
Negative, no evidence of malignancy. Normal interval follow-up is recommended in 12 months.

So for all you peeps who have been putting it off, don’t. Get it done. You’ll feel better that you did, plus you get to wear a fashionable gown and giggle a lot.

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How do you define failure?

1763319 group of funny animals with food

Have I failed?

No.

Not really.

Well, maybe a little.

I mean, I guess it depends on how you look at it.

I don’t believe in getting an A for effort. But when it comes to making major life changes and working towards a lifelong goal – like losing weight, keeping it off, being in good shape, and staying healthy – I think there should be a bit of leeway.

It’s like when someone gives up smoking. Sometimes, you get a whiff of that smoke or see someone holding onto a cigarette after a meal, and you have a lapse.

I had a lapse.

I was down to 157 pounds. I was exercising 5 days a week.

Then depression and anxiety slipped in.

Every day it was a little harder to keep up.

I’d tell myself I “deserved” a whole Godiva bar for accomplishing a minor task, or I’d bribe myself with some premium, fully-loaded ice cream for being at all functional.

I stress-ate until I was full, and then I stress-ate some more because, hey, I’d already blown it, right? Might as well blow it all the way.

I stopped logging my food. Why bother? I knew I was eating too much, and I’d stopped getting any real exercise.

Eventually, the depression and anxiety began listing.

I weighed myself.

Back up to 166 pounds. And I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been on my exercise bike. Couldn’t remember the last time I’d meditated. Couldn’t remember the last time I’d logged my food.

Clearly, I’d messed up somewhere.

But was it failure?

I decided it wasn’t. I decided it was time for me to start again. I’d slipped up a bit. I’d fallen back on bad habits. It happened. I wasn’t excusing it, but I was understanding it.

I began logging my food. I began exercising – just 15 minutes a day, but better than nothing. I began meditating, even if it was just 10 minutes at a go.

I’m back down to 163 pounds.

Not an amazing jump, but it’s a difference. And if I keep it up, according to my little food and exercise tracking app, I should be able to get back down to my 157 by the end of the year.

Steady as she goes.

 

 

 

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I Don’t Even Play a Doctor on TV

Juicy beef burger and onion rings on the wooden background“Don’t worry. With exercise and eating right, you can be any size you want!” says the skinny teenager with a metabolism like I’ve never had.

This came up because we were shopping together, and I found a sweater I really loved, but it was only left in sizes small and extra small.

I laughed out loud at her comment, and she (who tends to wear a size XS to a size 6, depending on the store), looked legitimately confused.

“That’s so not true,” I told her.

“But…but I’ve heard a lot of people say it. Even doctors. And on TV.”

And I laughed harder.

“Just because someone – even a doctor – says it doesn’t make it true.”

She was flabbergasted. A real-life example of someone whose mouth was open enough to catch flies level of flabbergasted.

“Look,” I said, “at my very skinniest, when I was in high school and under 100 pounds, I was still a size 5. I’ve never been an Extra Small, and I never will be. My body just isn’t built that way. I’m short and stocky no matter what I weigh, and I will never be a size 0.”

She pondered the injustice of it all – a doctor!! – said I could be any size I wanted to be, after all, so how could that not be true?

We kept shopping, and finally we headed out from the outlet mall to grab dinner.

As we drove, she told me about what I’ll just call “the incident.”

She was eating alone in a restaurant, on a break from classes. She had a huge brownie she was chowing down on, and a guy – some random guy – who was leaving stopped at her table and asked, “Is that good?”

Thinking it was a friendly question from a total stranger, something that’s not uncommon here in the South, she said yes, it was good.

The guy nodded, then leaned down and said, “Don’t be getting fat now.”

Then he straightened up and left before she realized what happened.

Yes, the woman who had bought a size 2 dress and fit into an Extra Small shirt while we were shopping got fat-shamed by an unknown man simply because she was eating a brownie in public.

Don’t get me wrong: fat shaming is always wrong. But somehow it seemed even wrong-er when it was done to someone who most people would look at and tell to get eat a cheeseburger. (And you don’t have to tell her that. Her two favorite meals are sushi and double cheeseburgers…but I digress.)

I know I can’t “fix” people out there who say and believe things like that, who harshly judge others based on personal prejudices. But maybe we can try. Maybe we can focus on the fact that we’re all different. Maybe we can focus on the fact that not everyone can be over 6 feet tall and play basketball or that not everyone can be totally muscled and engage in ultimate fighting. Maybe we can focus on the fact that not everyone can be a size 0 or a size 16.

And maybe who the fuck cares about it, as long as we’re happy?

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