Category Archives: Weight

Seeking Experiences

A few weeks ago I had an appointment with a dietician. I’ve spent my life avoiding dieticians because I already know all there is to know on eating healthy with type one diabetes.

But in recent years I’ve also developed gastroparesis and hypothyroidism. These three conditions along with other factors have made it difficult for me to find a good healthy diet(lifestyle)that works for me.

I have many other health issues as well, but these are the main that can be helped the most by, and affect the most, my diet.

So I finally gave in and agreed to consult a dietician.

The dietician I met with was quite nice and knowledgeable, she also seemed to understand well my medical conditions and my difficulties and concerns. After our initial short greetings and medical rundown, she asked me:

“So, what exactly are the major goals and concerns you’d like to address?”

I went right into them.

1. blood-glucose control
2. weight-loss/management
3. reduce gastroparesis symptoms
4. overall health improvement

She asked me what my current diet was like. I told her. She asked me if I’ve ever considered a vegetarian diet. I said I wouldn’t have too much trouble switching to one, but haven’t put a lot of thought into it.

During our conversation she picked up on the fact that I have a solid understanding of carb counting, calorie counting, nutrition needs, etc. She asked me if I’d ever taken any classes. I said no, I am self-taught.

“None of your doctors have ever had you take nutrition courses or diabetes management classes, etc.?”

“Nope.” I explained they were once offered to me but at the time I was very rebellious about my diabetes management and didn’t go.

She didn’t push the issue, maybe she thought I didn’t need them now since I am well self-educated.

After a bit more discussion she gathered two guides for me. One was a daily diet plan, you know, the kind that lays out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack measurements and suggestions. This much vegetables, this much protein, this much fat, this many carbs… and a total daily calorie count of 1200, to encourage weight-loss.

I’ve been given very similar forms many, many times in my life by both my general practitioners and endocrinologists…

The other form was a breakdown of the four severities of gastroparesis and what you should eat (and avoid eating)during each severity. This I found helpful. I have a good idea of what foods “flare” my GP (are hard to digest or cause nausea/vomiting), but It’s nice to have a good list laid out that I can work with.

We made the plan to meet again in a month.

So, getting, finally, to the point of all of this:

I have been putting more thought into a vegetarian diet. It’s more a curiosity at this point. I asked on Facebook as well as Twitter the following question, but didn’t really get much response.

If you or someone you know has one or more of these conditions, Type 1 diabetes, gastroparesis, hypothyroidism, and are eating a vegetarian diet, has it helped you? What are your experiences?

Also, if you have one or more of these conditions, what diet (vegetarian or other) have you found works best for you?

Lastly, if you have one or more of these conditions, what have your experiences been with dieticians?

I would really appreciate any feedback. Please feel free to respond and also share my post.

Why I’m Trying To Lose

With all my raving about finally losing weight and being so super happy about it I’ve actually gotten some looks and responses from people who seem to assume I only want to lose weight because I’m ashamed of my body as it is. They couldn’t be more wrong.

I’m the farthest you’ll ever get from a fat-shamer.

But from their responses I have come to the decision to set the record straight.

I couldn’t care any less about what people think about me or how I look. I’ve never cared about other’s opinion of me. I live for me and only me. I live for truth and reality.

*Yes, I have had moments of feeling ‘ugly’ and ‘undesirable’. Everybody does, that’s part of being human, especially in this messed up society. But those feelings are shallow and fleeting for me. I have immensely more important things to think about and worry about.*

I am not ashamed, nor have I ever been, of my body. I’m not perfect and I never wanted to be or aspired to be.

However, I do expect my body to reflect what I put into it, good or bad. This is what led me to spiral down a path of frustration and a bit of burnout/depression.

This is what happened to me: I developed hypothyroidism and one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is a slowed metabolism which makes it tons easier to gain weight and tons more difficult to lose weight. I was on medication but it wasn’t helping the symptoms. So I gained and gained and gained weight.

I was eating healthy and exercising a lot. I should have been losing weight, but I wasn’t.

I shouldn’t have been that heavy. This is what was making me unhappy. I  was eating healthy and exercising healthy. My body should have reflected what I was putting into it, but it was reflecting the opposite.

Imagine looking into your mirror and seeing someone else instead of you. This would be quite disquieting, wouldn’t it? This was me, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see me. I didn’t see the real me, the me I was working for.

I have nothing against big bodies. If the body you have is fine with you, then be you! But if your body doesn’t reflect the you you know you are and want to be, then change it!

The body I had was not the body I am and want to be. I looked at that body and I knew I wasn’t healthy, I knew it was an illness causing that weight-gain and not my lifestyle. That’s what made me unhappy….not the actual chub but why it was there.

Another reason I wasn’t happy was the overwhelming knowledge that I had no control over my own body. Can you imagine how it feels to have your body running out of your own control? Again, disquieting to say the least.

I am a control freak, I admit it, so when I got tired of not having control over my own body I took action. I did my homework, I advocated for my own health, and I took back control.

So there you have it. The record is straight. Fat is not my concern, my health is. What people think of me is not my concern. My body reflecting who I am, the real me, reflecting my efforts, this is my main concern. Because this is how I know I’m healthy and everything is working right.

And Cue The Anxiety

Now that I have had the time to let it all thoroughly sink in, I find myself riddled with anxiety. Things have been going so well the past few weeks. Really well…. Too well.

So I think it all over…

The battery in my scale died. It died just after I weighed myself last week and it said I had lost 9lbs. What if it was wrong? What if the low battery was making it read wrong?

I got a new battery and today, a week later, I weighed myself. I only lost 2 lbs this week…

Yes, I have lost a good amount of weight. It is evident in my face, arms, and legs. It is evident in how my clothing fits a little better. But what if I haven’t lost as much as I thought this month?

I know that doesn’t matter, but, you see, it plants seeds of doubt in me. It causes my anxiety to rage. I slip from wondering if I’ve really been doing as well as I thought to wondering if I’m adjusting (in a bad way) to the new thyroid medication that has made this all possible and am going to end up right back in the thick of insulin resistance and weight-gain and not be able to lose no matter how hard I try and how perfect I am with eating and exercise.

Not having control over your own body is just as bad as it sounds. Trying with all you have and getting opposite results is just as bad as it sounds. Looking at yourself in the mirror and not seeing you, the real you, is just as bad as it sounds.

I can’t go back there. I just can’t. I will kill myself if I end up back there. No joke, I will.

I really have been doing very well, no matter how much I have lost, a lot or a little, doesn’t matter. That I’ve lost weight is what matters. I am no longer stuck in constant weight-gain. I am losing.

But what if it stops again? What if I start gaining against all my efforts to lose? What if I end up back in that pit of hell? What if the thyroid medication stops working? There’s nothing else I can turn to now to make it all work right again if this medication stops working.

I’m terrified it will stop working.

I’ve had plenty of experiences in the past of medications working for a bit and then my body adjusts to them and they stop working all together. I’m frightened this will happen with the Armour.

But in the past all those failed medications were synthetics, not natural medications. Does that make a difference?

I know, I know, the anxiety is keeping me from thinking totally rationally. And it’s causing me to overthink things that don’t really matter.

Don’t worry about me. This is just my anxiety talking, I’m just letting it out on this page.

I’m not going to give up. I just worry that it’ll all be ripped away. I’m not allowed to succeed. I’m not allowed to be happy with myself.

Don’t worry. I’m holding on to this good that I have right now. I’m working with it to keep it going.

I’m just worried….

 

What it’s All About

Since I have been getting back into my healthy eating habits, exercise routine, and blood sugar control I have been posting on my Facebook my progress. I have been doing very well, might I add. I don’t want to go into detail here about how this all got kick-started, so if you don’t already know and want to find out you can read these previous posts: Why So Fat, yo?When Frustration Turns to Hope, When Everything Falls Into Place, I Told You So!!!!.

Anyway, I have been losing weight like mad! In a little over 3 weeks I have dropped 14lbs! Actual fat loss!

Some of my friends have been curious as to how and what I am eating (even though it is not just what and how much I am eating but also my activity level, and other factors as well, that have made it possible for me to lose weight). Because they are intelligent, curious, and pay attention, they are aware that I am a type 1 diabetic (among other issues) and require a bit different diet than the average person. So I thought I’d give a little dietary lesson inspired both by general dietary needs and my own personal dietary needs.

That last sentence leads me into lesson 1: We are all human but we are all unique, each individual has different dietary requirements from the next. In order to be healthy (and at a ‘healthy’ weight) you need to figure out what your own personal body requires.

There are four nutritional measurements that are of top importance to keep track of. No matter who you are or what your dietary needs/measurements are, you absolutely should be keeping track of calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

What are these things and why are they important? Here is a very basic overview.

Calories: Calories are a unit of energy. Basically, the amount of calories in any food you eat is how much energy that food is going to give your body to be used to keep your body functioning so you can keep living and functioning properly, and to provide energy for all your physical activity. Ideally you want to eat just enough calories to be able to live and do what you need/want, but you don’t want to eat too many or else your body will store the extras as fat and you will chub up. And, of course, if you eat too few you will end up eating away at your own body (waste away) for energy which, after it eats through your fat and moves on to your muscles, etc., is just as terrible as it sounds.

So hopefully you can see how calorie amounts appropriate for each individual will vary, sometimes widely. A very active person is going to require many more calories than a person who is not physically active at all. Other factors include, but are not limited to, age, gender, illness, pregnancy, metabolism, etc….

Why do calories matter for weigh-loss? We need to keep track of our calorie intake, as well as our physical activity level, because we want to burn more calories than we take in in order to encourage fat burn (weight-loss). The first thing your body eats up for energy if we don’t eat enough food is all that fat we have stored.

Why do calories matter for blood-sugar control? Admittedly many diabetics don’t tend to pay too much attention to calorie content when taking their blood-sugar into account. Diabetics tend to put much more importance on carbohydrates, protein, and fat when reading nutrition labels. Calories do help quite a bit though, in my opinion,  by helping to put portion size into perspective, which can, and does, help with estimating a foods effect on blood-sugar. Although carbs have the greatest effect on blood-sugar, calories effect blood-sugar as well and this is why it is yet another very good idea to count them and keep within a per meal and daily total budget.

*FYI: I know it can be confusing but keep in mind that carbs, protein, and fat all have calories in them.*

Carbohydrates: Carbs are a major source of energy. The body changes carbs from food into glucose (blood-sugar) to be used for energy.  The amount of carbohydrates required for good health varies from person to person based on many factors.

Why are carbs important to weigh-loss? This is a debatable topic. Many people believe cutting carbs will help with weight-loss, yet many will claim it is not carbs as a whole but what type (and how many) of carbs you eat versus avoid. Since I am no scientist I will not claim one or the other. I leave it to each individual to experiment and make their own decision.  I will point out, though, that carbs are the quickest source of energy and therefore are very important in diets of people who are highly physically active. If you do your research and experiment you will most definitely discover how many, and which kind, of carbs is best for your dietary needs.

Why are carbs so important to blood-sugar control? Macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) are the three things most needed for the body to function properly. If you don’t want to- or can not- eat much of one, then it is important to increase one or both of the others. And this is just what many diabetics do. Carbohydrates are the major source of blood-sugar, so, obviously, if you eat carbs your blood-sugar level is going to go up. But, hey, insulin solves the problem of high blood-sugar, right? Short answer, yes, but if you are a diabetic then you understand the issues that come with taking high amounts of insulin (there are a lot, both medical and monetary). The goal of most diabetics is to have tight blood-sugar control without needing tons of insulin. So many of us find it most effective to control blood-sugar (and lower insulin needs) by cutting as many carbs as we can. We manage this and still have plenty of energy and good health by making sure we get our normal dietary needed amounts of protein and by increasing our healthy fat intake. This gives us what we need without raising our blood-sugar too much or too fast. Following this type of diet is obviously totally optional; it’s not like being a diabetic requires you to eat low carb high fat. There is a lot more to say and involved in the whole topic of carbs, insulin, and diabetes, but this is the very basics of it.

Protein: Protein is very important in our diets because it provides us with essential amino acids we can’t make for ourselves. Also, our bodies don’t store protein the way it stores fats and carbohydrates, so we must eat protein in our daily diets. Protein is also an energy source, so if you don’t provide yourself enough carbs or fat, your body will next use protein as energy.

What does protein have to do with weight-loss? Protein satiates hunger really well. If you are trying to eat a healthy well-balanced diet geared toward weight-loss then it is important that you get the appropriate amount of protein for your body, no more, no less. An awesome result will be the fact that you won’t feel like you are starving. Also, eating the proper amount of protein will support your metabolism.

How is protein important for blood-sugar control? Diabetics keep track of protein amounts because protein does increase blood-sugar, however, to a much slower and less drastic degree than carbohydrates. Many diabetics have to take a small amount of insulin to cover the protein they eat. Because protein is a source of energy and it doesn’t raise blood-sugar as drastically as carbs do many diabetics follow a low carb diet and make sure to get their appropriate amount of protein per meal so as not to lack in energy.

Fat: Fat is yet another energy source. It also helps the body to absorb vitamins. There are different types of fats: saturated and trans fats should be avoided for the most part. Healthy fats are found in oils like olive, safflower, canola, sesame, sunflower, etc.

What part does fat play in weight-loss? If you are only eating healthy fats then that is a step in the right direction. The healthier your diet the easier it is to lose weight. It is important to get the proper amount of healthy fat for your body’s needs. Be careful not to go over your per meal and total daily needs because fat is calorie dense which means it has higher potential than protein and carbs to pack on the pounds.

What part does fat play in blood-sugar control? Many diabetics keep a close eye on how much fat they eat and in connection with the carbs they eat. The cool thing about fat and carbs together is that fat slows the absorption of carbs and therefore slows the blood-sugar rise caused from those carbs. If done right this can really help in maintaining a more stable blood-sugar and avoid drastic spikes. Also, since fat is a source of energy many diabetics follow a low carb diet and raise their fat intake to ensure they don’t lack in energy.

Why So Fat, yo?

I have a very serious problem and I need the help of my readers to hopefully figure it out or at least get some direction to put me on a path to figuring it out.

I have spoken to several of my doctors, especially my endocrinologist and primary doctor but they are not listening very well and aren’t concerned (and don’t seem to see how very concerned I am), and simply assume my problem is solely due to my lifestyle even though I have stressed that my lifestyle contradicts what is happening here!

My problem is that I am continuing to gain weight (fat) even though I have been working for months upon months to lose weight (fat)!

How is this even possible!?

I exercise and I do not overeat! I eat a healthy, low carb diet with lots of non-starchy veggies, protein, and healthy fats. I do not eat too many calories, either. It’s a great diet for type 1 diabetics and for weight loss! I’m not perfect, but I do very well most the time.

I have a million health issues, and yes some of them make it difficult to lose weight and very easy to gain.  But the extent to which I have gained and continue to gain is extreme and I do not believe it is totally my health issues to blame here.

Type 1 diabetes, mild gastroperisis, mild PCOS, severe insulin resistance, peripheral neuropathy, heart disease, hypothyroidism, blah, blah, blah…

Researching all my medications I am not taking any that cause weight gain except my insulin which I do have to take a large amount of (at the very least 75 units a day but usually much more). But my endocrinologist tells me my insulin is probably not to blame here, at least not to a large extent.

I do take several supplements for several different reasons- deficiencies, immune health, and metabolism health. I am not taking zinc or selenium at the moment but I plan to start because I recently read that they may help with weight-loss because they help to treat hypothyroidism where medication fails (T3 conversion).

Just this year alone I have gained over 20 lbs while exercising and eating healthy (geared toward weight-loss). I have not been able to lose even one pound.

I’m sure you can imagine how heart-wrenching and frustrating this is!

I shouldn’t be anywhere near as big as I am! I shouldn’t look like this!

Why won’t my doctor’s do anything helpful! All they do is say “I can refer you to a dietitian” or “I can prescribe you some diet pills”.

I don’t need a dietitian, I know how to eat right, I am eating right!

I don’t need your stupid pills!  I need to know what’s causing this and fix it! I need a permanent cure for this!

GAHHHH!

I don’t need or want another diagnosis of yet another illness. But since I am so lost and frustrated I looked up “reasons for weight-gain not related to lifestyle” or something to that effect, I don’t remember exactly.  And the answer I got that does match literally all my symptoms is Cushing’s Syndrome (endogenous).  The only problem here is that all the symptoms for Cushing’s can be explained by many of my other illnesses. At this point I don’t think I have it. It wouldn’t hurt to ask my doctor to run tests.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Staph Infection? Fat Ass!

So, this post needs a lot of setup because there are several factors in play.

1. I am highly prone to staph infections for some weird reason. I always have been. So I can recognize one pretty easy in most cases.

2. I have a frozen shoulder caused from my heart surgery…nearly two years ago.

3. I have been overweight since I hit puberty, but it hasn’t spiraled massively out of control until this past January…and it’s not from poor eating habits or lack of exercise. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m gaining weight when my lifestyle dictates I should be losing.

OK, so two evenings ago I was lying in bed and my hubby walked into the room. From the position I was in, he could easily see the under-back side of my left arm.

“Tamra? Do you know you have red marks under your arm?”

“Where?” I asked as I tried to reposition my arm (which is the one with the frozen shoulder).

Hubby got closer and examined the spots. “They look exactly like the staph infection craters you get.”

Shit! I think to myself as I get up to go to the mirror. Hubby takes a picture of the area because my poor eyesight can’t focus enough in the mirror to clearly see the spots. I look at the picture but it doesn’t look like anything serious, but when I touch the largest red spot on my arm I can easily feel the classic staph crater.

“God damn it!”

These infections come with no pain, itching, or anything like that; so they are easily missed if I don’t closely examine my entire body daily.

The next day I have an eye appointment so I don’t bother to go to my primary doctor. I hate more than one doctor appointment in one day. But I do call his office and make an appointment for first thing the following day. I don’t get in with my primary because he isn’t in that day.  I end up with a doctor I’ve never seen before. This is typical with my doctor’s office.

After waiting nearly an hour past my appointment time, which really irks me because I’m like the second appointment of the day…why the delay?, I finally get called back. My weight is still frustratingly high, my BP is 132/68. The nurse asks me a ton of questions that I always get asked at this office. Then I wait just a few minutes for the doctor.

“Hi.” She says kindly as she walks in. “So, you have a rash or something on your arm?”

“No, I’m pretty sure it’s a staph infection. I’m prone to them.” I say as I take off my shawl.

“You are diabetic?”

“Type 1.”

“How is your control?”

“My A1c is 7.7.”

“OK.” She walks over to take a look at my arm. This is when she notices I can’t lift it all the way. She asks, and I explain the frozen shoulder.

This is where things get weird. This doctor goes off on a tangent about why it is so important to be getting therapy for my shoulder…and why I need to lose weight.

I swear to you she not so delicately makes note, points out, flat out says I’m fat, obese, overweight, big, about fifty times during this twenty minute visit.  She may have well outright called me a fat ass.fat

I know she meant well.  I know I need to lose weight.  I’M TRYING!

It wouldn’t have bothered me if my weight problem was just a matter of me overeating and not exercising.  But I don’t overeat, and I do exercise. The point is, it hurt so much because I’m trying so hard to lose weight, but the opposite is happening! And this doctor doesn’t know me, so she just assumed  I’m some kind of lazy pig.

So, my visit about a staph infection became a lecture about exercises I should do at home to cure my own frozen shoulder, followed by a long lecture on how I need to eat healthy and exercise more because I’m fat.

“Diet soda. Don’t drink it, give it up and you’ll lose 15 pounds in a month.” She said, along with many other helpful tips.

Finally she prescribed antibiotics for the staph infection. “You’re right, it’s staph.” She confirmed.

“I am proud of you for working so hard at improving your health, your A1c is a good indication of your hard work, it’s never too late to get healthy.” She ended the visit on a positive note, at least.