Real Talk

Post #2 today. This post is about me getting real. I am putting myself out there and being vulnerable. It is not an easy thing to do but I think it will be therapeutic for me. So here goes...

This blog started as a way to share what is happening in mine and Tyler's lives, along with our animals and our home. It morphed into more about my journey to better health. Those are always the posts I get the post comments and responses from, as well as the posts that seem to get read most often. Those are the posts around losing weight, running, yoga, and then our gardening posts seem to be a pretty big hit too. This tells me that my readers like to hear about my progress with my health and weight loss/maintenance, even if it is not full of unicorns and rainbows. Therefore, I am coming clean.

I have had posts before where I have talked about some of my weight gain and also how I lost it again. The beginning of 2016 was really a great time for me. I was motivated and consistent and for 3 months I was back on track. I lost the weight I had gradually gained over the year before and I trained for my 2nd sprint triathlon. Then I stopped tracking what I ate, I went back to overeating and choosing foods and beverages that don't serve my body, and I lost my consistency with exercise. And since that time I have not found my mojo again.

A lot has happened over the last few years and what it really boils down to is how I manage stress. Sometimes I do a really great job and other times I do not. Also, I have come to realize that I struggle with anxiety. I have started to work with a counselor and we were trying to work out if I struggle with anxiety or depression or both. I am fairly certain that when my anxiety is not managed it leads to me fall into depression. Anxiety tends to make me eat. I stuff down my stress by eating. Then because I overate, or I gained weight, or my pants don't fit, I become depressed because of the guilt of doing it to myself. My rationale brain knows to stop the cycle but I cannot always control it. And then I think of the people I motivated and wonder if I am letting them down? Or just confirming what all of the doubters said to me, that I "wouldn't be able to keep it off" or that "losing weight is a lost cause" or "what is the point of eating healthier?" Yes, I really did have multiple people say these things to me. These were not strangers either, but people I know well. It did not feel good to hear any of that at the time and I tell you, those are the words I hear over and over in my head. Most of the time I think "Whatever, I will prove you wrong!" But sometimes I think, "They were right."

 It is not fun to write about this but I know there are likely others out there who can relate and I know that I really appreciate not being alone. I choose to get back up and keep fighting. Most people I know who have struggled with their weight have a lot of ups and downs, because there is not a quick fix. So much of it is mental and determination and motivation are not endless. It is about setting a goal with a timeline, a concrete plan, and making habits and finding support to take you all the way there. And then once you are there, set a new goal! Otherwise it is too easy to become complacent. 


More Real Talk 

As many of you know, I am a Registered Nurse, so I have a decent (read: experienced) background in health. I also worked on a floor, for 6 years, where we specialized in caring for patients after weight loss surgery. I also was a Weight Watchers leader for about a year. I feel confident when I say I know about obesity and weight loss. It is something I am passionate about. So when I say I am overweight, I mean in the clinical sense (the data that will be in my medical record) that I am not within a healthy normal weight range. The most prevailing measurement of a "normal" weight is what is called Body Mass Index, or BMI. This is the number that is used most often in medicine because it is a predictor for health, including risk for heart disease (the #1 killer in the United States) and diabetes. Weight Watchers followed the BMI recommendations as does the hospital I work for on the both the employee side (we have a program that gives discounts on health insurance if you meet certain health markers) and the patient side. 

Frequently, I get told by people that "I am not fat/overweight/whatever you want to call it." I believe they are trying to be nice or don't know what to say. Generally it is because I am explaining why I am not eating "x" or drinking alcohol. Often I just don't want to talk about it but people always seem to point out that I am doing something "different." Or when I do presentations at work people tell me that the BMI recommendations are not realistic and that no one can get down to the normal range unless they stop eating. This is not true. There are some examples where a person has a great deal of muscle so their BMI is higher, but other than that, it is generally due to excess fat. That's where getting body fat percentages measured is helpful. Now, there are a plethora of reasons why 1/3 of the US population is overweight or obese that I could do a whole post on but my point is, I am clinically overweight, period. 

Image result for bmi

When I first joined WW and started my journey, I was clinically obese, meaning my BMI was over 30 (33.2 to be exact). I weighed 212 lbs and was and am 5'7". I set a goal weight of 160 lbs, which is LITERALLY the high end of the BMI for normal (putting my BMI at 25). I thought it was going to be impossible. As many of you know, I lost those 52lbs in one year. It was amazing!!! I then went plant-based and lost an additional 8 lbs, putting my lowest weight since high school at 152 lbs, which is "normal" at 24 BMI. I was a size 8 dress size and my body felt great. One year later, I got my body fat measurements done and I was at 28%, which is considered average, not fit. Ideally you want to be below 24% to be "fit." Even at my lowest weight, most my physically fit self, still had a higher fat percentage. Not fair, right? Then I worked with a trainer who did not make me feel great and I got so obsessed with the numbers. Then I got diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, my energy levels changed, my various joints (and my face!) started to get swollen frequently, and it has just been a roller coaster ever since. After maintaining for 2 years, I gained 10 lbs over the course of a year. I lost it in a few months and then that leads to me today.
Image result for body fat percentage

I have gained 23 lbs since I hit goal, 31 if we count where I got to my lowest weight. Yes, for those of you doing the math, I weigh 183, with a height of 5'7" making my BMI 28.7, 1.3 points away from obesity. Scary, right? I have tried to downplay my weight gain, tell myself I am just 4 weeks of a clean diet from getting back there, but I am not sure that has done me any favors.

So, I am starting anew. I began this year with tracking and yoga, which I am still committed to. I am now detoxing from the caffeine, sugar, oil, and salt. Come February, we are getting back to tracking while not going over my daily calorie goals (right now I am just tracking everything, not aiming for a certain amount). I have decided at this time not to go back to Weight Watchers but to do this on my own using My Fitness Pal to track my calories. Consider this my first weigh in.

Anyone want to set any goals with me? Keep one another accountable? 



Comments

  1. I really empathize with the depression/anxiety piece. I've always struggled with depression and anxiety, but after I had Milo I really plummeted into the darkest place of my life. I know that is different than what you're going through, but I wonder if your arthritis and health issues have exacerbated your depression and anxiety just like having a baby did for me. Think about it, I'm sure your health issues have created extra stress for you, more restrictions on what you can do (what you can eat, where you can go, etc.), possibly undermining your ability to have wonderful sleep every night (and thus, making you feel tired... or, perhaps the health issues themselves make you feel tired - - and I've found that feeling tired limits my ability to feel happy and well-balanced), etc., etc. Anyway, I had great results by getting onto a solid mental health cocktail (a high dose of Zoloft and Wellbutrin), incorporating mindfulness into my day (which I know you do), working on some cognitive behavioral therapy for my stress & anxiety with a counselor as well as on my own. I still have bad days, but being able to get the debilitating anxiety under control has made a significant difference for me.

    As for the weight, obviously I am no expert, but I don't think weight is as simple as controlling your calories & exercise. My metabolism is significantly different from before I was pregnant. My doctor has talked about how different hormone balances will facilitate someone easily losing weight or easily gaining weight. She has also explained that sleep deprivation/tiredness and stress/anxiety will make it much harder to lose weight (this was back when I was trying to lose the baby weight). Again, not sure if this at all compares to your health issues, but I am curious if there might be a correlation. And I understand also the issue of stress-eating. And, of course, the holidays just happened, which tends to be an overeating extravaganza.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Jennifer for sharing about you experiences with depression/anxiety. I did not know you had a serious bout after Milo was born. I know it can hard to talk about this kind of thing but I think the more we talk about it, the less stigma there is associated with it. I agree with everything you said. There is so much that is affected by your mood and your hormones that it is hard to understand it all. I struggle the most with guilt or wanting to "snap out of it" when I know that is not helpful or possible.

    I agree with the metabolism comment too. I know when I am in a healthy mindset, the weight comes off much easier. When I am not feeling great about myself the weight seems to stick around even if I am doing "all the right things."

    Thank you so much for commenting! It helps me a lot to know I am not alone :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Story of Finding My Bio Brother & Bio Dad

Writing a Memoir

28 Day Cleanse: Before & After