Battle On!

Every time I use my wallet, my younger face peers out at me from behind my cash card.  She’s looking pretty sparky, slender and saucy that girl. Where did she go?

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I remember having that photo taken for my license.  I felt like crap that day.  How is it I look so alive and alert?  Sickness becomes me.

Or, it did.  In my younger years.  It isn’t doing much for my aesthetics right now.

I have gained about 20kg since my intestines stopped doing what intestines are supposed to do.  I guess I am a lucky one.  For many dysautonomia patients, gastroparesis results in an endless cycle of vomiting.  Getting weight to stay on is such a battle for these patients. In contrast, my body just hangs on to my food, just in case.  Food can check out any time it likes, but it can never leave! My body has attachment issues. Just in case I might be plunged into an early ice age.  I’ll have a blubber suit to keep me going.  Or maybe my fatness is necessary for comfort.  I do spend a lot of time reclining; I’ve got built in cushions, right there on my tush.  See, I comfort eat far more than the energy I spend in a day.  Some days, there is just no answer to all the questions, other than:  cake.  It is a feat worthy of recognition that I can eat despite constant nausea.  A very special skill. Can think of others I’d rather have, but I got that one.

It’s not that I hate this size.  I don’t.  It feels sort of round and comforting being like this.  And I have great boobs thanks to the extra layers.  That is a nice addition.  Being heavier has also helped my blood pressure.  I don’t experience as many significant drops as I used to when thinner. Nor do I think other women this size shouldn’t be this size.  It’s a hot look and you can rock it.  I just feel like I am outside of the range of healthy for me. And that isn’t helpful when I’m already dealing with dysautonomia’s dastardly deeds.  My whole body aches and I find myself wondering, do I ache because I am carrying all this extra on my frame?  I am so fatigued and I think, if I weighed less would I feel more awake? So I make a new set of plans to lose weight.

And every plan; every new scheme or wonderful approach skips through my consciousness having a bit of a giggle.  Mocking me.  Eat raw, go sugar free, carb free, fat free.  Tee hee.  Why is healthy eating so high maintenance? Is that how skinny people are so skinny?  They are out hunting and gathering from obscure little boutique organic food stores, parting with three times the readies (how pricey is healthy food!?), and then assembling delicate quinoa salads, standing up at their kitchen counters.  That is a lot of energy to expend for one little meal. And from whence cometh their satisfaction?  Food is one of my most beloved joys.  I’ve lost a lot of them this decade.  But food, glorious food.  It has loved me good.  Stuck by me, and in me, and on me, for the duration.  I really don’t want to break up with food.  I love it!  But I fear I must.

My body doesn’t do a good job of absorbing nutrients.  That’s why I get iron infusions.  But as my gastroenterologist wryly pointed out last appointment, it’s doing a good job of absorbing fat.  Thanks Doc. I had noticed all by myself.

So I am embarking on the battle of my own bulge.  Wish me luck.  20kg is a long way to travel.  At snails pace.

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WEGO have been reviewing health myths and misconceptions.  It just popped into my newsfeed this morning.  How timely!   So I thought I would share the top 5 with you.  Myth 3 has given me a focus.  I am going to work out  my BMI so I have a definitive goal.  (Here is a handy calculator.  If you know your height, weight and age, it will do all the maths for you!) It’s a lot less daunting than the weight goal and will keep me focused on the health benefits of weight loss.  Here’s the little graphic that tells me I am obese.

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  • Myth 1: “I should be able to lose weight fast.”
    • Truth: The National Institute of Health recommends only a 1-2 pound weight loss per week as a reasonable goal.
  • Myth 2: “Being heavy is just an aesthetic problem.”
    • Truth: Obesity is recognized as a disease by the AMA and is considered an epidemic; obesity is the root cause of life-threatening conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Myth 3: “People whose BMI is over 30 need to get it below 25 to see any real health benefit.”
    • Truth: According to the CDC, losing even a relatively small weight, such as 5 to 10 percent, is likely to provide health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.
  • Myth 4: “If I take a product for weight loss I will lose weight without dieting.”
    • Truth: Prescription medications for weight loss should always be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to help you lose weight.
  • Myth 5: “Losing weight is my responsibility, not my doctor’s.”
    • Truth: Your doctor is your partner in health. Being overweight is a health problem just like any other–you don’t think controlling your high blood pressure is just your problem, and neither is maintaining a healthy weight just up to you.

If you are a Dysautonomia patient, are you struggling to maintain weight, or struggling to lose?
I’d love to hear how it goes for you.  Wanna join me in my endeavours?

11 thoughts on “Battle On!”

  1. Thanks for sharing this Rachel 🙂 I have GP, and I also felt bad complaining about the weight gain when so many other people with GP are struggling to keep it on. Also because I too have close relationship with comfort food…

    Good luck with your weight loss goal, looking forward to hearing how it goes!

    1. Comfort food is a big part of my problem, although even with eating a lot less than I ever used to, I am still gaining. I think it is partly the lack of activity and partly the issues with my body’s exit strategy (or lack of). Wish I understood better. I’ve decided that the only way is to exercise some extreme self control. But Claire, I am so nervous! Glad I am not the only one with this ‘special relationship’ with food. 🙁 Thanks for the solidarity!

      1. …Self…Control? What’s that?? Never heard of it!! 😛 I can push as hard as I like with exercise and getting out and about, make myself do things even when my body would rather not (and sends me to the ER as punishment!), but I just can not, no matter what tricks I try, push through food cravings. For me boredom is a huge factor, and when you’re stuck at home for days on end, or annoyed because you missed out on doing something yet again because your body is having a tantrum, saying not to chocolate is virtually impossible. I eat pretty healthy meals but it’s the binging on crap in between that I struggle with. Before I got sick I controlled my weight purely through bast amounts of cardio (cycling EVERYWHERE mostly), which I now cannot do. Some days it feels like I’ll never lose the weight because I’ll never be able to cycle again, so I give up trying. But you’ve inspired me 🙂 Plus I really want to fit into my old ski gear!!

        1. I SO HEAR YOU on the cravings! It has helped me not to have chocolate in the house. Fitting into that ski gear is powerful motivation. That conversation thread in the group was awesome!

  2. Hey my honey, another beutiful piece of writing. This is one journey that we can share I am I right beside you! Heres to healthy dinner :-).

  3. Welcome to the Hotel Rachel’s Intestines. Lord you make me laugh so much. Can relate-fat is adding to my pain and complicating other health issues but don’t touch my cake homie. That bit about healthy cooking and eating-so funny and so true. It takes so long to shop and prep healthy stuff. If I see another quinoa recipe on Pinterest I’ll scream. But you are right about all of it so I will attempt to join you in fighting the good fight.

    1. Yay, let’s do it together! Hahaha, I so relate to ‘don’t touch my cake, homie”! I am starting by increasing my water intake. Reducing my portions and employing self control. So far, one day in, so good. But oh! I do miss yumminess. And I don’t even have Nina’s hunky doctor to satiate my yearnings… how is Offspring going?

      1. I keep putting this diet thing off but it’s time. I have the biggest craving for a Whoopie Pie (sort of like a cupcake). Hunky doctor and Nina still a no-go but I have a feeling this could be a long time coming! Lots of water really helps….battle on.

  4. I’m a GP’er tang holds food too. It’s like my body is Hotel California or something. I hate the bloating and discomfort.
    I also am on a mission to lose about 10 pounds. It will keep me in a healthy weight for height and maybe gets some muscle tone.
    I’m on a mission

    1. Join the battle! I don’t know what 10 pounds is in down under metrics, but good luck with it. I just had my last piece of birthday cake for breakfast, so I guess I can get back on the wagon now. 🙂

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