I’ve been obsessing the last 2, no make that 14 years, of my life on my weight. I don’t mean mildly, I mean severely. I can just look at food and I gain weight. I’m sure you are all saying, “yeah right” but once I tell you what I have been doing these last 14 years, maybe there is something to what I’m saying.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 15 years ago, I weighed in at 140 lbs and I was wearing a size 8 jeans (non stretch) and a size M top.
When I finished up my treatments, I weighed in at 178 lbs and I was wearing stretch pants and an XL top. None of my pre-cancer clothes fit me. Steroids and cravings for carbs caused the weight gain and after treatment, the hormone inhibitors I was on did not allow me to work out comfortably nor could I run because my joints hurt so badly.
During my 8 weeks of radiation, the Susan G. Komen 60 mile walk came to San Diego. I had a team, “I love Lucy” and there was about 20 of us. We trained for the walk by getting together several times per week to push ourselves to walk at least 20 miles. We started practicing while I was doing chemo. My chemo schedule was every 3 weeks, so the first week, I was usually sick and just laid on the couch watching TV, which I wasn’t used to. The next 2 weeks, I was fine, in fact, my energy level was up and the only difference was I was bald. So during these practices the farthest I was able to walk was 8 miles on those weeks of feeling normal.
We made the trip down to San Diego and I was feeling good even though I had had a radiation treatment that morning. The festivities were fun and we partied like rock stars that night. The following day was opening ceremonies and was very emotional. I was quite swollen from the steroids so my face was round in my baseball hat. I had a very large team t-shirt on and stretch pants. My walking shoes were broken in and I was ready for this challenge. I made it exactly 8 miles when I just couldn’t go any longer. The van picked me up and I went back to camp. My feet were a little sore but not to where I couldn’t walk around.
The following day, I put it in my mind that I would do the entire 20 miles. I didn’t want to disappoint my team. What a mistake that was. By the time we made it back into camp, my feet were numb. I couldn’t feel them. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t walk another step. My teammates called for the golf cart to come pick me up and take me to the medical tent. I found no relief there. I was in tears I was in so much pain. I needed to soak my feet or ice them or something to relieve the pain, but the doctor’s in the tent did not do that. My blood pressure was very high and the doctors suggested I not walk the following day. There was no way I was going to walk the next day, in fact, I had no idea when I would be able to walk normal again. My good friend decided to book a motel room for us so we could take a shower and just relax on a bed rather than on the hard ground.
The next day, the team got up bright and early and continued on to finish up the last 20 miles. I called my good friend Catherine who came and picked me up and pampered me the rest of the day. She even brought me back to the finish line later that day so I could try to walk to the finish line. It was so painful but with the help of two of my teammates, I was able to walk to the finish line, tears streaming down my fat face. I’m not sure how other’s saw me that day but when I look back at pictures, I see a heavy set woman trying to walk with the help of two other people. I don’t see the accomplishment. I see the fat girl.
Because I had never weighed that much in my life, and I’m short, I was appalled at my appearance. The first eating plan I tried was Fit for Life. I cooked up the recipes, I weighed my food, I did a little work out, the best I could with how my joints and now my feet were feeling. I lost 5 lbs. over a course of 2 months. I then joined Nutrasystem. I lost 16 lbs but soon gained it back. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to keep the weight off. I got a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away. I felt like an 80 year old woman who had gotten mugged. I went to the doctor. After a blood work up, she sent me a note in the mail telling me I had hypothyroidism and prescribed .25 mcg of a thyroid medication. It didn’t help. I went to see her again after 6 weeks, complaining about how hard it was to lose weight and that I had no energy. She proceeded to tell me she wasn’t going to control my weight through my thyroid. Huh?
So she refused to up my meds and I ended up paying out of pocket to see another doctor. He was very expensive. $500 for my first visit and $350 for any visits afterwards, even phone visits. He is the one who told me I had Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the thyroid. He put me on a natural thyroid med, Amour, and upped the dose. I started feeling better but I was still not 100%. I had also gone to a foot doctor because my feet were still killing me. Found out I had plantar fasciitis. I would never be able to walk bare foot again. I had to ice my feet twice per day, wear high arch type shoes, and do certain exercises to ease the pain. My running days were over.
Now if you have ever been a runner, you understand the euphoria you get when you run. It’s like a high. I loved it when I got into the zone, I could run forever. So this depressed me. I knew it was the only way I would be able to lose the weight because this is how I was able to stay thin in the past. Now what was I going to do? I asked different people what they did and most said they either walked or ran. Not an option for me. I bought a bike instead. I thought it I pedaled my butt around town or around my complex, it would help. It did but not how I wanted it to help. I also bought exercise tapes to work out to, I did this every other day, but again, it wasn’t the same as running.
After the Nutrisystem diet stopped working for me, I was able to drop 16 lbs but soon gained some, not all of it back, I started smoking again. Now, I do not recommend this but I thought maybe if I started smoking again it would speed up my metabolism and it would help me lose weight. I was now up to 170 lbs again. At my new job, I noticed one of the girls was looking rather thin. I asked her what she was doing. She told me she was seeing a doctor in Mexico and he was giving her diet pills. I begged her to take me with her the next time she went. So, off to Mexico we went that very week. I saw the doctor, he prescribed the diet pills, we picked them up at the pharmacy in TJ, and crossed the border. I started taking the pills the next day, and magically, I started losing 1 lb per day. I was in heaven. Every morning when I got on the scale and I was another pound lighter, I became more and more encouraged to keep it up. I got down to 150 lbs in no time. Even my oncologist was shocked when she saw me. I lied to her about how I was doing it, in fact, I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing.
So now I’m smoking again and I’m on diet pills. I’m losing weight and I feel good, however, deep down inside, I knew I was playing with fire especially since I was only out 2 years from a cancer diagnosis. Talk about insane. I stopped smoking again and I stopped taking the diet pills. The weight crept up again only this time I went to 180 lbs. I was so depressed. I didn’t think I was eating any more than usual. I was still eating mostly proteins and salads, my portion sizes were controlled, and I thought I was active, but my weight crept up. It was then I realized it was my metabolism that was slow. The diet pills sped up the metabolism even though they aren’t good for the heart and now that I was off them, my metabolism slowed to a snails pace. I was disgusted with myself.
I had moved and started seeing a new doctor who told me I needed to eat gluten free because of my autoimmune disease. No one had ever told me that before. Maybe this was my weight problem. So, I started eating gluten free. Didn’t lose any weight. My new doctor was very adamant about checking my thyroid levels on a regular basis. I continued to complain about my weight. She ended up prescribing the highest dose of my thyroid medication to see what would happen. I then started on Medifast. It worked. 900 calories a day, walking 5 miles every morning up and down hills, and a high dose of thyroid meds. I went down to 159 lbs and I was now a size 12 almost a size 10. I felt good and I looked good. I published my first book during this time, I was living in a place I loved and I was happy.
I was advised not to stay on the Medifast diet too long because of the soy proteins in the food. Because my breast cancer was hormone based, my doctor advised me to stop, so I did. The pounds crept back up again. I was beside myself! “What the fuck” was always going off in my mind every time I stepped on the scale. It didn’t matter that I was still watching what I ate and drank, it didn’t matter that I was still walking 5 miles per day and riding my bike on a regular basis, nothing mattered. Because my thyroid levels were too high, she brought the thyroid meds back down. I was at my wits end. Was this ever going to level out and was I ever going to be able to keep the weight off? I still would not give up.
Haley Pomroy came out with a book called “The Fast Metabolism Diet”. I did that for 28 days and lost 12 lbs. And then I gained it back. I do understand that to maintain your weight loss, it has to be a life style change. I get that. I thought that is what I was doing. I then became aware of a pattern. It seems I was only able to lose 10-12 lbs and then my body would stop losing weight even though I continued on the diet. It would stay there for weeks on end until I finally just gave up. By giving up, I didn’t start eating everything in sight. I just started eating like a normal person. Three meals a day, healthy meals, nothing heavy, concentrating on proteins, little carbs, lots of water and veggies. Didn’t matter. I’d creep back up to 180 lbs and that’s where I’d stay.
I stopped weighing myself because I would just beat myself up. I was my worst critic. I had several different size clothing in my closet because it was a constant up and down. When my husband and I went on vacation, I wasn’t over eating or over drinking (beer was most likely the culprit on this vacation) but when I returned and stepped on the scale, I had gained a total of 17 lbs!!! I wanted to slice my wrists open (not really, I wanted to wire my jaw shut). Now I was the heaviest I’ve ever been, 193 lbs. I was beside myself. While we were on vacation, we walked almost every morning at a fast clip, not some leisurely walk. But again, I wasn’t ready to give up. I was determined to lose this unwanted, unhealthy fat body if it was the last thing I did. But I was still depressed.
I did juicing, lost 10 lbs, gained it back. I went to a personal trainer who gave me a diet to follow, lost 10 lbs, gained it back. I went to a nurse practitioner who specializes in helping people stay young and lose weight. I asked her for diet pills, she said they were just prescription crack. But they work, I told her. She said no because of my age. I went to an endocrinologist, he gave me a FDA approved diet pill called Contrave. It is to help with cravings and overeating. I tried to tell him I don’t have cravings and I don’t overeat. I lost 10 lbs, gained it back. Went back on Medifast again, lost 12 lbs, gained it back plus 3 lbs more. I am so disgusted with myself. I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Can I never live like a normal person again? Do I have to go around starving myself in order to lose a few lbs? I don’t want to be fat. I want to go back to my pre-cancer weight, is that too much to ask? I’m tired of dieting but I know if I stop, I would most likely be on that show “My 600 lb Life.”
I went in for reconstructive surgery in November and the doc ended up making one side smaller than the other so I needed a second surgery in February. I had been working out with a trainer for about a year and even though she is an excellent trainer, my weight would still go up and down. Not her fault. However, to gain 15 lbs by not working out with her from November to March is insane. How does this happen? My plastic surgeon said to me, “well, you have a pretty face and a great personality and your husband doesn’t seem to mind, so why are you worrying so much?” Yeah, well, it does bother me. I could get liposuction, I could go in for tummy tuck and have my arms sucked out too, but really, do I really want to do that? At my age? I’ve been so desperate for years to lose the weight I gained while doing chemo treatments to only be disappointed again and again. Not to mention how hard it is to lose the weight, it takes a lot of work and even though I’m willing to do the work and have proved time and time again that I am determined to lose this ugly fat, I continually seem to lose the battle.
But I will never give up. I will never slow down. I need this for me. I just need to find something that actually works (and no, weight watchers is not for me). It has to be quick because I get discouraged if I don’t see the scale move or if I take my measurements and I haven’t lost inches. The new weight loss experts are saying that losing the weight fast is now a better solution for people than losing it slow. They say it keeps your motivation up. I need to find something that will speed up my metabolism because I do know from all the diets I have tried, it is definitely a metabolism problem. Mine is so slow that all I have to do is look at food and I gain weight. So, even though I am depressed about my weight, I am still determined to get down to 140 lbs. I’m willing to do the work, I just need something that actually works and gets me past that 10-12 lb loss because that’s where it usually stops.
Just this week, my weight was 193. I started Medifast for the third time and I went down to 189 in two days. I’ve been eating fish for dinner with a salad and 4-5 Medifast meals per day which amounts to 900 cal. per day. Cardio in the morning with a heart rate between 125 and 140 for 20 minutes . This morning I got on the scale, 191.2. So WTF again rings in my mind. And today is a new day, another day of telling myself I won’t give up. But boy do I just want to crawl up in a ball and cry.
Me on the left, hand on hip still trying to lose weight!