Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Weighty Issues: Back Story

A few of you have commented lately, or asked me via email, about my weight loss battle and said that I don’t seem like a BigFatPie, or at least as much of one as you would think from what/how I write. I realised I’ve never really put stats on here or clarified goals or whatever. So I thought I’d set the record straight! You’re all so honest in dealing with the digits so I figured why not!?
First things first: I am fat for me. For my height and build, I am overweight. It’s true that I do not weigh 200lbs, BUT for me, where I am at right now is fat. Weight loss is a relative journey and whether it’s 30lbs or 100lbs you’ve got to lose it’s still a freaking battle.

Ok, so let’s travel back in time to my 28th birthday, September 2006……I had gone from an underweight 9 stone (126lbs) on my wedding day to a hefty 11 stone 12 (166lbs) in a year and a half of marriage. I bit the bullet and joined WW with my amazing 70lbs loser friend Keri who told me to stop moaning about my weight and do something about it!

That was October 2006. By April 2007 I had lost 23lbs and weighed in at 10 stone 3 (143 lbs) - I felt AMAZING! It had worked! Sooooo I figured I didn’t need WW anymore, stopped going to meetings, and…..relaxed. I didn’t need to monitor my food anymore, I didn’t need to write it down and track every gosh darn morsel that went into my mouth! I didn’t need to set aside points for treats and count wine and weigh and measure ingredients….etc etc etc you get the picture!

In short, I got very lazy indeed and all that weight I’d worked so bloody hard to lose crept back on steadily but surely!

So from 10 stone 3 (143lbs) in April 2007 by my 29th Birthday in September 2007 I was back up to 12 stone 8.5 (176.5lbs) THAT’S A 33.5 lb GAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In 5 months!!!!!!!!

And by January 2008 I was at my heaviest of 12 stone 11.5lbs (179.5lbs) That’s almost an entire stone OVER what my start weight was when I began WW the FIRST time around!

For the whole of 2008 I battled to get under the 12 stone bracket. (168lbs) and I achieved it for my 30th Birthday in September 2008. I weighed in at 11 stone 11 and a half (165.5lbs) and I had BATTLED, and I mean BATTLED to stay on plan and weigh in each week. I was sooooooo disheartened that it seemed infinitely more difficult to lose than it had been first time around. Time and again I visited my doctor, trying to find out what was going on. All I was told was ‘it’s your age’. I am only 30 years old for crying out loud AND I was 28 when I lost 23lbs in 21 weeks – that’s only a few years ago HOW CAN IT BE MY AGE!!!!?

Looking back now I think I came the closest I’ve ever come to what depression must feel like. It’s almost comical that I didn’t see that whilst I was in the midst of it. I work with clients who have all manner of clinical depression: from what I refer to as ‘depressive tendencies’ to manic depression and severe debilitating cannot-even-get-out-of-bed total mind control depression – so I know some of the signs and associated feelings/manifestations. I’m not saying I was depressed (I have an annoying tendency to look on the bright side) but I was definitely affected by my weight.

Now I KNOW this might sound stupid but I KNOW I was not/am not morbidly obese. I KNOW it’s not the same as having to get down from 300lbs or whatever but I am 5’8” tall and almost 180lbs was NOT GOOD, no matter whose height/weight ratio chart you look at!!

So from 165 lbs for my birthday, by Christmas just gone (2008) I was (12 stone 7) 175lbs again – this IN SPITE of counting points etc etc.

I was exercising, tracking, doing everything a good weightwatcher should do but the weight was JUST NOT COMING OFF! Which just added to the crappy way I was feeling about myself.

In February this year I had a meltdown – luckily my WW leader, who has since become a really good friend, was on the other end of the phone at the time! She offered to weigh me at her home every Saturday morning, as a way of helping me focus and also taking some of the pressure off my weekend wine-fests! Knowing I was getting weighed on Saturday morning would help me be good to my body on Friday night and also meant I was 'up and at ‘em' early to put in some weekend gym time.

So since Feb 3rd 2009 that’s precisely what I have been doing. And ANNOYINGLY in those 11 weeks have still only managed to get down to 12 stone 5lbs then 12 stone 3, then back up again, then down again. AND this is despite the incessant, boring food lists on here and blogging and reading all your amazing stories, and running off calories on the treadmill and despite Rachel’s steadfast unwavering, amazing support (THANKS RACH!)

I cannot describe my frustration! There are no words.

The parallel story to this one is that since March 2005 I have been taking the Depo Provera Contraceptive injection. I came off it in August 208 – not because we want to have kids but because I was advised to by my GP as I had been on it for almost 4 years, which meant I was at risk of osteoporosis in later life and also not having (as Jen @ prior fat girl would say) ‘cycled’ during ANY of that time.

I’m told that it can take a year for the DP to work its way out of your system. I wasn’t too worried. Sure I had gained weight but I stood by my assertion that there is no drug on the market that can miraculously gain weight. All DP has done is to increase my appetite and it’s THAT that I have to control.

And then I began reading about it...........

I knoooooowwwwwwwwwww that self diagnosing via google is DUMB. But I convinced myself that I had an underactive thyroid so off I trotted to the GP to tell her all about my woes and guess what she said .

“ You’re not THAT overweight. I’m sure your husband loves you anyway”

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!! This from a health care professional! A DOCTOR!

I asked her if that fact that my body was getting used to coming off the DP had anything to do with my incapacity to lose weight and she said no. I really felt like she didn’t take me seriously AT ALL. I actually think the issue is that doctors just don’t know enough about this drug and what it can do to your body!

What I found from my research online is that (a) it PROBABLY shouldn’t have even come onto the market in the first place, if the FDA are to be believed, and (b) there are THOUSANDS of women on chat rooms and message boards out there who talk of their experiences of trying to lose weight AFTER DP. Losing weight whilst being on it seems not to have been a problem, and I myself can attest to that, as I was on it during 06-07 when I lost the initial 23lbs! Apparently, women are finding that it is after using the DP that your body stubbornly refuses to relinquish the added pounds of fat.

I’m not gifted enough in the science department to know if this is biologically /medically possible but what seems to be happening is that somehow, this drug is slowing down or altering women’s metabolisms. SURELY that has to be an explanation? Why hasn’t there been a study on it? Why are you guys across the pond trying to ban it? WHAT’S THE FULL STORY HERE??!!!

(I should point out at this juncture that not all women who have used DP experience this, not by any means, but if it’s true, shouldn’t they warn you that it MAY happen?!)

As a contraceptive for someone who doesn’t want kids yet, if ever, it’s AMAZING! I’ve had no pains, no PMS, no ‘cycling’ for almost 4 years. I can’t fault it. But somehow I’m not sure the apparent after effects outweigh the benefits. I’ve been so miserable!

So, back to the weight loss story again….at the end of March (thanks to Jen prior fat girl and may of you out there who do the same) I got a personal trainer. Chris gave me a programme that fitted me and suited my needs and goals and his theory as that although I was working out regularly, I wasn’t working HARD enough for it to create a change in my body! So I’ve had 4 weeks of working out with him and doing my own programme at every available opportunity, learning to push myself with exercise, coupled with yet ANOTHER amazing thing I’ve gleaned from you amazing bloggers (Miz, Laura, Charlotte, Kathleen, Dee. Biz, Phil et. al.) the concept of ‘clean eating’ and ……………


Over the past 2 weeks I have lost 7 and a half lbs! In two weeks! That’s more than the entire past 12 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the story doesn’t end there…without going into too much detail, the week between losing 3.5 lbs and then a further 4 lbs, guess what happened? I had a ‘Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret’ experience and my ‘cycle’ kicked back in!

CO-INKY-DINK??????? I have to say I think NOT! I have been tested for anaemia, diabetes, underactive thyroid and all my hormone levels! 7 tests they did on that little vial of blood and there is absolutely bugger all reason I was not losing weight……so either the clean eating has worked or the stepped up exercise and weight training has worked or it may be that it’s a combination of all these factors. No qualified doctor appears able to tell me but I REALLY FEEL like my cycle was the key – it CAN’T BE COINCIDENCE! Even the trainer guy said that my body must think it’s in menopause and word on the street is that it’s inordinately difficult when you’re menopausal to lose weight. It makes sense to me that not having my period contributed in some way. Or maybe interval training has sped up my metabolism haha!

Whichever way you look at it, I’ve lost 7.5lbs in 2 weeks, that’s fantastic! I am back at 165.5lbs (where I was for my 30th bday last September) but with actual honest-to-goodness muscle tone! I have lost 5% body fat and gained 1lb of lean muscle. I am a dress size smaller than I was for my party AND more than anything, I am HEALTHIER! And it’s this, quite frankly, that I want to focus on. Even when I was a 70lb ballet student 9at 5’8” tall !!!!), I was not this healthy…….

I am not going to lie, being lighter IS important to me. I will always have a mad relationship with food. I will always hold up a size zero catwalk model waif with bones jutting out all over the show as my idea of ‘beautiful’ , but in addition to a healthy body, I can continue to work on getting a healthy mind to go along with it. I need to do this for me. And it’s possibly the first time EVER that I’ve realised this – before it was always so that I would be ‘acceptable’.

SO, my goal weight is somewhere around the 147lbs mark, 10stone 7 -not too skinny that it’s unsustainable but slim enough for me to be a happy bunny. It’s not too unrealistic either, but for now I am focusing on exercise and hoping that the lbs keep coming off as an added bonus!

18.5 lbs to go!!! Wish me luck! And keep blogging- it HELPS me no end!

DUDES! If you made it to the end of this load of old bollocks then you deserve an ACTUAL medal!!!!!! Thanks for reading and putting up with my nonsense!
So you see, though I may not be a 300lb BigFatPie, I am in my own little way, still engaged in just as much of a battle as some of you !

God knows WHAT I’ll do when it comes to learning how to maintain!!!!!!!

Fat picture to follow below –just to prove it !

BigFatLove from ME

Here I am at 12 stone 10 lbs (178) lbs), May 2008 with my beautiful friend Julie at her wedding - I got sooooooo trollied at their wedding because I hated how I looked! I'm a stone lighter now, a year later - a BLOODY YEAR! People have lost 100lbs in that time! So there you go blogpals, THIS is why I'm on this journey and it is STILL a constant freaking battle!!! xoxo


skinny latte said...

Wow. It was great to read a bit more about your story because I was one of your readers who thought "big fat pie? WTF?!"

Thank you for sharing this. This has just reiterated to me that everyone's journey is different, and it doesn't matter if other people (including your GP, again WTF?) say "oh you're fine the way you are", "you're not that overweight", blah blah - if YOU are uncomfortable being the size you are, it means nothing if other people are constantly reassuring you. Sure other people love you the way you are - but do you love yourself? That's very important.

I know how horrible it is to have worked so hard to lose weight, only to find yourself back and beyond where you started. Getting older doesn't help does it - I lost 25kg in six months when I was 16 - not even ten years later, it took me a year to lose about the same amount.

One thing I have learned is that if you do want to have a healthy body and lifestyle, and be able to enjoy your food and drink without swinging to either end of the spectrum (too much or too restrained) then it's important you view what you're doing as a lifestyle change. If you enjoy the lifestyle you have as you lose weight and get healthy, then you are far more likely to keep it up once you reach your goal. The problem many people have is that they see reaching goal as the end of the journey - "I don't have to do this anymore!" - it's not the case! Find exercise you enjoy, and you'll be far more likely to keep it up, keep challenging yourself and striving for new things.

But I think at the end of the day it's all about being happy! My journey wasn't about getting skinny - for the first time in my life. I wanted to lose weight because I was tired of living life the way I was. I was tired of being depressed, I was tired of not fitting into nice clothes, I was tired of not liking myself very much, I was tired of being afraid, and I was tired of being tired! It was about getting healthy and happy, in mind and body. I think that's all anyone wants really.

And life at goal isn't that much different to life during weight loss. Some days you're on top of the world for what you've achieved, and other days it sucks! But I think that's life! You just learn to cope with it all a bit better.

I'm so glad I didn't go for the DPV after reading your story!! I'm sticking to good old fashioned Microgynon :P

Sorry for the novel length comment, but I really enjoyed reading your "back story" :)

Congrats on all you've achieved so far this year! Keep going!


mak'n Changes said...

Thanks for opening up to us so we could understand a bit more of you. So sorry you are having such a hard time. Its good though, that you are discovering what works and doesnt work for you. Be encouraged my friend, you are doing a good job and that weight will come off, just keep making it happen. my personal motto is......GET IT GIRL! ITS YOURS!

♥ Dee ♥ said...

I, too, was a wtf-er, so thanks for the backstory (although one should never feel they HAVE to explain themselves, I am grateful that you cared to share).

Wow, your frustration level must have been through the ROOF. I really thank you for sharing the Depo story because I will share it with my younguns. People should be aware of the potential hazards, and lets face it, weight is a huge issue, no matter how much or little it is.

Oh, and thanks for the translation of stones to lbs... LOL.

skinny latte said...

Me again! :P You might find this interesting to read:

I like his "tell it like it is" approach.


Watching and Weighting said...

Phil - THANKS! ( just emailed you, does your ymail addres work?)

Cindie - wise words my friend THANX

Dee - you have NO IDEA how many times I had to open up the little calculator in microsoft word to do that maths!

loving you ladies, big love xxx

Jen said...

Thanks for sharing! I was on the Depo too and feel the same way as you. After two kids I got an IUD and then recently had it taken out after reading and reading website after website of ladies talking about the weight gain.

good luck on your journey! I will be reading!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's true that the struggle is the same no matter what you have to lose. Honestly, it's been harder for me to lose 20 pounds than it was 50.

I'm glad to hear going off DP seems to be the best choice for you! Congrats on the recent weight loss.

P.O.M. said...

Hi. Just found your blog. Thanks for the story. Blogging has helped so many people! I wish I had started blogging at the start of my weight loss journey. But since I've started I've gained and lost and gained again and lost again. I'm kinda at my happy medium right now.

Keep it up!!! Clean eating and excercise is the only way :)

Jen, a priorfatgirl said...

oh yeah baby, I get a medal cuz I read the whole thing! Not in an obsessed, I wanna know everything sort of way, but in a it all makes so much sense sort of way.

Ok, ok, ok, how did you figure out this clean eating thing? Maybe I will try it in June (traveling the next 3 weeks, in and out of hotels, not an ideal place to start).

P.S. Your story is amazing & just as beautiful as you are! Everything happens for a reason. Your story happened so you can blog and encourage everyone else who is going through the same thing!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I read the whole thing, too. Those hormonal bc methods certainly can mess with you. (And, I have to mention, I gained 30 pounds in the first year I dated my husband, just from being relaxed and happy and not focusing on healthy eating!)

na said...

bravo, dear betsy! sorry i have been so bad at doing my blog lately! done it now...
love you heaps, this was a cracking tale..!

KK @ Running Through Life said...

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your story. It is amazing what modern medicine and pills can do to our bodies. Good for you for pushing on!

Anonymous said...

Loved reading your story. And of course I recognised all your frustrations. Mine was polycystic ovaries rather than DP. Very, very difficult to lose weight, but not impossible!

Counting calories helped me. Eating natural food makes the process less painful. (processed food just makes me feel hungry!) High intensity intervals and strength training helps (long, slow cardio is no longer a fat burning remedy!). And the main thing is realising that weight loss takes time.

Like you, I've never felt fitter in my life. And I still have 20lbs to lose too ;)

Stick with it. But please love your curves too! You look great in all your pics (honestly!), but I do understand that the last 20lbs will be the icing on the cake.

All the best

Tusc :)

Dori said...

What a story. I don't know what you eat or your portions, but it sounds like the last few weeks have been great for you -- whatever you are doing, keep doing it! Way to go with the trainer too. That is hard!

It is frustrating when you have a version of yourself from not that long ago to compare yourself with. For you, it is your wedding. For me, it is 2004 - 2007! Then I let it go too and I just want to GET BACK.

You will get there!