Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Weight and Fitness History

My weight/fitness history is a bit long. Let me start by saying I am not and never have been a naturally thin person. Even when I am at a healthy weight for me, I'm still not thin or tiny. That's the beginning of my battles with my weight. I remember being as young as eight years old and knowing I was "fat". By the time I was a teenager, I was half starving myself trying to be tiny like my friends. Looking back, I realize that I wasn't as fat as I saw myself, I'm simply built bigger and no diet in the world is going to make me a size zero. However that's how my weight loss efforts first began, eating no fat and restricting calories to under a thousand and exercising an hour or two a day trying to become small. Even with all that effort for months/years, I was still never smaller than a size 6-8.

My history really became more complicated after the birth of my first child when I was eighteen. I've never been one to gain too much when I'm pregnant, but that's the pregnancy where I ate whatever and didn't exercise, so that's the one I gained the most with, probably around twenty pounds. I worked a crazy schedule when she was an infant and didn't worry too much about diet and exercise until she was about nine months old. At this point I realized that I'd gained at least fifteen more pounds since having her, so I decided to get serious about diet and exercise. This is when things became weird. Over the next nine months with restricting my calories and exercising at least an hour a day, I GAINED between 30-40 more pounds! I wasn't just a little big anymore, I was obese. At that point I was lethargic and depressed and just gave up completely for about six months. Luckily my weight stayed the same during this time. Finally fed up enough with the situation, I went searching for answers at the doctor's office where I asked for thyroid testing. Amazingly enough, even though my results came back showing I had a clearly underactive thyroid, she refused to put me on medication saying I was "too young" to have thyroid issues! (I was only twenty at the time) That might've been the brick wall to defeat me, but THANKFULLY my wonderful Mother wouldn't let me give up on finding the help I needed. She worked for a doctor and they requested my medical records and gave me the referral I needed to get into see a fabulous endocrinologist.

That endocrinologist was a lifesaver! She couldn't even get a reaction when testing my reflexes when I first started seeing her because I was so low on thyroid hormones. She said I was the worst and most obvious hypothyroidism case she'd ever seen. She also diagnosed me with PCOS, another hormone/endocrine problem. She put me on medication to help with these issues, and by the following summer (it was in November that I first saw her) I'd dropped about 70 pounds. I was a happy, energetic human again!
Since I'm here writing on a blog about my current weight loss journey, that means unfortunately my battle didn't end at that point. For the next several years things were great. I'd run track in middle and high school, but quit for a few years. When I was twenty-one, my dad and I started running regularly. This lead to doing 5k's, 10k's, and eventually half and full marathons. Even my second pregnancy, at age twenty-seven, didn't throw me off of my healthy, fit place. I only gained ten pounds that pregnancy and he was a whopping 9lbs 3oz, so I wound up thinner after pregnancy than before! I controlled my weight just as well during my third pregnancy two years later, but it was after that that things started getting off again and my weight began creeping up. I'd gone off of my medications for PCOS after my first trimester of my second pregnancy and was then only on the thyroid hormone replacement medication, things had been going well enough without it, so I never asked to go back on them in those couple of years. I know now this was a mistake, but since I'd gotten really into truly healthy eating (not just calorie restriction) and more natural living, I REALLY didn't want to need medication and wanted to control things myself through lifestyle. BIG MISTAKE. Natural ways of being healthy are great, but modern medicine is a wonderful tool too when lifestyle isn't enough. So my fourth pregnancy last year took things from a little off to completely bad, much like after the first child. I again exercised and ate a healthy diet through pregnancy and kept weight gain minimal. After he was born in August 2013, the weight started piling back on, about 30 pounds in a few months.

To let you in on the amount exercise I was doing while the weight accumulated after the pregnancies with my third and fourth children: when third child was two months old, my dad read about "streaking" (running every single day without rest days) and told me I should try it. Since I'd run the three days prior to this, I said "Sure, why not?" and ran again that day. I assumed I'd try to make it thirty days and call it good, but I'm so competitive with myself that once I hit that point, I was hooked! That "streak" lasted for 673 days, from when my third was two months old until close to two years later when I was well into my first trimester with my fourth child and one cold February day I was tired and sick and merely didn't care about it anymore. I still ran some, just not every day, and that's when I tried out Zumba and loved it. So from that point on it was Zumba, occasional running, elliptical machine, and water aerobics. I resumed exercising when the fourth child was two weeks old.
My diet was also great the majority of the time. I cook healthy, homemade, "real" (not from a box or a package) and I'd regularly use My Fitness Pal to check that I wasn't overeating calories. Yet I still gained and gained a lot!

Having walked this road before, I knew what I needed. I needed to be back on my medications for PCOS and I needed to be back on the second type of thyroid medication, instead of only one kind. I went to my doctor (we moved years ago and I've never found a decent endocrinologist here, so this was a family physician) and unfortunately even though my lab numbers were admittedly horrible, she didn't want to do anything for me. She wanted to wait six months and then consider it, in my head I'm screaming "In six more months, I'll weigh 30 pounds more!" Thankfully my mother again came to my rescue. We had planned a trip to visit them (twelve hours away) over the Fourth of July and she was able to get a good thyroid doctor there to take me as a patient and see me while we were in town. At that point this was still two months away, but finally there was hope! I wasn't sitting around doing nothing though, I was still working it at and started P90X3 around this time. When I was finally able to see the doctor, she wholeheartedly agreed with me on what I needed. The relief at getting what I needed was so great!

But this leaves me here, with 50 pounds to lose and why I'm writing this blog. It's a little over a month since I received the needed medication and I've lost about 15 pounds since then. It's taking much hard work with exercise and strict discipline on my diet, but I'm making progress now!!
So what's the point of telling my long tale? Not to justify my obese state, amazingly enough. I hope to encourage and motivate you to always do your best! If you're overweight and your body is working against you like mine, don't give up hope and don't quit working for your goal. There's great value in being able to get up and run five plus miles at any time, even if you're still fat. There's value in feeding your body appropriate amounts healthy nourishing foods, no matter what your size.
And if you're overweight and unhappy with yourself and maybe it IS the result of too much food and too little activity, I want to motivate you too! If you put in the work, you'll see results! It won't be overnight, but you'll get there eventually.
I put in twice the work for half the results (when I'm on the necessary medication) and refuse to quit or give up, YOU can do it too!

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