The losing battle, Week 5: I should be happy

The scale says I lost another 10.6 pounds this past week. It seems odd, I know, to be on the verge of complaining, but I am wary of this amount of loss for two reasons: (1) I don’t feel like I did anything that different last week, and (2) A sizable weight loss like this 5 weeks in seems a little alarming.

Before this morning, I had weighed myself sporadically during the week and saw a 1- or 2-pound loss here and there. My daily step count still rarely goes past 2,000. (I’m supposed to be aiming for 10,000 steps per day.) And I’ve only worked out a couple of times, mainly over the weekend, this past week. So, today’s scale reading is a surprise.

This amounts to 24.2 pounds gone since the doctor limited me to 100 grams of carbs a day, among other things.

Maybe treating myself to a little paczki tomorrow for Fat Tuesday won’t be that big a deal after all.

Update (5:38 p.m. Central): I weighed myself in the afternoon and found my weight much closer to last week’s numbers. I’ll weigh myself tomorrow morning; if I end up at a vastly different weight than the one I saw this morning, I’ll tweak my records.

I’ve been on a low-carb regimen since early last month per doctor’s orders. And I’ve been following it pretty faithfully.

My next appointment with the doctor is later this month. I hope he’ll forgive me for calling in a paczki order today for Fat Tuesday.

The losing battle, Week 4: Lighter, and a bit less pain

Down another 2.2 pounds this week. I confess that I weighed myself a second time this morning after emptying myself, as it were, and I logged that (larger) amount of weight lost.

Still not increasing my activity level as much as I’m supposed to be. But I’m still burning more calories than I’m consuming. Doesn’t matter; I still need to get off my ass, even if only for 10 minutes at a time.

Although I’m only 13.6 pounds lighter than I was when I started all this January 11, I’m feeling better physically. Climbing stairs doesn’t leave me aching as much, and my pelvic floor pain isn’t as chronic. My lower back isn’t getting much better—it feels worse some mornings—but maybe more exercise will help that.

If I could lose 10 pounds a month, I’d lose a whole person by Thanksgiving. That would be nice—but I expect plateaus and stalling between now and then. I remain in it for the long haul.

Second straight day without a salad. Less cranky this time.

I shouldn’t get used to this, as it’s the best way for me to get the 3 to 4 cups of fruits and vegetables I’m supposed to have each day. I will start anew tomorrow.

If it turns out that my lousy day and wretched mood are linked to the fact that I didn’t have a salad today, I’m going to be really pissed off.

It could explain, though, most of the past 20 to 30 years.

The losing battle, Week 3: A disciplined routine

Dropped another 2.2 pounds this past week. Wasn’t expecting that much, frankly; I felt like I was slacking, or maybe this all is beginning to feel routine. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Honestly, I like the healthy regularity of the past few weeks: Most days, it’s a matcha kefir smoothie for breakfast, a high-protein lunch, and a big salad with a reasonable portion of protein and small portion of carbs for dinner, plus a smattering of snacks like grape tomatoes, an ounce of cheese, or a piece of dark chocolate. And at least 64 ounces of water (including Vitaminwater Zero and peppermint tea).

With my eating habits, I’m developing the kind of discipline I would really like in other parts of my life. Now I just need to bring that same kind of regularity to exercise.

Got a nice little celebratory screen grab when I posted my weight loss this morning. Looking forward to more.

The losing battle, Week 2: Small (and not always synced) steps

Down another 3 pounds. Trying not to be disappointed after the previous week’s 6-pound loss.

After experiencing some palpitations early last week, I connected with the doctor and he has me going every other day on the phentermine. He says it takes a while for the body to get acclimated to that medication. Meanwhile, no problems on the diuretic.

I measure my blood pressure most days; it generally ranges from 150/80 to maybe 130/80, though I’ve seen it go down to 110/82. That stubborn diastolic number is annoying.

All in all, the low-carb approach has been livable. Lots and lots of salads, which is fine by me.

The exercise thing is taking a while for me to work into my day; this is more laziness on my part, though halfway through a short indoor walking video today, my back reminded me why I prefer chair workouts for now. And I’m trying to find ways to get more steps around the house. Not easy, but the steps add up after a while. It doesn’t help that the MyFitnessPal app, which I use to track my food intake and exercise, doesn’t always sync well with the Fitbit.

Sigh. It’s a long slog ahead.

This CNN piece – ”‘Fat but fit’ is a myth when it comes to heart health, new study shows” – illustrates why I’ve turned to a doctor this month to help me begin losing weight.

To be clear, I’m all about body acceptance and all that. But I’m tired of the chronic pain and other health problems that clearly stem from my excess weight. The COVID-19 susceptibility was the tipping point.

God willing, I’m in it for the long haul,

Unearthed the Fitbit that Chris gave me for Christmas three or four years ago. Had to update the firmware and recharge it for a while, but it’s still working!

The losing battle is under way

It’s been a week since my first visit with the bariatric doctor: a week of carb limits, new meds, and scrambling to find bread and cracker recipes that won’t kill me.

I’ve lost 6 pounds. At least 74 more to go.

So, here’s the gist of my doctor’s weight loss prescription:

  • 100 grams of carbs per day
  • 15 to 30 minutes of activity a day (on top of ultimately 10,000 steps daily)
  • low doses of phentermine (appetite suppressant) and hydrochlorothiazide (diuretic)
  • 3 to 4 cups of fruits/vegetables daily
  • 64 ounces of water daily
  • Don’t drink your fruits” (or, presumably, vegetables)
  • MyFitnessPal to log food intake

I’m failing miserably at the activity part. I did discover chair workouts to do during work breaks late last week; the one I actually pulled off – a whopping 10-minute session – left me achy and winded the next couple of days. But I intend to keep trying.

Although I’m barely meeting the water and fruits/vegetables goals, I’m doing okay with the carbs thing. Limiting my carbs is more of an issue with Chris’ dinner planning than anything else, especially on my meatless Fridays. (He generally dislikes fish, except for sushi and some salmon.)

The doctor said it’s not the quantity of food I’ve been consuming that’s the main problem; it’s what I’ve been eating that’s the problem. I’ve been carb-heavy – lots of breads, chips, and sweets – and drinking juices rather than the healthier approach of eating fruits and vegetables. I confess I didn’t grasp a lot of what he said, but he talked a lot about blood sugar spiking and insulin and fast carbs. And he got into sleep quality and how my suspected apnea issues may be complicating my weight issues and ultimately my overall health.

It’s only been a week, and the road ahead remains overwhelming. I have an awful lot to learn about how all of this works. But I still think this is the right way to deal with what has been a lifelong weight problem that I can’t afford to continue.

One of the many guidelines my bariatric doctor gave me Monday: Don’t drink your fruits. So, now I have to modify my morning smoothie recipe and ditch the Naked juice smoothie component. I also added Amazing Grass Organic Supergreens Powder, which unfortunately makes it taste weirdly fishy. Not sure I’ll get more of it after I’m done with what looks like a month’s worth of the stuff, but I might as well use it while I have it.

Had my first visit with the bariatric doctor today. No surgery, but I’m going forward with a significant change in my eating practices. Minimal carbs – less than 100 grams/day – all the way, baby.

There goes most of my lifelong diet. More later.

Next health stop: bariatric medicine

I am morbidly obese. And on Monday, I have my first appointment with a bariatric doctor.

This is a long time coming. Too long. And I don’t even care that much anymore about the appearance and clothes-fitting parts of this. Between being particularly susceptible to COVID-19 illness and generally being more conscious with age of my mortality, it was time to take a step beyond half-assed commitments to everything from Weight Watchers to intermittent fasting.

I’m not looking into weight-management surgery; I want to explore nonsurgical options. I found that despite the horror show of colonoscopy prep last summer, the clear-liquid diet actually provided some gut relief and left me feeling physically better. Not sure whether a liquid diet is an option with the clinic I’m visiting, though.

Lately, I’ve been drinking a green tea kefir smoothie in the mornings, shaken in a Blender Bottle, that keeps me going until the early afternoon:

  • 1 cup plain lowfat kefir
  • ½ tsp matcha green tea
  • ½ to 1 cup Naked juice smoothie (any flavor; I like Mango Madness or Berry Blast)
  • 2 tsp Benefiber (per my urogynecologist)
  • Optional: 1 packet stevia

That and water (or VitaminWater Zero) keep me sated and energized till I find myself craving something like chips or cookies or whatever after my 2 p.m. meeting. Trying to be better with healthier options.

It probably doesn’t help that we eat dinner pretty late. Granted, I don’t eat nearly as much at the dinner table as I used to (rarely seconds, and I’m more adamant about a simple salad at the outset), but I have slightly more of a sweet tooth afterward. And eating only 2 to 3 hours before bedtime probably isn’t a good idea.

My pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosis last summer, and subsequent physical therapy in the fall, got me much more conscious about my food intake and overall health. I’m much more aware of links between my abdominal pain and my bowel and bladder activity, as well as the importance of gut health. I feel like I’m on the verge of something.

I’m not completely free of my abdominal pain, but I know what causes it, and how to relieve it through mild exercise. Now if I can only be free of my chronic lower back pain.

I look forward to talking with the doctor about all this Monday.