Thursday, April 2, 2009

Once you pop you can't stop

I have gone 5 days now without sugar. Somehow it's easier for me to abstain completely than it is to limit my portions. I am an emotional eater. I have been that way since at least the age of 10. If I start eating comfort food it's very difficult for me to stop.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with PCOS. My gynecologist told me one of the symptoms was insulin resistance. His wife is a nurse practitioner who runs a weight loss clinic. She designed a metabolic meal plan for me and met with me once a month. I was supposed to eat all the protein I wanted 5 times a day but limit myself to 20 grams of carbohydrate - no sugar, no grains, no fruits and no "root" vegetables.

I did really well at first. I lost 40 pounds in the first 3 months. After 9 months I had lost 65 pounds. It was easy to stay on the diet when I could see such obvious results. I was happy. I didn't need comfort food. Then I hit a plateau and the weight loss slowed to a crawl. I stuck to my diet and increased my exercise. I started keeping a food diary and shared it with the nurse practitioner. Nothing helped. At the most I was losing 2 pounds per month and she couldn't give me any advice to get things going again. I stopped meeting with her but still stuck to my diet.

In the middle of this plateau I went to my primary care physician for a physical. He found a lump on my thyroid and referred me to an ENT surgeon. A biopsy came back suspicious. The surgeon said 95% of these cases are cancerous and insisted on operating right away. I told him about my experience. He said my thyroid was interfering with weight loss but once I was on a regulated replacement hormone I would be able to lose weight again. I had the surgery in August and it turned out I didn't have cancer after all.

I think the shock of that experience contributed to what happened next. I dealt with my emotions the way I always have: with food. I probably thought I wouldn't need to be as strict anymore because the miracle replacement thyroid hormones would do the work for me. They didn't. I started gaining the weight back. I felt like a failure. I comforted myself by eating more. I tried off and on to stick to my diet but it seemed pointless. I didn't think the diet would work anymore because I had spent so much time on a plateau. Through February and March I tried a common-sense diet instead: lots of fresh fruits and veggies, a few whole grains, lean proteins, etc. I still gained weight. I guess the gyno was right. I am insulin resistant and I can't handle sugar.

It's time to snap out of it. Now that I'm facing breast reduction surgery I feel like I need to lose as much weight as possible before the procedure. I'm going back to the Atkins diet and hoping for the best. This week I'm trying to establish an exercise routine. I taped exercise plans to the wall downstairs. I decided to try 30 minutes of brisk treadmill walking every other day and alternate with abdominal work on a stability ball. I will gradually increase the walking to an hour. Tomorrow I'm planning to buy a scale for the first time in 10 years. Hopefully it will give me a sense of accountability and motivate me to stay on track.

I'm debating when I should have this surgery, assuming my insurance decides to cover it. If I'm losing weight in a month then I might want to keep losing and put off the surgery until July or August so my end result will be better. If I don't lose weight then I might as well have surgery as soon as possible so I can try more vigorous exercising. I suppose it's still too early to make that decision.

No comments: