In the far off land that is California, USA, I was much younger and slightly heavier than I am now. I weighed close to 300 pounds and was in a not so good place in the world mentally. Since being overweight affected my both my physical and mental health a great deal, I decided to do something about it and started eating a healthy, “natural” diet, with (you guessed it) portion control. Part of the plan was to walk at least two miles a day. Oh, it didn’t start out at two miles a day. Far from it. The first day, I waddled about quarter mile down the road and back. I was sweating buckets and thought my lungs were going to burst from my chest, but I did it. And I kept doing it. A little further each day, until I was walking at least two miles a day (sometimes more than five miles… depending on how long I wanted to stay out of the house). I think one of the things that helped was the fact that we (the first husband and I) had just moved back to my childhood city. These were my old stomping grounds. The neighborhood were I grew up, I felt… safe there, free to roam about at will, even though I didn’t actually know anyone anymore. But there was this feeling of home that made walking about much much easier.
So anyway, walking was a huge part of my regime back then; but portion control was the other major factor. The little serving size suggestions on every label of every food produced and sold in the United States is there for a reason, and it ain’t to look pretty. The portions may seem insanely small, but they’re really not. They add up quickly. I decided to stick to the serving sizes recommended by the manufactures. I resolved to “get healthy”, so I also cut out all things artificial and only ate “all natural” or “100% natural” foods for a good long time. I’ve never gone organic because I don’t believe that commercially grown organic food is good for the environment, but that’s a different post. But I did cut out all things artificial, and strictly followed the portions listed on the nutrition labels of the packages. It’s something I still try to do today — all natural because it’s a good way to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (which gives me migraines) and serving sizes just because it’s a good habit to have.
It worked. It wasn’t easy, but it worked. I went from nearly 300 pounds to about 160 pounds. So yeah, I lost a good half of my body weight. It took me over a year to do it and a lot of effort. Note that I was also going through a divorce at this time, not medicated for my bipolar, moving around the country *a lot* and poor as a church mouse so portion control was pretty easy for me because I couldn’t afford a lot of food. I had to make what I had last a long time. ^_^ Ha! Also, it’s easy to walk everywhere when one doesn’t have a car. So there’s that. As an aside, I’ve noticed a distinct correlation between my body weight and access to a handy vehicle. If I don’t have a car, I weigh less. If I have a car, I weigh more — much more. So walking seems to be the solution here, but it’s so hard to convince myself to walk that half mile to the store to get milk when it’s much faster and easier to take the car.
That was about 25 years ago though. Before I had a great deal of my maladies (I had the bipolar and the high cholesterol, I’ve had those since I was a teenager). What made me gain half of that weight back was when I developed asthma after moving to Virginia when I divorced my first husband (roughly around 20 years ago). They put me on steroids, which is par for the course when treating asthma. But steroids have certain — side effects — they don’t tell you about when they give them to you in the hostpital… one is that they can cause anyone who is susceptible to pack on weight, the second is that they can make people with bipolar manic. hahahaha! Yeah, no one told me that second part. That was fun. Not.
Anyway, what took me years to lose came back in like, a couple of months. I was so pissed about that (and manic to boot, so yeah, fun times). And there I was with lungs that weren’t working right, and unable to take the medicines that would help them work right… And thus began my long trek into the war with my body. This war that I’ve been fighting for decades now. And one I’m pretty sure I brought on myself… I am almost 100% sure I can trace (two daily prompts in one… ha! No seriously I was gonna write this post yesterday. It was just serendipitous that it fit both) my IBS-C back to that time I tried to go “all natural” and and healthy, and my body was all, “Nope, I don’t like that, and now you must pay”. Why? Well, because “whole grains” was all the rage back then… way more than it is now, and guess what my gut doesn’t like? Go on, I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count. I stuffed myself with all kinds of healthy, whole grain food for months and months — years even — and wondered why I wasn’t feeling better. Oh, I was losing weight hand over fist, but I felt like shit. Heartburn, gas, constipation, the whole shebang. Believe it or not though, it took me a long time to make that connection. I’m guessing here, but I’m fairly sure that’s is why I’m still paying the price. I mean, I was eating healthy food! Food recommended by every doctor everywhere! Why wasn’t I feeling better??? Well, because my body hates healthy food, that’s why. Case closed. Freaking water gives me heartburn. You know? Water. Like the healthiest thing a person can have. And I get heartburn from drinking it. Don’t even get me started on salad…
But I digress. So the lungs went and I couldn’t take the treatment for the lungs going. Then the back… after that was the arthritis (hips and knees) and, you guessed it, I can’t take the treatments for them either — but hey, I can exercise to feel better. >_< I won’t mention the migraines or other weirdness like the constant sinus infection I can’t get rid of because they don’t really have an effect on my ability to exercise other than indirectly. Then came the fibromyalgia and all of its weirdness. And, believe it or not, I could handle all of that, and kept the weight to a reasonably healthy-ish level for quite a long time, by doing you know what? Exercising. I actually love to walk. I really do. Walking is my go to thing to do when I have time on my hands and am in want of something to do. I’ll walk. But then about five years ago I got hit with the double whammy of bad thyroid and what I like to call my mystery lung disease because even though there is a measurable effect on my lung capacity, the doctors don’t know what’s causing it. And it’s been kind of a struggle ever since to get back down to any kind of reasonable weight since then because I can’t even walk from my doorway to my mailbox without effort. I can do all of the portion control in the world (and honestly, I do) but without the ability to exercise, it doesn’t do much… I’ll just get to a certain weight and plateau. Some bodies simply burn calories differently. We aren’t robots that all work the same. My stupid body likes exercise as a way to efficiently burn calories and yet denies me the ability to actually, you know, do exercise.
PS — sorry for the plethora of someecards, it seems they were what I needed today. 🙂 I’m not trying to promote them or anything… they just seemed to fit the post.