A long time ago

exerciseIn 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.

sexybeastSo 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.

forgot gymIt 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.

what-fatigue-isAnyway, 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…

bodywarsBut 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.

Stupid body.

via Daily Prompt: Portion

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.

8 thoughts on “A long time ago

  1. someecards area really good at describing feelings in a way that no other thing can do.

    Getting healthy takes lots of work and dedication and a lot of stick-to-it-ness. And you’re right, being overweight is bad on your physical and mental health. I think the primary reason I started keto is because sciatica was driving me insane. Still does — still have to take at least 600mg advil so I can function. I have a standing script for actual pain meds, but I hate having to be on them. Also being told your fatness is compressing your spine and pushing CFS into your brain, creating extra pressure and causing migraines is an awesome reason to lose weight.

    Also, bum thyroid is the cherry on the cake. It’s like your body is actively working against you do do anything that is good for it.

    Great post, though! I can sympathize/empathize a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to take ibuprofen too but for some reason, once I developed fibromyalgia, I also developed a weird reaction to all things NSAID. I say this because I didn’t have this reaction before I developed the fibro… there could be no connection at all and it might just be a coincidence. Either way, weird reaction, and I can’t take them anymore. I never could take opiates, and acetaminophen well, that never did any good at all. So it’s learn to live with the pain, avoid all triggers and… yeah, that’s about it.

      Honestly, whenever I try something to get healthy, it works for awhile, then something else goes wrong and it’s back to square one with that new thing to deal with. The last time I was sitting pretty and looking good and bam! Thyroid and mystery lung disease. I still haven’t recovered from that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was also very heavy, then lost way too much weight, had to regain some and was going pretty well fro ten years. Then, there was cancer and the drugs they give you … well … they do interesting things to your metabolism … or more to the point … WHAT metabolism? Somewhere this past holiday season, I managed to put on ten extra pounds. I wasn’t thin before, but that was too much, so i finally put myself on a two month portion controlled diet. like yours. I’ve lost eight pounds. One month to go and if I can take off even another five, that will be just fine. I’m not looking for model thinness, just less bulk to haul around. It’s rough when we are on so many medications. It’s not just a diet … it’s a dance between various pills, each of which needs to be taken on a full stomach!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Contrarily, mine all have to be taken on an empty stomach, so I just take them at night. 🙂 I have the greatest of sympathy for you and your dance of medications.

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  3. It’s a constant battle. There’s no reason on earth why I can’t exercise, but I only walk a half-hour a day and take a water aerobics class twice a week. I’m still overweight, just under the obese BMI. Your lung thing and the fibromyalgia are the pits. 😦 I’m glad you’ve got this blog so at least you can write about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a great relief to just get things off of the chest sometimes, isn’t it? 🙂 You exercise way more than I do. I’m up to walking the length of my house for fifteen minutes a day.

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  4. My gawd. And you get up in the morning and all…makes me feel quite the slacker! And apologies about my recent ranty post about those slobs in my grocery store, I totally see (now) how that would have triggered bad associations. Dang. For years I ate “healthy” (brown rice before it was a fad, whole grain bread, fruit instead of sweet snacks) and then I got married (mistake? Yep. Well health-wise it sure was)…hubby had his own issues with obesity and unhealthy eating and my own comfort zone when I feel shitty is to eat. So lots of high carb meals became S.O.P. I gained 50-60 lbs and have never successfully gotten it off again. I also walked miles, loved it, the solitude, the happy dog, the discovering things I’d never see from a car. Hubby did not enjoy walking and since we were (in my mind) joined at the hip, that went away also. The weight gain and stress eating and bad genetics led me down the road of early onset bone deterioration (2 hip replacements before I was 53) and arthritis and immobility; and now I can’t walk very far even if I’m inclined. I’ve been battling weight since I was 21. And that was more listening to idiots who had no idea of BMI and what a healthy weight WAS (I weighed 135 to 150 in my salad days…perfectly fine for my frame and body size). People kept telling me I was too fat and I listened. Gawd the young are foolish…

    The short version of this long reply is that I really do intimately understand your battles and you got support from me! And I admire your efforts to get back what you’ve lost ground in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I weighed 160, I was perfect for my body. Anyone who tried to tell me I was too fat I told them to get stuffed. I can only dream of getting down to 160 again. I’ll take 190 at this point. Ha!

      You don’t have to apologize for your previous post. I didn’t take offense at it. I just wanted to point out with my response that sometimes the slow and fat people taking up the aisles in front of you (and some of the others who ranted about people like me in your comments) aren’t doing it because we are intentionally being rude, but because we are… slow… and fat… and not on purpose. ^_^ Everyone has a story, and it’s not always written on our book covers. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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