Warning- this will be long !
I want to share with you today my own weight story- or the reason Why I weigh what I do in spite of following the advice that has brought so many others to weight loss. I include pictures from my life to illustrate what I am talking about here.
Something hit me yesterday as I was reading blogs of those also struggling with weight. While the vast majority of folks on this road were at one time thin and became obese for a variety of reasons, I have never been a thin person. Not even for a minute.
I was born at 8 lbs and by the time I was a month old ( pictured above) I had chubby arms and legs and dimpled knees. I spent my early childhood in very active pursuits, eating normal amounts and varieties, but weighing infinitely more than I should. My sister who was 18 months younger than me would eat pounds of cookies, cakes, sugar and she was a very thin to normal sized kid.People would often tell me that if I would follow her example, I too would be thin. My sister and I would both laugh, because we knew the truth. Appearances can be very deceptive. Here we are at ages 4 and 2
I began school in the first grade (skipped kindergarten for some reason) weighing a whopping 200 lbs. My grandmother said it was because I had concrete bones, because while I was heavy, I did not look like I had 200 lbs on my frame.( I think scales have hated me all my life and operate differently once I step on them) This is what a 200 lb first grader looks like.
I spent my childhood running, playing with all the other children , and for summer vacations as a family we would camp and do wilderness backpacking. As I grew older we began taking canoe trips into the wilderness that boarders Minnesota and Canada. I ate normal, was very active, but still my weight krept up for no apparent reason. Here I am at 9, and puberty is begining to take hold
I went through high school as an overweight person, walking 5-10 miles a night with my friends just for fun, swimming with the park district swim team and my weight continued to creep up. My mom would put me on various diets ( Stillman, calorie counting , Aydes reducing plan, exercise classes) and nothing worked. I did manage to become severely dehydrated once and wound up in the hospital emergency room needing tests to check for kidney failure, but I never lost any weight. Here I am as a Sophomore with the same sister who was now a Freshman after a concert we sang in
When I was 18 I began to develop facial hair- not a light mustache, but a full on beard that required daily shaving.( I still have it) My periods stopped for a year. The medical communities answer to this was “lose weight and all will be fine”. I attempted Weight Watchers for the first time , lost 20 lbs and then the weight loss stopped in spite of following the program to the letter. The weight came back and never left. Here I am at 21 with Bob. It is the earliest picture of us together
When I was 22 I married my soul mate , and we intended to have children right away. He came from a family of 6, I came from one of 5 and both had branches of our extended families that had 10 or more children. It seemed all you had to do was have a man shake out his pants in your vicinity and pregnancy would result. Here I am on our wedding day with some of my best friends at the time.
Our first year passed, and no baby and once again a full year without a period, so I went to consult my Doctors to see if there was a problem. The answer was Clomid,a fertility drug, with the express warning that if I conceived while on this drug I would have to abort . ( excuse me, but WHAT ??? Why in the heck am I taking this and how can it be a fertility drug if I would have to abort because of it ???)Made absolutely no sense to me, and the single month of Clomid made me completely insane. I decided to pursue other avenues instead of going through that torture again.( Incidentally, they have changed their minds about babies conceived on Clomid, and I believe The Gosslin sextuplets are a result of that drug) The Clomid did produce one affect though- weight gain ! I blossomed to 290 with it’s aid. My younger sisters all began to have children, and at least if I could not be a mom I got to be a great Auntie ! Here I am with my oldest niece, close to 300 lbs
I was also told at that time that I must go in for stomach stapling to lose weight or I would be dead by age 30. Not based on a measure of blood pressure, cholesterol or anything beyond the number on the scale, which before Clomid was 260. (Incidentally I said no to the surgery, and at age 51 and 240 lbs, I am very much alive, thank you). This picture was from sometime during those infertile years
Years passed, no baby, no hope till one day I stumbled upon a Naturopath who seemed to have a radical idea. Excess weight is not only a result of what you eat and how you move, but a metabolic reaction that is caused by a malfunction in the ovaries. Normally a woman produces an egg every month of her adult fertile life. Through a complex hormone sequence, beginning in the pituitary gland, hormones are released that send messages to the thyroid, adrenal glands, liver and ovaries, and when the proper blend is released, a follicle in the ovary ripens and an egg is produced. If the egg is not fertilized it will be sloughed off with her monthly bleeding( along with the lining to the uterus which has been building up in preparation for an embryo to implant). In this malfunction, the ovary produces follicle after follicle, which fail to release an egg, but turn into multiple cysts. This in turn sends a further chemical reaction to the entire body, basically saying produce more of this hormone, less of that "and from here on out we will interpret _ as _". This malfunction is called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS for short. For reasons not totally understood, the root cause may lie in the metabolic process of the body, and a diet increasing fats and proteins but decreasing starches can help bring the body weight down, ease the hormonal cycle and bring the body to a sense of normal function. PCOS can cause infertility, hirtsuism( excessive hair growth), severe acne, elevated androgen levels( makes your body look more male than female), Metabolic syndrome, increased risk of miscarriage, heart disease, diabetes and ovarian cancer amongst other things. Weight loss will not cure PCOS, for there is no cure. It can, however, make conception and a healthier metabolic make up possible.
I followed this advice without an official diagnosis, lost 110 pounds, at long last conceived and after a stillbirth had a healthy son,( who is in the above picture at 4 months old in a baby backpack that I loved to carry him in while we went walking). PCOS was not done with me, for after that pregnancy I went on to conceive and miscarry 4 more times , and with each pregnancy my metabolic situation has gotten harder and harder to budge. After my last miscarriage a very compassionate GP discovered that I have an elevated androgen level and an ultrasound revealed that I did indeed have PCOS. It was not news to me, but I appreciated having formal confirmation at last. Weight loss is something I keep striving for because if I never try, I have indeed failed, but if I keep trying I am at least still in the fight. I also do it to be a mentor to my son, who gained a massive amount of weight due to food texture issues that manifested through Autism. We are dealing with a whole different faucet of childhood obesity. PCOS is still a factor in my life , and is making the transition into menopause interesting to say the least.
I read blogs about those who were thin, gained and they express the shame and disappointment they felt in themselves for gaining weight. I have never had that feeling , and often wonder what these people would do if they were blessed with this body condition ?. My body, for whatever weird reason, has made me larger than life for the entire time I have been on this planet. It was not laziness, bad habits, emotional eating, binging or any other thing outside of two small almond sized organs residing in my lower abdomen that caused my weight. On the upside, without them I would have never been gifted with my son, so it’s not all bad. People have made comments and judged me in the past because of my weight, but I never let it bother me. Long ago I seemed to have learned a truth that Wayne Dyer speaks of, and that is that your opinion of me is none of my business. This means I am genuinely happy within my skin, and that I am so much more than what the outside state of me would indicate. It does not mean I do not try to change that picture , because I genuinely love a challenge. I love to tackle things that people say are impossible or that simply cannot be done. Bring it on !