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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Losing Weight: Part 1, The Reasons

Thanksgiving at a friend's home: you'd think my kids had lived an "Oliver" life!

There seem to be dozens of ways to gain weight if you're a person who suffers from CFIDS/ME/CFS and/or fibromyalgia and I do believe that I've had the dubious honor of having gained for each one of the reasons at one time or another.  It's a real problem because, let's face it, the way we look DOES affect the way we feel about ourselves.  No matter how much we tell ourselves that all we want in life is to be healthy, there IS the little part that we quietly add, "and to be a normal weight."  It's not surprising because before we became sick, we usually WERE at a decent weight.  

Today I'll just pick out four reasons why we often gain weight.  Some I've gone into before, but others are new to this blog.  Tomorrow I'll post a few tips that have helped me with the ways I try to lose weight, an ever-increasing list.  But today, some of the "causes."  Remember: knowledge (or acknowledgement) is power!
  • Insomnia.  If you don't get enough sleep, your hormones go all out of wack and you start to gain weight like crazy.  For more on this, see the post I wrote about this here.
  • Medication.  Despite huge vigilance, a few years ago I was on entirely too many medications (around 50!) and we were able to cut the number down, as well as the dosages.  It was hard work and sometimes I think I would do well to go back to a few but when I think this, I also think, "at what price?"  I do have a couple that I may need to start back on but will be talking to my GP about this because I'm not sure of the benefits vs. happiness factor with my weight.  "Proper weight" is not just about looking good - were it only that easy.  It also gives us a bit (ha!) of a self-esteem problem that, like it or not, does accompany the weight issue.  And let's face it, it's hard to lug around extra poundage. 
  • Overdoing it.  Every single time that I overdo it - and it doesn't take much to get into that state - my appetite soars and the poundage comes on in spades.  Just sitting downstairs in the kitchen as preparations went on around me on Thanksgiving and then sitting at the table for dinner was way more than my body could realistically handle.  I've not weighed myself since this out-of-control eating started and as a result, I know I've gained at least 10 pounds, if not more.  I've more or less given up until tomorrow since it's hubby's birthday today and I knew that stopping the eating and then "starting again" with his birthday again would just be too much.  So, tomorrow I start to give myself the pep talks and maybe by Wednesday I can start those first three days that are so hard to get through as you're trying to get back to "eating right."  See this post for more on the "eating right" and losing weight the healthy way right here.
  • Stress.  We had the painters in the house for two weeks and then there was all that running to the ER and testing and that all proved to be too stressful, which led me to overeating - a real understatement.  Now I have not only the holiday weight to deal with, but all the stress-induced weight gain of something I had a lot of trouble dealing with.  It had to be done.  Now the weight has to be dealt with.  End of excuses or lamenting from and for me!  Get with the program, self! (Unfortunately the work is not completed yet.  I'll have to come up with some sort of way to deal with this better!)

And yes!  Make sure you check with your doctor to see if there is something new going on with your body that is causing the weight gain or lack of weight loss. You may need to explore the possibility that you've developed a new issue that needs to be addressed (like me when my weight went super wacko and it was because of the hypothyroidism) or if there is a medication which you might no longer need or can take in a lesser dosage.  

Weight is the bane of most women, especially in the States.  If you've had the misfortune to add medical conditions, things get that much harder.  Some medications I know make it harder for me with the weight but my doctors and I feel that I have no choice but to continue on those medications.  I try to work around the meds, but that's not easy.  Remember that foremost is your health.  THEN establish the weight which you are comfortable to live with, but be realistic about the number.  

Finally, remember that body image is not always right: we are often our worst enemies and think we look much worse than we actually do.  

And that's it for today.  I hope everyone's feeling their best, only better.  Ciao and paka!

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