Day Nine: Number Crunching

The official 'before' picture, captured over the weekend at the pumpkin patch.
The official ‘before’ picture, captured over the weekend at the pumpkin patch.

When dealing with health, you deal with a lot of numbers. I don’t like numbers and I don’t care much for precision. I deal in feelings, in words, in spirituality, in the variables of humanity. Just put a flower wreath on my head and call me Sunshine.

But I met with a doctor yesterday and I received the results of some blood tests. Numbers assigned to my chart, to gauge where I am and where I should be. Ranges.

I debated over posting this information, since it’s personal and not exactly flattering. But I decided as part of my journey the tradition of transparency must continue.

First, the doctor’s numbers:

My TSH was 1.4

Good! The Synthroid I am taking for an underactive thyroid is working.

My fasting glucose was 96.

Not-so-good! Anything over 100 is pre-diabetes and anything over 125 would indicate diabetes.

My free insulin was 40.

Bad! This is double the high end of normal. Twice as much insulin is being pumped through my body as should be. As suspected, I am insulin resistant. This is just the proof. The doctor wants to put me on metformin, but I have an international trip coming up so I’m not going to think about that until I return. In the meantime, I need to learn more about what insulin resistance actually means for my dieting choices. Any advice is welcome!

After getting those results, I figured it couldn’t get any worse, so I went out and bought a scale to replace my broken one. I purchased a model which measures weight, body fat, water, muscle and bone. This seemed like a lot of information for $19.99 but I went for it.

Here were my results this morning:

Weight: 217 lbs
Body Fat percentage: 48
Water percentage: 38 water
Pounds of muscle: 106
Pounds of bone: 6
BMI: 36

I’m not sure if I think this body fat percentage is correct. I do think my size G breasts may skew the results. But alas, I looked up my BMI and found this:

“f you have a BMI of 35-39.99 your risk of weight-related health problems and even death, is severe.” (Source: BMI Calculator.net)

I know the BMI is controversial so I won’t take my severe risk of death based on this one calculation too literally.

However. although this is day nine of my blog, I’m going to reset and deem this day one of my journey. Because now I’m adding accountability into it. I will ‘weigh in’ next Thursday and see what results I have.

My plan for the coming week is:

-Eat 1500 calories a day and chart on My Fitness Pal
-Go to Zumba and yoga at least one time each, and find other ways to exercise at least 2 more times
-Drink 100 oz of water a day
-Get at least 7 hours of straight sleep a night

And who knows. Maybe at some point in my journey I will learn to love numbers! Or at least the ones pertaining to me.

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Day One: History of a married chocolate fiend

The background is telling of an age...
The background is telling of an age…

One thing should be clear from day one of my blog: I am not a proponent of the ‘fat acceptance’ movement. I’m a proponent of a healthy body image movement, and I’m against fat shaming. But I am not a Confident Fat Woman. I won’t buy and post a picture of myself in a fat-kini. I believe we should love ourselves no matter our size, but I don’t think it’s healthy to accept and embrace obesity.

I chose the above photo of myself as a representation of the weight I strive to be. I think of it as my ‘skinny’ self, but really, I’m still curvy in this photo. I like being curvy. I didn’t like being told I had ‘child-bearing hips’ by boys when I was in middle school. I hate bra shopping since the smallest my boobs have ever been is a DD. But being curvy is good.

Being obese is not.

I was a skinny child. The gangly type, all arms and long hair and no coordination. When puberty hit, and it came early for me, I was faced with ill-fitting clothes and general wonderment at the flow of my new figure. I discovered the Juniors section and make-up and from that point on I became pretty, well, vain (it was a phase). The story my best friend and I like to rehash is how ridiculous our grooming rituals were- up at 5:30 to make sure we curled our hair and did full-makeup. Half a bottle of Victoria’s Secret body spray before entering the school halls and a reapplication of lip-gloss at every opportunity. Lunch meant a make-up touch-up and a hair check, and some extra body spray.

I would sit in the bath and hunch over and make sure I didn’t have a ‘roll.’  I could handle my wide hips and my muscular calves. As long as I didn’t have a dreaded stomach roll!

I got married when I was twenty. The photo above is a year into married life – the giddy, super sexy phase where no one gains a pound. But since I have been married for ten years, the phases of marriage have crept into my diet and exercise plan- you know, the I-don’t-give-crap-right-now-because-you’re-a-jerk phase. The he-loves-me-whatever phase. The I-have-no-one-to-impress-right-now phase. The lets-sit-around-and-binge-watch-TV-and-binge-eat-too phase.

I’m not blaming my husband. I’m not blaming marriage. I’m saying it’s made me look in the mirror less and made me lounge around more.

As I mentioned before, I have no will-power. I am good at justifying anything from deserving a piece of cheesecake to deserving a night off from the gym. I’m also good at procrastinating.

There are three other more serious aspects to my weight gain. I’ll keep them brief.

1- Pregnancy and childbirth. Gestational diabetes and my tendency towards meticulousness while pregnant meant I followed my diet to a T. I hardly gained any weight while pregnant. But once I gave birth, I ordered cheesecake right away. The diabetes was gone! I was freeeeeee! And then I was so busy breastfeeding and eating and working to keep up my supply – in addition to sleeping for only 2 or 3 hour stretches- that the last time I stepped on a scale post- partum I weighed 165 and things were looking good. In the three years since I stepped on that scale post-partum, I’ve gained FIFTY POUNDS. It’s not pregnancy’s fault, it’s just a host of factors related to the post-partum period which meant I lost complete control of what I was doing and what my body was doing. I had no idea.

2-Stress. I have quite a stressful life. My OBGYN has said it’s likely stress hormones have contributed to my weight gain.

and on a related note

3. Insulin Resistance. Last time a doctor took a good look at my bloods and scans, I was told I don’t have PCOS, since my bloodwork wasn’t consistent with it, but it was possible I was PCOS-ish (they are very noncommittal about this). But since then I have discovered I am probably insulin resistant. My OBGYN, just last week, said it’s like I have to do twice as much work to lose weight for half the result of a ‘normal’ person. I already knew I had the metabolism of a reptile, but this put it in perspective for me. Hormones are not on my side.

But I shall not be deterred. Day One of my weight loss journey is over and I went to Body Jam today. I drank a protein smoothie but I also had a bowl of ice cream and some Halloween candy. Tomorrow is a new day.