Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sometimes It's Just Plain Hard.

The hardest blogs for me to read are the ones where the bloggers never have a setback, such as an unexplained weight gain. I read some of them but still, it's hard because a lot of those folks think calories in, calories out and it's that simple. Those shiny, happy bloggers think that people who don't lose weight consistently are simply making excuses for slow or lack of progress.   They would never deign to "follow" a blog like mine because in their eyes there's something I'm not getting and or doing right.

Well, for some of us, it's not always that simple. Some of us have medical issues or really messed up metabolisms from years of dieting and work our little a$$e$ off and still only see small, teeny, tiny progress. The regular calorie in/calorie out formulas don't work for us, and neither do the BMR calculators and all those other tools that are available. We plug along, doing all the right things, and BAM! Scale betrayal. All that hard earned progress is wiped out in one single weigh in.

That pretty much describes my life since my thyroid diagnosis in 2005 when I gain 25 pounds while training for a marathon! Can you even imagine that I was running 40-50 miles a week, eating just enough to sustain myself and gained 25 pounds?! Don't take your thyroid for granted.

It took me and my doctor 18 solid months of working, working, working at it before I was stable enough that she said I could then try to lose some weight. By then I had gained another 10 pounds. In May of 2007 I began the journey I'm on now at 195 pounds.

In February of 2008 I reached the lowest weight I have been able to get to since my diagnosis: 157. I need to be at 154 or lower to be considered not overweight. Can you imagine how badly I wanted that? I could taste it, just 3 more pounds. Then inexplicably and without me realizing it my thyroid levels dipped badly and I gained 10 lbs. I was beside myself and gave up and didn't work on helping myself at all for around 3 months. That didn't help one bit and by the time I came out on the other side of it I weighed around 179.

In October of 2008 I ran a marathon. Immediately following that I gained 5 pounds because that is what I always seem to do when I run a marathon. It's like my body can't figure out what to do once I stop all that running. For most of 2009 my weight bounced between 180 and 184.

This rant is brought to you courtesy of my doctor’s scale. As you regulars know, I’m not a big fan of weighing myself more than once a week or so. But, I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and had to get weighed in. I usually tell them not to tell me and just write it down. Yesterday, I forgot it had been a while since I was weighed and the tech blurted my weight out. That weight yesterday was 3 pounds more than I weighed last Friday. My scale and my doctor’s are always in sync so that was pretty upsetting considering that I have really behaved myself since last weigh in. I’ve even gotten back in my exercise groove since the pneumonia. Ever since that really crappy moment, I have been fighting the urge to just freaking quit all of this, including the blogging.

Except for that one 3 month period, I have worked on this every single day. I wonder how many of the wonder bloggers could stand almost 3 solid years of eating 1200-1500 calories a day? Only to end up a few pounds less and no where near goal.

Now you know why I exercise so faithfully. Because what if I did quit it all? Where would I be?

Sometimes, it’s just plain hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other.


  1. Oh, I think I'd be fine with 1200-1500 calories per meal. Oh, waitaminute...

    Thanks for the reminder that while we're all heading in the same general direction (or at least striving to), some of us definitely have rockier paths than others.

  2. I know what you mean. I was put on medication that had me gain 25 pounds in two weeks. How is that even possible. If it were water weight, it shouldn't have stayed on for two years. Thankfully my doctor understood, and there was another solution other than that medicine. Not before I gained 10 pounds.

    I love it that THIS is your take. THIS is what you bring to the realm of cyberspace that is ours. We need you. You're right. Not as many people are drawn in immediately. My bipolar status scares a lot of people away.

    But, I'm reading. And so is Jack. That's huge.

  3. I understand what you mean. Thyroid problems run in my family and for a long time I suspected that I was having similar issues (turns out to have been something else) When I had my 3rd child I left the hospital having lost 1pound. That was after giving birth to a baby that weighed 7lbs plus the fluid losses. People actually told me that I must have eaten too much the 3 days I was in the hospital after the c-section. When you're fat nobody thinks you eat normally - they assume you shovel food in as fast as you can.

    I wish it was always as easy as eat less, move more, but it seems like so many factors play a role in if the scale changes or not. I'm trying to focus on other things to track my progress - not the scale. My goal is to get healthy and eventually be able to run a marathon. (all at once, not in the 1/2 mile increments I am currently capable of LOL)

    Good post!

  4. I'm a member of the choir that you're preachin' to girl!! :) Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Yes it is hard some days, it's not easy !! But we have to keep going or we will not only look worse, we will feel worse. Right now even though I am not at goal weight, I still FEEL alot better than I used to.

    I am NO "wonder blogger" :) that's for sure.
    Other than my freak-outs, and eating/drinking binges every couple months, I do pretty good. I guess in the end for me it just evens out and slows everything down. My age, and the Yo-Yo I did in the past, is certainly making it challenging for me.

    I sure can see how gaining 25lbs while training for a marathon would be disappointing but I bet you were physically in great health. Maybe the numbers on the scale should really take to the back burner....

  6. Thanks for the reminder, Helen, that our bodies need tender loving care and understanding. I also get frustrated with my body when I work so hard and so little in the way of results shows up. You've reminded me that my poor thyroid is also struggling (been on meds for years - which only keep me functioning, not soaring). Time to thank my body tonight for fighting so valiantly.

    Good luck with your journey - and you are right: imperfectly human bloggers rock!

  7. Man, I have really slowed down on my weight loss, but for me it really is calories in vs. calories out.
    I eat around 1500-1600 and exercise an hour to an hour and a half a day, six days a week. I lose about 1 to 1.5 lbs a week now.
    Not a lot but still moving in the correct direction. You are right. as much of a complete b*tch as it is, if you stopped it would go from crappy to sucktacular.
    I hope you can stabilize your metabolism.

  8. Amen!

    I don't have a medical condition so it's all on me when the scale is not so kind.

    I continue to be blown away with your diligence regarding your health! To me it's the fight worth fighting!

    And to me, the exercise is the best bart of the fight! The watching the food intake, not so fun!

    I loved your suggestion to add some raspberries to the cupcakes! And now I want to make them again so I can do that! What a beautiful picture that would make! Raspberries and lemon! I'm drooling now! (maybe I should skip the cupcake part and just have some raspberries! lol!)


  9. This: "really messed up metabolisms from years of dieting and work our little a$$e$ off and still only see small, teeny, tiny progress" describes me to a T. It sucks! But what else can we do but keep plugging along.

    Reading about your (and other's) thyroid problems scare the bajezus out of me. I resolve to say one kind thing to my thyroid every night so it won't quit on me.

    And scales - ugh. You are doing so amazingly well with your workouts - bet you were by far the fittest person at your doctor's office yesterday.

  10. Thank you so much for this post, Helen. We are all biochemical marvels, and sometimes the biochemistry goes awry. I had a lot of thyroid drama in 2009 with 3 biopsies. Never needed meds, but it was kind of unnerving and scary.

    There are a couple of blogs, one in particular, where the individual has lost over 100 pounds in about 7 months. Looking at the weigh-in log on the sidebar she has never had a single gain since beginning. It's utterly unbelievable. We are all in the same war, but fighting many different battles.

  11. It is sometimes hard. I think you have been following me long enough to see me go through a time when people thought I didn't have to try to lose weight, and now you see me at the other end of the spectrum. I wish it were always easy, but as you point out, that is not the case. Medical conditions compound that tremendously. Thanks for the good post.

  12. You can't give up. You can't stop blogging. Because that's not who you are, you're not a quitter. :)

    I didn't realize you had thyroid issues. It sounds horrible. I knew you were being pretty darn close to perfect and wondered why they weight wasn't just falling off of you. This explains it. I'm sorry, but you know you don't have any other choice than to keep on trying.

    I hear you about the perfect bloggers, losing weight week after week. It's frustrating to watch. Never have a gain, never a slip up.

    I can guarantee you most of them wouldn't be able to do what you're doing. They'd just give up. Not you. You won't give up. I know you better than that. Hugs Helen. :)

  13. Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Thank you for writing this post. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in my 20's and PCOS in my 30's. Over the course of 15 years, I gained 100 lbs, even with sporadic attempts to lose weight. I made a decision to in Oct. 2007 to eat healthy and exercise for the rest of my life, even if it didn't affect my weight. I'm happy to say that 2 1/2 years later, I'm down 92 lbs. I average about 2 pounds a month and there are always gains every single month. It kills me when bloggers say how slowly they lose when they average 1 to 2 lbs a week. I have learned to go with the flow and stay on course because I know if I don't keep fighting, those 92 pounds will come back much more quickly than they left.

    And by the way, I'm so impressed by anyone who can run a marathon. I just started the C25K for the 2nd time and am just so proud of running 3 minutes at a time!

  14. Have only started reading your blog recently so don't know your history like some of your followers. I'm already impressed by your tenacity. Keep at it!

  15. Thank you for this post, Helen! You are simply amazing! I am the exact same way with reading those "perfect bloggers." It's really hard to take sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for them, but it is sometimes hard to see when you're struggling. I don't talk about it on my blog, but I also have PCOS like wahoostampingirl above.

  16. I think I sometimes make that flippant remark about calories in/calories out, yet I struggle with medical issues as well. Not the same as yours by any means, but my hat is off to you because the stress it causes me is amazing, and you seem to handle it so much better. It sucks.

    It just sucks. You are very inspiring to keep on plugging away--really, very inspiring.

    In a perfect little world we'd all lose 2 pounds a week and those of us that have been plugging away would be maintaining our goal weight instead of trying to get there still. It's not a perfect little world, we're living proof.

  17. It sounds like you have had to work extra hard to get where you're at. It's great that you've been able to stick with it, and not get too discouraged.

    I, too, have some trouble reading blogs of people that never have a setback. It just doesn't seem real, probably because I *do* have setbacks.