It is time to share a little bit about my weight loss struggle. I think one of the hardest things for people, is when a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, whatever health care workers tells you to lose weight, and they themselves are chubby. Because, I am only 4 11, it is very hard to maintain the weight on paper that the doctor says I need to weigh. Matter of fact I have never weighed what they say I should weigh. My whole life I have been a little chubby. But, I also carry quite a bit of muscle mass, which is of course never considered in the equation of a doctor. Because most of my fat is in my middle, like most women, this fat is particularly difficult to lose. I am also, like most women impatient with the amount of effort needed to actually lose weight, and keep it off. So I have been taking nutrition classes, which are awesome for increasing knowledge base. But, I still thought something was missing, since I am only losing like an ounce or two a week. That is way too slow! So, I figured out my Basal Metabolic Rate, and started watching My 600 Pound Life, I will tell you why below.
According to the BMR calculator, I need to consume 1500 calories per day, to just maintain my current weight. Most people need 1500 calories to lose weight, mine is just to maintain, ugh. That is problem number one. I have an incredibly slow metabolism, like almost non existent it seems. Even with increased intensity in my exercise, it still moves like a snail, and no I don’t have Thyroid issues. I am just very unlucky in the metabolism department. In order to lose weight, I would have to get rid of at least 500 calories per day. I have already increased my aerobic intensity, and time, so that leaves food. That means, my body, and my metabolism needs to consume only 1,000 calories per day to lose weight. Good grief, that sounds awful. Actually, I have been doing it for a week, or so, and while some days I actually had to go over a little, because of too intense of workouts and not having enough fuel, I am seeing results. So, on the days I do more intense workouts it is more of a 1200 calorie day, but on lighter days it is 1,000 calories. This seems to be working, now for how long we will see. I have lost 4 pounds this week. While it is not my goal to lose too fast, I do need some kind of results other than an ounce a week. It is a juggling act, just like anything else with a chronic illness. Since I have CKD I can’t eat high protein, but I need high density meals to give me enough fuel. I need at least 50 grams of protein a day, at this weight and activity level. That has been kind of tricky with just 1000 calories per day, but I am getting it with eggs and beans. I also am taking a high quality multivitamin every day now. I get blood work every 6 months, and have learned to know my body symptoms if something is wrong.
That leads me to the show My 600 Pound Life. I started watching this out of curiosity of how someone can really weigh that much. I don’t weigh 600 pounds, I don’t even weigh 200 pounds, but my thought was maybe I could learn something, and I did. Emotional eating, comfort eating, enablers who allow the over eating, very slow metabolism, depression, no drive to exercise, relationships to food, family dynamics these are all things I have discovered lead to people weighing that much. What does that have to do with me? Well one, I have an extremely slow metabolism, always have. 2- I didn’t think I had a bad relationship with food, but after much thought and examination I find I do. Not necessarily in the same way as the people on the show, but fear of being malnourished, and getting anemia again which was devastating to me, plus the fear of my good kidney failing, have all led me to over obsess about food, and drive me to eat too many calories for what my body actually needs. Plus, even though I thought I knew how much I was really eating, I am discovering I really did not. I was good at counting the protein, phosphorus and sodium to keep my kidney good, but calories and fat not so much. I also have a fear of too much exercise. While that probably sounds dumb, an injury will set me back, could make me lose work, and that always sits in the back of my mind. While I still have to be aware of that, fears only limit my abilities with no good outcomes. The show, by making me see through the eyes of others who struggle, that some of their issues are actually similar to some of mine. I can’t let fear win. I have to be more mindful of what I put in my body. I am mostly plant based, for the past couple of months, but bread and pasta, are part of that, which of course carries quite a bit of calories. Finding a happy balance to keep my body healthy is a journey. I have to learn to be patient, and mindful on the journey. My stamina, strength and balance have increased so much. That is just as important as a number on a piece of paper, and I have to remember that too.
Do you struggle with weight? Just because something works for one does not mean it should be done by another. We are all different, and our bodies have different needs. Illnesses, medications, all need to be considered when embarking on a diet and exercise regime, and should not be taken lightly. Talk to your health care provider for advice, if they are ineffective, then ask for a referral. I am blessed that my new primary care doctor believes in food as medicine, and even though the changes are difficult, it is a goal to hopefully never need medicine for my body to function the best it can. While a multivitamin can be considered as medicine, it is a necessity right now for me to take. Allowing my body to get malnourished would be detrimental to my health.