Monday, June 22, 2009

upward spiral?

I don't know what the opposite of a downward spiral is, but I feel as if, physically, I am doing just that.  I am walking more easily, no limp, no dragging of my left leg.  I am less tired.  I can do multiple things in a day--not just work out, I can work out and grocery shop and maybe even go for a walk without being exhausted.  I don't know if 25 lbs lost could do this, or if it's the massive amount of exercise I've been doing (to get to the 3500 calories of exercise a week).
But at the same time, feeling this good physically is terrifying.  What if something happens to take it away again.  What if I can't go to the pool 4 hours a week and my leg swells again and I go into stage 2 lymph edema (which is not self-treatable, as my level 1 is).
I am not going to be able to do my goal of climbing Sleeping Giant in 2 weeks, but I'm okay with that.  I haven't been walking twice a week as I planned; I get more calories for the time spent if I do things in the pool.
I find it ironic that I feel this way, as I am firmly convinced the that world and society are rapidly going to hell, whether or not it's in a handbasket, and honestly I'd rather not live through the collapse.   I guess I bother trying to feel better because maybe it won't all go away.
image source

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

virtual model--virtual weight loss

I was playing around at the my virtual model site.  It's really for trying on clothes, but they have a new weight loss simulator.  That's the difference between 340 and 150. The really skinny one is 114 lbs, which is the lowest I've been as an adult. To me, it looks TOO skinny, but I remember clearly still having fat flabby arms and a flabby non-flat stomach and wanting to get liposuction with my employee discount (I worked at a medical center then).  I also still had big boobs, even at that low weight.

Obviously I did not put my real face on here.  I tried to get one close to what I look like, but there isn't one. I do wish my hair was THAT long again.

frustrated at not losing again this week

I'm feeling very frustrated.  For the second week in a row I didn't lose any weight.  I found a different graphing feature on Spark People and generated data for the last 4 weeks to see what the difference is.  And maybe I'm crazy, but all 4 weeks are pretty close.

In the top graph, the orange bar is my BMR and the green bar is exercise.  So the 2 colors, total, are what calories I used up those weeks.   The line graph across them is how many calories I ate.  Nowhere does the calories I ate come close to what I burned.   
Below that is just my calories consumed.  The second week I lost 4 lbs, I was below the lowest recommended amount which is not a good thing.  But last week I was right at the line--still no weight loss.  
Maybe I am crazy.  (I probably am crazy.)  But if I am eating within the shaded area, and eating less calories than I expend, shouldn't I be losing weight?
I hate randomness.  I hate the insanity of trying the same thing over and over and getting completely different results and not knowing WHY.  I want to throw something and yell, not that it would accomplish anything.
When I go to the Yale PCOS clinic next month, I'm going to bring all these various graphs with me.  I'm not sure who I am going to see or what they are going to want to talk about, but perhaps they can help me figure it out. 

a non-fat post

Here is a sample of part of my life that has nothing to do with my weight.   It is just an example for those critics of mine who don't get this blog and think it's my whole life.
Today one of my cats had to go to the vet.  She is young and small and afraid of strangers; she was accidentally stepped on as a kitten (not by us) and badly wounded (all better now).  She needed a shot.  The vet tech opened a little sample of cat treats to try to entice the cat to eat and be good.  She wasn't interested.  I tossed the open packet into the cat carrier and forgot about it. 
One of my other cats, at home, must have smelled the treats because he attacked the empty cat carrier.  I let him inside and he ripped open the packet and devoured the treats.  I made a note to buy those treats (free samples are a form of advertising that works on me!) and went out to the pool, errands, etc. 
Came home, the male cat had barfed the treats up all over the living room rug.
I crossed them off the list of things to buy.
That was my life today.  Nothing fat-related and frankly not that exciting, unless you enjoy mopping up cat vomit from the carpet.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Diabetes drug used for weight loss in non-diabetic patients

The diabetes drug Exenatide (Byetta) can help non-diabetics lose weight (combined, of course, with diet and exercise).

152 obese men and women (BMI greater than 30, average weight of 241 pounds) made up the study group; 25 percent had impaired glucose tolerance (which is what they thought I had, but I either reversed it or that test was incorrect).

One group received 10 micrograms of exenatide twice a day, while the other received a placebo. Both groups were put on a diet and exercise program for 24 weeks.
....(T)hose taking exenatide lost three times more weight than those taking the placebo....Participants taking exenatide lost an average of 11 pounds, while those in the placebo group lost 3.5 pounds on average. 9.6 percent of exenatide-treated participants lost more than 10 percent of their body weight.
Three times more weight? That's pretty impressive.
It works, apparently, by causing people to eat less and increasing feelings of fullness.   Bad thing? It's an injection.  Twice a day.   A needle.  I'm not afraid of needles giving me injections (only needles that take blood--those make me sick and always have).   But three times the weight loss?  What a choice...
diabetes drug helps weight loss
screenprint of original; image source

Sunday, June 14, 2009

vitamin D levels influence weight loss potential

In some random browsing, I came across this interesting study: Successful Weight Loss With Dieting Is Linked To Vitamin D Levels on the Science Daily site. Since I was recently told I have sub-test-level Vitamin D levels, I find this extremely interesting.
I've lost weight in spite of my low levels, but I've also been supplementing massively, taking 250% of the RDA of Vitamin D each day. My next blood test is at the end of this month, so I'll find out then if the supplements are helping or not.
Vitamin D levels in the body at the start of a low-calorie diet predict weight loss success....Vitamin D deficiency is associated with obesity, but it is not clear if inadequate vitamin D causes obesity or the other way around....
Here comes the science:
(S)ubjects had vitamin D levels that many experts would consider to be in the insufficient range, according to Sibley. However, the authors found that baseline, or pre-diet, vitamin D levels predicted weight loss in a linear relationship. For every increase of 1 ng/mL in level of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol—the precursor form of vitamin D and a commonly used indicator of vitamin D status—subjects ended up losing almost a half pound (0.196 kg) more on their calorie-restricted diet. For each 1-ng/mL increase in the active or "hormonal" form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), subjects lost nearly one-quarter pound (0.107 kg) more.
Additionally, higher baseline vitamin D levels (both the precursor and active forms) predicted greater loss of abdominal fat.
The study followed subjects who ate 750 calories a day less than their metabolic needs.
According to this site, I have a BMR (base metabolic rate--what I burn if I don't move all day) of 2250. I just looked at about a month of Spark People data and I've averaged over the last month about 1800 calories a day of food and with my exercise spread across 7 days, 305 calories a day of exercise. That's a deficit of 755 calories a day, or almost 5 lbs a week. Two weeks straight I lost 4 lbs, last week I lost none, but my mom pointed out that it's been raining for days straight which means my scale could be sticky or I could have water weight. We'll see what happens on Tuesday.
I played around with the BMR calcultor and 1800 would be my BMR if I weighed a little less than 250. Don't forget that's for a completely sedendary day, which I don't have.

I also changed my exercise goals, which the site assigned me but I felt were too low. Every week I got a warning that I was exercising too much for my assigned calories (and I was also eating less than my assigned calories!). I joined the "burn 3500 calories a week" group, which means I have to spend between 3.5 and 4 hours a week in the pool or add some more short walks.
vitamin D & weight loss
image source: LOLcats

Monday, June 08, 2009

disordered eating habits (not eating disorders)

These are part of a much longer article called "What is 'Normal' Eating" from the Spark People site.  I've highlighted the ones I'm suffering from currently. 
  1. Eating (or restricting) food provides immediate relief from unpleasant negative feelings.
  2. Your eating behaviors frequently make you very unhappy.
  3. You weigh (or are afraid to weigh) yourself very frequently, and become significantly distressed when you don’t see the results you hope for.
  4. You frequently avoid eating because you are afraid that you may not be able to stop once you start.
  5. You believe there are “bad” or “forbidden” foods that you shouldn’t eat, and eating them makes you feel guilty or ashamed.
  6. You very strictly count calories and track of everything you eat, and feel that going over your limit means you have failed, at least for that day.
  7. When you eat a "forbidden" food or go over your calorie limit, you often decide to continue overeating, since you have blown it.
  8. You frequently think that people are talking (or thinking) poorly about you because of your weight, even when nothing is said.
  9. You are trying to lose weight because you think it will influence how other people think or feel about you and treat you.
  10. Being at your current weight makes it very hard for you to feel good about yourself and you believe that will change when you lose the weight.
  11. The main reason you exercise is to burn calories, and/or offset the calories you have eaten or plan to eat.
  12. You feel like you have to avoid certain foods entirely because you can’t control how much you'll eat once you start.
  13. You frequently think about food and eating, much more than necessary.
  14. You eat secretly (to avoid embarrassment if others found out about it) or keep hidden food stashes that you eat only when you're alone.
  15. You believe that many of the problems in your life (work, relationships, etc) are due to your weight, and will improve once you reach a normal weight.
  16. You frequently eat when you aren’t hungry or feel like you can’t stop yourself, but don't understand why.
  17. Even though your weight is considered healthy or normal, you are not satisfied, and want to keep losing.
  18. You have many rules about what, when, and how much to eat, and breaking these rules causes you to feel anxious, guilty, or negative about yourself.
  19. You tend to follow your eating and exercise plan for days or weeks at a time, but then seem to go on strike, rebelling against your own plans.
  20. The closer you get to an intermediate or long term weight goal, the more you seem to engage in self-sabotage.
  21. You sometimes use overeating, food deprivation, or excessive exercise to “punish” yourself.
  22. You spend a great deal of time and energy tracking your nutrition, and feel very uncomfortable eating food when you don’t know what’s in it.
  23. You sometimes go to extreme measures like using laxatives, diuretics, diet pills or supplements, enemas, or other measures to achieve weight loss or offset calories you’ve eaten.
  24. You find yourself doing things you know aren’t healthy or advisable (skipping meals, over-exercising, eating very few calories) in order to make up for going over your calorie limit, or to speed up your weight loss.
  25. You base your food choices primarily on calorie content, rather than nutritional concerns or personal taste.
8/25 for Ms. Rosie.  The more you have, the more likely you can develop a lovely eating disorder.  #22, for instance, IS my eating disorder (at least the 2nd half of it).  Someone with healthy ideas about eating, exercising and weight loss doesn't indulge in any of the above behavior.  Apparently.  All my friends must be crazy because most of them have at least a few of these, even my thin friends.
(image source)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

100 lb goal

My husband said when I have lost 100 lbs he will take me to the Caribbean, to our favorite island.
I lost 24 lbs, I seem to kind of be doing it right, I just have to lose 24 more pounds three more times, right?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

new movie--Food, Inc--by author of Fast Food Nation

Fast Food Nation is a great book.
I have, in the past, been much more of a fast food junkie than I am now--mostly when I've worked right near fast food places and eaten there daily for lunch. I didn't STOP eating the crap after I read this book but I have cut way down--from a high of probably six times a week to more like 6 times a month, if that. More like 3 or 4--sometimes I go once a week, other weeks not at all. Some would say that's still excessive, but for me it's a huge change.
Last night I found out the guy who wrote Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, has made a movie along the same lines, actually SHOWING the things he talks about in the book. It's called Food Inc. Oddly enough, last night when I heard about the show (he was on Colbert Report) I tried to immediately look it up online to write about it and found nothing. Today, the movie's web site comes up first in Google. I wonder if the site wasn't up before today? The official trailer is here (can't be embedded) and is about 2 minutes long and wow. Go watch it.
This one is for the same move, but a minute longer and a slightly different slant. Sorry it overlaps the sidebar but it's the smallest option YouTube offers.

It seems scary because it's all true. Even in Fast Food Nation, the fear came from the truth. He never says, don't eat meat, don't eat this, don't eat that...just "if you are going to eat this, you should know what it is and where it came from." Be educated.
The synopsis (straight from the web site):
In "Food, Inc.," filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli--the harmful bacteria that cause illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, "Food, Inc." reveals surprising--and often shocking truths--about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

The film is limited release only (NYC, LA, San Francisco) which means it might never make it to Connecticut, but Amazon already it for preorder (shipping September 15), along with a participant guide, which of course my library hasn't got. 10,000 copies of Harry Potter and Twilight (the equivalent of fast food, but for your brain), sure, they've got that, though.

slight reorganization

I moved around the stuff on my sidebar to make it more logical, and added my newest Yahoo avatar.
Anyone who knows me for real would say I'd totally wear that outfit.  And yes, that outfit/body is what Yahoo considers "plus-sized" which is ridiculous.
Yahoo! Avatars
I think I correctly exported the code so that the avatar in the sidebar (and above) will automatically change whenever I feel like redressing my online Rosie doll.
So here is a static picture, for those visiting from the future who wonder about my outfit:

scarless stomach stapling via mouth

Satiety, Inc is offering a new type of weight loss surgery that is done through the mouth and leaves no scars.  It is done with a very strange device called TOGA.  There is a video on the web site.  It inflates inside the stomach, then makes a vacuum and sucks in the flesh and automatically staples it.  Sounds a little random to me.  It doesn't seem to make a true pouch the way a lap band or regular stapling does; instead it makes narrow tube the food has to squeeze through.
According to this article,  people getting this procedure are losing approximately 45% of their body weight in 18 months, slightly better than typical results ... with conventional stomach stapling.
In an echo of the hypnosis story from last week, some study patients have lost weight after unknowingly undergoing fake procedures — sedation and the tube, but no stapling. Results comparing them with the real thing aren't yet available.

I wonder if they deliberately didn't go through with the surgery on these patients as a control or if there were other reasons why it was stopped after tube insertion?  From reading the article, it seemed like some kind of regular bypass surgery (stapling or otherwise) was used as a control.
The new method is part of a medical movement to perform surgery through body openings such as the nose, mouth and vagina instead of making cuts. The idea is to reduce chances of infection and pain, and speed recovery. With no scars, there are cosmetic advantages, too.
I don't know why this procedure grosses me out so much, yet the gastric sleeve (inserted in a similar way, but all the way down into the intestines) doesn't bother me?  I think it's seeing the video of the device in action, randomly inflating the stomach and then sucking it in and stapling it.  It's like getting WLS from the Terminator.  Although doing both procedures at the same time would mimic an actual full-on gastric bypass (smaller stomach, compromised intestines), although the gastric sleeve is not permanent and the stapling is.
(screenshot from TOGA video on Satiety website;   screenprint of article, both on Flickr)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

daily calories and exercise charts

Here's my so-far calories eaten and expended charts. I really don't like the format of the exercise chart; it is not at all helpful.
In the calories chart, the red dots are when I ate too much or little. Usually too little. That one day when I ate too it just LOOMS doesn't it?
In the exercise chart, I am supposed to be in the dark green area. Obviously today is only Tuesday so I haven't gotten there yet.

stairs and walking--progress

Now that I've been doing this new workout, shorter but more intense (and somehow more satisfying mentally--after 90 minutes of the old workout I couldn't wait to get out of the pool because I was so BORED but with this one, after 40 or 50 minutes I'm exhausted and done and not at all bored), I've noticed a change in how I move.
My hips feel much more fluid and loose.  There is some kind of weird hip exercise that involves swiveling your hips in every direction (kind of like belly dancing) and I feel like I could do that now, if only I knew it.  (I know someone who knows it, so I should have her teach it to me I suppose).  When I walk, my stride is longer and more confident, not short and hesitant.  I used to walk mostly from the knees without a lot of thigh movement and now I'm walking from the hip joint, if that makes any sense.
I can remember last year being at my friend's house and coming out late, in the dark.  No streetlights. I couldn't see and I hesitated for several minutes because I couldn't figure out how to get down the (perfectly normal) curb to the street to walk to my car when I couldn't see the road.   It was actually kind of scary in a "I can't believe I'm this stupid" way.   Now I trot up and down curbs without hesitation.
I can walk up a few stairs (not a whole flight) the proper way, alternating feet, and not using my hands.  (After about halfway, I use the handrail, but I'm not pulling myself up by it anymore.)   When I do step exercises in the water, I can now go forward and back off the step without holding the railing.  Yesterday I did...hmm...30 steps forward and back on each leg, so 120 steps total, and I only held on for the last few going backward.  And that was only because there was a weirdo staring at me and he made me nervous.
So, flush off my water step success, last night I tried to walk DOWN the steps in the proper manner, alternating feet, body facing front.  (I usually go down right foot, right foot, right foot, with my torso skewed to the left.)  I couldn't do it.  I didn't freak out (although I was upset), I tried to analyze what was going on.  I figured out, but I don't know how it helps.  My left leg, the knee specifically, simply cannot hold me while bent, while my other leg goes in front of it and below it to the next step.  But obviously I can do it in the water, so I'm going to step up (pardon the pun) the going backward up the step, because when I come back down, that will strengthen the knee.  And being 24 pounds lighter has got to help.
I've also been getting up from chairs and in and out of the car a lot easier and without using my hands.  I'm not sure why that's different, only that it is.
And why oh why am I so into parentheses tonight?
(image source)

down with the sickness

Some random person posted a rather hateful rant toward me a few days ago and called me a hypochondriac and said that's why doctors hate me (among other nasty things).
I've been thinking about it.  My edema is my biggest, and longest-lasting problem.  It is absolutely visible most of the time.  If one of my legs is a different color and size than the other, how can I be making that up?  
My PCOS was recently diagnosed but I've probably had it for a while.  I never even heard of the disease until I had it.  In fact one of my main symptoms is OPPOSITE what is usually used to diagnose PCOS.  Usually women with it have few and irregular periods.  I have lots of regular periods, usually 2 a month.  When a friend of mine suggested I might have it (she has it) I looked it up and said "No, I don't fit the main sign."  But apparently I have enough of the smaller problems that it counts.  This condition, characterized by screwed up hormones, was doctor-diagnosed.  How am I making that up?
This expert ranter also suggested that my intolerance for hormonal birth control was invented. I've always felt sick and wrong when I took it.  Now I find out, hey, I have absolutely screwed up hormones.  So can you possibly imagine that a person with screwed up hormones might feel sick when random hormones are introduced into her body?  No, that could never be.   Women with PCOS can only take certain kinds of hormonal BC.  I'm not crazy about the one I'm on now, but it's one of the correct ones and I don't feel sick taking it.
I get kind of tired of defending myself on my own blog.  This is a safe place for me to talk about things, or it should be.  Some of these topics I never discuss with the people around me, who have no idea of what's going on in my head.  This is where I let all that out.  I've said it so many times, but it bears repeating.
Rosie Young is not a real person.  She is just an aspect of me.  Rose talks about what it's like being overweight.  That's it.  I have a whole life where I do and talk about things that are not related to my obesity.  If you want to think that the things I reference in this blog are my whole life, go ahead, but you are WRONG.

various losses

I lost 4 more lbs this week.  That means I could be down 100 lbs by the end of the year.  I don't want to get my hopes up based on just 2 weeks though.
I was thinking last night about the past 3 years, since the summer of 2006.  I've lost 8 pets, two jobs and a dad.  The pets don't include fish--even when a fish with a name that I've had for years dies, it just gets a solemn burial in a house plant (fertilizer) and I buy another one.  I was trying to imagine my dad, up there in heaven, with his adopted mom and my grandpa (mom's dad) and all my animals--dogs, cats, parrots, hamsters, guinea pigs--all of them sitting around, maybe under a tree.  I realized I had never imagined my watery creatures in the afterlife--fish, frogs, salamanders--do you think they go to heaven?  Is there some big pond or lake or river where they all hang out?
A year ago I had 8 pets--no, 9--plus my watery creatures.  Now I have 3.  I have more watery creatures though.
I was also thinking that one of my best friends moved away that summer when everything started going bad.  And this month she is moving back.  (Hopefully.  Probably.  She is back in the state as of a few days ago but I haven't seen her yet, she's living an hour away with a sick friend who needs care.)  She is a very mystical spiritual person and I almost feel like she had some kind of protective aura or net over me when she was close by, that faded when she was living 1200 miles away.  Now that she's back, is everything going to be okay?
The last couple of months I've been going through my things, making piles of stuff to sell.  I've cleared out shelves and shelves of old books.  I have all sorts of animal gear I'll never use again, cages and dishes and things, which I am trying to donate to a shelter or rescue place.  My little house now has sudden and strange pockets of SPACE and it's strange in a way I can't explain.  I don't feel the need to fill that space, but it's odd to enter a room and find an empty corner where once a bookshelf overflowed with papers and old novels and random stuff.  I know it's part of my weight loss--to lessen the weight of my home and possessions--and I've wanted to clear some of this stuff out for a while.  It's weird to DO it.  Maybe that's why I am unemployed, to have the time to sit all day and go through a single bookcase or closet?