My name is Colleen, and I am extremely obese (367 from 394). I have several weight loss challenges: fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, an undiagnosed aiutoimmune disease (which might or might not be in remission), sleep apnea, and insulin resistance (and may have adult ADD - I'm extremely disorganized, scatter brained, and impulsive, and even though I have a master's, degree I can't get the little details in life under control.
And with all of that, I think my biggest weight loss challenge is actually PMS.
I have joked all of my adult life that if it weren't for my period I would have a chance. Four days before my period to Four days after, I am ravenous and have a very difficlut time not eating everything in my reach (especially carbs and meat). During that week, I can gain 15 or more pounds (Up to 8 is just the water I retain no matter what I actually eat). I generally can lose the weight within the next two to three weeks. It's so discouraging, because I often have only a one week window every month or two to try to accomplish something (and the extreme weight fluctuations cannot be good).
For the last three weeks, I have given up white flour and white sugar and trying to eat only whole grain and fruit & veggie carbs (except for a couple celebration days on my vacation to visit my family in Illinois - Mother's Day, my sister's graduation, a reunion with a dear friend...). The first couple weeks I didn't lose weight (but since they where mostly while I was on vacation, even that was progress). However, this past week, I have been diligent and have lost a little over 9 lbs. The low carb really seems to make a difference for the fibro and arthritis. I have more energy and less pain, and am starting to exercise more and become more active.
However, I'm about halfway through the Godzilla phase, and it is driving me crazy. The carb cravings are not as nearly as strong since I've eliminated the refined carbs. I woke up in the middle of the night last night having to eat something. I turned on the tv, ate about a half cup of cut fresh pineapple that was in the fridge. As I was slipping back into bed, I realized that this was the first PMS 3:00 AM fridge raid that set me back fewer than 100 calories (the average is probably 4 to 5 times that). Without thinking, I even reached for a healthy snack. If I can keep this up, I may actually get some of this weight off.
This may sound weird (that's a phrase I seem to use a lot), but during my Godzilla phase, I often feel a bit "spacey," light headed and almost intoxicated (like I've taken tylenol with codein). I do have extremely severe cramps (when I'm not on birth control pills, I wish for death every month). I've never even taken BCP for their "intended purpose." My husband and I would love to have a child, but I'm on too many drugs to risk it, and I'm not healthy enough yet for any adoption agency to touch us.
Anyway back to the topic. The PMS high, I think is caused by endorphins being released in response to the cramps (nature's pain killers after all), but since I've been low carbing, it's been like a triple whammy. I don't think I could drive around the block in this condition, and whoa it's really like I've been drugged (taken maybe two or three of those special tylenol).
Anyhoo, has anyone had even a slightly similar experience, or am I truly a freak in this regard.
05-24-2005, 07:55 PM
PMS and stress eating definitely got me where I was. I usually crave salty stuff and fast food and am hungry even after eating a reasonable amount.
I've also found that doing a carb controlled diet has helped a lot. I tried South Beach, but found it too restrictive, so now I'm going to Weight Watcher's and doing their Core plan, which is similar in some ways, but give you a little more freedom. The meetings also offer a lot of good advice about getting around obstacles.
I found that in the really restricted Phase I of South Beach I felt really tired and spacey. How low are you going with your carbs? It sounds like you are being pretty moderate, allowind for fruit and whole grains. You might take up the "high" feeling with your doctor--maybe something needs adjusting in your medication.
05-24-2005, 08:03 PM
hi. dont be discouraged hun. keep on going and you will lose the weight. it may take you some time but you will do it. hang on in there hun.
05-24-2005, 10:28 PM
Yeah, at 368 lbs, I'm going to be struggling for years to get to a "normal" weight, but I have a lot of small goals to keep me going. I've been struggling with my weight since I was 5 years old (I'm 39 now). I have to say that if I can continue to feel the way I've felt this past week, eating this way. I think I will stay motivated.
I definitely plan on mentioning the "altered state" to my doctor when I go next week. Basically I have been eating lots of fruits and vegetables and two or more servings of potato or whole grain. When I get a hunger headache or feel a little light headed, I have eaten some brown rice or a couple triscuits. This has worked until today (Godzilla day 4). I am on two meds that can affect serotonin, so it's possible that the cumulative effects with my hormones, push me over the endorphin edge. However, even as a teen PMS could do this to me (though not as extreme). Even though I'd have horrible cramps, if I could get the cramps to lighten up a bit, I often felt this woozy sort calm, relaxed sense of well-being. I didn't associate it with a narcotic buzz until I was prescribed tylenol with codein for a sprained back.
I am trying to learn to listen to my body for hunger signs, but my natural signals are pretty screwed up. I've spent too many years eating by the clock and from the ravenous cravings. The first day I decided not to eat by the clock, my hunger sign was a headache. There have got to be more subtle signals that I overlooked, but it is a joy not to feel compelled to eat all day.
I would estimate that I am eating between 1500 and 2200 calories per day (which makes me realize how much I must have been eating before), and am probably closer to the Zone that to Atkins. (40%carbs, 30 protein, 30 fat).
I've eaten a few pork rinds for snacks, but also pistachios, and triscuits. Surprisingly portion control has been fairly effortless.
I haven't rejoined Weight Watchers since moving to Wisconsin in October.
Because of my health problems, I haven't been working (my husband says my full time job is getting better), and we can't afford the WW meetings right now. I basically follow the Core Plan, but don't count points since if I eat a food that's not a Core food, it's usually only a very small amount. If my weight loss slows I'll rethink my plan, but for now, making better choices instead of counting is working great for me.
05-24-2005, 10:41 PM
you are doing great. I am proud of the progress that you are making. making the decision and actually carying it out is indeed a big acomplishment in itself.
You are making good choices although calorie counting is also important to your sucess. you will need to consume a certain amount of calories per day to achieve your goals.
You said that you have a problem with overeating. there are several things that you can do to stop this. the one that works very well is to drink 3 glasses of water before eating. this helps you in a way that you feel full when you eat and it prevents you from overeating.
I;ve had problems with my goals also. I'm 5 '9' 33 yo. I started out 2 months ago at a weight of 199 lbs. i got down to 174 lbs about 3 days ago. but i noticed 2 days ago that i went back up to 180 lbs. i was so upset i didnt know what to do. than i realised that i had overeaten and literally pigged out alot at a wedding and i brought home alot of food that was left over from the wedding that i pigged out on some more. now i see that it doesnt pay to pig out so much as i did. today the scale told me i was 177.5 lbs. so now i'm back on track and i plan to make it back to the 174lbs i was 3 days ago and hopefully i will make it to my ideal weight of 150 lbs. It is definately a struggle as i have seen so far.
iif you need a friend i'm here. i know that your married but its ok with me as long as its ok with you. hope to hear from you ssoon.
05-24-2005, 11:39 PM
It's ok with me too, and I completely agree that ultimately it all comes down to calories. Calories count whether I count them or not.
When my husband was first diagnosed with diabetes, we went on a lower carb diet together. It was a little more extreme (but still any weight loss is from eating fewer calories). I knew it wasn't the WOE for me, when I ordered a low carb breakfast bowl from Hardee's and it was disgusting! Eggs, cheese, bacon and a sausage patty in a bowl, FLOATING in grease. I sopped up as much grease as I could with a napkin. Scraped off the cheese, and only ate the egg and bacon, and still felt like a brick was in my stomache. What would have been wrong with a low fat egg beater denver omelette, which is more what I had in mind. When I looked up the breakfast bowl online, I found out it had almost 500 calories!
If I can lose all of my weight and then maintain it by my "whole food" approach, that would be wonderful, but it is very possible, even probably that it won't be enough. Eventually, as more weight comes off, I will probably have to follow the Weight Watcher's Core program more strictly (counting every non-core point), and if my weight stalls on the Core program I would switch to the Flex Point system. Basically, I am trying the least restrictive program that works, which fits my personality. When I feel too restricted or confined, I tend to binge out of frustration and a sense of deprivation. But even my outlook is different this time. I have to treat refined carbs almost like an allergy. If I had a deadly allergy to seafood or peanuts, I wouldn't risk my life to eat them, no matter how great I thought the taste. The dramatic difference in my pain level, really was the eye opener. If the effects were more immediate, there's no way I wouldn't have made the connection sooner. Eat a Twinky, get hit in the head with a hammer. Twinky doesn't seem like such a treat anymore. But eat a Twinky and get in in the head with a hammer TOMORROW, not as easy to make the connection.
05-25-2005, 12:26 AM
i heard someone say that i should just stay within my calorie range and i would be able to eat anything that i want. well i dont exactly agree with that. i could try it. I know that I would still loose the weight in the long run, but I will not like what i see in the mirror . good clean foods contain proteins, carbs, good fats and vitamins and minerals that my body needs to form muscle.
this is why i have to be careful that i am eating the right amount of calories and the right percentages of cabs, proteins and fats. the body is capable of burning muscle tissue that i worked so hard for when its not fed the proper amount of calories and nutrition. so my goal is to burn fat and not muscle.
i saw a pic of a guy that is my same weight and height and he looks in better shape that me. i am so jealous. next time i see him on bodybuilders.com i will ask him a few questions.
i am like really obsessed getting my abs to look the way i want them to look and i know that it will take a long time but god it seems so long. after 2 months i am still faithfully working out and watching what i eat.
so if you must have twinkies then use them for your cheat snack like once a week and also make sure that the twinkies are within your calorie ranges for your diet plan.
Limit or erase salt out of your diet. salt in the body tends to hold on to water weight and hoard it like a thief hoarding jewelry. eat the good fats. dont forget protein, high fiber carbs, and unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals. these your body needs in order to build muscle while loosing the wieght. every pound of muscle that is gained in your body burns off extra calories by itself automatically. good diet and excersise is the key to good health and can prevent and control many diseases such as diebeties, hight blood pressure, cancers some of them, high chelesterol. and many more. it will even improve sex lifes. stick with this. cardio, resistance training with weights, dieting, and you will be good to go.
05-25-2005, 12:55 AM
I have similar PMS problems that you have. I feel like I put on weight that time of the month that I have to work the rest of the month to get it off. I am trying really hard to keep my self in contol and ignore the cravings. It is something that I have to work on every time it comes around. But I am getting better.
With that said, I have lost and regained 50 pounds about 3 times since I was 18. Each time as I lost weight, I noticed that my PMS, cramps and the whole TOM problems became less severe. I asked by doctor about that and she said that estogen is stored in your fat cells so the more fat you have the more your body can store that hormone and thus, the more it can release on you durning the TOM. So basically, I know that I need to lose weight for yet another reason, so that I won't have such bad PMS.
It sound like you are really doing well and know the right things to do. I'm with you on trying to figure out how to deal with the PMS weight gain. I always try and tell my self, just get through this day and soon it will be over.
Keep up the good work and talk your self through your cravings if you think you might make a bad decision. It sounds like you are making good ones, keep it up.
05-25-2005, 12:59 AM
thanks. i'm trying and its not an easy struggle but i'm still here.
05-25-2005, 02:44 AM
Mr, I was just using twinkies as an example (I actually hate them). For me, the white sugar and flour seem to be almost poison. They make me feel sick (but when I was eating it regularly I didn't make the connection - and they're in everything - although a lot of people have no problem with them). The starch and sugar also make me want to eat more (of everything). Three weeks of starting to eat this way, and only one week of completely eliminating processed grains is too early to proclaim a cure, but I have NEVER (diet or no diet), not been hungry from sunup to sundown (and often the middle of the night as well). I feel like I have been freed from a food prison.
I've always enjoyed healthy food (and unhealthy food too), but have always had a HUGE appetite (I am not one of those fat women, who eat like a bird - or pretend to).
Since cutting out the refined carbs, I am finding that I can be satisfied with a healthy portion. I'm not saying that I couldn't overeat if I weren't paying attention, but it's been much easier to stop at the end of a meal without obsessing over when I would get to eat again.
I'm one of those very rare people who don't need to watch sodium at all. My family never put salt on the table (unless we were having corn on the cob), and didn't use much in cooking either (my mother always said, always cut the salt in a new recipe in half or quarter), so I don't have a real "salt tooth." In fact, I always make my own soup, because canned soups are pretty much inedible to me.
I do have mild high blood pressure, but my medication actually put me into deficiency for potassium and borderline for sodium.
I've always known how I should eat, but my cravings and outrageous hunger always did me in. I had no idea that getting rid of sugar and white flour would have such a huge impact on taming that beast. Especially this hormonally challenged week. This may be the first time ever that I lost weight during such a week, especially such a significant loss without feeling that it took every ounce of mental fortitude that I had. This has been almost too easy (but again it's early).
Thanks for the support. The lower carb does seem to be helping with the cravings. My calorie count was a little higher on these days than on others, but still within reasonable levels. When I was on Nutrisystem, my calorie range was 2250, and I was nearly 70 lbs lighter. I can't imagine what my "normal" calorie intake must be. I tend to eat fairly large meals, but not so large that thin people would be shocked. I just tend to graze alot and pick up alot of calories along the way.
That I have been happy with three meals and two to three small snacks, is almost a miracle to me. It helps that I am "splurging" by eating foods I love. I made sugar free raspberry jello last night, and added a little extra water, a whole bag of frozen unsweetened blackberries and some splenda. Before it set, I took out a little of the mixture and added low fat cottage cheese (1/2 a cup for the whole 4 serving dish) for a topping. Oh my gosh, it was so good. It tastes like raspberry/blackberry cheesecake. My husband had some, but didn't like the tartness of the berries, and the softer texture (goody for me, as I'll have the other two servings for the next couple days). I do drink alot of water. I am trying to drink at least half of my water without any flavoring, but I also drink alot of Crystal Light (and Walmart's version of it). I puree several lemon (skin seeds and all) with a little diet lemonade and add about 1/4 of a lemon's worth to a 2 qt pitcher of diet lemonade (I freeze the rest and puree for future use). It tastes wonderful, and not at all diety.
I'm feeling pretty optimistic, but I can't let myself think about how long it is going to take me, or I will get discouraged. But since I'm not losing weight for appearance sake, and I will see alot of improvements in my health long before I reach my final goal, the length of the journey really isn't all that important.
05-25-2005, 07:23 AM
if you need a friend i'm here. i know that your married but its ok with me as long as its ok with you. hope to hear from you ssoon.
Mrcopastetic-If you want to be here for weight loss/diet/fitness support you are more than welcome...but comments like these I feel are out of line here at 3FC.
05-25-2005, 09:46 AM
Mrcopastetic, I do assume you were meaning platonic friends, and my husband is aware and supportive of my participation here and knows that I may be speaking to both men and women. I'm a little more open than most with my discussions of any subject in mixed company (My father was a volunteer ambulance driver/EMT and you would not believe the stories sometimes told around the dinner table - changes your perspective on what is and is not appropriate or polite conversation)..
My husband is sitting here with me, and in reading the thread, says that if there's any week he's willing to give me up it's this one (He is of course kidding).
05-25-2005, 01:32 PM
Kaplods, there's a Core support board here where I spend most of my time. A number of us are going to meetings, but a lot of people are just doing WW at home, too. There are lots of good ideas and recipes, so please feel free to join us, if you want.