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Giving up the "only" option?

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Old 08-09-2009, 10:16 AM   #1
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Unhappy Giving up the "only" option?

Hi ya.
Here's the sitch, I have been trying to lose weight since 2001. Initially I succeeded, I dropped from a size 16 to a 6. Then the life of a veterinary student hit me and my weight has climbed back to where I started. I have tried, seemingly, everything...well except surgery or liposuction, or hypnotherapy. I consider those options to be more extreme and I just don't feel my problem warrants extreme measures as of yet. Currently, I just feel extremely beat down and like giving up and saying "screw it, I'll just be overweight forever." BUT, I don't want to. I don't feel right, just frustrated and tired.
There's actually several layers to this. A few summers ago I was sick of the climbing numbers so I decided for the summer I would be a dieting/working out machine. For 2 and 1/2 months I worked out an average of an hour and a half 5 days a week, ate a decreased calorie, healthy diet, and really paid attention to the whole ordeal. At the end of the summer I had lost about 1 pound ( I think 1 and 1/4). After that things also haven't been the same. How can one be so dedicated and it just fail to show?? Since then my heart really hasn't been in it a whole lot, next add in medical problems and it's a rather messy cluster.
The medical problems include chronic migraines diagnosed about 9 months ago and IBS I've had forever. For the migraines, I've been on two medications I take daily since the diagnosis. The first one caused me to gain about 30 pounds (due to it's side effects) and the second one won't let me work off the pounds (it's side effects). I have an appointment to try and get off/switch the meds, but the earliest my neurologist could get me in is the end on November.
I have a moderate of IBS which I've had forever and currently it's rearing it's ugly head recently due to the whole heap load of stress I have from my new job (also doesn't help the headaches). I have medication for it, but it knocks me out for at least a few hours, so I only can take it at night. Thus during the day I try and relax (usually unsuccessfully) and pop A LOT of Gas-X to combat the embarrassing flatulence that comes with it.
I'm feeling like I can either cater to my headaches and IBS -OR- I try and lose weight, never the two shall meet. I sleep in more to try and combat the headaches and IBS instead of getting up and going to the gym, but then I'm not getting the exercise I want. This is frustrating and kind of depressing, which then more than occasionally leads to overeating, which leads to upset tummy and headaches and sleeping in. Then it stresses me out when the numbers go up instead of down on the scale and....you get the picture. In the past, I've had the "no pain, no gain" attitude and just gone to the gym when I feel sick, upset stomach, etc and I'm honestly not sure if that helped me in the long run, or hindered me to where I am now.
So now I don't know what to do...how do I, or can I kick start this thing back into gear? Basically....help? Any ideas? I'd really appreciate them!
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:29 AM   #2
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WARNING: A bit of tough love ahead -

The first thing that rings out to me is this

Quote:
I have tried, seemingly, everything..
Have you really? Have you tried tracking your calories? Measuring,weighing, accounting for every taste, lick, bite and crumb that goes into your mouth?

For exercise - how about walking? Adding in higher intensity levels. Strength training? A resistance band is a great way to begin.

Have you tried making a commitment? An ironclad commitment to good health and being all that you can be. A commitment to do what is necessary and what is required to get the weight off - and keep it off. A commitment to find/seek out and develop a plan that's right for you. A commitment to somehow, someway MAKE this work. No stopping till you get there.

Quote:
.how do I, or can I kick start this thing back into gear?
DECIDE to. Decide that you will no longer settle for second best, now when first is within your reach. Decide to do what is required. You want it? Go out there and get it. It's yours for the taking. Make that all important commitment. Then devise a plan. Stick to it like glue. Change it up as need be. When you find something's no longer working for you, switch it out. Be creative. Challenge yourself. Educate yourself - on good nutrition and what eating right can do for you. Make it an adventure. Self-discovery and self growth is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Last edited by rockinrobin : 08-09-2009 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:53 AM   #3
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I definitely agree with rockinrobin. I used to think that I'd tried everything, when really, I'd follow a plan half-heartedly and get really upset when it didn't give me the results I was looking for. I feel like what I'm doing now is very different - I'm tracking my calories so that I'm working with actual numbers (not just guesses on what's best for me) and committing myself to exercising. I work a full-time job and run two part-time businesses, so believe me - I understand about not actually having the time for exercise. However, I've found so far that making time for myself helps me to manage the stress of all that better and it gives me more energy to do the work I need to.

However, one thing I would recommend would be talking to your doctor or to a different doctor if yours isn't willing to look at other medications/treatments that don't have the side effects you're experiencing. Plenty of people have these conditions and are still able to lose weight, so don't give up all hope!

There will always be obstacles - whether they're health issues, time commitments, husbands, children, or whatever. You've got to make the commitment to do what's best for you!
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:05 AM   #4
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Personally, I can understand your frustration. It sounds like you are dealing with a lot, including medical conditions and meds that can cause so many issues with your system. Many of us know how you feel because it IS frustrating and disheartening to have to go through these kind of obstacles on a daily basis. I agree to try to talk to your doctor or change doctors to try to find a good balance for you. Maybe you can find an alternative method or medication, or something to help ease the side effects.

Maybe instead of focusing on weight loss, maybe you could try just making small changes in your life. Take it a step at a time instead of the "all or nothing" attitude. You sound frustrated, tired, disappointed, and stressed. I'm saying that making changes and sticking to them, little by little, you may find that lifestyle change take place hopefully without much stress on you. If anything maybe small changes could get you into a better place so you can decide where you want your life to go in terms of health.

To add, like rocknrobin said, if something isn't working then you have that option to switch it out to something else. I recently have been switching things around in my life and finding what works for me is key. I like that I'm in control of what goes in my mouth, what I do with my time, and etc, despite having elements in my own life that are beyond my control.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:13 AM   #5
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Are you sure we aren't related??? I, too, suffer from severe migraines and IBS. I lost 70 pounds 8 years ago (down to a size 10) and in the past 2 years have gained 15 back despite working out diligently and following a healthy diet for a year. Obesity runs on my mom's side of the family despite everyone working out and eating healthy - so that doesn't help. I use imitrex because the preventative meds have too many side effects. For me, the benefit of working out and eating healthy means much fewer and less severe migraines and IBS flare ups. I'm in my mid-late 30's so I guess I'm experiencing the metabolic slow down. Topamax may help prevent weight gain and possibly cause a small weight loss - something to discuss with the neurologist.
I think you are committed to losing weight but I understand, having the same issues, how easy it is to get sidelined. All I can offer is, if it reduces your migraines to work out then keep that up - that in itself is a huge benefit. Most women are way too obesessed about a dress size and a number on the scale. Find a program that makes you feel good without over doing it and try not to focus on numbers. But don't overdo it - that is just as bad as not working out at all.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:43 AM   #6
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On the exercise front, there is a really intriguing article in one of the current newsmagazines, Time, "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin," about how exercise is not the panacea to obesity/overweight that the medical community has hailed it to be.

In essence, that you can work your buns off for years at the gym and it will have very little effect on your weight, and that studies have found that it matters much, much more what you eat than how much or how hard you exercise.

It's on the Time Web site. Interesting reading.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:07 PM   #7
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Giving up is an option, but by far, not your only one.

I dieted unsuccessfully most of my life, and I always would work very hard in the beginning, lose focus or feel overwhelmed and slack off, and the weight would creep (or quickly pile) back on.

It really did take thinking differently. "Diets" don't work, because "diets" are temporary. "Until I lose the weight," is often traditionally how we're taught to look at diets. Whether we realize it or not, we often expect the weight to "stay off" with none (or little) of the effort it took to get it off, and I'm convinced the reverse is true. Keeping it off (even some of it off) is the bigger challenge.

Losing/maintaining weight loss with health issues and some medications is an extra challenge. Some drugs severely increase appetite or water retention or otherwise inhibit weight loss. I have autoimmune disease which requires periodic courses of prednisone. I have a love/hate relationship with the drug. One one hand, I feel amazing on it (Energizer bunny amazing), and on the other it kicks hunger into overdrive to the point that hunger isn't just a moderate distraction, it's an unrelenting torture. It also is a dance with the devil, in that prednisone takes as much as it gives. The side effects can be as severe or worse than the disease (as with many of the drugs for autoimmune issues).

One thing I would ask is if you've considered losing weight in ways that aren't normally considered? Rather than starting gung ho, and losing steam, have you considered dieting in reverse? Only making healthy changes you are willing to make forever, and starting with something you know is doable (regardless of how much weight loss results, even if no weight loss results). There are hazards to this, for one if your first changes are too small, you may see no weight loss, but you've got to be able to keep going, even when progress isn't what you want (that's true of all plans though).

Have you considered weighing daily or even twice daily? I know dieting "wisdom" tells us that weighing daily is "bad," but if you can learn not to be discouraged by fluctuations it can be a powerful tool?

Have you considered changing the composition of your diet? I do think that a "counting" method is very valuable, whether that's calories, points, exchanges, or even carb or fat grams (though I don't think the last two are ideal, since they're not taking into account everything you eat, it would be possible to outmaneuver the diet). However, a lot of people find that what they eat matters as much as how many calories they eat. For some people that's eliminating (or nearly so) processed carbs from their diet (simple sugars and starches), for others it's going Whole Food "good carb and fat" diets such as South Beach. For others it's reducing carbohydrates from all sources.

Have you considered using incentives or rewards for yourself? It may seem a bit lame, but you also may find it sparks your creativity and commitment. Making a job into a game can work for some people. I made a graph that looks a bit like an bingo chart. There are two numbers in each box with my weight and the pound lost - for example, since I started at 394, my first box would have read 393 in one corner and 1 in an opposite corner. When I reached that pound I added a sticker. In the beginning, I'd decide on a small reward for each 5 lbs in advance, and once I wrote it down I couldn't buy that particular item for myself until I lost the 5 lbs.

Perhaps the most important question of all, how do you deal with perceived failure, and how likely are you to perceive failure when your results aren't what you hoped for? If you lose half a pound, but wanted to lose a pound do you feel as though you've failed or succeeded? When you make a mistake to you think "I've blown it, I might as well eat whatever I want, and I'll start fresh tomorrow?" Or can you forgive yourself and move on immediately?

If you're prone to throwing in the towel (even temporarily) when things get rough, it can be very hard to make any sustainable progress. If you're punishing yourself for less-than-perfect behavior or results, you can make dieting so miserable that the only reasonable course of action is giving up. But you can give up on the self-recriminations, without giving up on the weight loss.

There really are so many options. Many more than I've suggested here (I just chose the ones that were instrumental in my finding my way). With everything I've said, I don't know how much will apply to you at all. I will not claim to be the model of success. I'm finding it a struggle not only to lose, but even to maintain my loss, especially during health flares, but the only option I don't consider is giving up, because giving up to me doesn't just mean no more weight loss, it inevitably means gaining, and if I let it gaining more than I lost.

Hope at least some of my ramblings are of use to you. Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:07 PM   #8
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I too, like RR, wonder if you have tried counting calories and making yourself accountable for every bite and drink you take in each day. sparkpeople.com is one of the more popular sites for that. Like many of us here, I too have struggled with my weight most of life. I would start a "diet" but never really commit so of course, it failed. Coming here, I have learned so much and I continue to learn each and every day I come here. This place is my support team. Focus, be determined, and commit. We are here rootin ya on, you CAN do this
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:13 PM   #9
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Hi there!

I sure understand about how school can catch up with you. And it is frustrating to give it 100% and not see the results you think you've earned. And based on your post, it is like you have a million thoughts and things on your mind, and all this confusion is really clouding what is a relatively simple issue.

1. Forget the perfectionist thinking. I think this is your biggest hangup. You have headaches and feel that exercise isn't feasible right now and you are beating yourself up about it. STOP THAT!!! Right NOW!! Diet accounts for 80 percent of your results: exercise is only 20%. So you need to focus on your diet FIRST. Exercise can come later. And if you don't exercise it doesn't mean you are a failure! I lost my first 52 lbs without exercise (self-conscious, time demands, and so on). Not being "perfect" and exercising from the get-go doesn't make me any less successful. The KEY is your diet. And FORGIVING YOURSELF for NOT BEING PERFECT.

2. You need to figure out how best to manage your IBS -- what foods to eat, what to avoid and so on. I'm sure you already have info this on hand, but here goes anyways: http://www.gastro.net.au/diets/irritablebowel.html

3. Once you have a handle on it, you really, really, REALLY need to get a grip on your eating with respect to intake and amount. Again, diet accounts for 80 percent of your results: exercise is only 20%. So focus on how exactly you want to manage your intake within the parameters of managing IBS, such as WW or calorie counting or SOMETHING structured, with guidelines.

4. GO FOR IT!!

It really is this simple. Put the exercise on the back burner. Figure out what foods are best with your IBS. Get a structured plan in place to manage your intake. Get that link between diet and exercise and perfection and weight loss out of your head. Focus on the diet for now. And just DO it!

You CAN do this!! Honest...

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Old 08-09-2009, 12:58 PM   #10
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Dear Trying, three things just rang so true here:

First of all: Whatever Robin says, pay attention. Just do it--whatever she says!

Secondly, ****zu is right. That Time article confirms my experience. Ultimately weight loss is about taking in less calories than you burn. It IS the way to lose wt. Read that article. The exercise is about feeling/ looking better, better heart health, etc. Very, very important, just not sufficient alone for weight loss if you don't reduce your calories below what you are burning. My point is, don't give up or think you can't lose wt. without being an exercise perfectionist. Walk. Get your 10,000 steps in. Wear a pedometer and get your steps in. Cheat..do the stairs twice..park farther away at the store..pace while you are on the phone.

Third, I know several people who have been taking Topomax..for a different issue than migraines, but it does reduce the appetite. It just seems to dull it. I have read all the side effects and no drug is benign, but certainly it is worth a shot to ask your neuro about it.

I only know one person with IBS, but she was most helped by learning bio-feedback and relaxation techniques. Worth a shot. Have you tried probiotics? Regular, unflavored Kefir? An acquired taste, to be sure, but it sure keeps things on track.

Good luck. You came to the right place.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:15 PM   #11
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If you don't want to give up, then don't! How about you set a goal of losing the weight over 20 years? Looking at your ticker, that's about 17 calories a day you must either take in less or work off. Just 17 calories. One drink of soda. Sound silly? It's better than giving up.

I used to have a terrible time with IBS, but diet changes have made a huge difference. And stress management was a big part, too.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:30 PM   #12
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Seriously, if you commit, just commit, you CAN do it. 99% of weight loss is in your head. Trust me, I'm 40 years old, I know. I've lost 120 lbs in the last 11 3/4ths months. Didn't do anything special, nothing painful, just I committed and I DID it, 100% on plan, all the time. You will get some excellent advice on this site, follow it, tweak it for your own needs, and you WILL LOSE WEIGHT. And, yes, DO WHAT ROBIN SAYS! She will not steer you wrong.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:50 PM   #13
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For me, giving up is not an option.you have to decide what your options are.And the end of the day,its up to each and every one of us to make our own decisions.I hate to see you give up and spend the rest of your life painfully unhappy.You sound really unhappy to me from your post.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:04 PM   #14
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Ah, the 80/20 rule.

I think the one thing most people can agree on is there are different paths for weight loss.
Pay attention to your body, move at your own pace, but movement is important for many other reasons the weightloss.

For me, my weightloss slows and I just plain feel squishy (emotionally and physically) when I'm not moving.
I also find moving more helps me make better choices because it gives me an overall desire to be healthier.

For some, diet alone works best, some need both, others find they start moving more and the better diet follows naturally. (And many other scenarios)

You also have pharmaceuticals that are playing a significant part as well.
November is a long time away, any chance of seeing a different doctor sooner?
You may just be making yourself crazy trying everything under the sun, when you might need to address the pharma issue first. Meds are no joke.
Again, pay attention to your body and sort the meds out-pronto.
Best of luck.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:57 AM   #15
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Default Thanks!!

Alright, I hear ya'll, and THANK YOU for the advice. I have to admit I initially got a bit defensive at some of the comments, especially Robin's, but the truth can bit of a hard pill to swallow and all in all you're right. I need to get back on the horse. I tracked my calories, ALL my calories down to the number of pieces of gum and I chewed and, to be honest, it really didn't work at the time. That was when I gained all the weight back. BUT that really is what is needed. Less calories in and a mindful and watchful eye. I really appreciate the ideas too. I think switching it up and trying some new things will really help me stick. I'm not quite to the full on commitment stage yet, but I'm on the path. I know that "trying isn't committing," but I think I just have a few more hurdles before I can get there. Iím going to try and move up my appointments and really challenge myself and the doctors to find the right medications for me and my lifestyle (maybe even none at all, I hope!) Posting this message and getting all your advice was one of my hurdles, doesn't it suck to admit you have a problem you can't necessarily deal with on your own?
The bottom line is that I'm I really think I can do this,Ö.I mean Iím gonna do this and I have all your wonderful, experience filled advice coupled with a swift kick in the rear to get me moving. :-) So thanks, really, thanks(!), I needed this. :-) Good luck to everyone on their treks, trials, and tribulations, and let's start your engines!
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