My name is Jessica, and I'm not going to shut up anymore.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes: Extra Horomnes. Extra Fat.

I've gained 25 pounds since December.Which isn't normal for me. In all honesty, I am a yo-yo weight type of person where I can gain/lose 10 lbs pretty easily and if I go over a certain weight, I always can get back down.

Until now.

At first, I knew that weight gain was due to high stress and a bad diet. I ate whatever I wanted and ate probably more than I should have; indeed, it was my fault that I let myself fall back into a poor pattern of eating habits. Stress eating is my love drug. It's what I used to do to get me through the day of nasty pain and feeling like my head was going to burst at the end of the day. [I should mention that my job is quite stressful at times and was especially stressful this past spring.]

However, I realized back in February this year that my weight gain had been significant and also quite rapid--which is not normal for me despite my eat-til-you-feel-better habitudes. At this point, I reached a tipping point on the scale (197 lbs--my all time highest weight) and decided that I better change my ways. And fast.

So I started working out regularly. Getting back on a half-marathon training schedule. Not quite eating 100% healthily, but nonetheless, making much better eating choices. I quickly shed 5 lbs, and I was pumped. YES! It was working! But come April, I noticed that, unfortunatley, I was starting to gain weight during this 4 week process. Again: not normal for me.

Around the 20th of April--during the peak of my busy work schedule--I ended up in the ER with severe abdominal pain. Luckily my ER doc was AMAZING; he listened to me, believed me when I said I thought it was an endometriosis flare-up, treated me with some pain meds, and after diagnostics revealed that my lady parts were okay, sent me home. He was an angel, but I don't think he knows it. Any person with endo knows that getting onto a healthy schedule with exercise and eating is the best decision we can make for ourselves--but is it easy to maintain? HELL NO. Why? Because of the pain. The nausea. The fatigue. It's hard to keep up with something when our bodies fight us on a daily basis. Also I was feeling defeated because my exercise schedule did not go as planned, and I was gaining weight.

Defeated, but not wholly deterred, I decided that I needed to be more drastic with my diet plan. Eat less. Always eat a salad with lunch & dinner. Drink tons of water. Give up take-out.

Again, I lost some lbs quickly, but I slowly came back to the 194 lbs mark. And here I sit today.

So I started doing some research about Mirena and the NuvaRing. I've decided that it's not just my fault, but that the hormones in both birth controls are affecting my body's metabolism and ability to lose weight. Honestly, after tracking my calories to lose 2 lbs a week on "My Fitness Pal" app and getting light but regular exercise, I should have certainly been shedding the pounds. But I haven't been.

In 2 weeks I have a multiphasic blood scan scheduled, as well as a measurement of my HDL & LDL cholesterol and my TSH (thyroid) levels. It is common for women with endometriosis to also have hypothyroidism, and I am worried that with heart disease in my family, that the horomones could pose a threat to my heart health.

Bottom line is this: I can't live the way I'm living anymore. I think about my body's health, and I worry that my heart health is suffering from weight gain. I worry that I may have hypothyroid disease because it also runs in my family. I'll certainly find out where my levels are in a few, short weeks, but I still worry.

The point of being so honest and up-front about the possibilty of weight gain due to increased hormone therapy is because this phenomenon is not just in my head: it's real. And it's here, happening to me. I'm not sure how to handle this phenomenon, as I've always been able to lose weight with a strict diet and healthy exercise schedule. I feel sad, fat and ashamed of my body. While I'm trying to heal on the inside, I feel like I'm suffering on the outside. People look at me differently who haven't seen me in a few months. I watch their eyes scan over my figure and note when they register that I've gained weight. I can't fit into my clothes right now, and that's pretty depressing. We're going to the beach in a week, and I'm not sure what bathing suits I'll wear because I'm not sure if they'll fit!

I'm not revealing all of these sentiments because I want sympathy from others. I want others who read this to know that they're not alone in fighting the endo battle. Additionally, I want to point out that fighting endo means many things; it means fighting pain, lifestyle changes, mental attitude, and sometimes weight gain. I AM DETERMINED to beat this!

For starters, I have a plan:

1) Changing some meds:
I talked to my doctor about different pain medications, and we're trying a new NSAID medication called Mobic. It's supposed to help with inflammation and flare-up pain. You see, taking stuff like Tramadol can sometimes make me feel fuzzy or tired, so I hope that taking Mobic will relieve that pain without the side-effects of dizziness or fatigue. Additionally, I addressed possible neuropathic pain, and I've started Neurontin to see if that helps as well. After 1 month of taking both meds, I'll touch base with my doctor to see how I'm doing, and we hope that this provides regular pain relief so that I can maintain a more regular, pain-free schedule.

2) Changing diet strategies:
I downloaded a detox plan yesterday from
Skinny Ms.
(no, it's not one of those water with lemon plans--you actually EAT with this program), and a 30-day workout schedule that is comprehensive. On the Skinny Ms. website, there is a wealth of yummy foods that are healthy, full of fiber and "clean." I've noted that Skinny Ms. discusses "clean eating," which I think will help boost my body back to where it needs to be. I'm starting a 3 day (yep, just 3 days!) detox plan so that I can boost my metabolism, perhaps shed a pound or two, and start to feel a little more confident about putting on my work-out clothes.

3) Changing exercise strategies:
I always think that with working out, it's "go hard or go home." So either you go running or you do nothing at all. Which is bullshit. I need to remember that simply being active is better than sitting on my couch! In the past, I've been very successful with regular calisthenic training and cardiovasulcar training. In other words, interval training really works for me, paired with either walking, running, dancing, swimming--something that gets the heart pumping for at least 20-30 minutes. With this workout program from Skinny Ms. that I found, I think I'll find a nice balance so that I'm not pushing myself beyond my limits, and I'm able to keep up with the exercise schedule.

4) Changing my attitude:Gaining weight after a long, cold winter can be, well, depressing. There's no better word for it! But it's not the end of the world. I always think that if someone were to call me fat, I would retort: "Well, fat people can lose the weight; people who are assholes are usually just plain old assholes." When I look at myself in the mirror, I know that I'm not FAT, I'm just fluffier in more places than usual. My normal weight (170 lbs) is actually quite healthy for me even though my BMI chart says that I'm still "obese" at 170. I'm muscular and have a high bone density. I can wear size 8/10 clothes when I weight 170, so whatever. At that point, it's not about what you weigh, but how you feel. And I need to remember that I CAN DO IT. I can feel good about myself again.

My hope is that if you are suffering from hormonal weight gain, you can remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are options out there for you. And I had to remind myself that "nothing changes if nothing changes." If I don't change my diet, my work-out schedule and my attitude, then I won't lose the weight. It's plain and simple.
Best of luck to all of my EndoSisters and EndoWarriors out there who are fighting the good fight! Remember always that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

With lots of love,