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Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Struggle With Food & Weight

In the spirit of Disclosure: An Open Book, there's something that I'd like to share.

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I've been struggling so very much with food and weight over the past few years, but in a very different way than most others.
I don't need to lose weight; I desperately need to gain weight.
There's not really an outlet for those that are having difficulty maintaining or gaining weight. Most people just say, "I wish I had that problem." Not to this extent, you don't!

I don't have an eating disorder... well, it's possible that what's happening to me may actually be part of a disorder that I'm not aware of. I've been labeled as anorexic my entire life because I've always been very skinny. I hated that being said about me, especially back in my school days. It's the equivalent of people saying nasty things about people that are overweight (like calling them a pig or whale). It's hurtful! When I was younger, I used to eat and eat and eat, and I was active in sports. I knew I was skinny, but I wasn't afraid of gaining weight. And, I never binged or purged.

My challenges have been different. I know that I need to gain weight. I know what to eat / how to eat well. But, I still can't do it consistently. I also know that I need to work out to regain some of the muscle that I've lost; but I have to get the eating under control, or I won't have enough energy to even think about working out in any capacity. It's a daily battle!

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I sometimes feel a sense of helplessness because I truly am trying my hardest to do what I know I need to do. I don't want to be or stay an unhealthy low weight. I want to be back up to what I was before the accident... it would help with my treatment, too (neurostimulator, medications, etc).

I don't really care for looking at myself in the mirror (I've written about it before in a post called Mirrors). There was a day in late September that I looked at myself in the mirror, and I was frightened. I looked like a skeleton. It scared me, but I still haven't been able to eat more or put on weight.

To be completely honest, part of why I may not be eating enough could be that I fear the debilitating abdominal pain and cramping that I get (due to IBS). People that haven't experienced such wrenching pain simply can't understand. It's such a heavy burden to know that the pain is possible anytime I eat anything.

I've been using a calorie counter app (I finally found one that allows you to set a goal to gain weight). It helps me see just how little / few calories I often intake. After I enter everything in that I've consumed in a day, it'll tell me how much (or little) I'll weigh if I eat like that for five weeks. Seeing that number is sometimes pretty scary. So, I'm trying my hardest to reach the goal caloric intake, but I often feel like I'm just so desperate to meet the calorie goal that I'm actually looking for high calorie foods to eat (which are often very unhealthy).

I have to be very, very mindful about my eating. It's utterly exhausting!!! I hate that it's a daily struggle just to make myself eat (some days are worse / harder than others). I constantly have to fight horrible nausea and often have to try to force-feed myself. But, there are times that I just can't eat - even the thought of eating makes me feel physically sick, and it just worsens with the smell and taste.

But, I'm not giving up! I want to get back to my normal weight. I'm still trying!

This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM).

10 comments:

  1. I totally get it and am going through it. I'm trying Ensure in an effort to at least maintain my weight. I don't know if your IBS would tolerate that. I do find that plain cake with no icing helps sometimes with keeping my stomach from hurting from all of the pills. I'm sorry you're dealing with this too.

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    1. Heather, I'm so sorry that you're going through the crap, too.

      I can't do Ensure because I'm also lactose intolerant. Ensure has a new Ensure Clear that is suitable for people that are lactose intolerant, but I can't force myself to drink it - all I can taste are the vitamins. Ugh!

      That's interesting about the plain cake... might have to give that a try. I love cake, and it's even better if it helps my tummy.

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  2. I am sorry you are struggling with your weight. I never had to watch what I eat until I gained 60 pounds since June 2011. Now I am considered obese and I hate it. My weight gain has made me have high Cholesterol, high triglycerides, and I am on the verge of being diabetic. I too am keeping a food journal (Sparkpeople.com) and watching my calories intake. Part of me wished I could be in your position instead of the one I am in. The only benefit I see in it all, is that I am well enough to exercise. I never liked exercising, but I don't mind that much. I am proud of myself that I have doing exercising 5 days a week since September 17th. I just wished my Depakote wouldn't make me so hungry, because it's the snacking foods that pushes me over my calorie intake for each day. I just want to suggest that you should look into seeing if you have Celiac. A lot of people who have IBS, are Celiacs. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.
    Holly

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    1. Holly, I'm so proud of you for working out consistently. That's excellent!

      I understand the snacking foods increasing your calorie count... I bank on that. I'm curious as to what kind of snacks you're eating. Most of the things I snack on are pretty low in calories. Well, except for the nutrition bars that I'm trying to make myself eat.

      I've been using MyFitnessPal.com to keep track of my calories.

      I remember you suggesting that I look into Celiac disease a while back... it seems to slip my mind, though, when I'm actually at the doctor. I know this sounds silly, but I'm kinda afraid that if I do have Celiac, that I'll probably go through even more weight loss (at least at first), as my diet is filled with bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. And, I can't really afford to lose more weight right now... even though I know that if it is Celiac, that I'd feel better overall by changing my diet accordingly. Agh! It's so difficult.

      With the recent increase in frequency of the abdominal pain, I may go ahead and set up an appointment with my gastro doc. Then, I can bring it up with him.

      Thanks for the reminder, again. If I haven't mentioned anything in a few months, you might gently nudge me again. lol

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    2. I hope you can find answers to your stomach issues too. When one is diagnosed with Celiac, more people tend to gain weight than lose it. Once your gut starts healing itself w/o the gluten, it starts to absorb the nutrients (and even medication) so people usually gain weight. It's a very difficult world to be gluten free but it has helped with overall health and having my medications work efficiently. Prior to Celiac, I was on 300 mg of Topamax and it did nothing to me. After Celiac, it helped the pain a little, but the advantage was the weight loss. So, I knew my gut was healing and receiving what it needed.

      I usually snack on fruit, but what always gets me is GF pretzels. They are high in calories, but oh so yummy. Also, I forgot to menion that a lot of gluten free foods are high in sugar content because they need to replace the gluten. I try to stay away from packaged gf items as much as possible, but I do stray away when it comes to pretzels. Also, when eating gf pasta and bread, I limit how much I eat. In the past, I didn't watched food portions, but now that I need to lose weight, I am getting better at it and also eating more fruits/veggies. Good luck on finding your answers.
      Holly
      Holly

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  3. I had the same problem in college after I was getting over depression (a time during which I simply had no appetite). People felt fine making snide comments about me or others being too skinny that they would never dare to do with someone who was obese!

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    1. Kalli, I'm sorry that you've fought this fight, too. I definitely understand the having NO APPETITE. That's what I deal with a lot, too. I know that my depression struggles play a role, but I go through bouts of depression (especially since the chronic pain started four years ago).

      It's always so nice for someone that hasn't been supportive (or really even much of a presence) through the darkest times to come up to you and the first thing out of their mouth is, "Wow! You're too thin" or "You've lost so much weight." Ummm, "hello" to you, too! Do you think I don't know that I look like a skeleton with skin? Do you think I'm not trying to gain weight? Have you not considered that there's a reason I look so unhealthy? Can you try to understand how much strength and courage it took me to get dressed and get out of the house to be around others? If you haven't been there for me, don't be so blunt... especially when saying things that are so rude and harsh.

      Ooh, sorry for the vent. I guess that's still be bothering me.

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  4. I am exactly the same way. I've always struggled with low weight - not due to an eating disorder nor distorted body image. I'm genetically skinny, but the onset of chronic pain and the cascade of symptoms that accompany them have made me even skinnier and made gaining near impossible.

    NOBODY is sympathetic to my plight and they certainly don't want to hear about it. There aren't exactly resources available to gain weight the way you see for losing weight. Everyone is always just encouraging me to eat sugary fatty foods that only make my health situation worse. I have yet to figure out how to actually gain but I do a couple things that have helped me to maintain. I add cheese and chi seeds to almost everything I eat. And I try to drink a glass of V8 fusion with every meal. It is higher in calories than water plus you get a serving of veggies.

    Okay I've gone on too long here. So glad you are not giving up. I'm with you!

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    1. I'm sorry that you've been going through this, too. I eat cheese on almost everything. lol.

      I have to be careful with juices because my dentist says it's too hard on my teeth. Technically, I'm supposed to be drinking ONLY water. My meds have caused extreme dry mouth... which means lots more cavities. I'm using a prescription toothpaste now.

      I also worry about the impact on my husband. He needs to lose weight, not gain. So, I don't like having high calorie foods in the house all the time. I have a hard time eating any fast food now. I stopped eating it for a long time, and now it really messes with my stomach (and, sometimes, my head). I definitely am a sucker for sweets (thankfully, my glucose levels allow me to eat sweets; but I don't want to overdo it, as I have diabetes in my family history). But, I also really enjoy fruits and (some) veggies... which have so few calories, but are good for you. It's a struggle, as I know you know. We'll both keep going and trying!

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