Starting My Weight Loss Journey Again (And This Time for Real)

In the first week of my being in the care facility, I got weighed in. I hadn’t been weighed since sometime in like February. Not surprisingly, I had gained about 2-3kg in these nine months. I didn’t immediately take action though, as I felt I’d had to get used to being in the facility first and see how my weight would progress. Two weeks ago, I got weighed in and had gained about 500 grams again. This isn’t huge and could be due to the time of day I was being weighed in, but I decided it was time for action anyway. I’ve been in the facility for two months now and need to make sure I don’t gain any weight and ultimately lose some.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m short-statured at only 1.53m. The upper border of healthy weight, as such, is 58.5kg. The border between overweight and obesity is 70.2kg. I weighed 74.9kg two weeks ago. This means I’ll have to lose at least 5kg. I have no intention of getting to a healthy weight, but I really want to cross the border back from obese to overweight. I also know I can do this, as I did this about 18 months ago too. Now though, once I reach overweight status, I have no intention of crossing the border back to obese.

I discussed my eating habits with my husband. He said that, if I skip just the cookie at morning coffee break and don’t change anything else, I’ll have lost those 5kg in a year or two. I want to go faster though. For this reason, I’ve also changed from chocolate spread to peanut butter on my breakfast bread. I know, peanut butter still isn’t low-calorie, but it’s a lot healthier than chocolate spread. At lunchtime, I still got two slices of bread which were heavily topped with butter and sweet toppings, one with peanut butter and the other usually with chocolate spread or chocolate flakes. There’s a mealtime assistant who prepares our lunch and I didn’t want to have a huge list of demands of her, given that I already have quite a few likes and dislikes on my list. Like, I can’t stand ham or cheese (unless toasted). I basically only eat what are called sweet toppings and don’t even like all of those. As such, I initially didn’t want to say that I don’t want butter and don’t want my bread too heavily topped. After discussing it with the staff, we agreed to put this on my list of lunchtime menu requests anyway.

My husband advised me for the millionth time to drink more water. At first, I was like, how do I remember to drink enough water? He told me to put reminders in my iPhone. At first, I thought that would be weird or annoying and indeed it’s a hassle to put reminders in my phone via the default reminders app. I however remembered a friend recommending an app that reminds you to drink water and where you can log your water intake. I searched for it. The first one I found cost like €8,99/week and hardly had any free features. I mean seriously?! Who would pay almost €40 a month for an app to remind you to drink water? I doubted my friend meant this app. Turned out there’s another app by a similar name that’s free and €9,99 once for paid features. I got that one and love it! I had some trouble setting it up at first, but now it reminds me each hour between 9AM and 9PM to drink water. Its sound is really catchy. I reached my recommended water intake goal for the past three or four days and almost reached it for the entire week that I’ve been using the app.

I finally made my Fitbit activity tracker work again this past week too. It had been lying around ever since I came here because its battery was empty and I couldn’t find the charger. Then when I finally found it, the app had somehow locked me out. I got in again after an app update. I notice that, though overall I manage fewer daily steps than before I moved here, my active hours are better. This means I get over 250 steps most hours during the day. Today, I didn’t do that well in this department, but I did manage nearly 8000 steps throughout the day.

I was pretty conscious of my eating habits all through the week, making sure I eat my veggies if there’s even the slightest chance I may be able to like them. Before this, I’d not even try a lot of them. I made sure to eat enough fruit. Not that I had much trouble with that before, but fruit usually meant bananas. These are relatively high in calories and very sugary. Thankfully, we had grapes, kiwifruit and clementines too, as well as of course apples and sometimes pears.

Over the week-end, I stayed at the facility. When discussing my weight loss plans with my husband, I mentioned that we get chips on week-ends. However, this week-end, we also got pancakes for lunch and a lot of other treats. I didn’t really like the result this would have on my weight, but also found it hard to resist them.

My staff wasn’t particularly motivating either. Some literally told me to wait for January to start my healthier lifestyle routine, as I’d not make it in December anyway. I mean, yes, we celebrate St. Nicholas with a fries and snacks stand on Thursday and get a lot of extra treats this holiday season. Does that mean I don’t need to eat in moderation? Someone asked an overeaters’ support group a few weeks back and was encouraged to follow through now in spite of the holidays. Now I don’t really like the abstinence-focused mindset of Overeaters Anonymous and the like, but I have always felt that you can always start on a healthier lifestyle journey right now.

Yesterday, I decided to get weighed in. I wanted to know how bad the result really was and how much I’d have to lose once I’d start my journey for real. Well, guess what? I weighed 73.8kg. This truly motivates me.

On Thursday, I fully intend to not stuff myself full of fries and snacks even though I can. Tomorrow, my support coordinator has an evening shift and I’ll be asking her to ask her colleagues for help on my weight loss journey. I realized this past week-end that some make me really uncomfortable with how often they offer me food. I mean, my husband was annoyed at my former support worker for allowing me (not encouraging me!) to buy binge food when she took me to the store on Thursdays. I didn’t realize and probably didn’t want to admit that, in some respects, my current staff are worse. I mean, I haven’t had a binge since buying liquorice with my mother-in-law three weeks ago and the staff definitely discouraged that, but weight gain isn’t about an occasional binge. It’s about what you eat everyday.

Working On Us Prompt: If Disordered Eating Isn’t About Food or Weight

Today, I am once again joining in with the Working On Us Prompt. I hope the link works, as it once again gave me an error 404 when I tried to visit it. There are really two question prompts for this week’s Working On Us. I may post a separate post about the second question. The first asks what if eating disorders aren’t about food or weight? What are they about?

As a person with disordered eating tendencies, I can totally empathize with this question. I mean, yes, I am obese, but that in itself doesn’t qualify you for help with disordered eating other than a monthly kick in the ass from a dietitian. Well, that just isn’t enough for me.

Then again, I was told by my psychiatrist that I do not have an eating disorder, because the amount of food I eat during a “binge” isn’t big enough. Well, I understand. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my relationship with food or weight.

Because that is really what disordered eating is all about: the relationship we have to food and our bodies. It isn’t about how much you eat, how much you weigh, or how often you exercise. It’s about the thoughts that go on in your mind.

For clarity’s sake: at the time that I was told I do not have an eating disorder, I was in the early stages of recovery from purging, which in itself does warrant an eating disorder not otherwise specified diagnosis. I was never fully bulimic, but I was coming close. That’s not my point though.

I struggle a lot with disordered thoughts about food and my weight. In fact, I think about food the majority of the time and those thoughts are not usually healthy.

Once, when I read a book about someone with an eating disorder, her psychiatrist suspected she was an alcoholic too. She administered a simple screening tool, which asked whether the girl had tried to cut back on alcohol, was getting annoyed or angry when people commented on her drinking, ever had alcohol first thing in the morning, and then there was another question. She answered “Yes” to three out of four questions. Well, I can answer yes to the three I remembered here when substituting alcohol with food. I occasionally overeat first thing in the morning, have very regularly and unsuccessfully tried to control my food intake, and I do get angry like all the freakin’ time when someone makes a comment about my food-related habits.

Yes, I knnow that to the outside observer, I appear like just an unmotivated, overindulgent fatass. What they don’t see are the inner battles I fight each and every day to deal with my disordered eating tendencies.

Overeating and Overweight: My Relationship with Food and My Body #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day 15 in the A to Z Challenge. The O is, for whatever reason, a difficult letter. I didn’t have an inkling what I was going to write about until today and then made up my mind several more times. I finally settled on two O words: overeating and overweight. Today, I am going to describe my struggle with emotional eating.

I remember when I was as young as five stealing candy from my parents. So did my sister, but I was always the one initiating it and taking the most. My parents thought it was funny.

Despite this, my diet was relatively healthy until I enrolled into mainstream secondary school at age thirteen. Then, my eating quickly got out of hand. I ate sausage rolls every single day. I also bought large amounts of candy every week, which I’d eat in one sitting. My parents noticed, but other than giving me a bit of a talking about it, they didn’t help me change my behavior.

I don’t really know why I overate in the first place. It was more of a habit, an addiction perhaps, than that it was tied to clear emotional distress. Of course, I suffered chronic stress, so that may’ve contributed.

I had some ritualistic behavior around food too. I didn’t know a thing about calories, but I wrote down everything I ate. This was often ended with a piece of self-hatred. It was true t hat I ate too much, but I made no attempt to change it other than by berating myself for it.

I was curvy from early secondary school on, but always maintained a healthy BMI somehow. This didn’t change till sometime in 2012. I rapidly started gaining weight and continued to gain weight until the summer of 2017. Then, I tried to lose weight. I lost about 10kg and then started gaining again. I haven’t been weighed in in several months and am pretty sure that, though I am not where I was in mid-2017, I’ve gained some considerable weight.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t like the way my body looks and the fact that I am at increased risk for illness and premature death. However, in a sense, I’m too lazy to really do something about it. It’s true that, once again, I experience a ton of stress and I think about overeating on a daily basis. However, I can resist the urge most days. I don’t eat the whole can of peanut butter or something. In this sense, I have the willpower to keep from bingeing. I would really love to get myself to stop doing it altogether. Since tomorrow is my usual shopping day, I am resolving here not to buy myself candy this week.

CP Conference Last Saturday

So I attended the Netherlands’ national conference day on cerebral palsy on Saturday. Before I went, i was incredibly scared. Would I be able to connect to other people or would I be left on the sidelines all day? Would there be people willing to help me navigate the school building in which the conference was being organized? Would I arrive on time? But my main worry was related to my own diagnosis of cerebral palsy, or rather the lack thereof. You see, I was never told that I have CP by my parents and was too young to understand medical jargon by the time they stopped taking me to specialists. Maybe my parents didn’t even know, as doctors do not always clearly communicate and my parents were mostly looking for reassurance.

My GP also was a bit vague when I asked him last year, citing a probably relatively recent letter saying that I had acquired brain injury. Now I do happen to know that doctors disagree on whether brain injury acquired shortly after birth counts as ABI or a diagnosis of CP or the like should be made instead. So I’m a member of Facebook groups for both CP and ABI. However, ABI is a diagnosis regardless of symptoms and CP requires mobility impairments. I wonder therefore, are my mobility impairments severe enough to count?

I arrived at the school forty minutes before the doors were officially open, but someone took me to a chair anyway and gave me a cup of coffee. Soon, a man I’d been talking to via Facebook messenger arrived too and we sat and chatted some.

Gradually, other people arrived and it was soon time for the official opening speech. This was partly about Steptember, a movement challenge to collect money for research on CP.

Then, a neuropsychology professor spoke about the effects of movement and mental or physical effort on cognition in people with and without CP. It turns out that effort, whether that be mental or physical, strengthens brain connections to the frontal and parietal cortex, which are responsible for higher-order cognitive functions such as planning, organizing and impulse control. He also briefly touched on the effects of music, which can also help strengthen these connections. In short, moving and exerting ourselves as much as we can within the limits of our CP helps our cognitive functions. Of course, past age 30, these brain areas no longer grow and actually decline, but still exerting yourself enables you to learn more effectively regardless of your age.

After this, you could choose to follow a workshop session. The one I followed was on overload. This was a bit of a chaotic workshop, as the presenter allowed for questions while presenting. I am quite familiar with overload, as a person with autism, but I loved to explore it from a CP perspective. I mean, physically I do have some more limitations than those without CP. As a result, walking may give me energy, but it also costs me energy more so than it does non-disabled people. This was rather interesting, because I often tend to sometimes give everything and more of myself physically and other times I tend not to bother. Something the presenter said that really struck a chord was that mental overload can be counteracted by physical activity and vice versa.

In the afternoon, we could also pick a workshop to follow. The one I chose was on nutrition. A registered dietitian had developed nutritional guidelines for children and adults with CP. Topics that were discussed included underweight and overweight. The presenter said that, as a general rule, people with CP need fewer calories than those without CP. The reason is that, even though our movement costs more energy and hence burns more calories, we tend not to move as much.

Another topic that was discussed was swallowing difficulties. Did you know that up to 99% of people with CP, even those with mild CP, have swallowing issues? I didn’t. This was so validating, because I happen to have some rather significant swallowing issues.

Other topics of discussion included reflux, constipation and bone development. There is little research into these, as particularly constipation and osteoporosis are common within the general population anyway.

Overall, I loved this day. It was also very validating. Not only did no-one say I don’t look like someone with CP, but I actually met several people who are at least as mildly affecte as I am.

Confessions of a New Mummy

Weight Loss (Or Rather, Weight Gain) Update

It’s been months since I last posted an update on my weight loss and healthier living journey. My last update was very positive. This one, not so, but it has a silver lining.

I had not at all been following my diet. Not that I generally follow a specific diet, but when trying to lose weight, I try to moderate my food intake and limit myself on snacks and sweets. I don’t want to completely deny myself any sweets or snacks, but I really had been snacking far too much.

I wasn’t motivated to expose myself on the scale, so I didn’t weigh myself. Today though I did and the result was as expected: I’m now 71.3kg. This means I gained 2.4kg or roughly 5lbs in these three months. My BMI is over 30 once again.

Back three months ago, I was at my lowest weight in five years and had been thinking I could reach a weight in the lower sixties by the end of the year. Obviously, now I can’t. I’m not even sure my ultimate goal is to be at a healthy weight anymore, which for my height is 58kg. I had originally intended to reach that by January of 2020. Now I think I’d need to be content if I can get and keep my weight under 70kg and hence my BMI under 30.

Exercise-wise, I’ve not been doing as well as I wanted to either. I had set myself a goal for October of getting active everyday. Though it looks like I met that goal, I have to be more creative with what I consider “activity” than I’d originally intended on being. Today though was a great day, in that I got 95 active minutes according to my Fitbit and reached my daily step goal of 10,000 steps. Now that has me end this post on a positive note!

Body Image

Once again, carol anne inspired me to write this post with her question of the day. She asks whether we are happy with our looks. In this post, I’m going to share about my body image struggles.

If I have to be truly honest, I have no idea whether I’m happy with the way I look. The reason may be a bit baffling: I have no idea what I look like really. I after all haven’t been able to see myself in the mirror in roughly 20 years.

I do know, as a result of having in the past seen myself, that I have dark hair. However, when my husband commented recently on the fact that I’d gotten a grey hair, I had no idea what it’d look like. I have been able to see my father with a lot of grey hair, but that’s still different.

Of course, unlike what sighted people commonly believe, blind people are not immune to body image issues though. Carol anne is blind. So am I. Both of us do struggle with body image. After all, even though I can’t see it, I can feel that I have a few extra pounds and that my body fat is mainly concentrated on my belly. I definitely am not happy with that.

I also may not be able to see my grey hairs, but I’m definitely able to rationalize that my body is growing older. This brings with it its own kind of body image issues, as some of my alters are younger than me and as a result have not adjusted to an aging body. The most striking example is our 13-year-old Agnes, who is still adjusting to the fact that we have breasts. She has disordered eating tendencies and at one point was active on pro-ana sites. There, someone once asked whether we’d want our breasts to go away if we’d become extremely thin. Most people said no, but Agnes replied with a resounding yes.

Adjusting to an aging body also affects our attitude towards the fact that we’re overweight. In a similar but different way that Agnes wants our breasts gone, some of us actually think that we’re not as heavy as we are. This makes committing to weight loss harder.

My Relationship with Food

Today, I’m paging through the eBook Journal Writing Prompts for Child Abuse Survivors. It is definitely worth it. One of the prompts, in the third chapter, which deals with shame, is about your relationship with food. I am going to write about that today.

I am fat. There I said it. I am no longer obese, fortunately, but I still need to lose over 20lbs to be at a healthy BMI. Besides, my body fat is concentrated primarily on my stomach, which means it’s all the more dangerous for my long-term physical health.

I have a long history of disordered eating. When I was around 14, I “wanted” to develop an eating disorder. No, I didn’t read pro-anorexia sites, though I probably would have had I had access to the Internet back then. I didn’t really want to have anorexia, but I wanted badly to overcome the painful relationship with food I had by this time, and my way of doing so was to develop an even more harmful attitude towards it.

The origin of this even more harmful attitude was probably shame. My parents would regularly yell at me for eating too much and I badly wanted to break this habit, but I didn’t knowhow.

I didn’t stop overeating, but I started obsessing over how it’d make me fat. I started keeping food logs and commenting on how much I’d eaten, but it didn’t help me actually stop overeating.

I remember at one time calculating my BMI, which was a little above 20 at the time. I thought that should soothe my mind and it did in a way. I wasn’t fat, after all. Looking back, I now realize said BMI calculator was geared towards adults and a BMI over 20 is in fact overweight for a teen.

I never developed a full-blown eating disorder, even though a part of me engaged in a lot of disordered eating patterns, including purging, up till fairly recently. In fact, this part of me – she’s called Agnes – was the one reasoning last Wednesday that diarrhea is a good thing because it helps me lose weight.

I’ve had a fairly normal relationship with food over the past year or so. At least in terms of behaviors. I no longer purge, rarely overeat and do exercise regularly. However, like I said above, my thought patterns are still pretty disordered.

Weight Loss, Yay!

I have some awesome news! I’ve been trying to lose weight for the past fourteen months. It’s been going with a lots of ups and downs. I was at 79.8kg (176lbs) last year in June when I started trying to lose weight. Then, I set a goal to be under 70kg (154lbs) in a year’s time. That would mean a BMI below 30, which would mean I’d be just overweight and no longer obese.

Well, long story short but I didn’t reach that goal. That is, I did, last January, but then I stood still for a while and started gaining weight again last May. As a result, by June, I was at 71.6kg (158lbs). My husband said to motivate me that I may not have gotten an A for weight loss but I did get a B.

By the end of June, I’d still not lost weight, so I talked to my husband about what to do. He said he’d be more careful with my portion sizes (he cooks and serves my food). I also started a food log for accountability.

Well, guess what? I lost weight again and now am under 70kg! I’m in fact at 68.9kg (roughly 152lbs). This means I surpassed my low weihgt of last January. I am so proud!

Today, I did have a few treats, but I’m pretty sure i’ll make up for that tomorrow. After all, I hardly buy junk food anymore and my treats are usually fruit. Which I love!