Tag Archives: Overweight

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!