The Path of Goals and Dreams: Background

2011 has become the year I start regaining my health and fitness and embrace the goals and dreams I’ve put aside for years. I figure if I put myself out there, it will make me this path more “real”, more accountable. It may even help someone else know that they are not alone if they are on a similarly tough path. So here goes 🙂

I’ll launch it off with this post so you can get a bit of background on my situation and my challenges – plus what I intend to do about them. This will be long but, I hope, not too boring.

When I was a teenager, I was pretty fit and maybe a bit skinny. I ran track and walked 3+ miles to school each way (by choice, I could have ridden the bus or a bike but didn’t want to). I wore about a size 3 to 5 sometimes and maybe got up to a 7. In the innocence of youth, I took this pretty much for granted.

In the…oh… 30 or so years since then, I’ve struggled with my weight. Pregnancy started to chance my metabolism but so did entering the workforce and having a desk job. Weight went on, I struggled to get it off, repeat over the years.

I’m, honestly, inclined to laziness. I didn’t want to make the time to do the hard work to get the weight off. If it magically came off, that would be great. But there was always something more important, more urgent, etc. I was a couch potato. Add to that the fact that I seemed to have a chronic “sensitive stomach” – I would have bouts of heartburn and diarrhea for seemingly no reason. I felt like I could not make sense of my body or take control so I stopped trying to. Plus I seemed to be constantly exhausted.

The weight piled on.

Then in 2009, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. This is actually the first turning point in my path to regaining my health. My friend and mentor, Yasmine, is actually the one who saw my symptoms and recognized the possibility of celiac and urged me to be tested – for which I will ever be grateful. When I got off gluten, some of my exhaustion faded and ALL the symptoms of my supposedly “sensitive stomach” faded as well. I missed my gluten and my comfort relationship with food but quickly filled in the gap with lots of gluten-free foods.

Have I mentioned that my family says my motto should be “Anything worth doing is worth over-doing?”

I went nuts. The problem is that most foods that are gluten-free substitutes for gluten foods (like bread, pasta, etc). are really high carb. My weight went up more because I had zero self-control.
Early this year (2011), I started to notice changes in my body that scared me. I was gaining lots of weight in my abdomen, I craved carbs like mad. I got suspicious and picked up a blood glucose meter and started taking readings of my blood sugar. I wasn’t in diabetic range but it was in the range of insuline resistance. All symptoms combined made me think I had what’s knows as “metabolic syndrome” which is not a disease in itself, but rather a set of symptoms that are precursors to diabetes and worse things down the road.

Not Good.

I have some very good friends and three of us met up to discover we were all fed up with being fat and unable to do some things we wanted to. We formed an accountability pact and decided we would take our measurements every 3 months, just between us, and report on our weight and how we did on our goals to each other weekly. We are dead-set that we don’t want a contest but rather a safe, private space to congratulate each other and commiserate over issues or frustrations. I’ll set out my goals and dreams in a separate post 🙂

I made an appointment with my doctor’s office and went in to discuss what to do and, in the meantime, started reading everything I could get my hands on. When I met with the doctor on July 12th, I had a game plan.
I think the poor doctor was a bit bamboozled – my regular doctor (who is used to my attitude toward health care and my own research and involvement) was out on vacation, so I got one of his partners. We went through my data, he took some measurements and tests and indeed said I met the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome. I left there with a prescription for test strips for my meter, a prescription for metformin and a plan to get off the carbs with a low carb diet and start exercising.

One funny thing did ensue from this visit with the doctor – he stopped me on the way out and told me he’d been in practice since the mid-1980’s and I was the first person who ever came to him and said “I think I have metabolic syndrome and I want to do something about it.”

It was past time to get serious about this. I should have done it sooner but it apparently took this crisis to get me to really take action. But there won’t be a better time later.

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