I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk, Inc. to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
Back in May, I realized that my efforts to lose weight and improve my health were not working. Working out, eating “right”, none of it was working. And while I fully believe a person’s worth is not dictated by the size of their body, I didn’t feel good and I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I wanted my body to reflect the hard work I was putting in and I didn’t feel like that was happening at all.
A quick refresher: I found a healthcare provider who is passionate about health, well-being, and weight loss. Together, we decided upon a course of action for me. I would continue on with my low carb diet but introduce two medications, and eat more than I had been eating before. Apparently eating one meal a day wasn’t serving me – who knew?
A lot has happened since then, and while I’m really excited for my progress, I am also still struggling with my body and the way it looks. As someone with body dysmorphia, I know that it is a battle I will be fighting for a long time.
I know you’re ready for an update, and here it is:
I have lost 30.2 lbs since May. I don’t have any updated bloodwork, but I can tell you I do feel a whole lot better. But what else has changed? More than I could have ever imagined.
Shortly after I started my regimen, I became extremely nauseated. When I could eat, it was only a couple bites of food, and after a while I couldn’t even eat that. I was also having terrible stomach cramps, spontaneous diarrhea or vomiting (not at the same time, thank goodness!), and burps that smelled like rotten hard boiled eggs. It really started affecting my life. I couldn’t work and all I wanted to do was sleep. I landed in a Gastroenterologist’s office, and one endoscopy later, I had another diagnosis: Gastroparesis.
I promise this is relevant to obesity, just keep tracking.
For the last two years, any time I ate, I would feel over-full after only a few bites. If I ate a whole sushi roll, I wanted to hibernate for a season. But who on earth is going to complain about not being able to eat? That’s something to celebrate in our society! Because it’s something to celebrate, I didn’t feel it was relevant to my health.
When I tell you I wasn’t eating much at all for the last two years but couldn’t lose weight, I am honest to goodness not blowing smoke!
Gastroparesis is a paralyzation to the stomach. Because my stomach wasn’t moving food out effectively, I wasn’t eliminating waste effectively, I wasn’t processing nutrients effectively, and I wasn’t getting enough nutrients to properly fuel my body.
Since that diagnosis, I have started a low residue diet and lost another 15lbs. I’m slowly eating more, and I am eating completely differently than I have eaten in the past. There are a lot of foods I haven’t been able to eat that make my stomach hurt like crazy and I am limited to proteins, oatmeal, white rice, skinned potatoes, and cooked fruit. It’s so stinking weird and it’s not very easy, but I’m doing it. My stomach is trying to work itself out and so is my metabolism, but I have lost 18% of my body weight since May, and despite the stomach issues, I do feel so much better. I am more clear, I have more energy, and I feel like I can keep up with my kids.
We’re headed back to the mountains for a hiking trip soon, and I am really pumped to be able to see how different it feels now that I’ve dropped over 20lbs since I was there last.
My biggest accomplishment is my relationship with the scale. There have been weeks where I have eaten things I know do not support my health (hi, M&M’s!), but I continue to get on the scale because it is simply a metric that I am following to know how I am progressing.
My next goal is to lose another 23lbs and then I will reevaluate how I am feeling and go from there. Small victories lead to a longer, healthier, happier life and that’s just where I’m at right now.
The keystone to all of this happening has been my healthcare provider. He has been instrumental in helping find solutions that work for me and that feel good for me. It also helps to have a husband who meal-preps and cooks for you. That actually might be the best part.
I know this is a hard topic to talk about with friends, family, and your healthcare provider, but it’s necessary. Your worth is NOT defined by the size of your body, but your health just may be. Find a provider and a support system who knows and believes this and treats you like the beautiful human you are. If you are one of 41% from the Med-IQ survey who feels uncomfortable discussing your weight with your healthcare provider, find a new one. Good ones do exist.
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with obesity and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.