Okay, so for years I was tall and skinny, and I didn’t know I was skinny because like most teenagers I thought I was somehow chubby. I was 5’10”, and 128 pounds, yet I thought I could tone up. Whatever.
Adulthood came, and my weight was around 140, and I was content. I was slim, I wanted to be toned, but things fit me fine, and I was good. Over the years, my weight fluctuated, but that happens, I hit 25, and by then I was around 150, which for my height wasn’t terrible. And then the medication parade began. One sleeping medication made me go up to 170, when I stopped taking it, and ate healthy and exercised for a friends wedding, I got down to 135 pounds. I was happy, in shape, and things were good. Until the steroids began.
Here is the thing about me and prednisone or medrol dose packs…I don’t get hungrier. I don’t want to eat more, in fact, I have to force myself to eat…but I still gain weight. Then when I stop the steroids, my hunger comes back with a vengeance. By May 2015, I was 190, the heaviest I’d ever been. The winter had destroyed me with multiple steroid runs, and living in the middle of the woods in upstate New York hadn’t helped me stay active. I began to eat healthy and started to lose weight, but it was slow going. Then I had a seizure. Starting Keppra was like going on a cleanse, I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t stop having diarrhea. Everything I managed to consume, immediately exited my body with a vengeance. Soon I’d dropped to 175 pounds. It was around this time that my husband and I officially decided to separate, and I took on the stress of deciding to move across the country. The weight was coming off, but I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was eating when I was hungry. What was the hurt? I’d put on weight, I could stand to take it off.
Doctors appointments in California were always annoying. I was weighed routinely and hated the number. I wanted to be back around 150, at least, ideally 140, but no lighter. I was happy as long as I looked toned. My goal wasn’t the number on the scale so much as how I felt. Whenever steroids were mentioned I cringed. What would happen to my body? It all felt so unpredictable. I insisted on only taking them as needed, and refused new sleeping medications with any sleep related side effects. I would sort this out somehow, but my weight needed to be related to my activity and diet, not some medication side effect, if I could help it.
Prior to my knee surgery I thought I still weighed around 175 pounds, but my primary care doctor seemed dubious, and on the scale the number 160 stared at me. I was floored. How the hell had I not realized I’d lost 15 pounds? Sure I’d been walking more, and had bought new jeans, but I didn’t own a scale. After the surgery I was convinced I’d gain weight, but instead I was down a few more pounds. A month after surgery I was at 150, and a few weeks after that I found myself down to 148.
While a lot of people may find this all acceptable because losing 42 pounds over 7 months is hardly dangerous, it’s kind of daunting when you aren’t doing much differently, or at least so I thought. I turned out my calories were in the dangerously deficient range. I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t eat. It seemed like a simple equation, eat when you’re hungry, yet here I was literally starving myself…entirely on accident.
I went out and purchased meal supplement drinks, and I’ve stock piled the house with protein rich foods. If I can get the calories in, via high protein (I’m a vegetarian and I can’t tolerate dairy so it’s not through meat) meals, then I won’t keep losing at such a crazy rate. Ideally I’d lose some fat, while building some muscle. I see photos of myself 10-15 pounds heavier and prefer that girl, because she is toned. Now I’m sort of waif-like. The guy I’m seeing even commented after returning from two weeks away that he thinks I’ve lost weight and asked if I was eating, and I assured him I was. It’s entirely possible I’ve lost even more weight, and could be lighter than 148.
So what is the big deal? I have a history of ketoacidosis. I’m not diabetic, and the instances were potentially related to a stomach bug, at least one of them was, but my body is quick to metabolize itself. If I’m burning through my muscles (and I am) as well as my fat, I could be increasing the acidity of my blood and urine. Given my recent scare with low potassium, and the fact I was dumping protein in my urine, it’s not a huge leap to assume I am going through some catabolic processes without realizing it. I need to give my body the nutrition it needs so that it doesn’t literally eat itself in an attempt to get what it needs to go on.
I wasn’t happy at my heaviest, but I’m not happy now either. I want to build lean muscle, and I can’t do that if weight is still sliding off of me. They are doing some thyroid testing just in case, but it’s an interesting enigma given how suddenly my weight gain began five years ago. They were convicted I had hypothyroidism for a while because my food diary indicated I should be losing weight while I steadily gained. Now it makes sense that I’m losing, but when you compare my intake to prior intake and my weight gain, it’s funny how such a minor change in calories can yield such enormous differences.
Today was all about protein and fruits blended in my Nutribullet. I cannot stomach much in terms of vegetables, but do plan on heading to the grocery store tomorrow to get stuff for baked potatoes. (High in potassium and easy to digest, go potatoes go!) I don’t worry about indulging here or there, but ideally I need to find consistency. One day I only ate 500 calories. I wasn’t even hungry, I had to force myself to consume what I had consumed. The next day I managed to meet goals, but just barely, by eating a whole gluten free dairy free pizza.
Protein shake powder is on its way, which will help, and I know that I’ll have a handle on it. When you can eat whatever you want in terms of veggies and fruits, it’s different. I can’t break down fiber well, so I haven’t been able to eat a salad in over a year. (Me + Salad = bathroom nightmares.) I can get the nutrition from vitamins, and supplements, so it’s not a total loss, but I’d like to work fruits at least back into my diet via smoothies. I may try spinach in there, maybe, but the green thing sort of creeps me out.
At the end of the day food isn’t enjoyable. Nausea and pain are a chronic struggle, and while they didn’t find sores in my intestines, they did find them in my rectal area, which could or couldn’t mean I have Behcet’s in the GI tract. Given the GI bleeding I experience, it’s likely, but again, it’s all speculative. (Oh Behcet’s, I loathe your hypotheticals.) Having that blocked celiac artery doesn’t help, but they can’t stent it or fix it in any other way, so it’s just one of those things that shouldn’t cause me too much discomfort but often does.