Diet Update 7

I have lost 3.3kg (7lb or half a stone) since my last official weigh in and 8.5kg (18.7lbs or 1 stone and 4lbs) since the start of the diet. That’s ridiculous. You can’t lose half a stone of fat in a week. Clearly my weight is all over the place and it’s probably because of fluid.

I have been a bit more careful about carbs and about meal planning this week. There’s still room for improvement though. I’ve also been starting to think more seriously about exercise. Calorie restriction alone isn’t going to work in the long term.

Exercise is going to be tricky. I have mobility problems, chronic pain and no money. I’ve started with incline pushups and bodyweight squats. I’ve gone from being able to do 4 good form pushups and 1 terrible form squat to 10 and 5 with good form and reasonable speed. My husband has a rowing machine that I’m thinking about using but for some reason haven’t tried out yet.

Ideally I’d like to get back into weight training but with little room in the house, no money for a gym membership, and no easy way to get to a gym it’s going to be tricky. We’re thinking about moving some of the furniture around to make room for weights. I already have some weights and it’s not too expensive to buy more. It’s a decent squat rack and bench that’s going to be expensive. You don’t want to skimp on those because that’s a safety issue.

 

Last Update. Diet update page

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Photobomb

I made a terrible mistake this week. I looked at a photograph that I was in. It was a group photograph and those don’t usually hurt so much but for some reason the photographer put me in the front.

I’ve always hated being photographed. When I was a kid I hated it because it invariably involved some adult shouting at me to look happy and not squint while I stared directly at the sun and waited for my brothers, or cousins or peers to stop making stupid faces. In the 70s and 80s every adult seemed to believe that photographs could only be taken in bright sunlight with the sun shining directly in the faces of the subjects.

As I got older I began to hate being photographed because I knew that I would ruin the finished picture just by being in it. I hated how I looked in real life and I hated the photographs even more because they were proof.

I tried to be behind the camera whenever possible. If I was behind the camera then the sun was at my back and not on my face. If I was behind the camera I wouldn’t later be faced with the full horror of whatever I was wearing, or whatever terrible haircut I had, or the fact that in spite of all my dieting and prayer I was still fat.

Besides the pictures were usually better if I took them. I am a competant ammature photographer. I’m not talented and I’m certainly not professional but I spent a lot of time trying to be an artist and I did learn a few things. I know enough about composition, proportions and framing to take a picture that looks like it was taken on purpose.

When I first realised that I hated how I looked I thought that it was just me. I thought that I must be uniquely hideous and everyone else was fine. But then I noticed other people complaining about how they looked or trying to avoid cameras. I decided that most people must hate their appearance, even the beautiful people, I thought that maybe it was a kind of self-consciousness and that most humans had it.

Then the selfie became a thing and I realised that when most people complain it’s either because they’re scared of looking vain or they’re objecting to a particularly bad photograph. Most people seem not to think that they look hideous in every single image, and also in the mirror, and in every reflective surface they pass.

And the worst thing is that I can’t stop looking. Every time someone takes a picture of me there’s this terrible stab of hope. Maybe this will be a photograph where I don’t look like a cone wearing borrowed clothes sitting on top of a pair of misshapen tree trunks. Maybe they’ll have found the precise angle where my face doesn’t look like a Wicked Witch of the West themed Mr Potato Head.

Actually that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is that I care. Why do I care? I don’t care what anyone else looks like. If one of my friends got beat with the ugly stick and then inflated with a tyre pump I wouldn’t think any less of them. I’m a writer not a beauty queen. Looking good is not part of my job description. It doesn’t matter.

I really need to either stop caring or stop looking. Unfortunately right now what I want is to stop going out. There’s a part of me that thinks that I’d be happier if people couldn’t see me.

Maybe I don’t care how I look? Maybe I only care that other people care?

Diet Update 2

I’ve been on the diet for several days now and it’s been interesting. I’ve been using Myfitnesspal to track my food intake. Since I’m on a low carb diet I’ve mainly been paying attention to carbs but the app also tracks my calorie intake (although it’s actually tracking Kilojoules because I set it up wrong) and I’ve been well under every day.

The problem with the induction phase of a low carb diet is that it does tend to make you grumpy. And by grumpy I mean likely to fly into a murderous rage with very little warning. It also takes a while to get into the habit of it. You spend a lot of time staring into the fridge wondering what you can eat and then end up just nibbling on cheese.

I still don’t have functioning scales but my Mother-in-law has offered to give me a new set for my birthday. That means I’ll be able to tell how much weight I’m not losing. I jest. I probably will lose some weight. It’s just depressing to know that it will never be enough.

And that’s the real reason that I’m so pissed off about going on this diet. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much weight I lose I already know that it’s not going to be enough. The Lipoedema means that while I might get thinner I’ll never be thin enough for society. The hangover from my youthful dalliance with anorexia means that I’ll never be satisfied with what I see in the mirror. The additional weight from the Lipoedema fat cells and all the fluid they trap means that there’s no point even asking about knee replacement surgery. It’s highly unlikely that my weight loss will do anything to fix any of my underlying problems.

This diet is just me torturing myself in the hope that if I can stand the torture long enough my doctor might take me seriously.

link to Diet Update 1

My life as a terrible joke

The best evidence I’ve seen for the simulation hypothesis is that my life only makes sense if I exist for the amusement of some cruel and distant intelligence.

I had a doctor’s appointment this week in an effort to get something done about my lipoedema. This is a disorder that affects 11% of women and post pubescent girls. It means that my body lays down dysfunctional fat cells in my legs and upper arms (and possibly bum, hips and lower abdomen). These fat cells are unaffected by diet. They can’t be shifted by anything short of surgery. The fat cells also trap fluid leading to secondary lymphoedema which makes my legs even more swollen. There’s no cure but the progression can be slowed by compression garments and partially reversed by liposuction.

It’s usually triggered by hormonal changes. In my case it started at puberty and got much worse after childbirth. That means that it’s been undiagnosed and untreated for more than 30 years. For all that time I’ve been blaming myself for a weight problem that was in large part outside my control. According to the NHS website calorie restriction is not a treatment for lipoedema (according to most experts it’s not even a good treatment for obesity).

You’d think it would be simple. Get a diagnosis, get referred to a specialist, get fitted for compression garments and get on the waiting list for surgery?

Ha. You must be new here. I can’t get an official diagnosis because there are no specialists in Fife or Lothian. There may be no experts in Scotland. I can’t get fitted for compression garments because the off the peg ones don’t come in large enough sizes and the nurse says the doctor needs to measure me for the made to measure ones and the doctor says she doesn’t do that and I probably shouldn’t get them without first getting a Doppler test to prove my circulation is good enough but the Doppler sleeves won’t fit over my legs.

Did you get all that? I can’t get treatment for the condition that causes hugely distended limbs because my limbs are too distended.

And I can’t get surgery because it’s not available on the NHS because liposuction is a cosmetic procedure.

So my only option is going back to calorie restriction and hoping that there’s enough healthy fat in my legs that removing it will somehow make a difference. So I’m going back to a treatment that has a 95% failure rate for the thing it’s actually supposed to treat and doesn’t work at all on the problem I want treated. And it’s only taken 4 doctor appointments and 2 nurse appointments to find this out.

I suppose if I lose enough weight that my face, hands and feet become noticeably emaciated then maybe I’ll be able to get a doctor to take the problem seriously. Maybe I’ll be able to starve myself into organ failure while still being clinically obese. I might even get mentioned in the medical literature. Fame at last.

Perspective shift

Last year I was diagnosed with lymphoedema. At the time it just seemed like yet another thing wrong with me. I almost asked the Doctor why he bothered telling me since it’s just another thing that I can’t fix. I did some research and found that it was either genetic or caused by being fat and while I was suspicious that it might be genetic it seemed more likely that it was caused by being fat. So not only did I have a new thing wrong with me that I couldn’t fix but it was probably my fault.

Today I found out that my research was wrong. My lymphoedema would appear to be caused by Lipoedema. It makes sense of a lot of things. It explains the leg pains I’ve had for years, the way my legs were huge but my feet didn’t have any fat on them, and especially the time I lost more than 8 stone (119 lbs or 54 kg to be exact) and saw little change in my legs – my body was 8 dress sizes smaller than my legs.

Now I was only able to lose 8 stone because I did get really fat. But not until after I tried anorexia for a while. I had fat legs when I was anorexic too. I don’t mean imaginary fat legs. I mean the last day I was actively anorexic I was 13 years old and I was wearing a t-shirt sized for a 11-year-old girl and size 10 women’s trousers which only just fitted over my knees and thighs but fell off without a belt.

When I stopped restricting my food intake my disordered eating snapped back in the other direction and I took up binge eating. Which didn’t help my legs or my already fragile self esteem. Every time I tried to change my eating habits I found that I couldn’t keep it up. The anorexia had left me unable to see any positive change in the mirror and the lipoedema meant that I wasn’t getting much positive feedback from my clothes.

I used to describe my teenaged self as fat and depressed. But maybe I was just an average girl with undiagnosed lipoedema and ADHD. I spent my childhood and teen years feeling stupid and worthless and deformed and it’s cast a long shadow over the rest of my life. What would I have been like if we’d known what was wrong?

The thought of it makes me feel queasy. I can’t think properly because of the unfamiliar sound of some part of my mind repeating “It wasn’t your fault. None of it was your fault.” It feels weird. I tend to assume that everything is my fault.