Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Trying to Lose Weight with Chronic Illness.

Firstly I should explain, this blog is my personal opinion and I'm not a nutritionist.

It may be easier to get professional advice if you are classed as "obese" with your BMI rather than simply overweight, where you need to lose a stone.

There is a two stone parameter between being skinny and overweight, so you can see how it's easily done, and gaining weight can easily occur.

With chronic illness and disability, there is every chance people suffer joint pain because of rheumatoid arthritis, or muscle pain due to fibromyalgia. Pain clearly stops people being active, and a lack of ability to exercise, over time, can lead to a very gradual weight gain. This can be so gradual, that people you know don't notice. Therefore faituge, pain, possible diabetes, or if not diabetes, a predisposition towards carbohydrate sensitivity and insulin resistance can compound the problem. As can hypothyroidism, where the metabolism is sluggish.

I honestly feel that sugar is highly addictive. The more you eat the more you want to eat, and it's possible to crave more and more chocolate. In this situation, trying to be more active, such as doing the DIY or outside jobs, can simply mess with your metabolism, and leave you craving food even more.

There aren't always simple answers, other than nip it in the bud. I strongly recommend Mary Shoman's Thyroid Diet Book. This can put you on the right track, to get you to understand whether you need to control your carbohydrate and sugar intake or lower calorie intake. There are a choice of plans, so you can tailor it to suit yourself.

In my situation I start the day with porridge. I have a smaller bowl than I used to. I've switched from a banana to a peach or pear.

Lunch is typically a hard boiled egg and salad. I may have a yoghurt. Other days I just have a yoghurt. I don't have two yoghurts a day.

Dinner is typically meat or fish with veg or salad. I do not have potatoes. I have done away with the one new potato that I used to have.

I'm not having any bread, pasta or rice either.

I've not had crisps or a chocolate bar for five months. Treats such as cake are rare, if somebody has baked, or in a social situation.

It is tough going, but after all those months, I have lost that stone in weight. I wish I was more comfortably within the normal range, as I'm pretty much only just within what's classed as a normal weight. I don't feel that gives me much leeway.

I often think to experience some hunger means you aren't putting on weight. However please don't take it to the extreme, where you walk around feeling starving hungry and weak. If you cannot get off the sofa due to no motivation or strength, or feel shaky and on edge or snappy, you are clearly not eating enough. You may lose a couple of lbs but at what cost? Is it worth feeling that bad? Some hunger towards mealtimes is OK as long as it's not extreme like that. Driving hungry is dangerous too. Plus a lack of strength through not eating enough leads to bad posture and slumping in order to fold over your stomach to soothe it.

People often talk about a survival response. i.e. you eat too little and your body stores the fat, thinking it won't eat... I don't know whether it's a myth or not... either way if being hungry makes you feel ill, you are clearly not in a position to adapt to eating so little, or going about things slightly the wrong way.

For example if I started the day with two boiled eggs (no toast) that would be bad and I'd feel ill. Whereas eating the porridge, provides a sustenance feeling, to set me up for the day. So it's about finding what works for you, and if by nature, you are somebody who cannot skip meals, don't torture yourself by making yourself too hungry.

Then you get into what do you do if you are out? I have gone to bed hungry after eating at a pub meal. I saw people's plates piled up and thought I'd put on weight if I ate that. I simply ordered the soup (which wasn't even nice, it was full of stringy meat).

Perhaps just control what you eat on an everyday basis at home, find what works for you and stick to it. If you are in a social situation you may as well enjoy yourself. What about sharing a chocolate brownie, rather than having the cake to yourself? Perhaps there are ways of moderating it like that?

Then the odd thing is when you can almost forget to eat, because you aren't hungry. So be careful not to forget your lunch, as eating late at 15:30 can lead to what feels like an emergency starvation situation, and it's more difficult to satisfy the hunger. This can easily be done, if you are busy or engrossed in something.

Please do read boxes and packets properly. Light granola can have more sugar than ordinary. Please check out the yoghurts, and find no added sugar organic. Have fruits. Be careful with snacks, as some snacks aren't as healthy as you think and defeat the object. I honestly think that my pitfall was so called healthier snacks, which you'd think were better than chocolate bars, but still defeated the object. I also found that smoothies defeated the object.

You'd think your figure and your weight shouldn't be the most important thing. Yet with that attitude, that is how the weight gradually creeps on, without you thinking about it. Clearly people can be otherwise healthy, but be prone to carrying a bit too much weight. But if you are ill and have a disability, that tendency to gain weight, seems to double in my opinion. Therefore it's not easy, as you can feel like you can self deny everything, and be in a static situation, versus slightly gaining weight overnight for enjoying that carbohydrate or dessert.

Only you can find your way through this. There is obviously a huge industry, with weight loss classes, weight loss supplements. I strongly recommend you save your money and enjoy it on other things, and find your way through this. It may involve a lot of trial and error, sometimes being too hungry and ill, other times thinking you'll never get there. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.




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