Sparking for 3.7 years and how I got there

I have always been an active person, doing on activity or another that struck my fancy. I never though of myself as Morbable Obese or even Obese for that matter, I new that I had weight and that it was not good to have the weight I was carrying around on my body. But I never though that I would be able to get the weight off. You see I had spent all of my childhood being active, International Ballroom Dancing, Cross Country Running, Biking, Cross Country Skiing, Wind Surfing, Swimming, I even was on the Jr. Olympic DIve Team (till I injured my neck for life). In short I had a active childhood filled with being physically active. Yet for all of it, I put on weight. My peditrition said it was just baby weight that I would grow out of it, then I hit 13 and the weight didn’t start to leave – she was like well you can’t be eating right just eat less and the weight will come off.

Ya right, I was already on a form of Diabetic Diet because it was what my mom had put the whole family on when she learned she was diabetic, so sweets and the like where not common within the house, if I wished them I had to get the outside of the home where my mom wasn’t able to see them. And I admit to doing so ever chance that I got the extra spending money to do so, which wasn’t that often couple times a month if I was lucky.

My mom took me to more doc’s that ran test after test after test – yet all tests came back without results. I kept getting told just cut the sweets and eat less and the weight will come off. Needless to say my mom was getting upset with the lack of progress as was I, but by then I had resigned myself to being fat and chose to make the best of it. My deal because if I can’t beat it just live with it and move forwards. I stayed active and by 16 my weight had stabilized I was by then 275 pounds, a weight I would stay at till I was 26. All though University and collage living on my own I would stay the same weight, not budging up or down. For all my bad eating habits in university (every friday was pizza night and rest of the weekend was devoted to eating the large thin crust pepperoni pizza that Id get on that friday).

In University something strange happened, I stopped my cycles. I went the rest of my school career without a cycle. I didn’t think anything of it and my GP put it up to stress and told me when I finished school that it would start up again. I graduate from University and start College, my last term of college one of the girls I’ve become friends with asks me if I have PCOS a condition that I new nothing of, well she explains it to me and that night I hit the net and start researching things. The next day I make an appointment with my GP a few days later I see her and give her the print outs she then refers me to a GYN, by the end of the month I am told I have this condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, 20 days after I learn I have it I also learn that I am Insulin Resistant a common condition associated with PCOS. This got me to searching online for options that would help me. Since now I new that my issues with getting the weight off was not 100% my own fault, that it was part of this medical condition.

I once again started tracking my food and what I ate – I got a newer Carb counting book then the one I had been using (had been using the one the CDA gave my mom). I new from what I had read online from various PCOS sites that carb intake apparently could effect how the PCOS worked on the body. Thus I started to see just what was going on with my body and how what I ate might be effecting it. That and I new that if I wished to stay diet and cardio controlled without needing to go on insulin for the diabetes that I better get my act together to give myself the best chance I could.

In time tracking with just pen and paper got annoying, so I changed over to using my computer but that was still annoying and I still had to keep my log book with me so I could jot things down thought the day to enter into my comp when I got home. Needless to say I was starting not to track and my control over my Blood Glucose levels started to slip more and more. Then the idea that there had to be something online that would be helpful to me came to my mind. I joined SparkPeople back in April of 2006, after joining a number of other sites that I found via google. I didn’t think it was going to be any good at first after all the other sites I’d joined had proven to be all wrong for me and what I was looking for.

Well I stuck it out for several months using the tools and tracking, tracking and more tracking. I got to know the interface of the site and as time progressed got into the swing of things. I was not pleased with many things regarding the site itself and to this day its still not high on my list of things, but understanding that the site is American and no matter how international the population of the site might be it will always cater the those who are in the US which make up at least half the site population I am sure if not more then half.

The site itself has a lot going for it, it is an online community and it is free to join and use, unlike many other sites out there that are similar in their make up. I know that the site itself can’t cater to all people or medical conditions, thus the options that it does offer are very limited, but within those limitations many people who have used the site over the years have managed to get the weight off and keep it off.

The site is not geared to the growing number of diabetic’s who are joining the site and seeking help from it, I know I for one would like to have some kind of diabetic option added to the site, glucose tracking would be a nice option (without having to build it myself as I have dun). I know for diabetics its a person to person deal and that we do need to have a diabetic dietitian involved in helping set things up when it comes to eating and fitness, but I am sure there are ways SP could integrate better with diabetics then it currently does (even partnering with the ADA might be an option).

I have lost weight since I joined the site almost 4 years ago. But is it do to the site itself? No, I’ve never followed the sites recommendations for calorie range, carb range, fat range or even protein range. Mostly because I was following what my diabetic dietitian had laid out for me, which for a time did work for me in getting the weight off. But I have since then come to suspect that the main weight loss I had had nothing to do with what I was eating or how much I was working out but everything to do with the drugs I was on, in combination with the food I ate and the working out I was doing.

I joined SP and at the time I was on the drug Depo Provera, I’d been on it since mid 2004 and I was getting an injection of the drug every 6 to 8 weeks. I was not on it for birth control as oh so many people use it for. I was on it because of other issues that it was able to control to a degree but it never was able to stop. Near the end that I was on that drug I was also put on Lupron and that month I was on the Depo and Lupron I lost 10 pounds in a blink of an eye it felt (that month was bad for me cardio wise, yet for all the lack of working out I still lost the weight).

When I first joined SP, I was not at my heaviest but I was not light either. I did try following their recommendations and everything when I first joined, but I soon started to give up on their system because for the first time in my life I was seeing myself gaining weight while following a plan. I was shocked and ticked, I was doing as I was told, following things to the letter and yet I gained weight. I found myself getting closer and closer to the weight that I had been years before and yet had managed to louse and keep off till I tried following the sites info. So I stopped following the site, and started experimenting on my own seeing what might work for me over what they where telling me would work.

I know I was logging what I was eating and my work outs into SP and it would say one thing that I should be eating between and how much I should be burning, yet nun of that equaled what was happening to me. I was not able to louse a pound a week never mind two pounds a week. I could burn 10,000 cals a week yet the max their system let me put in was 9,999 cals burned in a week. Yes for a time there I was burning up to 2,000 calories a day – I use to hit my local gym for up to 4 hours a day (weights for 1.5 hours then treadmill for an hour onto the elliptical for an hour then back to the treadmill for a cool down, then on top of that I’d walk back home and I live just over a km from where I was working out).

Well by the end of 2007 I was back down again I’d reached my goal of 275 pounds. I was pleased that I’d managed to get the weight off and keep it off once I’d reached the goal. I had found what appeared to work for me, and it wasn’t what SP was telling me it should be. But so what I had not joined the site to follow their program in the first place even if I had tried to do so and it had proven to be a bad choice on my own part.

The following year 2008 would prove to be a year of struggle for me, I would be working out daily hitting the gym and eating as healthy as I could, I’d take on the help of a dietitian who I though understood where I was coming from and would be able to help me. But my body would throw me for a loop, the depo and lupron I had been put on would fail and I’d end up going into hospital for emergency surgery – I ended up having a hysterectomy and being thrown into instant surgical menopause. The day that we had been trying to put off had come and it was time to face the music so to speak. I came out of the surgery without complications or so we thought. I ended up with an internal infection and that infection would put a wrench into my recovery and life there after. I went from being a diet controlled type 2 diabetic to needing insulin injections.

In 2008 for all the issues that happened to me to sidetrack me and other stuff I would fall in love and get engaged to a very loving man, someone who I didn’t see coming and who I never though I would find when I did start looking. He would himself join SP to offer me support, but he never did follow the site himself (when he joined it he was under weight – he wasn’t even 100 pounds when he joined). But he had used it from time to time to track and go though. In 2008 I would make my 20 pound a year weight loss, but I’d also gain back 10 pounds that I had lost the 6 weeks before my emergency hysterectomy took place, by 2009 I would gain that 10 pounds back.

In 2009, not only did I get married but I also went from needing a daily injection of insulin to needing insulin injections 4 times a day – meal times plus night time. I was put on the meal tie insulin the day before I got married and the day I learned that my husband would have to return to the US, talk about two stressors that I really didn’t need the day before getting married. Anyhow, we got married we went on our honeymoon and I tried to deal with being a new diabetic using insulin without any back ground or instructions beyond the scant info I new from my mom and the nurse at the hospital who gave me my injections while I was staying there after I got the internal infection.

By June 2009 I was living in the US with my husband at 6,000 feet above sea level – my blood glucose levels where anything but regular and I was having a hard time keeping my number normal (never did happen, i never was able to get them below 10, save once and that once also ended me in hospital for going TO low). While I was living in the US I did find SP helpful in tracking what I was eating because now what it offered made sense to me since I was now in the country to which the site is aimed. But to my shock the foods that I was so muse to eating where not there for me and top options that I had to use instead where higher in sodium and other things that I spent most of my time in the US unable to be as active as I would have liked to have been.

But I did learn eventually how to eat down in the US without issues – but it took me almost my entire stay down there to do so (6 months). When I came back home, I found that I had lost weight while I was away, at my endro’d office they had me hit the scales and I got the pleasant shock that I now weighed in at 266 pounds, down from the 270 that I had been the day before my wedding. So something had been working right, while I was down there (though it would also have been that I was not able to keep all that I ate in that lead to the weight loss).

Being back home, I had my wake up call. I new that I could get the weight off – since it had apparently happened while I was away. I new that I should have more energy and that I couldn’t let the diabetes get the better of me. But what of the other medical conditions that I have to deal with. Well I’ve come to the conclusion that I will live as best I can with them. I know that the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome makes weight loss that much harder in its own right, I know that being on insulin can also add to the hardship of getting the weight off, and I know having prophyria and needing to make sure I don’t trigger an attack by going to low in carbs and other stressors.

When my husband came up for the holidays I new that I needed to once again take care of ME. I couldn’t put it off, I needed to take charge of my self again and get back on track on many areas of my life. When the new year rolled around I made a promise to myself that I would do just that. I would start in at it again and track everything. I would get my Blood Glucose levels back on track. I would figure out the right combo of Calories in and Calories out that would help me get the weight off. My 20 pound a year goal is still there, but I’m also content to maintain as long as I do not gain. I wont a long and happy life with my husband. I wont us to be able to have an active life together enjoying our golden years without to many medical issues as possible.

Thus I have started back at SparkPeople, I am logging what I eat, I am logging my work outs. I am blogging more about my fitness, I’m trying to remember to twitter my blood glucose readings and holding myself accountable for doing so. I am in short holding myself more accountable for my own actions and what I do with myself. I am aiming to keep this up for life, but I do know that it will not be easy and that this year is like other years full of its own challenges and I intend on meeting them head on as I am able to do so.

My Goals are as follows for myself…
* 20 pounds a year loss till I reach goal weight or safe weight (goal weight 225 pounds, medical weight 180 pounds)
* Get into the habit of taking my three meal time doses of Insulin
* Get into the habit of taking my nightly does of Insulin
* Get into the habit of taking my nightly dose of Glumetza
*** To get my blood glucose levels within range, so that I don’t need to stay on insulin
*** A1C by end of year to be as close to 7 as I can get it
* To walk a min of 30 minutes a day
* Aiming for 5,000 steps a day
* Work my way back up to 10,000+ steps a day by end of the year
* Have a long and loving relationship with my husband
* To grow old and stay as healthy as possible in doing so
* To have a strong and healthy family life
* Getting a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep
* Drink more water

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