Many of you know that the past few months, “weight loss” has been non-existent. I stopped doing the weekly weigh ins, frustrated that extreme morning workouts and calorie restricting had me gaining weight. My jeans got tight. I felt fatter, and worse, I felt flummoxed. How on earth could I be doing everything “right” and gaining weight? “It’s muscle,” people told me, and while my measurements went down, the button on my jeans dug more and more into my flesh, an unwelcome reminder that my body had decided it was going to stay fat, despite my best efforts. I had my body fat measured, and the scale at the office was up 13 pounds, to which I decided had to just be the scale, not my actual weight. I saw it in my progress pictures, and cried, humiliated and frustrated. The day I graduated with my master’s degree, I saw pictures of my bloated face and instantly felt crushed by what I saw. I thought, why can’t I do this? I can get a master’s degree. I can find an awesome husband. I can write a blog. I can decorate a cupcake, I can go to Thailand. I can do anything I want, I can be anything I want to be… except thin.
There have been a lot tears the past few months. Tears to my husband. Tears to my friend, to my sister, to my mom. “Why?!” I’d ask, not knowing why I’d been busting my ass, over and over, refusing friend’s birthday cakes, sticking to salad, working up crazy sweats… and I lost nothing, except my motivation. The scale went up. I didn’t know what was going on. I chalked it up to bloating, to stress, to my new job, to my thesis, to my allergies, to my birth control… you name it. There were 1,000 reasons the scale wasn’t moving– right? I didn’t know anything about why my body was revolting, but I did know one thing – something WAS WRONG. I’ve always been persistent about listening to my intuition. I’ve quit great-paying jobs after three weeks, knowing the first day that it wasn’t the right place. I’ve walked away from places where something bad happened shortly after I left. I’ve known when people are upset, when people are lying, when something’s going on. I’ve always listened to the voice in my head when things don’t feel right. I have the sixth sense of Haley Joel Osment on crack. I’m glad I listened to my intuition, because today, after suspecting something was off for many, many months, I got the results I knew were coming.
I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, in addition to a vitamin D deficiency, an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone, and elevated liver counts. These things were confirmed through extensive testing – a transabdominal and pelvic ultrasound, metabolic panels and fasting blood measurements. When I got the news today, I had a simultaneous sad and happy response. I’m sad that there’s something wrong with me, but I’m happy because it explains so much. It explains how I struggle every day of my life with my weight, unable to get past the numbers glaring at me on the scale. It explains why several years ago I became riddled with anxiety, having months of panic attacks before I realized the out of breath, heart-palpitating fear I was often feeling was not normal. It explains why several times in my life, I’ve showered and gasped at the amount of long, blonde hair coming out of my head, the tendrils curling around my comb like an ominous, disease-ridden joke. It explains how sometimes I missed my period altogether, assuming it was stress from school and work, not once thinking that my ovaries were on strike. It explains so many things.
The fears about this diagnosis are large and looming; the possible infertility, the cardiovascular disease, the tiny voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering “cancer”. However, I feel so much better knowing what’s going on. This struggle with my weight has not been a failure of effort. It is not the birthday cupcake, the glass of wine, the night I opted to go to the movies instead of the gym. There is now a concrete medical reason why my body wants to stay fat — because the insulin inside of me prefers I be sweet and sugary and roly-poly rather than lean, mean and efficient. My next steps are to meet with my doctor, likely start an insulin-resistant drug like Metformin, begin a daily 5,000 mg Vitamin D supplement, and re-check my liver enzymes to make sure I don’t have hepatitis. One thing that freaks me out about the liver enzymes is that I ate the Costco berries that have caused over 49 cases of hepatitis A in Southern California. Eeeek. I’m going to call my doctor about that tomorrow!
I hope you all know that I’m sharing this with you because I want you to be vigilant about your health. If you feel like something is wrong, get it checked out. If they say it’s nothing and you still feel “off,” follow up. I have known too many people who avoided a problem because of fear, and are no longer here today because of their refusal to get it checked out. On the flipside, one of my best friends is alive today because he overcame cancer — and he beat it by taking the scary step of going to a doctor, knowing something was wrong. Another best friend pushed for tons of tests, refusing to give up until she was diagnosed with Crohn’s. Today she rocks her diagnosis, having adjusted to a new diet and exercise routine that’s changed her life. You have one body in this lifetime – take care of it. It isn’t easy for me to come on here and share intimate details about my life, my most personal issues – but I’m sharing my story with you because I know it’s not over yet, and if this post can help one woman out there struggling with her weight, it will be worth it. The next few months, the blog will probably have lots more information about this as I research and learn how to treat my condition, and I hope you’ll read along with me. You know I always value your time and support, and I know with my blog, my family and my friends, I’ll work through this and get where I want to be.