Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I've had a really hard time working up the energy/motivation to exercise lately. I've also had a really hard time controlling my snacking and treats and things, particularly around lunchtime. My exercise keeps getting delayed until evening because I procrastinate, and my dinners keep shrinking because I keep eating SO much around midday and I just can't seem to stop myself.
Well, I think it's time to explain why this sudden shift has taken place and why it suddenly feels like I'm all kinds of out of control. I don't mean to make excuses for my newfound laziness and lack of willpower, but....
here's the good news....
...after a lengthy tangent. As you may or may not know, I primarily wanted to lose weight before starting a family with my husband. I wanted to have a healthy body before it was time to grow a baby inside it. I wanted a healthy pregnancy and an easier pregnancy. I wanted a good recovery. I wanted to be a mom with enough energy for her newborn baby and any future babies.
Then I lost my period a year ago. Before I even made it from "overweight" to "normal" in BMI terms, my periods started fizzling and disappeared altogether. 145 lbs is the upper healthy weight for a 5'4" woman. I stopped menstruating at around 155 lbs. I guess it was the weight loss - I guess my body didn't quite know what to do with it. I didn't lose the weight suddenly or anything - it was a very slow process. But suddenly the periods stopped, and then I made things worse by developing an exercise compulsion, and as it turns out I wasn't eating NEARLY enough. I thought I was, but I definitely wasn't.
At first, we thought I was pregnant. We were so excited. We planned to tell our families at Easter - the season of new life, you know. Then I kept having negative test after negative test.
I made my gynecologist see me eventually. They kept putting me off and saying "Just wait, maybe it'll come back." But I finally said I really need to see the doctor. He put me on progesterone to see if that would kick-start my periods again. It did not. Didn't do a damn thing. Finally, I asked about the weight loss situation. I had dropped to about 118 pounds at my lowest weight. The gynecologist's office was in the same building as a weight loss clinic, so he sent me next door to have a body scan done. We learned my body fat was at 11%, which is DANGEROUSLY low for a woman. Athletes are supposed to be no less than 14%. "Fit" women are between 20 and 24%. "Average" female body fat is between 25 and 30%. Below 10%, your body cannot function. And my doctor said that 14.5% is typically the minimum body fat you need to menstruate.
So after all that weight loss, feeling great about how skinny I was, loving the compliments people were giving me, loving feeling so tiny...I had to face the idea of gaining weight and easing up on the exercise. I was doing a LOT of running and power-walking and zumba. Way too much. But I was afraid to let go of it.
Yet the gynecologist, my PCP, and my reproductive endocrinologist (to whom my gyno referred me when the progesterone didn't work and my blood work came back with an incredibly high DHEA - some kind of "male hormone" - reading) all told me to gain weight. The endocrinologist said we could do hormone shots to get me pregnant, but when I looked into it I found that my insurance wouldn't cover it and such treatment came with a very high risk of multiples - twins, triplets, even quadruplets. I was afraid to do that, so we thought we'd wait a bit.
In the meantime, the gyno thought I had a MASSIVE ovarian cyst, based on a CT scan and some ultrasounds. I was scheduled for surgery and was told that I could very likely lose the ovary. Turns out, it was a noncancerous tumor of the appendix, so I kept my ovaries but had the appendix removed. So that got in the way of things as well, but it could have been worse!
I wrote a number of whiny blogs about how freaked out I was about having to gain weight, and a number of optimistic blogs about "making progress" and then inevitably backsliding into too much exercise again.
Anyways, we ended up moving to a different state for my husband's job, so I was able to get out of my old rut. At this point, we had decided to go ahead and do the shots - I'd gained some weight, but nothing new was happening, hormone-wise. So I found the closest endocrinologist, started treatment, and we crossed our fingers, prayed, and had my family lighting candles at church for us. It took a long time to find the right dose to make my egg follicles grow properly (guess I needed a fair bit of hormonal assistance) but eventually they did grow. I ended up with two follicles that were big enough. I took my Ovidrel shot to release the eggs, my husband and I ...well, we tried to be VERY thorough...and then we had to wait.
So here's the news:
I AM PREGNANT!
And I am really really hoping that that is why I can't seem to stay in control of my food and I have such a hard time dragging my butt up to do any exercise when previously I had iron control over my eating the vast majority of the time and I was actually fighting exercise compulsion. I feel like a different person now, and it's been pretty frustrating and I have cried over this lack of control I feel now, but...I think it's the pregnancy, and being pregnant is worth ANY cost, even me feeling disappointed in myself for my eating/exercise struggles every day. This too shall pass, right? And this fall, I will finally have a little family of my own. :) Definitely worth whatever minor-in-the-grand-scheme-of-t
hings struggles I'm dealing with now!
We finally told our families this past weekend, so now I feel like I can share it here on SP. Thank you for being so supportive of my journey through weight loss to infertility to disordered eating/exercise behaviors. Your kind thoughts have meant so much to me, and for those who have already done the pregnant thing - omg feel free to offer any of your wisdom, because I'm a bit nervous about all this! :)