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Sometimes, and probably more often than medical science would have us believe...

Monday, April 08, 2013

...not being able to lose weight is NOT actually our fault.

I'm a perfect example. I've been watch what I eat for years, keeping my calories low, I don't drink soda, smoke, drink, partake of any caffeinated beverages, limit my sugar intake and do everything right and more that the good doctors have been saying for years I should if I was serious about losing weight. And yes, I've been exercising like a loon. 4130 miles worth since March 27th of 2010.

Until recently, nothing was working.

Now I've lost more than 25 pounds and it looks like my long time goal of losing 100 pounds is within reach.

From the time I was five - yes, five - I knew very, very clearly that I wasn't like other children. I'd suspected it as early as two, had started asking questions, having conversations with my Mom, but there wasn't much or anything we could do about it. First day of kindergarten it became really clear, but my father decided right then and there it was all in my head.

Time passed, lots of visits to psychologists, even a neurologist or two and my father was still certain, despite being assured it wasn't, that it was all in my head. Which didn't do much for my self confidence, let alone my overall health.

Fast forwarding through hell and then in September going to my first Endo ever, and life started to change. Dramatically. I was diagnosed with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and started treatment. There's no cure since it's a genetic defect I was born with (talk about a preexisting condition right?) but it is relatively easy to treat. So I started treatment October 22nd of last year. Since then I've been noticing all kinds of differences small and large. Yesterday was the largest of them.

There's a hill in Winton Woods here in Ohio that's about 900 feel of climb in a very short space, less than a quarter mile I think. I have to go measure it for sure. But be it enough said it's one of those hills that on foot, or even on a bike, you're going to look at, go hell no, and keep going around the lake.

In the last few years I've ridden up it several times, but it's not been easy at all. In fact it left me in pain, my heart racing, my lungs over worked, soaked to the skin in sweat, but I figured over time it would get easier.

It didn't.

Coupled with this, I've been working hard to build up my muscles so that I could consider going on group rides with other cyclists. Those are all for the most part "no drop" rides which means no-one gets left behind, but they expect you to be able to maintain a certain pace to join the ride. A pace I've been trying hard to reach.

That hit a certain point and really didn't move much from there either.

So at the end of last season as fall, well, fell, I'd pretty much made up my mind that I was never going to be able to ride up that (or any other hills) easily, and wouldn't be doing any group rides with anyone unless maybe they were all like me.

So, back to treatment, and changes in my life. I've been seeing all kinds of changes, including faster average pace on stationary bikes. I've been studying everything I can about how to convince the body to burn weight, and thanks to a friend, found out that cardio was good for the heart and lungs (which it has been) but not so much for weight loss. I spent the winter at the gym, and walking in the mall. And while I'm still cycling, no way you'll ever get me to stop that, I've added other things to my exercise diet and that has been helping burn off the weight.

Given that all the research I've found talks about the different heart rate zones, I've been doing more walking, and yesterday I decided that I'd try something novel with my bike. I'd go slow. Really slow. Slow enough to keep my heart rate down and thus my fat burn rate up. I'd done three three mile laps around the lake and was on my third when I came to the turn off for that hill. The hill. I figured okay, a little bit of Cardio wouldn't be bad for me and who knows, maybe, the hill would be easier now that I'm being treated for CAH. So I started up.

Which is when the miracle happened.

I took a nice leisurely ride to the top, in gearing that I'd NEVER been able to take that hill on with, and didn't raise my heart rate. Wasn't soaked in sweat, panting like a steam engine, my heart racing like it was going to explode, and my body didn't hurt. Instead I just rode up that hill like I'd never before been able to do. It was amazing!!! It also means that other hills I couldn't do at all are now going to be within my reach.

And I'm finally losing weight. All this, because after years of being assured that the weird problem I have had my entire life were in my head, it turns out they are not. Even more interesting while rare, it's not like this birth defect of mine is new or unheard of. It's just rare. In fact they were supposed to be testing for it, by law, in all newborns since the year BEFORE I was born. Because this congenital disorder can kill, and often kills infants afflicted within the first few weeks of life. Somehow I missed that test when I was born, and missed dying of it over the years between then and now, though I'd come close numerous times.

But the really big news are I have a whole new range of option for me in terms of hill attack, and the weight is slowly going off me. All because Obamacare made it possible for me to get the tens of thousands of dollars worth of testing to properly diagnose what I'd known since I was a very precocious toddler.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is just plain awesome. Congrats for reaching such a great milestone and I am ecstatic that the healthcare changes enabled you to get the tests that you needed in order to find out what was wrong to begin with. Onward and upward, now, huh? You go, girl! LOL
    1781 days ago
    I am very glad that you both have a diagnosis and that you are determined to make yourself healthy and fit. You are an inspiration and could probably do wonders if you joined a society to give talks to others with the disorder. Apparently (I am a pre-nursing student and constantly have my nose in stuff like this) severe cases ARE rare, but mild cases are much more common than was previously supposed, and may even be responsible for some weight and infertility problems that are going undiagnosed. What an inspiration you could be if you could keep up your good work and help someone just beginning the struggle to lose weight and get healthy!
    I see you all the time on walk across America. :)
    1806 days ago
    So glad they finally figured a cause, and that your fitness level is improving!
    1806 days ago
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