My eyes bulged at the number on the scale. I had officially hit my highest weight. 23 years of diet, exercise, hypnotherapy sessions and self-esteem journals and this is what it came to.... a 31 pound weight gain in 3 months.
I probably would have cried had I not been emotionally spent. Out of the past 24 months, at least 20 of them were spent very ill with a multitude of problems. One doctor said it was anxiety. Another stated it was my fault that my energy was so low.
"Maybe if you go get some exercise, you won't feel as exhausted." Of course, when I gained the 30+lbs, I was taking Zumba classes 5 nights a week. If that isn't exercise - I don't know what is!
"Only eat when you are hungry," they said. Except I was always hungry, and even when I stayed within my calorie range of 1350-1650 I managed to gain at LEAST 4 lbs a week.
I switched doctors more times than I could count, mainly because they all thought I was crazy. I was in and out of the hospital with painful, SEVERELY swollen glands, and had an upset stomach from all the mega-antibiotics they had me on. I was severely depressed, and after 6 different attempts at medication, none of them worked. I slept eight hours a night and was so exhausted from the time my feet hit the floor that it was beginning to affect my job. I couldn't think straight. Despite my healthy diet, I wasn't losing or even staying the same weight. This was all my fault, the doctors said, I must be doing something wrong.
3 months ago at my peak weight, my body went completely crazy. When I say completely crazy, I am talking bat-crap, psycho, pregnancy-symptoms-even-though
-there-was-no-way, fluctuating hormones, ready to drive my car off a bridge CRAZY. Frustrated, confused, and abso-friggin-lutely terrified, I went to my family doctor who reluctantly referred me to an endocrinologist for weight-loss and handed my a packet on weight-loss surgery
despite my tearful plea to do more blood work (my mother has a thyroid disorder). There was something just not right. Her response?
"What happens if we do all these tests and nothing is found?"
I gave her the nastiest stink eye I could possibly muster, put the weight-loss surgery packet back on her clip-board, and walked out of the office.
During my visit to the endocrinologist, I explained the battle I have had with doctors the past few months. Despite the fact that my family doctor referred me with "weight loss" intentions, the endocrinologist said she was not convinced there was not something more sinister at work. FINALLY!
She ordered extensive blood tests, and a week later she called to tell me that my Vitamin D levels were dangerously low. I would have to be on mega-doses of 50,000 IU 3 times a week starting immediately for the next month and a half. There was something else in the blood work, but she wanted to discuss that at her office.
By the time I went in for the visit to discuss the blood work two weeks later, my energy levels had improved dramatically. I no longer wanted to sleep my life away. It was wonderful! I was still having a lot of problems with my depression, anxiety, stomach, hormones, acne, weight, etc. Turns out, I have been having what I affectionately refer to as an endocrine crap-storm in my body for the past several years - possibly since birth. The verdict?
I was diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition caused by an insulin resistance that affects a small percentage of women (but more than you think!). Common symptoms are weight gain and problems losing weight, hormone problems (such as acne and depression), and infertility. It can be attributed to a family history of diabetes or other women with PCOS.
I was put on Metformin, which is a medication that they prescribe to help treat diabetes and/or PCOS. It helps to better regulate how your body responds to the Insulin it produces so that an excess is not created (which is what causes your hormones to go crazy) and I am happy to say my body is feeling WONDERFUL. I've lost nearly 10 pounds since I started taking it two weeks ago maintaining the same diet and exercise schedule that I had been using when doctors said I "must be doing something wrong." Even though I am experiencing some extreme gastro-intestinal side-affects (lots of nausea and belly aches!) which are often associated with the first the first few weeks of using Metformin, it is worth it to me for long-term results. I finally feel like my body is mine again! Luckily, the infertility is an obstacle that can be overcome when I want to have children by taking fertility medications. The best part is now that I know what is wrong with my body, I am learning to work WITH it instead of against it. You will not believe the transformation that has been taking place. It is truly an amazing feeling to know that you are not crazy - despite what your doctors say!
My point is, some times it really is NOT your fault! Be your own advocate. You know your body better than anyone, and if you feel that something is off - persevere until you get an answer! If the scale isn't moving and you are following a healthy, balanced diet and exercising, see your doctor about getting a referral to an endocrinologist who specializes in hormone disorders. A hormone imbalance of any kind can result in weight gain and other body issues - in men or women.
The answer to your weight problems may be less obvious than you think!
For more information on PCOS, click here: women.webmd.com/tc/polyc