On Weight Gain

Raquel StecherAbout Me
Blogger at Thoughtful Eating and Vintage Brand New. Please add my to your circles.

On November 2008, I decided I really needed to lose some weight. I started changing my diet and worked out a whole lot. It took me from November ’08 to June ’09 but I lost 15 pounds. In June ’09 I met my soon-to-be-husband Carlos. Suddenly I was going out to eat a lot, spending a lot of time with him developing our relationship and less time at the gym. I also started taking bc pills (as you do). Not only did I gain back those 15 pounds, I gained 15 more on top of that. The biggest mistake on my part was not buying a new scale immediately when my old one broke. When I finally did get around to buying a new scale was when I noticed the 30 pound weight gain. If I had gotten a replacement scale earlier I could have nipped this in the bud earlier. But I didn’t.

Now it’s September 2012 and I still haven't lost any of that weight. It took me over a year to gain the 30 pounds and I’ve been trying to lose it for 2 years without any success.  The most I lost was 5 pounds and I would gain it back within a couple of weeks. I have not surpassed my highest weight from 2010 but I can't maintain any weight loss either. Why can't I lose the weight? I really don't know. I just know I have some obstacles in my way:

Metabolism – My metabolism has slowed as I’ve gotten older. It started to slow when I was a teenager. I noticed that I started gaining weight even though I hadn’t changed my eating habits. Unfortunately, my eating habits back then were really bad. Lots of fast food restaurants including Taco Bell, DQ, McDonald's and Wendy's. With each year, I’ve learned more and more about nutrition and exercise and my lifestyle has improved immensely. However, my metabolism keeps getting slower and I find it just too easy to gain weight, very difficult to maintain weight (I work on it daily) and almost impossible to lose weight.

Time Crunch – I used to be able to devote a full hour to exercise every evening. That included cardio and strength training. Now that I’m in a long-term relationship, I find I have less time. I devote at least 30-45 minutes on weekdays to exercise and try to do more than an hour on Saturday and Sunday. If I can get 2-3 hours on a Saturday or Sunday, even better! I’ve had to put some of my hobbies aside in order to devote time to exercise. I read less, watch fewer movies, blog less, spend less time online (when I’m home) and don’t hang out with my friends as much. All of these sacrifices have been made just to be able to make time to make dinner and exercise.

Medicine – I know that there have been studies that show that bc pills don’t cause weight gain but I think it’s all based on some sort of technicality. I really do blame a lot of my weight gain on my medication. It’s increased my hunger immensely. I never used to be this hungry all the time. Also, I’ve read studies that say that the pill makes you more efficient in digesting carbohydrates. They turn into fat a lot more easily than if you are off the pill. The bloat and the mild depression that it causes doesn’t help much either especially with comfort and with motivation.

Hypoglycemia – A low blood sugar drop is dangerous and it's an every day worry for me. I always have candies or chocolates on me in case of an emergency. I can not go more than 4 hours without eating. It’s just not possible. As soon as I break my fast in the morning, I have to eat every 2-3 hours. This makes me feel like a total pig. I’ve switched my snacks to healthy options. My in-between meal snacks are fruit, plain almonds, dark chocolate, etc. They used to be more carb and sugar-based options so I’m glad I switched them out. But I still have to eat all damn day. I'm sure my coworkers think I'm some kind of food addict. And the increase in hunger from my medication hasn’t helped either. Also in the past, the pill has made my hypoglycemia worse. I’m sure that's what's happening now too. I’ve stopped drinking caffeine altogether as it causes my insulin to rise and blood sugar to drop triggering my hypoglycemia.

Picky Eating & IBS – There is a really severe conflict between my appetite, my mind and my digestive system. I get bored with food really easily and have to constantly find new recipes to make for meals. My mind tells me I should have grilled chicken/fish for veg each dinner but when I try to do that my appetite gets repulsed. And my digestive system, because of my IBS, just doesn't like anything but cereal. The biggest problem I have is with chicken which I tend to be grossed out by in texture even though I enjoy the flavor. My mind tells me grilled chicken with veg, my appetite tells me meatballs, spaghetti and green beans and my stomach tells me “none of the above”. Trying to pacify my appetite, mind and stomach is very difficult sometimes impossible. It’s something I struggle with every day.

Stress - I don't want to go into this too much but my current situation isn't very good. My relationships are all fine but I do need to make some other life changes so I can move forward. Also, I have a bit of a medical emergency that is weighing on my mind (I go to the hospital for treatment next week). All the stress makes me snack more.

I have a lot of obstacles ahead of me if I really want to lose the 30 pounds I gained plus the other 10 pounds I was originally intending to lose.

Have you ever struggled with weight gain and weight loss? What worked for you? What didn’t?


Anonymous said...

You could have been describing my life! Thank you for this post, as it made me realize that I'm not the only one going through this weight struggle. Right now I have bought a treadmill and am exercising almost everyday after work, but I resent all the time it takes out of my schedule. Cooking at home, too, while enjoyable at times, feels like a chore some days - after commuting, walking the dog, working out, showering, cooking, and cleaning the kitchen, I don't sit down until 9pm. By then it's almost time for bed! Frustrating. I'm hoping it starts to feel more natural and becomes an easy habit. In the meantime, a day at a time. Thanks so much for your inspiration!

Laura said...

I've had an issue since having my last couple of children (far too long ago! time really does get sucked up being busy doing things for others and having a sedentary job). I've been working the last three years to exercise and gradually lower my weight for long-term health. If space permits, I really recommend a home treadmill. I try to walk an hour a day and though the loss is slow, I lost 24 pounds over the last 2 years, which the dr. says is a better way to keep it off (and not yo-yo) than losing in a hurry. Since I'm self-employed I'm fortunate that I can do some of my reading work on the treadmill (my husband built me a work tray), which I call "paid exercise" (grin) -- but doing it at home also allows combining exercise with a more relaxing hobby, i.e., watching a movie, sporting event or TV show. :)

Amazon has some great interest-free deals if you use their Store card and want to pay it off over time, and over time it may be a lower cost than a gym membership if you choose one instead of both. It also saves the time involved getting to a gym.

Of course, space may well be an issue especially in a smaller home such as a condo. In that case, perhaps it's an idea for down the road when you own a house.

Re picky eating, I am much more open to various kinds of foods since I embraced an interest in cooking a few years ago, which "demystified" some foods for me (I blame my pickiness on a very limited childhood diet due to food allergies which I outgrew) -- but I am still a pickier eater than most people I know. My reasons are different from yours but it can be a challenge at times. Just thought you might like to know you really aren't alone in many ways!

Good luck to you!!!

Best wishes,

Raquelle said...

Anonymous - Thank you so much for your comment. It makes me feel better to know I'm not alone in this situation. I hear you about cooking feeling like a chore. By Thursday every week I don't want to even look at the kitchen let alone cook in it. I'm just too tired. All of our chores should count for exercise right? :-) Keep at it, like you said, one day at a time. That's all we can do.

Laura - Thanks for stopping by! My mother had our old home treadmill refurbished and she's lost some weight by walking on it for one hour each day. We don't have the space in our home for a treadmill and straight cardio doesn't work for me re: weight loss. However, my dream is to have a home with a treadmill that has a built in TV with DVD/BluRay player. They are out there! Imagine watching classic movies while exercising? That would be so fantastic!

Athena Ortiz said...

Medications are DEFINITELY a huge factor. I gained 20LBS specifically from taking a certain medication. Once I got off of it, my body began to go back to normal.

As far as metabolism, I have heard that green tea (plain, no sweeteners) is good for raising it. Sometimes I brew a whole pot of that then keep it in the fridge and drink it cold.

I know how you feel, its so frustrating to not see any results!!

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