Obesity and Ageing

Anyone who has known me for any length of time is aware that I struggle with weight problems. A single look confirms it. As I have gotten older, it has become more and more difficult to deal with: and then, a few years ago, it seemed to spiral totally out of control. Along with that came PCOS (complete with skyrocketing insulin levels and a savage hunger), sleep apnea (try losing weight when all you do, all the time, is work, sleep, eat), diabetes, high blood pressure (although my GP and I are in a constant argument about what constitutes high blood pressure. I’m happy with a 130/80 and occasional spikes, she is not!) and high cholesterol levels. I never thought I would end up as I have, and it scares me.

I’ve tried Herbalife. Yes, it works, no doubt about it, and you do feel really fantastic when you use the products. But you have to stay on it for the rest of your life, and its bloody expensive. I’ve tried calorie controlled diets, but I can never stick to them, ditto weight watchers stuff. I’ve tried various fad diets over the years, but none have long term weightloss as a result. I like the idea of a low GI diet, and the kickstart diet that Channel 7 promoted last year was pretty effective, initially, but geez I got sick of vegie soup after 2 weeks of nothing but. However, I can live with a low GI diet as a lifelong thing, one really isn’t missing much at all.

Why don’t I exercise, I hear you ask… Well… I used to. I was a tennis player, and a tenpin bowler. In my youth I was a pretty decent swimmer as well, and did the usual lifesaving certificates up to Bronze Medallion level. I quit swimming after that and the weight began piling on. It was kept in check from time to time by my level of activity. I sustained a back injury at age 15 and now that is coming back to bite me, so walking any distance is out of the question, its just too painful. I even have a disability parking permit now and that is a real PITA: a kind of a slap in the face. I can, and do, get on an exercise bike (which I love because it also affords me the time to listen to audiobooks on my computer or iPod… its amazing how much you miss when reading the words… and how much more you get when listening to someone else read them. I guess I read too fast). And then my knees give out. But I keep getting on and having a go.

Where I am at today is commencing on the Optifast regime. Its pretty savage, reducing your caloric intake to <800 a day. I’m not sure I can stick to it completely, but given the rubbish I have been into in the last few years, its going to be an improvement anyway. I bought the chocolate shake mix yesterday and had my first this morning. Its not bad, but its something I know I am going to struggle with, so I wandered out about mid-morning and also acquired a supply of Vanilla shake, chicken soup and berry bars. I had a berry bar at lunchtime and I really didnt like it much. I don’t think I’ll buy any more when the current supply is done.

With a great deal of relief, I also noticed that even though you are replacing three meals for the first 12 weeks, you can still have two cups of low starch vegies, so I hit the local fruit and veg market on the way home and now have a truckload of green leafies in the fridge, all ready to go for tea, after the chicken soup.

How will I go with this? No idea. Its never been easy for me to lose weight, even when savagely curtailing my intake… but for some reason I am expecting success. I certainly hope for it. I have an appointment with the surgeon in two weeks time for assessment for gastric banding and I rather think I may be excluded because of age and and excess of antibodies… and in truth, I remain unsure of whether I want to have the anaesthetic in any case. I’ve already arranged to continue seeing the dietician in any case, regardless of his decision.

I like the Optifast program, it seems much saner than many meal replacement programs and does not look to keep you on the product forever, but rather gets you to a point where you eat less, and more healthily. Less, being really important. We all eat way too much, all the time, and I am constantly amazed at what I see people put away, that even I at my worst cannot manage.

This is all about getting my health back. I’m never going to be a sporting loon, nor am I ever going to be skinny, but I know I can do something about the blood pressure and the diabetes (and maybe the sleep apnea as well although theres some evidence to show it existed before the worst of this set in, and was simply untreated for around 14 years)…

I want to feel better, and I don’t want to be a drain on the health system.

Wish me luck.

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15 thoughts on “Obesity and Ageing

  1. hi
    just read your letter
    sounds so much like me…..so tired of nothing working….i would be very scared of having gastric banding….i did have some luck and lost 2 stone going to the hospital dietician and having group meetings, but when that course ended it was all too easy to start breaking the rules..any excuse would do and the weight has now come back on again………trying to stay possitive is hard so i wish you all the luck in the world with your new effort….let me know how you get on
    take care and good luck……..maureen

  2. My biggest problem is that I love food. I just adore creamy sauces on meats, and potatoes… I also love full-cream milk and if ever I have coffee again, thats what will go in it. Interestingly I can’t bear it in tea, so at leat for a while its going to be skim milk all the way. I figure that in the future, a sweet craving can probably be dealt with by a chocolate Optifast dessert, theres no sugar in it and its going to be better than cakes or mousse from Red Rooster. The chemist I bought the stuff at yesterday didnt have the dessert, I’ll have to have my local order it in.

    If I’m accepted for gastric banding, I will go ahead, reservations notwithstanding, because I know that, like you, all good intentions tend to disappear when one is faced with a fabulous feast. One of my workmates has had it and has lost about 50kg… she’s a lot younger than me, but if it can work for her, it can work for me too. Mechanical restriction of quantity may be my only solution.

    Thanks, Maureen, for your good wishes.

  3. Good luck. I know how hard it can be. Several years ago I started a fitness regime with 20-minute walks every day and gradually built up to hiking, cycling and jogging. I have less time for exercise now and I’ve started putting weight on again.

    If you can lose a few kilos you might take up swimming again.

  4. One thing I have learned is that I am incapable of sticking to this one. I can do two meals replaced, but not three. Its all that insulin running about I suppose, I’m just starving by dinnertime. I’m staying off big mobs of complex carbs though, just for a while. So its chook and salad, and shakes. Oh yeah also I spoke with my GP about it today and she is NOT happy about it. I’ll be sensible though.

  5. One week of Periodic meal replacement and 2.5kg down. Of course, its early days yet but if I can get rid of half a kilo a week I’ll be happy. Over the moon.

  6. I have similar problems with dinnertime. I can handle extremely small breakfasts and lunches but when dinner hits I literally feel depressed if I don’t have something substantial to eat. I solve that by avoiding fast food and highly processed foods from the grocery and try to aim for fresh veggies and the like that I have to prepare myself.

  7. Fresh vegies are wonderful. Fortunately I love those. Of the Optifast I have discovered that the soup is disgusting (and I have about another 12 serves to go before they are finished), the berry bar is carrying twice the amount of calories that it ought to (IMO) and for all that, tastes revolting. I got some of the choc dessert… it mixes up a bit like mousse… its OK but I wont be getting any more. It really is going to be shakes only, for me, or real food.

    My visit to the doc this week… after I told her how I am managing it she ended up satisfied I wasn’t being stupid so thats OK. Basically how I am managing is this: If I am starving, I’ll have a shake… if, an hour later, I am still starving, I might have a small salad or a couple of dry crackers. Its more carbs than the diet allows for but it seems to be ok, as I am still well under my usual number of calories/kilojoules.

    And I see the surgeon on Thursday for his final decision. *nerves*

  8. Further to this.. I waited 3 hours in a public hospital clinic to see the surgeon. I was taken into a room where I waited for another 30 minutes and was finally seen by a registrar who was unable to do a thing because i needed to see the surgeon… who had left for the day. Am I pissed off? You betcha. Do I want to have an op by someone who obviously doesn’t give a rats ass about his public patients? Nope. I’m still really angry. And so much for the efficiency of the Hunter New England Health Service. I’ll see the dietician, but I am not even thinking of surgery anymore.

  9. Hey you,

    Not sure if you got coverage of the programe of ‘Britains Biggest Looser’ (in the sense that it was a reality weight loss programme, not that the people were loosers). The exercise regime used the latest fad in the uk, Russian Kettle Bells.

    I actually bought some and had a trainer set me a program of exercises in the new year. It was the first time ever that I’ve actually achieved what i set out to in the 6 week program. Granted I don’t have an excessive weight problem, but the results that a full gym program took me 6 months last time, i achieved in 6 weeks with the kettle bells.

    They aren’t heavy like bell weights, and the technique is swinging and stretching with them. No sweating, and the work out takes me ten mins. For some scientific reason involving the process of burning and storing fat, stretching muscles and heart rate that is beyond my understanding, this exercise burns more fat than cardio exercise.

    I find with exercise and gyms that after the first week, if left alone on exercise equipment i’d lamely cycle for 10 mins, then go and reward myself with a big dinner for being so good. It was pricey, but it was the first time that I had achieved what i had set out to do in a 6 week programme.

    I know you’ve got some back issues, but i would think it was something worth looking at or discussing with the dietician.

    Hope you’re well – dealing with the hospitals doens’t sound fun.

    Best Wishes
    Kate Austin
    x

  10. Hiya Kate… Thanks for the comments. There’s an Aussie biggest loser as well, been going for the last couple of years. I had not watched it til this year, some of the contestants are quite inspiring but I hate the way the TV stations exploit people so much.

    I’ve given up on the hospital and haven’t been back to the dietician (slack) but I am having a steady (if slow) loss.

    Never heard of the kettle bells, I’ll do a search and see if there’s something in Aus. Sounds like something I wouldnt mind doing. The thought of committing to being at a gym regularly is something I’ve had, and then dismissed as soon as I have it. My cousin Peter goes twice a week without fail, and if he ever has to miss out, he gets quite cranky, he tells me.

    Kettle bells eh?

  11. Yeah,

    They are an iron ball, with a big round handle on it. Alas they look like a kettle. Apparently.

    Good luck – sounds like you’re giving it a good go.

  12. Ah well as with everything, you do your best, then backslide etc. Other unrelated health issues get in the way, but you keep trying.

  13. That’s the spirit!

    If I ever needed inspiration to live healthily, my family are making sure I’m finding it.

    Looks like the old booze and fags finally caught up with Dad. He’s in the HDU at RPA with a body full of blood clots. They’ve fishing in both legs, his groin, and now are trying to prevent amputation and to catch any on their way to the lungs.

    What a horrible way to go. I can’t imagine my life being more enriched for having beer, ciggies and pizza in it. I wish Dad thought that 20 years ago. But then again, hindsight is a useless tool now isn’t it eh?

  14. I’m sorry to hear that, Kate. Maybe (assuming he survives) he might get some motivation to change his ways. Its not too late. for me its nearly four years since I bought ciggies. I still have an OP from time to time, but no longer have the desire to smoke at any other time. Booze is out of my life, pretty much, as well. I love my scotch and soda, still, but it takes me a year to get through a bottle of whiskey. I no longer drink wine much at all. I think I have had two glasses in the last three years.

  15. I just saw your weight loss meter – that is fabulous news Sue! Well done. Achievements like that deserve much praise. I hope you are able to stick to it.

    Thanks for your wishes for Dad. He defied all odds and is home now recovering. Sometimes we wish for a second chance, and sometime people who dont deserve them get 5 or 6! ha!

    I really do wonder about you lots.. i hope you’ll stay in touch more someday…

    Love Kate
    x

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