Update On Unexplainable Weight Gain
|September 1, 2012||Posted by Katy under Health, Nutrition|
About a month ago, I received an e-mail from someone asking for an update about my unexplainable weight gain. They were experiencing some of the same signs and symptoms that I was and wanted to hear about my story. I replied to the e-mail then, but figured that I should do an update on the blog too.
If you have been reading for my blog for a while, you may remember that last April, I started getting a series of tests done for hypothyroidism. Since late last year, I was gaining weight for no apparent reason. Sure I gained a few pounds when I was out of running commission due to an injury, but the continuing weight gain I was experiencing was different.
i won’t rehash the entire story, but you can read about the results from the first round of tests here and the decision to meet with a registered dietitian. In April, I was not diagnosed with hypothyroidism, but had low ferritin levels and was told to take a supplement. For a couple of months following, I worked with an RD on making sure I was eating enough to supplement my activity level and started taking iron supplements to help raise my ferritin levels.
It has been difficult to focus on increasing my calories. I have never been a big eater and forcing myself to eat a minimum of 1,800 calories has been a struggle at times. It sounds weird, but I don’t really get “hunger cues.” I have never gotten a clear explanation as to why I rarely get these cues, so I just have to remind myself to eat every three or so hours.
I’ve had my ups and downs over the past few months because I really have not lost any weight. In fact, I have gained a little weight which is very frustrating. I feel like I can see it in my stomach and, at times, I get very upset about it. Everyone tells me that it is normal for a woman to have a little “tummy”, but the more and more I look at my stomach, the more it looks like I’m a couple of months pregnant (which I am not) or that I have a beer gut (which is funny because I rarely drink).
I know that it sounds like I am being ridiculously hard on myself, but I think I am more fed up with it more than anything. I know that I need to learn to “love my body and accept it for what it is” but the fact is that I am not comfortable in my body. I eat clean 97% of the time, I workout, and would say that I live an active life. Since I am not currently training for a race at the moment, I am actually engaging in more high intensity workouts verses slow steady state cardio and trying to vary what I do exercise wise.
I will say that as of late July 2012, what did change was my body fat percentage and lean muscle mass. It may not seem like a lot, but I lost 1.5% body fat and gained about three pounds of lean muscle mass in three months time. So, while my number on the scale has gone up, my body fat has gone down and that was encouraging. However this number may have gone up since then, so take it with a grain of salt.
I still want to lose 10 pounds (fat obviously, not muscle) because I just feel sluggish, plain and simple. It really takes the enjoyment out of running sometimes because I do not feel as light as I used to. I will never be 5′ 7″ and 130 pounds because my lean muscle mass won’t allow it; it would be physically impossible, unless I lost muscle mass which I do not want. I have always been a bit more on the muscular side and I carry almost all my fat in my midsection, which is unfortunate, but a fact.
I am still convinced that there is still something going on, but unsure as to what. While I have gotten my body out of “starvation mode” by making sure that my net calories for the day (after exercise) are at the minimum 1,200-1,300, I am still looking for answers. I had a more extensive blood work panel done before I moved and had my T3, T4, TSH and other levels checked, but they all came back within the normal range. The only abnormality which came back was that my ferritin levels are still low.
I guess what makes me angry at myself is that I have the PERFECT opportunity to have a fresh new start in my life but I am so completely bogged down with all these frustrations with this weight gain. I am so happy to be living in the DC area with an incredible internship starting next week.
I have confidence that something will eventually work out and that I’ll have an answer. In the meantime, I am still going to experiment with my diet (I owe a post on this soon because I have made/ plan to make some changes), continue to workout, and just keep on going. My insecurities are not going to go away right now, but I owe it to myself to start this next chapter in my life in the most positive way possible.
This post turned into a huge, disorganized brain dump, which I apologize for, especially since I am about 10 seconds from falling asleep on my laptop. I just wanted to get some feelings out because I had a lengthy conversation with my aunt about this issue this evening. Thank you for reading and have a fantastic weekend!