Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Progress Beyond the Scale & Medical Updates

After I got back from Ireland I had a very small gain that was around 3 pounds. Not bad all in all. I think most of it was water retention from the long plane ride home. I did a lot of walking on my trip. My "low" day for steps according to my fitbit was around 10,000 steps. I was also able to control what I ate and when. Yes, I indulged a fair amount. Rich food, decadent desserts, and lots of Guinness. I drank more in that 10 days than I have in probably the last 6 months. At least. Aside from the indulgences, I had the weight off within a couple days.

The week after I got home I went to DC for a work conference. That trip was harder. Most of the meals were catered or were networking functions at a restaurant others chose. It left me having to make the best choice out of a lot of bad ones. I came home with about a 7 pound gain! I was only gone 3 days! Luckily I had most of it off by the time I had my Thursday weigh in for TOPS and turtled (turtle = stayed the same).

The Monday after I returned from DC I had a follow-up with Dr. Hendrick. I was dreading going in because I had a gain. I didn't know what he'd say and I thought for certain I was in for a lecture. It turns out my gain wasn't as bad as I thought, about 0.5 pounds. He only mentioned it briefly during the appointment though.

We had a fantastic discussion! Successes I had on my trips and struggles. We went over strategies for getting back on track. He talked about the gains I had on my trips, but told me to look at the broader picture. It had been 6 weeks since I had seen him. I had a total of a half pound gain. He said when I'm at home and doing things right, I'm losing. The trips were just trips. I have ideas on how to handle business trips in the future. And I was within my rights to enjoy Ireland to the fullest. He told me I am on track and doing really well and to be proud.

The last thing we talked about was tracking my food. The way he put it blew my mind. I have my reasons why I eat the foods I eat. It  could be a meal that fuels my weight loss or it could be a comfort meal, but I need to track it. Why? Because I need the data. All MyFitnessPal, or any food journal does, is measure the nutrition value of a meal. Yes there are multiple meals a day, but it measures that one meal to the standards and needs I have. If a  meal is "off" I can look at the data and see where I can improve. It's a tool to measure my fuel intake. Nothing more or less. It isn't judging me or my behaviors, just the content of my food.

When I said I had never looked at it that way and to just treat it as data he grinned and then got the scientist in me going. He told me to treat each meal as an experiment. My hypothesis is to see if the meal I built fuels my weight loss or not. The data will tell me and tell me where I can tweak. Silly doctors and knowing their patients! Looking at it that way has helped though.


Yesterday I had my 6 month follow up with my pulmonologist since starting my CPAP. It went well. I was commended for taking it with me on my business trips and to Ireland. Dr. J wanted to know if I filled the reservoir with Guinness. I told him no and that I used Jameson instead. He laughed.

I got some grief because I have missed some nights here and there for usage. Some nights I fall dead asleep the moment my head hits the pillow and before I get a chance to put the mask on. Other nights, I haven't wanted to wear the damned thing. So I need to get better about that. I also was lectured a bit on my usage each night. I am supposed to use it for at least 6, but 7 is preferred for optimal sleep. My average use was about 6 hours 45 minutes. Part of that is due to a bit of a crazy schedule right now with Marshall filling in on some night shifts and I don't get to bed until 11:30-midnight. Ugh.

As the appointment was winding down he asked if I had anything else to discuss. I told him I had taken his advice and started seeing Dr. Hendrick. Dr. J recommended him after my 1 month appointment and I was frustrated that there was no change in the scale.

Dr. J lit up and said he had been getting updates. He wanted to know how I was doing and was very congratulatory when I said I was down 35 pounds from my highest, but I didn't know what my chart said there. According to their office I'm down 25 pounds. He apologized for not even looking at that part of my chart. He was excited that I am getting so close to being 10% down. He wanted to know about my Dexa scans and if I had a second one done yet. I told him no, but the first one was cool. I told him that according to the scans I have 140 pounds of bone and lean muscle. Dr. J and his nurse stared at me in surprise.

Dr. J came over to me looking very serious then, but with a bit of pride too. He wanted to know if we had set a goal weight yet. I told him I hadn't, but given my muscle and bone mass, that I think I am looking at 180-190 pounds at the lowest. Provided I don't lose too much muscle mass. He freaking beamed at me. He said that should be my absolute lowest and right at 200 pounds might be good for me. 200 POUNDS. I never thought I would hear a doctor say that would be a healthy weight for me. I'm so used to hearing that I need to be under 150! Anyways, Dr. J said that I am not due for another year and if I keep up like I am he has no problem scheduling another sleep test to get me off of it! Then he said if I get another 50-60 pounds off before my visit next year to give him a call. He will do the sleep test then! I almost hugged him.

His nurse was walking me out and talking to me about everything. We had talked a bit in the exam room about my energy and sleep quality. She said she was wanting to get more active but that it was hard. I bit down on my initial reply of she didn't need to lose weight. Body image issues are so rough, and if she wants to get healthier, good for her. I told her that if she really wants it, she'll find a way. She asked what I was doing for workouts and how I fit them in. I told her I go on my lunch breaks a couple days a week. She looked kind of surprised and asked why that time. I was blunt and said I won't get up early, and once I get home I'm done. It's what works for me. She agreed with that thought and said she would try it. I told her, quite honestly, if I can get my butt in gear and do this she can too.

She looked me dead in the eye and whispered, "You're my new hero." I had no idea what to say other than thank you.

I wanted to deny it. I'm still so close to the beginning of the journey and haven't done much. At least it feels that way. But I have done a lot. I have been hearing from quite a few friends that I inspire them, and it warms my heart. I see Marshall making small changes because of my examples. I wasn't expecting someone, who is pretty much a stranger, to say that to me.

I think that doctor's visit was a success. :)

Oh, one last note for this post. The fall rally for the TOPS chapters of the Front Range was while I was in Ireland. When I got back I was given an award I had been awarded. Between the 1st of January and end of July I had lost 20.25#!