Normally, I wouldn't post about something boring like this, but writing is therapeutic for me and I need to write this out as a way of processing my thoughts. Also, I admit, I'm curious as to whether or not I'm the only person on earth who has ever had this experience.
I'm sorry if today's post bores you. (And if you're a new reader, I hope you'll bear with me for a day!)
Once upon a time, I was thin.
Now, I'm not.
I've gained twenty pounds since my car accident and I feel disgusting.
An extra twenty pounds might not be much on some body frames, but it is cumbersome and uncomfortable for me.
I've blamed my weight gain on decreased activity. When a person has surgery after surgery (after, yet another, surgery!) she isn't also out running marathons. When a person walks around, day after day, in chronic pain, the idea of capping off the day at the gym isn't remotely appealing. Instead, you (I) just want to curl in a ball and will the pain away.
On the other hand, I have made an effort. I've tried walking four miles a day on a regular basis, and working out on our elliptical, and dieting . . . and I never seem to be able to lose the weight I've gained.
I've examined my diet, and I've realized I don't have perfect eating habits, nor do I have very bad ones.
So why the fat?
I've gotten frustrated. I've thought about giving up.
I've gotten angry with myself for not being a thinner, stronger, person.
I used to be able to maintain a healthy weight pretty easily.
Recently, my mom informed me she had some tests run and discovered she's insulin resistant. I didn't really understand much about insulin resistance except that it can be a precursor to diabetes which my grandmother suffered from.
I didn't know much about it, but I knew it was BAD.
(I did know, however, insulin resistance and diabetes can both be hereditary.)
I won't bore you with all the blah, blah, blah details.
I went in for a routine/annual physical.
I found out I'm also "insulin resistant." The doctor explained it to me like this, "Unlike most people, if you even look at a carb, you will gain three pounds."
"Yes!" I said.
As weird as it sounds, it was wonderful to be validated. It isn't that I eat horribly, but my body is no longer metabolizing food the way a normal person's body does.
I learned other things too.
My glucose levels are good. My blood pressure is good. My cholesterol levels are good.
Pretty much everything was good (excluding my arm, of course) except for two things:
1. The way my body is metabolizing food (insulin resistance)
2. My C-Reactive protein levels are off the charts. (!!)
I had never heard of this c-reactive protein level thingy.
It translates to this …
It is a measurement of pain.
I'm simplifying things, of course, but that's what it comes down to.
The test came back telling the doctor, my body is living with very (!) elevated levels of pain.
I already knew that.
What I didn't know was, pain actually changes things chemically in a person's body.
And guess what?
Living with high levels of pain can make a person insulin resistant … leading to weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
The explanations are long and technical and I won't bore you with them.
The thing is … I feel better just knowing this.
I feel like less of a failure.
There are actual, very real, scientific reasons for the changes I've seen in myself and I'm not a failure as a person for not having a better grip on my life.
I have felt like a failure.
Like most of us, I could do with one less reason to feel bad about myself.
Of course, I asked the doctor …
Now what do I do?
I want to be as healthy of a person as I can be. I don't want other health issues on top of the chronic pain I live with.
She suggested a very (very!) low carbohydrate diet. She also informed me this is something I will have to do as a way of life for now on. This isn't a "diet" to lose weight for a few weeks, but rather a new way of eating based on the changes which have taken place in my body.
(Insulin resistance also sometimes develops in women as our hormones change after we've … um, aged … beyond the age of 23.)
I have to get my pain under control. It is, literally, wreaking havoc with my body's ability to function normally.
I'm not sure how to do this.
I've lived with a lot (!) of pain for nearly four years now. Obviously, I would have gotten rid of the pain, or lessened it, if I knew how to.
If I can get my pain levels down it should decrease my insulin resistance.
This is very, very, important for my health.
So, for now, this is what I've decided.
1. A low carbohydrate way of life began the moment I talked to the doctor. It must be my way of life for now on.
2. I have to get back into PT for my arm as soon as I can get insurance approval.
3. I need to see a pain management specialist immediately to see if there is anything further they can do to help me live more comfortably with my disability.
I'm curious for your feedback.
I have so much to learn.
Are you familiar with low carbohydrate diets?
Are you, or is someone you know, insulin resistant?
Have you, or has someone you know, had chronic pain affect their metabolism?
© Twenty Four At Heart