Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Weight: Acceptance and Mortification

After grad school I taught for a few years and realized that spending time in a high school was like a prison sentence for me. I loved the kids, hated the administration and all the bullshit of the school committee. So I left and took a certificate course to get into high tech. At that time, any warm body could fill a seat in the software industry, which was exploding in the Boston area. I got a job quickly, and had to wear nice clothing for the first time in my adult life. I bought suits and dresses and was aghast to see what size fit me. From wearing 501 original buttonflys every day to a size 20 was shocking. Plus, wearing suits and dresses made me actually look fat. I had to wear pantyhose and nice shoes. It was my own personal hell. The clothing wasn't comfortable, I felt enormous, and I just wanted to die when I looked in the mirror in the morning. From a size 9 graduating from high school to a size 20 in about 10 years was disheartening. So upsetting that I actually decided to do something about it. I took up running, but after only a few weeks, I fell and damaged my knee so badly I had to have a partial knee replacement.

The surgery was difficult, the recovery worse. I was in a cast for months and was unable to drive (it was my right knee) so was absolutely stuck indoors. Even after months and months of physical therapy, my knee ever gained the strength it had prior to the surgery, and so I was curtailed from certain activities I had done previously, especially skiing. I could still ride a bike though, and living in a coastal town allowed me to get to the beach and back on my bike quite easily. I continued to exercise, but losing weight was another story. I went to a nutritionist at the local hospital and she created a 1250 calorie diet for me. I stuck to it for many months with no cheating, and eventually lost 35 lbs. That was a small dent in what I needed to lose and I eventually got discouraged and strayed from the diet.

About this time I met my Ex and from his encouragement, I kept that lost weight off for quite some time. However, although the weight was gone, I didn't go down one size in clothing, which was horribly depressing to me. All my weight is carried between my knees and my boobs. It doesn't fluctuate much. It just sits there looking like a fat suit.

A year went by, and the Ex and I started talking about having kids. I was in my early thirties, I was more than ready, and I knew that my PCOS would make things harder. I had no clue how MUCH harder, though.

I went to a fertility specialist who did more testing to confirm the PCOS diagnosis, and then discussed some options with me. Of course, the first option, like with ANYTHING medical is, lose weight. Easier said than done, especially with PCOS and a timeline to follow. But I tried again, and again it was maximum effort for minimum results. Back on the 1250 calorie diet, I assumed that the weight would disappear, but it didn't. After 3 months I had lost all of 5 lbs. I wasn't cheating. I had 220 calories in hershey's kisses built into the diet so I wouldn't cheat. Between my 10 kisses per day and the diet coolwhip I can't even consider eating these days, I had enough sweets to keep my hunger at bay. I was also exercising by walking my dog 3 times a day for a bit over a mile each way.

The fertility doctor suggested a surgery referred to as wiffle ball surgery. They poke holes in the encapsulation surrounding your ovaries, allowing you to ovulate correctly. I had the surgery and we tried and tried, but no pregnancy. Finally, we got pregnant after about 3 years of trying, but lost the baby in miscarriage at 9 weeks. That loss set me over the edge. I not only fell off my diet, but I ate anything and everything I could stuff into my gob. I eat when I'm upset. The happier I am, the less I eat.

Trying again and again, we suffered through 3 more miscarriages, including a second trimester loss. After each loss I got more and more morose. I felt defeated. I felt as if the world were against me. I felt anger welling up inside of me from places I didn't even know I had. I hated myself, I hated my body, I hated the fact that my body betrayed me inside and out. I was so furious at myself that I just couldn't even see what the anger was doing to me. To compound matters, the doctors, my Ex, my friends, everyone I knew thought that losing weight was the answer. The subtle digs, the kind suggestions, the rejoinders about a friend of a friend that 'lost 60 lbs and got pregnant just like that' made me insane. I had nowhere to turn.

As a Resolve member in the place where the organization was founded, I was able to find a therapist to help me though the infertility hell. MB was an amazingly insightful woman and helped me to accept what was happening to my, and to allow myself to forgive my body. It took a long time for the healing, but eventually I stopped blaming myself for something I couldn't control no matter how much I wanted to. Beyond working on the infertility, MB helped me regarding my weight. She was not a small woman by any means, and had also traveled the PCOS road and knew intimately the pain of weight gain that seemed beyond comprehension. We spent hours and hours talking about it, and at some point during my therapy I understood that my weight was always going to define me as long as I let it.

I was doing to myself what my parents had done to me. I was judging myself as a person on my weight. I had been taught by masters to hate fat and to consider fat a fate worse than death. Instead of being consumed by my weight and it's apparent relationship to infertility, I began to accept that I would never be sylph-like, but I could be healthier.

Back to a nutritionist I went, a new and much easier diet to follow I was given, and within 3 months I had lost 35 lbs. That weight loss was enough to change my insulin levels and to jump start my body on the road to pregnancy.

Not long after this revelation, I changed reproductive endocrinologists and almost immediately after my first IVF at this clinic, I became pregnant with my children. It was not a fun pregnancy, and at times it was a very exciting pregnancy, to quote my cardiologist. But it was a successful pregnancy and I had two take-home babies to show for the pain and misery of pregnancy. I had gained exactly 35 lbs during pregnancy, and that weight literally fell off in a week or two. It just disappeared. Most of it was water weight, but nursing twins round the clock seemed to help as well.

And there my weight stabilized and remained so for years. It didn't change a bit. Up a few water weight lbs, down a few. But it remained exactly where it was pre-pregnancy until about a year ago.

Next.... no diet, no exercise, and a spectacular weight loss...

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Blogger Mom2Many said...

I am fighting this same struggle right now. I am even bigger than you were, and am now on diabetes meds and rapidly losing weight. I am hoping that I can get pregnant eventually:-)

14/8/07 11:06 AM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

My sister went through something similar. She has PCOS and had a lot of trouble getting pregnant. She has three beautiful children now, one 6 year old boy and 3 year old twins. But she has never been able to lose weight until she started taking Metfornin. It was like a miracle drug for her. To date she has lost 70 lbs and is still losing.

14/8/07 12:23 PM  
Blogger Sechakecha said...

I just want to let you know, that I have enjoyed reading your story, and sharing your strugles and triumphs. Right now I am at the starting point of wanting to lose about 50 pound, if for no other reason then my joints need it severly. I have set myself a goal, to lose this weight by March. Your story is, sad with your strugles, but very encouraging to know that it IS possible.

14/8/07 1:02 PM  

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