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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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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Weight Loss: Hopefully the Final Chapter

So what is different now than it has ever been before? One spectacular difference. One amazing difference that has changed the way I feel about myself, about my weight, about my body. Over a year ago, while at a checkup at my primary care physician, she checked my bloods and saw that my blood sugar was just over the limit between pre-diabetic (insulin resistant) and diabetic. Just a squidge, but enough for her to suggest that I take the miracle drug. So what is this medication? Metformin. Simple enough, it's a medication used for insulin resistance in infertility and for diabetics. It had never been offered before and when I had brought it up previously, my doctors didn't think it was appropriate for me.

I started taking Metformin, and almost immediately, I started dropping weight. It was very slow at first, and combined with a hospitalization for CHF which resulted in almost a 20 lb weight loss in two days (water weight from hell), my weight just keep falling. Some days it was less than others, but with little to no change in my diet, and with absolutely no exercise, I've lost over 65 lbs in a year. I wish I could say that this will work for everyone, but unless you're insulin resistant or diabetic, no doctor is going to give you a medication to fool with your insulin levels. As well they should not.

But for me, for my particular situation, this medication enabled me to continue to slowly drop weight I have been holding onto for years, and to do so with no exercise other than walking in stores. Because I'm not allowed to exercise, and am encouraged to rest most of my day due to my wicked heart issues, any exercise is good exercise. I do a lot of butt clenching and other isometrics that won't bother my heart but keep my muscles active and healthy.

Since my weight started coming off, a couple of things happened. I started being more careful about what I eat. Although I'm on a diet for diabetes and my heart issues, that diet is pretty much how I already ate. Restricted salt (sob, I'd rather have salt than sugar), restricted sweets, less fats and more veggies and fruits. Cut down on the meat and have smaller portions. Brown instead of white rice, whole grains, etc. You all know the drill. You've heard it a million times.

It's hard. Nothing tastes as good. It's boring. All of those things are true. But I've decided not only to change my habits, but to change my attitude. I started baking with more whole grains. Now anything I bake has at least half whole wheat flour in it. Things are a bit heavier, but they are still good. I've learned to substitute applesauce for oil or butter in baking. It keeps items moist but they don't have quite the great taste of butter. We eat red meat maybe once a week, if that much, and when we do, my portion is smaller than what I give my kids.

I stopped eating until I feel like I'm going to burst. When I'm full, I'm full and I stop eating. I also eat very little during the day. I've never been a breakfast eater (and yes, I know it's the most important meal of the day, which is why I sleep through it) and I'm never hungry when I get up. I've decided to eat a banana or a piece of fruit, which will keep me going just fine until dinner. Dinner is the typical protein, starch, and veg, but the proportions have changed. We eat a lot of fish in my family. Fish, being expensive, was off the shopping list until I discovered Trader Joe's flash frozen fish. It isn't fabulous, but it's fine. The kids like it and I cook with a lot of my home grown herbs to enhance the flavor.

Starches have changed as well. White rice has changed to brown rice, or black rice, or even red rice when I can afford it. Potatos (sob) have almost disappeared from our tables. We eat a lot of israeli cous cous that I make into warm salads. We eat a lot of sweet potatos. Vegetables have also changed. We don't just eat a salad every night, which was common in the past. I cook all kinds of fresh veggies. My kids eat pretty much every vegetable there is, and willingly. Sometimes one will like one and another will hate it, or vice versa, but for the most part the kids are also following the diet and liking the offerings. In an amazing side effect, the Girl lost all the weight she had gained when the doctor put her on the patch to control her cycle.

We stopped bringing junk food into the house. Yes, I do buy the kids a treat or two, and they buy junk with their own money, but even if we need to have something sweet, I make it myself so I can control the ingredients. Today it was banana bread with walnuts, tomorrow I'll be making some whole wheat bread. I bake pretty much every day, even in the heat, because it's a way I know of providing my kids with a healthy snack, and for me, something I'm able to eat without guilt.

I'm sure that this won't work well for most people, but I think that cutting down on the fats, being more careful about the carbs we eat, and adding more fiber to our diets is working to keep my weight down. I'm exceptionally proud of myself for making this effort, and to keep at it for such a long time. Because it's not a diet, per se, it's easy for me to keep with it, and even on those days when I stray, I never have that feeling of "i've blown it, so what the hell, screw the diet" that I had previously. Because the changes are so much a part of our lives, because we've committed to eating better every single day, even a stray snack or meal isn't going to destroy all I've worked on.

Will I ever be bone thin? I think not. It's not in my physical makeup to be skinny. I'll always have some meat on my bones, but I'll be thinner, and then thinner still. It will happen. It won't happen overnight. It may not happen for years, but it will happen. It's slow. It took me many years to put this weight on, it's going to take many more to take it all off. I'm realistic about it. Every 15 lbs puts me into a different risk category. As long as I'm going down, I'm going to be able to live a longer time. My goal is to be down 75 lbs by the end of the year. I'd like to lose 25 more next year. And 25 more the year after. At that point, I'll have hit my goal weight. I'll be in normal sizes, I'll be able to move around better, and I'll be healthier. That's my real goal. I don't ever need to be a 'hot mom' or wear a size 2. Like that would ever happen. Maybe with a quadruple amputation, but otherwise, nope, not gonna ever be in my future. But I'll be healthier, and that's what is most important to me.

Lastly....clothing and looks

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8 Comments:

Blogger JaniceNW said...

I've never heard of black or red rice. Please enlighten me. I have stopped eating most starches but I do need a potato once in a blue moon. Multigrain breads are good. Right now we have fresh locally grown fruit so it's blueberries, cherries, nectarines, apricots, carrots, sugar snap peas. I eat little protein which is something I need to work on. I just don't seem to ever crave meat~red or poultry or fish. If fish smells fishy forget it. I detest salmon(I know. What kind of NW girl am I?)

I also look at it as a lifestyle change not a diet. Down 13 lbs since end of May and I'm not really trying.

14/8/07 8:12 PM  
Blogger Mom2Many said...

This makes me feel so much better. I was recently put on Metformin, and also prescribed Byetta (waiting on that damn part D to pay for it) and in one month have lost almost 15lbs. I am hoping that it keep falling off me like it has you:-) Congrats!!

14/8/07 10:02 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Janice,

Both black and red rice are asian rices. I think black might be Vietnamese, and I'm not even sure where red comes from. You can get them both at Whole Foods or another health food store. Oh, according to this link, red comes from the Phiappines or Bhutan.

http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/red_rice.htm

Other links say that black rice is chinese, and some say it's African in origin. Whatever, it's is AMAZING. It turns this gorgeous purple color when cooked and has a nutty, chewy flavor. It's outstanding.

http://www.worldpantry.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prmenbr=127574&prrfnbr=146780

14/8/07 11:15 PM  
Blogger zoot said...

It simply sounds like you have followed the ultimate rule of permanent weightloss. You've changed your lifestyle. You didn't diet - you changed how you ate, how you look at eating. That's amazing and quite an accomplishment. Be proud!

15/8/07 7:27 AM  
Anonymous jo said...

OMG Red rice....we LOVE red rice.
The best one is from france and is called Camargue. It comes form teh South of France, near Provence. It is a whole rice, grain still on and requires some cooking time just like a bown would. We ahve made it three times at cac this summer tossing it with a balsamic, olive oil, garlic vinaigrette with whole grain mustard and tossed with arugula, shallots and scallions and sprinkled with sheep's milk feta. Every time parents raved and I've brought it back again with a new group.
There is also a red rice from Bhutan at whole foods. It cooks up in 20 mins and expands a great deal more than Camargue in the water. I don't think it is as nutty as the French rice, but still very VERY good. In fact, we made it today and I made extra for staff lunch.
Good on you Margalit, giving up salt would be the hardest thing for me to do. I do not like sweets, not at all. In fact i HATE chocolate. yup. I do.

15/8/07 6:17 PM  
Blogger WI Mommy said...

Thank you so much for sharing your very personal story. It is obvious from your writing what a special person you are...anyone who would judge you on such a superficial characteristic is missing out on a GREAT person.

16/8/07 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Becky68 said...

That's really great Margalit- Our Doctor is considering Metformin for my 17 year old. She has until October to get her insulin under control & if it's not then we may be trying it for her. (I wish I had insurance so I could be tested & try it myself but I can't afford insurance & so see the doctor on the sly - while my kids are being seen - so she's compensated- if I am sick she gives me samples- I'm lucky to have a doctor who'll work with me though)
Are there any/many side effects or drawbacks to the Metformin?

17/8/07 1:15 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Becky68, email me and I'll tell all, OK? But do it. Important!

17/8/07 1:34 PM  

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