Thursday, February 17, 2011

I've got a secret

It's a weight loss secret. It's called excessive fluid retention.

You may well think that fluid retention couldn't possibly be a weight loss tool. Ah, but dear reader, I give you this little fact:  I can lose up to 3kg on any given day. Usually it's around 1-2kg, but the most I've seen is 3kg. That's a lot.

Okay and now it's time to confess that I also put on that amount (.5-3kg) that same day, or maybe the next. It's crazy. And that my cankles - mmmm, always a pleasure - and achey finger and hip joints are testament to the fluid I carry. So, it's not a really enviable way of experiencing "weight loss", I'll give you that.

No matter what time of month/year/moon phase, this fluid goes on and comes off as it pleases. And it's made rather more uncomfortable when I'm tipping the scales permanently now at the largest I've ever been in my life (sans pregnancy). It's also not really pleasant to find that what you wore yesterday is too tight today. And then fits you again tomorrow.... it's quite bizarre. Lately, movement has been an issue and my body has been feeling twice the age I really am.

So after a few years now of fooling myself that "Ooooh, look! I've lost 2kg!" while leaving out the all-important re-weigh either that night or the following morning which sees me put 2kg or more back on, I got myself to a GP a couple of weeks ago and asked for a blood work-up at the request of my naturopath (who just happens to be my sister inlaw, the lovely Nicole from Nurtured By Nature. The GP found my results "unremarkable". And that they were, largely.

Cholesterol normal
Celiac screen fine
Thyroid working like a beaut
B vitamin levels (surprisingly) good

In fact, everything was within normal range. EVEN (and this is big) my liver function! Whoa, Nelly, you mean I can drink more?? Woot-woot ;)

Except, there were two little things that, while the GP considered them unimportant in the scheme of my seeking to do something about this, were very interesting from a naturopathic point of view.

My iron stores were at anaemic levels - hello, couch at 3pm every day since Christmas (and here I was thinking my lethargy was post-inlaw-visit and ensuing festivity related, ho ho ho) - and my vitamin D was very low.

Not necessarily uncommon. But in terms of trying to shed kilo's and get rid of this awful fluid retention, extremely bastardy actually.

Typical lunch - tuna salad.

I do have bad eating habits. But none of them are dietary. In fact, if one more person suggests I "just lay off the crisps and ice cream if you want to get smaller", I'll biff them. The naturopath went through my food intake and summised that I was doing all the right things. The blood test confirmed everything I am consuming is converting as it should in my body. You know the main thing that got me off track?

Not eating

Yep. It was this one (wildly important) point that has finally triggered my body into this over-zealous storage mode and made my nutrient stores go all haywire as well. Extended months of not feeling like eating, being too busy to eat, not feeling like anything that's in the fridge, or simply being lazy about preparing something for myself have turned into a vicious circle somewhere along the line - I won't eat at all if I'm not going to eat healthy at home, and sometimes the effort of chopping up a salad or making a soup was too much for me to even contemplate because I was so tired. And I was tired because I wasn't eating. And I wasn't eating because I was too tired to make anything. Round your partners, dosey-doe.

While it's no surprise that not eating every day is a large factor - pretty much everyone knows by now that you are far better off eating small meals more often, where here I was skipping breakfast, having lunch at 4pm and forcing in dinner with the family at 6.30 - the no eating no-no was only part of my bad habit. The other thing I tend to do is eat my biggest meal at night. It's just the way I was raised, it's now out of convenience more than anything that I take my time and cook a meal for us all at night when really, the types of things we have at night are better digested at the midday meal.

I'm pleased to say I have been on not only iron and vitamin D supplements for a week now and feel mucho energised at that crucial mid-afternoon point, I have also been on a complete, properly prescribed liver cleansing detox since Saturday. So far, I've lost (and kept off for a week!!) 4kg.

I notice when I climb the steps to the deck in the backyard, it's no longer a strain. My body isn't screaming and I don't feel like I'm hoiking my body up, it's easy. My wedding band comes on and off again, something I've not been able to do for about six months. I am also relieved to report that everything feels looser, I look smaller already and walking the dog has become much less an exercise in sounding like I'm playing the bagpipes and more like a typical workout without having to lug around water balloons under my skin.

It's strange, you know, fluid retention weight. It's weight, sure, but it's not real weight if you know what I mean. It's not the same as needing to lose fat (although I have plenty of that to work on when I get bored of blogging...). I'm looking at myself these past couple of days and saying, Right, at least I can actually see my problem areas and there aren't nearly as many of them as all that nasty surface stuff would have had me believe last week. Honestly, I was a little like .. well, a beach ball really. And now, just a few days later, I look like someone I recognise again. Phew! It has been quite a bizarre, but uplifting and rewarding experience, this detox. And of course, the supplements are helping so my body isn't working hard anymore and energy is going where it should and, well,

It's all just sunshine and lollypops, really.

Mind you, I do still have about 10kg to go, so let's not get too peppy. But I am very pleased it's all going in the right direction - er, literally down the toilet... man, when a body is rebalanced it sure knows how to function like it should, doesn't it? Eh? Too much information? Anyway, I'm sure it's going to be a breeze now that we have found the culprits responsible for my lack of energy and inability to lose weight/uncanny ability to take on water like the Titanic.

Who knows, at the rate I'm going all this lack of dairy, coffee, tea, alcohol and wheat - which leaves fruit, vegies, fish, chicken and legumes (I don't eat red meat... whoops, hence the pasty anaemia finding) - will be well worth it.

My days of being tidal with the moon may just be over!

Do you gain and lose fluid quickly? I've heard that some people are more prone to it than others. And Steve just thinks I'm a freak.

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