Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17th, 2015 I Fried The Circuits

April 17th, 2015 I Fried The Circuits

I don't know when it happened. At some point, I believe, I fried the circuits responsible for regulating my body weight. I hit 500 pounds before age 20 and although it took a lot of over-eating, late night fourth (and fifth) meal eating, an occasional binge and zero intentional exercise to accomplish this, I didn't consider the quantity of food at any one setting should have warranted such a morbidly obese body weight.

I remember reading an article when I was twelve years old about the worlds heaviest man. Reading about his typical day of food just wasn't ever me, at twelve--at twenty, or thirty-five. A dozen eggs, a pound of bacon and a loaf of bread for breakfast? In my late teen years, as the scale crept above 500, I'm sure some might have imagined I had similar eating habits, but no, never did. Perhaps I just spread mine out a little more. But here's the kicker:

At a certain point, I stopped gaining. My body settled between 500 and 515 for years on end while I did absolutely nothing to lose weight or maintain the weight. It was as if I found my body's "set point." And it seems this is where my fried body-weight regulating circuits want me to be, naturally.

I have zero doubt, if it wasn't for this turnaround period from relapse/regain over the last year, I would be back between 500 and 515 by now. Not a shred of doubt. I was headed that way in a hurry.

Recently, a medical paper was published in the Journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. And it was written about in a CBS News Interactive piece by Jessica Firger. Below is an excerpt from the article:

"Although lifestyle modifications may result in lasting weight loss in individuals who are overweight, in those with chronic obesity, body weight seems to become biologically 'stamped in' and defended," Dr. Christopher Ochner, lead author and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said in a press statement.

The authors of the paper say we need to change the way we think and talk about obesity, and use language reflective of the fact that being morbidly obese is a chronic disease. Like addictions to drugs and alcohol, patients can overcome it but shouldn't expect to be "cured."

"Few individuals ever truly recover from obesity; rather they suffer from 'obesity in remission,'" Ochner says. "They are biologically very different from individuals of the same age, sex, and body weight who never had obesity."

Those of us with chronic obesity have a body weight that is "stamped in and defended." Sounds very familiar to me. I wasn't surprised when I read the article. Not one bit. I knew about this from living it.

It's incredibly easy for me to regain weight. If I suddenly stopped intentionally exercising and tracking my consumption, even without binge episodes, I truly believe my weight would consistently creep upward. Maybe not as fast as it did in the middle of binge city-relapse/regain, but with the same ultimate destination between 500 and 515 pounds.

So now what? Are we doomed to gain it all back because that's the curse of chronic obesity? Is there any hope at all?

First of all, there is hope for long term recovery. I know people who have done it (maintained their weight loss) for ten, twenty and nearly thirty years. It does take work. And no, it's not fair. And that's precisely where our success starts.

Acceptance. If I'm constantly resistant of the elements I must practice each day because it's not fair that so and so can eat a truck full of food and never gain an ounce, then I'm in big trouble.

It is what it is. I've discovered the quicker this acceptance is fully embraced the quicker I can continue enjoying life at a healthy body weight. Something so effortless to some requires daily attention and diligence for someone like me.

They key, I believe, is finding a way--a plan you can truly enjoy. If you read this blog regularly, you see everything I eat. I do not feel deprived in the least. I love what I'm eating. And it's plenty.

I've set the boundaries of my plan and I hold them sacred. I must always hold them sacred. No sugar, daily food tracking and calorie budget management, regular exercise and most importantly, support. Exchanging support with people like me who are in this deal right along side, is critically important. Writing this daily blog is also a strong source of support and accountability.

Acceptance to me, means these elements of my recovery become more than habit, they become woven into the fabric of my life, for the rest of my life. There isn't a finish line. There isn't a declaration of some big final victory. I must never try to live someone else's normal. I must live my normal. This is my normal. And you know what? It's all good, even with the set point weight my body tries to gravitate toward if I don't stay on top of it.  

My Tweets Today:




















Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post. I was thinking similar thoughts today, and am more glad than surprised to see them validated here. Your efforts bolster mine, and I'm sure MANY others. Thanks for being strong!

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    1. Amy, you're very welcome--and thank you for your loyal support! I'm so glad you find additional strength here!!

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  2. I truly belive that I have to eat less than "normal" people to be at a normal weight. I think I have accepted it, I don't think it's unjust.. For example, I have to buy less food than "normal" people and it saves me some money :)

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    1. That's a great perspective to have-- We save money! :)

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  3. Funny. I was just thinking about the set point concept this week. I'm absolutely convinced it is a fact.

    I was a fat baby, toddler, child, teenager and adult. There is a picture of me when I was less that two years old showing me with with rolls of fat. I weighed 207 pounds at 17 years old. I have known for years that my adult set point is around 217 pounds. (I'm just under 5'5" tall)

    I've gotten down to about 150-160 pounds several times since I graduated from high school, but it never lasted more than a year or so. Like you, I really don't have regular binges or eat those huge meals we often hear described (I'm a nightly sweets eater, tho, when not on plan).

    The simple fact is as you stated--the only way for me to not weigh 217 pounds is for me to watch my food intake carefully. Otherwise, that number is like a magnet!

    Thanks for this post. :)

    Deb

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    1. Totally like a magnet, Deb. Nice way to put it. I read the article and was thinking, I could have told you that!! I've long suspected this phenomena.
      And now, with a perspective embracing--fully accepting how I must take care in order to experience the many benefits of a healthy body weight, I feel relieved. Not letting my guard down--but relieved, regardless.

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  4. I've always hoped that this didn't apply to me because I wasn't very overweight until the last ten years or so, only a little chubby since puberty and waif-like before that certainly not a fat child. But the past five years I've been gaining and losing the same handful of kilograms, bouncing back up to the same weight as soon as I relax for a moment. So I guess it does apply to me now. I still hope to reset it if I lose some weight and keep it off long enough.

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    1. Natalie, who knows? Perhaps your body will properly regulate once again.

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  5. Boy did this hit home. Accepting that my own normal means I have to be mindful of my food intake and exercise ALL THE TIME. Which I am still resisting but after an 8-month roller coaster ride where I regained all I lost last year (and that was only a fraction of what I need to loose) I am finally focusing my attention back on my journey to weight loss and health. And I know in my heart that you are absolutely right, I need to accept that this has to become my normal if I ever want to return to a healthier weight.

    Here is an interesting observation though: I have a lot of friends and family who are “normal” eaters and have never struggled with obesity. They may have gained and lost a few pounds here and there but overall they are able to stick to their healthy set-points without too much work. But actually, it’s not as easy for them as it seemingly looks. I have talked to quite a few of them and they DO watch what they eat and restrict themselves where necessary and are mindful of getting their exercise. For most of them this is also a conscious effort.

    Thank you for the continued inspiration!

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    1. There's a peace that comes with acceptance, Kerstin. There really is a peace. I think the key is finding a groove--a plan, that you can easily accept and actually enjoy.
      I totally agree with your observation. I have lots of friends who have never had weight issues--and they're eating well, not excessively--they're mindful and most workout regularly, it's just something they do. I also know some who don't exercise regularly and eat whatever and still remain at a healthy weight.
      Of course, weight isn't always the best indicator of health--especially if we're talking about cholesterol and blood sugar issues.
      So very welcome, Kerstin--and thank you for your support!

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  6. fantastic blog today Sean. I see that in myself too, every time I relapse my body wants to go right back to that set weight. Great stuff.

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    1. Michael, thank you, my friend! The above comment "like a magnet" is exactly what it's like!

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  7. This is a great read! Opened my eyes. I have a set weight to, that I'm always fighting to stay away from.

    M. Harder

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    1. M. Harder, thank you. Wishing you peace!

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  8. Man I can totally relate! My entire adult life has been spent between 330-350 with the exception of when I've managed to drop some weight. Whenever I fall off the wagon I go right back to this level and no matter how much food I've managed to cram into my face, I've never gone over 349. Thanks for sharing the article.

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    1. Isn't it fascinating?? That's the clue that made me a believer of this dynamic a long time ago...Why did I not continue upward all of those years I ate whatever and hardly ever exercised. I've worked in a studio, sitting down, my entire working life, just about-- and still, it was hard to break 510...I believe I hit 515 at one time, but that's it.... By all rights, I should have been 600-700. Thank God it didn't go there-- but why it didn't must be attributed to this "set point" theory--now backed up by medical research and opinion.

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  9. There is so much that goes into our bodies functioning and thank God we are finally having the information to know what is going on. Have watched some Drs on youtube videos talking also about how some of us have our lipids (which tell us we are full) not working for one reason or another. My husband was of normal weight no matter what he ate but one thing I noticed (after reading an article about it) that we are either suckers or chewers some food. In eating jelly beans I would chew a handful at a time - he would suck on one at a time. Hard candy the same. I TRIED to suck on a piece of hard candy and that would last only a short time. Perhaps the "method" of how we eat (fast or slow) also feeds into how our bodies metabolize food. When we figure out the method FOR US that can get us and keep us at a healthy weight, we need to be grateful and stick with it.
    N~

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    1. That's very interesting and sounds perfectly reasonable--how we "deliver" the food to our digestive system likely affects how it's "handled," metabolically.
      Yes-- finding our method, embracing it and moving forward with confidence in it--so important! Thank you Nancy!

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  10. Great post today. I think many of us that have lost and regained can relate to this. Unfortunately I am back at my body's "set point" after fighting hard to be considerably lower for a few years. Here's hoping I can find the discipline again. Love reading your blog and I enjoy how positive you are.

    Tim

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    1. Thank you, Tim! You can turn this around, Tim. I truly--very honestly didn't know if I could. Take what you know to be true, for you--add to it if needed, modify if you must, your fundamental elements--then make them non-negotiable. But first of all, be kind to you. Forgive yourself if you haven't already, for the regain--and make anew, from this day forward. I hope you'll once again wake, not dreading the path before you, rather, excited for where you're headed.
      It's all in your perspective.
      And you being here, reading--means all is not lost, Tim. You're very aware of where you are and where you want to be...

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