Thursday, November 4, 2010

So... about my Fat Butt

I finally went and saw an endocrinologist. A really good endocrinologist. Like, one of the top in our area.

He also specializes in obesity & metabolic disorders.

I thought: I've hit the jackpot!

After my weight frustrations, how long my PPD lingered, unexplained fatigue, and some other issues that I just didn't have an explanation for, I finally went.

Like... five weeks ago.

I didn't want to post until I had the results of my labwork. You know, just in case he said "you really are just a fat, lazy slob".

But he didn't.

After giving nine vials of blood, two vials of saliva, and a jug of urine (literally), here's the rundown:

 - my vitamin B12 is slightly low
he said it's not a huge deal, but is probably contributing to my fatigue. Recommended an over the counter supplement.

 - my vitamin D levels were "shockingly low"
a bigger deal. Also can contribute to fatigue & depression, and is needed for things such as bone strength, is thought to help prevent breast cancer, etc. Because it was so low, he prescribed a daily supplement.

 - my sugar levels are whack
hence, my fat butt. This is a little more complicated to explain, so I'll do my best. He said I have "insulin reactive disorder" which basically means my body's response to sugar intake isn't normal. My A1C (checks your blood sugar over the past three months) showed that my blood sugar on average was around 90, the very low side of normal. Which means I probably spend a great deal of time hypoglycemic, which I already knew. But... he also said it showed signs of these weird spikes, where it would get very high. In fact, my fasting blood sugar, on the day of the test, was 119 - nearly diabetic.
What he thinks is happening is that while I am awake, my body overreacts to sugar intake, my insulin levels rise too high, and consequently the sugar is pushed out of my bloodstream into my cells. Excess sugar in your cells turns to fat.
But he thinks while I am resting, my body basically doesn't acknowledge the sugar at all. So if I eat something sweet before bedtime (which I often do), the sugar sits in my blood, and come morning, my blood sugar is as high as if I had just eaten it.

What does this mean?
Well, basically it means that for me it is very easy to gain weight, and very difficult to lose it (aha! I knew it!). Then, because excess weight is difficult for the body to handle, it makes it even more difficult for your body to regulate its insulin levels.
And thus begins the vicious cycle.

He said even though my blood sugar now tends to be low, he believes left untreated, as this progresses, I would eventually develop Type II Diabetes, because my body would eventually be unable to regulate its own insulin.

So what now?
We're treating it. Aggressively. The medication he thought would be most effective isn't covered by my health insurance (of course), so I am now on a combination of three different medications in hopes of achieving the same results. In fact, he said we should get the same results, just not as quickly as with the one other med. These three medications should essentially regulate my insulin levels, and trick my body into doing what it's supposed to do with sugar.
I also need to lose weight.
A side effect result of the three medications he put me on tends to be a modest weight loss, as the insulin levels normalize, but as I am now obese, I need to lose more than that. So he wants me to restrict my caloric intake.
I still groan inside at the thought, but he promises me that as my insulin levels regulate, I should see noticeable weight loss. Like, a lot. With only moderate effort. Even more with strong effort. Basically I should start losing weight like a normal person.
I don't want to put a number on here, even though he did give me one, because I'm scared. I'm scared that even if I lose, I won't hit that number. And then I would be embarrassed because I posted it on here and everyone would know that I failed.

So today I will go to the pharmacy to pick up my new prescriptions, and tomorrow I will start them.

And tomorrow I will start making better eating choices.

The real calorie restriction will begin Monday, so I can have the weekend to shop for some low-cal options, and plan my lunches for the week

And that, dear readers, is an update on My Fat Butt.

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