My blog is becoming slightly higgledy-piggledy – lurching from politics, to literature, to ramblings and dieting. After writing the political post a few days ago, quite a few of my friends and family have suggested that I concentrate on political pieces alone. I considered this, but then realised that would entail me reading the news more.
So, this is what you have – my personal back and forth, my apologies…this is a long ‘un.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, knowing that I’m bound to get some criticism, I had some hesitation, but after struggling to find personal blogs that could help me along my ‘medicinal’ path, I knew I had to post, at least to help others in my position.
Firstly, I’m not advocating anything other than diet and exercise to those trying to lose weight. Had I not tried everything and had I merely used a ‘quick-fix,’ I wouldn’t be writing this.
Long story not so short: Returning from the UK in March 2011, I decided I had to lose a few kgs, only 4 and so hopped onto one of what would constitute part of many fad diets. From that time until around November 2011, I tried everything from the Atkins diet to the Soup & Yoghurt diet (yes, it is only these two things for two weeks). Mention cutting out carbs and I may punch you in the face, I barely remembered what a carb was. Everyone had a ‘secret’ that had worked for them – I tried them all. I’m sure somewhere, under some rock, in some Persian garden, there’s a diet I didn’t try, but they’re few and far between. I still picked up. So I went the logical route, exercise and healthy eating. I followed a normal, healthy diet. A lifestyle. I ran three times a week, I did yoga twice a week and callenetics three times a week (it’s like aerobics on steroids). I still gained. I continued gaining, but slowly and only in December did I start to realise I had a problem.
In the beginning it was just an inkling…an idea that something just wasn’t right with my body. I do fully believe that we know when something’s off in our bodies. I once forced a doctor to do an operation to find out if I had Endometriosis, with him insisting I didn’t…only, sadly, to prove him wrong. At the bottom of it, we’re animals and basically instinctual, when we bother to listen to ourselves. Come April, I was getting very concerned with my weight, but was still trying.
And then, between April and May alone, I picked up 10kgs, while dieting.
Those of you who read this blog will know that I tried a dietician, who made me eat more than I could imagine, I tried diets recommended by the doctors, I took appetite suppressants even when eating only 300 calories a day. I then followed a friend’s diet, which recommended under 1000 calories a day, combined with either a 70 minute brisk walk or run. I couldn’t manage even 600 calories, so I ate 500 calories a day and I ran. Every single day. I started to lose, but only a bit, but then I picked it all up again, in one single day. It was then that I knew I was pretty much doomed.
I’ve been through some pretty rough patches in my life, but the fact that so few people believed me (the amount of people who looked at me with blatant skepticism when I said I was running 6km a night, or said ‘if you just eat healthily with moderate exercise, you’ll lose’), that one doctor said I must just get used to being this way as I’m no longer an adolescent and the fact that my body seemed to be conspiring against me, took me into a bonafide depression, that lasted a long time.
I would wake up in the morning and want to cut the fat from my bones. I felt sick, physically and violently sick, then I looked at myself in the mirror. My ‘fat’ clothes were cutting into my skin and my ‘thin’ clothes hidden so far into the closet, they could be in Narnia (where the thin people reign). I felt like I was walking around in a fat suit. I was uncomfortable when I sat, when I walked and even when I lay down. I’m not going to lie, I considered suicide a number of times. I wouldn’t do it, mainly because we’ve had a suicide in the family many moons ago and over two decades later you can still see the effects. I couldn’t do that to them, but it did come close. I can’t count the number of times I cried in my many different doctors’ office. My Google search results had nothing but diet tips and even eating disorder forums (which I got kicked out of, because even though I was only eating 300 calories, I wasn’t losing weight and when asked for help, apparently I was advocating anorexia, not desperately seeking someone to talk to).
I’ve had my thyroid checked three times, I kept hoping they’d find something wrong with me. At least it would explain it and I could tell people ‘I’m not just fat.’ So, I took what I swore was my final visit to yet another different doctor. I have only one kidney and suddenly thought, ‘perhaps something’s wrong with this kidney now and that’s why I’m picking up weight.’ This doc is the only one in town with an ultrasound. Expecting to be scanned and ignored, like always, I was shocked when he sat me down, called the path lab and asked about my previous blood results. He took more blood and then…listened more. He actually wanted to know about my weight gain, he believed me. He was slightly shocked when I rattled off the types of drugs that didn’t work, the different diets I’d tried and a lot of indepth research into weight gain. He believed me when I told him I was running every night and when I told him my diet. He then gave me a sliver of hope (I know it sounds stupid and corny, but there it is), he told me that even if my blood tests were ‘clean’ of problems, there was a drug he’d put two prior patients on, that had really worked: Victoza.
Cut to the chase, after my ramblings, I’m now on it. I’ve been on it for nearly a month now. Victoza is generally for Type 2 Diabetics, but can be used as a last resort for major weight loss. According to my BMI I had over 15kg to lose. I was sitting at 74kgs and I’m 5’2″.
It costs…a lot. R1000 pm ($115). I just have to stay on it until I hit my goal weight and then I go off it again. I have researched this like no other. I must have read over 2000 reviews (no hyperbole), only one person didn’t lose on this drug that I read of and she was a self-admitted chocolate addict, who was shoving her face full of chocolate on a daily basis. Three people gained after stopping the drug, and only because they went back to their original habits, which were high in carbs and no exercise. Some people lost as much as 9kg in a month.
As mentioned, it’s nearly a month for me. I inject myself daily in the thigh and have gotten quite used to the routine. The nausea and exhaustion in the first two weeks weren’t fun and again when I upped my dose, but after that, there’s no difference. It works two fold, as an appetite suppressant (which I don’t need) and as somehow increasing your metabolism (which I do).
For those wanting to know more about Victoza: I noticed my appetite came back after the second/third week. I don’t have a problem with this, though. I also noticed a significant difference regarding how much water I drink. With one kidney, I’m only allowed 3lt a day, and I stick to that. If I don’t, I don’t lose. My weight plummeted on the first day (I lost 2.2kg that day alone) and then continued, slowing down, until about the end of the second week, when I stopped losing. I have to say, I panicked a lot. I stopped keeping my diary, woke up in the night fearing that I’ll be the only person that doesn’t lose. Because of this, I stopped drinking as much water and stopped losing. I still find exercise more difficult than before, but it’s getting easier. Anyway, I have once again started losing, thank goodness, so just be prepared for waves and don’t stress.
I know a lot of people won’t agree with what I’ve done, but it’s not your choice. I hated life and now I don’t. Now I see some corny light at the end of the tunnel (be it a train or not). I made a decision that has allowed me to finally feel good about myself, to buy interesting jewelry, because I’m no longer afraid of people looking at me, to occasionally have a beer in public, without fearing that everyone will think ‘oh, and she says she’s been trying to lose weight” and to wake up in the morning feeling okay about myself.
I started Victoza on the 28th of September, it’s now the 25th of October. I have lost exactly 5kg, along with losing 6.5cm around my thighs, 6.5cm around my waist and 2cm around my arms.
I may suddenly die from unknown side-effects, but hey, at least my needle-mark riddled corpse will look pretty.