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Losing Pregnancy Weight

3-Apple-a-Day DietLosing weight after pregnancy has been a quest beginning with my first pregnancy in 1987, continuing through my last pregnancy in 2003, and ruining my wardrobe today. I embarked on The 4-Hour Body on January 1st. I stuck to it religiously for over five weeks. And lost four pounds. Four. Do the math. That’s definitely not winning.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I’ve have, literally, tested out most major diet/exercise regimens put forth in modern times. And the body isn’t budging.

I hate it when people blame genetics for their bulging thighs. I think they are just making excuses. I hate it when people claim to have tried to lose weight. I think they are sneaking bags of cookies at night. And most of all, I hate it when people blame some physical irregularity, like, “Oh, my thyroid is just so out of whack!” I just want to smack them around and say, “Put down the bag of chips, get your lard backside off the couch, and go for a run!” If I’ve been able to lose weight, most people should be able to.

Recently, I was visiting a friend who is trying to lose weight without success. She joined a gym and has been taking multiple classes. But, she admitted, she “can’t keep away from the onion rings.” But understand the point. She admitted it! She didn’t blame things beyond her control, she took responsibility for her actions. And that’s how I’ve always tried to be with my fitness. I’ve tried to look objectively at what I’m doing and modify until I get the result I want. But I’m at a dead end.

Last week I finally gave in and called the doctor. For me, that’s a huge admission of helplessness. I don’t take any medications and I only go to the doctor if I’m on my deathbed. I’m not advocating that approach, necessarily, but I’d rather do the work to change myself than to passively have it chemically altered. But apparently my body doesn’t care.

Long story short, I went to the doctor last week, got a bunch of blood work done, and yesterday we met again to go over the results. Strange as it seems, at this point I was hoping beyond hope that they’d find something — anything — that would explain my weight loss problem. And here’s what they found:

  • Not morbidly obese or even obese, just overweight (3 BMI points)
  • Blood pressure, good
  • HDL, good
  • LDL, good
  • Triglycerides, good
  • Thyroid, fine and dandy
  • All other cryptic medical measures, A-OK
  • Every indicator shows I’m fit as a fiddle
  • Except one, not-so-reliable, maybe-it-means-something-maybe-it-doesn’t number

The hemoglobin A1c was elevated. Not to the point of diabetes or even prediabetes, but  at 5.4 was slightly out of the normal range. What does that mean? Maybe, perhaps, it could show signs of insulin resistance. Or not, but it could.

When the doc told me that all my results were good, I almost cried. Dumb, I know, because being healthy as an ox is a good thing. It’s just looking like an ox that isn’t so great. And I’m at the point where I really wanted to find a solid reason that I’ve struggled so much all my life. I just want to fix the problem and move on.  There are so many more interesting things to work on in life!

The final call was that he put me on 500 mg of metformin (brand names: Glucophage, Fotamet, Glumetza). The point of the drug is to decrease the over-production of glucose in the liver, improve the uptake of glucose by the muscles, and improve insulin sensitivity.

Yea, right.

He also gave me a general eating/exercise plan that is pretty much what I’ve always done anyway. The two additions are:

  1. Fast two times per month
  2. Eat an apple and drink a large glass of water 30 minutes before each meal

Currently I fast once per month as a religious devotion, so I’ll be adding another as a kind of “health devotion.” I actually tried the 3-apple-a-day diet when it was being promoted by the apple growers three or four years ago. It seemed reasonable (and affordable), but didn’t really do much for me. I think the doctor was a bit disappointed that it was another been-there-done-that item on the list. (I knew more about it than he did.) But he assures me that the medication — with the combination of things he prescribed — would be the answer for me. He expects a slow rate of weight loss and reaching my target weight within the year.

So, when I started on New Year’s Day I was really hoping to drop the weight by the big wedding. I’m very sad that hasn’t happened. But if I can finally have the weight off by next year, it will still be a very happy day.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Bryan Thompson March 22, 2011, 9:18 pm

    Alison, interesting experience you had with Tim Ferriss’ “The 4 Hour Body.” I have been wanting to read this, but I have heard some very heated mixed reviews – not counting yours. I loved how simple the 4 Hour Work Week was to implement.

    I hope you will find the answers you’re looking for. I know it’s a common struggle for many women after giving birth. Though, on a side note, I admire your dedication to fasting. It’s something I need to do but have such a struggle with. Bravo! 🙂
    Bryan Thompson recently posted…7 Lessons on the Simple Life from Eureka SpringsMy Profile

  • Mariam March 23, 2011, 9:25 am

    Do you only concentrate on dieting? Have you consider exercising? Since you’re having a healthy pregnancy, I guess exercising will be fine with you. One benefit of exercising during pregnancy is that you will feel better, look better, prepare you and your body for birth and regain your pre-pregnancy body more quickly.
    Mariam recently posted…Importance of Social MediaMy Profile

  • INB March 23, 2011, 10:14 am

    Keep it up, Alison. I’m inspired by your dedication. I actually walked for a half hour yesterday after reading this. I have to work to get in shape, but my efforts pay off. If you can stick to it this long, I should too. Thanks for putting your struggle out there for us.

  • Anna March 25, 2011, 2:43 pm

    That’s the problem of most women – we think that we ARE overweight. But in fact we are not. Unfortunately, I need to lose some weight but I do understand that my failed attempts to do it were the result of my eating habits: as soon as I change them, I will lose weight. So, i gonna to do it – to start doing it – one day, not this Sunday (I have a big party at night) 🙂

  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2011, 4:56 am

    True, but I really do need to lose some. And unfortunately, changing my eating habits hasn’t worked. 🙁

  • LoveChic March 27, 2011, 8:56 am

    Thanks for your sincere story and good luck to you. You will lose weight, but you need to be patient. I have found one way out for me( I am not sure how it works for others) – i just eat less and eat only non-fat or low-fat food and work hard during the day and I am losing kilos every week. I know it seems hard but as soon as you start eating less you get used to it very quickly.

  • DiNaRa March 28, 2011, 8:06 am

    I prefer jogging every morning and every evening. First of all, it gives me some free time away from my house and my family. Secondly, it’s great for myself and my body and my mind. Thirdly, it helped me to get rid of my fat and extra kilos when I needed.
    Sometimes I don’t jog – I simply walk. It also helps!

  • Alison Moore Smith March 28, 2011, 11:19 am

    Mariam, I suggest you read the post linked above, Losing Weight After Pregnancy. It will answer your questions.

    No, I’m not concentrating only on dieting.

    I exercise a great deal.

    I’m not pregnant.

    When I was, I did not have “healthy” pregnancies, they were high risk.

    Exercising during pregnancy had absolutely no effect on my weight gain or loss — including the two during which I taught aerobics classes.

  • Audrey Mora March 29, 2011, 2:51 am

    Loosing Pregnancy weight is really not an easy thing to do. But if you are determined and has perseverance to do it, it’s not impossible to achieve it.
    Audrey Mora recently posted…Did you get stuck with the after prom party planningMy Profile

  • Naptime Seamstress March 29, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Hi, just popped over from one of the groups that we both belong to – Ottobre or SHS, I can’t remember. Anyway. If you’re having trouble losing weight, your thyroid might not be functioning properly. I would advise you to read up on it and find a doctor who doesn’t go by “lab ranges” (you don’t want someone who just says that your labs are in the normal range – you want someone who’ll listen to your symptoms and how you feel).

    Good Luck!

  • Susan March 31, 2011, 4:37 am

    My point of view is a bit different – I’m not slim (I’m not fat either 🙂 I used to be slimmer and people felt sorry for me because I looked too skinny. Not I have some extra kilos but look and – what is more important – I feel much better. I’m happy because I don’t have to say ‘no’ to another piece of cake or vanilla ice cream. Of course, I don’t exaggerate with such fast food but I like eating!

  • Tanya March 31, 2011, 6:18 am

    As far as the losing weight after pregnancy, mine dropped the minute I stopped breastfeeding but then I found myself snacking on lots of junk food. Its only now that I’ve become a bit more disciplined with the food I eat and I still haven’t made it to the gym in 7 years., Here’s hoping though!

  • Amber June 6, 2011, 10:14 pm

    So far my pregnancy weight seems to be melting off, but I’m still having a hard time with the changes to my body. I’ve been losing like 3 pounds a week without really trying ( I know that much is on the edge of unhealthy) but my pre-preg pants still won’t fit and I have all of this extra skin. Ugg, but it’s worth it! Good luck with everything. I guess health and mental state are the most important aspects of it all.

  • Kylie July 15, 2011, 3:41 pm

    I have friends who’ve tried the apple diet, but I know I’m not that disciplined. For a snack, yes, but not for a meal. No way jose. Did this diet work for you? What was your meal plan?

  • Alison Moore Smith July 19, 2011, 12:00 am

    If you read carefully, you’ll see that the apple diet is not using an apple to replace a meal, it’s to help curb the appetite before a meal.

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