The Weightlessness Seesaw

I’m not gaining weight! Hooray! But I’m not losing it, either. I’ve reached a dreaded plateau which I can’t seem to escape. No matter what I eat or don’t eat, every day the bathroom scale deprives me of the wonderful feeling of losing weight. And although I’m disappointed in myself, I persist. I have consulted the experts.

An article by the Mayo Clinic, “Getting past a weight-loss plateau” describes the dreaded plateau as a consequence of cutting calories over time as the body is using more glycogen than usual. Muscles are lost as fat is lost which affects a person’s metabolism by slowing it down. To get past the plateau, I have to re-think how I have been eating and exercising.

I looked back at my calorie counting and realized that I had vaguely entered my calorie counts in my head instead of my calorie count book. That’s one way to NOT get past the plateau. Being complacent and not paying attention can be a Weightlessness killer. Another problem was my desire to expedite my Weightlessness and so I decreased my available calories. Then I recognized another problem: I was more hungry than usual. Being in a hurry to lose weight did NOT help me to cultivate weightlessness. Neither did the decision to adjust the tension on my Weightlessness Machine when I was only consuming 1200 calories. I hadn’t been on 1200 calories for very long, and I should have waited until I was accustomed to consuming fewer calories.

There’s more to calorie counting and exercise when dieting. Sleep is a crucial element to Weightlessness. The article, “Is too little sleep a cause of weight gain?” from the Mayo Clinic website suggests that lack of sleep affects metabolism, particularly when a person eats a lot of carbs. Therefore, a dearth of sleep can cause fatigue and sluggishness. Something to think about.

When I started this blog, I weighed 183 pounds and needed to lose 43. Since then, I lost 21 pounds and gained 3. I celebrated mightily every time I lost a little weight. Gaining back the 3 pounds was not a big deal. My weight has always fluctuated. I have been at 165 pounds for a month, and I’m bound and determined to reach my new goal of 25 pounds, plateau be damned.

Wish me luck!

Weightlessness and Pain

I feel vulnerable writing about my pain because it is invisible. When I share my pain, which is rare, people typically offer advice without realizing that I’ve spent many years working with it myself—as well as my doctors and practitioners. That said, I’m also open to hearing what others have to say about their pain.

The pain started with my left index finger during the winter holidays in 2004. I was on my way to a party, carrying a large box of gifts through a doorway, when I struck my finger on the door jamb. It hurt, but I didn’t think much of it. It didn’t seem serious, but it quickly became red and swollen. I repeated the accident at another party a week later. My injured finger continued to be problematic two weeks later, so I went to a doctor. My finger was examined and x-rayed, but the results didn’t show any damage. Nothing was broken. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be my first experience of Rheumatoid Arthritis, also known as RA. I was 40 years old when I was diagnosed, and I had previously been extremely healthy, hiking, biking, swimming, you name it. I was an ass-kicker until the day my ass was kicked by RA.

I used to characterize RA as an abusive husband who beat me relentlessly. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I’d been pummeled. Today I characterize RA as an unwelcome being that lives inside me, not really part of me, simply a passenger—one that refuses to leave.

During the 14 years that I’ve had this disease, I’ve discovered that the pain seems to be a process of ebb and flow, sometimes constant, sometimes dormant. Many types of chronic pain exist within me: Searing, stabbing, throbbing, tearing, ripping, twinging, aching, shooting and cramping. Worst were the years when the soles of my feet felt filled with shards of glass. Thank goodness I’m past that hurdle.

Pain brings a tremendous amount of weight, physically, psychologically and emotionally.  I’ve noticed that the weight of pain isolates me from others; I tend to avoid people when my pain is too intense and I have no energy for socializing. When my energy is low and I’m interacting with a person with high energy, I become enervated and seek to confine myself in a safe place, which causes anxiety and stress—precisely the opposite of weightlessness.

Weightlessness can ease pain. For those of us with medical conditions, exercise is crucial, but it can be difficult, extremely painful, and sometimes dangerous. When I am exercising, I try to move with the pain, allow it to happen, and take care not to overdo. I know that when I’m finished exercising, I will feel exponentially better. Ten years ago, I went into full, non-clinical remission and exercised just about every day for four years. It was only until I moved to another city, and then another city, and then came back again, that I discovered how much I had let my health go. I hadn’t made time to exercise during those years.

The weightlessness machine wasn’t the only problem I was having with exercise. As a result of neglecting myself, weightlessness today is taking a long time to happen. It comes and goes. I had so weighted myself down, I wasn’t well. Even though I was not as weightless as I wanted to be, I tried to find ways of being weightlessness. Being pampered by hands massaging my aching body makes me feel worlds lighter, and the sound of rain—or being out in the rain—uplifts my spirits and instills a feeling of weightless, calm, clear headedness, wiser, even ethereal. Pure weightlessness.

 

For next time: What, Exactly, Is Weightlessness?