Sunday, February 10, 2019

Here We Go Again...Redux

Yesterday, had anyone asked me if I'd had a blog titled Fat Kat, I would have scrunched up my nose as I considered it, and then denied that I'd ever written such a thing. It would have rung no bells, tickled no memory in the back of my head. I would have been surprised to see proof that I had, in fact, authored such a blog.

And then came today, when I was poking around things on Blogger, looking for comments connected to another blog that had been shuffled to moderation or marked as spam, and saw this in the list of blogs I either own or am a member of. So I jumped down the rabbit hole and pulled it up to read the archives...and finally had an inkling that these were things I had written.

And holy hell, it's all boring.

That doesn't mean I'll delete it; to the contrary, my first impulse was to resurrect it. My second was to delete all the content and start over, but then I realized it didn't matter. I might as well leave evidence of the journey I've clearly been struggling with for far too many years. Maybe in ten years I'll look back and realize I'd finally stumbled on the right track, or that I was never on the wrong one but focusing on the negative things.

The one thing I definitely wanted to change was the title. I grabbed onto Fat Kat because it was borderline clever--I'm fat and those are my initials, eh?--and I was actively trying to lose weight.

In the years since then I've come to understand that I don't want to wrap up my identity in a neat ribbon of negativity. Am I still fat? Sure. I'm overweight and I know it. But I also have so much more information under my belt, so to speak, and don't define myself by that anymore.

It came to me in the form of a doctor who listens, and who understands the hurdles that are in my way. She treats me for conditions I have as a result of a pituitary tumor, and understood before I did that much of my weight prior to diagnosis was likely related to interference of my metabolism by a tumor I didn't know I had. But still, I'd been in treatment for those issues for five or six years by the time I first saw her and was still fat. And I complained about it. I eat well, I exercise. I don't like this, not any of it.

You are not a number on a scale.

She said it as a matter of fact, not as something one says in order to placate someone. She meant it. She pointed to my blood work; it was damn near perfect. My blood pressure was good. My diet was not perfect, but pretty damned okay. I walked a lot, I swam, I was reasonably active. My weight was just a small part of who I was.

She didn't want me to ignore it, because it clearly bothered me. But there were things in my way; based on tests I'd had previously, I was an odd mix of insulin resistant with reactive hypoglycemia. Based on my verbal history, I'd yoyo'd my way into a screwed up metabolism that was not helped one bit by hypothyroidism brought on by the tumor. She reasoned that I pulled back a bit when I exercised, because I had legitimate fears of my blood sugar tanking and then passing out. I tended to overheat--my body doesn't self regulate very well.

There was a list of things wrong with me, but my weight was not one of them, not in the grand scheme of things.

I started looking at things differently after that.

I didn't gain back all the weight I'd previously lost, for which I was grateful. But then she took me off growth hormone--another tumor casualty--and she warned me that I would gain 20-25 pounds. There would be a loss of lean muscle mass that would be difficult to regain, and a shift in body fat. But the trade off to staying on it was cancer risks, which in my family is not a small thing.

I stopped taking it and gained 25 pounds. And I hated it, very ounce of it.

And I gave up, for the most part.

Later, there was another major shakeup in my life, one that both stilled a critical voice in my head and let loose a few others, and I might talk about those later, but for now...I was at a place I didn't really want to be but had come to accept, and if I was going to be there, I might as well have fun.

I started swimming seriously. So seriously that I injured my shoulder and had to stop for a while. It's been almost 3 years now, I think, and the shoulder never really healed.

There was training for the 3 Day, which I enjoyed. We bought a really good treadmill and it gets used once in a while.

What I wanted to do most, though, was get back to riding a bike. I bought a reasonable starter bike a few years back, but on one ride in not-too-hot weather, I felt myself getting lightheaded, and barely managed to stop before I passed out. I'd felt things creeping up on me a couple miles from home and headed in that direction, thinking I would make it, but a quarter mile away, I was out cold for a secind or two.

That's all, I think. Just a second or two. And I managed to get off the bike first. But I stopped riding because, frankly, I was afraid to. I stayed reasonably active, but I wanted to be on the damned bike. I stuck it on a trainer in the house, which was okay, but it wasn't riding. I wanted to ride.

Not my bike, but like this
Enter the electric bike. It's a heavy monstrosity, 60 pounds or so, but it has pedal assist and a throttle. I don't have to use the throttle--and I don't--but if I feel like I'm in trouble I can crank the throttle open and get home fast. It's everything I wanted--to ride, to be outside, to have a frakton on fun--and I feel safer.

I'm not stupid; I know some of that is all in my head. But I don't care. I feel safer. Feeling safer means I ride more often and go distances much further than I would have.

Where I used to ride 5-6 miles, my typical now is 15. I keep the pedal assist low so that I'm still getting a workout, but my knees don't take the brunt of the ride. I get excited about going for a ride and I get my heart rate up.

I'm under no illusions; I don't think of this bike as "cheating" (as some riders do) but I do have to ride longer and further to get the same benefit I would without the motor.

But I'm riding.

I'm having fun.

And, perhaps not so surprising, I've lost a little weight.

I'm counting calories; I keep it around 1200 a day, but I'm not obsessive about it...other than being in a 5 week plateau that's driving me a bit nuts, even though I know this will pass.


I'm not the Fat Kat anymore. I'm just a chubby middle aged woman with some issues that get in the way, but my interest is leaning more toward health and being active.

My weight will get there. I intend to ride my asterisk off, and enjoy the hell out of things while I do it.

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