What’s Up, Doc?

So I started this post out with some ranting about how busy I am but I write that about 95% of time and I am just over myself with how much I complain about that.  I have no idea what to do about it, but I’m searching out ways to reduce the chaos.  I just haven’t been very successful at it.

I stayed off the scale for a couple of days after we got home in order to give my body a chance to flush out any water weight gain that could be unnecessarily depressing.  I was super happy to step on the scale last Wednesday and find I was only at 175 pounds.  This is the top of my “yellow zone” range but was 3 pounds less than I was when I left town. Throughout the rest of the week I really watched my intake and nutrition and was down around 174 or slightly less heading into the weekend.  This past weekend I did a pretty good job with not going overboard.

Last Wednesday I had a check-up with my regular primary care doctor.  I haven’t seen her in over a year.  I’m not sure if I can express with words how good it feels to go to the doctor and not worry about my weight.  I used to absolutely dread going because I felt like I was such a failure at keeping myself healthy.  I was not only worried about the scale, but any blood work or any lab results.  I knew, even if the doctor didn’t come right out and say it, the elephant in the room was that I was obese, plain and simple.  I really like this particular doctor I’m seeing now, and I never got any lectures from her – only offers to help – so I think that made it a bit easier.  Anyway, I used to worry about appointments before I had them but last week I honestly had no fears.  I knew that I have spent this past year living my life about as good as I could possibly do.  The receptionist handed me a form to fill out where I was supposed to check off all of the boxes indicating symptoms or problems that I currently am having and, across about 15 categories, I couldn’t check a single one.  When I handed it to the medical assistant she asked me to fill it out and I told her I had no issues listed on the sheet.  That was different.

So my doc was really happy that I had kept my weight off for over a year now.  She said she was happy for me last year, but really impressed this year because she knew that was a difficult thing to do.  I have only had one illness/trip to the doctor this whole past year and that was last summer (almost exactly to the day) when I contracted that kidney infection.  I did not see her then, I saw another guy in the office.  She was looking over the blood work from that episode – which I had never really seen because I just got a call that said ‘you have an infection and take this antibiotic and call us if you don’t improve in a day or so’.  Anyway, she read me off some of the numbers from my blood results and she said I must have been really sick and feeling awful.  Um, yes, yes I was.  I was wearing a quilt, using a seat heater in my car and unable to go inside our air conditioned house – and it was 110 degrees outside.  I’m glad to hear that I was a bit justified in how crappy I felt – and also crazy amazed that I kept up the ‘mile a day’ streak during that.  Although it pretty much felt like a death march.  Stupid.

My doctor set me up with a lab work order to check my blood again to see where the numbers were after a year of maintenance.  After I was about to reach goal last April, I had blood work done and I was so incredibly happy to see numbers down within normal levels.  Prior to starting on Optifast, my cholesterol and especially my triglycerides were very high.  Although I was relieved to see good numbers at my new healthy weight, I had eaten nothing but Optifast for the most part for 6 months so I did somewhat those results.  After a year of eating “real food” and attempting, for the most part, to maintain this weight loss, I wasn’t so sure what they would show.  I have, after all, had my share of french fries, burgers, and donuts – but only at a fraction of what I had eaten in the past.  So, today my numbers were posted online through my doctor’s office’s website that I can access.  And the numbers are still pretty darn good!

Test Normal Prior 4/12/2013 6/20/2014
cholesterol, total 100-199 mg/dl 233 161 179
non HDL cholesterol <160 mg/dl 184 99 106
HDL (good) >45mg/dl 49 62 74
LDL (bad) 0-99mg/dl 133 87 91
VLDL 0-29mg/dl 51 12 15
Triglycerides 0-149mg/dl 254 59 73

My Total Cholesterol is up just a bit but my “good” cholesterol is what has increased, for the most part.  My triglycerides are up a bit too – but I went from 254 to 59 and 73 (with a normal range of 0-149) is still great.  I am very relieved.  I did it.  I not only kept the weight off, I kept my blood work in a very “normal” range.  I have never been much of a “healthy eater” so the changes I have made to the meals I eat on a regular basis seem to be working.  I know consistent exercise plays a role in keeping these numbers in check as well – and I have definitely been consistent on that front too.  The payoff is a clean bill of health.  I’m appreciating that more and more as I get older.

There are 2 numbers in my lab results that are low and those were to be expected.  First of all is Vitamin D.  This has been an issue for a few years and still apparently is.  My dr. said many people are deficient, even those that live in this “Valley of the Sun”.  So, I’ll need to get more serious about taking that supplement.  Secondly, also one I figured on, is my iron level.  One issue I am having (sorry for the TMI) is really heavy periods.  They have gotten really bad over the past year, oddly enough since I lost weight (sometimes they can be heavier for heavier people but I seem to be having the opposite issue).  This isn’t a very unusual symptom for women in their 40’s as they approach menopause or peri-menopause and there are a number of ways to take care of it.  So, I’m going to have some tests done in the next week or so to see the best way to go about that.  There are surgical procedures, IUDs, and/or pills that I could take.  All I know is that it is starting to interfere a bit with my life and, apparently, my blood chemistry as well.

So next week I’ll get my mammogram done (family history of breast cancer makes this very important to stay on top of), get my eyes checked (I have never been to an eye doctor or had my eyes checked – ever!!), and, in about 2 weeks, I’m seeing a new dermatologist for my annual melanoma / skin cancer check (another important appointment based on my past history with melanoma).  I think most of us are reminded just about every day of how valuable our health is – we see and hear stories constantly that shake us to the core.  I owe this to myself and my family to stay on top of it.  I want lots of years to enjoy with my kids and grand kids and to have the mobility and energy to do it all!


This entry was posted in anemia, cholesterol, Exercise, Optifast Maintenance, Running, Running Streak, Scottsdale Weight Loss Center, triglycerides, Uncategorized, weight maintenance. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What’s Up, Doc?

  1. Ray Estolano says:

    Your blog is so inspirational to read. I showed some of it to my wife and her family- there may be some Optifast converts here. One question- at what point were you able to start running again? I’m afraid my knees would explode if I ran at 283 pounds, but I used to run when my weight was in the 210’s to 220’s..


  2. Hi Ray, and thanks! I was trying to go back and figure out when exactly I started running, but I think I actually started (at least trying to run) back before I even started on Optifast (so at 265+ pounds). I know I ran a 5K several years before that at probably 225 or so, I’m guessing. I have been lucky to not have any joint or knee issues throughout my running – my problem has always been with my cardio/breathing. I struggled to string together that first full mile run. It took me forever. I even went to see a pulmonologist because I was positive there was something wrong with my heart and lungs. Turns out, it is just really harder to run with the extra weight – I think 6% harder for every 10 pounds. It’s funny reading Runner’s World magazine or online stories about how many people ask you about your knees and running – everyone always thinks it is going to kill them. I haven’t found that to be the case, at least for me…. Just take it very slowly! And, as you know, you might have some decreased energy on such a low calorie – creating too much of a deficit could actually slow your weight loss (or so I found). I love running for weight maintenance though – I really think it is why I have been fairly successful.


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