I cannot remember a time when doctors haven’t told me to lose weight. Even as a child when I first got diagnosed with Epilepsy no matter what medication I was on a doctor was worried about weight gain as a side effect. It seemed even then I was labelled as overweight and so that is how I saw myself. I resigned myself to the fact that I was always going to stick out as I was/am tall and fat. I tried and failed at dieting only ever losing a stone at the most which didn’t really make much of a difference. I gave up trying to lose weight, ignoring comments from doctors whenever I had a checkup. Losing weight would supposedly help with my seizure frequency, pfft as if. Losing weight would help with my depression, yeah ok. Losing weight would help with my confidence issues, whatever that is so superficial. Then we started trying for a baby.
I got diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome about nine months into trying to conceive. Mr S (my gyno consultant) told me that my symptoms would improve if I lost even just 10% of my current weight. Mr S also said that despite having PCOS and my husband having fertility issues he saw no real reason why we couldn’t conceive on our own, but for the sake of this post staying on topic I’m just going to concentrate on the weight factor. I was told weight loss would help restore a normal period and make my cycle become more regular. To do this I needed to limit processed foods and foods with added sugars. I was also advised to add more whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables and lean meats to my diet. Doing this would help to lower blood glucose levels which would improve the body’s use of insulin, thus normalize hormone levels in my body. Hence why with weight loss my PCOS symptoms were supposed to improve.
I have lost just under 4st (54lbs to be exact) over these past eleven months. This equates to a 19.8% loss of my original body weight, that’s nearly twice the amount Mr S said would help with my symptoms. I’m calling bullshit. If anything since losing weight my PCOS symptoms seem to have worsened. My periods are more irregular than ever. Before I lost weight I was confident in my 30-35 day cycle, now I have no idea what my cycle is doing. My period now ranges from being 30-47 days apart , if it comes at all! Not only are my periods less regular but they are also heavier than before too! I’ve always considered myself lucky in that I never really had bad PMS or menstrual cramps. I think I’m paying for this now as I have both now. PMS so strong my husband avoids me some days. Cramps so bad I vomit and cry with pain. This is not what I was expecting. I thought losing weight would help my body but now it’s more confused than ever. I know I needed to lose all this weight so we could IVF but I honestly believed the doctor about the benefits this time. I honestly believed that losing weight was going to help my body. That it would help us conceive before we even got to the point of IVF. I did everything right yet I got worse? Surely this is proof that the obsession with weight and blaming it for every health problem is wrong?
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I have lost all this weight as it means there are no delays (our end anyway) moving forward with our trying to conceive journey. I just hate that losing weight is supposed to be some miracle cure for everything. I haven’t noticed it. I am more confident but only because I finally accepted that I am so much more than my medical conditions. I remembered who I was before getting caught up in my Anxiety Disorder, PCOS and trying to conceive. I actually feel like I’ve finally accepted my Epilepsy on a whole new level. I thought I had accepted it a long time ago but with losing my job because of my seizure frequency two years ago I had let it define me again. I will always be tall. I will always be bigger than other women no matter how much weight I lose. I have big hips and broad shoulders. I will always have degenerative Epilepsy. I will always PCOS. I will always suffer with Anxiety. These things aren’t who I am though. No matter how much weight I lose I will always be this person. Don’t believe doctors when they say weight is everything. BMI isn’t as good a indicator of health as many would have you believe. You are so much more than that.
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