rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Content note: weight changes, body image
(This one is a bit more fraught for me than yesterday's, but I still want to note it.)

I lost a lot of weight in my first round of chemo, some of which came back on once I was home and eating home-cooked food. I lost a lot of muscle mass, most noticeably my "cycling calves", and clothes started to hang oddly on me.

From about the end of November (shortly after I returned from my second stint in hospital), I started gaining weight steadily. Some of this was regaining lost muscle mass, but clearly a lot of it wasn't. (By default I take my weight daily and use the Hackers Diet tool to calculate an exponentially-weighted trend which smooths out individual day fluctuations. I have been doing this since 2001.) Finishing chemo, becoming steadily more active, actively trying to eat more fruit and veg, actively trying a long-term shift to a high-protein breakfast, actively trying to pay attention to feeling full: none of these had any effect on the steady gain of 500-600g per week, every week.

I have been fat for my entire adult life. I have tried many approaches to weight loss and weight management, and the only thing that has ever "worked" for weight loss in me is combining calorie restriction and hard exercise. Unfortunately since about 2010 the calorie restriction part has started coming with the side effect of sending me slightly mad (obsessive, miserable), and my capacity for hard exercise right now is laughable. I'd previously found a compromise of sticking to "5 a day, low sugar, pay attention to fullness" seemed to prevent me gaining weight without sending me mad, but not this year.

By early May I felt that the risk to my physical health and recovery was getting greater than the risk to my mental health and I've started restricting calories again, and I hate it, and all I've managed to do so far is halt the rise. I am currently heavier and fatter than I have ever been, including both my pregnancies. My body is unfamiliar to me and none of my pre-cancer clothes fit (ok, except sports bras and leggings).

I bought new trousers in January because the ones I had felt like sacks; by March the new trousers were uncomfortably tight around the legs as my "cycling calves" returned, and then began to get tight around the waist too. I almost exclusively now wear leggings with either tunics or dresses over, and I don't hate the look, but it's about as feminine as I've ever dressed, and it took a lot of time and money which I would rather have spent on other things.

(I am really pleased with my newest dresses, from the Kickstarter campaign Svaha STEAM Angels: Smart Dresses for Smart Women, apart from the bit where they all fit a bit snugly because I was optimistic in the measurements I took, and so I'm not willing to wear all of them, and "keeping a dress for inspiration" is the opposite of helpful for my particular going-slightly-mad.)

Today's bird: Shoveler

Date: 2016-07-01 13:16 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
I wonder if recovering from chemotherapy might be a bit like recovering from a period of starvation: your body will find a new (higher) set point of weight, below which significant weight loss will be very difficult. Hopefully, consistent feeding at your new calorie intake will help. (I cannot do calorie restriction, but I am finding that ensuring I have a snack -- even just a bite of food if I am not sure if I am hungry -- every 3 hours without fail is helping my anxiety levels a lot.)

I also wonder if the next size up of the Svaha dresses would fit. Can you e-mail them and explain you've had cancer and are bigger, post-chemo, than expected, and ask if an exchange would be possible?

I ordered the red dress with the white dots and Greek letters in the largest size but don't quite like the way it fits my shape. If you would like it, I'll happily post it to you when I have washed it.

Date: 2016-07-01 13:32 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
Understood -- I struggle with that sort of admin myself (or I would offer to contact them on your behalf).

Date: 2016-07-01 14:33 (UTC)
miss_s_b: (Default)
From: [personal profile] miss_s_b
I was going to say this.

Date: 2016-07-01 14:06 (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
*hug*

[I tried to find some more eloquent way of expressing sympathy, but failed]

Date: 2016-07-04 08:29 (UTC)
simont: (Default)
From: [personal profile] simont
By default I take my weight daily and use the Hackers Diet tool to calculate an exponentially-weighted trend which smooths out individual day fluctuations.

I perked up at this, because I currently take my weight daily and keep meaning to get round to setting up a system to compute some sort of smoothing function on top of the raw data. So I thought, excellent, someone's recommended one!

But I went and found ‘Hacker's Diet’ and read the relevant chapter, and found it to be annoyingly missing the one thing I most wanted to know: if you exponentially smooth your raw data, what is the sensible choice of time constant / decay rate for the exponential? The book seems to tell you everything except that, saying only that if you pick a time constant of this or that then the results will look sort of like [diagram].

So, on the basis that one data point is better than none :-), what time constant do you use?

Date: 2016-07-04 11:45 (UTC)
simont: (Default)
From: [personal profile] simont
And the unusual 'source code as PDF' presentation – literate programming startlingly coming in handy for once :-) – made it easy to find the section that actually computes the trend, and find that each new data point w causes the previous trend value t to be replaced with t+(wt)/10, which is equivalent to saying that each data point is scaled by a factor of 9/10 per day it recedes into the past. Thanks!

Date: 2016-07-01 13:04 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-cataclysm.livejournal.com
I lost a lot of weight in early chemo and then gained afterwards - I am told that it's depressingly common with cancer.

Sleep problems, a body needing to recover and an inability to tolerate sustained activity.

The hospital - via Macmillan have arranged for me to have an exercise referral to a local gym.

Date: 2016-07-01 13:52 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-cataclysm.livejournal.com
I'm not sure about the gym referral either. But I'm very bad at putting my physical recovery needs first. Or second. Or third...

Date: 2016-07-01 15:17 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-cataclysm.livejournal.com
I'm on chair based exercises (supposedly I can do them while working as keyboard breaks) and daily "mini walks" of 15 minutes. But frequently, I wake up from a haze of typing around now to find that I haven't mini walked or done a single keyboard break .

Date: 2016-07-01 16:54 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amaebi.livejournal.com
I hold my thumbs for more comfort for you, soon.

Date: 2016-07-05 13:33 (UTC)
lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)
From: [personal profile] lnr
Sympathy and solidarity from me. (I'm struggling a bit with being 15kg up from where I'm now used to being and finding dieting really hard)

Loving my Engineering dress too - I'd have bought more if it weren't for the cost and the shipping and the VAT-on-import and the damned Royal Mail handling charge on said VAT.

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rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
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