More of Me

For as long as I can remember, I have weighed somewhere between 155 and 160 pounds. I rarely checked my weight growing up, as it wasn’t a major concern. If anything, I was frail as a kid. The only reason I knew my weight was beacuse it was part of my annual physical exam.

In the last three years, however, I have slowed down considerably. I sit in my wheelchair all day and barely walk anymore. As a result, to put it nicely, there is more of me now than there was three years ago.

My body image doens’t really bother me. I am more preoccupied with my mobility than how I look. However, as one chin became two, it is undeniable that I’ve put on considerable weight. It is concerning. In the last three-plus years, I have put on 25 pounds. That is not ideal.

There are three problems with this.

First, it isn’t good for my long-term health to put on a significant amount of weight. With my disease, being sedentary can lead to health issues down the line, such as diabetes, respiratory issues, and who knows what else. Extra weight exacerbates this risk, especially since I can’t exercise.

Second, extra weight puts additional strain on my weak legs. Every step I take, I feel like I am pregnant. It makes it that much harder to walk, and significantly increases the chance of a dangerous fall.

Third – and this is perhaps the most important problem – it puts extra strain on my dad. He has to lift me every day. He is getting older and his back bothers him. I don’t want to be the reason he throws out his back and I end up having to spend a week at a respite facility, where I will be the youngest person by multiple decades.

I have been searching these last few months for a way to lose weight that doesn’t involve exercising. There aren’t many great options. However, I recently came across a Facebook group for people who have muscular dystrophy who are on Weight Watchers. Apparently, Weight Watchers has worked well for many people, some of whom have lost more than 50 pounds.

I have never been on a diet before. I never thought I’d need Weight Watchers in my life, but, as I often say, it is what it is. I am not beating myself up for letting my weight go these last few years. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, I had enough to worry about.

But I want to get healthier, and nip this in the bud while it’s still manageable.

I am now two weeks in. Counting points isn’t as cumbersome as I thought it would be. The Weight Watchers app is convenient and has the added benefit of having a built-in barcode scanner. This has made it much easier to see just how many points each food contains. Some of the point values, like for cereal and pasta, has surprised me. No wonder I have put on weight!

(In case you were wondering – which I’m sure you were – if you scan something like hand sanitizer, it won’t compute. I was secretly hoping a warning would pop up to discourage me from eating it, while also informing me that it’s three points if I insist.)

I admit that I did have a minor slip-up this past week in Boston. I derailed for a couple days when I had trouble counting points at restuarants. That, and I also didn’t want to go to the North End and eat just a salad.

My willpower is a work in progress, but I will keep trucking along. I don’t have to be perfect, just better. We’ll see how it goes.



2 thoughts on “More of Me

  1. Steve Woznicki

    I’ve experienced a similar problem – weight gain because of a decrease in activity. I try to follow the KISS principle in most areas of my life so rather than counting points and paying a fee for Weight Watchers (besides liking things simple, I’m also pretty cheap), I’ve opted for the dummy-proof method of intermittent fasting. It does take some will power but I’ve found it to be much easier than I expected. During the week, I don’t eat anything until dinner and I also try to resist late night snacking. It works and I think there are other health benefits. Haywire burgers are still okay!

  2. While obviously a very different situation as my weight fluctuations have been as a result of a digestive disorder, I am very familiar with the frustration of not feeling in control of your weight because of health reasons beyond your control. We have enough things to worry about, we should be exempt from these sorts of problems! Alas. It is what it is. Good on you for doing what you can. Better, not perfect.

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