Thursday, June 1, 2017

Are the odds stacked against me?

peony bush finally covered with blooms I transplanted this plant from the other house. My other bush only has one bloom which has not opened
smells wonderfully too
whole row of sweet Williams from seeds planted a year ago
big patch of pinks

I was listening to the This American Life podcast the other night on being fat. It quoted a study about how weight loss was futile given that 95% of obese people who lose all their excess weight, gain it back often within months. Could this be true? I have seen numbers as high as 99% Do I think I am the rare 1% er who will be able to stay thin? Am I so special?

I looked for the source of this study and found it in a NYT article. Stunkard from the University of Pennsylvania put 100 obese people on a controlled weight loss regimen in 1959. They lost the weight but as soon as they were out of a clinical setting, the weight came back in almost all of them. This study keeps being quoted over and over.

What about people doing it on their own? Well one can't write a paper on them, nothing is controlled. All one has is anecdotal information. The key to success is losing it slowly, eating healthy foods, no fasting and lots  of exercise. On the podcast, they did a segment on a woman who grew up morbidly obese who finally lost all the excess when she was in her twenties and still is thin but constantly asks her husband whether he would have loved her when she was fat. Also she needed several plastic surgeries as she had so much excess skin. She maintains her weight by taking speed, which must not be good.

It has been almost 8 months since I started to take control of my weight, longer than I told myself it would take. Am I finished? I could be. It's been 15 pounds since  my BMI has settled into the 'normal' range. I can wear size 8 pants now. That used to be a small size but I see that there has been some sort of reverse inflation since I was young. I weighed much less then and was lucky to fit into a size 8. I have not fasted, have taken no drugs, skipped no meals, counted no calories, taken no commercial products such as slimfast, attended no meetings....It is true that sometimes when I feel too hungry, I will drink coffee and I will feel better so I guess that caffeine is a drug. I did step up my exercise routine and spend almost 2 hours a day doing some sort of workout.

I of course write everything down.  For the first two months, I lost 22 pounds. Then for the next 6 months (!!!!), it has been pretty close to 6.5 pounds a month. As I have about 5 to go, less than a month. Do I have excess skin? Just on the underside of my upper arms. My belly is flat. Maybe the arm flaps are just a nasty aspect of age but sadly, they are harder to hide.

And talk about the depressing chances of beating the odds, all yesterday morning was spent with an army of experts for Maya's IEP. Every three years, she is to be given a battery of tests to make sure she is eligible for special services. These were discussed in detail. Basically if one was to believe these tests, she is severely handicapped. We are talking percentiles under one (I have been used to seeing percentiles above 99). And each score came with 'confidence' scales implying that at best, she could be a 10 percentiler. Meanwhile she is doing all that one can expect from a kindergarten student, writing all her letters, counting to a hundred, etc. Can she read? No. They did caution that she was very difficult to test. They did determine that she was 'not on the spectrum' ie not autistic. She might need an increase in medication as her hyperactivity seems to be coming back despite the drug. As for behavioral therapy, she is still on the UM's waiting list. We had the initial intake interview last week. We were asked what do we think they could do for us? I honestly do not know. We were told to go to them by the physician..what can they do? So now we are on another waiting list for a therapist.

Who has seemed to beat the odds? My son. I took him for a screening when he was 4 as he seemed to have severe enunciation issues. Before the insurance would let me see a speech therapist, he had to be tested for everything. The tests implied he was severely retarded and I shouldn't let him start school the next year. He did get the speech therapy, which helped as he was very coachable. I knew he was clever as he could play chess. School was difficult as he was very late to read (dyslexic). I would read everything and tell him what he needed to know. He would remember well. He didn't read on his own until he was a senior. Now he is a reader. He graduated with honors in engineering.


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

There are so many studies out there and most of them tell you that what was told to you yesterday has been refuted by the one today. We are all individuals not a statistic.

Elephant's Child said...

I am super impressed at your achievement. And doubt that you will put it back on. It is something you worked very, very hard to achieve. And, you are an individual.
Good luck with Maya and the battery of tests. And hooray for your son's achievements too - another one who bucked the trend.
Jealous of your peony. I cannot keep them going.

Anonymous said...

School has become so scripted, inflexible, and hurried that it doesn't adjust to different kids well, especially those with unusual combinations of intelligences and learning styles. Keep advocating and supporting her. There's a lot more to life than school. Eileen

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

thanks all. I will try to keep it off and doubt it will come back as I have made so many changes to my lifestyle.

Listening to them going on and on how dysfunctional Maya is was extremely depressing but I don't believe she is as bad as they say.


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