How I'm Losing Weight Despite Being Lazy and Sedentary
Last updated: May 2023
It’s finally happening: I’m losing weight. High time that pendulum starts favoring the other end of the fulcrum. I was beginning to think the math was failing me.
Now, I’ve been losing so rapidly I know I’m losing water weight, not fat. And that’s fine. I tend to retain fluid and take a diuretic for it (enough to keep my blood pressure normal), so flushing out that excess is healthy provided I drink lots of water every day. So hey, water, fat, it’s all weight loss and I’m happy about it. I feel better.
The challenges of water retention
Water retention can be darned uncomfortable. Ask anybody who has taken steroids or menstruates or has a family history of hypertension and congestive heart failure. Fingers balloon until hands resemble baseball mitts. Ankles swell to the size of one’s calves. And don’t get me started about breasts straining painfully against bra. Night of the Living Side Boob. My boyfriend has no complaints about their generous proportions. But he doesn’t have to lug them around all day.
So what diet am I following? Ah-ha, I’m not on a diet! Diets are so 2017. Then what is it I’m doing?
Learnings from living with IBS and MS
Simple. I cut my calories. I eat one small helping and do not eat more than that in one sitting. I eat whenever I feel like it. I don’t eat after 6:00 p.m. I do not count calories or protein/carb/fat grams, I count nothing. My food choices are heavily informed by a low FODMAP chart designed for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). When I was diagnosed with IBS, I spent a year working with low and high FODMAP charts to determine which foods cause intestinal distress, pain, and constipation.
Now I use that information to balance my daily eating regimen with fresh veg, lean meat, fish, and a small portion of starch so I don’t totally deny myself, including whole grains since any carbs are instantly constipating. I find that fiber supplements are ineffective, too. The FODMAP chart helped me identify which high-fiber veggies I could tolerate and which ones made me miserable. Unfortunately I’ve had to follow a low fiber regimen because of my fiber intolerance. But I do well with brussel sprouts, celery, carrots, bok choy, and assorted greens, so now I’m slowly incorporating them into my daily eating. Eating broccoli, however, abruptly ends my atheism and doubles me over on the toilet, bargaining with God for deliverance from the excruciating pain. I eat a lot of celery now.
It is important to point out that probiotics do nothing for me. And yes, I took a potent enough product. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a motility problem, and no substance is going to reanimate malfunctioning intestine no matter how much healthy bacteria are introduced into the gut. Some research has suggested IBS can be more common in people with MS than the general population.1
Feeling better and losing weight with MS
I feel a lot better in my clothes and that’s my focus. Even though I weigh myself right out of bed most mornings, it’s best to gauge what the right weight is for me by my comfort level. My eating regimen is permanent, and I’ll tweak it as time goes on as I discover new ways to prepare healthy foods in delicious ways.
What does advocacy mean to you as someone living with multiple sclerosis? Please select all that apply: