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Rachel Coleman
Vanity: weight and clothing 
1st-Jul-2016 01:32 pm
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 Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/638389.html with comment count unavailable comments.
1st-Jul-2016 01:04 pm (UTC)
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.
1st-Jul-2016 01:13 pm (UTC)
I don't think I need a gym membership. I need enough energy to exercise AND work AND study AND take care of my family, and I don't have it.
1st-Jul-2016 01:52 pm (UTC)
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...
1st-Jul-2016 02:53 pm (UTC)
It helps having an exercise I badly want to do, i.e. running.

I am, very slowly, getting my daily step count up. My plan is: get to 10k steps a day (currently I'm averaging ~7k); then add a 30 min walk 3x a week for 4 continuous weeks; then redo c25k.
1st-Jul-2016 03:17 pm (UTC)
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 .
1st-Jul-2016 10:41 pm (UTC)
I have nagware to manage my RSI - a bit of free software called Workrave which pops up reminders to take regular keyboard/mouse breaks (microbreaks every few minutes and rest breaks every hour or so). It literally saved my ability to type back in the early 00s, and the intervals are configurable so it might be worth investigating?
1st-Jul-2016 04:54 pm (UTC)
I hold my thumbs for more comfort for you, soon.
5th-Jul-2016 01:33 pm (UTC)
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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