Scared and trying to figure myself out

I’m losing weight, and it terrifies me.

So, I have PCOS. If you don’t know what it is, it’s poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. Basically, it’s hard for me to lose weight, I don’t really ovulate and my hormone/insulin levels are wacky. They don’t know what causes PCOS, and it’s a diagnosis of exclusion. Because of that, you get women with a whole host of symptoms who all meet the criteria for PCOS. Some lean women have pcos, though that’s less likely.

For me, I gained weight when I hit puberty. Speaking to a friend  who has recently qualified as a Physician’s Assistant(my best friend/neighbor since we were about 6), she finds it ‘shocking’ how glaringly obvious my PCOS is to her now. I guess my sudden weight gain of about 20 pounds sticks in her mind more than mine. For me, I always remember being a bit pudgy, even when I wasn’t(as a 10-year-old, for example), so when I weighed 135-140 at 14 even though I was ridiculously active it didn’t seem weird to me, just typical me being pudgy. By the end of highschool, I was typically 150. By the end of college, when I had tried to lose weight, I was jumping between 145 and 155.

By the middle of college, I’d been diagnosed with PCOS, after coming off hormonal BC resulted in a complete cessation of my already incredibly infrequent period. I went through a ridiculous number of tests, then was told I had something I’d never heard of before, oh and by the way, it’ll be hard to have children, and there’s no cure.

I tried the medication they suggested(metformin), but the life of a college student in New York City wasn’t exactly conducive to regularly scheduled meals three times a day as the drug required and I wound up going off it. For a while, I just stuck to hormonal birth control which poorly controlled my symptoms.

Fast forward a few years. While a grad student, I tried to see a new endocrinologist, but my GP was so miserable and awful, I just couldn’t face talking to him so I went a few years without specifically treating my PCOS. Then I moved to where I am now, got a new, much nicer, GP, and he happily sent me to an endo. My new endo got me back on the original drug, which I again hated. Because I hated it, he switched me to a different version(metformin extended release, rather than the normal metformin), which is much, much better and didn’t really exist the first time I tried the drug.

That was six months ago. Up to that point, I’d been ‘dieting’ for about 6 years with very few results. If I stopped obsessively calorie counting and exercising, I would jump up to 170/175. My militant eating and exercising kept me at a still way too fat 160/165. I was burnt out and so freaking tired of hearing the same tired, old ‘eat less, exercise more, you’ll lose weight!’ It just didn’t work like that for me.

I’ve always been an active person. I whitewater kayak, I run, I hike, all because I love these activities. Every weekend finds me doing something active, at least one day. If I wasn’t doing that, I would easily go up to 190 lbs without meds.

Anyway, when I finally got on these meds again, I stopped doing my tons of exercise, and stopped being compulsive about tracking my eating. I didn’t weigh myself. I went through Christmas and New Years eating anything and everything I pleased. When I went back to the doctor, I fully expected to have gained weight. My clothes were still fitting, so I knew it couldn’t have been too bad, but I was completely shocked when my doctor greeted me with smiles and announced that I’d lost five pounds. I admitted to him how I’d been lazy and over-indulged at the holidays. He was still happy, but told me to put my nose grindstone and see how I did over the next six months.

I guess the 5 pounds I lost while sitting on my butt has re-energized me. I’m tracking my food and exercise again, this time with MFP(I used sparkpeople for a few years, but don’t like how it doesn’t adjust your daily calories to account for exercise) as well as Fitocracy, for the points aspect that I enjoy.

I’ve started weighing myself again, and it’s weird. I’m actually losing weight, something I never expected. I weighed in at the doctor’s(January 4th), I was at 160, with clothes on, so I assume I was about 158. When I weighed myself this morning, I was 154.75. That’s just over 3 pounds in less than a week. I’m dropping steadily, for the very first time in my life. Even if I say my scale hits lower than the doctors, I did weigh in on it at 157, so it’s at least a 2 pound drop. It’s shocking, and terrifying. Will I actually be able to lose weight this time? The only thing that will hold me back now is my own will power, and that is scary. Why if I, not my body, fail? What if I can’t keep up the necessary momentum to really commit to this lifestyle change? I’ve done it before, but usually burn out after six months or so without seeing any results from my grueling hard work. Will actually losing the weight allow me to see this journey through?

I guess it’s the possibility of failing that I find the most scary. In the past, I’ve been able to say, ‘Fuck this. I’ve been eating and exercising to the point that I should be losing 2 pounds a week for six months and I’ve lost… 4. I’m done.’ What if that happens again? What if I lose a few pounds now, then plateau? What if I have no one to blame but myself? For not trying as hard as I should, for giving up too soon? That terrifies me.

In terms of my general eating habits, I always eat pretty healthily. I don’t eat fast food, or even eat out very much(once a month at most). The vast majority of  my meals are prepared, from scratch, in my kitchen. Once I have lost weight, if I do, will I be able to increase my calories without gaining?

I’ve got so many questions that only time can answer, and I don’t like it. I feel cut adrift, lost, with no landmarks in unfamiliar territory.

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