Please help improve the blog by taking the poll to the right. Thanks!

January 01, 2007

The Diet Blues


As promised -or threatened- here are my thoughts on dieting, influenced by recent events in my life.

On December 20th I made my annual pilgrimage to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, to check on the status of my lungs. I have COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a progressive disease, slowly (usually) worsening with time. I rely on experts like my doctors to tell me where I'm at as far as possibly needing a lung transplant.

This year although my numbers were worse than last year's, I still do not meet the criteria for transplant, thank goodness. But I got some bad news too. If I were to crash and burn number-wise through a sudden worsening of my lungs, I still would not qualify for transplant. The culprit? My weight.

Overweight is associated with poor prognosis for lung transplant, from the surgery itself to the long, physically demanding recovery afterwards. So I have to lose some thirty-plus pounds just to meet the minimum standard for my height. I have to meet this goal weight just in case I run into a problem down the road. I've seen two friends this year go from relatively fine one day to hospitalized and in one case dead in the period of a week. So I have to be proactive.

I foresee an extended period of carrot and celery sticks with a side of major lifestyle changes tossed in for good measure. So I turn to humor for inspiration, hence the poem. If you have any good ones, please send them my way! My grumbling stomach will appreciate it. Weight Watchers and South Beach, here I come!

4 comments:

Lin said...

Lin ~

Exercise by all means! But don't do the 'rabbit food' diet. You won't be satisfied and you won't stay on it. Instead, do what I did: drink Green Tea - decaffienated. I use Salada or Lipton tea bags, steep it 5 minutes or more in water brought to boiling temperature, and sweeten it only with Splenda - never Equal or Saccharine products. Also, never put honey in it - honey negates the weight loss properties. I drink mine iced, by the gallon - but hot is just as good, the key is drink it often and in quantity! I lost a ton of weight drinking green tea - see my web page on Green Tea and Me, or "The Lighter Side of Noni Lin" http://www.nytedancer.com/LinLight.html

I also eat very little saturated fats, zero trans fats, whole grain products and only very lean meats, with pork and chicken breasts making up the bulk, though I do eat beef. I eat what I want, when I want and other than swimming in warm weather, my only real exercise is walking ... but I walk every day, at least a mile. How fast doesn't matter - what does matter is that you WALK. Eating very slowly makes a huge difference too - always take at least 20 minutes to eat. That's how long it takes your stomach to realize you have eaten. Good luck to you! We want to keep you around for a long, long time girl!!

Lin

Lin said...

Sheesh!! It's too late and my brain is mushy! I put the wrong url in my previous comment posting. The Green Tea and Me article url is:

http://www.nytedancer.com/lgt.html

Lin

BreathinSteven said...

Hey Lin!

Hang in there... And do your very bestest to drop some of that weight as soon as possible. It's important to be considered for lung transplant, and important for surviving and recovering from the surgery! Plus -- I think there are overall added health benefits that might make it easier to live to the point you actually need new blowers...

I suffered the opposite problem, which some people don't recognize as a problem... I needed to gain weight. I was 115 all my life (5'6") and dropped to 110 -- I was told I needed to gain about 15-18 pounds and I'd never actually been that heavy! And when I got heavier, breathing was much more uncomfortable -- but I knew at the time I needed to grin & bear it...

I used a trick some use for weightloss -- I logged calorie and fat content of everything I shoved into my mouth... EVERYTHING... For someone trying to lose weight, it's sometimes an eye opener and keeps you on track as to when you shouldn't put something in your mouth... For someone like me, who was trying to gain -- it let me know how much more I needed for the day and when I could or couldn't skip a snack or meal...

The American Lung Association has a motto: When you can't breathe, nothing else matters... One for people who need to drop a few pounds while they're waiting is that you don't exactly have energy to exercise a lot -- and sometimes eating is one of the true enjoyments we have left...

And you keep walking!!! It's so very important to keep some level of activity to keep your muscles toned and operating as you approach that time when Shands Hospital tells you it's time to consider transplant -- then it's even more important to keep going! One of our doc's favorite little reminders is, "if you walk into the hospital for surgery, you'll walk out..." So many people get so dibilitated that they cannot walk in...

I hope you get to where you need to get soon, and get that behind you... If or when they I hope your wait is short and uneventful... And when the time comes when you need new lungs, I hope some precious person and precious family are there to reach out to you...

I have cystic fibrosis and I was in your shoes seven years ago. COPD or any disease that robs one of breath sucks... I lived for 40 years with crappy lungs that got progressively more crappy over those years to the point where my PFTs said my lung capacity was around 10% of expected -- It's astounding how little lung capacity you can survive on...

A beautiful 17-year-old girl from Iowa named Kari saved my life... This breathin' stuff TOTALLY ROCKS! I hope your journey goes as awesome as mine has gone... You hang in there...

My princess created a little website to tell some of my story, but mostly to honor Kari and tell people about her... It's at:

www.ClimbingForKari.org

You take care, Lin! I'm rootin' for you...

Love,

Steve

Lin Neiswender said...

Thanks for the tips everyone! I'll be adding green tea and more exercise to my New Year's agenda. Let the weight loss begin!