In 2003, I had just been released from the hospital after a concussion. It was the third concussion I'd suffered since speaking out -- all three as a result of two vehicle "accidents" that occurred in Dallas, Texas.
People have seen me in documentaries and on CDs, then later noticed I had lost considerable weight. Besides a thyroid problem for which I need medication daily (it causes weight gain and lethargy all by itself!), I also have RDS (see below)--a chronic condition where for days at a time I sometimes cannot walk, with many other days just a life of pain. This includes problems with my hands and feet that range from no feeling, to extreme pain, when touching things. If you have ever had your feet 'fall asleep" imagine trying to walk on that all day.
How to lose weight, when exercise is so difficult, and one also has a thyroid problem where weight gain put pounds on me for years, before it was diagnosed?
Even to this day, most of the feeling in my hands and feet is either missing or feels like pins and needles. Double vision and short term memory problems, combined with whiplash and renewed back problems (rebuilt, from an earlier operation)combined with painkillers and steroid injections) created a weight gain that wasn't helped by family, friends, and former students supplying plenty of chocolate candy and other bedside goodies when I was reduced to a wheelchair.
I gained forty pounds after that third concussion.
AND GOT FILMED THAT WAY.
When I was filmed by Nigel Turner and Wim Dankbaar, in 2003, my weight was 216 pounds. And I was only 5' 2" !
It was humiliating to be so heavy, but I felt the filming had to be done even though people would be sure to comment (and they did, quite reasonably).
How to lose weight, when I could hardly walk? (Forced myself to walk "normally" for filming!)
I was able to lose ten pounds. By 2004, I had gone from 216 to 206 pounds. This was still a terribly high and dangerous weight. I got down to 190 by 2005, but after that, it seemed hopeless. If I lost weight, back it came. In 2007, I was assaulted by student who was trying to steal a book. She was twice my size and got her way: I ended up in the hospital. There I learned that I had a condition that later, in Europe, was diagnosed as "RSD."
When a death threat forced me to seek political asylum in the EU system, which came suddenly after Ed Haslam's book, Dr. Mary's Monkey, was publicized in Budapest -- I was teaching in the public school system in a big city in Northeastern Hungary-- I came to Sweden and suffered another RDS attack that left me almost crippled.
I looked and felt awful, even though I got filmed again on the Swedish TV news.
Since then, I have learned how to cope with RDS, my thyroud problems, and, most importantly, with getting the weight off and keeping it off. Several people have noticed the change in my features and have asked how I managed to do it.
Thought it was time to share what worked for me.
Everybody is different, of course. Always check with your doctor before crafting any kind of dietary changes for yourself. be sure the doctor is trained in nutrition, though.
First of all, I'd like to explain what RDS is, for those who don;t know. People with arthritis or overactive immune system problems will appreciate what I present here: information from a website that accurately describes my condition, which means that some kinds of exercise simply inflame my joints and body to the extent that I become bedridden. I have to be careful to avoid various injuries and trauma. You might have ther same problem, or perhaps you jhave no time or strength left in you at the end of your working day to 'exercise.'
We'll talk about how to exercise "wherever you might be" later.
Right now, an article about RDS: over half a million people suffer from it, including me:
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
What Are The Symptoms Of RSD?
RSD usually affects one of the extremities (arms, legs, hands, or feet). The primary symptom of RSD is intense, continuous pain. According to NINDS, the list of symptoms includes:
increased skin sensitivity
skin temperature changes (warmer or cooler than opposing extremity)
skin color changes (blotchy, purple, pale, red)
skin texture changes (shiny, thin, sweaty)
changes in nail and hair growth patterns
stiffness and swelling in affected joints
decreased ability to move affected extremity
Pain can spread to a wider area (i.e. from finger to entire arm) and can spread to the opposite extremity (i.e. from left arm to right arm). Emotional stress can cause symptoms to worsen.
Some experts suggest there are three stages of RSD, during which progressive changes occur in the skin, muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones of the affected area. The progression has not been confirmed by clinical studies though.
Stages Of RSD
lasts 1 to 3 months
severe, burning pain
rapid hair growth
skin color and temperature changes
lasts from 3 to 6 months
pain which becomes more intense
decreased hair growth
nails which are cracked, brittle, grooved, spotty
weak muscle tone
irreversible changes to skin and bone
pain is continuous
severe limited mobility
contractions of muscles and tendons (limbs may be twisted)
What Triggers RSD?
There can be numerous triggers for RSD including:
injury or trauma
degenerative arthritis of the neck
In an estimated one-third of patients with RSD, there is no associated trigger.
How Is RSD Diagnosed?
(In my case, I was not correctly diagnosed in the US and only received a proper diagnosis in Europe. Once it was understood what condition I suffered from, a nerve block and various satagies helped me immensely.)
A patient's clinical history (signs and symptoms) are the major factor in diagnosing RSD. The diagnosis is made difficult because many of the symptoms overlap with other conditions.
There is no specific blood test or other diagnostic test for RSD. X-rays can show thinning of bones (osteoporosis). Nuclear bone scans can show characteristic uptake patterns which help diagnose RSD.
How Is RSD Treated?
Treatment focuses on relieving painful symptoms associated with RSD. Treatment can include:
physical therapy and exercise
psychotherapy to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
sympathetic nerve blocks (recommended! jvb)
surgery including sympathectomy (considered controversial)
spinal cord stimulation
intrathecal drug pumps
Celebrity Announces Battle With RSD
American Idol judge and celebrity Paula Abdul announced that following a 25 year battle with chronic pain, precipitated by a cheerleading accident when she was 17 years old, she has been diagnosed with RSD.
The media attention given to Abdul's medical struggle has placed RSD on front pages and magazine covers. RSD is among the 100 types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. It is estimated that between 500,000 and 750,000 people have RSD.
By the time I recovered, I was a dismal 191 pounds.
I wondered if it would EVER come off.
In weight loss, there are factors to take into consideration:
1) Food choices
2) Social pressures
3) Food temptations
4) Opportunities to Lose weight
5) Keeping track of weight
The entire matter is a learned process. You learned how to gain weight.
Now you have to learn how to take it safely off.
"I saw you when you were fat!" one of my friends told me yesterday. "I hope you write a blog about what you did!"
Well, several others have made the same suggestions, so, here it is!
Talking to many people, item 5 -- keeping track of your weight --is the one that people avoid when they KNOW they are gaining weight.
They put away the scales or ignore the scales.
THIS IS STEP ONE IN CONQUERING YOUR WEIGHT PROBLEM.
The first thing you MUST do is to keep track of your weight. You need to weigh at the same time every day. fORGET the advice that some days you will seem to gain weight. You and I know that's from menstrual cycles, eatig dalty foods and retaining fluids, or eating a big meal that hasn't exited its remains quite yet.
KEEP TRACK ANYWAY. YOU'LL DISCOVER YOUR CYCLE OF WEIGHT GAIN AND HOW IT'S CNNECTED TO YOUR LIFE HABITS AND BODILY FUNCTIONS.
Tape a photo of some fat people "before and after" in a prominent place, such as on the refrigerator.
Tape a weight chart in a private p;pace, until you feel proud enough of it to put it on the refrigerator door.
WEIGH YOURSELF EVERY DAY. USE A PLUS OR MINUS TO SHOW ANY WEIGHT LOSS OR WEIGHT GAIN. USE A ZERO FOR 'SAME WEIGHT"--AND PLACE THE REAL WEIGHT THERE, IN POUNDS OR KILOS.
KEEP THIS RECORD GOING 'FOREVER.'
REMEMBER, UNLIKE AN ALCOHOLIC, YOU 'MUST' EAT, SO YOU 'MUST' KEEP TRACK OF YOUR WEIGHT IF YOU'VE HAD PROBLEMS. DON'T PRETEND YOU DON;T HAVE TO.
THIS METHOD WORKS, BUT ONLYIF YOU FOLLOW IT.
===THE NEXT BLOG ENTRY WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO NEXT!====