Friday, February 1, 2013

Weighty issues

I have always been overweight and like most overweight people, I've tried scores of different diets, some more successful than others. I've lost a few pounds and inevitably, gain it back over time, especially after having two kids. I know the statistics, how I'll be healthier and live longer if I lose weight, but of course, I think nothing will really happen to me. For the first time, I no longer have an option of taking my weight lightly (pun intended).

Yesterday, Seamus had a follow-up visit with his liver doctor. We always dance around the topic of transplant at every visit. His opinion is some day Seamus might need one but as long as the liver is still functioning and his lung function does not seem to be compromised by the ever-increasing size of his liver and spleen, then he is not ready. His lung function has actually increased lately due to three months of inhaled antiobiotics but his liver lab work is always borderline okay, some times just under the acceptable numbers and sometimes just over. Every time he gets sick, like the flu-like virus that landed him in the hospital last week, his liver has a very difficult time handling it and bouncing back. So basically we do not know if, or when, the transplant talk will change.

That's where my weight issue comes in. I am the same blood type as Seamus but James is not. That means that I am a candidate to be a living donor for Seamus and I always assumed that would be no problem. Yesterday I found out that one of the biggest donor requirements is weight and I am too fat. It never really occurred to me that the fat is not just hanging off the outside of your body but your organs actually get a layer of fat as well and in order to have a healthy liver, your BMI should be around 23-25. That means I would have to lose more than 45 pounds to be an acceptable donor.

Since his liver could take a turn for the worse very quickly, I really need to be ready at any time. I could not lose 45 pounds immediately if he needs a new liver quickly. He could be listed for a cadaver liver but there is a shortage of organs and you never know the outcome of that.

So I have to take this weight loss thing seriously, extremely seriously, for the first time in my life. It's not a matter of just looking good in my clothes but it could literally save my son's life. I am going to post my progress here for everyone to see. Maybe that will shame me into keeping on track. I could use your support and advice.

2/1/13 - BMI 34.3


Kris Hammill said...

Julie, You are an amazing person and and even more amazing Mom! I have no doubt that you will be able to do this!

Malin said...

Julie, I know how hard this is for you. It's not a matter of knowing what to do, it's doing it. My only advice in terms of working out is to make it routine. Much less likely to find excuses not to do it. Don't overdue it, start small, with small goals. With food, try portion control. Don't deprive yourself, but instead of 2 slices of bread, maybe 1 etc. Look for sugar content on packaging. I always try for more grams of fiber per serving, than sugar. Always keep veggies and fruit on hand for snacking. Maybe see a nutritionist to get some ideas? Again, it's very hard to do on your own so if you can find a work-out buddy to go with you? I know you work full-time, but maybe you can find a water aerobics class? Good Luck! PS. What bloodtype is Seamus? You know you have a lot of friends who would also consider being a live donor for Seamus if they are a match, right?

Therese said...

Julie, I know you can do it! Wish I were there to help. Dieting SUCKS but Lord knows you couldn't have a stronger motivation. Not sure as to advice other than maybe getting a consult with a nutritionist to help you set up a plan for diet and exercise. You and I both know it's hard to make WW online least it was for me (remember when I was doing it and you asked me if I was entering my points/meals and I replied, "only the good stuff!"--yeah, I'm a bad influence. However I know people swear by it. On the other hand, counting calories is simpler and cheaper as there are free websites...My mom and sister has had luck with a modified 'south beach' or low carb type diet (not Atkins) with an emphasis on low glycemic index and whole foods. As for me, the only time I lost weight successfully was when I was on a strictly whole foods diet with no processed foods for an allergy elimination testing thing. Not too feasible now that we have kids, work, etc. I know you'll figure it out. I MISS YOU so much. I'm coming to DC in early June for a conf and probably NCSA since it's at Nat'l Harbor this year. XO to all of you.

Chris said...

You're amazing. Seriously amazing.

Unknown said...

Terrific job, Julie! Effective weight loss is difficult and you seem to be doing a good gradual job. Give yourself credit for ALL that you DO. I'm sure you know all the dieting tips, e.g., stop eating by a certain time at night (6 or 7?). Make sure you have a little protein within 30 minutes of getting up (handful of almonds, or some yogurt if no time for breakfast). Drink a glass of water before you eat. If you do have a rare moment when you're waiting for or watching something, perhaps fit in a few Abdominal or stretching exercises, or better, several slow, DEEP breaths (engaging your abs). Works wonders. Thinking good things for you and family.

Unknown said...

Hmm, not sure how I became the "unknown" commenter, but that was me, Mira;-)