Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When Did I Get So Fat?

It is interesting how attractiveness of the female form varies with time, place and culture. In the 16th and 17th centuries, for example, "Rubenesque", or voluptuous women were considered desirable. It showed they had plenty and did not work hard for a living. Their full-figured plumpness reinforced their social standing, lazing around eating grapes all day, waited on hand and foot by servants. These days thin is IN! It means you have enough self-control to not indulge and place priority on your physical form, often obsessively exercising and dieting your way to perfection. Obesity is on the rise in America, but the pages of every fashion magazine and actresses that grace our TV screens tell a different story. We have come a long way from the "Twiggy" ideal of the '60's, but even those with some curves, the J Lo's and Beyonce's of our day, are tiny little women if put next to the rest of us!

Fibromyalgia has done a number on my figure. I have a horrible history of yo-yo dieting that started in my early 20's and Fibro has only compounded the problem. I was always a "voluptuous" girl with generous bosoms and curvy hips. I maintained a good figure but was never what one would call "skinny". No, not ever. I moved in with my husband right out of college and started packing on the pounds. We both lost a bunch of weight on Weight Watchers before our wedding but slowly gained it back over the years. After the near-death Pancreatitis attack in 2004 I lost upwards of 40 lbs. and was working out with a vengeance. I avoided anything fried, cheese, creamy, processed, sugary, buttery or manufactured like the plague. I was terrified of another attack and very motivated to maintain my strict diet and exercise regiment. I got down to a size 6-8 and was looking the best I ever had in my life. Then "mystery illness" hit hard and I could not weight train anymore, could not ride my bike. I could barely move off the couch! A little weight crept back on, and pretty soon my clothes were too tight. I was not nearly as strict with my diet, seeking "comfort food" to cushion the misery of illness, and gained about 20 lbs. Not great but not the end of the world either. Then I was introduced to a friend named Lyrica and I watched my body balloon up like someone hooked me up to a hose and turned the water on! I gained about 30 more lbs. and started packing it on in places I never had before. My hips grew into monstrous flanks on either side of my body! None of my clothes fit and I reluctantly bought 1 pair of black pants for work and 1 pair of jeans. I finally went off Lyrica and low and behold, same diet and exercise, but about 20 lbs melted away! 

Then the strokes hit and I was put on Prednisone, the nemesis that saved my life. After running around like a crack-head and stuffing my face with anything and everything I possibly could for the last 5 months I now find myself almost at that darn Lyrica weight again! Literally nothing in my closet fits! I am down enough on the drug now to have control back, but I am frustrated and irritated and upset and don't want to keep having to do this! The up, down, up, down is very bad for you. See not only do you lose fat when you diet, but muscle mass as well. Then when you gain the weight back, as many eventually do after going off the diet, you gain the fat back but not the muscle. So I find myself, once again, at a cross-road. Having vowed to never go on another diet again I need to do something. Something I can live with for the rest of my life. I already walk for 30 minutes 5 days a week, and do yoga too. But I have yet to resume the gym as part of my health and fitness solution and know my portions are entirely too big for weight loss as well. Now I am finding my Fibromyalgia not nearly as well managed as it was before the strokes and I am back to sleeping 10 hours a night and resting a large portion of my day. So where do I find the time? Where do I find the motivation? The handful of times I have weight trained since my Fibro was under control have shown me it only helps the pain. So I guess I buck up and put my big girl panties on and do what needs to be done! I tighten up my portions, get back on the unprocessed and unrefined eating plan I love so well, and get my butt to the gym! This is my problem, my responsibility to do something about, and I will keep pressing ahead until I am satisfied with the reflection looking back at me in the mirror!

Thanks for joining,

P.S. I am trying to improve the visibility of this blog. If you are a fan and on Facebook please click on "Blog" from The Fibromyalgia Fun House page and "Follow" Chronicles Of Fibromyalgia on Networked Blogs. It will improve our search engine rankings and get the word out faster! Thanks friends! 


  1. I've always been overweight as well, but yes, the fibro has made it much worse. Weight gain is a symptom. Also not helping are the food cravings for sugar and carbs to get my body some extra energy. Then those darn medication side effects, and just plain being too tired to eat right or exercise. It is one of the biggest things I battle. I appreciate your opening up on this issue! Know that you are not alone!

  2. When first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was put on amyltryptaline and gained 20 pounds over the next year. The only other change in habits was that I no longer went through a hundred aspirin a month.

    I am now about 40 pounds above my ideal weight, about 15 years after original diagnosis. Getting off the tricyclics and onto gabapentin and Cymbalta not long after they became available for fibromyalgia has definitely slowed the weight gain.

    Now, all I need is better pain management for "breakthrough" days. :(

  3. I am actually crying right now. I was a size 8. Had a stroke back in 03. Got deathly ill (docs never figured out what was wrong with me) in 2004 and lost about 30lbs in 2mos. After that I finally got back up to 130lbs, I am 5'7".
    In 2008, after trying everything to help with the FMS, I tried Lyrica. I blew up like a balloon.
    I don't eat much, however what little I eat is the wrong food like DDL said, carbs and sugar trying to get a boost to at least keep the dishes and laundry done.
    I have never been able to lose the 40 or so lbs I gained on Lyrica. I took this evil medication for about 4 mos so it has been about 2 yrs since I quit it and the weight is still on.

  4. I'm up almost 50lbs, I can't blame it all on the meds(all though my doctor told me I would gain weight with them) but I had started putting on weight before I was diagnosed. My energy level was low and I hurt all the time so any extra activities outside of work was out of the question. Now I do stretch and try to walk some, but I don't see the weight coming off anytime soon.

  5. When i started noticing how bad the pain was getting i started gaining weight too. I was heavy as a child and lost weight when i was about 21 then after i got married my husband got me a personal trainer which was wonderful, but the past year became awful! in the past 3 months i started to change my diet to calorie counting about 1200 a day and increased my incline walking to +- 45 min. I cant heavy weight train or run, but the walking has helped and going low carb has been great. ive lost some weight so its been wonderful, has it helped my fibro? yes and no, so i guess its a give and take lol.

  6. You might want to make note that Lyrica does not make everyone gain weight. Don't know what the numbers are but I can say for myself, that I did not gain any weight. I have had difficulty getting weight off, but now that I'm working out more, it is slowing coming down. Without the Lyrica, I couldn't move. And it still hurts! but not as bad as without. Leah, I'm blessed by your crusade and pray that more people will become aware of this terrible illness. Have you heard of any celebs with fibro? I can't help but think that getting a celebrity spokesperson would help open more eyes. What are your thoughts on that??
    Thanks! Pam