Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Losing Weight/Hanging Flesh

After the blog about losing 100 pounds, someone asked about hanging flesh. I was not young when I gained the weight and I was in my late 50s when I lost the weight. Old skin that is not flexible anymore!

I love watching Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell where they choose an extremely overweight person to work with and follow for one year. Losing a couple of hundred pounds involves so much more than eating well and exercising. It is also about doing the interior work. The need to answer the question of why the weight was put on in such an extreme manner. After working out so hard, they can qualify for skin removal surgery if they lose a minimum of 40% of their original weight. I have seen the deflated look as the skin just hangs from the body.

I was overweight when I got sick but I was fit from our 5-mile fast walks in the morning along the ocean for a year. I had lost weight when I first arrived at my university hospital though I was still overweight. When the first run of 40 mgs prednisone for seven weeks happened, I gained thirty-five pounds. Boom. Now I was really overweight by at least 100 pounds.

When the dosage of prednisone was reduced, my weight rolled back to what it was and stayed there for years, though I was exercising everyday and watching my intake of food. The problem was that all the years of prednisone caused my pancreas to not be able to process food properly. My non-fat yogurt and berries in the morning actually put on weight as it instantly processed into sugar. Learning from the nutritionist almost five years ago that I can only properly process protein and non-starchy vegetables, sixty pounds dropped off in just 6 months. (I did do three months of a liquid diet under his supervision.) Lately, I lost another fifteen pounds and feel like I am fit and where I need to be to qualify for lung transplants. The BMI must be between 25-30. I am at 26 BMI.

So, hanging flesh. The truth? It was just dumb luck. Before I knew I had a lung disease, bras started to bother me. I felt like I was not able to take a deep breath (the disease, but I didn't know it) and sought different types of underwear that would give me support but not bind me around my rib cage. I found shapewear. It was like the old-fashioned girdles that I found online. Some were tighter than others but I found that I could breathe better. My lungs felt supported. What I didn't realize was that while I was losing weight, the pressure of the shapewear was not allowing my body to sag. It was like what the stars in Hollywood recently discovered that after having a child, they would tightly wrap their bellies and they would return to the pre-baby look. I was doing the same thing wearing the tight shapewear everyday. I have a belly but I have had a belly as long as I can remember, even as a child. I never had a flat stomach my entire life. It is still with me but it doesn't hang. It is just there. Darn it.

So, I am lucky that all the working out and the pressure of the shapewear allowed me to not deal with hanging flesh though I have notice everything (especially the backside) has headed south, a bit. Oh well! I am alive. That's all that matters.

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