Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

(Ed note: Hey folks, loooong time SDP pal, Jonquil, has graciously agreed to appearances as guest host here at SDP. If you’ve been here a long while, she needs no introduction. If you’re new around here, just know Jonquil has worked long, hard, and successfully at making her body healthy and strong and keeping it that way. She’s one of the stars of the comments engine at SDP. Oh, and she’s really smart and wise and funny too.)

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guest post by Jonquil

I’ve changed insurance, which means a new doctor, checkup, tests. The results: total cholesterol 164, HDL 56. Blood pressure, 90/70. Resting pulse, 50. Fasting glucose, testosterone, kidney function, liver function, all normal.

Except for my thyroid test. I may be low on iodine, since I’ve cut back on salt, and a multivitamin/mineral pill could fix it. Or it could be menopause. So I’ll take the vitamin and retest. If I’m still out of the “normal” range, I might be hypothyroid, with a slowing metabolism, and that might account for “the last ten pounds.” You know what I’m talking about. The ten the government thinks I should lose, despite all my good health numbers, despite the weight I’ve already lost, and kept off. Ten pounds: the difference between “normal” and “overweight,” according to the Body Mass Index.

So why not get a prescription right away? There it is, the magic diet pill everybody wants. Pop the pill, and soon I’m buying single digit size Levis. I might even get big hair and dragon-lady nails. But this is no vitamin, baby. Hormones can screw up your metabolism, they can kill you. And it’s all so political, women and hormone pills. BCP, growth hormone, HRT. “Take this. You’ll feel better, look younger. You’ll be more feminine, slimmer, sexier.”

Even if I’m not hypo, the BMI says I’m not completely healthy. Even if my tests are fabulous, I can run for miles, toss the caber, juggle tractors, whatever. I’ll still feel the pressure of those tight jeans. Lose weight. Fit in. Be normal.

10 thoughts on “The Last Ten Pounds

  1. JuJu says:

    Hey Jonquil,

    You’ve hit on one of my favorite curiosities. BMI for people like us, who have lost a considerable amount of weight, and gotten all of our other health measuring numbers into enviable ranges… Should we be measured by the same BMI scale as other people?

    I don’t think so. I know it’s a big stigma, that magic 25 line… (or is it 30? I can’t remember now)… And when you’ve worked so hard, it would be nice if the death certificate would at least read “normal” you know?

    BMI tries to express a range of normal, but we, we are not at all normal. I vote that those of us who have lost 100, 200, 300 lbs. get the last 10 as a gimme. Call it extra skin. Call it the new fat cells we grew after we gained our first 50. Call it muscle density. Maybe our bones really are more dense from carrying around all that weight all that time. I don’t know. I just think we should be honorary “normal.” At least.

    You’re healthy, girlfriend. You’re fit.

    Of course, lots and lots of women go around with undiagnosed thyroid disease. And so you do need to pursue the tests. But here’s hoping the low thyroid test was a fluke. And here’s hoping you get to continue being your own bad self without the meds.

    Are the hormones in this case cosmetic? I don’t think so, sugar. But I can certainly understand worrying about it. Because what fun — another thing to worry about!

  2. Rebecca M says:

    BMI isn’t a good measure of health or fitness for anyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve lost weight. Much more relevant is body fat percentage (how much of your body is fat and how much is muscle). Two people with the same height, weight, and BMI can be in dramatically different shape depending on their BF %. And they’ll look completely different and wear totally different sizes!

    If your body fat % is normal, then BMI is irrelevant (for most people, normal is somewhere in the 20’s)

    However, I’m not in favor of giving those of us who have lost a lot of weight a ‘pass’ on BMI — that’s too much like the Special Olympics!

  3. Quinn says:

    Um.

    An underactive thyroid is a real problem, and needs medical treatment. An iodine supplement will not take care of it, but will mask the symptoms. Google Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for more info.

    I have this. Been taking Levoxyl, the generic version of Synthroid, for many years now. My energy levels have improve and I’ve sidestepped a number of other developing health issues. But while the weight gain has slowed, no fat has magically disappeared. In fact, the patient information insert that comes with my prescription says in LARGE LETTERS that one is NOT to take this medication for the purposes of weight-loss.

    “What would happen without medication to regulate my thyroid function?
    If left untreated, hyporthyroidism can cause further problems, including changes in menstrual cycles, prevention of ovulation, and an increased risk of miscarriage. Symptoms such as fatigue, depression and constipation, may progress and there can be other serious consequences, including heart failure. It is also important to know that too much thyroid replacement hormone can mimic the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. This is a condition that happens when there is too much thyroid hormone. These symptoms include insomnia, irritability, weight loss without dieting, heat sensitivity, increased perspiration, thinning of your skin, fine or brittle hair, muscular weakness, eye changes, lighter menstrual flow, rapid heart beat and shaky hands.”

    The above quote from this source:
    http://www.4woman.gov/faq/hashimoto.htm

    Or you could try these people:
    http://www.umm.edu/endocrin/hashim.htm

    And here’s my very favorite primary source:
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/medlineplus.html

    Just sayin’.

  4. Kelly says:

    I see a big flaw in general with the BMI. It doesn’t account for different frames, it doesn’t account for muscle weighing more than fat. According to BMI, I’m obese, but I don’t think anyone would look at me and say, “Yes, she is obese.” I think it’s too much like the height/weight charts of yore. I’ve been my “ideal” weight once in my life and I looked awful, like I was very ill. Ideal for me is about 20 pounds higher than what I’m always told I should be. I think what matters is how you feel and how healthy you are. Period.

  5. Leanne says:

    We can lost those last ten pounds/kilograms, we ex-fatties. It’s really hard, and it involves a lot of calorie-counting, and a lot of exercise, and a lot of saying ‘no’ to yummy foods when we’d love to say ‘yes’. But we can do it.

    I’ve got my BMI down from 30.4 to 21.2, and it’s been really hard. But if I can do it, so can everyone. It just takes the dedication to work. Take this reduction thing one kilo/pound at a time, and celebrate your losses with a hug from a friend and support from family, or even go for a massage with every few kilos gone!

    No matter how much you have to lose (with me, it’s over 60 pounds gone), you just need to focus on one step at a time, and you WILL get there. It can be done, and we CAN do it!

  6. Greta says:

    I gained 75 pounds because I refused thyroid hormones when it was suggested to me. As time went on my thyroid produced less and less hormone and all the symptoms got worse and worse. The good thing about replacement thyroid hormones is that it is REPLACEMENT hormones. The hormones you take in the pill are identical to what your body used to produce itself so it just makes you normal again. You don’t “get a buzz” from thyroid hormones unless you get too much. When the body produces too little thyroid hormone you can be cold when everyone else is comfortable, your skin can be dry and flaky, your hair will get dull and fall out, you will gain weight, you might feel fatigued or fall asleep at inappropriate times or have lethargy, get depression and/or heart disease. Thyroid medication given to hypothyroid people is medicine that prevents early death, it’s not a conspiracy against women.

  7. Emily Lauren says:

    “I think what matters is how you feel and how healthy you are. Period.”

    But, unfortunately, insurance companies may not agree. Statistics show that insurance providers of people in the ‘overweight’ category according to BMI pay more than for those people with ‘normal’.

    So, no, this doesn’t mean that a person isn’t healthy. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t strong and successful and attractive and glowing and wonderful — but it does mean that they have a statistically higher chance of costing the insurance companies more money. And insurance companies cannot base their rates on how healthy someone says that they feel or how healthy they seem to look — it goes all by the numbers.

    Bah.

  8. BethK says:

    I feel that a Body Fat % test is much more valuable a tool than the BMI since the BMI has no way to take body composition into consideration. Several years ago I read an article that made the following comparison (I wish I could attribute it properly, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I read it): By BMI standards the chain-smoking, often hospitalized for exhaustion, super-model Kate Moss is *healthy*, while Olympic gold-medal winning skier Picabo Street would be considered *overweight*. I’ve seen pictures of Picabo Street in the gym bench pressing a bar loaded with 200lbs. She, not Kate, is my role model for the kind of healthy body I want.

  9. Nikhila says:

    Your post struck a cord in me because my mother has always tried to push for a thyroid problem. Years ago she heard about this thin guy who once had a thyroid problem that made him very fat and then took a hormone–voila, thin. My mother pushed for tests and tests and more tests–but not for herself and her extra 30 pounds–for me. She pushed fad diets, fitness classes, and even surgery on me when I wasn’t even legally able to vote. I’ve resisted, even my body resisted because I never had a thyroid problem.

    3,000 miles and years later, I have enough distance from her and her crazy to do what I want for my body. I’ve gone from a 41.6 BMI to a 28.3. I’m looking to get RIGHT at 24.9 where I can sit pretty and JUST within normal. I figure, all those numbers really are arbitrary, but being a size 8, being able to run with ease–those are real bonuses to me. The BMI feels more like a suggestion than a rule. Once I get to my 8 and feel like running is easier, then I’m there.

  10. Dennis says:

    Time for a male perspective….yaaay! What about the fact that you all could have an actually normal BMI? Did you just compute it, or did you have the water displacement or caliper tests? I currently weigh 30 pounds over my “doctor’s chart” weight of 191, but the latest in testing shows my body fat at 17%…not bad for a 47 year old male. Yes, yes, yes, there is still room for improvement, but let us take a minute to enjoy our successes.

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