Wednesday, August 18, 2010

hCG and PCOS

I had an interesting conversation with Dr.Quimby today about hCG (the pregnancy hormone). I am 27 years old. For as long as I can remember, I've had weight issues. I believe I was about 8 and I remember being in my room and not wanting to come out because I had on a swimsuit- the same one my best friend had, only in a different color- and her body was lean and perfect and mine was quite chubby. I was sobbing and I remembering thinking, "I hate myself." By 14 I was 5'8" and 128lbs. My waist was 26 3/4 inches. You know how I was that size? I didn't eat. And sometimes when I did eat, it would end up in the toilet. I learned quickly the only way for my body to stay lean was to deprive myself of calories. From 13-14 I lost over 35lbs. This wasn't a beautiful coming of age where I happened to thin out- I thinned out because I had 1/4 cup of cottage cheese for breakfast, a piece of lunchmeat for lunch and nothing the rest of the day. Well, unless I was with someone and had to eat. Of course there were other issues going on, I mean clearly I didn't feel good about myself. Controlling and restricting my diet helped me feel in control. I would say that, yes, I did have an eating disorder. Mostly along the lines of anorexia since vomitting was gross and hard to hide with 5 people living in 900 sq ft. I got over it around 16 and of course gained weight and then by 18 when I went away to college I dealt with it all over again. I had the meal plan at school but didn't like going to the cafeteria alone and was so afraid of getting fat that I mostly ate Wheat Thins, yogurt, and apple juice in my dorm room. And the occasional seafood chowder I could get from my job. I'm not sure what happened, maybe it was meeting Craig, I started caring about my body a little more and caring about being 'fat' a little less. I gained 25lbs when I met Craig which wasn't ideal for my wedding day- it bothered the crap out of me. But I saw the alternative, starving myself and running every day, as something I didn't want to do again. I knew there was something different with me, I couldn't eat the occasional pizza and icecream and bounce back. If I ate it, I gained weight. Period.

It wasn't until we wanted to have a baby that we learned what my problem was. It took ultrasounds and bloodwork and we found out I have PCOS- PolyCysticOvarianSyndrome. I don't ovulate and 'Aunt Flo' NEVER comes to visit (this is the most shocking thing to women I think). I also don't metabolize food the way my body should. I eat and it gets stored. I'm a storer. Lucky me! I wish I had learned all this before I was 24, it would have validated a lot of what I struggled with and how absolutely hard it was for me to lose weight unless I was eating less than 1000 calories a day. What I didn't quite anticipate was how my body would actually work correctly when I'm pregnant. My first Ob (with Eliana) didn't know much about PCOS and actually made some hurtful comments about my weight. Then I met Quimby who knows a lot about
PCOS and has a lot of empathy and kindness about it. She explained that for some reason, when I am pregnant, the pregnancy hormone, hCG, makes my body use food the way most people's bodies do instead of immediately storing it. How else do you get to 26 1/2 weeks pregnant with only 3 1/2 lbs weight gain? She said that the hCG diet that is out there now is for people like me. Our bodies don't necessarily respond to Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, or simple calorie restriction. There is a hormone issue causing me to 'store' fat. Makes me kind of mad that I have to deal with this, but it is quite interesting. Quimby said she thought I was quite interesting. Maybe you are all sick of me flaunting how little weight I've gained, but I have to be honest- when you fight to not 'store food' your entire life it's extremely rewarding and validating to have 10 months where your body does what it's supposed to do. It's like, see, I'm not a huge pig! I actually have a legitimate issue happening here! Had I never gotten pregnant we might not have seen it clearly. I am like a case study for hCG. Maybe someday when I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding I'll try the diet and drops and see what happens.
As a side note- the typical body type of someone with PCOS is what you might refer to as a 'linebacker'- broad shoulders and waist and narrow hips and legs. It's always amazing when I find out someone else has PCOS and sure enough they are a linebacker. Weird, huh?

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