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Author Topic: Get sick, lose weight; get better--avoid regaining weight?  (Read 13813 times)

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Offline Nestor

  • Member
  • Posts: 430
  • What we love, we shall grow to resemble.
So, as I described in another thread, I was really sick for about a month.  As sicknesses go, it was a pretty good one.  Like limbo, it involved no positive suffering; I just lay there with no energy and no appetite.  Compared to illnesses that involve things like horrible coughing, it wasn't much to complain about at all, except of course for the fear involved in not knowing what was happening to me. 

One silver lining in this cloud was that I got loads of sleep--at the height I was sleeping twenty hours a day!  And it was solid, deep sleep.  After it all I looked in a mirror and to my amazement I still had bluish circles under my eyes!  So I suppose I can give up looking for those to go away, but at least I know I no longer have any sleep debt.  Yesterday, in fact, was the first fully normal day since I got sick on May 16th--I woke up in the morning and stayed awake and did things all day, then went to sleep at night.  The day before yesterday I still needed to take several naps. 

The other major benefit was weight loss.  During this period there were days when I couldn't eat anything, and days--several in a row during a kind of respite--when I ate three meals a day, but through it all I lost about a half pound a day every day for three and half weeks.  Food and water tasted horrible to me for a while, and even when I was hungry I sometimes didn't have the strength to get up and go into the kitchen!  The result: on May 16th--the day I got sick--I weighed 165 pounds; two days ago I weighed 150 pounds. 

Now those are pounds that I have been longing and struggling to lose for a long time.  Having them "magically" disappear while I slept was like a dream!  In the middle of March I started a serious diet and went from 175 to 165 in about a month.  But then there was a month with no weight loss at all; I stayed stubbornly at 165 every day.  I don't know whether I'd begun to cheat on my diet too much, or whether my body just didn't want to lose weight and was playing tricks with metabolism to keep me from losing anything more.  And I didn't even look any different from how I'd looked when I weighed 175 pounds; nobody noticed a difference. 

Anyway, it may sound strange but through the whole month of being ill the knowledge that I was losing weight so rapidly was the one thing that kept me cheerful.  When I was finally able to get out of bed I looked better than I had in years, I fit into clothes that hadn't fit me for years, I looked younger and had a better shape both in body and face.  My ideal would be to weigh around 145 and I was only five pounds away! 

But then, about a week ago, I started recovering, and with health my appetite started coming back.  And as if to make up for lost time it's come back strong!  I'm always hungry, and, just as when I was sick I lost weight even when I did eat, now I'm gaining weight even when I don't.  Here's the sad story of the past week:

Monday: 152 lbs
Tuesday: 151 lbs
Wednesday: 150 lbs
Thursday: 150 lbs
Yesterday: 151 lbs
Today: 152 lbs.  Nooooo! Stop!

So here's the question.  I know that I must be a bit malnourished after three and a half weeks of not eating much, and I know that our bodies don't want to lose weight as rapidly as I lost it (15 pounds in three weeks!) and I know that it's natural for someone who's getting over a sickness to be hungry, eat a lot, and gain weight back.  But I want to prevent that!  Yesterday I ate a moderate breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a very small dinner--only a banana and some cherries--and I still gained a pound!  Is there any solution?  Part of me wants to starve myself, but I suppose I'm back in the real world where there are no quick fixes, no magic weight loss secrets, and only slow steady sticking to a healthy diet.  But I'd love to hear from anyone else who lost unwanted weight while being sick about what your experience was when you got better and wanted to keep the weight off!  By the way, I understand that it must sound perverse to some for someone recovering health to be griping.  Believe me, I am extremely grateful to be feeling healthy again.  But those of you who know how painful it is to have fifteen extra pounds must understand how I feel at this moment! 
Summer 2004--became HIV+
Dec. 2005--found out

Date          CD4    %       VL
Jan. '06    725    25      9,097
Nov. '06    671    34     52,202
Apr. '07    553    30      24,270
Sept. '07  685    27       4,849
Jan. '08    825    29       4,749
Mar. '08    751    30     16,026
Aug. '08    653    30       3,108
Oct. '08     819    28     10,046
Jan '09      547    31     13,000
May '09     645   25        6,478
Aug. '09    688   30      19,571
Nov. '09     641    27       9,598
Feb. '10     638    27       4,480
May '10      687      9    799,000 (CMV)
July '10      600     21      31,000
Nov '10      682     24     15,000
June '11     563    23     210,000 (blasto)
July  '11      530    22      39,000
Aug '11      677     22      21,000
Sept. '12    747     15      14,000

Offline Hellraiser

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,110
  • Semi-misanthropic
Re: Get sick, lose weight; get better--avoid regaining weight?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2010, 11:37:30 AM »
So your body has a set point according to how much food you were eating prior to get sick and how much exercise you were doing prior to that point.  If once returning to a regular diet you are now gaining weight you only have 2 options to maintain this weight loss.  Either limit your caloric intake to the point that your body is simply getting back what it expends each day OR increase your exercise to make up for the calories you are now putting into your body.  Most likely you have a very slow metabolism and it's just doing what it does naturally.  I always encourage the exercise route as your diet will fluctuate over time, it's hard to keep up a routine of eating 1200-1500 calories as maintenance.

Edit: As someone who lost a lot of weight in my initial sickness I can understand not wanting to regain the weight.  However, I would concentrate on getting healthy first and then worry about hitting some vanity goal weight.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2010, 11:40:32 AM by Hellraiser »

Offline bocker3

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,259
  • You gotta enjoy life......
Re: Get sick, lose weight; get better--avoid regaining weight?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2010, 11:46:01 AM »
You said that besides not eating while sick, you also weren't drinking.  Therein lies the rub -- you lost a bit of "water weight" and your body needs you to get that water back into it.  You may just have to accept some of that weight returning, because your body is in need of rehydrating.

Otherwise -- it's all about calories in vs. calories burned.  Burn all the calories that you consume and your weight won't change.

Mike
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
Nov05 288/18%  47,564
Current Labs
May2013 691/31% <20

Offline jcelvis

  • Member
  • Posts: 77
Re: Get sick, lose weight; get better--avoid regaining weight?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2010, 07:33:38 PM »
First off if you were sick and didn't do anything a portion your weight lose was muscle mass. If you aren't eating enough calories your body feeds on itself, and the first thing you loose is muscle. It takes energy (i.e calories) to support a lot of muscle. This is why people who want to build muscles are required to eat more calories. When you aren't giving your body enough energy it looks for easy way to consume less energy.

On top of that when you're sick your metabolic rates slows down so body doesn't consume as much energy, and that doesn't just magically increase when you start feeling better again. This is why you gain weight when you start recovering.

Secondly, a difference in 3lbs in one week isn't a trend. You should be weighting yourself every day to get a weight range, my weight ranges from 158-162, and you need look at that trend week after week. If Week 1 i averaged 160, Week 2 163, Week 3 167, week 4 168 I would start to adjust because of the trend in my weight.  If week 1 i weight 160, week 2 158, week 3 155, week 4 160 I wouldn't be alarmed because of a 3 lbs drop from week 2 to week 3 or a 5lbs gain from week 3 to 4. You're weight naturally fluctuates.

You can't just take one week and base your diet/exercise routine on it. You will never reach your goals or be healthy if you only fixate on short term goals.

You need to find out what your caloric needs;  this is what you need to maintain your current weight at you current activity level. Go to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calorie-calculator/nu00598. If you want to lose weight subtract 3500 calories a week (that's 500 calories a day) from your diet to loose 1lbs a week, or 7000 calories a week (1000 calories a day) from your diet to loose 2lbs a week. That's at your same activity level.

If you decide to work out more (increase the your activity level above what your activity level is), you produce a calorie deficit. For example, if I'm trying to maintain my weight,  I'm 160lbs and a moderate activity level (work out about 3 times a week for 45 min), my caloric intake is about 2500 calories a day. I decide to work out an additional day for an hour and burn 400 calories. That means i have to make up 400 calories over the week or risk loosing weight.

Finally, you never want a calorie deficit of more than 1000 calories a day. It will slow down your metabolic rate, and not make you loose weight any faster. You can't get smaller by starving yourself (well you can but it's at the cost of your health). Show like Biggest Looser when the contestants are loosing 20-30 lbs in the first week is not normal. They aren't loosing fat their loosing water and sodium.

One more thing, DRINK WATER. It flushes out your system and helps expel the fat.
Change the way you view the world, and the world around you changes.

Offline Nestor

  • Member
  • Posts: 430
  • What we love, we shall grow to resemble.
Re: Get sick, lose weight; get better--avoid regaining weight?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2010, 10:59:03 AM »

Guys, thanks a lot for all  the good advice!  The good news is that what went down did not have to come back up; for the past month or so I have been very stable at around 153.5 .  That is still more than ten pounds fewer than I had before CMV and twenty pounds fewer than I had in March.   But it hasn't happened magically; I've done it by controlling what I eat and by getting lots of exercise.  I would still like to lose a bit more (or rather redistribute what is around the waist to other places) but realistically I think there's been enough rapid weight loss for one year and I'll be happy if I can stick with this and perhaps lose a bit more, slowly. 
Summer 2004--became HIV+
Dec. 2005--found out

Date          CD4    %       VL
Jan. '06    725    25      9,097
Nov. '06    671    34     52,202
Apr. '07    553    30      24,270
Sept. '07  685    27       4,849
Jan. '08    825    29       4,749
Mar. '08    751    30     16,026
Aug. '08    653    30       3,108
Oct. '08     819    28     10,046
Jan '09      547    31     13,000
May '09     645   25        6,478
Aug. '09    688   30      19,571
Nov. '09     641    27       9,598
Feb. '10     638    27       4,480
May '10      687      9    799,000 (CMV)
July '10      600     21      31,000
Nov '10      682     24     15,000
June '11     563    23     210,000 (blasto)
July  '11      530    22      39,000
Aug '11      677     22      21,000
Sept. '12    747     15      14,000

 


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