For about 3 years now I’ve been trying in various ways to get happy again, to lose the weight I’ve gained (around 20 lbs or 9 kilos) and get back to what I consider my ‘normal’ ability to think, sleep, fuck and live. I thought that the reason I was feeling like I was living in a fog and had gained weight was because my husband got very ill. But he’s doing well now, nearly back to normal and still I feel like I live in a thick fog with some days better and others worse. I can’t remember things from one day to the next sometimes and I am tired all the time. I seem to get more clarity after long long runs. But it doesn’t last. I have problems sleeping more than 6 hours for some reason and I get cold easily (especially for one packing so much extra fat – my skinny husband does not get cold before I do). My skin is drier now (when I first moved here I remembered commenting how great my skin felt because they do not put chlorine in the water supply here) – now it gets even worse when I travel to a city where the water is chlorinated.
Here is what I have done this year for exercise to try to fight this (and because I really fucking enjoy long runs now that I can do them) – I’ve trained for and run in the Geneva 1/2 marathon, North Face CCC Ultra Trail (86K with 4500m of height gain in 20 hours 23 mins), I’ve done the French probatoire for an accompagnateur en moyenne montagne in the Haute Savoie (32K carrying 10 kilos with 1900m of height gain done in 6 hours 20 mins), I’ve done several orienteering courses (10K or so), I’ve done the Turin marathon (4:25) and the Lausanne 1/2 marathon (2:01). I have done a 4 day mountain hike touring in the Swiss Valais (Tour les Dents du Midi) with daily walks of 6-7 hours and varying height gain. I of course had to train for all that racing (did 5-7 hour runs 1 day/week most weeks all summer) and even found time to rock climb a bit here and there, as well as go on less stressful day hikes with friends. Oh and I have a weekly running club that I go to as well, which is normally at least 40 mins of some type of running; speed work, hills or something like that.
And I have lost exactly 2 kilos since starting this running kick 1 year and 3 months ago. I now weigh by the way, 71 kilos. That to you Americans is 156lbs. I used to weigh 73 kilos at the start of this Spring (over 160lbs) – that after a winter of hard skiing and ski touring as well as some running and a whole summer of running before the previous winter (and 2 10K races, the last one doing 8 minute miles). Oh and I am the one that walks the 2 big athletic dogs every day for at least 20 minutes, but more normally 40 minutes with a good walk of more like 1-2 hours at least 1-2 times a week (depending on weather). And I am a ‘mostly’ vegetarian (eat some fish) and have also cut out all cooking by frying as of this summer (as recommended by dietician).
I was not a fat person when I was younger. When I moved here in 2001 I was was between 62 – 63 kilos (136 -138lbs) and very fit, running, biking, hiking and climbing. I am 5’7″(170cm) . So, I am not asking to become a stick figure here – I am normally an athletic build and have been all my life more or less (the least I ever did was ride my bike on a regular basis). I just want to be fit again. I mean to look fit again. Fuck; just to be able to run faster and go up hills more easily – without carrying around all this ass behind me. Climbing is even harder now because of the weight issue. Makes me embarassed to go climbing.
Somewhere in the 2nd or maybe start of the 3rd year after moving here it went all wrong. Husband had kidney failure, and I stopped running and climbing and took care of him on a home machine. But I did still ski. Over a year ago I started running regularly again to try to get myself out of what I thought was just normal depression from the situation. Actually I am not sure anymore if I started feeling foggy before he got really sick or if I just associated the 2 things together and began to blame it for that. Last year we got even luckier and he had a transplant so I was ecstatic. Job is going better too. So, I expected maybe a 3 month lag in the time I would start to drop weight and start to look good again. I didn’t expect 1 year and 3 months of ‘still waiting’. Normally things should ‘go back to normal’ when you start to exercise again. Normally things should start to go better. Normally when you increase activity and calories are the same, then you lose weight. I even tried ‘dieting’ (yech) and nothing makes a dent. I think I lost 1 more kilo a few days after the Ultra Trail (which makes sense I suppose) but it then came back after about 1 week even though I continued to train and run. I did the 32K probatoire 2 weeks later and was back to bigger weight again.
I have had a lot of thyroid tests which the results of are claimed to be ‘normal’. I had a dietician analyze my log of what I was eating for over a month (keeping records of all I ate and all my exercise to ‘prove’ that I was not some slovenly sloth shovelling food into my mouth and sitting on my ass all week). My diet was adjusted slightly and then judged ‘equilibre’ (balanced). She said ‘just wait, you will see. Still waiting. (She basically shifted my main meal to lunch and told me to eat more complex carbohydrates than I was eating before).
Today she decided to give me anti depressants to try to rule out normal depression. I balked but she said it was not chemical but rather some plant based one called Millepertuis in French. So I agreed to try it only to shut her up because I still somehow believe my issue is more complex and has to do with my metabolism. I don’t mind in any way trying a natural solution anyhow. In fact, I scheduled a reflexology appointment for 2 weeks from now to try that as well.
But, now I have to laugh because I realized after using the internet, that this is St John’s Wort. Which I have tried before, but it has nothing to do with my weight/metabolism problem nor the foggy feeling I have. I took it once in the mid winter to chase away winter blues which seem to develop when we don’t see the sun here during December/January and it worked, and I stopped taking it simply by forgetting to take it as the sun started to show up more and I guess I didn’t need it. At any rate, it doesn’t seem to correct my metabolism problem, sleep disturbance or my sludgy thought issues or memory issues. I wish I’d realized what the translation was when I was in the office so I could have mentioned this to her. But I guess I’ll just let her know at the next 2 week appointment.
I don’t, by the way, even know why I pay for private health care coverage in this country. A doctor’s visit is only €26.00. Most medication is normally cheap (well not my husband’s anti-rejection meds) and even things like blood tests are only around 80€ for a slew of tests – it just seems so much less than in the US, that sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth the health care payments I make each year and the paperwork hassle to get reimbursed. I hate paperwork. I really do.