(Continued from Mad as Hell)
Fast-forward 35 years.
Through countless episodes of yo-yo dieting, I managed to go from a reasonably healthy 125 pounds on a 5’3″ frame to nearly 200. Now, I’m not stupid. I researched as much as possible before starting on any diet. But my research was based on changing trends in what nutritional experts cited as healthy eating, especially when it came to whole grains. I was a whole-grain fanatic! Not to mention also having a much-denied addiction to sugar and sweets.
In 2010, using the ‘calories in/calories out’ model along with some exercise, I lost 40 pounds, from a deadly 190 to 150. I was proud of myself. I looked much better, even though that weight meant I was still officially obese. I was also unhappy with my limited choices, and slowly began adding back foods I knew would cause me to gain weight again, though I told myself I was carefully controlling the portions.
Does all this sound vaguely familiar?
And then disaster struck. In the summer of 2012, I began to gain weight rapidly. Nothing I ate or didn’t eat made any difference. And then my energy dropped. Although I had a post-retirement business as a ghostwriter, there were days when I’d fall asleep at my keyboard. I suspected a thyroid deficiency, but my doctor assured me it was normal. By the end of the year, I had regained 15 pounds!
Late in that year, the real culprit showed up. I was diagnosed with a form of breast cancer. I was dumbfounded. There was no history of breast cancer in my family. I had done everything right, nursing my four children (even the twins!) and staying away from cigarettes, drinking only in moderation, etc. How could I have contracted it? I demanded an explanation from my doctors.
The answer was that the strongest risk factors for breast cancer were age and obesity. Wow, a double whammy! I couldn’t do anything about my age, but the obesity was about to take a fall… except it didn’t. Radiation therapy knocked me for a loop. Now my afternoon naps were two hours long, and I was taking the entire morning to drive to and from my radiation appointments. By June of 2013, when I finished those, I was a mess. In fact, I was a fatter-than-ever mess, now weighing what I’d started at before my triumph in 2010, but wearing even larger clothes.