Wednesday, June 28, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds: surprise weight loss secret

Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds after age 50 without drugs or gastric bypass surgery. So today I'm sharing a weight loss secret that I'm pretty sure I going to surprise you. It has nothing to do with diet, exercise or the Alanon mental health tips I've shared. So what is this miracle weight loss thing? 

One word: sleep. Or improved sleep. And conversely lack of sleep was part of how I got from normal to overweight to obesity. I've always struggled with PTSD (and ongoing traumatic stress disorder). Since childhood, I have nightly, night-long, terrible and terrifying nightmares. A sleep study showed that I spend about 5 minutes a night in deep delta sleep (normal is about 3-4 hours). I wake up frequently every  night and can't remember the last time I slept 5-6 hours without waking. 

I've been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and used a cpap breathing machine. I have scoliosis, back and cervical arthritis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic sinus trouble. I had congenital hip dysplasia as a toddler and it left me with very misaligned back, hips and legs. I struggled with headaches I later learned were migraines. I'm in a lot of pain in many parts of my body all night long. 

Sleep is more of a nemesis than a friend. I used to fall asleep every time I sat down especially when driving. I've nodded off standing up. I walk and talk in my sleep. It made me very unpopular at sleepovers and the butt of a lot of jokes in my family. In many pictures my eyes are half-closed I'm that constantly tired. Even as a child, I was tired a lot. When others were bouncing out of bed at 6 am, I could hardly drag myself out. Often, I was too tired to go out and play and I dreaded organized sports and games because I had so little energy.  

This was in the late 60s early 70s and I don't  know if people were just less informed or didn't care. Apparently a tired kid was an anomaly. Children are supposed to be full of energy so I must just be lazy. Not one of my four parents thought to find out why Marilisa was always tired. They just piled more work on. I was expected to keep up with a lot of chores, wait on adults, made to sleep with young children and get up at night with them, spend long hours caring for foster and half siblings and was essentially parentified by age 10. All that has had a disastrous effect on sleep to this day. 

It didn't even occur to me how critical sleep is to lose weight until I began to blog about how I lost 100 pounds. And I assumed my crazy sleep was normal and just thought I was less good at dealing than those with more energy.  But there's good news. I now have a loving family who didn't blow off my nightmares, sleep talking, chronic pain, apnea, etc. They have been helping me to see that these are not normal and that I need to find ways to sleep better. 

The nightmares and chronic pain haven't abated but together we are exploring ways to make it better. And the best part is that someone cares. I'll blog more about sleep aids I've tried, what works and how it was helpful in weight loss. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive