Doctors, CFS, exercise and weight

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I need some advice.  I am extremely overweight since I have gotten sick.  I am so tired all the time that my body seems to want calories in order to keep me going.  Therefore, I am hungry all the time. 

Second, exercise has turned into a serious problem.  No matter what I do, it is too much.  If I lift light weights my tendons hurt.  If I walk any distance at all (cruise the library, grocery shopping, etc.) I end up feeling terrible for days.  There doesn't seem to be a small enough amount of exercise that I can do other then the necessities (bathroom, shower, put up the washing, etc).

My cardiologist (not the neurologist or GP) is giving quite a lot of grief for being overweight.  I tell him that I know I am fat, but I don't know what to do about it.  He tells me to exercise and eat right.  I tell him that I do eat right, I just eat too much because I always feel like I am starving.  I also tell him I can't exercise because I get sick.  Anyway he is frustrated with me and told me that I am seriously decreasing my life expectancy with how I live.  He said I must exercise and lose weight if I want to live a long life.  Well, he did a number on me and freaked me out.  I don't know what to do.  Do you guys have any suggestions?  How do I convince my brain that I am not going to starve to death even though I am so tired?  How do I lose weight if I am hungry all the time and can't exercise.

p.s. as a note, I am allergic to almost everything and can eat only a few things without getting sick.  This doesn't help because I am allergic to most fruits and vegs.  Meats are okay.  But, at least I'm not allergic to chocolate.  Of course, that is part of the problem. 

Thanks, guys!

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  • Posted

    I think everyone's relationship with food is very complicated. I was always slender until I'd been sick with ME/CFS for about 13 years. I couldn't (and can't) exercise at all, except for walking for a minute or so several times a day. In addition, I'm using eating almost as a recreation, since I enjoy it so much and it's one of the few activities I can still do. So every once in a while, I go to the kitchen and snack. As a result, I've gained weight, and for the first time in my life, I'm borderline overweight. Everything I've read about diet says to eat fruit, veggies, and whole grains, so I at least eat a plant-based diet. I make sure to have healthy items to snack on. I just had a peach and a nectarine. Next, it will be organic popcorn with very little oil--not the prepackaged, microwaved stuff. There are so many different fruits and veggies, surely your system can tolerate some of them. I don't understand what it's like to feel like you're starving, so I can't really comment on that. If I were in your situation, I'd make sure there were no unhealthy foods in the house to tempt me (actually, I do this). No sweets, breads, crackers, fried food, etc. I'd make sure there were plenty of healthy options, so that when I felt that urge to eat, I'd be reaching for, say, a carrot, instead of a biscuit. It does take a lot of self-control, but the stakes are very high. Good luck to you!
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  • Posted

    In college, my greatest eating mistake, was buying into the idea that eating low fat foods will help keep off the weight. I packed on the pounds eating "low fat" bagels and breads and guzzling 2 gallons of skim milk a week. Graham crackers & pretzels were my go-to snacks, and it was all a mistake. I couldn't understand why I kept gaining weight while "eating well" and avoiding fast food, desserts, and soda. That said, if you're hungry, avoid the carbohydrates and go for meat, nuts, and eggs. Avoid processed food as much as you can. And fill your munchie cravings with veggies. And perhaps drink a glass or two of water before your meals, to feel full sooner. Best of luck! In my experience, yes, exercise helps, but the types of foods you eat is far more important of a factor when it comes to weight loss. You've got this! You CAN do it! smile
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    • Posted

      As you say, there's a lot of misinformation about food. My brother-in-law, who's obese, went to a restaurant the other day and had a Chinese chicken dish that he assumed was healthy. I looked up nutrition information on the dish, and found that 10 oz. contained 1500 g of sodium--especially bad for him since he has type II diabetes. I think it's important to note that meat can be very high in saturated fat, especially red meat. And nuts, while healthy in low amounts, should be eaten sparingly, because they are high in calories.
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  • Posted

    hi ravenwood.  my sympathies are with you on this one, as having mobility issues & cravings isn't an easy place to be. like you, thanks to ME, i have allergies/sensitivities to almost all foods apart from proteins like fish (used to be strict vegan/veggie prior to ME so lived on carbs  - but fish & nuts are all i can manage for some time now without kick back penalties).   consequently i'm always hungry.  i've found that   i can knock the edge off the knawing hunger pains & faint feeling by loading on protein @ the ''hunger hot points'' in the day.  i also, have  a rule not to  keep anything calorific in the house at all. needelss to say it's like living a ''trappist monk'' lifestyle .   i do feel so deprived.  prior to ME  i was too busy to eat, was so skinny & it was so cheap to live.  now, chewing nuts for supper is my  ''risque'' moments or'' high point'' of  the day.sadly??   i know there are some appetite suppresant out there. maybe the Doc might advise u on that if the eating gets out of hand. i don't know names or potential side effects etc, of any,  but if it stops u from developing a heart condition, the Doc might consider it a cost/effective intervention, thta's if your body can take it. all good  luck with it Ravenwood.
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear that. It's a bit catch 22 really. 

    Have you seen a nutritionist or gastroenteroligist? I had bowel issues but found a pre/probiotic helped.

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    • Posted

      We tried everything.  Probiotics helped a bit for awhile, then nothing.  Iron helps a lot since I tend to become anemic for no reason that anyone can discern.  Thanks!
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  • Posted

    That's not happened as much with me, I just put on a couple of stone.

    I've found drinking a big mug of water five times a day helps, and eating apples.  I limit myself to one roll a day and avoid pasta, spuds, rice.  Still love meat!

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    • Posted

      I try to drink a lot of water, too.  Can't do the apples, though.  Allergic.  Lol.  Ah, well.  I do love meat, though.
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    • Posted

      Lots of studies show that high protein intake suppresses the appetite, which is why Atkins worked.  I stuffed myself with cheap meat, liver et al and lost 7lb the first week.  It would need medical supervision!
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  • Posted

    lve lived with tiredness and frequent bouts of fatigue for many years, also an allergic person, to envoiramental allergens mainly, but also couldnt tolerate rich of spicy foods. l loved chocolate, dairy products, carbs, few veg chicken, felt l instinctively craved choc dairy carbs to give me some energy,to be more active, being tired without energy is a downer, restricting, frustrating. So had been 3-4 stone oweight years. Had instericial cystitus and prone to bacerial, so put on one anti b daily preventative it helped with bladder prob, but after years got intollerance and gastritus,frequent nausea,  lost my appetite, lost weight, didnt eat much daily, small plain meal evening, still craved chocolate, carbs. l keep bottle of spring water near always, yogurts ok, l think lactose is the fat part of dairy, so went lactose free, the almond coconut milk good, and lactose free cream cheese, chocolate ok. l struggle to walk more than a hundred yards without a rest, drag.  Maybe a home treadmill so you could do a little at a time when suits. Both my sons were slimmish kids, one on becoming a teen binged on junk food, weight gain, then got diabetes at 22, 15yrs later he,s still oweight, even when cycling to work,  think stomachs stretch and get used to bigger amounts of food,

    at only 37rs the diabetes affects now happening, a big worry to me, lve even told him to ask gp for gastric band op, but apparently he,s not oweight enough,  like anorexic are not underweight enough to get treatment  To me its better to nip addiction in the bud at early stages, more difficult when long established.  Growing up in the 5os all junk food chocolate, crisps, fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits were expensive and luxury items, no could rarely afford, now cheap, more so if in large or multi pack size. Many of us are battling with some addiction or another, temptation,  Resisting temptation when shopping so not at hand in the house helps.  /At least your aware and battling for solution, thats good, keep trying. best wishes.

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  • Posted

    Hi Ravenwood, I really sympathise with you - I too have put on weight because of not being so active. I do understand your craving for the carbs as I do too. However, I recently tried to cut out the rubbish carbs and eat properly which was so hard for the first week, but I lost weight and interestingly, the ME head/brain fog reduced. But it was hard to stick to and I succumbed to chocolate etc etc. I feel though I am "addicted" to chocolate etc so will try again to cut them out. Someone on this forum always recommends avoiding sugar is it someone called Jackie?

    With regard to exercise, when I'm having a bad day I just try to stand for a minute, or balance on one leg for 20 secs, raise my arms 10 times, sit on a chair and stand up and sit down 10 times, lots of simple exercises like these which I spread out over the day. I make a list of them so I can tick them off which makes me feel better about doing something. On good days I do some tai chi, walk or even go to a tap dancing class (but always suffer afterwards!!). I have also had advice from a phsyio on whatsimple exercises I can do when I'm feeling really ill as I do recognise that I deteriorate when I am unable to do exercise and feel more drained than ever. You can google quad strenghtening exercises etc for some examples.

    Hope this is of some help to you. You might find that unfortunately you ARE addicted to chocolate!! :-(

    Take care!

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    • Posted

      Yes, chocolate! I've found if I have one, I want more- so I rarely have one. Fresh warm bread is the same!
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    • Posted

      Ditto, l cant resist T triangles, small size 40p, giant size 1pound at discount shops, but resist leaving shop with bar most of time. Peanuts same, none are a bagful.  
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    • Posted

      Had to laugh at your mention of me and avoiding sugar. Yes, it's me, Jackie, who recommends avoiding sugar. I saw a documentary recently, "Fed Up," which shows how sugar is more addictive than cocaine. The film makes the case for sugar being a big factor in people's weight gain and in the obesity epidemic in the U.S. The result is more health issues, like Type II diabetes and heart disease. I already have this horrible ME/CFS. I don't want to have another medical condition to deal with, if I can avoid it. 
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    • Posted

      Totally addicted to chocolate.  All sugars really.  You should see the rest of the family on my father's side.  All very round people.  I know that sugar is one of the most addictive substances in the world.  It's hard to stop.  I am trying.  Trying hard.  Thanks!
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    • Posted

      Boy, you got that right.  I don't want diabetes either.  I'm getting my annual blood work next week, and they will check again to see how my sugar is doing. 
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