Here comes my story
I used to work as an CEO or management consultant and always told my wife that being heavy was part of my management image working in companies in need of a turn around of some kind (my excuse for beeing heavy). 1 october 2012 I weighed 95 kilo in the morning when i went to work, got ill in aortic dissection type a at 08:15, had a lifesaving acute surgery done starting at 16:00 in the afternoon. Coming home from the ICU some three weeks later I was down to 88 kilo. 15 months later I was up to 102 kilo. This was right after Christmas 2013, having had ham, pudding, sandwiches with Christmas cheese, and not being out walking the meadows during the holidays.
Reaching 102 kilo was a weight gain of approximately 1 kilo per month during 14 months. I now had problems with arthrosis in my back and both hips, my heart was working not so good, I had pains from my chest, back, the aorta, the spine, both hips, had arrhythmia, could not sleep and finally went to the hospital again to get help – again afraid to die. I was not only a physical mess, I was also getting really fat.
Why cant I eat like before – why do I put on weight easier
Having a dissection, is also having a true and a false lumen (passageways for the blood, where the false lumen is the space between the inner and middle layer of the aorta – where no blood should be transported). It really also means that the strength in the aorta to withstand pressure increases and not to swell and rupture is much less than before a dissection. This fact combined with leakage in the heart valves, a synthetic graft as a part of the aorta, a pacemaker to run the heart and loads of medicines combined with knowing that strain from lifting heavy items or making fast och swift moves causing the blood pressure to rise is equivalent to the risk of the dissection to enlarge or even rupture. All this combined makes the life become quite different from what you are used to as a healthy person.
I have stopped doing a lot of physical activities like heavy gardening, carrying groceries from the shop, shifting tires on the car, chopping firewood, exercising by running. From the day I got ill I have not been running once and not liften anything exceeding 7 kilo. I do walk (and I like it), and a walk for me is about 2-3 km per hour, where my wife has the normal pace of 5 km per hour. So my daily energy consumption from movement is much lower than any ordinary person not being ill.
Back to end of december 2013, totally 102 kilo of Timo and the doctor that just had examined me. He had the stomach to say: “you have to lose weight“. Of course he was right. I replied “I want to – but I need help !!“
What I got was the help to help myself from a dietitian in our hospital. I was invited to participate as part of a group of heavy patients in urgent need of losing weight without surgery. In 4 months we were educated in calories, energy need and energy consumption and finally understood that “what you put into your mouth, you will burn during your daily activities and just by being alive. The more you move, the more you burn. If you put in more in your mouth than you burn, it will all transform into fat”.
The body is really a chemical fat-burning factory.
Weight is really about mathematics and chemistry. Our body is a chemical plant operated by calories. The ones we supply to it which the factory does not consume, will be stored for later use. If we stop supplying the factory, the factory has to take calories from the storage facilities (around the hips, the belly, the butt etc…)
My experience is that the more you eat, the more your stomach requires to get the sensation of being satisfied and full. And when you start to get real heavy, you probably are used to eating quite large portions, or having seconds and thirds during dinner. This is also a problem to overcome when trying to control the weight. Same with sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more addicted you become. To start the process of loosing weight, is like quit smoking. Very tough the first 3-5 days, getting the body used to the new fact that food (energy) will come in less amounts.
1 kg of the fatty parts of our bodies contains around 780 grams of pure fat and 220 grams of water (I think). The fat I think equals around 7000 calories of energy. If a slice of cheese is 50 calories, one kilo of our fatty parts equals the energy in 140 slices of delicious cheese. (You know, I looove cheese).
The medication slows down the processes in the factory
The medicines I take daily to reduce my blood pressure are Amlodipin, Enalapril, Furix and Metoprolol. I also take Kaleorid, Trombyl, Omeprazol and Atorvastatin daily as part of my daily medicines.
Keeping the BP down also lowers the energy level in the whole body. And this does not improve the fat burning process at all. It is like the medicines reduce the efficiency of the chemical plant in our body.
It is not magic, it is all about the numbers
A normal man needs around 2500 calories a day to keep his weight. I am on medicines, have a false lumen, arthrosis, heavy addicted to beta blockers so I think I should not consume more than 1800 calories a day to keep my weight.
If I want to lose 0,7 kilo weight per week (around 2,5 kg per month), I would need to lose 100 grams per day. As you remember from what you just read, 100 grams equals 700 calories.
I am a man, weighing 96 kilo, 179 cm tall, and I burn around 260 calories per hour when I walk in average 2 kilometers / hour on a quite flat surface.
So let us use this knowledge and do the math
I should stay under 1800 calories, but if I want to lose 2,5 kilo a month I have to reduce my intake with 700 calories a day. That means not more than 1100 calories. If I can keep up my walking on a daily basis, each hour gives me either the possibility to eat 260 calories more that day (five slices of cheese), or an extra advantage of 37 grams of weight loss per day, or 1 kilogram of weight per month.
The 260 calories burnt walking one hour a day is equivalent to the energy you find in 40 grams of peanut butter – or – half a bagel with salami and Philadelphia cheese – or – three apples – or – two and a half bananas – twelve tomatoes. (google calories and food and you find lots and lots of interesting info on the web). No peanut butter more ! Comprende !
Keeping the weight – always feeling hungry
1100 calories a day is not much. I can tell you very clearly that it makes a guy weighing 96 kilo very hungry and grumpy. (I need 2000 at least to be jolly and happy).
We cannot stop eating completely to lose weight. We need minerals, vitamins etc. daily to keep the chemical factory working in a good way. To stop eating would be like sending home the maintenance guys and stop greasing the machines.
What we should eat should of course be nutritious food giving a variety of what we need. Vegetables, fruit, grains, meat etc. And need I say – lots of water. If we want to lose weight, I think it is good to get knowledge about how much energy the food we eat contains, and practice on doing the math. What goes in has to be less than what we use in a day.
For the ones of us who can move our bodies, there is one more factor to help us. The more we move (even if it is very slow walks in the park), we burn some more energy than if we do not. All movement is good. Not only for the fat-burning, but also for the heart and rest of the body. But it would of course help if we could run 10 kilometer in maximum speed, lift weights, wrestle with bears, chop wood or pump our bodies daily in the gym to mesmerizing music. (I know I cannot and I also choose not to do this – to maximise my chances to live a little longer)
My dietitian has said that being ill, eating medicines, and not being able to work out like before, a weight loss of 1 to 2 kilo per month is good, and one should be very content reaching this.
Autumn is soon here again and i will try to walk for 2 hours each day, and to stay around 1100-1300 calories five days a week, and perhaps allow myself 2000 calories the remaining two days. If i can do this i think i will again lose som 6-8 kilo during the autumn, and hopefully be close to 90 kilo when it comes up to christmas. What happens during christmas (if I am still alive by then) is again a totally different story.
Note: this text took med three days to write, it probably holds lots of errors, both grammatical and factual, and the scientific value is null and nothing. It is my own findings on the web and what I remember from talks with my dietitian. Please if you are an expert on the subject, do not get upset by the errors, please remember this is my personal perception of reality, not the absolute truth. And you know, even knowing all this, I got down to 92 kilo, and then I had my 50 year birthday, had that celebration, followed by my wife’s summer vacation and a lot of barbecuing, and once again went up to 97,5 kilo. I have started to do the math, and again stopped feeding the chemical plant too much, and are currently at 96 kilo again. My goal? To reach 80 kilo. I should be there in approximately 16 months if a can keep a loss of one kilo per month.
Note 2: I think I now have changed and added text 4-5 times to this blog post. I had forgotten a lot of what I wanted to say when it was published the first time. And then its been corrected for missing words, grammar, spelling etc several times. It is more difficult to get things right nowadays. I think it has to do with the Pumphead syndrome.