Diet and Exercise – A Catch 22 for the Disabled

A couple of years ago, my doctor told me I would be dead by 60 if I didn’t lose weight immediately.  My blood pressure was constantly at stroke level due to stress, my heart was enlarged which caused me to experience angina and atrial fibrillation, had severe sleep apnea, am insulin resistant and was borderline diabetic.  He referred me to a Lap-Band Clinic which I qualified for on five counts, but did not have insurance coverage or, at the time, $10,000 cash up front.  I told him I would diet.  He said it was too late for that, but what else could I do.  Shortly after that, I applied for disability and still do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and do not have the now $15,000 fee to pay for surgery.  Now I suffer from congestive heart failure and have been hospitalized for respiratory failure, possible pulmonary embolism and am supposed to be on oxygen 24-7 (however, I do not have insurance coverage for the treatment).

There must be about 27 diet books and half dozen diet programs, CD’s, etc. in my collection now.  Like a lot of people, I make a New Year resolution every January to lose weight and exercise more.  This year it was Nutrisystem.  I had some extra money left over from my disability back pay and agonized over how to spend it wisely.  Health is always at the top of my list these days, since I am way short of that commodity.  Although the NS website is extremely helpful with tons of support, it did not work for me.  When I started, I decided that I would have to be dedicated for at least three months in order to get true and accurate results.  Right off the bat, I lost the initial 10 lbs. of water weight.  That was the first month.  I only lost an additional 2 lbs. per month thereafter, which for me at 200 lbs over my average weight was unacceptable, plus WAY too expensive to continue with these results.

What I liked about Nutrisystem was the precooked and packaged meals that came right to my door.  It is difficult for me to cook and shop since I am unable to stand for long periods of time due to osteoarthritis in my knees and scoliosis which has caused painful sciatic problems in my back.  Of course, the extra weight does not help.  Many of the meals were downright tasty, especially the frozen ones, and there is a lot of variety.  I also loved the forums where I could discuss my progress (or lack thereof) with other people in my situation.  The folks who were physically challenged seemed to be having the worst results.  We were unable to move around or exercise enough to boost our metabolism.  If we cut calories or meals in order to get past the stall, we ended up with even less of a metabolism and often even gained more weight.  Even with the diuretic I take daily for hypertension and edema, I was unable to lose more than the initial water weight and remained bloated and swollen.

Doctor’s advice?  Get more active which is difficult and painful carrying this much fat and water weight, not to mention the severe lack of oxygen when I take more than 20 steps.  More doctor’s advice?  Diet and take meds.  I protest, “But, Doctor, the diet doesn’t work if I can’t exercise and I can’t exercise because I need to lose weight and the meds make me tired, listless and lower my metabolism!”  Doctor says, “Hm.  Catch-22.  Get Lap-Band surgery.”  Seriously?