When I first started my mission to get healthy and lose weight a little over a year ago, I had a general idea of what to expect. I knew I’d crave McDonald’s, that my muscles would be sore, and that there’d be times I’d want to give up and buy a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and eat away my failure. Yet during this process there were certain other things the Internet hadn’t adequately prepared me for. I wish I had gotten some prior notification about these developments. In the form of a memo or something.

The Expense
Believe it or not a bag of potato chips is a lot cheaper than a bunch of green beans. I think it’s grossly unfair that all this healthy food costs so much more than junky processed snacks. I’ve yet to find a Dollar Menu anywhere that features broccoli florets or a nice salad. Not to mention the wardrobe expense. When you go from a size 22 to a size 6 (sometimes 4), none of your clothes are wearable anymore. I’ve had to buy new pieces about every 10 to 15 pounds along the way (which translates to about every month), otherwise I’d be walking around with my pants falling off my ass. Let’s also not forget the expense for the exercise attire you need—that isn’t cheap either! Being healthy is expensive.

Bones and Concavity
Obviously with losing weight you anticipate getting smaller, but what I wasn’t prepared for was seeing and feeling my own bones. Don’t worry; I don’t look like a skeleton or anything. For most of my life I’ve been pretty well draped in a thick layer of padding. I’m not used to seeing my collarbones, being able to feel how my shoulder connects to my arm, or rubbing the xylophone of my ribs when I touch my side. Since my body has completely changed, sitting on ordinary things like a wooden chair is newly uncomfortable. I’ve also noticed everything is more concave, especially my armpits, if you could believe that. Shaving my underarms is actually tricky now, because getting the razor in there is harder. Who’d have imagined that would happen?

The Elements
I used to be one of those people that laughed in the face of Chicago winters, but this year I’ll be changing my tune. We’re barely into fall and I am FREEZING all the time. I feel like I need a parka just to get by on these chilly 60 degree days. I don’t know if this is because my diet is different, or just that I’ve lost a significant amount of insulation, but I’m cold more often these days than ever before.

You’ve Got a Lot of Gall… Stones
I’ve saved the best for last. Typically when you hear about gallstones you think fat, female, and 40. Well, I’m 22, and I now have a gallbladder filled with small gallstones. I have gallstones from what they call “rapid weight loss.” To get all technical, when you lose a lot of weight quickly, the balance between the bile salts and cholesterol in the gallbladder can shift, causing the development of stones. Many (lucky) women can live with their gallstones and not even know they have them. When they become symptomatic (like mine) you’re in for a real treat…

The enemy.

Let me acquaint you with the gallbladder attack: when your own organ attacks you. You can look forward to crippling right upper-abdomen pain that that radiates to your shoulder blade and can last anywhere from one hour to 48 hours (that was my longest bout). The best way I can describe this pain is that it feels like your insides are turning to stone. Since my gallstones are small, if I eat too much fat, a stone can actually leave the gallbladder and lodge itself in my common bile duct, where it remains (and I’ll want to die) until it passes.

Since finding out I have gallstones, I drink apple juice every morning (it stimulates bile production) and am very careful about the amount of fat I eat. This little discovery seriously pissed me off. Here I am trying to take care of myself and be healthy, but my gallbladder just decides to screw me over. Thanks a bunch, gallbladder. So if you’re trying to lose weight: do it slowly. Try to limit yourself to losing 2lbs. a week at most, and you may save yourself some trouble later on. In the beginning when I first started losing weight some weeks I could lose up to 3.2lbs. in one week, and I was elated!
…Lesson learned. 

I know I’m being flippant, here. Obviously being healthier and happier is totally worth dealing with these issues, but as someone who’s skeptical of surprises, I would’ve liked just a little heads-up. These are but a few of the wonders I’ve experienced during this process. I’ve left a couple big ones out that I think are deserving of their own post, so be looking out for those in the Wednesdays to come. Just to give you a little preview: it involves nosey people and certain things shrinking.

What discoveries have you made during your get-healthier efforts?

16 thoughts on “Witless Weight Loss Wonders

  1. i TOTALLY get it!!! often when i’m broke i’m like HOW THE F AM I GONNA EAT RIGHT THIS WEEK?!?!!? Its def. been a challenge as i’m certainly not rollin it. thanks for highlighting that, its so true, and people are like Oh its easy- but NO! ITS NOT!

  2. I completely understand! I lost weight back in high school and it was way more expensive to get the soy crisps instead of potato chips. Definitely worth it in the long run. I fluctuate a lot and I’m trying to lose more now so these are good things for me to keep in mind. No one ever tells you the downsides. Congrats on your progress, though!

    1. Thanks! Ultimately the good outWEIGHS (punny) the bad, but I wish I had known starting out that gallstones could happen from losing weight. Never in a million years did I think any kind of negative health issue could arise from being healthier.

  3. Great info Katie and a bigtime congrats on getting your weight off. Sorry to hear about your stone issues. Having lost almost 68 pounds so far and dropping from a size 24/26 to 16/18 ..I understand so much of what you describe. I am losing slowly on purpose and it’s working for me. This past year has flown by me…if i lose 1 pound on average per week it will take me a year and 1/2 to reach goal. That is just around the corner! Woooot ! Stay strong. Thanks for sharing and all your encouragement.

  4. Yes, this really works !!! Obviously being healthier and happier is totally worth dealing with these issues, but as someone who’s skeptical of surprises, I would’ve liked just a little heads-up. These are but a few of the wonders I’ve experienced during this process.

  5. I am the only one out of my family who lost weight and didn’t have to have the gall bladder removed. My mom, dad, and sister all lost 80-100 and suddenly they were in surgery. I lost 80…I feel my gall bladder is a ticking time bomb.

    1. Oh my gosh, I’d be freaking out. Prior to losing all this weight I never really thought much about that particular organ, and truth be told, gallstones were some abstract health problem I needn’t know anything about. That changed pretty quickly. It’s really calmed down lately, but I try to be careful with fat. Lately I’ve been having this new problem where I feel like if I eat too much bread I get these awful stomach aches, but I can’t tell if it’s a stomach ache or really just a gallbladder attack, because the pain is pretty bad, but I don’t have the shoulder pain. I don’t know. That’s the latest issue, though.

      1. Something about, when you’re over weight the gall bladder works on over time, then when you lose weight it just doesn’t know what to do with its self.

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