FAT. It’s a Fact of being HUMAN.

By BruceBlaus. When using this image in external sources it can be cited as:Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762. - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28761795

This is FAT

Fat is a particular type of cell in the human body. Some people have more of these cells than others. But everyone has them – even people who are so thin that you can see the shape of their skeleton through their skin.

Fat cells are like balloons – they inflate and deflate according to their contents. Then they reach a certain level and multiply. They can be stretched to fit in more content. This is why it is so hard to keep weight off. If you’ve stretched them, they just re-inflate until they’re full again.

Yes, I know this is a simplistic view and that it’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s how I imagine the ones that I have under my skin. And I dislike people calling me “Fat”

Oh, it hasn’t happened recently, but with the warmer weather it’s more likely for me to hear a shouted comment from a passing car as I’m pushing PW along in her buggy, something along the lines of “Stay off the cake, fatty!” or “Go get some surgery, Fat bitch!”

And yes, I am willing to say that I have a lot of Fat.

I’m tall, it takes a large accumulation of fat cells to actually show up on my figure. So as I am a size 18, have a waist measurement of 40 inches and wobble in all the wrong places when I bounce, I am not going to deny the fact that I have a lot of Fat Cells.

However, I am not FAT. I have many other tissue types in my body (just like every other Human on this planet), I am not made entirely of Fat cells.

If I were, I’d be one of these guys:

Adiposeinthesink

Aww… ain’t it cute?

I’m not. I’m Human.

Fat is a type of body tissue. It should be used in a sentence thusly “Gosh, I didn’t realise I had so much fat!” not as a name for a type of person.

Am I bitter that I have this much fat?

No, not really. It’s an accumulation that occurred while I wasn’t paying attention. My attention was on looking after my children, writing and teaching and not on what I was eating. I don’t over eat. I don’t under eat.

I do eat some of the wrong things and don’t exercise enough, but when life is happening to you, making time for exercise other than scrambling after a toddler, or walking the older children to and from school, becomes a luxury.

I had less fat when I was working full time as a Teacher, because I rarely got time to eat anything, lived on tea & coffee and spent my days walking around a workshop / classroom / school grounds. It turned out that while I might have been making just enough money to pay for the childminder, it wasn’t all that good for my children’s mental health and my daughter’s autism went completely unnoticed.

So here I am scrambling after another toddler and I realised that the reason I was having trouble keeping up with her (she’s a bit of a whirlwind), getting out of breath pushing her up the hill or chasing her as she disappears up the stairs looking for bubbles (her code word for having a bath) is that I have too much fat.

There are justifiable reasons for having too many fat cells. Just in case you were wondering, here they are:

Underactive Thyroid

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) means that your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones, which play a central role in regulating your metabolism. Although an underactive thyroid can occur at any age and in either sex, it is most common in older women.

Diabetes

Weight gain is a common side effect for people who take insulin to manage their diabetes. Insulin helps to control your blood sugar level. It’s not uncommon for people with longstanding diabetes to eat a diet that “matches” their insulin dose, which can mean they’re eating more than they need to in order to prevent low blood sugar – also known as hypoglycaemia or “hypo” – from developing.

Aging

People begin to lose modest amounts of muscle as they get older, largely because they become less active. Muscles are an efficient calorie burner, so a loss of muscle mass can mean you burn fewer calories. If you’re eating and drinking the same amount as you always have and are less physically active, this can lead to weight gain.

Steroids

Steroids, also known as corticosteroids, are used to treat a variety of conditions, including asthma and arthritis. Long-term use of  corticosteroid tablets seems to increase appetite in some people, leading to weight gain.

Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is very rare, affecting around one in 50,000 people, and is caused by high levels of the hormone cortisol. It can develop as a side effect of long-term steroid treatment (iatogenic Cushing’s syndrome) or as a result of a tumour (endogenous Cushing’s syndrome). Weight gain is a common symptom, particularly on the chest, face and stomach. It occurs because cortisol causes fat to be redistributed to these areas. Depending on the cause, treatment typically involves either reducing or withdrawing the use of steroids, or surgery to remove the tumour.

Stress and Depression

People respond differently to stress, anxiety and depressed mood. Some people may lose weight, while others may gain weight.

Tiredness

Some studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day may be more likely to be overweight than those who get nine hours of sleep or more. It’s not clear why, but one theory suggests that sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin, the chemical that makes you feel full, and higher levels of ghrelin, the hunger-stimulating hormone.

Fluid retention

Fluid retention (oedema) causes parts of the body to become swollen, which translates into weight gain. This gain is caused by fluid accumulating in the body. Some types of fluid retention are not uncommon – for example, if you’re standing for long periods or are pre-menstrual. The swelling can occur in one particular part of the body, such as the ankles, or it can be more general.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. Symptoms can include irregular periods, trouble getting pregnant, excess hair and weight gain. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it’s thought to be hormone-related, including too much insulin and testosterone.

(Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/medical-reasons-for-putting-on-weight.aspx)

Thankfully, the toddler is now going to playschool, that means I have some child free time. Sadly, getting rid of it isn’t going to be as easy as putting it on. As I said earlier, Fat cells are like balloons – they inflate and deflate according to their contents. Mine have multiplied and inflated over and over again.

Every dress size I went up (I was a size 12 when I was sixteen) over the last twenty four years meant a new layer of fat cells. I can’t get rid of them now – not unless I can afford surgery – so I have to deflate them, and keep them deflated.

That’s the tricky bit.

And the Autumnal Lurgy hits…

Fresher’s Flu, First Cold of The Year, Autumnal Lurgy… whatever you call it, I have it, my family has it, a lot of my friends (RL and FB) have it.

I should imagine this time of year has the cold & flu tablet manufacturers rubbing their hands with glee, as they think about all the money rolling in as the supermarkets and chemists put their orders in to cope with the flood of people  scooping packets of tablets into their baskets…

The Cold Virus… probably not really this cute, but definitely around!

Sometimes I think that the reason drug manufacturers don’t bother trying to cure the Common Cold (or any illness) is pure greed; remove the demand, lose the cash.

But then I think that it’s not the scientists that feel like that; many scientists are working really hard to cure Cancer, AIDS, even the Common Cold and don’t have anything to do with the manufacturing and sales side. Maybe they’ve come up with cures already and it really is the Greed of the Pharma Managers stopping us from having an illness free society.

Elysium Medical Machine

Is this machine really all that far away? Only those in charge of Big Pharma really know that.

I apologise…

When you’re feeling ill, your mind seems to take a dive into the depressive trough and your body follows it, making it difficult to get better.

She sighs, coughs, splutters and flakes against the back of her chair.

I think maybe I should go rest up a bit more… I’ll return to the world of words when I am feeling a bit less lurgal and a bit happier!

The Past is a Foreign Country…

It’s funny how being pregnant can make you look at things differently. Just recently, as the baby has got bigger and started kicking, I’ve been having quiet moments of reflection on my past.

Some of these have been depressing and I’m not going to bore you with them, but one thing that has come out of all this introspection and reflection is just how fast you go through life.

Baby pic!

This one is of my entire family. And when I say entire, I mean all the aunts and uncles and cousins!
I’m the little girl in the jumper and the kilt. I must have been about 5-ish and all I can remember is that the Kilt had a vest attached to it that the jumper (which had been a christmas present from my nan that year) hid. I’m not stood with my parents – they’re the couple with the baby (my sister) and the springer spaniel on the bottom right – and one of the only feelings that I can remember of that age is loneliness.

Odd what a picture brings up, isn’t it?

I’m connected to most of my cousins through Facebook – but I haven’t seen any of them in the flesh since I was a teenager.

Class of 1980 something

This was me in the early 1980’s at my first primary school … I’m smack bang in the middle of the picture. I don’t remember much about being that age apart from the fact that I was reading Roald Dahl and Monica Hughes at the time.

Something else that strikes me about this picture is that I recognise many of the faces around me, but only a couple of names. I’m connected to some of these people through Facebook (that’s how I got the picture), however I haven’t met up with them since I left that particular school.

melton primary school 85 - 86

Now this one is still eighties, but I’d been to middle school before going to this school, so I was about ten or eleven. Again, I recognise some of these faces and remember some of the names. I’m connected to some of these people a little more strongly because I went on to High School with them. I haven’t really kept in touch, except through Facebook – I’ve not been to any of the reunions that happened.
Dameli, alison, lizzie and me

Talking of High school… I think this was taken when I was 16 or so on one of those trips that schools make you take (or was it the 5th Year graduation party? I can’t remember…)  Once more, I’m at the back of the action – I was one of those kids that hovered on the fringes of things and although this one is closer in time to where I am now, the main feeling this picture brings back is loneliness.

I’m not sure why.

Aikido xmas bash

Now this is an unusual picture of me – for a start I’m actually wearing a dress, and for another thing, I was at University and having more fun than actually should be legal.
I spent three years at Plymouth University and got into Aikido (a Japanese martial art) which opened my eyes to a few things! Not the least how a small movement like a nip can be very useful in tricky situations…
I’m still in touch with a lot of the people I met at Aikido (once more through Facebook) and we have plans afoot to go visit our old haunts in Devon next year – which I am sure will include TOH insisting on going to Aikido!
Graduation day

This very fuzzy picture (it’s a photo of a photo – I don’t have a scanner) is one of the only pictures I have of my Graduation Day.  Yes, like hundreds of twenty-something’s each year, I ran across the stage, shook hands with the Dean and ran off the other side.
I was really proud of myself that day. I’d stuck with a course that wouldn’t actually get me anywhere (I wanted to do Product Design and ended up doing a manufacturing management course) but I hadn’t given up and I passed with honours.

I suppose I haven’t changed all that much since the picture taken in high school. I’ve become engaged (but not yet married) and had two children (not counting the one I’m currently carrying.)

NOS's first day home

This was NOS’s first day home from the Hospital. I was tired, but happy that he’d arrived safely.

I’ve moved from Suffolk to Devon to Bristol to Cardiff. But I myself haven’t changed.


PT's first pic

This was the first picture ever taken of PT – I think she was about a month old… and yes, she was a big baby!

That’s what all these pictures have shown me. I’ve got older, I’ve grown up physically, but the essential me hasn’t changed. I’m still the loner who hovers on the edges of things.
I make more of an effort to join in with things now, but the majority of those who I grew up with or met along the way have gone different routes and aren’t interested in being a friend anymore.

It’s a little depressing.

Most of the people who I count as friends are on Facebook. I’ve only met one or two of them face to face and they were quick “How’d ye do” encounters. The people I went to Uni with? I’ve kept in touch with them, but the friendships have become acquaintanceships.

This was the past.

Where I am now is almost as lonely as the little girl in the first photograph… almost. I have my own family around me and there are Real Life Friends who are attached to Guiding who make me feel less lonely. And this is something I am grateful for.

I have a future and that future is waiting for me… it all comes down to how I get there.