This is the fourth post in my beginning series about my struggles losing weight. To start from the beginning, click here.
In early 2011, a few months after my last failed attempt at weight loss, I knew that I needed to do something to change the direction of my life and my health. I didn’t know exactly what that was at that point, but I did know that I wasn’t going to start another diet or exercise program only to fail again. I figured a good place to start would be talking to medical professionals.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I hadn’t really been seeing a doctor since I got out of the army. I’d been to a few doctors, but usually it was in emergency/urgent situations, so it wasn’t like I had regularly scheduled followup appointments, or even anyone to followup with.
By the time I scheduled the appointment it had been almost fourteen years since I had a regular doctor. I knew from my few urgent care visits that I had borderline hypertension, but none of the different doctors I saw over that time ever seemed very concerned about it.
I was resolved to talk to a doctor, let him know what problems I had, and find out how I could correct them.
I scheduled a necessary elective surgery early in the year, and the complications from that weren’t very fun, but that was the first part of my plan and I executed it.
I then found myself a family doctor and scheduled an appointment. I let him know when I first got there that I hadn’t been to the doctor in quite some time, and that I had a whole list of medical concerns, and that I really only wanted to get healthy. In our initial discussion, I explained what I had tried in the past, what my problems currently were, and where I wanted to be. He asked a bunch of questions, and it soon became pretty obvious to both of us that my overriding problem was that I was tired all of the time. He immediately gave me a questionnaire to fill out, once I did, he scheduled me for a sleep test.
I was aware that sleep apnea was something that some people suffered from. I was misinformed on what the symptoms were exactly. I thought that the only way to tell if you have sleep apnea was if you woke up in the middle of the night gasping for breath.
That never happened to me, so I never gave it a second thought. I knew I snored, but it was always something my wife just put up with. My sleep test was pretty enlightening. I spent the night in a facility where they hooked up roughly seven billion electrodes to me in various places, and they measured the times that I had an apnea. I didn’t sleep very well during the test, but I didn’t think I woke up too much. When the test was over, they asked me to write down how many times I awakened during the night. I wrote down the number five. They told me to wait on a call about my results.
I was ‘asleep’ for five hours. I had an apnea an average of eighty-two times every single hour. The guy who called me with the results said I was the worst case he’s ever seen. I was well into the category of severe obstructive sleep apnea. The news hit me like a freight train. Not in a bad way. More like the way that a weight is lifted off of your shoulders. I found the answer I was looking for, the reason why I was tired every second of the day.
Of course, it was all my fault. I let myself get so fat that my throat doesn’t stay open enough to breathe properly at night! I got a prescription for a CPAP machine and began using it late in 2011. The guy who gave me my results said that he couldn’t believe I was getting enough sleep to even function properly, so I thought that it might be some sort of instant transformation. It turns out it took a few months for my body to adjust. Slowly but surely my energy returned. Slowly but surely I started to feel better moving around. I started to be slightly more active. I started to sleep less. Before I got the machine, I would nap two hours every weekend day at a minimum. I would sometimes come home from work and be so tired that I would just go straight to bed. I’d get up in the morning and still feel awful of course.
Since I got the machine, I have taken exactly one nap. ONE NAP! I have been using the machine every night since October 2011. It’s now April 2012. That’s a little more than six months and I have literally taken just one nap. Just typing that out is pretty crazy, I can’t believe the change.
So in early 2012, I was slowly gaining the energy to do extra things. I was not sleeping as much, and I felt much more rested and less likely to sit on my butt and not get up. I still had a problem though. I had all this extra energy, but I was still severely limited in my ability to expel it. I was still a fat guy, and I needed to figure out a way to use the energy to change that.
On February 18th, 2012. I changed my life and purchased my Fitbit Ultra.
Read the last post in the series here.
Are you struggling being tired all of the time? Have you had a sleep test?