Sunday, April 15, 2012

Unexplained Weight Gain

In one of my earlier posts I talked about Googling "unexplained weight gain" and learning about Cushing's Syndrome. Today I want to talk a little more about that.

It's scientific fact that calories consumed compared to calories expended are, mathematically, going to tip the scale one way or another over time; 3500 calories is equal to one pound. If a person eats 3500 calories more than their body needs they will gain one pound. It works the other way too, of course; a deficit of 3500 calories will equal a one pound loss. There's nothing tricky about it, right?

With Cushing's, calories consumed have no bearing on weight gain/loss. The metabolism takes on a mind of it's own when all that excess cortisol is present. Can you imagine how it feels to be told, by a disbelieving  doctor, that "diet and exercise" are the only key to your problems? Personally we heard, "maybe your portion control is off",  "she is sneaking food", "do you shop at Costco?", "that's just not possible", "cut back on soda". We found this truly offensive. The insinuation that we are stupid, or worse, liars. Alex learned to count calories by the time she was ten. Soda? Are you kidding? She wasn't even allowed juice. Costco? Yes, to buy fruits and veggies in large quantities. The worst thing is that, for a time, we wanted to believe that the doctors were right. We went to nutrition classes, we recorded every bite, to prove what was going on, only to be called liars.

Do I still have some anger? You bet. I do have a point here though. You know your body, mom's know their kids bodies. Don't be dissuaded by a name followed by "M.D." If you know something is wrong, keep searching until you find help.


  1. Rene (& Brian, Alex & Nick): I need to apologize for my lack of connection and understanding. I took this morning and read your entire Blog....tears....

    An incredibly fantastic story in family connection, tolerance, stamina, understanding, faith & courage! Rene, your effort at educating has worked with me, I now understand.

    I am not sure what I could ever do to help in your exhaustive level of research, however, do not hesitate to send me a note if you need help researching any specific situation or topic.

    love, steve

  2. Steve, I don't think anyone understands unless they have lived through it! It's "too big" to explain. If can prevent a single person from going through what we have, then blogging is worth it. I hope that, through awareness, people might stop and think.

    It's always good to have a pharmacist around :-) I'm always researching steroid conversions, half-lives, etc. and Google doesn't always have all the answers.

    Thanks you!