I’m writing this post in response to Meowser’s excellent post There Are Diets, And Then There Are DIETS. It was truly excellent, and made me start thinking about how my very unusual dietary requirements go practically counter to how fat people such as myself are often told they “should” eat.
I have orthostatic hypotension, brachycardia, vasovagal something-or-other, and generally horrible circulation. These are all generally spawned from too-low blood pressure, or hypotension. I also have lipedema, which though thought largely genetic, is also associated with hypotension and poor circulation.
Because of these conditions, I have to make sure I eat a sufficient amount of things most fat people (and most people in general) are told aren’t generally good for them:
1. I have to make sure I’m salting my food.
2. I have to get enough sodium in general.
3. Every morning I should drink a cup of strong coffee.
Keeping hydrated is something else I need to do, though I need to make sure sometimes to:
4. Drink water with some kind of sugar in it.
I also should:
5. Stay away from alcohol. Even a glass or two could send my blood pressure through the floor, as it is a depressant.
6. Stay away from other depressive substances.
And exercise? I need to:
7. Be careful and don’t do cardio training for any solid length of time (like months). Cardio training can lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
Also, guess what else lowers blood pressure? Calorie restriction. So:
8. Do not diet for weight loss.
Additionally, women with lipedema are usually told:
9. Do not diet for weight loss, since there is a much higher incidence of anorexia in women with lipedema. Dieting will not remove the lipedemic fat, the metabolism of the cells of which are damaged and the lipedemic fat won’t “shed.”
So all in all, with my various very genetic (all passed from my Dad’s family) disorders that are tied into hypotension, dieting for weight loss, and cardio training, are generally prohibited.
What happens if I don’t follow the prescriptions to keep my low blood pressure at a reasonable rate? I didn’t, for a few years, so I know the answer to this:
I generally feel ill. I pass out after getting out of the shower, on a humid day inside or outside or in the car, feel ill after exercising, feel ill all the time in general. Foggy, can’t think, nauseous, can’t breathe, headaches, dizzy.
I was lucky. Only one time did I pass out and get slightly injured; the other times I was able to “take myself down” once the symptoms of fainting starting cropping up. But as anyone who’s watched “Million Dollar Baby” knows, it only takes one bad fall to pretty much end your life.
So is a weight-loss diet, the antithesis of what *I personally* need to eat for *my personal* optimal health, worth paralysis or death?
The person who refuses to sit next to me on an airplane, or the subway, or a bus, or the train, thinks so. The person who has to look at my cellulite on the beach thinks so. Tam Fry thinks so.
What do you think?