Monday, January 21, 2008

Bring on the Calories!

After my first round of chemo in 2007, my City of Hope dietitian advised me to concentrate on eating "nutrient dense foods." I started scrutinizing every morsel of food that went into my mouth and was surprised to find out how many "nutrient neutral" foods I was consuming.

When I replaced filler foods with power-packed ones, a funny thing happened. I slowly started to shed the extra weight I'd gained during my "middle-age spread." It was my new way of eating, not the chemo or the cancer, that brought me down to a look I like to call "willowy" or "svelte."

But then I checked in for my stem cell transplant in November. With no appetite, I peeled another five pounds off my already lean frame. No mystery there.

My weight remained the same during my recent 10-day stay, but a strange thing has happened since I've returned home. In spite of my switch from "nutrient dense" to "calorie dense" foods, I've lost another five pounds. Today at CoH I tipped the scales at 120 pounds on a 5'10" frame. I look in the mirror and I don't like what I see. I no longer see svelte or willowy. I see skinny.

In most cases, Prednisone packs on the pounds, but Dr. Forman said that, in some cases, it speeds up the internal metabolism and patients actually lose weight. What a diet!

Since my last weigh-in five days ago, I've eaten (among other things) crunchy egg rolls from Golden Deli; Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches from two Rosemead shops; cups of French-pressed coffee with sweetened condensed milk; Indian food from Tantra in Silverlake; rich home-made pumpkin soup with half and half; my favorite steak chilli and corn bread from Smitty's; chorizo and eggs with all the high-fat trimmings at the Taco Spot; gelato with macaroons from Pazzo Gelato; and more than a dozen of "Alexis's favorite chocolate chip cookies" from the Martha Stewart recipe.

After I taper off the Prednisone, my metabolism will likely return to normal. In the meantime, it's like being in high school again. I can eat all the high-fat foods I want all the time and not worry about gaining weight. (Actually, it's better than high school 'cause now I don't have to worry about a zit erupting on my chin or if MJ knows I'm alive.)

Call me lucky if you like. Just don't call me skinny.

1 comment:

Susan Carrier said...

I just did a Google search with Prednisone and "weight loss" and got more than 3 million hits. The vast majority appear to be dealing with how to achieve weight loss after the unwanted weight gain from the steroids.

Geesh - I guess I really AM lucky!