Ok, I am going to preface this with a note: This will probably be long. It will be honest and as detailed as I can get. I am looking for honest answers, but please don't yell at me and tell me I am an idiot or anything like that. I don't have the money to go and see a specialist.
I am a 22 year old female. I am 5' 7 3/4" tall and weigh approximately 174 lbs. My highest weight to date is ~181 lbs. I normally fluctuate between 171 - 178 lbs at any give time.
3 years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I had a terrible falling out with my best friend. We lived across the hall from each other and she became best friends with my roommate at the time. It was probably one of the worst years of my life. I spent most of my time at my boyfriend's dorm. I slept there 6 days a week. I was never comfortable in my room, or even my whole dorm. My friend was close with almost everyone in the hall, and so they knew her side of what happened, but not mine. As a result, just walking down the hall was like being at a trial I wasn't going to win. It was awful. (and it turns out we were both wrong and it took us 1.5yrs to figure that out)
At the beginning of that year (before the fall out), I weighed about 145lbs. I had been exercising over the summer, and had had surgery and lost about 8lbs from not being able to eat (tonsils/nose). But when school started and things fell apart, I gained 30lbs within the course of about 3 months. It was an awful and depressing time in my life.
I started seeing a therapist because I was having trouble concentrating on school work. I thought I might have had something similar to ADD (my sister was diagnosed with it the year earlier at ~16 or 17) Turned out I have generalized anxiety disorder (which is not a huge surprise as I grew up with a significant phobia and my anxiety just continued to grow and spread over the years) I was in therapy for a while. She had me meet a nutritionist because I was upset with my weight. I learned a lot from her, and tried changing my diet. Nothing really changed.
The next year I went in to the doctor because for the past 3 years I was having problems with my bowel movements. I was going way more than I would consider normal for myself. When it first started happening, I thought it might be lactose intolerance, so I started taking lactaid and it helped a bit. Once I got to college, it didn't matter what I ate. I had bad gas and multiple bowel movements every day. I was finally fed up with it. I got an unofficial diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and was put on Metamucil to bulk things up and make my bowel movements more regular. It helped a little, but the gas never went away and I would kind of cycle from periods of good days to periods of the old, bad days.
My weight was not changing.
At this same time, I was seeing my doctor for chronic pain in my hips. It never went away. I have bursitis in both of my shoulders and thought it might be the same thing. They took x-rays, the bones in my hips looked fine. They said it's probably bursitis, take 3-4 Ibuprofin 3-4 times a day. Fine.
That didn't last long.
By the beginning of my senior year (this year) my IBS was still a problem, my hips still hurt, my lower back was bothering me, I wasn't sleeping well, and I had basically become tolerant to ibuprofin and gave up on it. No use taking something that can give me heartburn or worse if I take it for long enough if it wasn't doing me any help.
I had decided at this time to get my butt into gear and work out. I started doing cardio a few times a week (swimming and some elliptical) and weight lifting ~3 times a week. It was going well until the weight lifting destroyed my hips. Too much pain. Weight never changed.
At the beginning of October, I got really tired. Exhausted. I could sleep all day. So I went to the doc. They felt my lymph nodes, but they were fine. And since I don't have tonsils, my only complain was the exhaustion. It didn't seem like mono was a match. But they tested for it, along with anemia, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis (which was for the pain more than the exhaustion). Mono came back positive. So I took it easy. I work 2 jobs and am a full time student. I was also in the middle of medical school interviews and such. It was a hectic time. Exercise took a back seat except for the swimming 2x a week (I am in a swimming class). Understandably, weight just kind of hovered.
Semester ends. Over break I start to feel better and by January I was feeling pretty much back to normal (tiredness wise) But about 2 weeks into second semester, the exhaustion came back with a vengance. I was frustrated. And so tired of being tired. So I went in again.
They tested me for low iron, low vitamin D, white cell count, anemia, thyroid, and HIV to name a few. Everything was normal. I was so tired, but there just wasn't a reason why. And I was in pain. Every single day of my life. After much talk and tests, we determined that the reason I am so tired is because I am not sleeping well. And I am not sleeping well because I am in pain. So, what's causing the pain? She brought out the xrays, thought there was a little calcification on one of the bones, but not significant enough to cause me so much pain.
Then she did the pressure point test, which is for fibromyalgia. I had 13/18, and you need a minimum of 11. But fibro is really hard to diagnose. It's basically one of those "if we can't find anything else, call it fibro". So I have a sort of unofficial diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I was put on amitriptyline to help with the pain and sleeping. It helped. For the first time in YEARS my hips do not bother me. And I was sleeping well. And feeling better. I was also told to get orthotics, and the seem to help with the hip pain as well.
That leads me to my current place in life. I am on fluoxitine for anxiety and amitriptyline for pain. I also take a multivitamin every day and a calcium supplement with vitamin D. In January I got Mirena and stopped taking birth control pills. That helped in other ways.
I swim 2x a week for about 40 mins. Now that it's nice I bike for at least 30 mins 1x a week (more if I have time) I am still a full time student and I work two jobs. I am generally conscious of what I eat. I love fruit, especially bananas and try to have mixed veggies at least once a day. I only eat whole grain bread. I make sure to get pleanty of protein in, even if I don't eat meat on a particular day. I get dairy, normally from milk in the morning and yogurt. I read nutrition labels, and while I don't always stick to the serving size, it normally takes me a few weeks to go through any one item (I still have oreos I bought back in February!) I do drink a lot of soda/pop, but only diet. It's my one vice, but better that then smoking or alcohol. I drink rarely. I have gotten into drinking lots of water lately too. I don't eat large meals, and I eat frequently throughout the day. I do have a sweet tooth, and I believe in giving into a craving than depriving yourself because you'll binge later if you don't just have a small treat now.
Over these past 3 years, I have not been able to lose the weight.
I have had a lot of stress. I have had my ups and downs. I try to exercise, but it's painful for me. I cannot run or do high impact stuff. That's why I swim and bike. I have exercise induced asthma. I just don't know what to do anymore. I can't overwhelm myself with exercise every day. I don't have the time. I still struggle with tiredness at times, though not as severely as before. I understand that even with reducing my calories and getting some exercise, it should come off, but probably slower. But I haven't changed at all. Yet my eating habits have changed drastically. 3 years ago I ate out of depression, and the only physical activity I had was walking to class. I eat significantly less now, I eat better breakfasts, less in the evening, and yet NOTHING has changed. Dress/pant sizes don't change either (I know that if I were gaining muscle that may affect the scale). I just can't seem to lose the fat I put on.
So please, if anyone has a story similar to mine or some good advice for me, I would really appreciate it. I am dissatisfied with my body. I want to change. I am going to medical school in the fall. My life is all about stress. I know that exercise is good for fibro, but I just can't do the impact stuff. And once I start that I don't really have a free gym anymore. And I won't have the money to join one, which cuts out swimming and then biking is gone during the winter. Please help. But don't judge and say I am making excuses. I am being honest. I should not feel the way I do at my age. But I do. I just want some hope that I can lose the weight on a schedule like mine, with my conditions. I care about my health. I just don't see any results that would say that I do.
thank you for your time. I appreciate your honesty. Constructive criticism only please