October 12, 2022

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 72

I wish I could say that I am wearing the athletic top because I'm going running, but really it's just for cross country practice. Running remains on my to-do-asap list.

I'm not sure how long I should keep the "Week X" on my Wednesday Weigh-In posts; I'm done trying to lose weight. I thought about quitting the weigh-ins, but I really feel like they help me stay accountable. While my actual weight isn't super important to me anymore, I don't like hiding from it.

This is the longest I've ever gone with my weekly weigh-ins; usually, I quit as soon as I start seeing the scale go up. The transparency of the last 72 weeks--whether my weight was up or down--has helped me to keep my goals in mind. Maybe someday I'll quit doing them, or even just switch to once a month  or something, but right now I feel like it's helpful.

I was kind of relieved when I got on the scale today and saw that I hadn't dropped a lot from last week:

I was at 125.4, which is only down 0.4 from last week. I was actually getting a little worried when I was losing so quickly over the past couple of months. That's never happened to me before, so I hoped nothing was wrong.

I had a doctor's appointment on Thursday for an annual wellness visit. I had asked ahead of time if I could get some extra blood work--iron, ferritin, and vitamin D, in particular. It wasn't because of my vegan diet, but when I did a lot of reading about vitamins (to see if I would need to supplement things) I thought it would be good to get them checked. I've had symptoms of low iron for at least 10 years, but my iron level has always been "normal". It's been on the low end of normal, but still normal.

When reading about that recently, I saw that I should have my ferritin level checked as well. Ferritin is more of a long-term indication of iron levels, where looking at the actual iron is more of a short-term snapshot. I also have symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, which is super common (especially living in the northern U.S.). I also had some other stuff checked (a lipid profile, blood sugar, vitamin B-12, a CBC and metabolic profile).

Everything was normal (again, my iron level was at the low end of normal) except for two things: ferritin and vitamin D. I wasn't even a little bit surprised!

I was really angry that nobody ever checked my ferritin level--with my iron-deficiency symptoms and the borderline low iron, why not check my ferritin?! When I mention my ice-chewing addiction, people always ask if I have low iron. I always assumed it was fine because my blood work showed that it was in the normal range. But the ice chewing, my easy bruising, constantly freezing cold (no matter the temp), fatigue, unexplained weakness, dizziness... all of those are symptoms of low iron. Yes, they are kind of vague and can be attributed to a number of problems, but the ice chewing is a big factor.

The standard range for ferritin is 11-307 ng/mL--and mine was at 8! I started taking an iron supplement and hopefully I will notice a difference in my symptoms relatively soon. I would be THRILLED if I can just get rid of being constantly cold. It's embarrassing to go places wearing a long-sleeved shirt underneath a hoodie and tights under a pair of jeans when everybody else is in t-shirts.

I have Raynaud's phenomenon too (my fingers and toes turn translucent-white when they are cold--it's creepy looking!) and it's completely miserable. They feel both numb and painful at the same time. But I still craved ice! Even when curled under a pile of blankets.

Also low was my vitamin D. The symptoms for this are even more vague, so I never gave it much thought. The standard range is 20-150; mine was 19, so it's not terribly below standard, but I started taking a vitamin D supplement as well. The last time I had it tested was in 2018 and it was at 20.

And finally, the fun stuff! My lipid profile. I've been very curious about my cholesterol since becoming vegan. I'm super bummed that I didn't have it tested in 2020 (the insurance didn't require it that year because of COVID); when I had it tested in 2021, I had already been losing weight and running for five months.

Anyway,  I was pleased with the results!

My total cholesterol was down by 48.
My HDL ("good" stuff) was up by 8.
My LDL ("bad" stuff) was down by 57.

My 30-year risk of cardiovascular disease is 5% (I don't know what it was before, but I'd say that 5% is pretty good, considering I'll be 70 in 30 years.)

So, other than my ferritin and vitamin D, I am in great health (according to my blood work). I feel a million times better than I did last year when I was in pain all the time and had no idea why.

Well, I'm going to try to go to bed now--long and busy day tomorrow!


  1. As someone who takes an iron supplement (vegetarian for 35 years and counting), be forewarned that you may have an upset stomach for awhile until your system gets used to it.

  2. I feel like I'm turning into a serial commenter, here. But I have Raynaud's in two of my fingers. You can't do this for your toes, but you ever tried whirling your arm around? Like, just get it going a few times really fast and the centrifugal force can literally pop the circulation back into those fingers. My fingers (and hand) will turn bright red and I can feel them warming back up. I feel like an idiot but it's worth it. Also, I live alone so no one sees me doing this. lol

  3. How frustrating that they never checked your ferratin! Fingers crossed (no Reynaud's pun intended) that brings you some relief from some of the symptoms. This is also so helpful and informative. BTW, we're creeping toward veganism here. I doubt we'll ever go 100%, but if I have the choice, it's tofu, no dairy, and more fiber!!

  4. In the Uk we have a supplement called spatone which is an iron rich water. It’s kinder on the stomach than iron tablets. I’m not sure if it’s available in the USA but it might be worth looking for.

  5. Also know that iron can be tricky. I was always told that some types or "brands" of iron can work really well and others not so well and you really won't know until you try. If your iron doesn't come up with one, try a different one. Also, taking it with vitamin C helps with the absorption. The second thing is vitamin D is a steady wins the race type of thing. A steady quantity over time is better than very large types once a week and it takes quite a while to build the values up. It is also very good to have for your brain health and your immunity. We bulk up quite a bit when sick and especially when my hubby goes back to school (he's a teacher), but take a regular amount all year. Our doc wanted us above 50 for sure. Good luck!


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