Metformin, My Bicycle and Me

Thanks to my son and in spite of the rain and all the recent articles I have read that question whether or not exercise is actually a factor in weight loss, I dragged out my poor, neglected bicycle yesterday, pumped up its tires and went for a ride.  It has been so long that I honestly believed I would be lucky to make it two or three feet before I had a heart attack or a stroke and came crashing to the ground.  It was a beautiful day, started out with a soft rain, and when the rain ceased a light cloud cover and a soft breeze took its place.  My son was easy on me and supportive, allowing me to set the pace.  Having a gentle encourager made the effort so much more bearable.  I would never have made it without him.  I have gained so much weight since I last rode that just pumping up my tires and bending to put on my athletic shoes had me breathing hard and ready to quit.

Thanks (I think) to Metformin, I did not gorge myself with fatty foods and sweets this past week.  Metformin is a drug which my doctor prescribed for me as sort of a last ditch effort to help me lose weight before visiting the bariatric surgeon.  I researched this drug as I do most pills before I swallow them, and found that it is typically prescribed for patients with (or who are at risk for) type II diabetes along with proper diet and exercise to regulate blood sugar.   Atypical uses; i.e., uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling, include:  To prevent Diabetes in people who are high risk, to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), to regulate menstrual cycles and increase fertility, to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, and to induce weight loss along with proper diet.  Weight loss–bingo–I immediately sniffed out that Internet rabbit trail.  Studies have shown that Metformin decreases appetite and therefore induces weight loss in obese individuals with type II non-insulin dependent diabetes.

Will Metformin work for me?  Blood sugar variances have always been a negative factor in my battle to lose weight, but I have never been diagnosed with diabetes (until recently, sort of).  During my teen years, a doctor diagnosed me with hypoglycemia and told me that if I was not careful I could end up fighting diabetes some day, but since that time every doctor I have come across has largely ignored the diagnosis of hypoglycemia and blown me off when I have mentioned it and how my blood sugar levels drop and leave me shaking and shoving candy bars into my mouth as quickly as I am able.  Now, at age 50-something, the blood work from my physical shows that my sugars have been high, and I have two doctors giving me slightly conflicting diagnoses with one saying I am in danger of developing diabetes and another saying I have it now.  I have been taking Metformin for approximately 1 1/2 weeks now, and whether or not it is placebo effect I can’t say, but I have managed to cut back on my eating, especially those delicious carbs, without feeling like I am constantly desperate for chocolate or ice cream.  I’m hopeful!

**A disclaimer to appease the paranoid side of my personality that wonders if someone will take my research and opinions as medical advice:  I am not a doctor or a scientist.  I’m just an obese, 50-something, woman looking for help and hope and telling about my journey.  Don’t do as I do because I do it.  See your own doctor and do your own research.