It’s Been A While

Wow, the last time I wrote here was September 8, 2013. I was full tilt boogie out of control. After losing a bunch of weight and doing well I hit the wall of all walls. My barrier is adapting. When things aren’t going exactly as planned then I fail to cope and when I fail to cope I simply fail.

The funny thing about failing is that it’s almost a self fulfilling profecy for me. I almost will it to happen because I never get failing out of my mind. It’s also been ingrained in my head since I’ve been failing at weight loss for so long.

After much consideration and after failing yet again my doctor asked me about my thoughts on weight loss surgery. I always thought you had to be someone so far gone that surgery would be the only option that made sense. Was I that far gone? Am I completely unable to lose weight on my own. I left with him not knowing just how much I was hurt. But I was hurt.

After the pain/embarassment/pity feelings were sufficiently drowned out by ice cream I decided to take a look at surgery. He mentioned that there were a lot of new advancements and tons of information. I started a serious look. An open minded look. I was intrigued.

After looking at a ton of websites and surgeons I started watching videos on YouTube and just seeing these transformed lives. It’s a new world when you can cross your legs, walk without knee pain and instantly sweating, and just live a normal life. I wanted this normal life. I kept reading and learning and I finally found a local hospital with a phenomenal program. I had no idea if my insurance would cover it, what the procedure was or what I needed to do but on February 14, 2014, I finally called them.

Why Valentine’s Day? Because I woke up to a lovely card from my husband. It was a card expressing how much he loves me and how lucky he is to have me in his life. My happiness drifted to shame because at my current weight I was really gambling with how much life I was going to be able to give him! He deserves a healthy wife. Not a thin, beautiful, waif-like wife but a wife that is healthy and able. It’s not a vanity thing but a healthy thing.

After the call I embarked on an 11 month journey complete with nutritionists, sleep studies, CPAP machines, Upper GIs, a stomach infection, numerous rounds of blood work, and amazing support groups and I’m finally there. I just got my surgery date and I’m so very excited.

For years I’ve loved food almost as much as the important things in my life. It’s time I love myself.

Half Mile Start

Every great journey starts with a single step. After the summer of crazy things are starting to settle down. I need to stop letting outside forces dictate my health. My aggravation and frustration at some of the events of the past 90 days allowed me to return to my full tilt boogie emotional eating cycle that just kills me.

I know I feel better when I eat better, limit carbs, and work out yet when things don’t immediately go my way there I am relying on my old “friends” Ben & Jerry for comfort instead of running for a bit or writing.

I used to run a lot and I miss the clarity that comes with running. There’s an amazing thing that happens when I run, especially when I run at night. I’m able to rehash my day and think of different things, and just clear out the mess that tends to pile up. I feel better and I get exhausted so I sleep better.

Why don’t I start eating what makes me feel good and drinking what makes me feel good and running since it makes me feel good?

Tonight I took a walk in my backyard for a half a mile. It’s a start.

Pema Gives A Lesson

I bet it’s pretty clear that I have some pretty bad habits. I have a tendency to make mountains out of molehills, hold on to things that serve me no purpose, and repeat mistakes. I have asked God on many occasions to free me of these crazy tendencies… over and over… and over again.

Now, I’m not one to question God but I must say I’ve been wondering WHEN this cycle of mine will finally be clear for good and I can move on. I need to just have faith and let God take over. This I believe.

The other day I turned on my computer and Facebook was on the screen and I actually found my answer. There was a quote from author Pema Chodron on the screen. I read it and GASPED.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

There it was! THE answer! My weight has always been a thought concern obsession of mine and I’ve always had success but it was limited success. I would fall off the wagon for a moment and beat myself up for a month (while indulging in cake to ease the beating). I’m not learning anything in these cycles and I’m surely not trusting God 100%! THAT IS MY LESSON. My pain isn’t in the predictable nature of my failure but in not giving it to God and trusting that He will handle it.

I love that an insightful Tibetan Buddhist like Pema Chodron brought this Christian girl even closer to God.

Do you trust God? Do you think He can help with your weight loss?

Surprising Look in the Mirror

Well, I bet some of you have been wondering where I’ve been. It’s been quite a few months and the changes have been astronomical. When we last met, I was recovering from my surgery in February and I had to stop the program because surgery can be dangerous when you’re in ketosis.

I rebounded relatively well but then my potassium levels were out of whack and I had to stop again. Maintaining was all fine and good until some seriously personal things happened in my family and my stress levels were off the charts. As my stress increased my food intake increased. The weight started to creep back and now at the end of July I’m tying here with nearly 40lbs of my weight loss back.

I thought of just throwing in the towel and just living my life as I’ve always lived it: fat and disappointed in myself. I have a loving husband and great family and they love me just as I am so why continue? Why jump back on this yo-yo train of success and failure?

Then one day I was talking to my husband about one of his friends and in the middle of the conversation I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

His friend is a  woman that he’s known for years and she’s been in a truly unhappy relationship for 15 years. She and her companion have never been married but they do have a child together and he’s been struggling with a drug problem. She will occasionally call my husband and share her latest tale of woe.

As he’s telling me about the latest drama between them I make a noticeable sigh.

Him: What was that for?

Me: Sorry, it just seems like this story never changes! She calls and vents but then goes back to the same drama. It can be a little exhausting.

Him: i feel for her, it’s unfortunate.

Me: I feel for her too but I think I’d feel more if she was actively trying to fix it. It just comes across as complaining since she never tries to address it.

As the words are coming out of my mouth I’m struck with my reality. This conversation is exactly what I do with my weight. No one on Earth is as bothered by my weight as I am. I will complain about it to my husband, whine about my lack of clothing options, and sulk about it for days. Then I will down a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, pay faithfully for my gym membership that I don’t use, or spend another $75 on running shoes that will spend an eternity in my closet.

I stopped talking and looked at my husband.

Me: So, this is like me kvetching about my weight isn’t it?

Him: Honestly, yes, I guess you could say that.

The next few minutes I sat in silence and thought about what it would be like to tackle this again. To come back and start to blog again. To put my running shoes on and go to the gym again. To not sit and think about where I would be if I didn’t stop and start thinking of where I’m going when I start again.

It’s hard for me not to dwell on things. Especially failure. I can stamp my forehead FAILURE and let it sit and fester there for a long time. I think three months is long enough. It’s time to get back on it.

People Like Us

I’m at the point in my weight loss where it’s pretty significant. Even though I think I struggle with seeing it in myself I can’t help but to notice the reactions of people who haven’t seen me in a while. I posted a picture of my husband and I on Valentine’s Day on Facebook and the comments were overwhelming. All very nice people talking about how great I looked. As much as I feel kind of embarrassed by it, I’ve come to expect it. So imagine it not coming up at all.

There’s a little back story to this that I have to tell. One of my good friends has also been struggling with her weight for years. She even had a lap band put in but couldn’t lose much weight because eating the proper foods made her sick and what she shouldn’t have been eating went down all too easily. A couple years ago I wanted to go to Weight Watchers and I asked her to go with me. She told me this:

People like us will never be thin.

That about killed me. Not only did she give up all hope for herself, she tried to give it up to me too! I did join and had some success but as I’ve said before when I get to the point where things are going well I usually find some excuse as to why it won’t work out. For WW it was no longer convenient to take 3 buses to my weigh in. The real reason was that I wanted to eat copious amounts of cake without judgement or accountability.

It’s been months since I’ve seen her and when I posted about losing 40 lbs she said, “When the hell did you lose 40 pounds?” I posted a picture and she congratulated me. She never again made mention of my weight. She had actually joined WW and was doing well and I applauded her.

So last night we went out to see them and I was expecting the same slack jawed expression and look of awe that people usually give me and I got nothing. Just the typical smile and hug. I felt a little let down. What usually made me a little embarrassed or uncomfortable I really WANTED from her.

When we went to sit down all the tables were taken so we had to sit in a booth. A booth and a fat girl are not best friends and my husband is 6′5″ tall so he’s not a big fan of them either. I slid into the booth with ease and there was room between me and the table. It was so nice to be able to just slide in and sit. No drama, no hoping the table wasn’t bolted to the floor, no resting my stomach on the table. Just sitting.

We talked the entire night and had a blast but my weight never came up. In fact, when she started WW she would tell me updates regularly but she never brought up her own weight either. At first I was upset then I starting really thinking about the situation. I didn’t want her flattery. What I really wanted was for her to acknowledge that I wasn’t ready to give up hope. I wanted her to tell me that I could do it and that I wasn’t one of the “people like us.”

I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 12 years old. Even though that was 28 years ago I’m still not ready to throw in the towel. I can do this… with our without her acceptance, acknowledgement, or approval. The only “people” I’m like is ME and I have faith.

Anxiety For Nothing

I’ve been a walking freak show lately. Since I came out of ketosis for my surgery I’ve had a hell of a time getting back into the swing of things. As the days progressed I started feeling like I was this huge, blubbering mess and that I must have gained 10,000 pounds (yes, unreasonable but anxiety is rarely reasonable). Everyday I would try to start again and every afternoon I would feel like I was too far gone and eat something inappropriate.

Cue: Self-Sabotage

We had a pretty big blizzard and now you couple my struggle with no power or heat and you just get a mix of crazy that only chocolate could fix and then I’m even worse off than I was before. Then - finally - I had my surgical follow up. They didn’t weigh me but when they left me to change I quickly weighed myself and realized that I wasn’t that far off from my last weigh in. Is that possible?

After my appointment (I’m perfectly fine BTW) I had to run to my Ideal Protein facility. There must be some mistake. There’s no way I ate my mother’s homemade macaroni and cheese and didn’t gain 20lbs. Impossible.

Twenty four hours before my appointment I rush in and see if I can get weighed and get food. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to destroy myself for the past two weeks and that I am truly ready to get back on board. My counselor told me that the past is in the past. There’s a lot of emotion going on with surgery that can be difficult to manage and the most important thing is that I was back in the office and ready to go again. I told her not to expect to say these inspirational things after my weigh in because it’s going to be horrible.

I got on the scale and it seemed like 5  hours between the tell-tale beeps that kick out my weight on the Tanita scale. My counselor smiled and said, “You lost three pounds.”

SAY WHAT?

Then I relaxed from my panic and really started to look over what I ate over the past couple weeks. I did have my mother’s amazing mac n cheese but I didn’t have an entire plate of it. I didn’t even have seconds. I ate food that was off my plan but I didn’t overeat food. THAT IS VICTORY.

This morning I awoke with a refreshed outlook. I’m ready to tackle this next half of my weight loss. I’m ready to go back to following the plan and staying with it and I have some renewed hope that when I make it to maintenance I may actually be able to be responsible with my eating and maintain a healthy weight.

The Cold Feeling of Responsibility

So, things were progressing along just fine and then SLAP! My surgery was scheduled for January 30th and I had to be out of ketosis. It was a breeze the first time and I got back on track right away after I had to switch the dates. This time building on the ease of my last time I decided that I would start a little earlier since I wanted to be ready for my bloodwork two days before the surgery. This was partially true… I also wanted to eat more of what I wanted over the weekend.

I ordered a pizza and did well. I was actually surprised at how little I could eat of it before I was full and actually a little bit sick. I guess a prolonged time away from cheese and bread will do that to you. But that really opened a door that I had a pretty hard time shutting. It was like my brain had its bread switch turned back on and I wanted more.

I didn’t go into full tilt boogie crazy that first day but I noticed that I slowly started eating more… and wanting more.

By the time I had surgery I had everything I wanted but McDonald’s and Ben & Jerry’s because those things I’m afraid to turn back on in my brain. The plan was to return to ketosis the day after my surgery. You know about best laid plains, right?

So after my surgery I had a tough time in recovery. They had a problem with the camera and instead of one procedure I actually had three so it was much longer time under as well. When I finally came home that day I slept through the rest of Wednesday. Thursday was only slightly better and Friday - when I was supposed to be feeling better - I felt even worse. My doctor brought me in and physically I was fine but they sent me for lab work.

The next few days were touch and go with how I felt and what was happening to my physically. When I’m sick the last thing this big baby wants is to monitor food and eat out of silly foil packets! When I’m feeling crappy I have but one defense: FOOD. It keeps me from hurting humans and here I was crappy and defenseless! Things could have gotten very ugly here.

Instead of DEAL with how I was feeling and pushing through it I just ate through it. I’ll start tomorrow became my hallmark. Then I started thinking of how well I’m doing and how many people tell me everyday how I’ve inspired them to kickstart a program or believe that they can do it themselves and I feel even crappier because here I am sitting my inspiring behind in my bed mentally eating my way of a donut the size of a camel. Yes, that’s inspiring.

Then comes the feeling. That cold feeling of responsibility. Now I’m at the point where I always tend to fail because I don’t fear failure especially when it comes to food. I’ve been failing at this for a lifetime. If I gain it all back tomorrow then it’s business as usual around these parts. I’m sure someone in my family has a betting pool with Vegas style odds on the day I’ll crack and the month I’ll be heavier than when I started. They’ll talk for a while and I’ll hear it but then it will fade off and I can go stand in my rightful place in my family with the imaginary sign over my head that says THE FAT ONE.

But what if I actually complete this? Then what happens? I can’t possibly gain another pound!! That would make me in an even worse predicament than quitting now. Quitting before I finish is my MO but getting there, tasting success, and moving backward?? Potentially unforgivable. Perhaps I should discuss then further when I’m dunking my McDonald’s fries in my Chubby Hubby Ice Cream? I can discuss the exact method of my failure. Nothing like uncomfortably plotting your own failure eating comfort food. What will be my place then? THE FAT ONE THAT WAS THE SKINNY ONE AND THREW IT ALL AWAY.

The amount of pressure to lose weight is tremendous but I fear the pressure of having to continue to do well even more. Feeling like your journey is somehow the gasoline fueling the car of another dieter lifestyle changer can be overwhelming.

Well in the middle of the “I’ll just have a little of that” portion of this blog my doctor calls. Turns out my horrible skin crawls, inability to stay awake, and chronic crappiness was due to my potassium level being very low. I started taking the supplements and I feel a million times better. I’m more in control of my decisions and feeling better helps motivate me to continue.

I hope that’s going to be enough gas to last the next few weeks. Somebody’s counting on it!

Shape Shifting and My Closet of Hope

Some days this lifestyle change is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Other days I can’t think of anything more challenging. It’s been 3 months and I’m down nearly 70lbs. That’s a lot of weight… in not a lot of time. As you know I don’t weigh myself at home (if you didn’t know that then you do now LOL). I noticed that when I did weigh myself in the past I would become almost obsessive about every single ounce every single day. Now, I only weigh myself at the IP facility on Fridays. That’s it.

Even at my weigh ins I find myself focusing more on the pounds lost than the amount I weigh so I’m really not fixed on a number. This has opened up a new door for me. I get to focus on how I feel and how my clothes fit. I’ve been known to purchase things that I hope I can fit into one day or keep things thinking that I’ll eventually wear them again.

I have a closet filled with hope.

Lately, I’ve been digging through my Closet of Hope and trying things on. I tried on things that last month didn’t fit, things that I bought last year that had tags on them still, and even more things that I just never thought I’d ever be able to wear. Slowly but surely they are starting to fit. I always seem surprised when the next item fits me and my husband is always surprised that I’m surprised.

I’m also noticing the shape of my body. My face is thinner, my profile is smaller, and my legs are trimming down. When my husband rubs my back it feels flatter and I notice the difference when my children hug me. These changes mean so much more to me than a number. Putting on clothes and having them fit or get too big is more satisfying than those three digits I poured all of my self esteem into for so many years.

I’ve been down this road so many times but I thank God that I can finally see it’s the little things that will keep me going. Never underestimate the power of pulling something from the Closet of Hope and have it be a little baggy.

Out of Ketosis!

Yes, I was out of ketosis and it was scary! Why? Well, on New Year’s Day I was struck with horrible pain in my abdomen. It got to the point where I couldn’t possibly handle it and I couldn’t even drive. I took an ambulance to the emergency room and after having 2 children I can say that I was in childbirth-like pain.

They first thought that I had a cyst on my ovaries after a CT scan and drugged me up good and sent me home but told me to return in the morning for an ultrasound. After my ultrasound they didn’t see any cysts on my ovaries but they did find a baseball sized fibroid tumor in my uterus. Baseball.

Well, the long and the short of it is that fibroids are rarely cancerous and almost never cause pain. I’ve had them before and never had a problem with them and they eventually went away. They just don’t understand where the pain came from or what the heck the ER doctors were looking at on my CT Scan.

Two weeks prior I was in my doctor’s office doing a little family planning research and I decided that since we do not wish to have any more children that I’d take care of that so I’m not the woman with kids aged 18, 16, and newborn. They have this new procedure that takes 10 minutes and they strategically place thin wire coils into your Fallopian tubes and within 3 months they fuse completely closed. No going under, no risk of tubal pregnancy, and the most reliable form of birth control.

Sign me up!!

Well, now that I’ve had hospital-bad-labor-like pain my doctor had another plan. It’s actually a great plan that won’t cost me any money which is an even better plan. Since I’m having some mysterious issues he suggested that I tie my tubes the normal way and that allows him to look around while he’s there. Had he scheduled an exploratory surgery I would have probably had to pay a deductible and what not but family planning is covered 100% so he’s awesome.

What does this have to do with being out of ketosis? I found out that some people have complications with the anesthesia when they are in ketosis so they don’t reccommend it at all. My surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, Jan 16th so I had to eat some carbs on Monday and Tuesday and go back to Phase 1 protocol on Thursday.

I ate a piece of toast on Monday morning and was a bit nauseous after for a while. Had a little bit of potatoes and the same thing. I got the call from my doctor today that they are moving my surgery to the 30th and I was glad. As much as I’ve longed for these items before today they really didn’t do much for me when I could have them. Going back into ketosis now and I’ll cross this bridge again closer to my new surgery date.

How I Almost Lost It

This journey is one of extreme ups and downs and I was definitely having more ups than downs then came Christmas. I really thought how I took Thanksgiving and spanked its behind would make Christmas a breeze. There are so many other things to think about with Christmas and not just strapping on the feedbag and being thankful we get to eat like pigs for one day with no judgement. I.WAS.HORRIBLY.WRONG.

On Christmas Day we went to my sister in law’s house and having eaten there numerous times I came prepared. I brought my favorite protein packs and knew in advance what I was going to eat. I even brought IP Strawberry Wafers for dessert since dessert there is a feast in and of itself. I was so ready.

Or so I thought.

Actually, when it came time for dessert I took out my strawberry wafers and was just fine until I saw everyone else eating. Peanut butter pie, apple pie, Italian cookies, brownies, cookies of every possible variation.

It was basically awesome dipped in amazing and coated with fabulous all over the table.

That’s when I started to twitch. I wanted to eat all of it! I looked around the room and all I could feel was envy. I wanted to eat the pie…. all the pie…. everyone’s pie. I wanted cookies and meringue and chocolate. Suddenly, that strawberry wafer was no longer appetizing.

My envy then drifted to anger. What an injustice that I can’t just have a slice of pie or a taste of chocolate! This is insane. I don’t want to do this anymore! I really just want to be able to do what I want when I want!! NOW.

And for two horrible weeks that’s how I’ve felt. I’ve obsessed with the thought of doing the Nestea plunge into an Olympic sized swimming pool of chocolate and because that wasn’t a possibility I was just a short tempered crabby evil person. I just hated weekly weigh ins, food in foil, and not being able to do whatever like normal people.

Then something happened this morning. I woke up with a new found sense of clarity. I am not like normal people and a slice of pie has never existed in my life. I can eat all the pie or most of the pie but I could never stop at a mere slice of pie. It’s just not me. Then I really looked at my body and although I still have a long way to go I’ve come a long way and not in a long amount of time. I was over 320 lbs on October 11, 2012 when I walked into Ideal Protein. As I type right now I weigh 255 and it’s been just under 3 months.

I was so close to losing it mentally but with the strength of the Lord and the IP protocol I can go back to losing it physically.