Breaking barriers…

breaking barriers

I was pretty sure yesterday was an anomaly.  Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up and you feel “light”?  Maybe just a little lighter than the day before?  That was yesterday.  Yesterday was Monday — the Monday after Easter.  Easter weekend where I worked hard around the house, painting once again, on Saturday.  I was in pretty constant movement all weekend and I ate pretty ok.  Now, I don’t make it a habit of weighing off-cycle.  Now that I am attending weight watchers, I pretty much will be weighing on Fridays.  But yesterday I felt inspired to just check in.  So, I woke, and got on the scale.

199.4

Wait, what?

199.4

No way in the world did I expect to see a ONE in front of my weight.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been taken more by surprise by a weigh-in.  But there I stood, with the house completely quiet as everyone else is asleep when I rise to get my workout on.  I wanted to scream and dance.  And then it hit me.  I broke the 200 barrier.  In the past, even when I was marathon training in 2001, I always get really in my head when I get close to 200 and then I would sabotage my efforts (like I quit training back then).  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it is about that magic number and I’ve never been able to explain it, but it’s been my pattern, but not my truth anymore.

I literally had no trepidation as I was approaching it.  Almost like I refused to acknowledge it.  And now here I stand, past it.  And it didn’t hurt one bit! LOL.  And for good measure, I just weighed again, on Tuesday, 199.4.  So, it’s legit.  My goal was to hit the one hundreds by March 31, 2018.  My seven month anniversary from surgery.  I needed two extra days to achieve it, but here I am, right on target.  Smashing all sorts of “rules” I had formerly lived by.  Proving to myself that life is what you make of it.  Reality is what you choose it to be.  No one really defines the world as we see it but us.  Others may shape us; parents, siblings, friends, along the way, but in the end, we define ourselves, and our vision of who we are in the world we live in.  And when we’re ready, we become what we decide we are.

The last time I weighed 199 (or less) was in 1994, before my dad died.  When he died, I came home to help mom for a few months and out of grief, and bad habits, I stuffed my feelings down with pizza, pasta and crap and gained 20 pounds.  Right before my wedding.  I was 200 even on my wedding day in 1996.  I was 205 when I got pregnant with Jake and 219 when I got pregnant with Kenzie.  I know every milestone according to what I weighed.  I’ve allowed myself to be trapped by it, to be obsessed by it, to be defined by it.

What I’ve learned through this journey is that I’m so much more than what the scale says.  The scale doesn’t know me.  It doesn’t know I’m funny, or talented in art and writing.  The scale isn’t real.  And it isn’t a friend.  It’s a tool.  One way to gauge my progress, but such a small way.  There have been so many other milestones along the way.

Walking without wheezing, running up stairs rather than walking, being able to hike, run, and this summer I’ll horseback ride for the first time in decades.  I enjoy clothes shopping with other people now.  I fit in seats in airplanes and theaters.  I can wear my tennis bracelet, and I’m a size 7.5 wedding ring (down from a 10).  And, for those of you who have been along for the whole adventure, including my first blog post, I can now put my socks on without heavy breathing or falling over!  🙂

It’s time to assign myself some new goals.  Hiking is still on my list from my first January 2018 post, but I’ve taken triathlon’ing off.  Here’s where common sense sets in.  I have terrible knees.  Running on and off these last few months just reminds me of that.  And to push to train to the level I need to to complete an Olympic distance is just asking for trouble.  And the last thing I want is another knee surgery on either one.  Let alone both!  I don’t want to be side-lined, have to recover, rehab and work to get back to where I am today.  So, that’s off the table.  I think I’d like to zipline.  I certainly want to paddle board.  My development/neighborhood will have direct drop-in access to Crowder’s Creek (which probably sounds a lot smaller than it is) — it is a small lake-sized body of water that is non-motorized but feeds into the larger Lake Wylie (which is motorized).  We agreed to buy kayaks and paddle boards and do a stay-cation rather than travel this summer.  And I cannot wait.  I’m going to spend some time over the next few weeks planning out some additional goals.

The question I’m asked most often these days is do I have an “end” weight in mind.  And I do.  It differs dramatically from my doctor’s goal for me.  He is still looking at the 1970’s (or earlier) weight charts for women.  He estimated my end weight would be between 130 and 150.  I’ll be honest.  I don’t want to be that thin.  I carry a LOT of lean muscle.  I’ve always been athletic.  When I was in high school, starving myself for the most part, prior to having children, and working out sometimes up to four hours a day, I weighed 163.  I had 9% body fat.  I hated life.  I don’t want to live like that.  I want balance, and health, and freedom to be “normal”.  My personal goal is to be somewhere between 165-175.  I think that is a) doable; and b) maintainable.  I exercise about an hour a day, five days a week and I eat a variety of foods.  That’s the other thing I do a little differently than what my doctor recommends.

As a bariatric patient, you are encouraged to eat predominantly lean proteins first, with a little vegi on the side if there’s room, followed by occasional “healthy” carbs (whole grains, etc.).  I eat more of a balanced approach.  Always making sure I have lean proteins on my plate first, but I almost always have vegi’s/fruit and carbs as well.  I’d say my composite is 40/30/30.  It seems to work for my body and I don’t feel deprived.  I occasionally have treats.  A cookie, ice cream, etc.  I hear the collective gasp of other bariatric patients at writing that.  This is why I returned to weight watchers at this juncture.

I never set out to be “perfect” on this journey.  I never set out to be a purist or set myself up for some lifestyle I don’t enjoy or want to sustain.  THAT to me is a sure fire way to fail.  I enjoy food.  I like how it tastes.  Albeit it is not as pleasurable to me as it once was — that is for another post altogether.  The missing piece for me in the past was balance and control.  Food was my entire focus before.  And I was a star member of the clean plate club.  For sure.  Today I know my limits and I am comfortable pushing away from the table before I reach them.  I don’t feel weird or sad or unsatisfied if I leave food on my plate, or heaven forbid, I throw food I made, but didn’t finish, away.  I am getting much better at portion sizes (meaning I am making smaller and smaller portions according to what I know I can, and should, be eating — in the beginning I was still cooking and preparing as if I could eat 2,000 cals at a sitting even though there’s no way I want to or can do that).

I don’t want a life of eggs, bacon and more eggs.  I want to have variety and enjoy being at dinner with friends and indulge on occasion, knowing I need to make healthy choices, but they can be varied, and still be good for me.  And I have absolutely bought in to the reality that exercise is part of the deal.  Every day I need to move.  Most days in a very structured way.  And I’ve actually come to enjoy that part – the movement part.  Especially seeing what this new body can do.

So, with all that said, it may take me a while to hit my goal weight, but I’m good with that.  It really is a marathon, not a sprint.  And realistically, I’m now losing about 3-5 pounds a month on average.  I have 5 months until my one year surgery anniversary.  and I am just under 25 pounds from the top-end of my goal.  I think that’s doable.  My doc thought I would lose 100 pounds the first year.  This would put me at -110.  I have no idea where that will put me size-wise.  And I don’t really care.  Different clothes fit differently.  What I do focus on is my health stats.

When I started, my bp was 156/96.  Untreated high blood pressure.  Holy smokes.  My overall cholesterol was around 170 and my resting heart rate was around 82.  Good night.  Today my bp is 110/68, my cholesterol is around 121 and my resting heart rate hovers in the mid to high 40’s.  My edema is totally gone (my feet used to be so swollen they were tender to the touch on top and all my gym shoes were laced loosely), I am no longer short of breath and I sleep soundly (except when I don’t…{sigh}) sans the snoring.  And today I weigh 199.4.  I have come a long way, baby.  And I look forward to all the twists and turns ahead.

2 Replies to “Breaking barriers…”

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