Finally broke a two month hiatus where I was hanging out in the #190’s. No worries, I knew weight loss was going to slow, and I have been pounding strength training lately so I continue to see my body tighten and get smaller, but still, seeing the evidence on the scale from time to time is motivating as well.
As I near my one year surgiversary, I really, really, really want to hit -100. I’m not obsessed by it. And quite frankly, I’ll be fine emotionally if I don’t. I have come so far this year.
On July 31, 2017 I weighed 285.6. Possibly not my heaviest, but my heaviest on record for sure. Yesterday morning I weighed 189.9. One tenth of a pound under 190. Craziness. I finally feel like I’m in the totally “normal” range for once. I no longer feel like the biggest girl in the room. I feel free to just be myself. I no longer over compensate by being loud, and boisterous, overly funny, and the center of attention. Which seems oddly opposite of what you would expect from someone who was feeling so self-conscious. I think it was my way of deflecting how self-conscious I actually was about my body.
It’s been an amazing year of exploration — I have regained my health and my sense of who I really am. Who I always was, but I felt hidden under all the layers. I have emerged as a stronger, kinder, and dare I say, more compassionate person. I get what it is to struggle. To want something so badly but having come to the verge of giving up belief that you’ll ever obtain what it is you seek. I tried so hard, and struggled so long that I just couldn’t give anymore. I was emotionally spent and felt like a failure. I am smart, dedicated and driven in all areas of my life. Why could I just not lose the damn weight?
The night I woke in the wee hours with an overriding need to research weight loss surgery was one of the most profound times in my life. It was me saying I needed help. I could not do this on my own but I didn’t want to give up on myself. I am so thankful I found Dr. Long. He was kind, patient and informative. He was matter-of-fact, he was educational, and he was deeply in touch with God. I still get chills when I think of his hand on my shoulder, praying over me before we went in to surgery. I have leaned on that moment many times. Knowing that God had my back and was walking with me on this journey.
This has not been an easy journey. Sure, the first 50 pounds flew off. The next 50 have been blood, sweat, and tears. It has been like ground hog’s day sometimes. Up at 5:30, on the treadmill, to the weights, make my breakfast, plan my meals, work, enjoy some family time, go to bed, repeat the next day. Such is life. But the win has been in the consistency of making time for what is important, even when you think there isn’t a spare minute left in the world, somehow when it’s important enough, you find that minute and use it to your advantage. It certainly hasn’t been perfect, but that in itself is a lesson I hold dear. It isn’t black and white. It isn’t about perfection. It’s an accumulation of enough little steps that it eventually equals big gains — or losses as it were…
Surgery isn’t a magic pill, but it has done one amazing thing for me. It has forever changed my relationship with food. Eating isn’t a simple process anymore. I can’t mindlessly nosh until my feelings are pushed down. If I do, I vomit. The end. Even eating slow and small portions is a challenge. I have biological response. Bite one is amazing, just like I remember it. The taste of the food literally explodes in my mouth. Then I have to chew it to death. Then I swallow. Bite one is good. All the way down. Bite two is less explosive, chewing is tedious, that one goes down, but bite three my body reacts a little different. My body sometimes releases a “gel” like substance that creeps back up my throat and coats the back of my mouth and tongue. It’s unpleasant. If I eat too fast, or too large of bites, this reaction happens faster and is thicker. If I push past this and really over do it, that gumminess is hard to swallow back and eventually all the food comes back up. Not pleasant. And I only speak of it to paint the reality of eating post-surgery. So, since eating is such a balancing act, and my body’s reaction isn’t always excitement and easy digestion, it is no longer the comfort it once was. And since it’s been a year now, and I’ve had said reaction many, many times over that year, like Pavlov’s dogs, I have learned to find other things to help me cope and find comfort when I’m stressed or feeling down, or happy and excited for that matter. Things other than food. My instinct now turns to drinking water, or writing, or reading, or walking.
I used to get so annoyed when people would say, “well, just exercise when you’re stressed..” I was always thinking, “No, I want pie when I’m stressed. I don’t want to walk.” But now I get it. It’s about the art of distraction. And I used to do that with food, but now since the pay off isn’t what it once was, it’s less desirable so I’ve found other things that feel rewarding or that help cause a distraction when I need it. And sometimes, that even includes walking. Who would’ve thought.
There are a few things I’m really glad I did at the outset. I took not only my weight, but my measurements. I took pictures of me in all my glory in as little clothing as felt comfortable (exercise bra and shorts) and I tracked my progress monthly through an app called “Body Shot”. I am so so glad I did that. When I felt like I was in a rut I simply went back over the months, or looked at the weight loss graph, or put pictures side by side with my inches lost to remind myself how far I’d come.
All of these tools kept me moving ahead when life got in the way and I felt like throwing in the towel. I’m so glad I had them.
So what if I don’t hit my -100 goal on day 365? That’s okay. There’s always day 366. And having the goal in the forefront of my mind for all these days over the course of the year has certainly gotten me closer to the goal than if I had never had a goal to begin with. I am happy with where I am, with who I am, and I am proud of how I have gotten here. I say that’s a win in itself!