This weight loss journey or “curse” started when I was 15 years old. I was never truly overweight but always bigger than my friends. It became a “thing” when my first prom came around and I went shopping with my mom at the mall to find a prom dress. I was probably a size 14 back then but in 1987 that was not a size to easily be found. Instead of going to prom I started Weight Watchers with my best friends grandmother.
While I did not keep a proper list of all of the diets that I would go on in the next 30 years it is accurate to state that I went on Weight Watchers at least once a year (at a minimum) for the next 30 years. I also tried programs like NutriSystem, Apex, millions of dollars in personal training, Atkins, South Beach and a random list of other diets promising to be the ONE. I gained and lost the excess weight a million times in the thirty years. I just simply could NOT keep the weight off. The issue was far greater than calories in/calories out.
Over the years I gained a new ailment annually and by the time I made “the decision” I was a very sick 45-year old. My ailments included high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetic/gestational diabetes/pre-diabetic/diabetic, incontinence, GERD, fatty liver and then the one that would finally define “the bottom”, kidney failure. It was the appointment with the Nephrologist telling me that I would be on dialysis in ten years if I did not change my ways, that finally got my attention. I came home that day and had a near-nervous breakdown and realized I had to make a change, a permenant change. I decided I would have gastric bypass, it was “the decision” that would SAVE my life.
I went to the Info Session at Celebration Hospital mid-November and would be in the operating room one month later. There was no looking back, I had made the decision. I told very few people as I did not want to be talked out of it or dissuaded in any way. I had to save my life and this seemed my last ditch effort. The people that mattered supported me and got behind me 100% and that was more than enough as I knew this was my journey to WIN or LOSE and I did both!
The rest is history as they say as I lost 140 pounds in ten months and now 3.5 years later am still down 140 pounds +/- depending on the day. The surgery is a “tool” as they denote it, as I would come to know, as there is still plenty “to do”. The surgery stops you from eating large volumes of food and deters you from eating unhealthy as the consequences are unpleasant. It is up to you to do the rest. I am happy to be one of Celebration Bariatric Progam’s model patients as I lost 100% of my weight while the surgery only guarantees 65% loss of excess weight. I have also not experienced weight gain that can easily creep back over the years.
I am beyond grateful for the ability to have gastric bypass as I fear how my life would have continued in my pre-2016 state of health. Ultimately it was the biggest and most important decision I would make in my life.
I tell you this story to expound on so many of the ideas that I have explored in the last week. Let’s come full circle:
- Always Starting – yes I was yet again starting another program, another diet, another solve! I was not ready to give-up…yet.
- UnFu*k Yourself – if I wanted to be healthy, I had to live a healthy life. I had to get out of my head and into my life! It was not enough to know what to do, how to do it, it was time to DO IT!
- Fiercely Independent – I made this decision, on my own, brave, courageous and determined as I had ever been. I did not want to hear anyones opinions, I did not want to waste another minute…no one could know what I needed to do more than I in that moment. It was LIFE or DEATH; literally.
- inDependent – I had to depend on those that I knew I could rely on because once I solely made the decision I would not be able to do it alone. I confided in those in my circle that I knew would be my soldiers and fight with me every pound along the way. My husband and greatest supporter would live the new program with me and lost 70 pounds in the process. My kids cheered me along! My best friend Holly would show me that becoming a runner was in my realm of possibilities and my colleagues that knew, would make sure that work would never be an obstacle. I was dependent, I was reliant and man, was I GRATEFUL!
- Fellowship – I have always loved fellowship but in the past that fellowship typically revolved around food. I had to find a new way to enjoy fellowship without food because it could no longer be the center of my world. I learned that fellowship could be enjoyed at the beach, at the gym, running a half marathon or just sitting on the couch watching Dateline. My life is not less than, it is better than ever because I am still here, healthy and Always Starting…still.
I conclude with a list that I wrote back in May 2011. I just happened upon this list this week and thought that I owed it to my followers to share. I wrote a similar list before my bypass so that I could refer to it long after I had lost all the weight and had forgotten how cumbersome my life had been. This list I have named the “Dreaded List” and I share it with you. The original is written in normal font and my response TODAY is in italics. Enjoy and know when the familiar road has too high of a toll, you can always BYPASS it with the side street and you might enjoy the view along the way.
The Dreaded List
May 2011 this is the list I wrote… (in black font) …and today here is my reality (in italics):
I want to be able to fit into an airline seat with both arm rests down comfortably. TODAY – Not only can I fit, I can put both arm rests down and put a bottle of water beside me. Did I mention that I don’t need a seat-belt extender?
I want to be able to wear my clothes without feeling self-conscious and limited. TODAY – This is my reality on most days…we all feel self-conscious and limited regardless of our size.
I want to walk up a flight of stairs without breathing heavy. TODAY – Done!
I don’t want to be on six medications a day. TODAY – Still on six but today they are not keeping me alive they are enhancing my life, BIG difference!
I want to be fit. TODAY – Done!
I want to be able to wear business suits and look like the professional that I am. TODAY – I always was but I feel the part MORE today than ever!
I want to be a good role model for my kids. TODAY – This has always been a priority and is still at the top of the list today.
I don’t want to be the chubbiest in every crowd. TODAY – Definitely not the case any longer.
I want to stop obsessing about food. TODAY – Not sure this will ever be solved as obsession, addiction, whatever you choose to call it, food will always be at the top of my mind. The difference is today the habits are healthier and therefore the thoughts don’t create the negative feelings like in the past.
I want to stop having skin rashes due to the sugar in my blood. TODAY – Done!
I want to look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. TODAY – Definitely done! This was ALWAYS who I was supposed to be.
I want to be able to shop in any store. TODAY – Done!
I want to prove to myself that I can do this! TODAY – Did it, DONE…just took 30 years to finally succeed! But I never gave up! #Word
I want to be a weight loss success. TODAY – Same as above…Done…however it’s still a work in progress and always will be.
I want to feel comfortable sitting in front of a crowd. TODAY – Done.
I want to be like my mom. TODAY – I still do and will always work to make her proud. #HonoringHer
I want to stop repeating the same mistakes and corrections…dieting, gaining, dieting, gaining… TODAY – Finally, DONE!
I want off of this roller coaster. TODAY – Officially off the coaster; emotionally, physically and literally.
I want to feel pretty. TODAY – Pretty is as pretty does, it’s a state of being not a physical trait.
I want to be the whole package. TODAY – With a bow on top! Ha!
I want to live a long life, I don’t want to worry about dying. TODAY – I still want to live a long life but the improvement is that I no longer worry about dying.
I want to be considered athletic. TODAY – Ha! Done! And “Always Starting…”.