Monthly Archives: August 2013

Week 12 and the Magic Number is…

Week 12 and 47.5 pounds gone!

Week 12 and 47.5 pounds gone!

47.5 pounds! Yes, that’s my weight loss total for the first three months of my Down the Scale Journey. Yes, I’m excited about how much I have lost in such a short time. Yes, I am damn proud of myself. Yes, here comes the but… I’m not as excited as I thought I would be at this point. 

Part of my lackluster attitude is really silly; I wanted to lose 50 pounds. It was the estimate my surgeon gave me so I assumed I would do it. Yes, I’m close, but let’s face it, 50 pounds has a better ring to it than 47.5 pounds. Here’s hoping that in lucky week 13 I can say I have hit this first goal.

Achieving the first goal will definitely help my attitude, but I am nervous about the rest of my journey. My goal is to lose 112 pounds. It is such a huge number and with it comes an enormous sense of dread. While the surgery definitely speeds up the time it takes to lose such a large amount of weight, it still takes time. And it is a painful reminder of how I let my physical and mental health take a back seat for so long.

So, is there anything positive to my blasé attitude? Actually the best thing about it is that my new lifestyle is normal. Losing weight is now normal. Eating healthy foods in reasonable quantities is now normal. Walking instead of driving is now normal. Exercising is now normal. The fact that these things are part of my everyday life is such a good thing.

I hope to make my first goal next week, but if I don’t, I think I’ll be OK. Yes, I will be OK. Time to work a little harder, keep my goals in mind, but also I think it’s time to relax a bit and enjoy this journey a bit more. The big successes like losing 50 pounds are amazing, but I think it’s time to sit back and enjoy my new “ordinary” life as I go Down the Scale…

Time to Celebrate

Week 11 of my Down the Scale journey is here and I’ve decided it’s time to celebrate the positive aspects of my weight loss!

My running shoes and Garmin watch are out of temporary retirement!  Looking forward to doing my 2nd 5K (with a better time!) this year!

My running shoes and Garmin watch are out of temporary retirement! Looking forward to doing my 2nd 5K (with a better time!) this year!

First, I’ve lost 45.5 pounds! Losing 5.5 pounds this week was a surprise, especially since  I had a few days where I ate more than normal. No matter what I eat, even if it’s more than usual, I track it in MyFitnessPal. It is keeping me accountable for my food intake and does make me think about my choices. It seems a bit silly, but seeing what I eat in black and white really does help me make better decisions and think about why I’m eating.

That leads me into another celebration, my awareness of why I’m eating. Yes, I do eat when I’m hungry, but I also want to eat to relieve stress and anxiety. No, I haven’t lost my stress, but I am becoming more conscious of my feelings and trying to deal with them instead of eating them away. I can’t say I have a good handle on this, but I feel like I am more honest with myself. This will be a constant struggle, but I feel more hopeful than I have in the past.

Running is back in my life which is a huge reason to celebrate! I started  running last year and even did a 5K race. Tuesday I started day one of the Couch to 5K program and felt great! The energy and stress relief running gives me is priceless. I am also walking my kids to school and back each day which is a half a mile each way. Every bit of exercise I can fit in makes me feel great!

And the last “big” celebration of the week is the return of school! I love having my kids home, but as a stay at home mom, a little break is good for all of us! My baby boy is a 4th grader and my baby girl is a kindergartener! It is a year of new changes, new schedules and new rewards for all of us!

I am thankful that I have so many things to celebrate this week. I need to keep all these things in mind during the difficult moments and weeks. I am still struggling with food-centric activities like grocery shopping, eating out and parties. My guess is that I will always have to reign in my food activities and my stress related eating. I just hope that I can remember all the positive aspects of my lifestyle change and keep on celebrating my success, a pound at a time…

Surprise, Surprise, This isn’t Really that Easy..

My new life began 10 weeks ago with my gastric sleeve surgery. 40 pounds down! My body is changing as expected, but it is the emotional changes that are the biggest surprise. I thought I was prepared for the emotional changes, but I am embarrassed to admit, I was wrong. I was nowhere near ready to deal with the feelings, stress, highs and lows that my new lifestyle would bring. Time to deal with them now, and I don’t think it is going to be pretty.

Starting a weight loss journey is something I’ve done many times, but this time it is extreme. The surgery permanently changed my body and while I knew I would have to change my mindset about food, I was naïve to think it would be simple. When food is your reward, your comfort, your stress reliever and your go-to friend for boredom for more than 40 years, changing your mindset is harder than you think.

Week 9 and on vacation!  A non-food oriented vacation was just what I needed.  Better yet, I loved it!

Week 9 and on vacation! A non-food oriented vacation was just what I needed. Better yet, I loved it!

Some lifestyle changes have been easy, like reducing my craving for sweet things. We were on our first vacation last week, and I didn’t find myself looking for the closest ice cream shop or candy store as I did in the past. We didn’t eat out much so I didn’t face temptation or feel deprived constantly. One of the few times we did eat out, I did indulge in a burger and fries. A half a burger and three french fries were all I could eat and it wasn’t that great. I would have enjoyed a salad more I think.  I hope I can keep that mind-set.

What helped me keep my mind off of food were all the outside activities we did each day. For a girl who used to say “that roughing it was a hotel without room service”, a vacation in Lake Tahoe was pretty radical. We hiked, we swam, we relaxed without making food a highlight of our trip. I guess this is what most people would consider normal, but for me, an emphasis on eating has always been part of my vacations. Treating myself to fattening food in large quantities was part of the vacation experience. This vacation showed me that having fun, by being physically active, is better than any food experience. I am thrilled I have changed my mindset, but I am more excited that my children will think of vacation as a fun time full of physical activities and not food.

So changing my food mindset on vacation wasn’t so hard, so what’s the problem? Every day life is now my problem. We came home from vacation to a stressful traffic weekend due to a three-day concert in our neighborhood. We came home to bills stacked up, loads of laundry and no food in the house. My commitment to my children’s’ school overwhelmed me even before we made it to our home. Real life slapped me in the face and I melted down quicker than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream.

Every day stress is nothing new, especially when coming home from a vacation, but this time I felt crazy, out of control and angry. Part of it could be the hormone changes from my surgery, but I think most of it is that my old way of comforting myself is gone. Oh, I could eat sugar or fatty food if I want to soothe myself, but only two ounces of it. I can’t gorge on food like I did in the past to numb myself. I have to handle stress in a different, more healthy way. This is the biggest struggle I think I have ever faced.

I haven’t handled it very well, I must admit. I have cried more this weekend than I can remember. Suddenly, every stress, every hurt, every betrayal I’ve felt is heightened. It’s not pretty or fun, but I am coming to terms that this is part of life…my new life, and I can’t ignore it. My numbing agent of food is gone. I come from a family of addicts and I am determined not to exchange my food addiction for another.

So, what am I going to do? Now that the tears are gone, I have decided that the first thing I need to do is acknowledge my stress, anger and pain. It’s here, but I think it’s also important for me to come to terms that having these feelings is normal, but how I handle it is what makes me who I am. I will not eat to deal with these feelings, I have to find ways of handling it like exercising, talking with my ever-supportive husband and friends, and of course, writing about my feelings.

The next part is probably the hardest for me. I’ve always wanted to please my family and friends even to the detriment of my sanity and happiness. I used to feel that if I made someone else happy, I would be happy. While I will always believe in a need for compromise, I am finally realizing my joy, my happiness, my peace are important, too. I need to stand up for myself. The consequences of this are not always good; I have lost family and friends because I am putting myself, my husband and children first. Realizing that I am not in charge of everyone’s happiness is still hard for me to believe, but the times I have stood up for myself, have made me realize this is right for me.

I am going to have to change commitments I made, say no to people and really think about my actions in terms of my physical and mental health. I can only hope I will find understanding and support from the people in my life. Saying no to people isn’t easy, just like saying no to food isn’t easy. This tough new journey Down the Scale is tougher than I imagined, but the thought of being healthy mentally and physically is too important to give up, no matter what struggles I face…