Category Archives: Weight Terms

Are We There Yet?

This week I had my one year followup to my tummy tuck/hernia repair surgery. Dr. C. examined my fading scar and said it looked great and to let him know if I needed anything else in the future. Otherwise we were done.

I thanked him and left smiling as I am thrilled with my results, but the word “done” stuck in my head. I never feel done with anything, especially when it comes to my weight loss. Will I ever feel done with my weight loss journey?

I will keep running toward a healthy life as my gastric sleeve journey evolves!

I will keep running toward a healthy life as my gastric sleeve journey evolves!

To be honest, no, I never will be done. For one, I will always struggle with food. Am I a food addict? I don’t necessarily think so, but I definitely can overeat. The gastric sleeve surgery keeps me from overeating in one sitting, but I can eat through the day and night if I’m not conscious of it. Gastric sleeve surgery does not take the desire to “stress eat” away.

My surgery started my path to a healthy physical and mental life, but it was by no means a quick fix. Yes, it did help me lose weight very quickly and that gave me the motivation and instant gratification to change my lifestyle. To keep the weight off and stay healthy is up to me now. I’ve seen how mindless eating and stress lower my desire and confidence in my healthy lifestyle. No, my weight loss journey is not done.

When I think about it, though, it’s not truly a weight loss journey that I’m on now. Oh, I still have at least 10 pounds I’d like to lose, but my focus is on being healthy in body and mind. In many ways, a healthy mind and soul keeps my body in check. When I’m depressed or anxious, I want to be immediately comforted. In the past, food was my comfort. Food gave me pleasure and distracted me from my true feelings. Since I’m determined not to gain back the 100 pounds I lost, what do I do now?

I wish I had the complete answer to that question. Naturally I have some of the answers like exercising, eating properly and talking about my stress and depression. I am doing some of these things, but sometimes it isn’t enough. I need to learn to believe in myself and be comforted by my past successes and current achievements. Keeping off this much weight is a big deal! Exercising regularly and running races are successes!

But to be honest, sometimes it’s just not enough. It’s so easy to fall back on the failures of my journey. Those last 10 pounds taunt me from my scale. Some mornings my walk/run style of running feels pathetic as I watch “real” runners pass me by. Some days I feel utterly alone in my struggle to be positive and healthy.

So for anyone who thinks that gastric sleeve surgery is a cure-all, I am here to share that it is not. Don’t we all wish for a magic pill to fix what ails us? My journey continually reminds me that to be the person I want to be, I have to work for it. No one else can do it for me. I can’t do it for my husband, kids or my friends. It will always be me who is in control of my behavior and attitude.

Now this doesn’t mean I am always alone. I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive network of family, friends and doctors to lean on. I am still learning to reach out. I hate feeling like a burden. I feel like I shouldn’t have to ask for help this far in my journey. Aren’t people tired of helping? Of course the answer is no. The people who love you want to support you. Fortunately I have people in my life who remind me that they’re there for me. I hope I am there for them, too.

So, basically, my answer is “No, I’m not there yet.” For me, my weight loss turned healthy life journey will need to evolve as I do. Sometimes it will be about losing weight. Sometimes it will be about motivating myself to eat right and exercise. Sometimes it will be about fighting depression. It will always be about being the healthiest woman I can be in this lifetime. And that will keep me going Down the Scale…

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One and a Half Pounds of Physical and Emotional Weight…

My first new dress in my weight loss journey!  And high heels too!  It was nice to feel confidant and comfortable wearing this on a "moms night out" evening.

My first new dress in my weight loss journey! And high heels too! It was nice to feel confidant and comfortable wearing this on a “moms night out” evening.

It’s hard to believe it has been 49 weeks since I had my gastric sleeve surgery. My total is 94.5 pounds which is good, but I have this one and a half pounds that keeps me going up and down the scale.  It’s not just physical weight, but emotional weight that is frustrating me. I have come to realize that emotional baggage can be as damaging and painful as the actually physical pounds.

I don’t want to be “Debbie Downer” completely. Physically I’m in pretty decent shape. I am still 17.5 pounds away from my goal, but my practical side thinks that’s OK. My perfectionist side is disappointed that I’m not at goal and that I haven’t lost 100 pounds. I know I look better as shown by the photo I’ve posted. I went to a moms night out and felt great. But you know even when I looked at a lovely photo of me with a few other moms, my first thought was “I’m the fattest woman in the picture.” Sigh. I need to get those thoughts out of my head. I worry that I will always think of myself as the “fat chick” even though I know I look “normal.”

So how am I going to get myself out of this “fat” mentality? Well, first I am going to take care of myself physically. I have an abdominal hernia from my c-sections that didn’t bother me in the past. I assume all the fat I carried around was supporting my muscles before, but now I am in pain from the hernia. I had to stop running because of the pain and I think it is keeping me from progressing in my weight loss.  It is also keeping me from the mental relief I get from running. I am trying to put the guilt of the time and financial burden this causes my family in the back of my mind. It isn’t easy, but I do have an appointment with my weight loss surgeon who can also fix this hernia next month. I promised myself that I will take care of this so I can move forward with my weight loss.

Another important promise I made myself was to get help mentally with the struggles I face as I lose weight. Part of the pre-surgery requirements was to be evaluated by a therapist. I felt very comfortable with the one I met and a few weeks I reached out to her for an appointment. Not being able to shove my feelings down with food has brought out higher levels of stress that I thought possible. I realized I need a professional to help me learn to cope with my stress in other ways besides eating. I have come too far in this journey to regain this weight. Mental and physical health go hand in hand and I need to focus on both. I hope to find a healthy and positive way to move forward.

So here I am at the crossroads. I’ve come so far yet I realize I will always be on this journey. Some days I don’t believe I deserve to spend this much time on me. The guilt of focusing on me haunts me. And while most of the time I feel supported by my family and friends, some times I still feel alone. But then I realize, if I don’t think I’m worth the trouble, how can they?

Yes, it’s time to get refocused on my journey and learn to appreciate the beautiful and amazing things that have happened. But I know it’s OK to admit defeat and reach out for help. Going Down the Scale (and yes, sometimes up) is full of drama, depression and chaos, but it is also beautiful, inspiring and full of hope. I look  forward to working toward hope…

Peppermint can be Evil and Other Things I’ve Learned this Week…

Here I am with my turkey headband for the 5K Turkey Run on Thanksgiving.  Wish me luck!

Here I am with my turkey headband for the 5K Turkey Run on Thanksgiving. Wish me luck!

I knew this week would come…zero pounds lost. Yes, it’s better than gaining, but naturally I want to lose every week. Here’s what I’ve learned during my zero loss week….

*Peppermint can be evil…well, not really evil, but perhaps too enjoyable is a better way to put it. I love the holidays and the arrival of Peppermint Mochas starts the season for me. Fortunately they do come in a “skinny” version, but I realize I am drinking too many of them. They need to be a treat, not an everyday occurrence.

*I am in my head too much. Both my ever supportive hubby and one of my ever supportive friends reminded me of this. I think about things too much and then I become stressed. And then I want to eat and I want to hide in my house. Fortunately, I have an amazing group of friends and family who are here for me and I need to learn to lean on them more. And more importantly, to let some issues go….

*I doubt myself! Yes, even though I have lost 75.5 pounds through my gastric sleeve surgery, I still doubt my ability to lose more weight and to become healthy. I am doing my second 5K run on Thanksgiving and I am worried about it. I did it last year when I weighed over 85 pounds more than I do today. To ease my mind, I did my own personal 5K yesterday and I beat my time from last year, so these doubts need to leave!

This week is a good reminder to me to let some stresses go, to be mindful of my food intake and to really enjoy my family and friends. That’s what the holidays are about and really, it should be what my Down the Scale journey is about, too.

The “O” Word

This is a rare photo of me from head to toe without my children strategically placed in front of me.  My daughter asked to take my picture and you can't say no to a 5 year old with a camera.

This is a rare photo of me from head to toe without my children strategically placed in front of me. My daughter asked to take my picture and you can’t say no to a 5-year-old with a camera.

Am I obese? Yes, yes I am. I am finally using the “O” word. I’ve never denied I have a problem, but I’ve always used “cute terms” to describe myself. I’m full-figured. I’m overweight. I’m plump. I’m the fat chick. No, I am medically obese. I need to lose more than 100 pounds to be even considered overweight. This is the harsh reality that I’ve hidden from most of my life.

Finally, as of 2013, I am taking control of my obesity. I’m 44 years old and admitting I am not in control of my weight. I know I can control it, but it has been a struggle since childhood. Now as a mom, I don’t want my children to have this issue. I can’t protect them from everything in this world, but having an obese mother isn’t going to help them nor does it set a good example.

 Fortunately, I married a man who loves me through thick and thin and when I’m thick or thin. Not once has he complained about my weight, but I know he wants me happy and healthy. Don’t we all want that for our loved ones?

 Of course my family is part of the reason I am on this new weight loss journey, but the biggest reason is I want to feel normal. I want to run and walk and climb without thinking about my weight and having to stop to catch my breath. I don’t want to be the biggest woman in the room. I want to join conversations about clothes and exercising without feeling like I don’t fit in. I don’t want to be known as the fat mom. I want to be known for who I am – the smart, funny, cute woman, the mom of the fairytale children and the wife of a smart, funny handsome man, a good friend to people, a writer…just Jen.

 I am starting my new weight loss journey next month with gastric sleeve surgery. This isn’t a decision I’ve made lightly. In many ways, I feel like a failure in that I need surgery to take control of my health. And yes, I’ve tried every diet, exercise and drug available.

At 44, I want to enjoy my life and my body. I want to be a runner. I want to take hikes. I want to wear a bathing suit without fear or shame. I want to be normal and I know this uncomfortable, stressed, obese woman isn’t really me. Gastric sleeve surgery is just one of the tools I will use to find the person I know I am.

 I’m starting Down The Scale to share my journey. I hope to keep myself accountable to my weight loss, but I am openly looking for support and the sharing of experiences. While I feel like I’m the only one in my immediate community who looks and feels this way, I know I am not. We all have fears, struggles and dreams and they’re not always the same. Not everyone will agree with my actions and opinions and I’m OK with that. Supporting someone doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with them, but when it comes from a place of love it is important to take it in.

 Thank you for reading and hopefully being a part of my Down The Scale community. Here’s to finding peace, happiness, humor and love in our lives….