Tag Archives: Alone

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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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow….

Tomorrow is the day. The next chapter in my weight loss journey begins. It isn’t the last chapter since my journey will continue forever. I will always need to think about my weight, my eating habits and exercise. I have no doubt about that. Tomorrow is the start of my new way of eating, thinking and living.

At about 11:30 AM, part of my stomach will be removed. Adios! Au Revoir! Buh Bye! It isn’t magic, but gastric sleeve surgery. For a more scientific explanation, visit http://www.sutterpacific.org/bariatrics/weightloss/vertical-gastrectomy.html. In a nutshell, my stomach becomes a sleeve that can hold about 1 to 2 ounces. My surgeon will stitch me back up and I will stay overnight at the hospital. Assuming my new stomach isn’t leaking the next day, I’ll be right back home and start losing weight.

I am not fond of full body photos, but I am happy to have a few before I begin my transformation.  Always important to remember where you came from!

I am not fond of full body photos, but I am happy to have a few before I begin my transformation. Always important to remember where you came from!

Sounds easy, right? It won’t be that way and I know that. The gastric sleeve is just a tool to help me lose weight. The new stomach forces me to be mindful of my portions and types of food I eat. It may seem like a quick fix, but in fact this is a lifestyle change. It gives me the eating boundaries I need.

While I love spontaneity and surprises, I actually thrive on structure. I’m a planner, sometimes to a fault. In the case of my eating habits, this is what I need. The gastric sleeve will make me think, make me plan and actually physically keep me from overeating. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I need this kind of physical boundary to keep me in check.

Oh, I’m good with boundaries like diets. I am a successful dieter for about four months. After that I’m bored or frustrated with the diet. Or I’m full of confidence that I can continue or maintain the weight loss on my own. The key problem with this is that I said the word, diet, not lifestyle change. Diets are temporary and don’t work for me. I needed to think of my weight loss journey as a lifestyle change, a permanent one. I am finally committing to a lifestyle change with my surgery.

It is this commitment that makes this time different. There is no going back. My stomach will not grow. Yes, it can stretch a bit, but eating large amounts of food will not work or vomiting will ensue. I have a slightly irrational fear of vomiting. That fear alone will help keep me in line, physically. Mentally, it will actually be harder for me. Eating mindlessly, eating when happy, eating when sad, they are all part of me. I have to remove this part of me on my own.

In theory, eating right and exercising will take and keep the weight off. I honestly wish I was that person who could succeed on her own. I am not. I need help and I am finally admitting it and taking charge of my health and my life. To many, this must seem like such a drastic step and I agree it is a huge undertaking. I haven’t made this decision lightly or without considering the risks involved.

After more than six months of waiting (required by my health insurance), researching, thinking, talking with friends and family, and a bit of good old-fashioned praying, I decided that the gastric sleeve surgery is the best path for me to follow. Fortunately, loving and supportive family and friends surround me. This journey is about me and what I need and want, but I can’t walk it alone. And I don’t want to be alone. I’ve been alone too long in this obese hell and I am thankful I won’t be going Down the Scale alone…