Tag Archives: Exercise

Taking off the Band-Aids

Halloween is much more fun now that I dress up with my kids!

Halloween is much more fun now that I dress up with my kids!  One of the many benefits of my gastric sleeve surgery!

In a panic last week I called my plastic surgeon’s office. My tummy tuck incision at six weeks appeared to be getting worse, not better. 45 minutes later I was half-naked in an exam room showing my Frankenstein abdomen to Dr. C. He took one look at one my incision and said “You have some delayed healing. I see this often in patients who have lost a large amount of weight.”

I braced myself for the bad news. I surely would need antibiotics, massive bandages or even surgery. He continued by saying “Just keep it clean. You can put band aids on it if you don’t want to stain your clothes.”

That was it?! Yes, it was. My fear was over nothing. The effects of being obese still haunt me and this delayed healing was one of them. Trust me, I’m glad I went to see my doctor even though it turned out to be nothing. What if it had been infected or what if I had needed some type of work done on my incision? Sometimes paranoia is a good thing, but fortunately it my case my concerns were normal.

I left Dr. C.’s office reassured and with band-aids on parts of my incision. Looking back, I realize those band-aids did more for me mentally than physically. The band-aids comforted me, but also kept me from seeing the ugly parts of my incision. Out of mind, out of sight as they say…

This week I also realized I was using another type of band-aid: food. The day-to-day stresses and some larger than life stresses are getting to me. Food once again was becoming a solution to forgetting my stresses and giving me instantaneous pleasure and comfort. My biggest band-aid was Halloween candy. Damn you, fun-size Snickers!

My regular weigh-in this week revealed the ugly truth of my food band-aid usage. I am at the top of my weight window. Not horrible, but another week of mindless eating and I am sure I would be over my designated weight range. So, it’s time to take off the food band-aid now! No more candy. Back to cooking healthy meals. More exercise. I can’t hide the stress and anxiety of life behind a band-aid anymore.

Now, I’m not saying all band-aids are bad. Just as the band-aids on my incision helped me work through my fear of my surgery progress, the food band-aid was useful for a bit. Sharing Halloween candy with my kids while in our costumes was fun. I just forgot to stop eating; I forgot the candy was a treat, not an everyday thing to eat.

Perhaps if I had taken off the food band-aid sooner I wouldn’t have to add “weight gain” to my list of stresses and anxieties. But that’s the past and I have time to get back in shape both mentally and physically. With the holiday season coming up, this band-aid lesson came at a good time. Band-aids are helpful, but they are always meant to be temporary. Hiding and brushing aside pain and stress can’t be done for long without consequences. I hope to remember to use band-aids sparingly as I continue to go Down the Scale…

Keeping It Going Over a Year Later….

16 months and 106.5 later, my gastric sleeve journey continues here at Down the Scale. To keep me motivated, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the positive habits I have made. I think it helps to remind myself of all the things that go into keeping myself healthy and happy as I continue to strive to lose weight.

For me, the most important change I made was to eat smaller portions of healthier food. My smaller stomach helps with this, but I still need to think about what I eat and how much of it I eat. I prioritize my food by protein first and then vegetables. I eat fruit as a snack or part of my breakfast occasionally. I rarely eat carbohydrates as they fill my stomach very quickly. I haven’t cut them out completely, but when I do indulge, it’s usually only one piece of bread or a small portion of rice or pasta.

Now, I must admit I still indulge in less healthy food from time to time. I still drink alcohol, but only one or two glasses. I do splurge at parties with a small piece of cake. The difference now is the amount and frequency I eat higher calorie and sugary food. It’s supposed to be a treat for a reason and now I finally “get it.”

I also have finally learned that I need to cut some foods out completely. Really, I wasn’t eating trail mix for the nuts…who does? And Chex Mix is banned from my home. I never once measured out either food like I said I would when I bought them.

There are times I do need to measure my food and track it. When my weight loss stalls I find that recording my food intake helps. Using the app My Fitness Pal is an easy way to keep an eye on my eating habits. I only have to do it for a few days to get back on track.

A year does make a difference!  On the left is last year's visit to the pumpkin patch 4 months after my surgery.  On the right is this year's photo.  I'm looking forward to comparing these to next year's photo!

A year does make a difference! On the left is last year’s visit to the pumpkin patch four months after my surgery. On the right is this year’s photo. I’m looking forward to comparing these to next year’s photo!

I also use My Fitness Pal to record my weight. I “officially” weigh-in once a week. Making my weight only count once a week keeps me from focusing solely on the numbers in my weight loss journey. While I would still like to lose seven pounds, I prefer to concentrate on maintaining my current weight loss. To do this, I have a “weight window.” It’s a five-pound range I want to stay in. This keeps me aware of my weight, but allows for those weeks where I indulge a bit. If I go above the window, I start tracking my food immediately.

If I go below the window for a month I know it’s time to adjust the window. I just changed it a month after my hernia repair and tummy tuck surgery since I lost about nine pounds. Some of that loss was from the excess skin removal and lack of eating after surgery. Now that I’m a month out and I’m maintaining a new weight, I adjusted the window to keep myself on track and motivated.

Exercising is a big key to maintaining much of my weight loss. And when I say exercise I don’t necessarily mean exercise in the sense of a dedicated activity for a set of amount of time. I do think that kind of exercise is important and I’m looking forward to running once again. And I do know that I must start weight lifting to tone my body. But I think it’s the everyday physical activity that is essential to my healthy lifestyle. Walking as much as I can is extremely important to me. I could tell how much both physically and mentally I missed walking during my surgery recovery. Now that I’m back to walking my kids to school, I am happier. Adding more activities to my week keeps me healthy physically and mentally.

16 months of concentrated weight loss has been daunting at times. I find when I get frustrated, bored or depressed, I need to go back to the basics:

*Eating better

*Tracking my food

*Getting on the scale only once a week to see if I’m in my weight window

*Adding more exercise, either structured or relaxed

And last, but not least, I remind myself how far I’ve come in my journey…106.5 pounds gone for good! Feeling healthy and happy really are the best reminders of how important taking care of myself is for me and my family. I’m thrilled to still be going Down the Scale…

The Line Drawn on my Abdomen…

A month has passed since my abdominal hernia and tummy tuck surgeries. How am I doing? Honestly, it’s bad. Honestly, it’s good. Yes, I’m a bit wishy-washy about how I feel about my surgery. Just as there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides to my recovery.

Let’s talk bad and get it out of the way. The worst part is that I feel like Frankenstein. I have a large incision from hip to hip. It’s pinkish with a few scabs here and there. At each hip, the incision is bumpy and ridge-like. My lower abdomen is swollen and my abdominal muscles hurt from time to time. Beneath my clothes, it’s just not very pretty.

Here I am about 3 weeks after surgery, out and about with my family.

Here I am about 3 weeks after hernia repair and tummy tuck surgery.  It feels amazing to have lost 105.5 pounds since my gastric sleeve surgery!

Since my surgery, I have been concerned that I was healing properly. I meet with both my hernia repair surgeon and plastic surgeon last week and I finally was reassured. Dr. J. said my hernia repair went well and I was in good shape. He gave me his approval to start moving more and to even run when I’m ready. Phew!

My meeting with Dr. C., my plastic surgeon, was even better. I disrobed and he took one look at what I considered to be my horrible stomach and said everything looked great. Really? I pointed out parts and he said the healing was all completely normal. The ridges on my hip incisions would settle in time. The incision was healing properly. He had no concerns. I had to laugh when he told me the scars would lessen in time and would be like my c-section scars. I actually never saw my c-section scars due to my large overhanging stomach!

My concerns lightened even more when Dr. C said I could be swollen for 9 to 12 months after surgery. Even with all my scars and swelling, I will admit I think I look pretty good right now…with clothes on. Considering how far out my stomach protruded before surgery, my stomach seems pretty flat to me. I am now excited to see how it will look a year from surgery.

More importantly, I feel good. The first few weeks, I was very achy and scared that I would be sore for a long time. A month later, I am sore at the end of the day, but I can get around much better! I’m back to walking my kids to school. Both doctors gave me approval to start running as long as I feel up to it, so I have committed to my third Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving. I don’t expect to run a personal best, but if I run any of it, I will be thrilled. I am just happy to get back to being the active person I became after my gastric sleeve surgery.

My surgeries were not the easiest procedures I have been through, but I don’t regret them one bit. Everything I do from surgeries, to eating better, to exercising, are all part of my overall plan to be a better me. Looking good on the outside is great, but feeling healthier and happier are the best rewards.

Food, Glorious Food…Really!

My babies and I waiting to explore the city.  Walking helps to work off the fantastic cuisine of New Orleans!

My babies and I waiting to explore the city. Walking helps to work off the fantastic cuisine of New Orléans!

Welcome back to Down the Scale! I neglected my blogging duties for the past month, but my weight loss journey still continues! I must say this has been one of my favorite summers. My family and I enjoyed fun activities around town and across the country. Swimming, sight-seeing, relaxing and eating were some of the great activities we indulged in this summer. Yes, I did say eating! I didn’t think enjoying food would be part of my life when I had gastric sleeve surgery over a year ago. I was wrong and a trip to New Orléans showed me how eating out can be a positive part of my life.

After San Francisco, New Orléans is my favorite city. It is full of history, architecture, charm and amazing cuisine. Even though I don’t like shellfish, I love the other types of food New Orléans is known for like beignets, gumbo, jambalaya, pralines and of course a variety of alcoholic beverages. In my past visits, I never worried about what or how much food I consumed. This trip, I knew I couldn’t eat with wild abandon. First, my small stomach prohibits me from eating too much. Second, I didn’t want to gain too much weight. I say “too much” because I knew I would gain weight as I would be eating food higher in fat and sugar than I normally do now. And yes, I’m up a pound and a half since vacation, but I anticipated that and I’m back to eating normally.

So I was excited to visit New Orléans, but I wondered if I would enjoy the food like I did in the past. My first test was breakfast. Cafe Beignet was close to our hotel and I went by myself to pick those hot, fluffy, doughy, sugary pillows of goodness called beignets. I stood in line behind other tourists (do locals eat them, I wonder?), anticipating the first bite, but also wondering would I still enjoy them. With my small stomach, would I even be able to eat much of it? Would the sugar and fat make me feel sick?

Simply put, the answer was no. I took my first bite of beignet and smiled. It tasted just as I remembered. No, it tasted better. Now that I eat healthier, which not only means better food, but eating slower, I truly enjoyed that beignet. I didn’t rush to eat it so I could get to the next one. I savored each bite of the beignet I ate. And yes, I only ate one of these delightful treats. I was full after eating one physically, but also mentally. I finally feel like I’ve learned that eating smaller amounts of food is just as satisfying as stuffing myself. My new body shape and the feeling of health I now have confirm that.

Yes, my guilty pleasure!  Cafe au lait and beignets!  I am so happy I was able to enjoy a bit of these New Orleans treats!

Yes, my guilty pleasure! Cafe au lait and beignets! I am so happy I was able to enjoy a bit of these New Orléans treats!

The rest of our vacation in New Orléans went this way. I enjoyed all my favorites, just in small amounts. Rice fills me up quickly, so I could only eat a bit of jambalaya, but it was worth it. I will admit to missing Muffulettas.   The bread is just too much for me, so a bite of my husband’s sandwich was all I could enjoy. He was kind enough to share it with me and I was kind enough to share my food with him and the rest of my family. I generally share all my dishes when we go out to eat, and even at home. I just can’t eat all the food restaurants serve.

Besides food, New Orléans is known for alcohol. I still drink since my surgery, but I am now a lightweight. One drink, maybe two is my limit. Yes, I’m a cheap date. I can’t eat and drink at the same time (liquids can push the food down too fast and it really doesn’t feel good either), so the New Orléans tradition of “to go cups.” was wonderful. I could order a drink and take it with me as we walked off our fantastic meals.

Our vacation to New Orléans will go down as my favorite. I really love the city and this time we also enjoyed the company of some of our East Coast family. We enjoyed all the typical vacation activities and it definitely included food. I am thrilled that I can still enjoy food, but with a more positive attitude. Eating is definitely different for me now and I am proud of how I handle eating out now. I look forward to more vacations and now I know they can still include eating out and I can still go Down the Scale…

100!

Here I am with my beautiful children enjoying delicious snacks at a cafe.  We worked off those snacks with games of tag in the park and then a long and steep walk through one of our favorite neighborhoods.  This defines my weight loss success more than losing 100 pounds -- a day of fun with my kids is of the best weight loss rewards!

Here I am with my beautiful children enjoying delicious snacks at a café. We worked off those snacks with games of tag in the park and then a long and steep walk through one of our favorite neighborhoods. This defines my weight loss success more than losing 100 pounds — a day of fun with my kids!

Yes, I have officially lost 100 pounds! Technically it’s 100.5 pounds in 1 year, 1 month and 11 days.

First, let’s get over the part of me being a little sad about this fact. There is a little voice in my head that tries to negate my success by saying “It’s pathetic you had to lose over 100 pounds to begin with!” Yes, I am telling this voice to take a hike. I’ve always believed that regret isn’t worth the trouble. What has happened has happened and hopefully I learn from my earlier choices and don’t repeat the bad ones. And if I do repeat them, I just try harder not to in the future.

With this negativity pushed away, let’s talk about success! I am a goal-oriented gal so finally hitting my goal of 100 pounds makes me happy and proud. It feels amazing to have met this goal, but it’s not the highlight of my journey like I thought it would be. As I talked about in my last blog, The Scale is Not the Be-All and End-All in Weight Loss”, the scale isn’t my biggest measure of success. The way I feel these days was really what I was looking for when I finally committed to losing weight. Being 100 pounds lighter reflects not only my new body shape and health, but also the more positive outlook I have on myself and my life.

Where do I go from here? I still have my goal of losing another 11.5 pounds to make my goal of being healthy according to the BMI chart. I am still working toward it, but I am not pressuring myself. Sure I’d like to lose this weight, but I am more concerned about maintaining my current weight. All the yo-yo dieting I did over the past 30 years has to stop. I want to treat my body with more respect now. Considering all the damage I’ve done to it, my body has been there for me and given me two amazingly beautiful children. It’s time to pay my body back with eating well and exercising as part of my life and not just as a dieting phase.

Mentally I still struggle with my weight, but when I think about over-eating or making poor choices, I get myself to stop and think about how much better I feel now. I am happier. I am healthier. I can do so much more than I imagined I could. Losing weight is giving me a whole other outlook on life and what I can accomplish. I will always battle the “fat chick” inside of me, but I feel more ready to handle her than I did 100 pounds ago.

So, yes, I will celebrate my weight loss of 100.5 pounds! I am celebrating it every day with the life I now lead with my ever-supportive husband and sweet children. I also celebrate it with my family and friends who have supported me along the way. I am glad that I am sharing my gastric sleeve journey. Going Down the Scale with love and encouragement is one of the best rewards!

Learning to Wear a Bathing Suit…

You didn't think I would post a picture of me in a bathing suit did you? Well, I'm gaining confidence with my body, a swim suit photo isn't going to happen!  A cute hat and swim suit cover up go a long way in giving a girl confidence, though!

You didn’t think I would post a picture of me in a bathing suit did you? While I am gaining confidence with my body, a swim suit photo isn’t going to happen! A cute hat and swim suit cover up go a long way in giving a girl confidence, though!

Yes, I really did title this week’s blog post as “Learning to Wear a Bathing Suit.” Don’t worry, I do know how to put one on, but before my gastric sleeve surgery, I wasn’t happy to wear one. First of all, finding a plus size bathing suit is difficult especially when you’re cursed with a large chest. After I would find one, I would have to squeeze my body in it and then go out in public. It was difficult, depressing and scary when I did this, especially when I would go swimming with my kids. Now that I’ve lost 95 pounds (yes, I keep fluctuating with these two pounds, but that’s for another blog), bathing suit season is easier, but it still comes with its own struggles.

First of all, finding a bathing suit was much easier this summer. I could finally buy one with a built-in bra in my actual size. Having my breasts actually supported and somewhat covered is liberating, so to speak. I’m not as worried when I’m splashing around the pool or walking around. Wearing a bathing suit that fits and is stylish is a huge bonus after losing weight.

So, what do I mean about learning to wear a bathing suit? I mean, even though I am not obese, I still have issues with my body. The parts of my body exposed in a bathing suit are not my favorite parts. A bathing suit shows off my flabby arms, my wrinkly thighs and my lumpy and protruding stomach. I was so excited to try on my normal size bathing suit, but when I looked in the mirror I just about broke down in tears. My body still shows the wear and tear of being obese. Some might call them badges of honor, but when I first looked at myself, I thought of myself as a failure.

I took a moment to wallow in self-pity and then I figuratively slapped myself. I’m 45 years old and was obese for most of my life. I will never have a supermodel body. Even with plastic surgery which yes, I am looking into for my stomach and breasts (another blog post!), I will always have issues. But then again, I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some body issues, no matter what their shape or size is. I have to live with the body that I have and do what I can which means keeping a healthy weight, exercising, and perhaps having some surgical intervention.

I promised my kids a summer full of swimming and I will not let them down, no matter what I look like in a bathing suit. Yes, I have flabby arms, but they can hold on to my daughter as she gains confidence to swim on her own. These wrinkly thighs can kick fast as I race my son to the end of the pool. My lumpy stomach isn’t keeping me from having fun with my children!

So, if you see me at the pool, you’ll see a woman with the remains of an obese body, but I hope you will also see a confident happy woman who is enjoying the summer with her kids. Going Down the Scale has taught me many things and I am happy that one of them is to live with my new body in a joyful way.

My First Year Anniversary of My Gastric Sleeve Surgery!

Yes, a year makes a difference!  96.5 pounds are gone!

Yes, a year makes a difference! 96.5 pounds are gone!

96.5 pounds are gone! This is one of the ways I am marking my first anniversary of my gastric sleeve surgery. Yes, I am thrilled and amazed by the numbers, but that’s not the only success I feel from my surgery. Losing this much weight changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined:

  • I now enjoy walking and participating in outdoor activities! Walking instead of driving to pick up my kids from school and running errands is easy now. Hiking and exploring our great city and surrounding natural attractions are now some of our favorite family activities. For a girl who was always searching for the gift shop and snack bar when doing outdoor activities, this is a huge change!
  • I still enjoy food! I thought going to the Farmers’ Market and eating at restaurants would be a thing of the past, but it is now part of my life in a positive way. I look for better quality food and I eat in smaller amounts. Dinning at restaurants can be challenging, but I can always find a healthy option on most menus.
  • Yes, I will admit that I feel like I am more attractive. And some of this does come from outside validation. Having friends and family comment on my looks does make me feel better about my “outside.” But more importantly, I am more confidant on my outward appearance which makes me seem more confidant. A confidant woman is an attractive woman.
  • Mentally I am in a better place than I could have imagined. Once the crutch of eating my feelings was taken away, it was necessary for me to face my feelings. It’s still not easy and I will always have to work on my mental health. And you know what? That’s OK.

The best measure of success hasn’t been the scale. Sure the numbers are important, but it’s not the end all be all of my weight loss journey success. I finally realized that taking care of myself is not only important, but essential. It doesn’t make me a bad mother or bad wife or bad friend or bad person when I put my physical and mental health first. Such a simple lesson, but it is one I needed to learn.

I look forward to continuing to share my journey…the good and the bad! A huge thanks to everyone who supported me in my first year of my weight loss journey. Here’s to another year of going Down the Scale…

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…

Up the Hill and Down the Scale…

Following Jack and Jill up the hill...really!

Following Jack and Jill up the hill…really!

Week 46 of my gastric sleeve surgery is here and I am happy to announce my new weight loss total is 95 pounds! I lost two pounds last week to get to my new total. I didn’t lose anything this week; I blame the Easter Bunny. OK, not really. My weight loss has been up and down these past few months, so I am concentrating on the other aspects of my journey and going “up the hill” is a huge part of it.

First, let me share with those who don’t know that my children are named Jack and Jill. Yes, my husband and I named our almost 10-year-old and 6-year-old after the fairy tale. Hopefully they’ll still like their names as teenagers or I guess I should start saving for their therapy bills. Anyway…we joke a lot about going “up the hill” because of them. And now I can really join them going up the hill with my new body. Two weekends ago I got the chance to literally go with them.

We spent the weekend with friends in Northern California near snow. My fairytale children spent most of their lives in Florida so snow was completely new to them. We went to Lake Alpine (7,000 foot elevation) for them to have a quick snow experience. When I was 95 pounds heavier, I would have dreaded this trip. This time I was ready for it! Instead of just standing at the end of the snow making a snowman, I joined them walking and running through the snow. Well, as much running as you can do when you keep sinking in the snow. It was icy and now and then we would drop into the snow.

I laughed as my legs would fall through the snow and it would be up to my knees. I know I wouldn’t have done this is the past. The first drop in the snow with my heavier body would have crushed my spirit. Not this time! I pulled myself up out of the snow and kept following my kids. They found a hill and started sledding. The laughter, the cheesy grins and the screams of delight were infectious. I had to join them.

I did hesitate though. Thoughts of my old body haunted me and I grabbed the sleds to try to find a weight limit on them. My ever-supportive husband took a sled and headed up the hill first. Watching him laugh and the kids cheering him loudly was just the encouragement I needed. I grabbed a sled and walked right up the hill.

I lowered my body on the sled and looked down the hill. Granted, it wasn’t that big of a hill, but to this formerly obese woman, it was a mountain. “Would I actually be able to slide down?,” I worried. In the words of the incessantly played song “Let it Go”, I did just that. I pushed off and glided down the hill.

My "tah-dah!" moment after sledding for the first time with my new body!

My “tah-dah!” moment after sledding for the first time with my new body!

It was fun. It was quick. It was freedom. I kneeled up on the sled and threw my arms in the air. My son was behind me, waiting for his turn and laughing with me. My ever-supportive husband and my daughter cheered. Such a simple act of sledding brought me such confidence, fun and joy.

Those feelings are the ones that I want to remember as I continue this journey Down the Scale. Losing weight is full of such intense emotions, good and bad. I want to remember the joy of confidently walking up the hill and then letting go and enjoying the freedom of going down the hill. Life is all about ups and downs I think. And a trip to the snow was just what I needed to see the beauty in that…

 

My Weight Loss Journey: My Messy, Beautiful Truth

93 pounds gone in Week 44 of my weight loss journey!

Today’s blog is part of Momastery.com’s Messy, Beautiful Project. I am proud to share my gastric sleeve weight loss journey here at Down the Scale and now with other Warriors. In the Momastery community, everyone shares their truths – the messier the better. Life is Messy. Life is Beautiful. My weight loss journey is a perfect example of this philosophy. When I decided to take control of my obesity, I though I was searching for complete control and perfection in my life. What I really found is that losing weight and becoming healthy isn’t full of control or perfection. It is messy, painful and chaotic at times. But it is also rewarding, inspiring, loving and perfectly imperfect.

While my head knew that losing weight wouldn’t solve all my problems, my heart sure hoped it would. Being obese caused so many problems, but losing weight doesn’t solve them all. Sure, physically I am in the best shape I have been in as an adult. I enjoy exercising now. I can keep up with my kids at the playground. I can shop in the “regular” section at clothing stores. I don’t take high blood pressure medication anymore and I’m not pre-diabetic. Losing 93 pounds from my body is the best thing I have physically done for my body.

That’s not a messy part of life, is it? No, it’s pretty beautiful. What is messy are the mental hurdles I just assumed would go away with the extra pounds.

“If I’m thin, I won’t be as stressed as much.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be popular and have tons of friends.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be a better mom and wife.”

“If I’m thin everything will be perfect.”

Pretty crazy of me to hope for these things, isn’t it? I don’t think I’m alone in dreaming of an easy, perfect solution to my stresses and anxieties. And I know some people felt by having my gastric sleeve surgery I was taking the easy way out on losing weight. My smaller stomach does make physically losing weight much, much easier, but it doesn’t truly affect your brain, your heart and your soul. I can’t stuff my problems down with food now. I have to acknowledge them and deal with them. While my body isn’t working as hard to survive, my brain, heart and soul have to take up the slack.

Sounds messy doesn’t it? Yes, it is, but I was surprised to see the beautiful side of my perceived weaknesses and vulnerabilities. When I started blogging  with my post “The O Word”, I was terrified to put my feelings on paper for the world to read. Would anyone really understand how it feels to be obese? Would anyone relate to the shame and feelings of failure my obesity caused me? Would I be judged negatively for my solution to my overwhelming issues?

Here’s the beautiful part….I am understood. My family and friends rallied around me and showed me more love and support than I could have imagined. Mere acquaintances became huge cheerleaders in person and online. Strangers found me and became new friends. Suddenly, people who I thought were “perfect” shared their own struggles with me publicly and privately. My community grew and strengthened when I shared my story. I finally knew I was not alone. I realize my weight loss journey will never really end. I will always struggle, always be emotional and always worry if I’m doing “enough.” But that is OK. I think these weaknesses are really a sign that I care. I care about life, my family, my friends and most importantly, about me.

I realize now that striving for perfection isn’t the solution. I want joy, happiness and love in my life. And by sharing my messy, beautiful life with others, I am finding those things. Who knew a weight loss journey would help find not what I wanted, but I really needed?

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