Tag Archives: Fears

So this is Middle Age?

Yes, I'm a middle-aged woman!  At 46, I'm in the best shape of my life!  My weight loss journey keeps getting better and better.

Yes, I’m a middle-aged woman! At 46, I’m in the best shape of my life! My weight loss journey keeps getting better and better.

Happy birthday to me! Last week I celebrated my 46th birthday. Yes, I did say celebrate. I’m proud to be 46 which I guess would be considered to be middle-aged. What does it mean to be middle-aged? For me it means:

*Being in the best shape of my life! Losing 100+ pounds means I am in great health. I don’t have high blood pressure any longer and I’m not pre-diabetic. I am rarely sick and my last doctor visits have all been check-ups with good results.

*Being physically active! If you told me two years ago that I would be a middle-aged runner, I would have asked what you were smoking. Never in a million years would I have imagined myself running and entering races.

*Being able to keep up with my kids! I had my children at what the medical profession calls “an advanced maternal age”, so I originally had the mindset that I would be on the sidelines watching my kids. Wrong! I love walking and hiking with my family. I am thrilled and proud that I now model healthy living for my children.

*Being a priority is OK! I used to think that my needs and desires needed to be last in order to be a good person. I felt I should say yes to all requests and maintain relationships even if they weren’t healthy. Finally, I realized that to be the healthiest and happiest person, I need to make myself a priority. Taking care of myself, makes me a better mother, wife, friend and person.

*Being unsure is OK, too! When I was in college, I was terrified of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. That fear was pointless as I now proudly say that my life is turning out pretty well! Even in my younger years when I didn’t know what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be, I managed to figure it out. Now that I’m middle-aged I’ve realized life is always changing and that it actually is a good thing. I’ve realized that I’m the type of person who actually thrives on changes and new goals. It makes me stronger and that is actually a positive and not a negative!

So, for me, middle-age is a gift. It doesn’t mean being old or being settled or being stagnant. It’s given me an incredible gift of looking back at the first half of my life and realizing it’s been pretty good! Sure I’ve had heartbreak, challenges and pain, but I’ve learned from all that. I’m sure I’ll repeat some of it again, too. And that’s just fine with me. I see how I can face challenges and continue to grow into the person I want to be…for now at least. I know that Jen, the middle-aged woman, will continue to change as the years go by. I look forward to seeing where I go in the next 46 years!

The Week I Gained a Pound and So Much More….

Comparing photos really helps me see my weight loss!  I love that my babies are growing, but my hubby and I are shrinking!

Comparing photos really helps me see my weight loss! I love that my babies are growing, but my hubby and I are shrinking!

Here it is Week 37 at Down the Scale and my total weight loss is 88.5 pounds! It hasn’t been easy these last three weeks to get there. During Week 35 I gained a pound. It took a few weeks to take it off and then lose another pound to get to my current total. It was a good reminder that my gastric sleeve journey is not only full of emotional ups and downs, but physical ones as well. The scale gives me important information, but isn’t the complete picture of my health.

The week I gained a pound, I also gained perspective on how much my weight loss journey has changed more than my body. My spirit and mind gained peace, silliness and love and that makes gaining a physical pound worthwhile.

I gained the weight on our four-day trip to Disneyland. My family and friends already know that my husband and I are true Disney fans. Perhaps über Disney geeks would be a better description. Dave and I bonded over our love of Disney World and even spent our honeymoon there. Our children’s infant and toddler years we spent at Disney World at least once a month when we lived in Florida. Now that we’ve been back in California for almost three years, we decided to take some time off from the “real” world and go on a family trip to Disneyland.

As excited as I was to finally take my babies to Disneyland, I was nervous about the food and rides. Amusement parks are full of fattening, sugary treats seemingly positioned every few feet. Before we left, I decided I would treat myself to a Dole Whip as it is my favorite Disney treat. And would you believe they were refurbishing the machines?! That was my one disappointment the whole trip and in the scheme of vacations, that’s really not bad.

So did I indulge? Yes, yes I did. The difference in my eating habits this trip as opposed to the past was that I shared all snacks. I didn’t get a churro for myself, but took a bite from one of my kid’s. I shared a carton of popcorn with the whole family instead of scarfing one down by myself. I must admit I did look longingly at the Mickey Mouse ice cream treats. I am still worried that if I start eating large amounts of ice cream, I will start eating them on a regular basis, so I decided to pass on this food.

For meals, I ordered soup or shared entrees with my husband and kids. Having children, who during growth spurts, can eat like Olympic athletes, makes sharing meals easier and cheaper. We also brought snacks like almonds, turkey jerky and protein bars so we could snack when needed. Being ready with snacks and sharing meals made eating during our vacation easy and eliminated much of the stress I associate with eating out.

The other stressful situation I feared before our vacation was the rides. My son is now at the age where he wants to ride rollercoasters and fast, bumpy rides. The last time we went to Disney World, he was 6 and just starting to express an interest in rollercoasters. We did ride one rollercoaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railway then and I was scared the whole time. I wasn’t scared of the ride since Big Thunder isn’t really that fast, scary and doesn’t go upside down; I was scared for safety issues. I was terrified the bar wouldn’t go down far enough over my big belly and that I would squish my son. Neither happened, but the worry was always there.

No worries this trip! The bars on all the rides went down easily and I truly felt safe! And yes, I rode a scary rollercoaster that went upside down and I didn’t fall out. The California Screamin’ Rollercoaster was one of my favorite rides of the trip and I am so happy that I was able to share this experience with my son as a healthy mom.

So in the past, I am sure I would have gained more weight and been secretly terrified of the rides. This trip was perfect in so many ways: time with just my family, no schedule or commitments, and just plain fun! While it was a struggle to take off that pound I gained and to get back on track for losing weight, it was well worth it. And really, that’s what my journey is all about…being healthy for me and my family. Bumps in the road will arise, but I can conquer them with my sleeved stomach, support of my family and friends, but most importantly my belief that I am worth it and I can do. Going to the “Happiest Place on Earth” was the best reminder that I make my own “Happiest Place on Earth” right here and right now…

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth…in Numbers that is…

Week 19 and feeling great!  64.5 pounds are gone for good!

Week 19 and feeling great! 64.5 pounds are gone for good!

I have thought long and hard about this week’s blog. I think I am pretty honest with you about the good, the bad and the ugly of my gastric sleeve journey, but I struggle with how honest to be with you. I am talking about the numbers…my actual weight. It’s easy to share how many pounds I have lost and how many I am going to lose. What I haven’t shared are my starting numbers, but I know my readers are smart and you could figure this out on your own, if you’re so inclined.

Why would I tell you what I actually weighed at the beginning of this process? Mainly because I know that is what I wanted to know when I was researching gastric sleeve surgery. I wanted concrete evidence that the surgery would be worth it. While I do many things in my life based on my gut and intuition, I also like cold, hard facts and evidence. I would scour the web for any website or blog that mentioned actually pounds and showed before and after photos. All the professionals I saw during my surgery were very helpful, but the bravery of the people who had surgery and shared their numbers and photos helped convince me of my surgery decision.

The reason I have decided to share my numbers is that I hit a major milestone this week. This is week 19 and I have lost 64.5 pounds! This puts me, in what “gastric sleevers” call “onederland.” Yes, I am under 200 pounds for the first time in over 10 years. I am thrilled and proud and in a bit of shock still that I finally made this goal.

Yes, if you do the math that means I started my journey over 200 pounds. On the day of my surgery I weighed 262 pounds and this actually isn’t even my highest weight. No, my highest weight was actually 283 pounds. Yes, I was 17 pounds shy of 300. I want to cry as I type this. It is mortifying to think I was that heavy. The few friends who have known these numbers are so supportive and gracious and tell me I carried it well and that they never guessed it.

But I knew it and I denied it. Now I look back at photos and I can see the bloated face and protruding stomach and the huge, OK, humongous breasts, and not in a good way! And I felt every one of those extra pounds. Even though I tried to exercise, I was tired, exhausted, moody, and just plain old depressed. 64.5 pounds lighter is a new world for me. I feel so much better physically and mentally. I am still, however, working on forgiving myself for letting myself become obese. Forgiving others is easier than forgiving yourself.

I don’t want to make it seem that the numbers are the only thing that matter while losing weight. My goal weight is 150 pounds because that will give me a healthy BMI. I don’t recall when I weighed 150 in my life. I lost weight in college (over 20 years ago!) and got down to 160 pounds so 150 seems a bit daunting. I have 47.5 pounds to go so we’ll just see what happens. My doctor thinks this is reasonable so I’m going for it, but I am more concerned about being healthy and happy. OK, and looking good in clothes and being able to run and OK, looking good out of clothes for my hubby….

So, now’s it out there! I hope that my honesty will give others hope. You can be obese and lose the weight, no matter which method you choose. And if you have a hard goal, no matter what it is, you can do it. And sharing your goals and your fears as well as your successes is scary, but worth it. I guess it’s true what “they” say…the truth will set you free. And in my case, take me Down the Scale…