Finding Balance as a Post-Op: What 100 Miles Taught MeMay 2, 2016
I had weight loss surgery in February of 2008. I've learned a lot about myself over these past years and it amazes me that I continue to learn lessons, struggle, and revel in small successes.
One thing I have learned about myself since having WLS is that I am goal oriented when it comes to health and fitness – and I am definitely not driven when it comes to fitness at all. Without setting goals, I tend to fall off. I can go from training to run a half-marathon to pretty much sitting on the couch, enjoying my favorite TV shows, maybe going for a leisurely walk on the weekend.
When you are fresh out from surgery, in those first 2-3 years, I don't think most can really imagine going back to old habits, but it happens, and you are left in this gray area, not obese, but yet still struggling, trying to find it within to keep fighting for yourself.
The same goals that were your reasons to have surgery aren't there anymore; your diabetes is under control, you no longer have hypertension, you can still go on a hike, ride a bike, but you've had some regain, and you just aren't feeling that same drive you had when you were ready to have WLS.
That's where I was at. Feeling as though I was in some sort of gray area. Those reasons that pushed me to my decision to have WLS weren't there to push or motivate me to get back on track. I knew I needed to do something, but I couldn't find it within myself to get going. Honestly, I struggled for months. I went to my local support group, I met with my bariatric program's nutritionist and even the program's psychologist. I was really struggling to find that inner motivation – because that's where it needs to come from – within. You can search for it everywhere, but it's right there, right inside of you.
So there I was, feeling a little hopeless and, honestly, a little scared. Scared because I was thinking if I didn't find that inner strength, determination and motivation soon I might end up right back where I started at 300 pounds, and this time, WLS was not going to be an option to save me.
Could I Do The Taji 100 Challenge?
My husband was gearing up to do his annual Taji 100 Challenge for the month of February – 100 miles in 29 days. We were talking on the phone from work and he casually mentioned I should do it too. I remember letting out a big laugh, like "ya right!". As I laughed, I knew that he had planted something in my head.
When we hung up, I crunched the numbers – the results were 3.44 miles every day if I did not miss one day in the month. Could I do this?
I remembered a post I had made on one of my WLS surgiversaries and applied it where I am now; "8 years ago I wouldn't have even asked myself if I could do this, I would have just said "I can't" and stayed behind. Now, I know I can. I know it will be hard, but I know I can do it!"
So there it was. I was doing this thing! By the end of the night, I was registered for the 100-mile challenge and was anxiously waiting for the next few days until February 1st!
Status of My Own Taji 100 Challenge
- Week 1 - Within the first week of February I was feeling super strong! I was excited and ready to take on the world! I was an overachiever and went slightly over the number of miles that I needed for week 1. I constantly compared my miles to my husband's and loved that I found I was just above him most of the time. I had a constant focus of finding the time to get enough miles in every day, balance work, house duties and being a mom.
- Week 2 - In week 2, I celebrated my 8th WLS surgiversary. I decided to walk 8 miles on that day, one mile for each year since surgery. I walked the river trail and appreciated the beautiful scenery and animals. As I came in on my last mile, I had tears of joy and pride in my eyes as I felt I was exactly where I wanted to be on this day – strong minded, goal oriented and determined.
- Weeks 3 and 4 - By the end of week 3, going into week 4, I was feeling pretty run down. I was tired of calculating miles and making sure that I got the miles in. I felt like I had taken on too much – with work, my side business, my kids and extracurricular activities, home life – I went from feeling like I was Wonder Woman, to feeling as though I shouldn't have taken on such a huge challenge. I was about 75 miles into this thing feeling like I wanted to give up altogether and that got me thinking about my patterns? Why do I do this? Why do I go from 0 to 60? Life is about balance, and that's the lesson I kept learning over and over, but, this time, I think it finally clicked and it took 100 miles to really hit home with me.
What 100 Miles Taught Me
Why do I go from training for a half-marathon or for a 10 miles to doing nothing? It's because I go from doing nothing to taking on the world. I never find a balance. I really took this in.
If this 100 miles was going to teach me anything, for sure it was teaching me balance. It taught me routine. It taught me that it's okay to tell people no and to put myself first.
I'm happy to tell you that after February 29th, I have not stopped. I have kept going! I continue to get miles in almost every day. You can find something that works for you too, a balance. It's okay to struggle, to fall, but you need to get back up. Work on yourself. Put in the work and you'll eventually get results. No, it won't be easy – 8 years later and here I am still learning along this WLS road, but it has been well worth it, and I'm going to keep traveling!
ABOUT THE AUTHORJessica Mowles Stockton is an 8 year post-op and has been an avid member of ObesityHelp for over 6 years. She is an advocate and a strong supporter of the weight loss surgery community and enjoys photography as one of her hobbies. She has a weight loss surgery support page on Facebook.
Read more of Jessica's articles!