10 years today!!!
10 successful years here!
It's been beyond hard but worth every single second of doing battle (war?) with my brain. It has taken everything I've got and then some to work at managing myself lovingly, thoughtfully, and well, but OMG I can testify that it's been worth every single hard won step. My steps haven't at all been in a straight line, they have been full of mistakes and falls and ups and downs and detours, but I live by the realization that the main thing is to keep practicing and pushing forward because any skill takes forever constant practice in order to improve.
I've posted the following every 6 months for the last few years with a few modifications such as time out from surgery:
Weight for past 8½ years: 116-122 lbs, BMI: 20.3
What has been working for me with maintaining my weight loss, just me because everyone is different and needs to find their own path:
I acknowledged that surgery does not operate on the mind or the emotions.
I made a commitment to learning how to manage my mind rather than it managing me.
I looked for and have an excellent therapist who is kind, validating, insightful, skilled, and firm- he doesn't let me weasel.
I had accountability buddies for the first two years. They didn't let me weasel either.
I have sought out and seek whatever other support I could and can find and put it to use.
What I'm practicing and will have to work on forever:
Keeping my feet moving literally and figuratively no matter what, no excuses, no vacations, no matter what I feel like or am thinking or how much my head is having a temper tantrum or what my life cir****tances are.
Embracing the challenge as an opportunity.
The work begins with me and is solely up to me, my responsibility, my choice.
Motivation doesn't happen waiting for it.
It takes commitment, determination, consistency, and perseverance over time. Mindfulness, one day, sometimes one minute, sometimes one second at a time.
Staying focused on goals and concrete results even when I forget what they are and have to operate on blind faith stumbling forward.
Making mistakes part of my music.
Being gentle and forgiving of myself when I slip.
Forgiving myself lots (did I say lots?) for being an imperfect human.
Has it been the hardest work I've ever done? Oh, my good lord, yes. Has it been the most worthwhile? Yes, beyond yes, way way way beyond yes.
Have I been perfect? Far from. It's been a process of learning and practicing and keeping in front of my nose that it takes only one more time to get up than I fall down.
Since childhood I have been an addict with seeking short term destructive self comforting. My family and my childhood were deeply painful. Thank heavens I never got hooked on drugs. I smoked as a teenager until 1990. I've flirted with alcoholism a couple of times. I struggle with impulsive spending. I struggle with depression and anxiety and destructive negative thinking. OMG I fight my addiction to self pity. Eating is my true addiction. My partner says cookbooks are my porn.
My recovery is my highest priority and has been for many years including way before surgery. Working it has gotten easier over time because working with myself constructively is now mostly what I just do. I struggle to practice self compassion. I know I can fall off the wagon in a nanosecond. I practice not beating myself up if I make a mistake. The trick has been catching myself as soon as possible if I do slip.
Very important: I need to emphasize that the following has been only since getting to goal weight and that I developed my maintenance program very gradually, experimenting with where I could be flexible yet not tip myself over into self sabotage. Before I got to goal weight and for a year afterwards I followed the rules absolutely.
What I have done and do since beginning maintenance (the hitting me in the face cold reality of maintenance scared the bejesus out of me):
I weigh myself daily since getting to goal weight and keep myself within a 5 pound margin. I hate hate hate doing the work of losing 2 pounds let alone lots of weight.
I exercise a lot. Exercise is the cornerstone of my program and I build my day around it. I speed walk at least 2½ miles daily (I figure I've crossed the country coast to coast at least three times since I started walking six months before surgery) plus hike and bike and work at having working out being more than good intention. Before surgery I hated to exercise. Starting six months before surgery I consistently dragged my screaming head out the door, now it's mostly habit and I just do it though I still have to argue with myself sometimes. I like how I feel when I'm done plus it makes managing my eating easier because my headset is clearer.
I eat healthy most of the time and pretty much what I want, focusing on balance and moderation. I eat on a mostly regular schedule. I've learned what works for me regarding how much and what to eat when. I have pretty much learned when I can't eat a bite more or there's hell to pay, thanks to the blessing of my small tummy. I still dump sometimes, especially with fat and sugar together, ice cream being my drug of choice. I'll never learn.
I get regular medical follow up and with my doctor's OK since maintenance use my blood results to determine the vitamins I take beyond my daily multivitamin and calcium and iron. For years I haven't needed to take more vitamins except for potassium and magnesium for leg cramps.
I take medication for my depression and anxiety- I call it eyeglasses for my soul.
I keep myself very active and occupied out in the world.
What I don't and won't do: Log my intake, count calories and protein grams, measure portions, drink protein shakes or not drink during meals. I would much rather, as in totally rather, exercise and eat right than do those things.
My increasingly poor health including mental was the reason I had RNY and improving it has been my main driving force. I want to stay on the right side of the grass. My current size is a much appreciated secondary benefit.
I'm now in excellent health with all of my co-morbid conditions handled- breast cancer (which my oncologist says was likely related to my obesity) now 10 years cancer free, severe GERD, huge hiatal hernia corrected during my bypass surgery, Barrett's esophagus, cholecystectomy for gallstones, high cholesterol, stress incontinence. My chronic conditions have not worsened (osteopenia) and one incurable condition is cured (Barrett's).
I have self esteem and self confidence and I'm very proud of myself for maintaining my program over time. My attention is now outside myself rather than inside me curled up in a fetal position with self consciousness.
My relationships beginning with me with me are a lot better and more rewarding and a lot more fun. I like being called small.
I like living in my baggy skin.
My deepest gratitude goes to the people in my life who have had my back and have been cheering me on, including here on OH. I couldn't have done or be doing this alone no way no how.
If I could say anything to all of you, it would be just do the work, do it like your life depends on it because it does. Simple but not easy, but OMG the payoff.
Don't give complacency even the tiniest opening- keep the pain green. Please consider that bounce back is not a given. Please consider that regain is not a certainty. Thinking these things gives our heads permission to believe them and our behavior to act accordingly. Plus they are truly absolutely not true.
Self vigilance and discipline were not and are not and never will be by any means my favorite things to do but I do know I must not give my mind any room to weasel. Period. Surgery truly does not operate on our heads or emotions.
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly." Richard Bach
"Support fosters your growth. If you are getting enough of the right support, you will experience a major transformation in yourself. You will discover a sense of empowerment and peace you have never before experienced. You will come to believe you can overcome your challenges and find some joy in this world." Katie Jay
OMG I needed this. Thank you so much for sharing! I am 6yrs out (VSG) and have regained 40lbs. I am now in a Bariatric support group that meets 2x/week. Last week I lost 6Lbs and I am going to use OH as a resource and additional support. My mind has been playing tricks on me leading me to more devastation about possibly gaining everything back but I am determined to turn it around.