11 years today!

AnneGG
on 7/15/21 12:43 am

11 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 journey hasn't at all been in a straight line, it has been full of mistakes and falls and potholes and detours, but I live by the realization that what is most important is to keep practicing and pushing forward because any skill takes forever constant practice.

Height 5'3"

High weight: 230 lbs, BMI: 41

RNY 7/15/10

Weight for past 9½ years: 122-127lbs, BMI: 20.3

What I have to practice forever:

Awareness that surgery does not operate on the brain or the emotions.

My commitment to learning how to manage my mind rather than it managing me.

Embracing the challenge as an opportunity.

Mindfulness, one day, sometimes one minute, sometimes one second at a time.

The work begins with me and is solely up to me, my responsibility, my choice.

Commitment, determination, consistency, and perseverance over time.

Staying focused on goals and concrete results even when I forget what they are and have to operate on blind faith stumbling forward.

Motivation doesn't happen waiting for it.

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.

Making my mistakes part of my music.

Forgiving myself lots (did I say lots?) for being an imperfect human.

My journey:

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.

Has my recovery journey been the hardest work I've ever done? OMG, 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.

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 sought out whatever support I could and put it to use.

I looked for and have had an excellent therapist who is kind, validating, insightful, skilled, and firm- he wouldn't let me weasel.

I had accountability buddies for the first two years. They wouldn't let me weasel either.

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. 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.

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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.

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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 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, calcium and iron. For years I haven't needed to take more.

I take medication for being bipolar with depression- 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.

Results:

My increasingly poor health including mental was the primary reason I had RNY and improving it has been my main driving force. I want to stay on the right side of the grass. I'm now in excellent health for the most part with all of my co-morbid conditions handled- breast cancer (which my oncologist says was likely related to my obesity) now 11½ years cancer free, severe GERD, a huge hiatal hernia corrected during my bypass surgery, Barrett's esophagus, a cholecystectomy for gallstones, high cholesterol, and stress incontinence. My chronic conditions have not worsened other than arthritis and degenerative disc disease. One incurable condition is cured (Barrett's).

*****

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.

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 make them real.

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. I also couldn't have done it without surgery.

"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

AnneGG
on 7/15/21 6:28 am

In response to a reply on the RNY board asking why my posting has been pretty much the same from year to year:

This is not a "canned" post though it has been for the most part the same from year to year. It is sharing what has worked for me with maintaining my weight-that has stayed the same with adjustment as needed through the years.

Of course cir****tances for me have changed from year to year but how I've worked things hasn't, what works doesn't. Consistency of action no matter what has been the key to my success, and that includes how I respond to the ups and downs of life both outside and inside myself. My opinions, thoughts, and feelings don't matter- actually much if not most of the time they are counterproductive to managing myself. Complaining for sure doesn't help either.

My posting is a way of marking the date for me and reminding myself of what has worked and telling myself to stay on course. Also maybe I can hopefully support others who are starting out or perhaps needing to recalibrate or best yet should be congratulating themselves.

"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

Melenada
on 7/20/21 8:21 am
VSG on 09/10/18

I love the fact that you post this every year. What a great affirmation to yourself about all you have been through and how you have managed to keep going and succeed. Your post was so inspiring to me. I am 3 years out of gastric sleeve surgery and nowhere near where you are mentally but your words of wisdom have given me something to aspire to. Thanks so much for posting!

AnneGG
on 7/22/21 6:52 pm

I'm so glad you find it helpful. Gotta just keep plugging & never give up. Be very gentle & loving with yourself- it is the journey that counts.

"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

LeonaCR
on 7/15/21 6:32 am

Congratulations on 11 years! You look great! As a new post op, I am so thankful for your post and your advice.

Summerjoe
on 7/15/21 6:36 am

11 years of weight loss success! I am happy to see your post and to learn from your journey.

TierraMoone
on 7/16/21 5:37 am

Congratulations! You look younger 11 years later!

Veggiewoman
on 7/22/21 2:25 pm
RNY on 01/01/14

O My Gosh you're so beautiful Anne !!

I never knew what you looked like all these years but you have such a lovely sympathetic and wise smile and beautiful eyes :)

I always love reading your wisdom derived from your personal experience. Its funny- we kind of started in the same place ( the lightweights forum ) ...and I so totally ended up different ... but that's how God makes us.

I'm doing a lot of performing now ( with a rock band - well, a few - live musics real big here in Long Island) and also beginning to work on Wall Street after qualifying for my financial industry exams ( endless list of them ).

Im fat around the middle thanks to the Covid thirty and getting pregnant twice ... yet im still on stage and even working occasionally as a bit part SAG actor ( its good money and great fun though sometimes boring )

I have a 27 year old model boyfriend who seems to be very attached to me ...though I scaresly trust it .

Im keeping my options open - I don't think marriage is in the cards but kids definitely are . Its going to be a huge responsibility and lifestyle change I know and im still trying to wrap my head around it because I'm just a huge self indulgent kid still. ((())))

AnneGG
on 7/22/21 6:58 pm

We're for sure all in this together and there's no one right way. Trust your guy- he's smart because he knows who you really are not how you think you are. And trust yourself- your kids will be lucky to have you as their mom.

"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

AnneGG
on 7/22/21 7:08 pm

Love your pink hair!

"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

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