8½ years of lots of tears and lots of cheers here- what a trip it's been!

AnneGG
on 1/15/19 4:56 pm

I've posted the following every 6 months for the last couple of years with a few modifications such as time out from surgery. Except the margin of weight I allow myself has increased two pounds in the past six months. That doesn't sound like much but obviously it is not a good thing to keep expanding. The past year has been the happiest of my life and I've discovered for me that being happy makes it harder to deal with my eating and weight than being unhappy, I'm not sure why. Probably I'm relaxing which makes me less vigilant. I just want to enjoy life. Lord I hate the weight struggle but I do recognize that no matter how I feel I have to keep on keeping on.

Height 5'3"

High weight: 230 lbs, BMI: 41

RNY 7/15/10

Weight for past 7 years: 116- now 122 lbs, BMI: now 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 took "surgery does not operate on the mind" deeply to heart. 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:

Embracing the challenge as an opportunity.

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

Commitment, determination, consistency, perseverance over time.

Motivation doesn't happen waiting for it.

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.

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.

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

My journey:

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.

I have been an addict since childhood 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 have struggled with depression and anxiety and destructive negative thinking. 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 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.

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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.

*****************************************************************

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 exercise exercise. 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 a lot easier because my headset is clearer.

I eat healthy most of the time and pretty much what I want, avoiding sugar and processed food for the most part. 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 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 keep myself very active and occupied out in the world.

What I don't and won't do: Log my intake, count calories, 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 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), 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 better and more rewarding and a lot more fun. I'm in a relationship with a wonderful man.

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, just 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. 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 and they are truly absolutely not true.

Self vigilance and discipline was not and are not by any means my favorite things to do but I do know I must not give my mind room to weasel. Period. Surgery truly does not operate on our heads. I must do the work if I want the results.

"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

MsLena
on 1/30/19 6:32 pm
RNY on 03/21/19

I appreciate reading this. Thank you for sharing! I will be having surgery in March. If I took anything away from your article it was "they don't do surgery on your mind!" I totally agree.

Obesity is a mindset that one must fight everyday, every single minute of the day. I am in counseling and my counselor asked me if I enjoyed feeling my muscles burn and ache from the exercises. I looked at him like he had three heads! NO! Then I realized I must change my mindset! I have to enjoy my muscles burning and letting me know they are alive.

Cookbooks are porn (loved this too) I'm donating my books to some newlyweds.

Thanks for sharing.. I cannot wait for surgery, I've lost a great bit of weight to start... I'm ready for it all to come off!

Be blessed,

Lena

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