Happy Canada Day...
Jul 01, 2011I've managed to catch a chest cold/sinus infection from my fiance, which he in fact thinks he caught from his mom (we all live in the same house lol...) So instead of seeing the fireworks or being among the thousands celebrating in downtown Ottawa, I am currently curled up in my chair with a blanket, trying to survive, so I figured it was about time for an updated post.
So it has been quite some time since I visited the OH boards, but in passing through a crazy winter where I saw some regain and depression creep up on me, I felt I needed to find new ways to help myself get back on track.
Since my highest weight of 430 lbs before my surgery, I have managed to lose a total of 142 lbs and am currently again hovering around 288 lbs. Unfortunately, as much as I try to celebrate how far I've come in my journey, I still get hung up on the fact that I am still obese and have so far to go.
In April, when I visited my doctor, I had a rude awakening in learning I had gained a lot more weight than I had wanted to admit because of lack of exercise and poor food choices. With a diagnosis of mild depression over the winter, I had managed to fall completely off the wagon. We did blood work and sure enough with my family history and my poor choices, I had become anemic too. I think I was very hard on myself after this appointment as I never had wanted to see 300 lbs on the scale again. I know there is regain but I had been so happy once I got down to 280 lbs and so realizing I had gained 30 lbs over the winter had me freaking out.
I don't think it was just the number on the scale that moved me into action but I have finally sucked it up and started exercising as in every visit I had with Dr. Graber's staff in the past, they made sure to emphasize that this was something I definitely needed to be doing. Before now I made excuses that because I had very sore joints with much movement at all, I told myself I couldn't exercise. In fact, I believe part of me was afraid to try since I had always failed before. However, I knew things had to change, I did not want to continue on this journey of regain, I had to stop it right now.
Before surgery I was barely able to walk long enough to go shopping, now I could walk without complaining or sitting down every couple of yards, yet I was still sore every day from the weight I had put on my body for all those years so I had to figure out what would work for me. I was afraid to admit even to myself that I was more afraid of trying to exercise and someone making fun of me in the gym or at the pool than I wanted my healthier me.
I don't know if this is what brought around the change in my habits yet again, but I know that's what kickstarted me into action as I didn't want all the work I had previously done with my RNY tool to be for nothing. I did not want to admit defeat, I would not admit defeat.
So instead of moping, I finally got myself to the pool, something I knew I could do.
I started with some leisure swimming before aquafit, and then got into the routine of going to aquafit 3 times a week at least, and sometimes more... I was sore the first few work outs, but I was determined to do it. I have since then added about a half hour of swimming before my aquafit class on most days and have even given myself the pep talks to move from the leisure lane to the slow lap lane, something I would have never been comfortable with before as I was too busy worrying about holding up people behind me...
I also bought a pedometer and began counting the steps in my day, it's something I like to see, how many steps I've taken in a day and if I don't feel it's enough, I add a walk in at Andrew Haydon Park after work before going home as well. I feel so much better about myself when I feel I have at least continued to make an effort in my quest for a healthier me. My heart knows this, so why do I have to knock myself upside the head to get my brain to follow through ?
And in this accomplishment of exercise, I have felt pride, pride in myself for recognizing my failings and instead of beating myself up like in the past, I decided to do something about it.
I have also been trying to be more concious of tracking my food, of making good choices and increasing the foods in my diet that contain iron. I am not perfect, I still have days where I find it more difficult but I'm trying.
Another thing I did to try to help with this journey is to attend the first of support group meetings for me in a long time, I feilt in the past that I didn't get enough out of the larger groups that met in the Ottawa area. I felt I had to fight to get a word in edgewise and that is not the type of person I am. I am sensitive, quiet and shy until I let people get to know me better. I have never done well in large group settings, part of that is probably due to my weight and my aversion to wanting attention brought to myself because of it, part just because I have always been a very emotional person. So i stopped going to the support groups as I didn't feel I was getting anything out of them until a long time friend of mine suggested I come to one with her. That I should keep an open mind and just come as she had heard me complain to her that I was having some difficulty staying on track.
The first one I went to was full of people at different stages, in fact, I laughed when I realized the moderator probably thought I was pre-surgery still with the few girls who showed up as early as I did all being presurgery. I listened to people share their thoughts, their questions, their fears and I felt moved by what some people said. I heard other people struggling, making me realize I was not the only one, that we're all human, and that I could again get back on track with the support of people who had been through similar struggles. Near the end of the meeting, I struggled to speak, my good friend who sat beside me rubbing my back because she knows how hard that was for me, yet I wanted to speak, to share with these people who had been so open in sharing their experiences.
For me, this first meeting was very overwhelming, although definitely something I had needed for awhile. It was a bigger group than I expected but still smaller than previous groups I'd gone to. I hadn't expected to speak, but I felt good about having someone take the time to help me share my thoughts as I still have problems asserting myself to be heard over the roar of a group.
So then when I saw my family doctor in June instead of waiting longer to follow up as he wanted to see how I was doing in our plan to help me get back on track, I was delighted to hear the good news that I had lost the weight I regained when I got back on his scale...
I am lucky to have a great family doctor, he took me on as a new patient as a favor to my mom, so I travel an hour to see him as when I came back from living in the Toronto area, I could not find a doctor who was "fat friendly", who didn't blame every ailment I had on my weight, but instead helped me jump through all the hoops to get to my surgeon. He has always tried to do his best and help try to guide me on my path to better health even when he didn't have all the answers.
So with the exercise, the better eating and striving to stay positive, I had managed to get back down to 288 lbs, which for me was worth millions, because it made me believe that I could get back on track, that I could exercise and see results if I maintained an effort. That I was not a failure in my quest for better health.
I've also since been to a 'Maintenance' support group meeting meant for people more than a year out from their weight loss surgeries. This group was a bit smaller, but in listening, I heard things that I might not have known or understood without this group. I learned a few ideas on how to live with the reality of the daily struggles I've been going through. I really felt this new group has helped me to strive to be more positive and to highlight when I do well, just as much as to learn from when I falter...
I need to maintain that healthy attitude and keep up with the still new aquafit/swim routine I've managed to commit myself to. I'm working on figuring out how to get more iron in to my diet as in my latest blood work, I managed to fall below in my iron levels. I have to be more thorough on getting in all my vitamins and supplements at every point in the day as I know this is key in continuing my better health.
It's been a crazy few months, but I am very happy with my effort to stay positive and to think about each day one at a time as I make my way to better choices. I want to be present through this journey, so I continue to take baby steps and strive to remind myself that it is always a work in progress as I make my way through the day to day.
I've come a long way, I just have to remember to conitnue to celebrate the little things, and to get back up when I fall down...