Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


5 Comments

Two Years and Three Weeks Later

On April 4, 2009, I rejoined Weight Watchers. Again. For the eleventy-third time.  I was mildly thinking about bariatric surgery and knew that I would have to have 6 months of a proven track record in an accountable weight loss program, and that WW would count.  But the only thing I was committing to was following a sensible program to reverse the weight-gain process and see what happened.

Who knew where that would lead?  I certainly didn’t – because I was taking one next step at a time, as they came up, and didn’t obsess about getting to an unrealistic place.  Those steps led to lapband surgery, working with a personal trainer, and most recently plastic surgery to get rid of excess skin.  (Which I’ve told you about in excruciating detail.)

Two years and three weeks after walking into WW, I stepped on the scale and realized I was at my goal weight of 175 lbs (well, okay, 175.2 but I’m still counting it).   I’ve lost 46% of my starting weight for a total of 137 lbs.  The last time I was at this weight was when I was in grad school 34 years ago.

Why didn’t I jump online and tell you all about it, you ask?  Well, I confess to putting it up on Facebook and getting some very supportive responses.  But mostly I wanted to just sit with it a while and let it settle in.

Many people start a weight loss journey at this point and don’t understand why I would stop at 175 lbs when in BMI terms it’s still obese.  But I’m where I had secretly wanted to be when I started all those months and years ago.  I don’t pretend to be skinny.  I will never be down to 125 lbs, nor do I want to.  My primary care doctor set my goal weight at 165-175, and I do intend to lose another 5-6 lbs.  There is no hurry, though, and it will get easier when I’m allowed to get back to the gym.

I’m now 9 weeks out from my plastic surgery, something I had no intention of doing when I had my lapband surgery much less when I started back at WW.   The arms are healed and back to full functionality; the belly still has a little bit to go but then, it was major abdominal surgery.  Sometimes I forget that.  Just another step, though a dramatic one.  But it was the right choice for me, at the right time.

One WW tool I learned (and remembered) was anchoring; having something very specific to see or touch to remind me of what I’ve accomplished and what my goals are.  For me, that’s a silver Pandora bracelet for my weight loss journey.  I already have a clock (it was time), an owl (a wise decision), Chinese symbol for happiness, a present (a gift to myself), a Christmas tree (for the pictures that opened my eyes for the need), a queen bee (“Never underestimate the power of a woman”), an embossed Inner Strength bead, a dangling tennis shoe (exercise and the gym), and pretty glass beads.

Next step:  buy two final charms, one a pair of dangling scissors (for surgical “cutting”) and a butterfly.  For the new me.


7 Comments

Christmas Then and Now

Two years ago I spent Christmas with my family in Texas.  I weighed in at 312 lbs and was sad and not in a good place with my body or my weight.  This year I went again, weighing 182.2 lbs and oh, what a difference!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone I saw told me how beautiful I was, asked me how I did it, didn’t I feel wonderful, was it hard, what could I eat, etc.  And I found I had a hard time knowing what/how to respond, other than to say “thank you.”

I’m in a good place now, a stable place.  I’m proud of my accomplishments, because they are considerable and have been life-changing.  I’ve lost 130 lbs and enjoy shopping for clothes and finding things that both fit and flatter.  My belly and upper arms are annoying because of all the extra skin, but I’m having medically necessary plastic surgery in March to have those areas trimmed (at last I think we’re doing the arms; it depends on insurance).

Back in 2008 I said: “I don’t want to diet. I want to eat sensibly in moderation, to enjoy a variety of food, to ease the stress on my knees, to be comfortable in my body and with myself.  That may be mutually exclusive.  All I can do is try and take things one small step at a time.”

That pretty much describes where I am now.  Emotionally I’m in a very calm place.  I haven’t really found the weight loss to be hard this time, not since I heard the “click” that said “It’s time now” and took it one step at a time.


5 Comments

A Week or So in the Life

Have you missed me?  I seem to be spending more time living my life and chatting in short little spurts on Twitter and Facebook instead of posting here.  Let’s see if I can catch up.

I’ve been busy with work, learning new responsibilities since on 11/1 my job changes.  My best work friend is retiring at the end of November and her unit and mine are being merged into a single Acquisitions & Continuing Resources department, with me in charge. I’ll miss her like crazy because we’re good friends and I enjoy her company, knowledge, and wisdom.  We’ve been backups for each other these last 3 years and it will be hard to fly solo, but it’s also an opportunity to rethink job responsibilities and descriptions, and workflow.

I’m off to Chicago on Tuesday for a few days visit with my best friend and then a committee meeting over Halloween weekend to select the programs for next year’s annual meeting.  I’m in charge of it all so am feeling a bit stressed that we don’t make any false moves. But we will and it will all be okay. Trust me, though, I’ll be happier next Monday when the decisions are behind us and I’m home again.

Tessi went to the vet on Friday, much to her dismay, to get her claws clipped and have her anal glands checked. She’s had problems there before and I’d noticed she was licking her butt more than usual.  It seems that the glands were fine but she had some hard crystals in there that were irritating. Now she has a small shaved bit and short claws.  So far she hasn’t retaliated by throwing up but I’m sure she’s biding her time.  I’d better warn the cat sitter.

Weight loss has slowed down to a stop and to be quite honest, I don’t really care that much.  Except I do.  I’ve decided that my goal isn’t a point on the scale, it’s being able to fit into size 16 petite pants.  I’m having a terrible time finding pants to fit because I’m really an 18p right now and petite departments usually only go up to a 16.  Sure, I can get some online but I really want to be able to try them on in a store instead of paying for stuff I have to return because it doesn’t fit.

But it doesn’t really matter to me when that happens.  After losing 126 lbs, it’s hard to get excited about another 15-20.  Picking up the exercise pace will obviously help but I’ve been sick for 2 weeks and have been having continuing back problems that my doctor thinks are connected to that heavy apron of excess skin hanging in the front.  My balance is off.  At least the pool workouts are easier on everything than the ones “on land” as my trainer calls them.

Did you know that you can create 8×10 photo collages at Walgreens?  I’m sure you can do it other places, too, but I know it works there.  I uploaded some digital photos to have prints made, and discovered there was an option for photo collage.  You can select up to 20 photos (though I’d definitely recommend no more than 8-9 if you want to actually see them) and the system arranges them for you.  You can shuffle the images, add more, remove some, select the color background and width of the lines separating the photos, etc.  Price is $3.99 each.  I’m not sure if you can create them on the spot; I did this from home and picked up at the store.  They’ll make fun presents for the family and one of them will go into my new office.  Check it out!


2 Comments

September Progress Report

I saw my lapband surgeon and my primary care doctor this week, covering a lot of bases. They were both pleased with my weight loss (121 lbs in 18 months), which has slowed down a lot lately. But I’m still losing an average of 1 lb/week while feeling very normal; that counts a lot.

I’ve been having problems with my back and my right knee, which limits what I can do for exercise (tho I’m still doing what I can with my trainer and on my own).  One reason for the back issues is probably the apron of belly skin left from losing weight. It’s just not elastic enough to come back to a normal shape.  I got a referral to a plastic surgeon to talk about options, see what they advise and what their rules are, etc. I hadn’t thought I’d actually do this but am seeing now that it makes sense. In any case, the surgeons aren’t likely to do anything until I’ve been at my goal weight for a year.

Which led to the “what is my goal weight?” discussion, really for the first time. I had a ballpark number but have been having some reservations about it as the pounds fell off.  My brain hasn’t caught up with the loss, which is actually normal since it usually takes approximately one year for every 25 lbs for reality to take hold.

Much to my relief, my primary care doctor advised that my goal be 165-170 lbs and that she’d be very happy for me to be at a BMI of 30.  (It’s already dropped from 54.9 to 33.2 so 30 isn’t that far away.)  I’d been afraid she would want me out of the obese & overweight categories and down to 130, a weight I haven’t seen since junior high and don’t think I could maintain.  Dr. W. is practical and stressed that a healthy BMI for ME doesn’t have to match what a chart says.

FYI: don’t worry if you don’t hear from me very often over the next weeks.  I am program chair for my professional association’s annual conference next summer and we’re gearing up to review 200 proposals, evaluate and rate, and finally select programs.  I’m also learning the ins/outs of the new responsibilities I take over on Nov. 1 (the day after we finalize the programs).  So I’m likely to be slow on the blogging front, but I’ll check in when I can!


3 Comments

Visits and Leaks and Weight Loss, Oh My!

My nephew came down for a quick visit this weekend from the New England Patriots training camp.  I saw him last November when I went up for a quick visit to see him and my brother.  His muscles in his arms and legs have muscles that are as hard as rocks, and he’s in wonderful shape.  As he said during the visit, it’s his job to eat healthy and work out in one way or another 5+ hours a day.  After practice and after some supper, he heads back to the gym for additional time.

I made him a home cooked meal (the most exotic thing in it was green bean casserole, which he loves) and was astounded by the amount of food he eats – but then, he has to fuel that body for hard physical work.  For a special treat, I made a sour cream coffee cake using an old family recipe.  My mom makes these for holidays and special family gatherings, and he was shocked that I not only knew how to make it, but had been doing so since before he was born.

We spent Friday night looking at boxes of old family pictures and telling stories.  On Saturday after a leisurely breakfast of coffee and an enormous pile of scrambled eggs, we went out to explore Yale.  It is over 300 years old and the buildings and campus layout are totally different from anything he’d seen in Texas or Utah.  We wandered the law school, old campus, the main library (which he recognized from the Indiana Jones movie that filmed there just as I started working), and checked out Skull and Bones.

We finished the visit with a relaxed lunch at an Irish pub before he had to hit the road to get back for a charity event that night.   We are the only family members in this part of the world and being able to get together without the hassle and expense of plane tickets is priceless.

While he was here, we discovered a water leak from the apartment above.  The toilet tank seal had broken and water was flooding their bathroom and dripping down through my ceiling and down the walls, getting the carpet and pad beneath it soaking wet.  It happened fast and having Rob here was a blessing, since he found the damage more quickly than I would have here on my own.

Maintenance came and fixed the upstairs problem, wet vac-ed my rug and carpet pad, and set up a dehumidifier to suck water out of the walls and carpet as well as fans to help dry things out.  They’re coming back this morning to do some repairs and I’m sitting here waiting for them, since I want to be sure I know what they’re doing.

Last but not least, I’ve now reached the 100 lb milestone and am only 10 lbs away from entering ONEderland for the first time in over 25 years.  I’m not there yet and am not celebrating in advance.  But I know I can do it now and am content to let it arrive when I’m ready.

I’m very happy with my progress and accomplishment.  I am also painfully aware that people who don’t know me see a fat woman who needs to lose a ton of weight, has no tone and obvious fat pockets.  I’m lumpy from the saggy skin, though people don’t necessarily know that’s the reason when I’m covered up.  Time is running out for that as the temps rise.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember when reading other people’s weight loss blogs that we are in very different places in our journeys and that their words and observations are not about me at all, since they’ve never met or even seen me.  They just hold up a big mirror to the things I still have to deal with – or not.  My goal is not to have a lean, trim, toned body. My goal is to be healthier, fitter, smaller, but it also needs to be a place where I know I can maintain without looking out for the fitness police to knock me into a different place just because it works for them.  I have enough to process for now.


3 Comments

Weigh In Day

My official weigh in day is Saturday, and I’m two weeks away from my anniversary. Here are my stats measured from April 3, 2009:

Can you believe it?  90 pounds in just under one year, 49 of it on WW and 41 since my surgery 5 months ago.  I celebrate the losses, am mostly patient through the stalls, and am not setting any particular time or pound goals.  I just know that in 2010 two things will happen:  I will reach the 100 lb mark, now only 10 lbs away, and I will break the 200 lb barrier into ONE-derland.  It’s possible that both will happen before I go to Denver in July but if not, it will still happen when my body is ready.

It’s a very good place to be, not just in my body, which is feeling both lighter and smaller, and in my spirit.  I’m getting more compliments from people when I wear properly fitted clothes, probably because 90 lbs ago I had to lose a LOT before anyone noticed.  Now my body is re-arranging itself pretty darn often:  I lost an inch each in my bust, waist, and hips in the last 2 weeks.  I have no clue how that happened but I’m not going to complain.

I keep track of my numbers on Saturdays, weight every week and measurements twice a month.   They are not judgements, just numbers.  They happen to be going down now but the fact of weight loss is that there will be lots of plateaus and some gains before more losses happen.  I am surprisingly (to me) calm about whatever happens and confident that I will manage whatever challenges come up.  And I know that as I get closer to my goal, the weight will come off more slowly.   It just feels different this time, in a lot of little ways.

Today I went to get a haircut and was surprised when the stylist made a huge fuss over the physical changes in the last 7 weeks.  I didn’t think they were particularly noteworthy, but then, I’m wearing clothes that fit me (yayyy for eBay shopping).  We plotted out my hair appointments so that I’m at maximum beautifulness for both my nephew’s wedding on June 26 and my national conference which starts on July 10.   And then, after weeks of thinking but not doing, I dropped 4 pairs of Birkenstocks off to be reheeled and headed to the lingerie shop to be fitted for a bra in my current size.  Stacy and Clinton are right: I look a lot better when the girls are up where they belong.

It’s been a gorgeous few days and today we got up to 72 with bright sun and soft breezes.  My windows and back door are wide open, taking it all in, and Tessie is in heaven being able to hear the birdies and smell the air.  Best we enjoy it all now because by next week it could easily be snow.  Spring doesn’t come to stay this early in New England.


3 Comments

To Speak or Not to Speak

I’ve been on diets since I was about 10.  Sometimes they would work and I’d lose some pounds, then I would get tired of it, lose my momentum, and gain them back, usually plus more.  I’d say 45 years of that is plenty of dieting.  Several times I would have successful periods when I lost significant amounts of weight, generating lots of comments and questions from other people about how I did it, what advice did I have, etc.  Sometimes I felt like the poster child for Weight Watchers which got pretty old pretty fast.

Seeing other fat people tugged at my heartstrings and I often found myself volunteering things to try.  Why weren’t they following the simple steps that I knew made all the difference?  Eat less, move more is so easy.  Walking was easy.  Lots of vegetables.  Portion control.  Honestly, it wasn’t that hard.

Except that, of course, it was hard.  Sticking with a program for weeks and months and years is not easy when you are programmed to eat in response to particular foods or emotional situations.   I spent time in therapy as well as the gym, WW, and the nutritionist office.  Not for addictive behavior or eating disorders, but still, time with people who helped give me tools to use in working through my issues.

The world is full of fat people, a lot of them are bigger than I am, and I don’t volunteer anything to anyone now unless it’s asked.   I don’t mention lapbands or Weight Watchers or books or gyms or therapy or portion sizes.  I know from personal experience that someone could have lost significant weight that’s not obvious to someone else, or from a medical condition.   If I’m asked about my own weight loss, I’m happy to talk about it.  But I do not impose anything on anyone else, even if they are ordering something in a restaurant that I think is not particularly healthy for them.  It might be a planned treat – and really, it’s none of my business.

Is that enabling them?  Maybe.  It’s also keeping my nose out of their lives and their business.   Being the recipient of such well-meaning comments in the past, I know how much it hurts to have someone else kindly tell me that the right thing to do is eliminate sugar, or go into therapy to figure out my issues, or just go to a gym to help tone up.   I wasn’t stupid, I knew those things.

No matter how happy any of us are about successfully changing our lives by losing weight and making significant lifestyle and emotional changes to do so, those changes apply to us and not to everyone we meet.  Not being ready to deal with my reality was MY business and something that I had to come to terms with in my own time and way.  I owe that to others as well.  The right words at the wrong time or from the wrong person can cause serious harm.