July 24, 2017
As I wake up each morning, step out of bed, head across my bedroom and pass by the large mirror in the bathroom, I see my reflection now as someone I haven’t seen in MANY years. It is still taking some time to realize that yes, this is me. I’m still the same Lori… just in a smaller, healthier, and happier body.
I have reflected back on so many things in my life, since drastically taking control of my health over the last 7 months. When you set out on your daily walk, there’s nothing to do but think and reflect (in addition to the music blasting from each ear bud in your ears). This journey has been a learning experience and an eye opener. Simple things, like an understanding now of what is the difference between a carb and net carbs, to thinking about life in general, and what a crazy ride life IS, in and of itself. There’s also been the encounters that I have had with people who see me now since this transformation to a healthier ‘me’: strangers, new acquaintances, friends, old friends, Facebook friends, and relatives, which have been for the most part, very positive, although there have been a few snarky-smart assed remarks and at other times: complete silence from people. No acknowledgment at all. (Not that I expected a ticker tape parade or a confetti celebration because I did this for my health, family and myself.) I’ve come to realize this when dealing with the naysayers: in any situation where you have achieved something awesome (in your eyes), there will ALWAYS be others out there in the world who will pout, stomp their feet and just be a Debbie-Downer. I take it in stride and tell myself that the resentments and insecurities of others is all about them – and not me. Life is short…
I have done amazingly well (in mine and Dennis’ eyes) and have followed all the rules that I should be adhering to. (Meaning, I can’t overeat because there is NO WAY to overeat with the size of my restricted stomach.) Should that happen, well, let’s just say it’s not a pretty sight… or a feeling I would wish on my worst enemy.) I see my doctor, have blood tests to check on vitamin deficiencies and other levels of things that might be off, and so far… so good. I am down 91 pounds (this morning) and 42 1/2 inches from ALL OVER my body; and my clothing sizes have dropped dramatically from XXL’s to Medium. I had moments in the beginning days of “What in the HELL did I do to myself?” following my surgery in March, but as I have said before in previous blog posts, I had no other choice. “You’re between a rock and a hard place” as my husband had said. Diet and exercise and sheer will power wouldn’t- and couldn’t- DO IT! My weight had gotten so out of control and unless you have BEEN there- in my shoes– it’s difficult for anyone to understand the how and why’s of it all. I began putting on a little bit of weight my last year of high school (there are many reasons why that happened) and dropped it within a year or so after high school, but my eating disorder began back then. I know exactly when. I went up and down in weight throughout my late 30’s and 40’s and after the triple-whammy of developing Achilles tendonitis in 2014 and beginning steroids, then detaching my Achilles tendon completely from the bone in 2015 ( undergoing a grueling surgery and long recovery) and living on prednisone (oral steroids) for close to a year and a half, due to all the inflammation in the injured area, I continued MORE prednisone therapy after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis during the initial tendon fiasco. Try being on steroids for over a year and a half and no matter how much you diet, you gain weight (in amounts equivalent to that of a 9 year old child. In ONE year!) It’s the most frustrating dilemma one can face. I learned decades ago to ‘not judge a book by it’s cover’ and boy do those seven words hold true. You never know what is the cause or reason for something to happen in a person’s life, without knowing what the actual answer and truth is. Assumption is wrong, on so many levels.
But back to real time: My daily caloric intake is now higher than the last few months since I had surgery. Instead of 320 calories a day (which by the way was outstanding for me), I am hitting 700 – 800 now, mainly protein. I struggle daily with drinking the amount of water I am supposed to be consuming (90 ounces), but I diligently work on that.
Has it been hard to say goodbye to carbs and sweets? You betcha! I AM human and I AM Italian but I know what I can and can’t shove into my mouth. If I need something sweet I don’t deprive myself… I eat a non fat Greek vanilla yogurt with a tablespoon of powdered peanut butter (PB2) and it’s satisfying, or a ‘scrumptious’ (insert sarcasm here) chocolate peanut butter protein bar. Honestly, I am used to the taste and I enjoy eating it occasionally. Sure, it’s not like having that double scoop of ice cream with some fudge dripped across the frozen treat, but I am mindful that I physically can’t eat ice cream anymore (too sweet for me now, in addition to the high fat, sugar and carb content those sweet delights exude. Halo Top Ice Cream on the other hand? Will be trying that eventually… maybe.) I watch the rest of the family eat pasta, pizza, burritos and things like that, then I eat the meal I prepared for myself- my version of what it is they are eating. I’ll eat a slice of eggplant with sauce instead of pasta, I CAN eat a meatball (ooh, daring!) and I can eat a dab of refried beans (sans the flour tortilla), no pizza for me, and I can’t find a replacement worthy of my taste buds so I eat 3 ounces of chicken or tuna salad while the family noshes on things I can’t tolerate any more. Such is life.
The downside for me so far, are sleep issues (I fall asleep, but wake up after 2 hours and flip like a pancake throughout the night… and Yes, I take melatonin and a sleep aid.) Another fun fact is that it takes SO FLIPPIN’ long to eat. I have been known to be an impatient person and when you are forced to take bites of your food that are the size of an M&M and chew 30x, it is extremely difficult to do. I have learned though, to FOLLOW the rules because once again, if I eat too fast or take one too many bites, there is HELL to pay. No warning of becoming full… it just hits and I am sick instantly. 1/2 cup of food, is it per meal- if that- and I measure everything for this purpose! (I am excellent at eyeballing “ounces” now, as well.) Live and learn.
I am 4 pounds away from my GOAL weight and 9 pounds from the ‘ULTIMATE’ goal of… losing 100 pounds. As it is now, I am very happy with how I feel and look at this point, so I am just going with the flow and see where the chips may fall. I am not on a diet, and seeing I can’t eat more than 1/2 cup of food per meal comfortably, more weight expectedly will come off. With that said, my new menu items are pretty much what one does eat if they are trying to curtail their calories and carbs, etc… so basically the word DIET pops into one’s vocabulary again. It has only been 4 months since surgery and I know that the first year is when all the excess baggage is lost (and will be lost forever.) I walk daily, swim, and go to the gym so I am much more active now. My RA lab work shows no inflammation in any of my joints and the blood levels are the lowest they have ever been. Considered normal according to my rheumatologist. (I do take meds for this autoimmune disease, thank God, but being on it for almost 2 years, this is the first time everything is reading NORMAL.)
Losing weight can- and will– have a significant impact on your life in so many areas. I am truly thrilled that I have reached this first quarter successfully and look forward to the next phase.
After all my weight is off, the next phase is maintenance. I consider myself there already due to the fact that how I eat NOW is how I will eat from here on out.
One day at a time. I’m taking it one day at a time.