Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Reflection of the Year

Wow another year has come and gone. Some parts of this year I felt like it went slow (when I was recovering from my surgery) but mostly the year went by very fast. I always like to do a reflection of the year and I definitely have a lot to reflect on. The most obvious being my health. Someone asked me what my favorite gift for Christmas was, I responded with “my health”. It is so true. It wasn’t necessarily a Christmas gift but it was definitely something that I now treat as a gift and don’t take for granted. I’ve lost 141 pounds this year alone (and I still have 1 more day to account for). That is both pre-op and post-op. Post-op I have lost 121 pounds in 6 months. That is something I would have never imagined that I would lose so much so quickly. I am so grateful for this new tool I gave to myself. It was definitely a gift to myself I will always treasure. (I have it in writing now to remind me when I am at a point of plateau or frustration). I’ve hit a plateau this month but my doctor had warned me about 6 months ago that no matter what kind of surgery you have at about 6 months the body goes into a shock. The bummer is that I am so close to “200 pounds total” but I guess it just makes me stay on top of my game. But I know it has to come off eventually (I am hoping). I’m not done. I’m hoping by the end of next year to be at or within 25 pounds of my goal weight. It may be a little aggressive but that would be so amazing. I have tears of excitement just thinking about it right now.

199 pounds gone 12/25/11
Not only am I appreciative for my new tool but I am grateful for all the changes in my head that went along with my surgery. I no longer feel like I struggle with food, at least not right now. I know that could all change but my therapist thinks it is a permanent change, I sure hope so. But cookies, brownies, sweets in general do not tempt me. I don’t crave the sugars. I don’t really crave anything except once in awhile I crave a healthy salad. I don’t turn to food anymore. I’ve truly found new coping skills other than food. Food really doesn’t feel good anymore. I suppose from all of the throwing up I did in the beginning it probably really helped to change my mind about food. There are still foods that make me feel ill and sometimes I will throw up so I suppose having that “fear” sort of, in a small way, puts a fear of food in me. I think of it as a reprogramming sort of like a mathematical equation whereas; food = throw up. It is just not appetizing anymore. Although I must say I do eat, of course, but again I only eat for my health rather than for all the other reasons I shouldn’t eat.

199 pounds gone (side view) 12/25/11

Exercise is something I used to hate doing but now I enjoy it. I know I need to step it up so will be working out more and/or getting a trainer. I really think my knees and legs are still fairly weak, despite the water aerobics, and need to help build them up some more. I can say for a fact that water aerobics and water yoga have definitely helped my knees in recovering and feeling better. But I do love my water aerobics class a lot. When it is cooler it makes it a bit harder for me to want to go only because I am so cold the entire time working out but I always treat myself afterwards to the warm Jacuzzi to warm up and to relax my muscles. It is definitely paradise.

I’m unquestionably grateful that my knees were feeling better. Yes I used the word “were”. The last few weeks, my left knee in particular, has not felt good at all. Then to add to it I tripped and fell yesterday and I tried saving my knees by catching myself with my hands and upper body but my left knee hurts so bad that it has ached ever since I fell so I don’t think I accomplished what I was trying to do. I also ended up with rug burn on my hands (still have it on my palms) and bruises up and down my arms and back. I must have fell hard because I’ve fallen before when I was heavier (close to my highest weight) and I don’t recall being hurt this badly. Hopefully I will heal and everything will be fine but it really makes me appreciate those moments when my knees don’t hurt and I feel like I can live life again without pain and get some good sleep too!

I must also include that my sleep apnea is not as severe now due to my weight loss. I haven’t been wearing my mask for a good portion of the year because when I did I would wake up feeling like I was drowning in air. I was retested recently and my lowest setting is at the lowest setting they can make it at and the highest setting is only 5 points above that. I am hoping in another 100 pounds or so I can completely be off my machine! I also got rid of my cane this year. The first part of the year my knees hurt so bad that I had to use a cane for support a lot of the time. I was so embarrassed by it but am completely humbled that I am walking all on my own (pain or not).

I’m incredibly appreciative for all the support I have. I definitely couldn’t do this all alone. Very grateful that my class from Kaiser options program decided to keep in touch and we meet once a month. I am so grateful to have them around for support. Love you gals and guy. J I am thankful for all the support that I get from people online such as twitter, facebook and those just visiting my blog offering me words of encouragement or support. I also have a few message boards I frequent and although I don’t post a whole lot I am so indebted to be able to read up on something so I don’t feel so alone. I have several people on there that have lent me words of encouragement as well which I’m very appreciative for. My water aerobics classes have a few people I talk to and have made a few friends. They also will tell me how great I’m looking which does help me to continue on that someone can see changes. Last, but not least, my friends and family that cheer me on no matter what. Those that lend an ear when I just need to whine and complain, provide an ear when I need to share my accomplishments because I am so proud of myself, or those that just tell me how stunning I am becoming (although I do understand I have always been beautiful but I know that fat really can hide the real beauty).

I’ve really changed and grown a lot for the better. I really notice that I don’t let people walk all over me anymore. I stand up for myself and don’t let people bully me. In fact I will even say something when someone bullies me. I am still very shy in general though, especially in a group setting, which is something I think will eventually change. I don’t think I will ever be a social butterfly because I really have always loved listening and watching people, and that just isn’t who I am, but I do think as I lose more weight and gain more confidence I will come out of my shell a bit more.

I really look forward to 2012 and all of the accomplishments it has in store for me. But not only that but all of the opportunities in store for me.

I had a good 2011 but I know I will have an even more amazing 2012!


With Love,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weight loss is nothing but a mental test

So I've known that weight loss (and any addiction for that matter) is very mental. What I mean by that is it is a "mind game". But I realized that really it is about 98% about the mental mind game and only 2% about exercise and "diet". Think about it... when you are mentally motivated and you are mentally ready for something it is easy to do. When you aren't mentally motivated and you aren't mentally ready then it is more of a chore and much harder to do and to stick with. That is what weight loss (and any addiction) is all about. But it isn't about motivation because that is short lived. It is about that little switch in your head committing to the change. 

I talked to my therapist last week and realized how much has changed for me mentally since surgery. I could swear that when they were rerouting my insides they also did some mind work and cut out my demons but I have no scars or proof that happened. My therapist mentioned I had been doing lots of work prior to my surgery and the surgery was the day it all just came together... and while she is probably right I find it absolutely amazing at how different I am than I was even the day prior to surgery. I was pretty strong mentally but things would bother me (scents of food or watching other people eat something I wasn't allowing myself to have on my program). But I am so detached from food now that I don't even recognize myself. Smells of food don't bother me. Watching someone eat something doesn't bother me. I don't think about food AT ALL except when I have to figure out what I want to eat which takes forever but nothing ever really sounds great. I don't have cravings and specifically the cravings for sweets which used to be my weakness. I don't have the demons in my head trying to talk to me into something. I don't have any negative self-talk. It is like all that was laid to rest while I was in surgery. 

So lots of things go through my head though. I stepped on the scale the other day and was the same weight as my lowest point when I was doing medifast. I got scared. I realized that there are some things that do scare me. I am scared that I may gain some weight back. I am also scared that all of my mental changes are all part of the "honeymoon phase." While it definitely could be I feel like I have committed myself not to a diet but a lifestyle change. When I did medifast it was a diet but right now I am living the lifestyle change. My therapist said it could be a "honeymoon phase" but she really feels it is more permanent since I've been so committed to this lifestyle for 6 months already. She also stated that I am very humble and have learned so much since gaining weight from the last time that I've probably have a good set of tools with me on my journey this time. No ego allowed here. Don't get me wrong I am proud of myself and I allow myself to bask in the joy of my hard work; however, I don't bask for long. It is a real quick get in and out type of thing.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not perfect nor am I the queen of health. I still can make poor decisions. But usually it isn't because I am craving it but rather because I am bored of my other options. But my poor decisions are few and far between and it is usually a poor decision just because it isn't as protein packed as it should be. For instance, Oatmeal would be a poor option for me but overall for most other people it isn't a bad option. But I add some unflavored protein powder and then it is a good option for me. Been loving my unflavored protein powder to add to food to increase my protein.

So my only hope that I am truly who am I am going to be, mentally, permanently. It has been so nice to not have to deal with all the mental garbage especially after a lifetime of dealing with it. Again though my guard is still up. I am ready for anything. I know I can do this and I know deep down that this is a permanent change but someone who has struggled with this for their entire life, such as myself, can't help to wonder some of these things. 

I haven't weighed myself in a week and I will be tomorrow so not sure where I am weight-wise. I cleaned my closet out which in essence was a cleansing of myself. It was hard letting go of the fat Shanda and all of the fat clothes. I'm not even sure why because I was so miserable where I was. I think a lot of it has to do with the change and letting go of the old and accepting the new. That has always been a challenge for me. But on a positive note I now know everything in my closet fits me. There were so many things that were hidden in my closet that I feel like I have a new wardrobe. Life is good.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

50% of my weight loss GONE!

Well I can officially say I DID IT! I reached my 1/2 way point of weight loss. I'm so astounded! I'm sooo proud of myself! When I stepped on the scale and saw the scale say 389.4 I just started gushing with tears. They were tears, of joy of course, but I became overwhelmed with my emotions of joy. I've officially lost 190 pounds and have only 190 more to go. It seems so much more attainable than the original 379 I had to lose total. I feel like I've climb up the big hill and now I am just on the other side and get to go downhill. Don't get me wrong, I know that it isn't going to be easy from here on out. I have no expectations of it being easy and in fact I know that as I get closer to my goal it will be much harder to lose the weight. But I am ok with that. It isn't a race to the finish line. My body has to fight me... I mean otherwise it would be easy. But my body has every right to fight me as long and harsh as I abused it. I really did abuse my body. No one gets to 579 pounds without lots of abuse. But I think my body understands my love for it. Every square inch of saggy skin, cottage cheese looking thighs, saggy underarms that look like "Dumbo ears". I have learned to embrace it and love it all. I look at them as battle wounds. You don't go into a fight without battle wounds and well I have been fighting for my health and those battle wounds are definitely showing. I may eventually opt to have skin removal. It really just depends how bad it gets and if it gets in the way of everyday functions. I think my thighs and my stomach may be too saggy I will need to get it removed but only time will tell.

So speaking of saggy skin.... I know it is time to get a trainer. I'm so scared. I don't know why because I had one about 5 years ago when I lost weight the last time and I did fine. But this time seems different. So if anyone has a trainer they love that is in the San Diego area please forward me their contact information. I prefer someone close to my house or someone that can come to my house just so I have no excuses. I am going to see how much firming a trainer can do with my saggy skin. I also need to get my legs stronger. I am happy to report that my knees are much better. I really noticed today when I went to my appointment regarding my lump on my stomach (I will talk about that later). I remember going to this facility a year ago and couldn't walk to my appointment without being out of breath and in pain and I remember having to "take a break" just to walk a fairly short distance. Today I walked to my appointment with no pain (today is a good day) and I was not out of breath at all. I even took the stairs when I left. Now I don't always have good days with my knees. Yesterday my left knee kept giving out and hurt a lot. I don't know if it has to do with my workout on Tuesday (lots of leg/knee work) or it was random. But I am happy that at least I now have good days with my knees whereas before my knees hurt 24/7.

So as I mentioned I went to my appointment regarding my lump on my stomach. I went in thinking the doctor/surgeon would look at it and send me home. Instead he decided to go ahead and remove it. I was soooooooo nervous. The nurse told me he has been doing it for 35 years and that he is very good. She was right. He numbed it and all I felt was pressure and some uncomfortableness. I was really uncomfortable for about 3 minutes and was really hot but once he got through that part (I think it was the cutting) I was good. We talked about weight loss and he educated me on fat. How when you have too much fat (like I did) it can compress blood vessels as it did on mine where the lump was removed. He said it was a thrombosed varicose vein and had to put a stint in my blood vessel because it was attached to it. There was lots of bleeding that I saw by accident (he put his hands up and I saw all the blood on his gloves). But it doesn't seem like anything serious. He showed me what it looked like and it looked similar to the picture to the left. But it was definitely more lumpy.

I have come so far in my weight loss. I feel like this is my lifestyle and a lifestyle I can truly live with. I think that is the difference between now and all the other times I "dieted". Before they were just diets whereas this isn't a diet this is my new life. That is the key to success. Finding a lifestyle change that will help you loose weight but also once you get to your desired weight loss goal you can still maintain the same lifestyle and maintain. I know people tell me I'm in the honeymoon stage and yes I guess I am. But I am telling you... my head has changed and there is no honeymoon about that. I don't feel like I have to hurry up and get done with this "diet". Nothing is going to change for the rest of my life other than I will always have to be mindful of what I eat and exercise. I will always have to keep my head in check. In fact I have learned through my journey that beating any kind of addiction whether it is food, drugs, alcohol or any other kind of addiction, it is 99% mindset. If I have the right mindset then eating healthy and exercising isn't such a chore. If I have don't have the right mindset then eating healthy is a bore and exercising doesn't happen or I make excuses. I think that pretty much goes for anyone. The journey is one of a mental battle where we are battling ourselves. We are either telling ourselves positive things or negative things and that determines our actions. It is all basic and makes sense but never really made sense until recently.

Again thanks to all of you that keep me going. If it weren't for you I don't think I would be where I am today. Much love to all of you!