Balance

11378453_1612984552304512_2076099714_nI have lost 152 pounds now, and I wanted to talk a bit about what I did to break that plateau. It’s called balance. I have always been a bulk or volume eater. It didn’t really matter what it was, healthy or not, if I was eating something I enjoyed, more was better. My meals became huge, and sometimes the meals turned into all night binges. I’m sure it was how I stuffed down the feelings of loneliness, insecurity and fear. And the result of all those years of binging left me feeling lonely, insecure and fearful. Funny how we do the very thing that adds to our suffering to deal with what we are suffering from, isn’t it?

Ever since April 1 of 2015 I have stayed faithfully under 1400 calories. But the last few months I was not losing like I should be, roughly I was losing a pound every week or two. That would not be so bad if I had under 100 pounds to lose, but a woman my size should be losing more than that each week. So I spoke to my sponsor, and I did a lot of praying with a close friend.

I started eating three 400 calorie meals and one 200 calorie snack. I was an emotional mess for a few days. I can’t describe the depression and weepiness! I thought I was losing my mind. As the days passed, it became clearer. Even though I was staying within my calorie budget, I was binging! I would basically white knuckle what I ate from the first of the morning until dinner time. I drank coffee and ate a small breakfast and bank up my calories so I could have a big Dinner meal. Sometimes I would have a 1000-1200 calorie Dinner. It flipped some kind of switch in me that left me wandering in the kitchen all night, even in the middle of the night, standing in front of the fridge eating spoonfuls of cottage cheese, slices of deli turkey, and cheese. Most normal people stop eating when they are full, but for some reason, being full keeps me wanting to feed all evening. They were  just little nibbles but I couldn’t turn it off! Then I would wake up the next morning feeling defeated and starve the day away until evening. This cycle raised havoc on my metabolsim and it was an emotional roller coaster.

Thinking back in my life, I always saw the evening meal as a reward for the day. It was re-enforced by the evening has always been the loneliness time in my day, ever since I was a kid. My Mom worked and I usually came home from school to an empty house, and spent the next few hours watching re-runs of Gilligan’s Island and eating anything I could find. When there was nothing to eat in the house, I got out my Moms Better Home and Garden cookbook and made something. I became a great cook that way. Then when I became an adult and had my own home, I binged when I came home. I would come home from the beauty shop and find my friend food, to comfort me. I remember working in the shop and thinking about what I was going to cook and eat that night. I’d sit in front of the TV and watch Beverly Hills 90201 and Melrose place all while shoving huge plates of spaghetti down my face.

So, I grieved this week, exposing my secret, and saying goodbye to my binging. Never did I think eating 1400 calories a day could possible bring on a binge. But it took a tremendous amount of white knuckling to do that, and even though I grieved the loss of my evening binge, there is this peace and contentment that has taken it’s place. The white knuckling is gone. And the constant thought about what I was going to eat at the end of the day left me. I have had to take a lot of care to weight and measure my food this week. Old habits take a long time to die. I could slip back into that habit very easily. My sponsor is watching my food journals on My Fitness Pal, so the accountability is on a high level. It is nearly impossible, at least for me, to lose over 300 pounds without an army of support around me, and the biggest part of that support requires me to be very transparent. If you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing. We are as sick as our secrets.

This weight loss journey of mine has had many twist and turns. I have walked down paths I never thought I would. But the growth I have experienced is truly amazing. Be well everyone!

 

Something New

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I stepped on the scale today and was pleasantly surprised! I have broke that plateau, I lost another 2 pounds for a total of 152 pounds lost! I now weight 384 pounds. I am now over the 150 pounds lost mark. Another weight loss milestone. Now 384 pounds on the scale would make most woman want to jump off their roof, but this is tremendous progress for me. I got married fall of 2001, I remember weighing 384 pounds on my wedding day, and feeling misrible. I don’t talk about my wedding day much because it was not a happy event for me. I had lost my best friend, my Mother that year, we were very close.  I had a father and aunt with Alzheimer’s to care for, and the little bit of extended family I had left had cut me out of their lives. I got married simply because I was scared, and afraid of being alone. The man I married had as many if not more issues than I did, and we both made a bad decision that day. I was trying desperately to keep my beauty shop going, but my weight gain, and crazy life distracted me from it, and my business slowly faded. My husband, the next year starting having seizures, really bad ones that landed him in the ER more times than I can count. He had developed a heart condition, so his health took a tremendous amount of care and because he couldn’t hold a job and we had no insurance, by the time he passed away January 2008, I was penniless, and weighed over 500 pounds. Everything that mattered in my life was gone and any life I had left had been sucked right out of me. I closed the shop, and my redeeming grace was the classes I took at the local community collage.  But it was tremendously hard to get around campus, well, nearly impossible. My funding for school stopped, and so did I. I spend the next 7-8 years in my bed.

It’s a surreal feeling when you check out on life for a number of years. My friends, and the world goes on without you. My friends who had school age children are now planning graduations, weddings and grandchildren. People I have not seen in several years look older. Many of my parents friends have died, my house looks worn  out, and needs repair and paint. Technology had changed everything, from how we spend money, to social norms. These were the hardest adjustments I have experienced.

But I got a 2nd chance. I have come a long way since April 1 of 2015. It’s amazing the progress we can make in such a short time. I get frustrated because I want to get back into life faster, but when I look where I came from, it takes my breath away.

The God that I serve is a God of second chances. We all have the opportunity to have a second chance. But first I had to stop being a victim, no matter how bad the cards were that life handed me. Even though I had a reason for my struggles, just laying there wallowing in it gets you nowhere. Even when the road seems long and you can’t possibly see any chance, just try. You will be surprised how things you never imagined work out better than you ever dreamed. How does a woman in her later 50s, broke, morbidly obese, and without family, turn her life around? She trust God and started to believe in herself.

So here I am, on the road, I never thought I’d ever walk again, literally. Getting stronger every day. If I stay on track I could have 200 pounds off by the first of the year. Never under estimate God’s grace and your own abilities. We are more than we think we are. I have lost a lot in this battle to good health. I lost friends, money, my business, dignity, and sometimes I thought I lost my mind. But God has a way of filling in all the losses with something new.

I feel like a Alien!

fat alienI have had a little trouble adjusting to my new life. Sometimes I feel like an alien on this planet. I started rapidly gaining back the 200 pounds I once lost between the year 2000 and 2001. My life shut down slowly, first I lost my Mother, then got married because I was terrified of being alone. I juggled my Beauty Shop, a new and very difficult marriage, all while I was caretaker for my Aunt and Father with Alzheimers until they both died, as well as my Husband. Now I do not want to sound like a victim, because I made some pretty bad choices, the little bit of family I had left, disassociated themselves from me, when I needed my family the most. If I died, there is no one to send a sympathy card to, let alone plan my funeral.

While I struggled through this, I lost a lot of friends. I was not fun to be around. When I was not crying, and depressed, I was eating. I made a train wreck out of everything and almost every relationship around me. I was desperate, then became full of self pity, a victim, and then very bitter. I would have ran away from myself too, if I was friends with me. The few friends that stuck with me, are truly angels. They saw past my pain, and loved me anyway. I will always have a special place in my heart for them.

I slowly quit participating in my own life and ended up spending my days in my bed, alone all day, weighting 537 pounds. it was like falling into a coma. I did not see a way out. But somehow, I felt a tiny seed of hope. I held on to Philippines 4:13  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. and the verse my Mother always gave me when I got discouraged, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Now I am not going to preach you a sermon, but this is an important part of my road to recovery. Sometimes is all we need is a thin string of hope, to get us through a tough time.

The last 15 years are painful and terribly lonely, a bit of blur sometimes. The thing I was not prepared for is the adjustment back into the world. Technology has changed society greatly. The biggest change I see is social. I’m not use to talking on the phone with someone who is multi-tasking. Shopping and driving while talking on the phone. In fact, it seems that driving time is the designated time to make a phone call. I often do not feel the full attention of the person I am speaking to. The calls get dropped, or if we both speak at the same time the phone mutes it. Hearing the ding ding ding while a person gets in their car. It’s taken a while for me to not see this as rude. Gone are the days when a phone call was personal, private, and a moment of real connection. Texting seems to be the preferred means of communication. It is simple and quick. Communication these days seems to be more about transferring information rather than nurturing relationships.

But the biggest adjustment for me is church. I’m not sure I will ever adjust, or ever be understood again. My church family was always a soft place I could run to. And all while I was in my “Fat Coma” I counted on returning to that place of refuge and my “tribe”. The services are a lot to adjust to. The show business-like services, seem to feed the egos of the performers. Repetitive music lyrics, work the emotions of the saints up to an emotional climax. All while in the dark, with special light show. The church announcements are on a video, on the giant theater screen up front. It feels a little like “The Hunger Games” to me. This I can get use to. I don’t love it, but I can adjust. I just might complain a little. (OK a lot)

The thing I miss the most is the sense of family. The knowing I will never have to go through something alone. Having a sense of belonging, and oneness. Feeling loved and understood, even when I struggle. Knowing I will be missed if I don’t show up. I fear I will never fit in again. There is a cog missing that I can not put into words. It’s not intentional. It just evolved. The deep caring, the kind of caring where my most valued relationships, worship under one roof corporately has morphed into superficial, programed, casual yet friendly.

As I type this, I just noticed I have been weeping, and mostly the whole time I have been writing. I am a bit taken back at how deeply sad I am about this loss.  I am coming to terms that we can never go back. Never. But I missed the transaction period, so it all hits me like a ton of bricks.  I think I can see clearly, part of the reason people who lose large amounts of weight have a 98% chance of gaining it all back within a couple of years. The expectation and disappointment of what we believed was security, has changed. For me it’s my church, for some it might be community, work, or neighborhood.

But regardless of how hard the adjustment may be, I never want to go backward. I will persevere. There are some beautiful things that are happening in the world today. Good things. Like, I can have and maintain close relationships with people that live thousands of miles from me. I am learning so much about other cultures and lifestyles. Even in physical isolation we have the ability to connect. When these things are used for good, they can be powerful tools to living! And that living, is getting better and better each day. With the technology, I seem to learn something new everyday.

I believe I am destine to experience these losses, and have this awareness so I can help others who are struggling as well. No health professional or social worker can possibly understand this adjustment for someone who is losing a large amount of weight. The physical adjustment is hard enough, but feeling insecure in a new world is a big challenge. It seems logical that the knee jerk response would be to get resentful, then run back to the comfort of food, and dissapear. No matter how hard the adjustment may be, binging and over eating is never worth the isolation and misery it brings. Be healthy and happy everyone!

 

Spinning Wheels

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Do you sometimes feel your wheels are spinning? But you hang on anyway. Wondering if you are moving at all? Then you look back, and you see progress, and it takes your breath away.

I felt my wheels spinning the last few months. Wondering if I will ever break this ‘one pound a week’ plateau. I know some of you would say on pound a week is awesome. But I am 58 years old, and still weigh 387 pounds. At one pound a week, I will be 62 before I get into “ONE-derland”, time is no longer on my side. But when I look back and realize that less than 18 months ago I weighed 537 pounds, I can hardly call myself a failure. My weight loss has not been intense, but it has been consistent. I can not remember the last binge I went on. For that alone, I am grateful.

So today, I am patting myself on the back, and being grateful for the miracle that is happening in my life. I trust the process, and keep taking one step in front of the other. If we look too far ahead, it can feel like we are spinning our wheels, so it’s important to stay in today.

I have completely enjoyed this new 8 week coaching session I am leading with Sean Anderson, and Gerri Helms. We had our first telephone meeting last Monday and Tuesday. It was sacred. The new members were so open and honest, and the members that rejoined were so generous to share their experiences. I am anticipating some really great success to be born out of the coming 8 weeks.

If there is a secret to weight loss, I think it takes first, complete honesty. Mostly with yourself, then with someone you trust. The second key is support, and third is accountability. We are so much more likely to have success when we have support that does not judge, and keep us accountable.  We are as sick as our secrets.

Shame and embarrassment keeps us from exposing our secrets. But a funny thing happens when we stir up enough courage to expose the ugly, broken pieces of our life; the shame disappears! When we lose the burden of shame, we can heal.

A good food plan is important, it is our map to good health. But there are many roads on that map to get there. Most of the struggles lie in staying on that plan. I use to think if I knew what triggered the urge to eat, deep in my past, it would then somehow disappear. But I have learned that by the time the addiction gets started, it takes life of it’s own. That information is really not necessary or very helpful.

One of the biggest components of my success comes from support and accountability. I have a friend, which in the recovery world, would be refer to as a sponsor. We share our struggles, even to the point when we call each other in the middle of the night when either of us feels a binge coming on. Sometimes the call is a quick 2 minute prayer. There is this power that comes from reaching out and hearing that voice mid-stream. The trick is to making that call. It is so hard to do, yet whenever I do, that white knuckling urge, disappears. It’s almost magic. People, need people. There is no other way to explain it.

I want to share a FREE ebook to download from Milestone recovery center. Dr Marty Lerner was a guest speaker for one of our groups a couple of weeks ago, and it seemed to take our weight loss group to a new level. He had this ebook available to whoever wants to down load it. I think it will give you incredible insight. I am so grateful for Dr Lerner’s generosity. I hope you enjoy it, please let me know what you think.

Dr Marty Lerner, free Ebook    <~~~~~~click here for the free download

Moving Forward

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Today I am working on getting my Coaching business built up. I am not good at self promoting. I have always struggled with being around anyone who is cocky, or overly confident. I think it comes from always feeling 2nd in every aspect of life. partly from growing up a fat kid, and partly from the lack of fully understanding God’s unconditional love and grace. It’s hard to understand receiving something that is free of charge, where we do not have to earn it or be good enough.

I have come to realize confidence has nothing to do with believing we are better than anyone else. It is about believing we are as good as anyone else. I always felt intimidated by people who were more attractive, wealthier and confident. I use to put extra value on a friendship with anyone who possessed this kind of status. It validated me, because I did not feel secure about who I was on my own.

All of this has changed drastically. It has changed all my relationships. I have had to distance myself with some friends, either by my choice or their choice. I also added value to some friendships that really matter to me, and had neglected over the years. If feel good to love people without the strings attached. I am a much better friend these days.

Recovery changes a person’s personality, regardless of whatever your addiction or hang up is. Mostly for the good, but it is painful. It’s work, and involves a lot of change. Change is hard! It is easier to just settle for a mediocre life. I am currently living on disability. I actually feel a little shame admitting that, very few people talk about their life living on disability. I expect to be off of it within the next year. Few people have the option to do that, and ever fewer actually do if they could. I could settle for a mediocre life, getting enough money from disability to pay my bills, and live with only my bare necessities paid for, from one month to the other. I have lost enough weight now to feel a little better compared to where I use to be. But it’s not enough. I have a mission, a burning desire to lead others who struggle with obesity out of that prison.

A few years ago, when I had lost 200 pounds, I lost my vision. Mostly because of my own insecurities. Losing weight became a means of self elevation. The attention I recieved gave me self worth. I hate admitting this, but everywhere I went for years I always spun the conversation with my weigh loss and association with a celebrity. I “humble-bragged” about all the TV and media attention. All the travel ,and large groups I spoke to, all while I lost myself, little by little. Actually prostituting my virtues.

What I am confessing here, is deeply personal, and please understand, before you message me, just because I open this can of worms, does not mean I welcome hearing about your memories about my arrogance in one of the best and worst times in my life. I am so embarrassed about how full of myself I was. for some reason people think if you talk about something personal, they have the right to say hurtful things.

So here I am, working on doing this right this time. I had to find my value at 537 pounds, before I could actually see I was worth and deserving of losing weight and getting healthy. Self care feels selfish. But it’s only selfish if it’s at the cost of others. Honoring our bodies is a way we can honor God, and nurture the people we love around us.

So, I am offering coaching, to you. Not because I have all  the answers, but because it is my burning desire to help those who lived like I did, and give them hope. Yes, it fills my mission here on earth, it is also a way I can make a living and get off depending on those disability checks. I do not have all the answers to your weight problems, BUT,  YOU DO! What I can offer is a constructive way to help you find your path to better health and a confident you. I can offer support, and accountability, because I have been there.

I have discovered when we are truly real, and our motives are pure, arrogance and being cocky is not necessary. Our gifts and talents stand on their own.

This week I am off any food containing flour or refined sugar. Only for a week. My carb intake is too high, and may be why I am stalling with my weight loss. I stay under 1400 calories, but I am giving this a whirl. I can do anything for one week. I missed my peanut butter toast with a banana this morning, but instead I had a big bowl of fresh strawberries, and it was so refreshing! Hoping for a substantial weight loss next week! I’ll let you know!