Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Been A Year

Tomorrow marks one year. It's been a good year and a stressful year. The doctors and experts are right in that the weight comes off. It does at the beginning with little effort but then it slows and you have to work at it- not as hard as before but it's still being intentional of what you are doing.  This year has let me work on the mental aspect of it. Not just with food but with my whole self- the mental health, the struggle with accepting things won't be the same, that some things just have to be let go and move on, to accept the change.

I don't like change- I like routine. I'm ok with change as long as it isn't about me. I can handle a hotel calling a few days prior and saying they overbooked the facilities and that we now have half the meeting space. I can handle that- that's easy. Handling change that involves me and my routine or my groove in life- no thank you. I am strong- physically and mentally but this year has tested me in both areas and some days I just don't think I'm going to make it through the challenge. Some days I just want to sit down or stay in bed but I can't, it's just not in my nature. There are things to do.

I'm thankful for my friends who have encouraged me and helped me face my fears. For someone who appears to have their stuff together, I don't really have it together and I have a lot of insecurities and self doubt.

One of the hardest things to accept was that I'm not as strong as I used to be. I haven't yet been able to do a snatch at the gym since before surgery but I have been able to do burpees and increase my inches in box jumps.

I was good with giving up food until I smelled garlic bread. It has been a comfort food for me and I thought I had it beat until August when Dad had to have emergency open heart surgery. Both him and I have had a stressful and tough year. He now lives with me until we can get him a place in town. This is stressful for him and for me as well. It's been a challenge for both us. He is adjusting to not being able to drive all the places he normally does and see his friends and I've struggled with the added work and adjustment to having someone else around. There's planning now- figuring out when I'm going to the gym and trying to get a run or hike in but still be home to make his dinner and see him before he goes to bed. Sometimes more than I would like, my workout and training runs or hikes get dropped because there is a doctor appointment or dinner needing to be made or a bathroom cleaned. It's a stage of life and some days are easier for both us than others.  I've struggled with losing my hair in clumps and with loose skin and the fact now that because of skinny feet, I now have bunion pain and some days it's very painful to wear shoes.

There have been some incredible moments too. When I was able to buy a medium shirt or fit into a size 14. I still find myself going to the larger sizes and it may be awhile before I am naturally going to the right size. I was shocked when I ran faster. I know that's because of boot camp and dropping weight. I now have new running goals and want to push myself in that area. It's been nice to see the fruition of things my friends have said for years when they believed in me more than I did. One of my running mentors and the one that pushed me into running by challenging me has said that my fastest times are still to come. I took it as a small hope but after this past weekend, I can really see it and know that it is true. Flying and actually having space in the seat as well as extra belt left over were highlights as well on this journey.

I've done things this last year that I never thought I would. I hiked around and did snow angels on a glacier in Alaska in November. I ran 3 miles without stopping. I dropped to under 200 lbs which was the first time in my entire adult life. (I weighed 150 in 7th grade and 210 my senior year of high school). I did the Bisbee 1000 stair climb and actually enjoyed it. I ran a half marathon in a very hilly location and PR'ed by over 5 minutes. Ride a bike around Coronado Island for an hour and not dying. Being able to see my feet when I look down. to stretch my hamstrings by grabbing my foot. Touching my toes when I bend over. Being able to sit with my feet pulled up and my head resting on my knees. These are all things that I never would have dreamed I could do at all or again.

I have realized this year that losing weights doesn't solve all your problems. It solves some of your health problems but if you have food issues or relationship issues, those aren't solved overnight. There is no magic pill. You still have to work at those and sometimes you have to find a new coping mechanism.

I'm not where I wanted to be weight wise now that I'm a year out. I wanted to be down another 10 lbs but I'm learning to be ok with missing this goal because I've hit so many other goals that I think are more important. I can do almost all of the slider exercises at the gym and a burpee and I can run longer and faster. The weight will come eventually and I'm still dropping in sizes so there is still progress.

Heaviest weight and six months after surgery.

Bike Riding on Coronado Island
Receiving my medal for my fastest half

It's been a great year!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Six Months

Last week I hit my six month mark. It's seemed like a lifetime ago that I had surgery. So much of my life has changed and for the better, thankfully. I posted a picture to my Instagram account of how far I have come. I don't see the day to day changes because I see myself everyday. I see the physical changes in loose skin and bones or tendons now poking out or lines now running up my legs or arms where my muscles are now showing. I'm waiting for my six-pack abs but not sure if I'll ever see them under the loose skin, but I'm fine with just knowing they are there. I had my six month check up on Monday. My doctor was happy with my progress. I've gone from 275 to 198 and 55% of my visceral (extra) fat is gone. I'm 5% ahead of where I should be and would really like to hit my goal of 170 by the time I see him again in six months.
My workout buddy in Alaska. I wouldn't have been faithful in
my workouts without her.

There's been so many other changes that I've experienced that make me realize how far I have come. Baggier clothes, smaller sizes, being colder, being able to reach my toes when I stretch for workouts and running faster minute miles are just some of the changes I can see on the outside. On the inside I still struggle with food and my mind hasn't completely caught up with my stomach on some portions but I'm slowly getting there. I'm also changing the way I see myself. I used to be super critical and almost a bully in my thinking and self talk. I am celebrating the changes both physically and mentally. I'm content with my baggy arms and looser skin because it shows that I've worked hard. It's my badge for what I've accomplished. I rock the cute gym clothes that I never would have worn in my old self. And I'm learning as I go about holiday eating. I spent Thanksgiving with family and I managed to make it through dinner without the gut-busting-wear-your-fat-pants after meal feeling. Dad even bought a pumpkin pie since we didn't have it on Thanksgiving and one bite did me in, As much as I love pumpkin pie, I won't be eating it again because I didn't like how crappy it made me feel.

Alaska and Glacier in the background

I've experienced some other changes as well. I'm more willing to go out and try a new adventure or revisit childhood fun. Over Thanksgiving, my dad and I visited Alaska to spend time with family. In the past I would have walked out to the glacier and stopped and saw it and then walked slowly back to the car and struggled the entire time. This experience- we hiked out, climbed up, slide down and made snow angels on the glacier. Something a year ago, I would have been to uncomfortable to do much less enjoy. Dad said we all were "a bunch of kids" on the trip. I even signed up for another half marathon and am toying with the idea to do a half in every state over my lifetime. I don't have to run them (but I might see if I can).
Snow Angel on the Glacier
It's been a journey, this whole process, and I'm glad that I had the courage to take the leap. When I first started, I felt and had been told by some that it was the easy way out, I think it's harder because I have to be focused in on what I eat and I have to work out. It wasn't a magic pill. I still have to bust my butt at the gym to make a difference. The difference is that now if I eat a piece of cake or something super sweet (I did over Thanksgiving), then I have to deal with having my blood sugar spike and feeling weak and nauseated almost instantly. I've learned these past couple weeks, that even though I think I can handle it, I can't. I might get away with it once but if I repeat the process, it will come back to bite me and mess me up for a few days or even a week. It will make it so my body doesn't tolerate some of the good stuff (chicken, eggs, hamburger) that I normally eat and I have to reset my system. This is a consent learning process for me. Some days I earn an A+ other days I barely make a C-.  But it's my journey and I hope that someone along the way finds a nugget of inspiration or truth to help them on their journey. And that's why I've been sharing.