Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Years, New Beginnings

This the final week of 2008 finds me sitting down to think about goals I made for the year. Some I accomplished and others are on-going. Some, sad to say fell by the wayside along the way. Setting goals doesn’t just happen at the end of the year, but continuous goal setting is essential for growth. That is what I have done this year and what I plan to do for 2009. As one goal is reached, I have discovered over the year that another goal or a further step must be put in place. It is imperative to forging on in life’s journey.

2008 was a year of growth and shrinkage; growth in areas of faith and health; shrinkage in areas of weight and inches. God was strongly by my side in decisions, provisions and many blessings. As I have walked this journey of weight loss I have discovered how important friends’ and family’s support is to the success. Ultimately the work that leads to success is mine to bear, but without my family and friends behind me I would be struggling beyond my abilities. Just a spoken word of encouragement, a compliment, an urging, a dropped note, a smile or a pat on the back lends so much to the journey. So I take this moment to say thank you to each one of you! It feels great to be 78 pounds lighter and many inches smaller. The clothing is often times frustrating, but it is a small price to pay for being healthier.

2009 is a year of anticipation for me. I’m excited to continue to cement my new lifestyle with new eating habits surrounding kinds of food, amount of food and proper diet. I look forward to getting my exercise routines down to increase the toning of the “problem” areas. Most importantly is growing in my faith which is the center of all growth.

I thank my YMCA trainer, Hope for her dedication in keeping me inspired and eager to perform. She has the enthusiasm that spurs me on to do more and work harder. She is truly Hope!

I thank my pastor Dave for the inspiration of faith. His messages every week and his encouragements are beyond description. My faith has grown in the year and ½ I have been attending New Community Christian Church. Along that vein is the group of individuals I have grown the most with. That would be my cell group at church. It is a group of single women that challenge me every week to dig deeper, walk straighter and love purer. We have grown closer over the year and I continue to find strength in each of them. Their friendships are a ray of sunshine in my daily walk.

I can’t pass the opportunity to thank the staff at Innovative Weight Loss Solutions. Their support through encouragement, information and friendship is immeasurable. They truly care about the people!

So as 2009 knocks on my door, I wish my family and friends many blessings and the strength to continue to stretch and grow.

“I am grateful for new years and new beginnings.
It is a great human need to be periodically reborn.”
~Richard Paul Evans~ in “Finding Noel”

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Changing Old Tapes

Two weeks ago I talked about fear. I found this saying in one of my email newsletters. “feel the fear and do it anyway”. The writer was finding her fears and self hate were holding her back. She decided, “I am choosing to change -- despite my fear, despite my doubt.” She talked about self hate being part of our "fat mind." Or to be more politically correct, part of our obesity mindset. We have to address it and face it in order to make “headway” and conquer it. Many times when we make headway we fail to admit it to our self. Or we fail to give ourselves credit and acknowledgment of the progress. Both are steps to facing the fear, overcoming the fear and building our self confidence which in turn eliminates the self hate. I believe most obese people are rooted in a sense of self hate and therefore we have the corrupt tapes in our mindset that we are not worth the time or effort it takes to be healthy. This is why we tend not to make time for exercise and healthy eating.

I also was talking to a gal about my weight loss and surgery. She said she didn’t think she could ever be successful dieting the way she needed to because she was too much in love with carbs (bread, pasta, etc). I thought about what she said and I remember when I was told 2+ years ago to have this surgery that I couldn’t do it. I had several reasons why I couldn’t do it. Some I’ve shared publicly. One I think I have shared with only one other person until just recently. I did not want to have the surgery because of my own self-perceived opinion of the surgery. I saw it as a failure of the person. Well, after much thought and research, etc. I know this not to be true. Once I got the facts it became clear it is much more a failure to not admit the problem(s) of the obese. As I researched I had to face another fear. Could I give up certain eating habits, foods, routines and addictions? All I could think about was 1 oz of food or one cup of food wasn’t much. There is no way I could stop at that and be happy. Well, as time passed and knowledge through research increased, I realized I would learn to adapt to the small portions. I have certainly found that has not been a factor in my journey. Once again, changing the old tapes.

Today (December 21st) marks 5 months since surgery. It has been 6 months since I started the eating portion of this journey. I started the Optifast semi-liquid diet on June 21st. At that time I weighed and measured. I have Hope, my trainer at the YMCA measure me every couple of months. In 6 months I have lost 2 ¾” on the arms, 6 ¾” in the chest, 9 ¼” in the waist, 8” in the hips, 3 ¼” in the thighs and 76 pounds. I am down 2-3 sizes in all articles of clothing. I’ve come a long way baby!!! I still have a long way to go, but changing the old tapes allows me to face the challenge and continue to build a new lifestyle.

My local YMCA had a city wide pound plunge. You did not have to be a member to participate. It was teams of 4 people competing with each other within the team and competing with the other individuals and teams within the competition. There were 871 people who completed the competition losing 9,580 pounds. Wow what an accomplishment. I just pray they all continue the new lifestyle they developed over the 12 week competition! It feels so good to be healthier!

Changing old tapes is not easy. It is much more comfortable to stay in the “rut” of our thinking. They bring us consolation when sad, warmth when hurt, fulfillment when bored, and “support” when we fell unworthy. Those are old tapes of lies. Food can not give us any of those feelings. Only God can give us happiness. We choose to be positive. Of course it is much easier if we rely on God for the will and ability to find that happiness.

As the New Year approaches, make a commitment to yourself to change those old tapes that keep playing in your head telling you you are not worth it. Believe me, you are worth it. IT'S OKAY TO PUT YOUR WEIGHT LOSS NEEDS FIRST!!! Don’t be swayed by friends and family to go against what you need to take care of you. Weight loss surgery (WLS) is not the easy way out. It is not a sign of failure. It is a tool to a healthy lifestyle which you will have to use correctly, just like any tool you would use to build something important and lasting.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."
~Eleanor Roosevelt~

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Each Individual Makes A Whole

This week I went to my WLS support meeting. As I drove to the meeting (40 minutes away) I thought about how far I have come in this journey of 5 ½ months. I was so proud of myself having lost 75 pounds in that time, reached numerous goals; one being getting off the C-PAP machine, exercising, no back pain/little stiffness, no joint pain, etc. As I drove I thanked God for the financial ability to have the surgery, the blessings the surgery has afforded and the positive attitude that has developed since surgery. My depression is less and less every day. I have been told over and over that I have a renewed sparkle in my eyes and joy on my face. I sent picture Christmas cards this year and numerous people have commented on this. Well, as I sat in the support meeting and listened to others who have been post-op for shorter periods than I and have lost more than I, I began to get discouraged and started thinking I needed to work harder, eat less, eat wiser, etc. I got a little bummed out. Then as the meeting went on and I began talking to other people and got some ideas of different things, I realized I am doing the best I can. I am making wise decisions, doing healthy activities and eating small portions. As I drove home I rethought my mood, my flooding thoughts during the meeting and remembered, “Everyone loses at a different rate. Everyone has a different amount to lose which makes them lose at a different rate.” I lightly chastised myself for chastising myself during the meeting. I felt much better about the situation and myself. I am back on track and more determined to work the lifestyle and stop comparing myself to others. This is the reason I go to meetings. It helps keep me in line. It gives me more ideas or new ideas or ideas of different ways to do something.

I want to thank **IWLS staff (Ronda, Pam and Jennifer) for the “Christmas gift” of the sample foods and the print outs of the recipes. It gives me some variety in my meals. The food was delicious. As always, you did a wonderful job of supporting us!

As the title of this update says—“each individual makes a whole”. In some way we can inspire someone else with our experiences, insights, positive or negative attitude (including ourselves) and our whole being. How we think, how we treat others and how we perceive ourselves and others will determine the long term success of our journey.

This week I lost 3 more pounds, so I feel I am right on track. I am now ½ way to my own personal weight goal. I went to the doctor for my monthly B-12 shot. I always weigh and the visits are a month between, give or take a day. I lost 12 pounds between November and December. I don’t know that I will hit my goal for my appointment at Dr. Hachem’s, but I’m sure I will meet his goal. I haven’t given up on mine though. I will keep plugging along and hope you will too. Remember, “any loss is a gain”. Also remember, “each individual makes a whole” -- whether it is a person, a goal or a success.

"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts."
~Eleanor Roosevelt~

**IWLS (Innovative Weight Loss Solutions) Under Services and scroll to Surgical Weight Loss

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"We all have fears"

“We all have fears”. My “fear” this last week was another gain. The week before I talked about having a cold and not getting to the “Y” and gaining a pound. Well, this week I felt better, but still struggled with energy. It has been a slow recovery from this cold. I still have the sniffles and a few coughs and a sneeze or two. I’m not ready to give up my Kleenex and hand sanitizer gel. The most prominent symptom was what I call my “sexy radio voice”. It is actually improving and people are able to hear all the words in a sentence. Anyway, I was able to get to the “Y” 3 times this week. I did a full workout on those days and I lost 4 ½ pounds. The week before was probably just water gain. I guess I needed the gain in order to get my butt in gear and get back to the “Y”.

Another common “fear” is gearing up for the Christmas “feasts”. I doubt it will affect me much. I still don’t eat as often as I should. I get some hunger urges, but no real hunger pains. I still end up going some days on one meal, especially if I am busy. When I do eat it is an appropriate portion and I always get my protein in first. Even when I do splurge and have some crackers I put cheese sticks with them. It is a small snack and I get some protein to supplement the cracker urge.

I have to tackle the “fear” of giving into favorites. I have been faced this last week with things I would normally give into the want for. I was sitting in the computer room and a very familiar smell came drifting in. I instantly thought, “Oh man!!” A thought hit me I hadn’t even thought about. You see, my dad makes the world’s BEST peanut brittle. People from all over the world scamper for it. Okay, maybe not all over the world, but a lot of people anticipate his peanut brittle and he only makes it at Christmas. It melts in your mouth. Well, it dawned on me I would never be able to taste it again. Sure, I could try a small sliver and see if my body would accept it. I know I am high sugar tolerant. But once again I have to think about if I can tolerate it, can I stay away from it. I don’t choose to find out. I once again look at the situation as I don’t need it. This way I do not ever feel deprived like I would if I thought “I can’t have it”. I had the same “temptation” with ginger cookies (my favorite is the large soft ones). I was able to acknowledge they were my favorite cookie. But I also was able to acknowledge the fact I didn’t need them. Therefore I went merrily on my way and didn’t even consider eating one. I’ve heard it said it is in the attitude. I hope I always keep this attitude.

I have set a new goal for myself. Starting in January I will once again work the power shift. This means getting off work at 2:30am and having permanent Sunday/Monday off. I had the option of accepting the schedule or not accepting it and staying with my current hours and rotating days off. I had to seriously look at how it would affect my time at the “Y”. The “Y” is a high priority in my life. I will have to give up the organized water aerobics that meets at 8am. I just don’t see me getting in bed at 3am and getting up to be at the “Y” at 8am. So I had to figure out how that would affect my health seeking regimen. Well, I have decided I will go to the aerobics class on Mondays only instead of 3 times a week. The other 4 days I will divide up my already established routine with the cardio and weight machines. The difference is I will increase the variety of machines and do just them on Tuesday and Thursday. I will do just the cardio on Wednesday and Friday. I will get with Hope my “Y” trainer so we can work out a new regimen for both segments. I want to really focus on the trouble areas that have developed since surgery/weight loss. I want to intensify my workout on the abs, upper arm wings and the jelly thighs (upper legs). God always provides for what we need.

Setting goals is one of the most important aspects of this new lifestyle. I feel if I get stagnant in my routines and progress I fear I will become complacent and back step. Once again the attitude comes in. If I have realistic baby step goals that lead to the large overall goal I can see the progress and keep the positive attitude. I know I will have the negative minutes, hours and some times days, but overall the picture will be a beautiful painting. I already see some of the beauty of the surgery. I feel so much better and have hit so many goals and eliminated so many frustrations, ailments and fears. One of these days very soon I will sit down and write my grateful list and post it. Maybe that will be my 1st 2009 goal. I can write the grateful list and look at the things that I haven’t made it to yet and figure out how I am going to attain them in 2009. It sure will be a better new year’s resolution than the one I have made for the last 25+ years and failed to carry out---loose weight! This year it will be continue the healthy lifestyle and healthy eating to continue that lifestyle. As I said, God is good!

I have lost 73 pounds in 5 months. I am almost halfway to my final goal. I have lost 1/2 of a person! I can't imagine how I carried it all around for so long! I have 20 pounds to go to reach my goal that I set for myself before I see Dr. Hachem January 15th. That works out to just over 3 pounds a week. I think it is do-able.

I pray as you gear up for Christmas and all it entails you will stop and think about what is important. You will stop and remember who provides your strength and blessings. I know who provides mine and I am proud to say he is my savior Jesus Christ. He gives me the will power and the insights to attain my goals. He allows me to meet my “fears” head on and overcome them, because “we all have fears”.

It is not about what life gives me that makes a difference,
it is what I DO with what life gives me that makes a difference.