Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Commentary Four Years Out

I know a bunch of you haven't known me long enough to know this, but I haven't always been this weight. Occasionally I jump on the blog and give an update as to how my weight loss process is going since realistically, we've all got a morbid sense of curiousity about these sorts of things, don't we?

"Did she keep it ALL off?" "Is she a failure? We'd better go check. Let's take our magnifying glasses to search for signs that she fell on her face."

 So to catch everyone up, four years ago today, I had Roux-En-Y gastric bypass surgery in 2013 and added that to a total lifestyle and movement overhaul. In my first year, I blew away the clinic's goals and my own. I lost what in retrospect was too much weight, and we equalized it some leading up to my three-year update. 

So what do I have to say about my fourth year?
Well, lots, and nothing all at the same time.

You see, 'maintenance' is both the most exciting and most boring thing in the weight loss journey.

In the honeymoon period of weight loss, we can distract ourselves with the scale, and all the awesome non-scale victories. It can be so very motivating. Enough to temporarily override the desire to cope with difficult emotions with food.

Challenge is though, that the hard stuff keeps happening. Paired with the honeymoon ending, that's some rough road ahead.  Real life has a way of continuing to happen on us, doesn't it? Sometimes our stress is caused by other people's choices and the best we can do is choose to try to manage our part as well as we can. When we are overcoming the impulse to stress eat, that's gonna affect our weight loss journey.
There are quite a few hard things I've been through this past year, but they include people whose stories I can't tell, so we will move on to the things I can talk about.

This year has been particularly interesting for me. We've had a goal of maintaining of all of the tools I had to use before:

CALORIES: Still trying to keep in the 1500 calories per day range. 
PROTEIN: My aim is 80-100g protein per day which helps balance my energy levels and curb cravings. There is much more room in the stomach than there was, so this is really pivotal.
FLUIDS: Over 16 cups of fluid per day.
FITBIT-: Yes I'm still wearing that thing, and I get moving. I chose to upgrade to an Alta, and I've been pleased with it. I need to work more on my steps. 
TRACKING: when I don't I am much more prone to do whatever feels good. So yes, at least intermittent tracking is going to be a life-long tool for me. My current goal is to track three times per week.
MENTAL WORK: Balance is really important. It's really easy to go back to the mental gymnastics and diet mentality.
SUPPORT: I have "been there, done that" kind of people who can speak sense to this situation and encourage me. I am ever so grateful for these people. 

But I've had to add more tools.

My year included some new medical diagnoses. I'd like to preface this next section by saying that none of the following is caused by gastric bypass. If you are currently considering Roux-En-Y as one of your tools, this is not something you need to be afraid of.

This year I was diagnosed with Sjogren's and severe osteoarthritis in my back. That, to be added to the veritable smorgasbord of hypothyroidism, Raynaud's and chronic migraine that we already knew about. I'm not throwing a pity party, please hear me, I bring it up to bring light to the fact that maintenance is going to include some really hard to manage things. Things that are going to complicate things more than for the average person.
Fortunately, my medical team is happy to help me try to manage things with nutrition and vitamins; medication when needed.

So I've had to work to find out what kinds of things make my body angrier, and try to do less of that, and find the things that make my body happy and do more of that. Simple math right? I can "Math". Well, maybe I can "Science" better than I can "Math" because there is still a lot of experimenting going on.

But I digress.... I was talking about tools. My medical team and medication, and new strategies for health, for pain and stress management, have become part of my toolbox.

In fact, the weight loss has most definitely improved my situation. And that, my friends, was exactly the point of it in the first place. That and to be more present with my kids. I'm so glad my endocrinologist spoke up and was straight with me about this being necessary to take my life back when I wavered.

Is stress eating still a thing for me? In short, yes. Add to that, I'm smack in the middle of the 'bariatric brat' stage, and my "I don't want to" about good habits sometimes yells like a two-year-old whose sandwich has been cut the wrong way.

Here's the thing. Weight loss surgery isn't a panacea. It's just a tool. So those sorts of things are not going to magically disappear. And it takes a lot of effort to keep working all the tools day to day, under pressure. Has there been regain? Absolutely.  Am I still fighting? You betcha.

 Now there are going to be people out there who like to be critical and focus on that 'look what's been regained' part of this. I'd encourage a more positive, hopeful view.

So here is my regain list.

I've regained:
My Fight- There was a time when I just plain wanted to give up because the goals were too big, too hard, too beyond me. Now I know that just plain isn't true. I'll eat elephants one bite at a time if I have to, but I will do it. Some goals are just going to take more time.

My Perspective- It doesn't matter what the number on the scale says particularly for me now. My most important measurements are now not scale related.

My Confidence in my 'Gut'- There were some situations that I've been through where my gut made one call and others around me were telling me "It isn't so". Circumstances this year have come about in such a way that confirmed my gut in more than one area. I won't second guess my gut again. On the surface, it sounds unrelated to weight loss, but this one, for me, was pivotal in the personal growth journey.

My Willingness to Face My Fears- I repeatedly continue to share my story despite the fact that sharing the hard parts puts me open to criticism. That's not easy. But I've decided to "do it afraid" anyway, in the hope that it helps even one person rethink giving up on their efforts.

Weight? Yes there is that too.
 I have maintained a loss of more than 100 pounds.

If you want to talks specifics, at my highest I was 307.
I went too low and dropped to 157 at one point.
Last year I was 178.
After an incredibly hard winter where I've had to manage some very difficult things, I had reached 207, but have turned it around and have lost 5 pounds of that regain so far.
I will choose to work for loss in five-pound increments, assessing how I feel as I go, and I am pleased to say I am back in spitting distance of Onederland again.  I think I'll go for that next.

So while I don't quite have this maintenance thing all figured out yet, I'm working hard. I could honestly relate to Edison who said: "I have not failed, I have simply found 10,000 ways that do not work." I was thinking about that and then something rang like a little bell in my head. Something I'd heard before. What was it?

Oh yes, that's it!

Ironically, that number where I'm sitting RIGHT NOW is in the statistical window that the Bariatric Center of Excellence's clinic set for me in the first place. So they still consider this a success on a purely numbers basis. Who am I to argue with that?

I'm dreadfully curious to see what the next year brings, aren't you?

For your amusement, my "before" picture with a picture of me teaching 
Science-related classes in our local Homeschool Co-op. See? I can "Science".


  1. Thank you for your openness and honesty. It encourages me to keep fighting my own fight with weight and health.

    1. Those words mean a lot to me Christine.
      It means my risk was not in vain.

  2. You've overcome many challenges, my friend. Very inspiring update. Thank you for sharing!

    1. It has been quite the ride, hasn't it?
      Thanks for checking the update out and for your kinds words.


Like what you see, and don't want to miss a thing from Encounters of the Eccentric Kind?
Feel free to mosey on over to the left sidebar and check out your options to follow via Facebook, E-mail or Google Plus!

Your comments are welcome! Feedback is welcome, as long as it is constructive and kindly phrased. Please remember that we are exhorted to live at peace with one another as much as it depends on us. Please remember this when you comment.
I reserve the right to delete posts that don't meet this requirement.