Monthly Archives: February 2014

Learning My Triggers

I have had many conversations with a fellow bariatric friend of mine about the subject of learning what my eating triggers are and how to deal with them.

“You’ve done the easy part,” she tells me, as if any part of this weight loss journey has been easy. “Now it’s time to work on why you overeat.”

She tells me all the time that I need to learn what my eating triggers are and learn to deal with them differently than I have in the past. This is especially important now that I can eat a little more. She’s ten years post-op, and she said she is still learning herself. (She looks great, btw.  She’s lost 135 pounds and has kept them off for ten years, so she’s doing something right!)

So, here are some of the things that I know cause me to overeat, eat without thinking, binge-eat, or whatever you call it:

  • Stress – My job, although wonderful, is very stressful sometimes. I find myself snacking more during the day.
  • Well meaning (or otherwise) rude weight loss comments from others – Why do I care what they think, right? But sometimes I do. I’ve worked so hard to get where I am, and I hate that other people think they have a right to judge or tell me what they think I’m doing wrong. That’s the one thing I’ve always hated about “dieting”. Other people’s comments. Weight loss is at once private and public. I could write about this one all day, but I won’t here. Maybe in another post.
  • Plateaus – Everyone hits them. Mine has lasted almost 5 months. The science of dieting seems simple enough. Eat less, burn off more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Right? Wrong. That’s true and not true. Yes, you do lose weight if you eat less, but your body is not a machine. It is complex. It has to readjust to the new lower weight. You have to keep the diet change up for the weight loss to begin again. You have to increase your activity. You cannot stop. You have to have faith that it will all work out. I think that’s the hardest part for me.
  • Negative thinking – We all do it. It doesn’t help that sometimes those negative thoughts are reinforced by the thoughtless masses who feel free to comment on your diet, body changes, etc. Mass media does not help either. Constantly seeing images of fat stomachs walking down the street while the news media bemoans the obesity epidemic in this country. Reading magazines with unrealistically skinny super models on the cover and adorning every page. It is easy to feel bad about yourself when you are constantly bombarded by these images letting you know how wrong you are.
  • Change – Change is stressful for as it is for anyone. I have changed my life a lot in the past two years. I lost 127 pounds. I changed jobs. Now I am moving into a bigger apartment. All of this change has been for the good, but I am still overwhelmed sometimes.

So, how do I deal with all of this without overeating. The truth is, sometimes I don’t. I have definitely fallen victim to an eating binge even since the surgery. Admittedly, more often than not, I am able to fend off a binge by doing something constructive, eating a healthy meal, taking a walk, writing. But more than once, I have caved. I try not to beat myself up about it, because that just makes matters worse. Everyone makes mistakes. Still, I recognize that I need to learn to deal with this issue.

Learning to constructively deal with my eating triggers may take a lifetime, but I am determined. As difficult as it is, I have to do it. I do not want to ever go back to the life I had before.

There are some good things to be said for all of this.  Despite a few episodes of binge eating the following remains true:

  • I am still committed to losing the last 46 pounds that I want to lose.
  • I am still committed to never gaining the weight back. And on that note…
  • I have not gained any weight. Not one ounce.
  • Despite my prolonged plateau, I came down one size in pants from a 14 to a 12.
  • I can sometimes wear a Large instead of a 1x.
  • That means I can shop in the normal women’s department and not the plus sizes anymore.
  • I have purged my wardrobe of almost all of my plus-sized clothes.
  • I still eat much healthier than I did before the surgery. (5 fruits and veggies per day, 70 grams of protein, keeping starches at a bare minimum!)
  • I can walk without struggle.
  • I can breathe.
  • I really feel as if I can be a full participant in my own life again.
  • I have great people in my life. I really am very lucky. I have great friends and great family, all of whom have been extremely supportive of everything I have done.

So, the struggle continues, but I have no intention of giving up. I stay focused on all the good things I have accomplished. Even though it is hard sometimes, I have faith that I will get to where I want to be in the end.

On The Move

So many things have changed for over the last year and a half, I’ve lost count. One of the biggest changes, however, is yet to come. I am moving in two weeks!

I was not originally planning this, but the opportunity presented itself. I have been renting a large studio apartment for the past five years. I love this apartment. It has been very good to me. But I have outgrown it and I’ve known this for a while.

In November, my apartment building informed everyone that if we wanted to continue renting month-to-month, which I have been for four years now, they would charge us a penalty. They were encouraging everyone to sign a new lease. I do not mind signing a new lease, but I was thinking that maybe some time in June I might consider upgrading to a one bedroom apartment. I did not want to be tied into another lease just yet. So, I complained.

When I complained to the leasing manager, she told me that they had a glut of one bedroom apartments on the market and they were anxious to move them as soon as possible. She told me that instead of upgrading in June, which is peak moving time for this area, I should consider upgrading now as she could probably give me a very good price. She was right. I am only going to be paying $60 more for the one bedroom than I would be for the studio. And, as a bonus, the apartment I am moving into will be completely renovated from top to bottom, new walls, new carpet, new appliances. I am so excited.

I was supposed to move in February, but the apartment was not ready. So, I have agreed to move in March instead, not that I had much choice.

I have been wildly packing and consolidating. I have taken this time to throw out a bunch of stuff I have been holding onto for no discernible reason whatsoever. I have donated a lot of stuff. And I found a bunch more clothes I need to donate. Last year, when I finally got down to a 1x in pants, I bought a bunch of yoga pants and stretch pants. I have finally accepted the fact that they are all too big for me now. I put on the yoga pants this weekend and could not keep them up.

As I was packing my clothes, I am really surprised by how few clothes I actually have left. I have a ton of dishes, pots, pans, books, bookshelves, etc., but the clothing supply is severely diminished since my last move.

When I moved into this apartment, I had a lot of clothes. Most of the clothes I held onto for years even though they were too small for me. As I lost weight, I was glad that I saved them. I have since purged my wardrobe several times as I lost weight. Once I am finally moved and settled, I will have to start working on rebuilding my clothing supply. I have many empty hangers to fill.

I am very happy about this move. It has taken it’s toll though. It is very emotional going through everything you own. I have felt for a while now like I have been living my life backwards through clothes. Now that I am packing up and looking at everything I own, all of those emotions are resurfacing.

I have been struggling a bit with my emotions, but I feel certain that I can work through them. This downturn of emotions has been unexpected. I’m not sure if it is the winter weather or if the enormity of all of the changes I have been through these last two years, but I feel like I have been reeling. I know in the long run I will be OK, but I feel as if I have been completely caught off guard by this.

My biggest fear is that I will let this go on too long and start going backwards. I really do not want that to happen. I think once I’m moved and settled, and spring shows up, I’ll start feeling better.

On a brighter note…

I am making one other change apart from my move. I have decided to adopt a pet, specifically, a cat. I am working through an organization called Homeward Trails. They take in rescues and save pets from kill shelters. A friend of mine volunteers for them from time to time. He advised me to go to them. I filled out their application and met a kitty this weekend.

I had my phone interview yesterday. They want to do a home inspection once I move. After that, I should be able to bring my new kitty cat home. I’m including a picture of the cat that I met. Her name is Naomi. She is so precious.

She was not my first choice initially. Then I met her! OMG she’s awesome. I am hoping she’s the cat that I end up with. They cannot promise she will still be available in two weeks, but they said they will do what they can. In the meantime, here are some pics of her.

She’s so smart and loves to explore. She’s also very amenable to petting and just being chill, which is good. She was apparently found with a litter of kittens. All of her babies have found homes. I would be so happy to take her in. Wish me luck.

kttykitty2

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

I have taken a lot of selfies over the past year and a half documenting my weight loss and how I look now vs. how I looked “before.” This one is from about August I think.

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This one is probably from around October-ish:

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I have really enjoyed seeing how my body and my life have changed as I’ve lost weight. What I really love more than the physical transformation is how my life has changed.  I really feel that I can participate fully in my own life. Before I couldn’t, not really anyway.

I go on many weekend adventures with my brother and his family.  Often, we just go to the museums in DC.  But one time, we went to the Shenandoah Mountains and drove up and down Skyline Drive enjoying the view.  I had never done that before.

I took this selfie of me, my sister-in-law, and my awesome niece:

me em and mommy

And this one of me and my niece:

me and em2

But I think my favorite picture from that day was when I surreptitiously captured my sister-in-law and her daughter taking a selfie.

emmy and mommy

I thought this was so cute and captured a wonderful moment between mother and daughter. I am just so happy that I am healthy enough to be included in these moments. I really am the luckiest Auntie ever!

When It Rains It Pours

So, I’ve been moping around feeling sorry for myself over the last few weeks. Work has been busy and stressing me out.  My personal life is a mess. I’ve been bummed out because of my four-month weight loss plateau. Basically, I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself.

This week, a good friend of mine sat me down and had a talk with me.  She basically told me to snap out of it and appreciate all of the good things that have been happening to me.  She gave me a little pep talk and reminded of all the progress I have made. She is right. I have been acting foolishly.  For the last few days, I have been actively trying to be more cheerful and not dwell on the negative.

But then it happened…

I took my work computer home last night. There was a chance we may get freezing rain last night, and I wanted to be ready to work from home.  That, however, was not the problem.

Because I was reading on the metro and then the bus, I did not really pay as close attention to my stuff that I normally do.  As a result, I left my secondary bag, the one with my lunch, my make-up, an umbrella, my iPhone charger, (the new one I just bought), and my keys on the bus.

Of everything in that bag, the only things I am really upset about are the iPhone charger and the keys.  My apartment building has been great.  They gave me a replacement key until I can get my spare from my sister.  I have a spare car key, but it’s not an electronic one.  I will have to get that replaced. I can buy a new iPhone charger, but I’m just mad that I have to do that…again.

I was upset last night and today at work. But something happened on the way home from work. I stopped caring.

Walking through DC, on the metro, and bus home, I had the most amazing feeling of weightlessness.  It was freeing. I did not have to cart half of my life around with me.

I am moving at the end of the month to a new apartment in the same building. The manager told me that as long as I can return one set of keys, they won’t charge me a fee for the ones I do not have. Done. Someone told me that I can get my key replaced at home depot for $50.00. Done. And the rest? An inconvenience, but replaceable.

What I found surprising is that by letting go of the belongings that I lost, I also stopped caring about all of the other stuff that has been bothering me all month.

Weight isn’t just the physical girth we carry around on our bodies, it’s also all of the emotional baggage we carry around. The weight of those burdens has had me focused on all of the wrong things. Maybe losing that bag was a blessing in disguise.

Struggling & Finding A New Direction

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I have to admit it, I have been struggling since the turn of the New Year.  I got sick on January 2 on my way to work.  Unpleasant, to say the least.  I’ve hit a very long plateau in my weight loss which has me thinking that I may never lose another pound.  That thought terrifies me as I am very afraid that I will start gaining again.  I want to lose another 46 pounds, but if I don’t I’m sort of OK with that.  I’m not OK with the thought of gaining any weight at all.  I also have been struggling with the number of hours I have been working.  That has really taken a toll on my over all mental well-being, mostly because I have no time for anything else and I’m exhausted all of the time.

Mostly though, I have been surprised by the number of emotional battles I have been fighting as well.  That has kind of caught me off guard because I have really been riding an emotional high for a very long time.  I think some of it has to do with the fact that my weight loss has slowed, and I fear regaining the weight.  Some of it I think has been dealing with people who just refuse to see all the work I have done and how I have changed.  To them, I will always be the out of control overeating fat girl who needs to be constantly reminded that her efforts aren’t good enough and never will be.

One of the reasons I have always hated losing weight is the public consumption of my weight loss.  I know…oh the irony of a blogger making THAT complaint.  But it’s true.  Any time I have dieted in the past, everyone always commented on my weight loss, or lack thereof, the food I ate, and whether or not I gained weight when the diet eventually failed. Making a change like that is a very personal, and often, painful journey, yet the whole of society feels free to comment and pass judgment on it.  I think that’s part of the reason I decided to blog my weight loss since the surgery.  If the whole world, (at least my world), was going to watch me lose weight, I was going to at least control the dialogue…this time.

But really, I think a large part of my emotional struggle has been trying come to terms with my own identity.  I don’t know if I’m really done losing weight.  I hope I’m not.  I do want to lose the last little bit I have left.  Still, whether I’m done losing now, or some time in the not too distant future, the end of my weight loss journey is in sight.

For many years I was simply the fat girl.  Then for the past year and a half, I have been the girl who is changing her life by losing an incredible amount of weight.  I now know a lot of people who knew me when I was fat and are now getting used to the new me.  And I’ve met a lot of people who never knew me as the fat girl, who just know me now and do not understand where I have been.

I guess I have really been struggling with who I am now that I’ve lost the weight (or most of it, at least).  Who am I if I’m not the girl who is losing weight?  I guess I’m the one who lost a lot of weight, but that title can only last for so long.

The truth is, however, none of that really matters.  What the world thinks of me is really none of my concern.  What I need to do is decide for myself who I am and where my journey goes from here.  I can choose to have a future where my excess weight no longer defines who I am.  It’s an idea that is as freeing as it is terrifying.  But this is the world that I have chosen to create for myself. Now I just need to find a way to live in it.

So, I made some decisions about this.  I went to a couple of my writer’s group this week and in both of them, we had to set writing goals for the new year. Also, my birthday was yesterday, and it coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year, which I think is a great time to refocus and start something new.  This is now the year of the horse, and I was born in the year of the horse.  I do not put much stock in astrology, but I do feel that it could be a sign this will be a good year.

In my second, much smaller writer’s group, I said I would start writing on this blog more (again) and maybe change the focus a little.  I want to talk more about my over all health as opposed to just weight loss.  If I really am reaching the end of my weight loss journey, I need to do that.

I’m not sure where this New Year will take me, or what direction my life will go. I’m not really sure what this blog will become.  If the weight loss does start up again, I will definitely update that, but it won’t be my main focus.  I do want to write more about food, body image, health, and weight loss in general.  I am hopeful that I can come to terms with who I am now and where I go from here.  I hope you’ll join me on the next step in my journey.