If I’m being honest, the truth is that I’m struggling today. I look in the mirror and I see myself as being fatter than ever – almost as if I’ve been blown up like a balloon. I’m not currently making the progress I had hoped to be making this month. And I just generally feel very sad – for no good reason at all. I could break down in tears at the slightest provocation (in fact, I did this morning when I was getting dressed).
So in this post today, I want to take the opportunity to purposefully choose to highlight things that I know show my progress, even though I can’t feel that progress in my soul right now.
Fakin’ it til I make it.
- I lost nine pounds in August. For some reason, I had it in my head that I’d only lost 5 or less in the last month. But no – the reality is that I lost nine.
- I wear dresses a lot now. I’ve always loved dresses, but I never wore them because they made me feel uncomfortable. Now? I adore them and think they’re more comfortable than pants.
- I look forward to my workouts each week. I’ve only missed class because of terrible back pain or because I was traveling for a long weekend. While I can’t see the difference in my body as a result of the classes, I can tell I’m getting stronger. Each class I can push a little more. I’ve also lost an inch off my waist and an inch and a half off my hips since I’ve been taking these barre classes.
- With the exception of today, my mental health has been stellar. I’ve been happy and – dare I say? – confident.
- I spent the long weekend with my Grandma and still managed to stay on my plan and not overeat or eat things I shouldn’t.
- I like taking selfies now (most of the time, at least). I think I’m pretty way more than I used to.
I’ve just gotta keep on keeping on. I am not failing. I have made TONS of progress. And even on days I can’t see it or feel it, I know it’s there…like the wind (oh god, that’s perilously close to that one line from A Walk to Remember…).
And now I’m going to leave you with some (slightly edited) lyrics to a Meghan Trainor song I only recently discovered…
That I woke up feelin’ this way
And I can’t help lovin’ myself
And I don’t need nobody else, nuh uh
Can I really call it a stall when I still lost weight this week? This may just be my impatience rearing its ugly head, but I start thinking STALL whenever the scale doesn’t move for 3-4 days in a row (or flops back and forth between the same few numbers). Or when I only lose a single pound in a week.
I know – I’m whining. And a pound is nothing to sneeze at! It’s just a huge difference from the 3-5 pounds per week I had been losing.
I spent last week feeling horribly. I had severe fatigue, and eventually I had headaches and dizziness. It didn’t occur to me for DAYS that those were dehydration symptoms. I emailed my nutritionist about the fatigue, and she suggested I up my calories and protein to compensate for the workouts I’m now doing. Turns out, that’s probably not necessary (though I’m trying to shoot for 800-900 calories now, and 80g of protein). The simple solution was DRINK MOAR WATER. When I looked back over my records, I found there were a few days where I only got 20 or 30 oz of water. NO WONDER I FELT BAD.
Live and learn.
But the best news is that right now I feel WONDERFUL. I am happy. I am healthy. I am becoming my best self. This surgery is the best thing I ever did for myself.
I read back through the archives of this website, and frankly I was a bit shocked by it. When I think back on my previous efforts to lose the weight I always feel as if I did my best but it never worked. But when I look back at how I documented it? It’s week after week of excuses. I was honest, but I was using that honesty to rationalize.
My diet was my setback this week. I don’t know why my brain allowed me to undo all of the hard work I was doing at the gym, but that is a choice I made this week. And now I have to live with the consequences.
I got lazy and complacent. Plain and simple. I was used to the pounds falling off and I just let myself fall into this rut of less work, hoping that I would still get results. But guess what? You only get out of this journey as much as you put into it.
I haven’t worked out in two weeks, but I planned that (well sort of – it was supposed to be a single week off, but two felt really good).
I realized that I was making poor choices and I’m working hard to fix those. I am actively choosing to make better choices.
I was doing so very well. Even though I wasn’t working out, the weight was falling off. Intermittent fasting works. But then… I got too complacent.
And it just goes on and on like that. I wish someone had called me out on that at the time – though I probably wouldn’t have heard them if they tried.
Having this surgery has literally changed my life. Not only physically (internally AND externally), but also mentally and emotionally. I don’t know why it took major surgery for this to happen, but the way that I think about my body, the food that I eat, and the activity I participate in has fundamentally changed. I made a choice to help myself be the best me I can be. And for the first time in almost 34 years of life, I know my value. I have self-worth!
My body isn’t where I want it to be. But that doesn’t matter. It’s getting there, slow and steady. Every day is progress, stall or no stall. I don’t miss drinking Coke. I rarely miss eating fast food. My thinking has actually shifted. Habits have been broken.
THIS IS AMAZING PEOPLE.
Total Lost Since Surgery: 31.7
Total Lost: 42.7
But right now, I’m having a bit of a hard time.
The scale isn’t moving.
I’m one of those people who gets annoyed when I see other people say things like:
I’ve only lost 30 pounds, and haven’t lost anything more in two weeks. I’m so scared that I won’t lose more.
What if this is all I’ll lose with the surgery? Did I do this for nothing?
I’m losing too slowly. Why did I do this to myself?
It’s physically impossible not to lose weight when you’re eating 800 calories or less. My body needs at minimum 2000 calories to maintain my current weight. There’s no way I can’t lose on my current diet! And that’s true for every single person who has had wls.
I now understand the… disappointment. I’m not afraid I won’t lose more. I know I will. But my scale is not my friend right now. That probably means I should stop weighing myself, especially every day… but I can’t right now. I need to see that what I’ve put myself through is worth it.
My last six weigh-ins have been: 228, 226.9, 225.7, 227.6, 225.8, and 226.
It’s frustrating because I had grown accustomed to seeing a loss every single day. And now I’m fluctuating between the same 2 pounds.
I know that everybody goes through this. Every. Single. Person. who has had bariatric surgery goes through this. I am not unique, and I am not alone. And I know the scale will move again.
But that doesn’t stop the emotions that come with a stall. Feelings of helplessness. Hopelessness. Failure. I don’t have a therapist anymore, which is one of the reasons I started blogging again – journaling is a great way to cultivate self-awareness and work through some of the emotional bullshit we deal with as humans.
So basically. This whole post is just to say – I’m in a fucking stall. I fucking hate it. I fucking KNOW that it will break. But I’m still goddamn emotional about it anyway.
Yesterday I officially stopped my therapy appointments (with the approval of my therapist). I’ve been doing really, really well since mid to late June and she agreed that we could stop meeting weekly. The last few times I saw her, the appointments were spaced out by several weeks. The last time I saw her, I was in and out in 15 minutes – just enough time to give her a quick update and to schedule another appointment.
An appointment I canceled, with her blessing.
People tend to have an aversion to therapy. She’ll think I’m crazy. I’m not going to spill my secrets to a stranger! I can fix myself.
For me, I had to go so the doctor would give me the anti-depressants I knew I desperately needed. I wasn’t happy about it. In fact – I was terrified. I remember bursting into tears while trying to find a therapist that specialized in eating disorders and body image that was covered by my insurance. I nearly had a panic attack when I called to try and schedule an appointment.
It was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done.
Now, I can say that I’m really glad I did it. Therapy wasn’t some quick fix for my broken brain. My therapist didn’t “fix” me. But she did give me the resources and tools to work through some things I’d never addressed. My weekly meetings with her were a place where I could give a voice to some things I’d kept inside for far too long. And simply the act of giving voice to things I’d ignored for my entire life was enough for me to let go of some of the resentment, hurt, and negative self-image that I had been clinging to like a life raft.
Therapy didn’t fix me.
Therapy did, however, help me understand myself better.
I was able to better see the link between my abandonment issues and binge eating (you know, the two things I swore weren’t related when I first went to see her). I figured out that I’ve never been responsible for the actions of others in my life. My 7 year old self wasn’t responsible for the anger and other problems that drove my parents to divorce. My 8 year old self wasn’t responsible for the fighting my parents did that resulted in me being pulled back and forth between them.
I am only responsible for my own actions. And my own thoughts. And my own emotions. And I can control them. I can now recognize when I’m beginning to feel angry or upset and then go through a mental checklist about why. I can ask myself why I want cake. Is it because I really want cake? Or is it because I think cake will make me feel better?
I learned that cake and other food isn’t inherently bad. There’s nothing wrong with eating pizza or cake. But there is something not quite right if the motivation for eating those foods is emotional.
I still get hung up on that sometimes. Habits are hard to break.
But thankfully, I’m finding that I have fewer of those emotional states where I want to drown myself in sugar and carbs. I can usually stop it before I get to that point. And truthfully, I’m just in an all around better place. I no longer hide in my house alone. I no longer say “I can’t do that.” I’m actively trying to be the person I want to be.
And life is good.