200 Days Down–A Lifetime To Go, Gracefully

Okay, I’ll admit it…When I had weight loss surgery I was focused on that first year, of getting to that ‘finish line.’  It’s something my nutritionist has been slowly dripping on me about ever since she met me.  I know there really is no finish line when it comes to health but I did get caught up in the first year post-op craze of making it the end all be all.

She would say things about how this is for life and how it’s so much healthier to let our bodies unfold–and unfat–in their own due course and how with thyroid disease my journey is not always going to be in my control.  All things I know.  But honestly in the beginning I was so caught up in the rush that all I really heard was “Blah, blah, blah.”

Sorry Michelle and thanks for being so beautifully patient and supportive.

So what changed?

My scale battery died.

And it did so on a week when I was too busy to rush out to replace it.  I live in a rural area so it’s a 25 minute round trip to the nearest store which might carry the right size button battery.  Instead of making myself crazy trying to work in a special trip, I just let my scale sit there in the dark under the bathroom cupboard.

Of course, that meant I was also in the dark about the numbers it displays.

As you know, I’m super anti-goal weight but what you may not know is I weigh myself daily.  Daily weigh-ins are a tool.  But, to help manage my chronic edema which is a side effect of an injury over six years ago.  The injury damaged the veins in my left leg so sometimes the fluid pools in my body and I have to use a diuretic to help it escape.  When I was heavier, I didn’t always feel the water weight gain.  I didn’t always see it either.  After gaining over 20 pounds overnight a few years ago, I decided I couldn’t rely on my own body dysmorphic eyes to show me the water retention and started the daily weigh-ins, reluctantly and at the insistence of my physician.  Water retention of that magnitude is taxing to the body so I know it’s the right thing for me.

However, now that I have had weight loss surgery those daily weigh-ins can eat my brain.  Oh sure they were cool in the beginning as the pounds were flying off my body.  Now, not so much.

My thyroid is wigging out big time so I’m stuck more than I’m unstuck and the scale is cruel reminder of how much progress I’m not having.

Frankly, and without any fanfare, I checked out of September.

reflection-quote

I just let myself think.

I helped myself avoid stressing about weight loss on any level.

I did work with my doctor on my thyroid.  We’re still working on it actually.

I did work with my sleeve and kept my focus on doing the right things for my body.

And some really amazing changes started happening…

I noticed I am happier.

I have more peace about my journey.

Without knowing my weight, I developed a clearer vision of how I want to live the rest of my life.

I have actually arrived at a place I did not expect to see so soon.

Grace.

No, I am not talking about spiritual Grace.

Personal Grace is what you think about yourself when you are alone with your thoughts.

When I started my weight loss journey in 2002, my goal was to be able to live with Grace about my body.  To love her, to be kind and compassionate to her, and to be really real with my honest feelings.

sarah-ban-breathnach

I never thought I needed to be certain size or weight to have Grace.  It has always been something I felt like I would know when I found it.

I have.  And, it’s every bit as beautiful as I hoped.

Except…

Finding it now okay lead me to more questions.  Interesting, unexpected questions:

  1. If I have Grace now, what does that mean for me moving forward?
  2. How do I balance this peace with knowing my weight loss is not finished?
  3. How do I make sure I hold this feeling?
  4. Is this feeling going to become an excuse to give up or not work hard?
  5. Am I settling for less than I deserve because I do not really believe I can do it?

Whoa, right?

Those are some pretty tough questions.  Good thing though questions have always been my favorite kind.  Such the existentialist!

thoreau-quote-achieving-goals

I don’t have all the answers yet but I do know holding this feeling is important and that lead me to thinking about what else I feel is important:

  1. Onederland–199.9  Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s just a number but after over 12 years of chasing it I think I’ve earned it.  202.3 this morning…Go body, go body, go body.
  2. 30% Body Fat–That’s been my weight loss surgery goal since I first started thinking about weight loss surgery.  On 23 September, I reached 39.9% and that felt pretty wonderful so now I’m really looking forward to dropping out of the 30-percent bracket.
  3. Sculpting and Toning–This goes hand in hand with a healthy body percentage and it has also been part of my plan.  I knew at some point I would make the mental switch from ‘worrying’ about weight loss to focusing on defining my body.  I just never expected to be even thinking about making that switch at six months post-op.  Making muscle gains can make weight loss look slower so it’s really something you have to be mentally prepared to see.
  4. Seeing Me–Like I have said before I have had body dysmorphia my whole life.  It has driven me to do some really dangerous and unhealthy things and that is so not what this journey is about.  For the past three weeks I’ve been pulling jeans out of the closet that I still cannot fathom will fit my body.  That’s some scary stuff.  I’m not too, too worried though because at the same time I have also looked in the mirror and thought, “My arms are smaller…I can see it…They look smaller.”  Just to reinforce that I am seeing my body as smaller I grab the tape measure to prove it to myself.  Yep, smaller.  Yay me…go body, go body, go body.  That I am seeing myself shrink is the ultimate victory.  This is also something I need to hold so much stronger than the number on the scale.

So on my 200th day post-op, I’m declaring I’m done.

Not done with weight loss, done with being a jerk to myself.

I am making the switch to building my body and holding this Grace I have found.

Existentialism = Living authentically

Living authentically = Having Grace

So much more me than any number could ever explain…

grace-beauty-quote

Four Months–The End, The Beginning, But Really Barely The Middle

Yeah, I know that makes one huge heap of sense.  Please allow me to explain.

The End: I have decided to fire my surgery practice.  I’ll try to give you the Cliff’s Notes style story.  My surgeon repaired a hiatal hernia and despite me asking no less than six times, in and out of the hospital, I was NEVER informed and therefore received no aftercare instructions or alterations to the diet plan.  I only found out when I received a bill for charges not covered by the insurance company.  Then last week there was a HIPPA violation when I was sent a lab order for another patient.  If I wasn’t already fuming, that sent me to my outer orbit.  There’s just no amount of anything that is going to make this right.  It means I have to give up my AMAZING nutritionist and that almost makes me want to collapse into a pile of tears.  She’s helped me more than anyone in my whole nearly 13 year weight loss story.  However, the irony is by all appearances the hernia repair has been a failure since the moment I started asking about it.  I’ll be having a barium swallow and complete upper GI series next week to confirm it.

The old me would have just swept this all under the rug but the new me keeps asking myself: “What are the consequences to your progress if you try to hold on to this obviously broken situation?”  I don’t want to find out.  I have spent the past few months ‘fixing’ myself of all the moments I tried to puzzle together the good bits and doing my best to tip-toe around the bad ones.  The best part of all of this is I feel zero need to fix it.  It’s broken.  I didn’t break it so it’s not up to me to run around trying to make it all better.  End of story.

The Beginning: I want to draw my line in the sand and move forward.  Four months ago today I drew a different line in the sand when I had surgery.  It’s not like I can go back and change it, right?  So my job is to continue to move forward.  Today is a different sort of new beginning.  My only concern about moving forward is losing my nutritionist.  Oh I have the food part down and she even agrees.  The scary part is I have a weird body and she’s known exactly how to fix it.  No one has been able to do that for me.  Ever!  I have 12 years of diet failure so it’s not like I haven’t been begging and pleading for help all along the way either.  Fortunately, I have also learned a lot.  I know how to fuel my body.  I just need to hold on to the hope that God and the Universe will continue to place the helpers I might need in my path…and to not go crazy waiting for them to show up.  Today, I am moving forward all alone and all for me.

Barely The Middle:  Here’s the truth: I am two months shy of the halfway point on what is often referred to as the “Golden Window” by many bariatric specialists and patients.  The Golden Window is that magical first year where everything is easy–metaphorically–meaning the bulk of the excess weight comes off as long as the patient is doing her, or his, part.  Sure there are bumps along the way but the first year is very similar to the rapid change in the life of an infant.  Growth. Milestones.  I am not about to let anyone fuck with it.  This is my journey dammit.  My goals haven’t changed.  Of course, it has been feeling like everything is upside down but after a few moments of wildflower therapy on top of a gorgeous mountain it all became clear: I am upset about what happened…not where I have been or where I am going.  Huge difference.  My choice then is to let all the past die where it is and focus on MY GOALS!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh there will be fallout as the surgeon discovers what has happened because in my absolute heart of hearts I cannot imagine he knows but that fallout is the natural consequences running their course.  My goals are independent of the outcome…

Wait, how did I get this strong…

This Month Was Better

In case you don’t remember, last month my home-from-the-hospital anniversary ended up being rather emotional.

My progress was stalling.

My body felt off.

The old, familiar feelings of “WHY, WHY, WHY…isn’t this working?” were swirling.

Thankfully, I recognized and honored those feelings and decided to share them with my seriously amazing nutritionist.  Through a chain of emails we pinpointed the suspected culprit in my diet and eliminated it immediately.  Ten days after discontinuing the preservative-laden lunch meat my body felt like it was getting back to normal–yep, a protein…a legal, nutritionist-approved protein–knocked my body out of whack and ground my progress to a halt.

I didn’t assume I was in a natural stall.

I listened to my body.

I did NOT listen to people who were telling me I should just ‘be happy’ with my progress so far or that I was being too hard on myself.  They haven’t lived in this body so there’s no way they could know but I couldn’t help but wonder maybe they were right.

Instead, I asked for help with confidence I was right something was wrong.

I found solutions.  Simple, simple, simple solutions to get me back on track.

I’ve been trying to lose weight for over a decade and have experienced a similar scenario more times than I can count but I have never had the level of professional support I have now and for me that is what is making all the difference.

Yes, having a vertical sleeve gastrectomy helped.  A lot.

BUT…

Without the custom attention of my brilliant nutritionist, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

I like it here.

I like the success I’m having.

I really like how almost predictable it is.  It’s only almost predictable because let’s face it…autoimmune disease is a roller coaster of crazy body blowouts…but I have been able to wrangle my body back into submission faster than ever.

I like having confidence in myself and my body.

I have never experienced any of this on previous attempts.

This…weight loss surgery…was the right tool for ME.

After last month’s experience, I also learned something new.  Despite my attempts at non-nonchalance, the remembrance of the day I came home from the hospital does matter to me.

It is a natural benchmark.  But, there is no requirement for me to have any emotional investment whatsoever.  I certainly do not need to be freaking myself out with goals, celebrations, photos, or anything else.

After last month, I decided I didn’t want to do that to myself again.  So, I didn’t.

This month instead of piling a heap of expectations on the day I barely let it register including moving my three month check up from the day before ‘the day’ to the week after.

You know as well as I do had I driven to Las Vegas the day before my body would have swelled up like a toad.  It always does.  Bodies with chronic venous insufficiency do not like to be captive in a car.  I would have stepped on the scale the next morning feeling defeated.

Seriously, who needs to ‘celebrate’ what has become a very positive step in recapturing my health with feeling betrayed by one’s own body?

Not this girl.

Not any more dammit!!!

Instead I realized I am super close to some milestones and so I tightened up my eating and made sure I was really holding myself to the line and I lost the most last week. 3.2 pounds, since lunch meat decided to go rogue in my guts.

Let me just tell you…

THAT FEELS BETTER!!!!

Not just because 3.2 pounds is nearly SEVEN TIMES what my non-wls surgery good weeks looked like but because I focused on what I could do.

Such a simple, subtle change.

I am now exactly one pound from losing 45 pounds since coming home from the hospital.

I have never, not even when I was lifting over 100 pounds in the gym, have I lose 45 pounds in a single year.  Probably not even in two years.

Then I’m exactly 8.6 pounds away from achieving my lowest known adult weight.

In between, there’s the 50 pound milestone.

It’s not just the poundage.

I’m down 3.4-percent body fat too.

For most people, you need to lose 7-12 pounds of body weight to lose 1-percent body fat.  What that means is I am losing mostly fat and retaining my metabolically active tissue aka muscle.  What that means is even though some people might call weight loss surgery the ‘easy way out,’ I am managing to keep my body’s metabolism from being destroyed by rapid weight loss (Have you seen the Biggest Loser studies?)

And, I sashayed into Old Navy on Friday and could zip every single pair of size 18 jeans I pulled even though while in the act of pulling them I was steeling myself for disappointment.

No more ‘big girl’ clothes!!!!!

I did take a peek at my measurements a few days ago but stopped when I saw I had lost over an inch from my waist since my last check three weeks ago.  I was trying to surprise myself…and I did…but now I want to wait until the day before my check-in for the full surprise.

I owe myself that much.

Do you know how crazy cool that feels to know and accept it too?

Adoring Your Body

 

 

Here Fishy Fishy

Yesterday I went swimming.

Yesterday I went swimming for the first time since our Princess Cruise to the Mexican Rivera last March.

Last March 18 I made the goal to go swimming onboard the ship.

Last March from the moment I ducked my head under the water and pushed away from the prickly concrete side I felt a big part of me swish to life.

Last March submerged in the Neptune Pool I decided swimming needs to be a permanent fixture in my life.  I missed it.  I knew it.  It was time to bring it back to me.

When the community pool at home opened less than two months later, I quivered wet and cold with fear over the thought of keeping that promise to myself.

I shivered for exactly 444 days.

Yesterday I was no long afraid.

Okay, I was sick and tired of being afraid.  There is a difference and I need to make sure I properly acknowledge it.

So yesterday I went swimming for the first time in exactly 444 days.

A curious thing happened. As my flip flops were clip clopping closer to the water’s edge I realized I had precisely zero fucks to give about what anyone thought of me or my body.

Yesterday as my body made the transition from land to water I felt the same swish of me returning to me the moment I was free of the ladder.

Ahh.

Yesterday I even laid out in the sun.  Twice.  Let me assure my milky white legs desperately needed to see the sun but my soul needed to be one with its light and warmth.

And one I was.

I remembered who I am.  Again.

The me I was before I wasn’t was a fish.

The me I was before I wasn’t actually looked forward to a new swimsuit each year.

The me I was before I wasn’t actually spent so much time in the sun I had body tan lines the year I picked the multi-color and white striped suit.  (Who knew you can tan through the white stripes on your swimsuit?  Surely not the diagonally stripped me that was.)

Today, I guess I could beat myself up for letting go of the me who was before I wasn’t or for holding her back another 444 days.

But, I’m not.

Today, I can’t wait to go swimming again.

And again.

And again.

I am a fish and I am glad I remembered.  Again.  After 444 days.

 

 

 

 

On Never Giving Up The Hunt For Simple Solutions

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most obvious and easiest solution is the most oft overlooked?

I have hinted here and there that I have been working with a nutritionist for the past few months.  One of the things she puts an emphasis on is supplementing with whey protein.  She was delighted to learn I have been doing so for the past 15 or so years.  She said one of the biggest battles she has with clients is convincing them certain bodies, especially those with chronic medical conditions, need the extra nutritional support.

For people with fibromyalgia the cheapest, cleanest, easiest way to infuse our bodies with the glutathione they so desperately need is with whey protein.

Except there’s a catch: Most national brands of flavored whey protein contain chemical sweeteners which can send a fibro body into a full-on temper tantrum.

Not all patients understand why the whey which is supposed to be helping them is not.  As a consumer, and a health and patient advocate, it is a source of great frustration.

I’ll avoid ranting excessively other than to say I cannot wrap my head around the sense of doing healthy things for your body only to be battling artificial sweeteners at every turn.

Pure whey protein is nourishing and healing.

The chemicals in artificial sweeteners are potentially disease-promoting.

Isn’t this a case of multiplying fractions imitating real life?

Remember, sometimes numbers cancel themselves out when you multiply fractions.

Whey
X
Artificial Sweetener
Not doing any good whatsoever

However in case you have yet to taste plain, unflavored, unsweetened whey protein it is fairly vile on its own therefore ingredients do need to be added to make it more palatable.

Ingredients NOT chemicals.

There are a few brands gaining national traction which contain non-chemical sweeteners but they also come with a bit of sticker shock.  In some cases, the price is more than triple.  I don’t know about anyone else but my wallet cannot absorb triple the price for the convenience of a ready-to-mix flavored powder.

The other drawback to the pre-naturally-sweetened varieties is they are often so sickly sweet I cannot bear to drink them.

My solution has been using unadulterated whey and blending it with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I rarely add a sweetener.  Simple.  Inconvenient.  Time consuming.  Messy.  Good for me.

Healthy is as healthy does though and my body has responded wonderfully.

I really do try to keep doing the things which coax my body to respond wonderfully.  It’s just good practice for us all, don’t you agree.

Yet, I am always on the hunt for ways to simplify or even add a little convenience for the days when life is overflowing.  Remember, I have been doing this for at least 15 years so I have had a lot of time to not realize I can mix my own whole ingredients to make my own mixes.  Two days ago I found this great blog with recipes for homemade whey protein powders.

Seriously?

Like, really…where was my brain?

SO SIMPLE?

After I tested her “Gimme Chocolate” recipe I started thinking of all the ways I could expand on her concept to bring other flavors to the mix.  Those thoughts sent me down a four hour research hole.  I’d love to tell what I found but I’m keeping it a secret until I can order some supplies and make some mixes.

The recipe was PERFECTION, by the way.  Intense cocoa, lightly sweet, easy, convenient, and from jar to glass was six pure ingredients including the water and ice.

Pure ingredients have no other ingredients: for example, my cocoa powder contains only cocoa powder.

Please do not be fooled with convenience recipes which say they have a certain number of ingredients when the truth is each ingredient has 3, 8, or 27 items listed on its own packaging.

SIX INGREDIENTS.

That’s it.

And, it tasted great too!

The journey to this point has been wonderfully worth the effort.

I can pat myself on the back and say it takes a lot of courage and determination plus a healthy amount of stubbornness to hang in there as long as I do sometimes.  When it comes to health and healing, those qualities are crucial.

Remember:

It’s not supposed to be easy because if it was everyone would be healthy.

However:

We also do not have to go out of our way sometimes to make it so damned hard.

“Just eat real food.”~ Michelle, my nutritionist.

(She has helped me lose 11 pounds so far even with a 10-pound water weight gain nightmare.)

 

 

 

 

 

Week 32–Calling Myself On My Own Bullshit

As you know, I recently went through an undeserved 20ish pound gain.  And you’ve watched me become entirely unhinged about it.  I’m not about to bash myself for that response.  In the same breath I am going to say, sometimes I am my own worst enemy.  Here’s the story of why I know that to be my truth:

Yesterday I was talking with a woman with fibromyalgia.  She has had weight loss surgery and reports flaring almost daily. She has also gained 25 pounds she didn’t earn.  I calmly explained to her…these are my exact, copy and pasted words, because I need to own them to myself:

I have fibro too. When you’re flaring a lot, you store glycogen in your muscles (at least that is one theory and I believe it) and that extra glycogen shows up on the scale as a “gain” but it’s not real. WLS food can mean lots of extra artificial sugar and that’s a huge no for many with fibromyalgia. I just looked up Syntax Nectar…it has two sources of artificial sugars. Artificial sugar alone could be triggering your flares, which is triggering the glycogen storage, which is showing up as weight gain.

So y’all know me being me had to stop and wonder how I could be so kind and supportive to her when I’m flying off the hinges over here.  Now in my theme of being accountable and transparent about this journey, I need to admit my first response is, “I’m a bitch to myself.”

Is that entirely true?

No.

So after that first knee jerk what is left?

Fear.
Desperation.
Worry.
Confusion.
Anger.
Yearning.
Seeking.
Trying.
Failing.
Determination.
Spunk.
Attitude.
Learning.
THRIVING.

My first response was to be mean to myself but coming up with all these other words took thoughtful reflection.

Ah!

Thoughtful reflection.

You mean I need to sit here unemotionally and deal with all of this logically and rationally?

Yes.

Oh hell.

So I took a deep breath and studied my own words.  I looked at them as someone’s advice to me.  I took comfort in them.  I let myself believe they are true.

Then, I did the math.

So I’ve gained around 23 pounds and my body fat percentage has gone up 1.4 percent.By doing the math I know 1.4 percent of my current weight is 3.68 pounds. 

Wait.  Stop.  Hold the phone.

Of the 23 pounds less than 4 pounds is registering as fat?????

Awww, crap.

That means the rest is water and stored glycogen (and other tissue).

19 POUNDS WORTH!!!!!!!!

When I get in my own head I really can be a jerk!

People, the truth is any fool can look at me and see the water.

I see it.

I let myself get all sorts of emotional about it too.

But that’s the trap…when it’s happening to us we do get emotional.

Yeah the number on the scale is ugly but I’m not “fattening” up.

But….as enlightened as I feel…

I’m still not going back to wearing my BodyBugg just yet not because I’m hiding from it but because the bill date is messed up.  They won’t let you change it so the only way to get a new date is to stop and restart.  Lame but whatever.  September 5 I will start again.

I’m also not worrying about tracking my food right now.  We bought a house last weekend so everything is upside down.  My hubs has done much of the packing so it is a great mystery to me where anything is.  We are in between houses and in boxes so I have no idea where most of my tools are.  We also have stopped stocking the fridge so pickin’s are slim.

However, I have another point to prove.  When I’m off track and eating crap, I don’t gain weight.  In fact, two weeks ago I lost 5 pounds.

When I go back to my BodyBugg on September 5, I’ll start tracking again…but partly because that is also the start of something new but you’ll have to wait a bit longer before I am ready to share…

Oh Look I Changed My Mind Again–And Why It Matters

I know, I know those of you who know me are not the least bit surprised, right.

Honestly, the reason for the change is the one bit of consistent feedback I receive is some version of, “I really like this but I would not ever read it because I don’t have fibromyalgia.”  At first the comment bothered me.  I mean you’re talking about one of my writing babies now.  Like any protective momma I said, “My baby’s fine.”

However, the more the comments worked their way under my skin the more I realized IIIIIIIIIIIIIII would NOT be drawn to a blog with any sort of illness listed in the title.  The more I thought about it the more I focused on my blog reading list and there’s not a single “sick” titled blog on the list with the exception of one written by a dear friend.  I read it because she writes it but I honestly would not be drawn to it by the title alone (Sorry, E I love you!)

My personal blog and website roll is filled with wellness and empowerment.  Overcoming challenges–health or otherwise–is a theme but my reading list is not exclusively about being a chronic babe.  My reading list is about coaxing myself into being my best me.  Yes, I’m aware of how self-centered and egotistical that sounds.  And you know what?  I don’t care.

Don’t judge me until you read why…

I was taught from early on to not think of myself at all.  When I became a young mom my life was all about making sure my four kids had what they needed.  Not only did my own personal health suffer but I did not do the best job giving my kids what they needed.  No, that is not a moment of self-deprecation. The constant feelings of letting them down only turned my attention even farther from myself and sometimes toward food.

The ridiculous irony of my life is it took becoming a chronic babe to decide I mattered.  If I am not well enough to take care of my family which includes two goofy dogs and a cat, then what good am I to them?  To myself?

I would even submit that many chronic babes–from obesity to fibromyalgia–are chronic, at least in part, because we never thought we mattered enough to make sure our own bodies were healthy.  We have spent way too much of our lives making sure our jobs and families were a priority. It is time we stomp our foot and say, “I matter, dammit.”

Now while some of you boo and hiss or vow to never read me again my wish is the same wish I have whenever I send something into the bloggosphere:

May the person who needs to read this the most, find it and be touched.

I know someone reading this needed to see those words. The me of 45+ years ago, and every year along the way, sure as hell needs to know I mattered.

Perhaps my knowing sounds narcissistic to you but I have been blogging long enough to know it is a very non-narcissistic truth.  Blogs are because the reader who needs the words, finds them because the writer who needed to say them, does.

So what am I saying with my blog?  What do I want to say?

The number on the scale is important…but so is how you feel about yourself the other 86, 395 seconds of the day (My scale takes about 5 seconds to display my weight).

Furthermore, how you feel about yourself while wading through health challenges is crucial to your state of wellness even when, especially when those challenges are chronic.  When you are already sick, the fat talk can be especially damning.

The truth is you need to be extra nice to yourself.

I want “Weighing Healthy” to be that sometimes gentle, sometimes loud reminder that you indeed do matter…and when things are not working for you–especially blog titles–you do have the power to change them.

In fact, it is not only healthy but empowering to make changes and move forward.

You also should not be the least bit concerned about what anyone thinks.

My best advice: Your journey is about you.  And, it is okay.  Make-A-Fresh-Start

A Milestone, A Memory, And A Victory Redux–CI#94 (with video)

Here it is 25 July, the day I started Carb Cycling, the day that changed my life, the day I found my biggest key to healthy, sustainable weight loss.  What a year it has been!  From doing the work to decide to have weight loss surgery, to the work it was to take a step back on the advice of current weight loss surgery and thyroid patients,  to all of that being the reason I found Carb Cycling in the first place.

I have to be honest here.  I had heard of Chris Powell before and decided I wasn’t going to be a fan.  When the show Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition debuted I rolled my eyes at the notion of some other celebrity trainer setting normal folks up for unrealistic expectations.  I made that assumption without ever bothering to watch the show, of course.  Now that I know Chris and what he does and why and how he does it, I know he’s an absolute genius.

In less than a year, I went from that perspective to auditioning for a chance to work with Chris on the show.  That was work too.  Lots of tears, lots of shaking, lots of whiny conversations with my husband all while giving this Carb Cycling thing a go.

I was not considered for the show.

And that was work too.  A few tears and some shaking and still lots of whining–hey, I was disappointed.  Not only did I want to be on the show for me but for Chris–by all accounts he’s never had the challenge of a multiple chronic illness babe–and for all of you including the hundreds of my chronic brothers and sisters who do not know me and who go to his page asking for help.  I wanted to help Chris know how we’re different but still worthy.  It wasn’t to be and that’s okay because I know that is where my mission lies.  My journey, this journey is not just about me but it is about you too because when I am done I want you to know there is no chronic disease strong enough to stop you when you really dig deep and figure out what YOUR body needs.

In my celebration of this day and the previous 364, I decided to pull out the white jeans I wore on the day I had to fire my divorce attorney in open court while he was on the phone an entire state away and with my $1,000 retainer so I could agree to represent myself in my divorce proceedings and they fit.

Today for the first time in over five years (yes, I know the video says five but it’s really been longer than the more I think about it).  Near as I can tell it’s been at least six years since my divorce was seven years ago and my fibromyalgia hit me five years ago and I know I couldn’t wear them then.

Wait.

Back up.

“You represented yourself?,” you ask.

Yeah.

Kicked the other attorney in the ass too to the point the poor judge just kept staring at me like, “Who are you woman?”

It was one of my finest moments of badassery.

My then husband was already whoring around with his cousin (they’re now married) and refusing to step up to his kids and to me.  In the two years, I waited for that court date to arrive, I had precisely nothing better to do with my time than read Utah divorce code.  I knew it like the back of my hand so when the judge asked if I was willing to proceed without counsel my yes echoed so loudly in the quiet courtroom it startled everyone, even myself.

And, I also prayed a mighty prayer, “Dear God, please be with me…please allow me to know what the other attorney is going to say so I might have a few moments to collect myself before needing to respond.”

It was answered with perfection.

I was able to read his thoughts, collect myself, and respond with fierceness, even citing code a time or two.

I won every single outstanding issue and that smug little pipsqueak, okay both of them–my ex, his legal turkey–just stood there as white as my pants with their eyes bugged out.

Me and God and these white pants.

The linen blouse with the huge pink roses is still waiting for my core and bat wings to whittle down just a bit more before it fits too.

When fibro happened and the weight piled on so impossibly fast and when I found myself trapped in a body that was never going to be able to move the way I was used to moving it–sending 100-pound stacks of weights flying–I thought I would never be able to wear these pants again.  I almost gave them away.  The bad ass in me said, “No, you need to remember these.”

Then when fibro happened, I turned to one of the things I do best: reading.  I read all about moving bodies and how joints and muscles work.  I paid attention to Dr. Mark Pelligrino’s suggestion that body mechanics–fibronomics–are crucial to successful management of fibromyalgia.  I read about metabolism and health and fitness.  When I was done reading, I moved.

Yes, it hurt.

A lot.

At first.

But as I paid attention to all I read and learned I noticed ways to move my new fibro body better so fibro was not so much of an issue.  I started with a goal to move five minutes a day and for the whole first year I could not manage it more than three days in a row.

That was over three years ago.

Today, with the right amount of preparation and recovery I can do whatever I want.  Yes, sometimes fibro bites me for it because that is just part and parcel of the disease and not a big enough excuse for me to think I can’t move in whatever way I choose.  Sometimes, the bite is like a new puppy and sometimes a Great White Shark and sometimes I do not know beforehand which it will be but I move anyway because fibromyalgia is not a “get out of moving free” card for the rest of my life.  In fact, I know without a shadow of a doubt fibromyalgia is gives me more reasons to move than any 100 normal people I know.

Then about 18 months ago, I decided my weight was next.

I have known about my thyroid disease for over 20 years and confirmed Hashimoto’s Disease almost three years ago (suspected it for at least 15) so I read about that and when I was done reading I went to work.

I failed miserably and that is what lead me to decide to undergo a vertical sleeve gastrectomy only to change my mind and arrive here today…wearing these bad ass white jeans…the ones I just slide off without unbuttoning or zipping…what the hell is that about…a month ago I couldn’t zip them and I’ve only this week lost a single pound since the last time I tried them.

Anyway…

In case you missed it, the reason why I am succeeding now is I am actively reaching to my past, to my pre-fibro, pre-chronic babe life and pulling on every single shred of success I have ever known and duplicating the method I used to get what I wanted and applying it to fibromyalgia and my thyroid and tweaking it until I make it work with the new set of rules my body lives by.

The rules of weight loss are solid but they are not so inflexible that our stiff, chronic bodies cannot reach them.

There is a way.

It is work.

There is success…sometimes in the form of white jeans….and 31 pounds down in my first year (and when I have never, not once, not ever lost 31 pounds in a single year you better believe I’m sashshaying in these jeans and my memories of a different victory.

The bad ass…she lives…no THRIVES.

 

My “Unoffical” Weight Loss For The Year, CI#93B (with video)

Exactly one year ago today I weighed, 277.4 pounds.  Today I weighed in at 249.6…HOWEVER…and this is why I’m calling it unofficial…I’m retaining water and flaring like a beast…but on 3 July I weighed 247.4…for a total and what I am going to call my OFFICIAL weight loss of 30 pounds.

My fellow fibro gals and guys this stupid beast can pack on the pounds overnight and my best advice: Do whatever you need to so that does not mess with your head.

Anytime the scale takes a “fake” jump I just do not count it.  Nope.  Now, if I’ve been horking down the goodies I will absolutely own and record it but gains from water retention and/or flaring, which also causes your muscles to store water and glycogen, there’s no way in hell I am ever going to say “Oops, my bad,” to that.

Here’s my Fitday.com screen shot of my weight loss.  Each one of those green dots represents a day the scale moved up or down.  There are approximately 36 down dots and I’m not bothering to count the up ones (nor did I count the down ones unless they were lower than the most recent lowest dot so going up and then down did not count until it passed the previous lowest dot).

Screenshot 2014-07-09 17.55.08Just a note about the screenshot.  To give you an accurate representation of what my weight loss looked like through the year I needed to change my “goal weight” to 247.4.  Obviously that is not my goal since I do not have a weight loss goal but in the interest of full-disclosure my next “goal weight” is 236.6–the weight I was before fibromyalgia found me.  That’s right I am just 10.8 pounds away.  I had dearly hoped to reach it today but considering my recent thyroid med change only produced a whopping .8 pound loss for the month of June it just was not in the cards.  Finding that number is the ultimate middle finger to fibro.  I know I will get there but I also know right now my body is fighting my thyroid to have a functioning metabolism and until that battle is through the very best I can do is to stay me and do all the good things I normally do.

So that’s it kiddos…30 pounds in one year…almost double my “normal” average quarter of a pound a week.  Read that again.  Even WITH fibro and a funky thyroid I DOUBLED my normal weight loss.

DO NOT LET YOUR DISEASE–no matter what it is–DEFINE WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO.

You are better than that.  Your body deserves better than that so if weight loss is on your mind you just pick yourself up and go for a walk because that has been the “magic” I have used.  Healthy food in the right quantity and movement appropriate for my battered body is what brought me here today.

People always ask “what’s your secret” and I always laugh and say, “Hard work.”  I do find it interesting that it is rare for someone to ask what the hard work is but in the event they do I share my daily routine, no matter how much I hurt–even today–is making sure I burn MORE calories than I eat.  I hurt, I move.  I don’t hurt, I move a little more.

Flares are never an excuse to stuff my face with crap to “ease my pain” and people who do that make me entirely crazy.  People…sugar is a known inflammatory agent so when your body is going berserk it is really the last thing you should be giving yourself.

Feed your body…not your pain.

No matter how comforting that sugary food feels you are wrecking your body and prolonging your pain.

Now while there is no magic to the scale creeping ever-downward, keeping myself sane with the pace and being happy with what my fibro body will allow me to do when my soul wants to run–oh if only my body would let me I would be a 5k running freak.  My real work happens–IN MY HEAD–because the difficulty level is second only to dealing with my thyroid body’s nonsense.

Do you notice I separate them from each other and who I really am and what I really want to be?

As long as my soul soars, I will THRIVE to find that balance with my different “bodies”–thyroid and fibro but also defective hip, knee, and spine–because they are just parts of my body and my soul is all mine.  Perhaps it sounds like a silly head game and I guess it is but it is also how I cope.

I am the author of my experience and my diseases are the annoying punctuation.

Today I celebrate one year.

Today I hurt like hell and to the point I cancelled part of my day–yeah, if you know me at all how often do you hear me say that–that’s where my pain levels are and I am celebrating anyway.

It’s called THRIVING.

Use the vents in the fireplace: Multi Animal Print top, December 2012, Black Jumper, December 2013 and Brown floral print, today.

Progress

IMG_5672

April’s Results And A Decision, CI#86

Nope, I have not forgotten or abandoned this blog or my weight loss plan.  My world has been through some HUGE changes and with the changes to the Give It 100 site I needed to figure out how to bring that project to a logical conclusion.

When I started my Give It 100 project, it was to prepare for our cruise and then the cruise got pushed back to December a few weeks after starting the project.  At that time I changed the project to “unlimited” which means there was no set end date.  I did not love the idea but at the time it is what I went with.   If we’d kept our original cruise plans, I’d be on my way home from Mexico and with just a few videos left to post.  December is still a long ways away but I was sticking to the vlogs and blogs because that’s what I do, right.

Then Give It 100 changed.

While I was figuring out what to do, I happened to figure out as of today I am exactly 10 weeks away from my one year weight loss journey anniversary.

BINGO!!!

That’s when I will end my Give It 100 project.  July 9, 2014 will be my last Give It 100 video.

It is the perfect, poetic end I was looking for.

It just feels right.

Basically, I need to complete a video a week and a couple extra a long the way to reach 100 videos.  Then my question became when to post the videos.  I don’t want them to all be on my results posts so I think I’m just going to wing it but commit to at least one a week.

It fits my life right now.  And that feels right too.

So on to my results for April–one full month of adding selenium and vitamins C and E to the calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and A I was already taking.

8.2 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Never, ever, NE-VER in the history of my life have I lost 8.2 pounds in a month.  Not only did I lose 8.2 pounds but I’m almost ready to fall into the 240s…Whaaaaaaaa???????  This morning’s weight 251.8. 

I can hardly contain my excitement.

WWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have set a fairly ambitious goal for myself just to keep myself pushing through the end of this first year.  On my last full-time working day, 21 September 2009, I happened to weigh myself even though I didn’t know it would be my last full-time day.  I weighed 236.6.

I guess you could call it my pre-fibro weight because it was before all the fibro drugs were introduced which ratcheted my weight up by two pounds a day.  Yes, a day!

Reclaiming that number is important to me.  In some mystical sort of way, it’s my victory lap of every day since then trying to figure out how to get my life back on my own terms from that beast.  And against ridiculous odds, I have managed to figure out this thing I call THRIVING.

My life is just that MY LIFE.  It doesn’t belong to fibromyalgia.

Yes, I still have fibro…but I am absolutely living, breathing, THRIVING proof it does not have me.

I want 236.6!

As of this morning that works out to be 15.2 pounds in 10 weeks or just over 1.5 pounds a week.

See, I told it was ambitious.

I know I will get it eventually.  Whether it is before 9 July remains to be seen because the truth is it is an ambitious goal for me but you damned-well better believe I am going to give it a run.

When fibro first found me, I never thought I would be able to set “an ambitious goal” again.  And yet here I am with the biggest grin on my face and tears starting to form in my eyes knowing and believing I can try.  I do not “need” to make it as much as I absolutely need to know I can still try.

Am I going to be disappointed on 9 July 2014 if I do not meet the goal?

Hell no!!!!!!

I have already lost more weight in the past 42 weeks than I usually lose in an entire year.  The rest as they say is icing on the cake….or should that be fat off my butt 🙂