Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Round two

Monday night was the end of my 20th week of weigh-ins and a new crop of people came into our group at the Kaiser clinic.  For those that will be continuing in the fasting phase, we stay in the class and new people join us who are just starting their journeys.  About 11 of us are continuing on from the first class, but it was so great to see the eagerness and excitement of the new people.  Our group now has 25 people in it, pretty big for us since the 11 of us were the ones who made it through to the end of the first group.  It was hard to see people dropping out since our group originally started with about 20, but it is what it is.  We are a tight 11, so supportive of each other, and I know we will also be that way with the new people.

Our counselor welcomed them and gave them some highlights of successful stories.  One of our 11, for example, has lost 172 pounds.  Pretty impressive, but she was quick to point out that she has done it over the course of several years with some weight gain in the middle.  Then, he turns to me and says, "Kathy, if you don't mind sharing, can you tell the group how much weight you've lost in the last 20 weeks?"  I just knew he was going to call me out!  He is always so thrilled to see me each week because my rate of loss is pretty astonishing (by his admission, not mine).  He's told me that in the 30 years that he has been a counselor at the clinic, no woman, and very few men, have lost as much weight faster than I have.  So, I addressed the group and told them that as of that night, I had lost 135.5 pounds in the last 20 weeks.  That was followed by a round of applause, coupled with oooh's and aaaah's.  People were asking me if it was all just Optifast or if I was doing something different, almost as if I had the secret to eternal life.  If only!  I described that, no, I just do the Optifast 70 program, but I do exercise a lot now, although that isn't a requirement of the program, just something I enjoy doing now.  When I think about it, it took me about 5 or 6 weeks before I started doing any exercise at all and now I'm up to at least 3 miles each and every day.

When you're starting new in program, they give you a binder full of information, assignments and other things you'll need along the way in the journey, as well as a book called Maximize Your Body Potential.  You are told you will need to bring these two items to class, so I saw all the new people had these things in their hands or under their seats.  I leaned over to one of the 11 and asked her if she had been reading the book or if she was doing the assignments.  She confessed that she hadn't even opened the book.  After a couple of weeks of the classes, we weren't bringing those items in any longer because our support group was not about the topics discussed in the pages but things the counselor would do with us.  I did start reading the book but I had put it down since we weren't going through it.  It sort of felt like homework to me and I figured that when the time came where we were supposed to start reading it, our counselor would let us know.  We both committed to each other that we would, at the very least, start reading the book.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that they gave me the book and the notebook with assignments or other reading for a reason.  Now that I am in the second round of this phase, I feel I am prepared to really start digging in.

Now that I'm in the book, I can't put it down!  There are sections in there about weight loss, but it is more about being successful in your weight management journey for life.  There is going to come a time when I will be re-introduced to food again and I have to make appropriate choices if I hope to be successful.  It also talks about a very important component that perhaps gets glossed over far too easily ... the emotional and psychological component of weight loss.  How do we deal with thinner bodies?  How do our families and friends deal with us in thinner bodies?  Losing weight is all about us, but it does not just affect us.  I took out a highlighter and really started marking some important components for me, such as:

  • A major part of successful weight management is learning to identify and change underlying beliefs that don't serve you, to find new ways of understanding events, to replace negative self-talk with more adaptive thinking, and to cope more effectively with negative emotions.
  • Weight reduction is a self-centered activity.  To be successful you must give it top priority.
  • You  need to constantly bring your focus back to what you expect to get by losing weight and the costs you will pay for not losing weight.
  • Involving others in your weight management efforts in a way that is nonthreatening to them is important if you are going to achieve and stay at your best weight.
  • In order to speak up for your needs, you may need to challenge and change old ideas.
There were so many more fantastic gems, but really it is all about being successful in managing weight for the rest of my life.  My character trait/defect of being stubborn is going to come in handy here.  I refuse to become a statistic, one of those poor souls who loses a huge amount of weight only to gain it back.  I have already done that with 100 pounds before and I'm not willing to go through that again.  I am already in a place where I'm in a foreign land ... a smaller body, able to do things I couldn't do before, off of all of my diabetes medication and insulin, with so much more energy.  There is no way on God's green earth I am going to give that up, no freakin way!!  I have too many people who love and support me to let that happen.  And, really, I refuse to let that happen to myself.  Unless you've been where I have been - morbidly obese - you can't understand how painful a place that is.  There is obvious physical pain, yes, but I mean more the emotional hurt deep down inside.  It's a place so painful that I hardly could ever talk about it out loud to other people because then I would have to sit in those feelings and I know I would constantly have tears in my eyes.  Instead, I'd just put on a great smile and perhaps joke things away.  I have used humor far too many times to mask pain.  Dammit, I am worthy of so much more than being less than my authentic self.

I have also opened that notebook and taken a look at some of the writing assignments.  I will start working on those, too.  As much as opening the door to the past is very difficult to do, I must walk through that door to get to the other side.  Avoiding doing so got me to 417 pounds.  No more.  I am taking my life back and telling that horrid voice in my head that screams I'm not good enough to take a flying leap off the cliff.  So there!


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