Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Time for a change!

I decided to give the look of my blog a little bit of a change.  Hope you like!  I like to switch things up periodically and this just screams healthy living.  That has become such an important part of my life, if not the most important part of my life next to God.  I am so committed to living a different life than the one that led to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Speaking of healthy living, I tried going in to work today, but I just felt so yucky that I lasted for about half a day and decided to turn around and come right back home.  Everyone at the office was so supportive and encouraged me to take care of myself.  Novel concept, right?  I knew I shouldn't have gone in but I was being stubborn.  I came home and rested, which helped tremendously.  I did do some work from home just because it is a crazy time right now for me, but I also did take some time to rest.  My fever is pretty much gone now so that makes me happy.

The taking care of ourselves thing is so hard, isn't it?  It took me a long time to get to this spot where I finally put my health as a priority.  Many people have asked me why I chose the path I did in losing weight through Optifast other than a "normal" way.  Let me answer that by painting a scenario of my reality at the time for you. 

I had always struggled with weight.  In fact, I have never been a normal body size in my entire life.  I never had thin years as a teen, I couldn't look back and revel in my 20's as a healthy adult and wasn't even small as a child.  I was always a big girl, most of the time the biggest one in most rooms.  But I seemed to compensate for that by being a likable child, a sweet girl and a friendly person in general.  That part of me has never changed because that's genuinely who I am.  People who know me know that I would give the shirt off my back for them if they needed it. 

Yet, inside, that was a different story.  I was abused and raped.  I made horrible decisions when it came to men and I just felt so lost.  I had a hard time trusting people, always wondering what their ulterior motive really was.  My weight continued to creep up and up, always surpassing a point that seemed unlikely.  I was teased relentlessly.  This world can be so cruel to people who are different.  Just walking amonst people gave others the license to make fun of me and treat me as a third class citizen.

I tried every diet known to man, even tried things that I made up on my own and nothing seemed to work.  I did give things my best effort for a long time.  I was in Overeaters Anonymous for 14 years, even lost weight there, but it worked until it didn't work any longer.  When I was a freshman in high school, my father put me into an eating disorder rehab facility here in San Diego called the Raider Institute through Mission Bay Hospital.  It was an intensive, in-patient 6-week program.  I did manage to lose weight there, that is until I went home and didn't have that inclusive environment any longer.  I tried Weight Watchers (several times), Jenny Craig, South Beach and a myriad of other diets.  I tried exercising, restricting, calorie-counting, fat-gram counting ... you name it, I did it.

Then, earlier this year, I found myself tipping the scales at 417 pounds (in fact, I would go up to 420 before it was all said and done).  That was easily the lowest point of my life and the moment I knew that I had hit rock bottom.  There are certain events that happen your life that you never forget and I will never forget that.  I knew that I was willing to do absolutely anything at that moment and got on my knees and begged God for help, with the most heartfelt sincerity that I possessed.  Up until then, I had been researching different weight loss solutions, even seriously considering having gastric bypass surgery.  After having several discussions with my primary care doctor which, trust me, were very difficult conversations to have, I opted to go the route of Optifast. 

This medically supervised weight management program was something that felt like light in the darkness for me.  I needed the medical supervision and I just didn't feel like going on another calorie-counting diet that I tried again on my own would suffice.  For some people, that is the perfect road to weight loss, and I salute them on that.  For me, however, I needed the structure this program was going to provide for me because I just didn't trust that I could do it on my own.  I needed help and was desperate for it.  I especially liked the fact that this was not just focused on weight loss, but working on the very reasons why I chose to eat in the first place.  Even after getting to a normal body size, this program does not drop you like a hot potato.  It's another almost year of maintenance and a booster program so that patients can always have support if they would like to participate. 

I am here to tell you that this program changes lives.  My life is changed in a way I can't even begin to describe, but if you've been following my blog for a while or know me in person, you have seen the change in me.  It's not that all of me is different now -- just enhanced.  I still walk in this world that is foreign to me, but I'm starting to get more comfortable in it as the days pass.  My confidence grows as my body gets smaller.  There is so much power in taking charge of your life, in getting up and shouting that you aren't going to sit by the sidelines any longer quietly in a living hell that no one else knows about.  While others may occasionally judge me for the choice I made in how I was going to lose the weight, they soon come to see this was the right decision for me and support me.  No one loses the amount of weight I have by chance.  There is work that goes into this, whether that is following through on a commitment of following the program to the letter, spending time exercising my body or delving into an emotional space I would rather stuff away with food.  I'm doing this and it's not as scary as it first seemed.  I absolutely refuse to be a sad statistic, not any longer.


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