Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weight loss leads to a changed life

I didn't get great sleep last night.  I tried, but it seems the more I tried, the more it alluded me.  Why is that?  Frustrating!  I tried to shake it off because I knew I wanted to go for a long walk today to get some exercise in.  I crave it so much during the week and it's hard to get it in everyday because of my crazy schedule.  I decided that I would go walking around Miramar Lake.  Since I am now having that one meal a day in addition to my shakes, I decided that I would have it in the morning.  Walking five miles, especially when you're on Optifast, is difficult when you're trying to keep the energy going.  As peculiar as this was, I did have fish, green beans and a salad for breakfast along with a typical shake.  Yeah, I know, weird!  But I knew it would give me the extra fuel I would need.

As I walked around the lake, I was very well aware of my competitiveness and purposely tried to slow down.  Other times when I've walked there, I would try to go around the five miles as fast as possible, hurting myself in the process the entire time.  This is not a race to the finish line, Kathy!  I felt good today, at peace with myself.  I had motivational music coming out of my iPod to keep me going.  MC Hammer kept telling me I was too legit to quit and even Katie Perry was reminding me that I was a firework!  Music makes such a difference to me when I'm exercising.  I did the course in just over an hour and a half and burned 866 calories. 

I thought about how drastically my life has changed since starting this journey of weight loss.  There are things I'm doing now that I never thought I'd do before, or want to do before.  Case in point:  walking around a lake for five miles.  I was thriving out there, though.  I have much more stamina than ever.  My body is a miracle when I think about it, especially after what a lifetime of obesity has put it through.  When I started the program, I was suffering with out of control diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and it just seemed to be breaking down.  My skin had so many stretch marks from being taxed to the brim.  Now I have normal levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.  I don't need to take medication any longer to keep them under control.  I can fit into chairs, booths, behind steering wheels and have no problem crossing my legs. 

That being said, there are physical problems I have as a result of all the extra weight over years that I hope gets better, but only time will tell.  I have diabetic neuropathy in my feet, which leaves them tingling and in pain (although manageable).  I have a bad knee, which my doctor is not sure is a result of the extra weight or a car accident I had years ago.  I have other areas that concern me, but the one that I am working hard at dealing with right now is the excess skin.

Having now lost 185 pounds, I have a vast amount of loose skin and I know more will be added.  I know a lot of people talk about theirs, but I've never seen anyone have it as bad as I seem to.  My thighs, for example, look twice as big as they actually are because I have so much excess there.  Gravity completely breaks my heart when I stand up because all I can see when I look in the mirror is that skin.  Perhaps I'll be brave enough one day in the future to post pics of my loose skin, but I'm not there yet.  I have shared pics with one friend because she's been there and has been so encouraging during this entire weight loss process [thank you for your unending support, my friend]. 

Don't get me wrong ... I'm not necessarily complaining about the loose skin.  I would rather have it than have my body full of fat again.  It's just hard to look in the mirror and love myself past it.  Will I have skin removal surgery in the future?  Probably, but I haven't made any decisions on it yet.  Then, yesterday, I ran across a post from Tara over at A Life Changing Journey where she talked about this very issue.  Not only that, she posted pics of her skin.  Reading about her journey and all the comments from others is so helpful to me.  I need to be able to look at my body and love it, right here and right now.  I'd be less than honest if I said that was easy to do because it's not.  I think about a future relationship I might have with someone and I wonder if he will love me with my excess skin.  I know intellectually that love is about more than just what is on the outside, but emotionally it's still difficult for me to accept.  When I was with my ex-boyfriend, he always told me how beautiful I was to him and he was with me at almost my heaviest weight.  He was able to see past what I couldn't.  Will that be the same situation for whomever is next in my life?  Things look fine with clothes on, but you just don't know what's going on behind closed doors. 

This is a great source of pain for me and I just need to own that. The pain really isn't about the fact that I don't like how it looks but really it's about years of abusing my body with weight gain and the damage I was doing.  It's not until I was out of it that I realized the full extent.  Even when I was at the lake today and runners would pass me in their skimpy outfits, I'd look a their bodies for signs of loose skin.  Of course I couldn't see what I was looking for and I remember thinking how lucky they are.  Obviously everyone has issues in their life, so who knows what goes on with them in private, but in the moment it was just about the emotional pain of dealing with the excess weight.  Yet, I know I have to continue dealing with these feelings as they are coming up and continue working at acceptance that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now. 

At the end of the day, the changes that have happened during this weight loss have been wonderful, miraculous and joyful.  I know they will continue to be.  Things will also get better in accepting my imperfect body.  When I think about it, I've come a long way from when I first started, so the sky really is the limit in terms of where I end up.  Maybe it's something I will be dealing with for a long time, but I also am grateful at how far I've come already.


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