18 months, 1 surgery, and 100 pounds

It has been almost 18 months since I last wrote anything on my blog, and a lot has happened!

But the short and sweet of it is more than a year ago I began the process of having gastric bypass surgery, seven months ago I actually had gastric bypass surgery, and today I have lost more than 100 pounds.

Now, to save myself time, here is my Facebook post from July 11, 2016 (the day before my surgery)…

I’ve thought long and hard about whether I wanted to share this on Facebook or not, but my life has always been an open-book and I see no reason to shut it down now…I am not secretive, quiet, dishonest, and I don’t like to write in a vague or mysterious way, so here I go!

The short version – I’m having surgery tomorrow morning that will change my life (no I’m not getting a penis), I’m a bit scared of not waking up from the anesthesia (this is not based on any type of logic, just me being a baby), and I love you all and I hope I’ve made you laugh at least three times!

The longer version, I promise it’s not “War and Peace”, you’ve got time to indulge me…

I was a very sick little girl, from one to four years old I had chronic bronchitis and upper respiratory infections, just before I entered kindergarten I stopped being sick – thanks to a week in the hospital in an oxygen tent. I now know, thanks to my doctors, that during this time, as my hypothalamus was developing, something got screwed up and I was left with a brain that thinks I’m suppose to gain NOT maintain my weight, as a result, from 5 years old my weight crept up every year and I suffer from childhood obesity…childhood obesity can be a side-effect of physical or emotional trauma.

I don’t use this as an excuse, I still take responsibility for every M&M I’ve shoved into my mouth, but it was nice to have an explanation.

I’ve tried every diet and I have exercised, always with some success, but I always hit a wall and before I know it I’m creeping slowly back up.

2 years ago I joined Overeaters Anonymous and had the most success I ever had losing weight, it helps when you have a support group and you work the steps, but eventually I hit the wall again. I continue my life with OA, because even though I joined for the vanity – I stay for the sanity! Everyone could benefit from 12 step, it’s an enlightening journey with some amazing people!

Weight loss surgery has been available for more than 20 years and for 20 years I resisted it every step of the way, believing I could do it on my own and not wanting the “easy way” out, but after hearing the explanation about my damaged hypothalamus and doing very thorough research, weighing the good and the bad, I decided that surgery was a valuable tool and not a solution, because I will always be battling the disease of obesity, even if I am model skinny…after the past six months and what I face over the next six months, I know it’s not the “easy way” out – the only thing I’m cheating is an early death, hopefully!

I started this process in January, I’ve been poked and prodded to make sure I’m physically and mentally prepared for surgery and life after surgery. I started out scared shitless and totally anxious, but now I’m equal parts nervous and excited…turns out having to be patient, a trait that doesn’t come natural to me, was the biggest blessing of all – I’m now ready for whatever happens on the other side of this surgery!

I’m 45, physically healthy, mentally strong, and spiritually sound…if God isn’t ready for me yet (I’m really hoping he gives me 45 MORE fantastic years) then I’m ready to kick ass with my new thinner body – I do hope I get to keep some of my ass!

Thank you to my family and friends for the love, support, encouragement and enthusiasm…y’all kept me going and I love you!

Thank you to my mother for everything, from giving me life to being with me every step of the way as I change my life, you are my rock and my favorite person to make laugh! I love you more than I could ever express!

Thank you to my husband; who tells me he loves me everyday, shows me he loves me everyday, tells me I’m beautiful everyday, laughs at my jokes and goofiness everyday, and makes my toes curl and head swirl everyday! He assures me he will love me even if I look like a wrinkled and deflated Shar-Pei! If God wants me baby – I will haunt you if you marry again, so become a celibate monk

I love you with every part of my soul and we will always be the “big door prize”!

I do not believe in religion, but I do believe in a power greater than myself whom I choose to call God…Thank you God for all the gifts you have given me; a loving and funny family, friends who would help me “bury the body”, an outgoing personality, a fierce sense of right and wrong, a big mushy heart, a sharp and honest tongue that I know how and when to control, a wicked sense of humor, and for my ability to do a full straddle! Ha!
I’m eternally grateful for not suffering from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or fear of the unknown…I would have rather carried the physical weight than the emotional weight.
I am blessed and I regret nothing, even the heartbreaks and mistakes, because it’s all been lessons learned…I’m exactly where I’m suppose to be

There you go Facebook, thanks for reading, I’ll either be back with my thumb size stomach or I’ll be on to the next realm! XoxoxoX

p.s

I don’t want to die and I hope I don’t die, I really want to be a smart-ass 90 year old hottie doing yoga…you either laugh or cry at the things that scare you, I choose laughter 

I hope they give me kick-ass happy drugs before surgery!

So, it turns out I did not die and the drugs were OK, but I would have enjoyed something slightly more psychedelic! Ha!

I have laughed, cringed, and been amazed and baffled by the transformations my life and body have taken since surgery.  I hope to write on a more regular basis again, and I will share some of my experiences in the coming posts…stay tuned if you’re interested, if not there is always Netflix and Chill 🙂6 months…I’m still ghostly white, just better mood lighting in the newer pic! 

 

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Reality Bites

The past month has been a whirlwind of emotions and stress…turns out reality is more complicated than “Apriality”!

I am happy to be moving on, but I did learn a few things about myself whilst in the chaos:

  1. I need and want a routine in place for my life – I am accepting life on life’s terms, but the routine helps to keep me from derailing.
  2. Being home and totally comfortable is vital to my zen – I can deal with anything thrown my way as long as I can come home and regroup.
  3. There is no reason for me to feel stuck – everything changes in time, both the good and the bad, and I will move forward as long as I have patience, humor and faith.

I also did two things I was not planning on doing:

  1. I found a therapist to help me maintain my abstinence and develop new coping strategies, since food is no longer an option.
  2. After 457 days of logging everything I eat into the MyFitnessPal app, it was a wonderful tool for weight-loss and accountability, I have moved on to using the TwoGrand app.  My goal in life is to refrain from compulsive overeating, maintain my abstinence, and eat as “normally” as I can – calorie counting makes me feel obsessive, controlling, judgmental and compulsive about my food choices.  I have known how to count calories most of my life, that knowledge isn’t going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean I have to see them in black & white every day and drive myself fucking nuts!

my *&%#@!$ AC is broken!

melting

I have had no air-conditioning for 9 days, and I still have 3 days until an entire new AC is installed!

It’s July and I live in Florida, our average temperatures right now hover around 90 degrees with 100% humidity, so having no AC feels like being in HELL!

The first few days I was rather zen about the whole situation, but as time has crept by, my emotional state has become very fragile…I am crying about anything and everything that goes, even slightly, askew from what I was expecting.  I feel like the heat is frying my brain, and the constant state of being sweaty has zapped my energy!

Usually my favorite place in the world is home, but not right now!  I dread going home during the day, the things that I want to do have been put to the side – I only do what I absolutely have to do.  At night, I pack the bare essentials and sleep across the street at my niece’s house – as much as I miss my bed and my husband, if I wasn’t getting decent sleep I would have had a complete mental breakdown by now!  Btw…my husband is a damn trooper during this heat, he fortunately can sleep through anything!

I will not return to my usual source of comfort when stressed out; ice cream. cookies, brownies, candy, etc. I do not drink right now, because I don’t want the empty calories or the hangovers that last 3 days.  I cannot indulge in retail therapy, because my bank account won’t allow it.  So, I am left to accept life on life’s terms, and I am finding it to be very overwhelming!

I am looking forward to Tuesday…I am going to stay in my jammies, hang out with my hubby, keep all the blinds drawn, and set the new AC to 70 degrees!

I will resume my normal life on Wednesday, and hopefully be back to my happy chipper self 🙂

young people and recovery

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I have volunteered to be the Young Persons Committee Chair for my Overeaters Anonymous Intergroup. I am excited to have the opportunity to reach out to people 30 and under, and hopefully help them find recovery, something I wish would have happened to me.

If there were a “do-over” in life mine would be to find OA at 23, instead of 43. I wouldn’t want to undo my life experiences or unmeet the people I love and adore, but it would be interesting to see how different those 20 years would have been without compulsive overeating and food addiction…would my life be better or worse, or would it be like every life, a little of both?

I don’t really enjoy playing the “If only I had…” game – it is completely pointless!

If my service can be the catalyst for someone finding recovery than I will be grateful, and if that someone is a young person than I will be ecstatic…I would love to see a young person have a long lifetime of joy, strength and recovery!

Childhood obesity has staggering facts, so instead of offering another diet to these children and their families (which are more than likely overweight or obese as well) let’s offer them recovery and support. Making healthy food choices, eating sensible portions, and following a meal plan is less daunting when you have a support system and a working relationship with the higher power of your understanding.

Again I find doing service truly strengthens my own recovery…409 days of abstinence and counting!

It’s not what you’re eating…it’s what’s eating you!

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Almost everyone I know and love, either by blood or fate, has an issue with food.

Some of them eat too much.
Some of them eat too little.
Some of them restrict their meals during the day and binge at night.
Some of them binge one day and restrict the next.
Some of them have been counting every calorie for decades.
Some of them try every quick-fix diet, pill, and program.
Some of them try to exercise away every excess bite they consume.
Some of them proclaim “I’m fat and I don’t care!”

I am just like them, with two exceptions; I have accepted I am powerless over food and I will always be a compulsive overeater, and I have the willingness to NOT take the easy or quick way to a better life.

“I am powerless over food!” – is quite possibly the hardest and most liberating thing I have ever accepted about my life. My control, my decisions and my reasoning for everything I put in my mouth has always been total bullshit, and I fucked it up so much that I managed to pack on enough pounds to double my size. Although it still shocks me to say this, I now turn everything over to my higher power, and do the work of recovery.

“I am willing to do whatever it takes for however long it takes!” – I don’t struggle with the willingness, nearly as much as I struggle with the timeframe. I am impatient, as most addicts are, I want to be happy now, I want to feel good now and I want to be “normal” now, but I know the key is to find the happiness and gratitude in every day and the goal to be “normal” is never going to happen to me in this lifetime. I will always have to have a plan of eating and my addiction will always be there, in the dark, ready to pounce, just waiting for me to believe it is the solution to feelings I don’t want to feel.

I never thought I had extreme feelings or emotions, I was usually the calmest person in the room and always great in a crisis, but if by chance you did see me overreact or freak out, you knew the “shit had hit the fan” and you’d better get out of my way!”

Of course I had feelings and emotions, I had them all, but I ate them away! Stress, boredom, love, lust, hate, anger, envy, frustration, impatience, sadness and happiness were all stuffed into my mouth…the size of my ass proves it!

For me, I know the way isn’t with another diet plan, magic pill, or a major surgery. For me, it is the journey to recognize my feelings and emotions when they happen, and not turn to food for comfort, love or entertainment. If it takes me until I am 50 years old to reach my healthy body weight, than so be it, because when I get there I will know I did the work by trusting the path my higher power wants me to follow…Overeaters Anonymous is that path!

“I LOVE FOOD!” – I have said it a million times, I have heard it from others a million times, but the truth is this…FOOD IS AN OBJECT AND IT WILL NEVER LOVE YOU BACK!

Update!

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7.1 – 7.7.15

First week of my newly tweaked plan and I’ve given away 3 more pounds!

Daily plan:

3 meals – no snacks

Weigh & measure all foods

1800 calories max (no less than 1500)

80oz or more of water

Follow Paleo guidelines (NEW!)

Log all food in MyFitnessPal

Exercised 4 of the 7 days (NEW!)

Report food to sponsor (accountability)

Work my OA program

And none of this is possible without…Letting go and letting God 🙂

I got a divorce…from sugar!

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Our love story…

Childhood sweethearts

We met when I was very young, introduced by my parents. Our time spent together was usually during celebrations, family gatherings, as a treat for anything from losing a tooth to not feeling well, or as a reward for doing chores or getting good grades. Our young love was encouraged, but also managed, since neither of us possessed the resources to be together every day.

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Wedding

After years of being chaperoned, except for the occasional trysts during moments of unsupervised freedom, we were finally able to make the big commitment. There was plenty of alone time and plenty of money to make the honeymoon last and last…Hell yeah!

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Marriage

As we settled in to our lifetime commitment, we had many happy years and few disagreements. As time passed, we were there for each other for every triumph, defeat, and moment of boredom. We stayed true to our passions and even tried some new things; our love was dark, sweet, smooth and satisfying.

As the years passed, our attachment was undeniable to anyone who knew us, but it was slowly turning toxic. We were consumed by obsessive thoughts that we should never be apart from one another, spending time together as we shut out the rest of the world and sneaking around to inappropriately be with each other at work, in bathroom stalls, and parked in public lots.

Before our love would finally destruct, there would be years of frustration, emotional and physical pain, delusional thinking, and short separations that always ended thinking things would be different; we could control ourselves and be responsible this time!

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Divorce

I had been totally committed and desperately in-love for more than 40 years, but I was also broken and scarred from everything we had been through together; emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It was time to break the bond; I would need a support group of people who all loved in a very similar way, willingness to move away from the obsession, and a connection to a higher power of love and understanding…it worked and I was set free!

Some days are easy and some are very difficult, so I have taken it one day at a time, and now I have 13 months of being happily alone!

We still see each other quite often, in passing, I just nod and move along…it is a tiny world and it sometimes feels like everyone I see is able to enjoy the type of love that almost killed me.

I still think about the love and comfort, but then I remember the obsessive and compulsive life and the battle scars that I will wear forever.

I know if I ever want my love back, all I have to do is be like Eve and take the forbidden bite, but for today, I am not starving!

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cave woman in control

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In February 2013 a friend introduced me to the Paleo diet, she had success in not only dropping weight, but also in feeling much better. March 1, 2013 I committed myself to following the Paleo diet and I loved everything about it; real whole foods, delicious home cooking, high cacao percentage dark chocolate, and there were no set limits about how much to eat. For the next few months I was totally dedicated, I even learned how to make yummy Paleo ice cream! But, as with every other diet in my life, I would start to have more and more cheat days, and although I could have dark chocolate and Paleo ice cream, there was absolutely no portion control…within six months I was no longer eating like a cave woman, even though I still fully believed in eating a Paleo diet.

In June 2014 – I gave up sugar, and in October 2014 – I committed to 3 meals per day with no snacks…these two things were difficult, but also highly rewarding.

As of today, July 1, my meal plan is based on the Paleo diet sans the dark chocolate and the Paleo ice cream, as well as weighing and measuring everything I eat, eating three meals per day with no snacks, consuming no more than 1800 calories per day, drinking plenty of water, exercising (cardio and strength training) at least 4 days per week, actively working my OA program, and turning over my obsessive and impatient control issues to God.

My sponsor and I have agreed to re-evaluate this new meal plan in 3 months to make sure I am happy, satisfied, and appropriately nourished.

Today was the first day, and I rocked being a cave woman!  Only 89 days left until evaluation!

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love is love

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My family is white and southern, I grew up in the suburbs, and everyone I knew until I was 13 was pretty much like everyone else.

In 1984 I was plopped down in front of my grandma’s TV, on the night of the very first MTV Music Awards, when my life changed! There she stood on top of a wedding cake, it was Madonna, within 5 minutes I was a fan! Everything in my young and very girlie mind wanted to know everything about her, which I would learn as the obsessed “wanna-be” I was, but what I really wanted was her chutzpah!

Madonna would be the first person to start to crack my vanilla world open!

When I was 17 I started cosmetology school, and the crack Madonna started, split wide open! All of the sudden I was actively involved with people who were all the colors of the rainbow, and a lot of those people also waved the rainbow flag! I loved it and I loved them, I laughed the hardest I had ever laughed in my entire young life, and I quickly realized everybody is the same inside!

I can vividly remember sharing my school stories with my extended family around the holiday dinner table, they were fascinated and curious about the gay people, but the idea of someone loving someone of the same sex was still a foreign concept, no hatred involved – just clueless!

As a hairstylist, I have always known someone who is gay, a lot of someone’s at this point in my life, and what I know for sure is this…there is no difference in the way they do or feel anything, including the way they love!

I had a gay roommate for 7 years, we had the best time being “Will & Grace” before there was a “Will & Grace” on TV!

I have many gay and lesbian friends and two of my closest girlfriends, were once girlfriends…I cannot imagine my life without my wonderful friends, and the amazing thing about lesbians is they often stay friends after their relationship ends, thank God – I would have never wanted to choose which one to remain friends with, because they are both so awesome!

I have gay and lesbian family members…my extended family is clueless no more, fortunately my immediate family has always been cool!

After caring a list of Overeaters Anonymous meetings in my wallet for a year and never going, it was hearing the story of my niece’s client that prompted me to go to my first meeting…my guiding light and saving grace, the person’s story God wanted me to hear, is also a lesbian!

I completely support and respect the LGBT community, I hope we will see all forms of discrimination lifted, and I cheered and cried when I heard the law of the land had been constitutionally changed on Friday…LOVE IS LOVE!

why can’t I be an alcoholic or drug addict?

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Why can’t I be an alcoholic or a drug addict?!

It would be easier to give up alcohol and drugs!
People would be more understanding if I was an alcoholic or drug addict!
I could be out having a good time, alcohol and drugs are fun!
I would be so skinny!
I can LIVE without alcohol and drugs!

This is some of the crazy shit I have thought or said as a compulsive overeater!

How could I ever give up food?!

Food is a vital part of my social occasions, celebrations, heart-breaks, and all of the sweet and sad moments in-between!
Food eases my boredom and entertains me!
Food is fun to cook, and when shared with others, fills me with joy and love!
Food is there when no one else is around!
Food is always the best gift, a well-deserved reward, and the perfect ending to every day!

This is some of the crazy shit I have believed as a compulsive overeater!

I love food and I love eating, and having to remove some of the foods I enjoy has been the hardest thing I have ever done, it is also the most liberating. If I could have chosen my addiction, knowing what I know now, I would have gratefully chosen food addiction…I AM A GRATEFUL COMPULSIVE OVEREATER!

From what I have witnessed, alcohol and drug addictions are destructive, not only to the addict, but also to everyone that surrounds them; parents, children, friends, spouses, employers and complete strangers will at some point feel the destructive blow-back.

I am a food addict/compulsive overeater and I am also destructive, but the majority of my destruction happens directly to me. My family, friends, husband and employers have all been affected by my addiction; they have been concerned and worried about my weight, my health, my energy and stamina and my overall well-being, but my food addictions and compulsive overeating primarily harms me.

I have a family member who has recently completed rehab for his alcoholism, as a fellow addict in recovery, I am whole-heartedly rooting for his sobriety. The damage he has done to himself and those closest to him is daunting – he has ruined a 30 year professional career, he has serious legal issues, he has lost his home, he has strained his relationship with his family and children, and his wife is preparing to leave him, because if she doesn’t the stress is going to kill her!

OA has fundamentally changed my outlook on addiction. I no longer wish for what I thought would be an easier addiction, there is no such thing as easier, all we can hope for is the damage left around us be as minimal as possible. My empathy for addicts is truly sincere, no matter what their drug of choice may be…together we get better!

The loss of this bright and beautiful soul effected the world.  For me, I had been in OA for two months and I was really starting to understand addiction and addicts, when I learned of Robin Williams death I found myself heartbroken, for the first time in my life I could relate in a small way to the demons he had been battling.  Our brightest lights can be extinguished in the blink of an eye when addiction and depression take hold.

Godspeed Robin…I know you are making God laugh!

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