Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

 

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy; but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share the story of a friend.  It is written in her own words, and she submitted it earlier this week with her permission to share it as a part of the series.

Here is Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

My name is Megan, and this is my story.  Buckle in, and grab a coffee, it’s a long one.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my weight.  I started gaining weight in grade school.  There wasn’t a traumatic event, and I never went hungry that I can remember, so I am unsure of what triggered my need for food.  But I remember that it started early, and I learned to sneak and hide my extra food early as well.

I can remember coming home on half day Wednesdays at lunch time, and loving it because the babysitter that was at the house all day for my baby brother would serve me a huge plate of fries while I watched Inspector Gadget on the TV.  Most of my allowance was spent on junk food, but I didn’t gain a lot at first because I was really active.  I was running and playing with my friends in the schoolyard at lunchtime, I would ride my bike everywhere in the summer, and weekends were filled with either roller skating, ice skating, or skiing.

Junior High School came, and I started to gain a little more.  I remember being uncomfortable in my body, but I figured that as long as I wasn’t the biggest kid in school that I was still ok.  My parents took note of my continuous gain, and tried their hand at helping me.  Mom would make me go for walks around the neighbourhood with her, and we had workout VHS tapes that we would do.  Most of the time I did the tapes half heartedly, and during the walks I could be heard howling through the neighbourhood, crying because she was pushing me, literally, to go faster.  Bribes were given, for every 10 lbs I lost my parents would buy me $50 worth of new clothing, and back then that would get you a LOT.  Nothing worked though, and I continued to eat, and hide my junk food.  I remember my dad looking for an eraser or something in my desk one day and coming across my stash of empty junk food wrappers.  What a humiliating day that was for me.  But it still wasn’t enough to get me to change.

Fast forward to my adult years.  I was moving out into my first apartment with a friend as my roommate, and I was so excited!  Not for the normal things like being able to have friends over anytime I wanted and the normal run of the mill young adult dreams, but I was excited because for the first time in my life I could eat a piece of cake for supper if I wanted, and no one could tell me no.

My weight continued to creep up.  I think I was around 280 lbs at the age of 23 when I met my daughter’s father.   During my pregnancy I let myself have whatever I liked, and I skyrocketed to about 335 right before my daughter was born.  I stayed around 325 when I met my now husband, but as things go, the relationship got comfortable and I let my weight go up.  It didn’t matter because he thought I was beautiful no matter what.  I was in love, in a secure relationship, and food was used for everything.   Celebrating something?  Eat!  Stressed out?  Eat!  Having company over?  Eat!  Bored?   Eat!  It was my coping mechanism for everything, good and bad.

I got a wake up call one day though when I went to the doctor for my annual check up.  I was told that I was pre diabetic, and my weight was too high to register on his scale.  It scared me.  I was also at the point where I couldn’t walk the length of the mall without breaking into a sweat and being out of breath.  If I had to get from one end to the other, it was easier to get in my car and drive to the other entrance.  All of this scared me.  So I joined a gym.

I remember that first day at the gym, scared out of my mind about my health, scared out of my mind about having the people in the gym judge me, but resolved to make it work for me.  I had a trainer weigh me on the special gym scale… 388 lbs.  I cried in her office.  I did my first workout that day on the treadmill.   I went at a speed of 2.0 km per hour, no incline, and forced myself to stay on it for 20 minutes.  Afterward, I remember dry heaving in the parking lot because I had exerted myself so much.

I continued to go to the gym, and had a couple of friends who would join me on the treadmills.  Eventually it started to get a little easier, and I could go a little bit faster.  I started participating in classes and discovered that they were not only fun, but full of supportive members who became my friends and cheerleaders.  I kept getting stronger and loved the challenge that the classes gave me, and was doing two different, hour long classes back to back.

But it wasn’t enough.  I hadn’t beaten the diabetes diagnosis.  I was, however, keeping it under control strictly through diet and exercise.  The insane gym routines took over my life, everything else was planned around my gym time, and in 6 months I had managed to lose 50 lbs.  Getting back into the workforce proved to be my undoing.

I had to find myself a part time job to help out with rising expenses at home, so I found one working for a local grocery store.  I figured it would be simple enough for me to pick up, and something I would enjoy doing.  Turns out I do enjoy it, but it was much harder on the body than I had anticipated it being.  After hours of checking people out through the registers my shoulders ached, my back was on fire, my knee was tender, and my left ankle (which  had suffered multiple fractures  20 years ago) was screaming and swollen from bearing my weight.   Yes I had lost 50 lbs, but I was still 330lbs.  The ankle was the worst, throbbing and in so much pain that I would be limping horribly after work.  Because of the pain in the joint I was unable to attend gym activities after work, and the weight started to creep up yet again.  I had to make a decision, did I  want to work and help my family out, or did I want  to participate at the gym?  My ankle would only let me do one, so I chose work.  I tried different wraps, bands, and ankle supports, and even had my doctor send me for an x-ray because I was convinced something was terribly wrong.  Had I re fractured the bone?  I thought nothing but a break could be this excruciating or cause this much swelling and intense pain.  It turns out that arthritis can.  Because of my weight, and because of my previous injury my ankle was now full of arthritis, even more so than my doctor would have expected.

So began the daily dose of Tylenol Arthritis medication, backed with a couple of Advil, a nice tight wrap, and off to work I would go.  Some days it helped,  others it did nothing.   I can remember driving home after an 8 hour shift on my feet, and in that 7 minute drive my ankle had swollen so much and got so painful that I had to text my husband from the driveway to please come help me out of the car and into the house.  An 8 hour shift left me completely useless the day after, and my day off would be spent on the couch with my leg up, and a bottle of medication next to me.  Up and up my weight creeped, more and more the pain increased.  I felt trapped.  So I started doing my research on bariatric surgery.

I had thought about it before, 10 years ago when a friend of mine had had the Gastric Bypass surgery, but she had some awful complications with it;  and I dismissed surgery as not being for me at  the time.  I learned that surgery had come a long way in the last 10 years, and not only that, but that there were different types available.  I started researching on a process called the  Gastric Sleeve, and was able to chat online with someone who had had it done.  She patiently answered all of my questions, listened to all of my concerns, and told me every nitty gritty detail of her experience with the surgery.  It was because of her that I finally asked my doctor to put my name on “the list.”  I knew that the list was a long one, and that I would still have time to do all the research I wanted to do, and that if I decided down the road that surgery wasn’t for me I could always remove my name.  But I got the ball rolling.

In the meantime, things with my weight were out of control again.  I had ballooned up to 377 lbs, and was at the point that I was considering buying a cane to help me get around the house.   At age 36 I was considering canes, or possibly even a walker.  I was at my rock bottom.

13 months after my referral was sent in I got “the call” that the surgeon’s office was sending me an information package to be reviewed, with  a portion of it to be filled out and sent back.  This was it!  Things had started and after 13 months of research and speaking to more surgery patients I had decided to jump through whatever hoops I needed to and to go for it.  This was my last chance, and I needed to take control of my life back.  A whirlwind of dietician appointments, blood tests, surgeon appointments, and trial diets passed in the next 5 months, and then I found myself in the hospital wearing that awful gown that leaves your rear end exposed.  This was it.  Today was the day.  I was going to have my sleeve surgery to help me regain control of my life.  I was excited and nervous.  I padded down the hall behind the nurse to the operating room, and got on the table.  They were pleasant and helpful, adjusting my pillows, making sure I was comfortable… but when the IV wouldn’t take for the 5th time, and I felt my arms being strapped down I started to shake and cry.  My nerves were kicking in, and I knew that when I woke up my life would never be the same.

I stayed in hospital for 3 days, and off work for 4 weeks while I recovered.  It was interesting learning again how to eat, and even more interesting to watch the changes already happening in my body and weight.  I celebrated every little milestone and success, but not with food.  Things were changing and food just wasn’t the central focus of my life anymore.  Life now is so different in that when I am full, I am full, and content to put the fork down.   Before I’d have cleaned my plate no matter how I felt.  My relationship with food now is completely different.  Yes I still enjoy it, I will always enjoy it, but in smaller portions, and with better choices.  My new small tummy can only fit so much in at meal time that I have become very picky about what goes into it.  There is no room for the junk I used to eat before, so when choosing my food I try to get the most nutrition and protein that I can.  Constantly sipping my water all day long to battle dehydration has simply become a part of my life now, as has tracking every single morsel that enters my mouth so I can see how much protein, fat, and carbs I’ve had.  It sounds very daunting and like a lot of work, but in the last 9 months of doing it daily, it has just become a part of my daily life now, like brushing my teeth.

9 months.  That is how far out I am from surgery now, and in that 9 months I have gone from 377 lbs to 269 lbs.  That is a loss of 108 lbs.  My clothes have changed drastically as well.  When I first started my sleeve journey I was wearing a TIGHT size 28 jeans, and a 3-4X top.  Now, being 108 lbs lighter I am wearing a comfortable size 18 jeans, and for shirts I can now wear a size L or XL from most regular stores!  Not plus sized stores, regular stores!  But the biggest change has been in my mobility.  I still wear my ankle wrap to work at the store in the winter when the arthritis acts up in the cold temperatures, but now, after an 8 hour shift I can come home, get out of the car, and come help make dinner.  And the next day, I can walk freely and do whatever errands need to be done.  I can walk easily from one end of the mall to the other, and I am incorporating the gym back into my life, alongside my work, not having to choose between them anymore.

For me, surgery was the right choice, and one that saved not only my mobility, but my life.  My quality of life has improved drastically in such a short time.  In discussions with other patients I hear most of the time that their only regret with surgery is not having done it earlier in life.  I can understand that feeling, but I am glad that I did it when I did.  If I had had my surgery earlier in life I don’t believe I would have been as prepared, or as successful as I have been.  I still have a ways to go, and at least 70 more lbs to lose.  But for the first time in my life I feel in control, and rather than anticipating what I can put in my mouth next like I used to, now I am anticipating that cute little summer dress that I am going to buy, and look and feel amazing in this year!

Thank you Megan for your honesty and for sharing your story here.  You are one of the people I thought of when I was starting this series.  I know it can be hard to put it all out there, but it is time that people like us speak out to try to help others.  Keep celebrating every little success, and be proud that your decision is certainly the right one for you.  I have always admired your spunk.  I may not be an obvious cheerleader, but I am very impressed with your success and determination.  Keep going, my friend, you are an inspiration!

Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 3

 

 

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 3.

I love food.  I love to eat.  Sometimes I eat too much.  Other times I eat the wrong things.  I don’t allow myself to participate in guilt about eating.  I have cravings.  I give in to them.  I find if I don’t; I go way overboard when I finally cave.  I can settle for one of each flavour in a bag of candy.  It’s better than having the whole bag.

I don’t always make poor food choices.  I don’t always eat until I feel sick from overeating.  I don’t always have more than one helping.

I do associate food with feelings.  I think chocolate tastes like happiness.  Most sweets do to me.  Dessert used to make my day.  I have started to tackle that problem.  I am addicted to sugar, and it is bad for me.  Sugar is a diabetic’s kryptonite, only you want it, unlike Superman, he fights to stay away from it.  Even Superman needs help with his kryptonite sometimes.  It’s not an addiction for Superman, but like me and sugar, it is better to keep far away from it, at all costs.

When I was growing up, there could never be enough Kool-Aid in my water.  If it was so thick I had to chew it, that was how I wanted it.  Currently, I have actually started reacting to things being too sweet.  It was nothing I had experienced before, until recently, in the last two or three years.  Age has to be a factor in this.  Certainly, my change in eating habits has also contributed to this foreign concept.  Not allowing as much sugar in my diet has increased my sensitivity, I think.  Similar to the non-smokers reacting to the smell of cigarettes.  A scent-free environment really highlights any scent that enters into it, and this might be what is starting to happen to me, with sugar.

I am not on the aspartame train.  I have found that I feel better when I cut it out of my life.  I am trying other sweeteners, I am using stevia, and erythritol which is also known as Swerve.  It comes in granular and powdered forms, and I have started to figure out how to use it in food and drinks.  Swerve does leave a cool feeling on the tongue but doesn’t have a nasty aftertaste.  I used to drink a lot of pop.  Now I can go days without it, and try to only have it as a treat.  I didn’t like Zevia, a pop made with stevia, the first, second, or even the third time I tried it.  But I kept trying it, and now I enjoy it.  It has to be really cold, and then it is good.  I haven’t gotten to the stage where I choose water over other beverages yet.  I am working on that, too.

The Trim Healthy Mama (THM) plan I follow most of the time has me trying new things a lot.  I like every recipe I have tried, and that is a big bonus.  I fall short on a night like tonight, when I worked all day, and then came home to what the snowplow left in my driveway.  The heavier snow that clumps all together at the end of your driveway, where it meets the road?  Yeah, a foot of snow blocking me from parking in my driveway.  My husband has hurt himself shovelling earlier in the week.  80 cm of snow (that is 2.62 feet) in one storm was a little too much for us to tackle.  The storms of this week are being called Snowmageddon.  We went at it together, taking turns with the one shovel, working our way from the step to the shed where the other shovels were. I got the dustpan out to putter with between turns.  He pushed himself, and now he is starting to recover, as this was a few days ago.  We got a guy with a tractor/snowblower rig to widen the driveway so I could dig the car out and move it.  I was not going to be done before spring; otherwise. It stormed again last night, and I was up and at em this morning, and got myself shovelled out and drove myself to work.  Then I came home.  Ugh.  I mean, yay,  exercise.  I spent an hour and fifteen minutes pushing and pulling the snow out of my driveway.  Ten minutes for swearing, and another ten talking myself out of crying in a heap.

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My back is not a happy camper, either.  But I pushed through…the snow, the anger and the agony of it all…and came in for supper and a beer.  I am going to have another drink too.  I worked hard moving around a lot of freaking snow this week.  My back is not amused, but I have not hurt it.  I went to Zumba last night, and upped my activity levels for the week big time, up and over the top of all those snow mountains in my yard.  So when I was being asked if I wanted him to make homemade pizza for supper,  I told him to make it.  Is it on the plan? No.  Did I stay on plan by eating everything but the crust?  Not a chance.  Sometimes you have to make the easier choice because it makes more sense.  I was on plan for the rest of the day, so this was not going to ruin everything.

One thing I learned with THM is that you don’t have to wait until Monday to start over.  You don’t even have to wait until tomorrow.  In 3 hours, you can be back on plan, working on your goals again.  I like that.  It works for me.  When I see that I am not making progress, I know what I did that was not on plan, but I don’t beat myself up over it.  I just start again, and every time I do this, I work a little bit harder to stay on plan.  Eventually, I will be able to say no to more things that are off plan, and yes to more things that are on plan.  Little by little, I am making progress.  Someday all of those little things are going to really add up.  So I keep working on me, and I let myself be human and take the easy meal sometimes.  The important thing is for me to not take it every time.

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I am 5’2 3/4″ tall.  That snow bank is indeed taller than I am.  Let’s hope there is no more snow on the way anytime soon!

Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2

 

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2.

It seems fitting that in part 2, I write about Type 2.  I touched on it a little in the first part of my story, and now it is time to elaborate.  I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic in 1999.  At first, I was to eliminate sugar from my diet and try to follow the Canada Food Guide. Sugar is hidden in practically everything we eat and drink.  Especially in processed foods. Without medication, and struggling to understand the diagnosis, I failed to regain control of my blood sugars.  At first, I was constantly testing my blood sugars as high.  Not the highest they have been, but consistently high.

After failing round one, using diet and exercise for treatment, metformin was added to manage my blood sugars. It came with a cocktail of other medications.  As a diabetic, when you are diagnosed, some medical professionals consider preventative medications a  necessary part of the treatment.  They add in medicine that you would not be taking if you were not a diabetic, but because you are, they keep stricter than normal levels on things like blood pressure and cholesterol.  Soon I was taking 3 prescription medications, and not sure if I really needed 2 of them.

I have acid reflux.  Sometimes I forget about it because the medication I take for it keeps it under really good control.  There were a few different types I tried, and I am still taking one medication for this.  It works and keeps the heartburn and stomach acid at bay.  I don’t generally eat really spicy foods, but who knew bananas could cause heartburn?  So, this, like my thyroid medication is an acceptable one.  I did not agree with having to take the blood pressure and cholesterol medications, but these other medications were acceptable.

Now, with my weight being what it is, I am still on a blood pressure medication.  It has been higher than it used to be, and I am working on things with my plan.  I am not currently on a cholesterol medication.  I hope that I can control both my blood pressure and cholesterol, without medicine;  when I accomplish my goals of losing weight.  This will impact all areas of my health.  If I can be healthy enough to not have to take anything but the thyroid pill, that would be worth all the work.

Now that I am working on a plan for my health, I am eating less carbohydrates, and it is having a big effect on my blood sugars.  I am on a low carb;  not a no carb plan.  I am becoming very sensitive to both sugar, and my insulin.  I am having what feels like extreme highs, and more lows.  I am new to treating the lows and am learning not to panic and overtreat them.  So when I have a low, I have to reevaluate the amount of insulin I am taking.  It is on what is called a sliding scale.  I am not always sure I am taking the right amounts, but when my body responds positively to the food and insulin, I do feel better.

I used to feel very tired when my sugars were high.  I still do,  to a lesser extent.  Even when they are higher, it is not as easy as it used to be to figure it out.  I am not as sluggish when I take insulin.  I do have insulin resistance.  My body still makes it, but it is not being used properly, or there is not enough being produced by my pancreas.  That is why I am taking insulin.  My body needs the help.  There is a chance that I won’t need it someday if I keep working towards a healthier lifestyle.  That is something to strive for, and the fact that I have to lower my insulin doses tells me that it is a strong possibility.

I also have what is called Dawn Phenomenon.  Some diabetics have an increase in blood sugars overnight.  It is generally thought that it is the body’s way of preparing for the new day, and the extra sugar in the blood is to help you wake up.  In diabetics, it can put your sugars up before you even have anything to eat at the start of your day.  It is harder to be alert and to focus when your blood sugars are high.  I am now in the habit of testing my sugars more frequently, and this is helpful.  My doctor advised adjusting the long-acting insulin at nighttime as this may help to manage the higher sugars in the mornings.  I have a feeling that I am going to have to become a lot more serious about it and start a food, blood sugar and insulin diary to really get a handle on it.

When my sugars are low, it is still obvious to me.  I get shaky.  I get really confused, it is hard to think, it is like I am in panic mode.  I freak out a little. I sweat profusely out of my scalp, of all places, when I am awake.  At night I notice my legs are where I sweat when I am having a low.  Luckily, I wake up when it is happening.  Also, the frequent trips to the washroom usually have me up through the night.  So if I am up, and I feel off, I test to be sure about where my sugars are.  I have started keeping juice boxes with me at all times, and hard candy.  I am learning how to live with type 2 diabetes.  It is not an easy thing to figure out.  Not enough insulin allows my sugars to go high.  Too much can cause a low, and if my sugars get too low, that can be fatal.  I usually take a  lower dose of insulin if I am not sure how I am going to react to how much insulin I am taking.  I am cautious about taking large doses, but sometimes they are necessary.  Type 2 Diabetes is not an easy disease to live with it, but management is the key, and I am on the right track.

I am obsessed with food and addicted to sugar.  I am working on both of these issues and changing my habits along the way.  I was thinking about how to go about starting this series when I chose the name.  Yes, there are other meanings of the phrase Trust Your Gut, but to me, my world revolves around my emotions, food and my health.  They all tie together in my life, so when it comes to my health, I have to trust my gut.  Am I hungry or bored?  Will that affect my sugars if I eat it?  How much insulin do I need to take if I want to eat that?  All of these things factor into my decisions, and a lot of the time, I am guessing.  So, I go with my gut feelings a lot in my day.  Sometimes I listen, and sometimes I don’t.  I am the only one in control of what I eat, and how much of it I eat.  Sometimes I have the willpower to avoid bad choices.  Other times I give in and have what I want.  I used to feel like I shouldn’t eat at all if my sugars were high before I started taking insulin.  Now I can juggle the dose to accommodate for both good and poor choices in terms of food.  I hate having to think about the consequences of everything I eat, but it is a fact of my life, and I decide how I want to live it.  Working towards living a healthier lifestyle is something I am glad I decided to do.  I am still here, and my gut tells me to keep on this plan and it will work, so I am giving it my best shot.  Pun intended.
#TrustYourGut

 

Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story

 

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people that have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them, as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is the first of many Trust Your Gut stories, I am starting with my own, Tish’s Story.

I have always struggled with my weight.  My issues began as a child.  I have always been overweight.  Growing up, dessert was used as a reward for eating all my supper.  I used to gobble all of my supper as fast as I could and be the first one done so I could have my dessert.  When I was in grade eleven,  my mom and I went through weight watchers together.  I was at goal weight when I graduated from high school and went to university.  Then I was in charge of what happened.  I got sick, in my first year.  I fought mononucleosis and tonsillitis at the same time.  While I was sick, my throat was very sore.  When I was able to be at class, I dozed while taking notes.  Doctors wanted me to eat, they were concerned that my sore throat would prevent me from eating and that the illnesses could cause an unhealthy weight loss.  I was told to eat whatever I wanted, as long as I was eating.

I took that literally and ate whatever I wanted during my university years.  When I finally graduated, it was six years later.  Cafeteria food didn’t always win with the healthier choices.  It was hard to choose salad over french fries.  When I moved off campus and into my own apartment, I had more control over what I was eating, and a budget to deal with.  Eating healthy is not easy to do when you are on a budget.  I still struggle with that now, but it is easier with a larger budget for groceries.  At that time, it was easier to have fast food and the less healthy options for groceries, because they would be more affordable.

As my weight ballooned more and more out of control, I developed other health issues.  I became a Type 2 Diabetic.  I was also diagnosed with thyroid disease.  I take one pill a day for this, and I will have to forever.  I am OK with that.  Then I tested positive for sleep apnea.  I have not started any medical treatment for this condition. These health issues are a normal combination for someone who is considered on the BMI scale to be morbidly obese.

The first time I heard that term, it had shock value.  I didn’t know how to react.  A term like that is really hard to apply to yourself.  Being so overweight that you could die from it.  It’s a lot to absorb when you don’t feel like it applies to you.  I know I am overweight, don’t get me wrong.  But there is some denial there too.  Until the scale hits a certain number.

For me, and this is hard for me to put out there, I weighed more than 300 lbs.  There, I wrote it.  It is just a number, but it is a really significant one.  I remember sharing a different, lower weight with a friend in university, who replied, “No, you can’t weigh that much.  You don’t look like you weigh that at all.  You carry it well.”  This added to my denial of my weight problems.  I didn’t look like I weighed that much, so it was OK to keep going like I was.

Only it didn’t stop there.  I was close to 320 lbs at my highest weight.  At that point in my life, I made a decision, after finding an ad on facebook for Trim Healthy Mama (THM).  What I was doing wasn’t working, so it was time for me to make some changes.  That was my aha moment, as it is commonly called.  What I was doing was not working so I had to make a change. 

I have implemented several changes in my journey to becoming a healthier person.  I am following the  Trim Healthy Mama plan.  If you want to learn more, this is a link for your own research: https://trimhealthymama.com/

I am not on plan 100% of the time, but I have adapted it in my life over the last year.  I have successfully lost 15-20 pounds since I started making small changes.  I am bouncing between the two, and on the verge of two-ville (299.99 lbs).  That is retaking my first small victory, to be under 300 lbs.  The next goal is 290.  Going by 10 lbs at a time is reasonable goal setting at this stage.  Too large of a goal will cause self-defeat because it is too long between accomplishments.  When I no longer have 20 lbs to lose, I will decrease the goals accordingly.  I have a lot of work ahead of me, and a long way to go.

Another change I have made was to become more active.  For a few years, I have been going to Zumba Classes twice a week.  I did extra walking also, my Zumba teacher has dogs, and there was a steady time that I was going to visit and help her walk the dogs.  She and her rescue dogs were rescuing me from being a couch potato.  🙂  In the spring I hope to adopt a rescue dog of my own, so I can start having a reason to walk every day.

I started noticing a trend from people I know, or people that are my friends through social media;  and even on tv, the new show This is Us.  Weight loss surgery is something that people are doing.  This is why I decided to start this blog series.  Weight loss surgery is not for me, and I have my reasons at this point for saying so.  I can still move, therefore if I put in the work, I can make changes to lose the weight.  I am not fooling myself.  I see what happens when I do work really hard, and I have had success with THM.  When I work hard I see results.  It is up to me.  So with that mindset, I am doing it.  For me and my health.

Being a type 2 diabetic is something I would not wish on anyone.  While I am on THM, I have noticed some trends in my blood sugars, the most significant one being I have sugar lows.  This is a new and scary side to being a diabetic.  It also means that there is hope that my body can start effectively producing and using its own insulin.  I have been on insulin for about ten years now.  I take 2 types, one short acting, and one long acting.  I went from 2 needles a day to 5.  This is what a person fears the most when they hear the words from a doctor, confirming that they are a diabetic.  That you have to take insulin. You have to take needles.  It is hard to adapt to this at first.  What do you tell people, when you are taking insulin?  Stabbing sounds violent.  It is what I said at first.  Then I decided it wasn’t the correct term, it was more like jabbing.  Then it clicked.  One morning I was trudging into the bathroom to take my insulin, and I blurted out to my roommate, ” I have to go Jabba the gut.”  It stuck, and he thought it was hilarious.  I have a fantastic sense of humour, and I do love a good pun.  It takes an unpleasant necessary action and makes it funny.

A good sense of humour is something I can be proud of.  It is a part of me that keeps me going.  Laughter is something I do enjoy sharing.  I take great pride in delivering a successful pun or joke.  Sometimes people don’t know that my joke was actually thought about before I tell it. 😉  Some people think I tell too many stories, and don’t want to wait for the punch line.  My sense of humour is a huge part of my coping mechanism, and I rely on it heavily, pun intended.  It is a great deflector, to take the focus off me and my health, and to laugh about something else instead.

It is no laughing matter.  Wearing size 24/26 clothing, and having to take 5 needles a day is no fun.  I have started my weight loss journey, and I am going to keep going.  I owe it to myself.  No matter what your weight issues are, they are yours.  You have to decide that your health is worth the effort.  You are worth it.  Whether your issue is being overweight, like myself, or if you are on the other end of the scale, and underweight, you are worth more than what the number is on the scale.

I wanted to start this series to try and help people like me.  I have chosen my path, and I intend to keep on it.  It won’t be straight and narrow, I am a curvy woman who likes to choose the path less travelled; when I am not forging a new path on my own.  I am hoping that by sharing my story, and other people’s stories, that this series will make people with weight issues start thinking and talking about it.  It is an issue for a lot of people, and by sharing our stories and information, we can help someone out there that needs to make some changes but doesn’t know where to start, or what options are out there.  I intend to write more Trust Your Gut stories, with help from other people, so that someone out there can have their aha moment, and start making changes towards their own healthier lifestyle.