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, please contact Tish. 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 with her permission to share it as a part of the series.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Jane’s Story; Charting My Weight | Gaining Perspective
I have spent over 40 years in a love-hate relationship with my weight. As a result, I have many, many records of my weight at various times—weights were taken at the Doctor’s office, at various weight loss programs, and at home. An excellent record for purposes of analysis—after so many ups and downs over the years, I can look at my weight with some perspective.
I began my first weight loss efforts in Grade 9 (!) at the urging of a Physical Education Teacher. I weighed 118 pounds. She gave me the Mayo Clinic Diet of the day and my poor mother must have been frantic supplying me with hard-boiled eggs and grapefruit which is all I can remember eating.
The next weight loss effort was in Grade 11 with TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). My only memory from TOPS are fragmented bits of the motto: “I am an Intelligent person … every time I am tempted to overeat in private … my excess poundage is there for all the world to see … what a fool I’ve been.” In 1972, I left Grade 12 at 168 pounds.
Armed with these rather dubious wisdoms, I spent the next eight years in an upward pattern that would govern the rest of my young adult years. I joined Weight Watchers which did teach me something about eating behaviors, returned to TOPS a time or two, attended sessions with a dietician, and designed my own wellness systems many, many times.
Now, years later, I realise that my weight really started to climb when I had my own money, was preparing my own food, and was under work stresses I never encountered in school or university.
When I was married, I weighed 180 pounds.
I was fit and active. My work in those days meant hiking and climbing regularly to wilderness places throughout the province. I was fit and active, but I was fat. I could not shake the belief that I didn’t look as good as I should. And looking good was all-important.
That, I realise now, was beside the point. The challenge was to stay fit and active—to avoid high blood pressure and all its risks, stress on my knees and back, and diabetes. My goal should have been to live a long and able life.
When I was 30, I had a baby, the best thing I ever did for so many reasons! But I had a difficult pregnancy and spent most of it inactive and on my back and I gained weight. I topped the scales at 280 pounds and spent the next thirty years trying to get rid of the weight.
My Doctor tried to help me. My Mom tried harder than anyone, including me.
She copied out diets that might interest me. She sent me twenty dollars a month (I made a decent salary of my own) to buy healthy snack foods. She suggested things she thought might help me lose weight. I realise now, as a Mom, she wanted good health for me and, like me, had no magic wand to help her daughter be healthier. By the time I was forty, I had high blood pressure, and lots of medications to control it. By the time I was fifty, I had Type 2 Diabetes, and lots of meds to control it. And I had a trusty cane, the first hint of the osteoarthritis that now plagues me every day and keeps me from being fit and active.
When I retired from work in 2012 at 58, I lost a lot of the stress that ruled my life and I think I finally got a clue. I started a program of exercise, stationary cycling accompanied by seeing the world virtually (with Street View). Over the next years, I cycled through central France, southern Ireland, the Cornwall coast of England, and northern New Brunswick. This month I am ‘touring Scotland and the home of my ancestors. I got control of my diabetes with insulin and a wonderful medication called Forxiga which also results in some weight loss. And this past summer, I had a bout with salivary gland cancer.
During the process of surgery and radiation, I lost my sense of taste for a few weeks. At the end of that time, I find am no longer interested in food as a way of approaching life. I am more interested in building back the muscle mass I lost while lounging around the hospital between radiation treatments last summer.
I am now at 214 pounds, and still on the way down. The last time I weighed 214 was when I was 28 years old. I am not really aiming for any particular weight, but I’d really like to fit into my wedding dress again.
So, what is the ‘magic wand?’ Oh, how I wish I knew.
I know that human beings have one major fault: ‘the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ So that slice of blueberry pie will always look more delightful than the bottles and bottles of blue blood pressure pills you might never have to take (since I started taking them in 1994, I have taken 19,656 pills of Inderol to control my blood pressure). That bowl of ice cream will always taste better than days and days of blood glucose readings under 7.0. And that chocolate bar will always smell more delicious than leaving the cane or walker in the closet where it belongs.
You can have good things to eat but only once in a while and in smaller portions. And you can spend as much time as possible walking and swimming and cycling. Save yourself a huge amount of misery down the road.
If you’d like to follow my progress on getting fit and active, have a look at my blog.
Thank you Jane for your honesty and for sharing your story here. 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. It is interesting to see your chart, and I love the artwork you submitted. Keep celebrating every little success, and be proud that your decision is certainly the right one for you. I am very impressed with your success and determination. Keep going, my friend, you are an inspiration!
Distractions are all around us. No matter where you look, they are out there. Waiting for you. When I was talking to a friend earlier today about an unrelated topic, she pointed out the obvious. I need to focus, and to help me to do this, I need to be keeping my eyes on the prize.
In the business world, I am seen as a bit confusing, as I have been told I am too diversified. When we talked about this, I explained that I thought it was what I was supposed to be doing, because the moment I declared that my jewellery business, Tish MacWebber Always Blinging would now be officially a hobby for me, someone wanted to buy Book Bling. I took it as a sign, telling me that I was right all along. I thought it meant to keep pushing forward, full speed ahead in all areas.
My friend wisely pointed out I misinterpreted the sign. It wasn’t telling me to keep doing all of the things, but rather, testing my declaration.
Hang on there.
Maybe I was wrong.
In that moment, I realized she was right. The sign wasn’t a sign at all. It was a distraction.
How many times have you misinterpreted a sign?
I can assure you, it is very easy to do. One minute you are feeling great about the choices you have made for the food you have eaten so far that day and the next minute you are looking at the tub of ice cream in your freezer. You didn’t open the freezer to get ice cream, but now that it is staring you in the face, it is the only reason you should have opened the freezer.
Or is it?
What you really opened the freezer for was to get the bag of frozen broccoli out to thaw because you want to make a casserole, and one of the ingredients is broccoli.
But the ice cream is just there. Screaming at you. Insisting that it needs you to eat it right now, so that you can get the instant gratification it always gives you. You imagine yourself eating all of the ice cream, and how happy you will be.
Until you realize that you ate it all and feel awful because you were doing so well and the ice cream DISTRACTED you from your goal. Oh, it is sneaky and mean and it wants you to eat it all every time you open the freezer.
So do you lock the freezer and never open it again?
You could. It is not the practical choice, and truthfully it is not very realistic.
Should you declare to never ever buy ice cream again?
Maybe. But we all know the second you do, your favourite flavour is going to be on an incredible sale the very next time you walk into the grocery store.
What is the right answer?
When I open the freezer, I need to focus on the broccoli. The ice cream is only going to be a temporary distraction. Ice cream has its time and place, as a treat, not as an everyday splash into guilty pleasures. As much as I love a bowl of ice cream, I need to remember that I am on a new path where I am being kind to myself.
I need to love myself more than I love ice cream
That right there is a bold statement. The love I have for ice cream is right up there with lobster and pizza. It includes chocolate. To be perfectly honest, there aren’t many foods which I don’t love. The struggle is most certainly real, and when you put broccoli up against ice cream, the broccoli doesn’t stand a chance if I am not committed to my goals.
Broccoli has one thing going for it in this equation. Me. If I choose to get the broccoli and continue making the casserole, I will be preparing a meal which can be the reason I open the freezer for. Healthy food is how I show myself kindness. I need to focus on the short term goals to be able to claim the prize I am aiming for.
I know I will falter from time to time. Being human means I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes. I will be tested and distracted. The point is to not stay there. If you picked up the tub of ice cream because it was on sale, it is going to be there until you eat it. Unless you need to eat your feelings, which is never the positive choice to make but might happen if you get dumped or fired, it is not going to go bad before you eat it. It can stay right where it is because it will be there when you do decide that you want a bowl of ice cream as a treat.
Indulgences are a privilege of being an adult
You are your own boss of your life. So get the broccoli out of the freezer, close the door and act like it. Set your goals, keep your eyes on the prize and focus.
As I am writing, I am also recognizing that I have steadily lost a pound or two in the last few weeks. I weighed in at 313.6 pounds yesterday. I am getting closer to taking the new picture for this blog, the one where I show myself and the world I can and will reach my goals, one pound at a time.
If you have ever wondered why I picked the “Angry Tomato” pic for this series, there are a few reasons. One is that it made me laugh, out loud. I reacted to it, so I decided it would work. Another is because I am fighting my way to living a healthier lifestyle, and I wanted a kitchen themed picture for this series. I try to do the cooking and cleaning on the weekends, I find it had to work at during the work week. I have had some success this year in my spring cleaning challenge, but as of yet, I have not finished. I choose not to dwell on what I have not done and try to move forward because of what I have done.
I am planning my day out, dreading the return to work tomorrow. I am a firm believer that there should be less week and more weekend. I do not have the power or the budget to sustain a lifestyle that does not include a day job, so the reality is, I have to keep the day job, even if I would rather devote all of my time to being creative and writing.
Which brings me to my books. I have started them, yes. I have had an idea (finally) this morning about where to continue as I plan to write some more today. I don’t know if I will succeed in writing enough to complete the weekend challenge I joined, but I am going to see what I could do. That is how I entered. This doesn’t count, as it is not progressing on my book. I will add it to the word count as a side project, because it is writing, nonetheless. I do have deadlines with my blog, too, though and I have to do my best to keep up with it here for myself, and for my followers. Thank you to those who are taking the time to read my Blog, and welcome to any people who are new here. I write at least twice a week, and this is one of my regular categories. Me vs the weekend. 🙂
Yesterday I got up early, bought and delivered a birthday present to a friend. Her birthday had been the day before, and I wanted to make sure I got to see her. We had a good talk, but as she was working it wasn’t the same as a real visit. I am going to try and pop over again today, as I think it would be nice.
I then tackled some indoor gardening projects. I have read online that spiders and other bugs do not like mint plants. A few weeks ago, I had bought six different mint plants, and my husband replanted them into new pots for me. I have noticed that they were drying up. I am still trying to figure out a watering schedule for them. I watered them from the top yesterday when I was finished, and just before I started writing I watered them from the bottom. I will have to do some online research. While I was working yesterday I found a green “leaf eater” bug, which my husband buried in the dirt saying that it is a leaf eater, that should be the end of it. I have my doubts. I also found an inchworm in another one, and that was successfully relocated outside on a leaf from that plant. Late last night I got him to move a ladybug back outside for me. The ants and spiders are not found as frequently inside, so that is a bonus. I am hoping it works and more bugs stay outside.
Something else was a little confusing. There is a spearmint plant amongst the varieties I bought, and around the base of the pot on the shelf that I have it on are a lot of hard, black dots. It is either droppings from a critter or the plant went to seed because it was so dry. I am not sure, the black bits are no bigger than granulated sugar pieces. They may indeed be little seeds. I may gather them up and plant them, to see what comes up!
My husband worked a few extra hours yesterday. He has been doing that on one of his days off to help with our budget. I am not going to write about my work here, at least not this week, I had a frustrating week. I am going to leave it at that, and it is also the reason I did not do any over time at my work this week. Sometimes I do. This week it just wasn’t going to happen.
After he was done, we picked up a few groceries. He made us subs for lunch and he barbequed some wieners for supper. We then headed out to spend time with some friends. He had a guys gaming night, and I watched a movie with another friend and called it a ladies night. Sometimes it is important to plan activities apart. Other times, like today, we will spend more time together. It is OK to not spend every single minute with your significant other when you have free time. It is healthy to have different friends, hobbies and activities. There is still a common ground for the things you enjoy doing together, but a little break here and there is something we all need.
For prep cooking today I am making Bangin’ Ranch Drums. It is a Trim Healthy Mama recipe. I love it, and my husband is OK with it in the rotation, but like with all of the THM recipes, he doesn’t want it all the time. We also got buns for barbequed cheeseburgers and sloppy joes. I have some THM sloppy joe mix already made in my freezer. He likes Manwich. On this, I am OK with him making his own supper. If I am to be on plan when I eat it, I will have it with salad, not on a bun. I may make some green bean fries this week too, as I do enjoy them as a side with the chicken. I am still working on everything all at once but trying to be realistic at the same time.
Today I will be continuing the cat sitting job. I also did some plant care there yesterday, they have one houseplant and it needed TLC. I don’t know about the plant boxes on the deck, though. They look like they have had a rough summer, and I am not sure if they can be rescued. I may try, just to surprise my friends when they come home. I will see how the day goes. It is very dry, there is a no fire ban here province wide. If I do work on the outdoor plants, I will have to remember to water them. If they don’t read this, it will be a nice surprise. If they do, I make no promises. It may be beyond saving.
I am a member of the Fredericton Science Fiction Society. The FSFS gets together a little less frequently than it used to, but today we are going to meet up at a local ice cream shop. My husband is a member too, and the group usually has potluck events year round. With a ban on fires, we decided it would be better to go have ice cream instead of an outdoor BBQ at a local park today. Air conditioning may or may not have been a deciding factor in this plan.
We have to do some cleaning. While I was working on my indoor gardening yesterday, my husband was trimming the lawn. He didn’t mow it yet. It is still very dry so there may not be a rush for that. He is amused that I think we should water it with the garden hose. It is turning brown. I just want it to be healthy, and not be so dry it is at risk for burning. There was a thunderstorm last night, but we need more rain to remove the risk of fires, sooner rather than later.
All in all a busy weekend, but thankfully, it has been going at a slower pace this week. It is a holiday tomorrow, and I look forward to the holiday pay that I *may have* already spent yesterday. It is OK. I will forfeit it to the budget since I went ahead and bought some extras. It’s all about compromise and doing what you can to make life enjoyable with what you have to work with. Weekends are supposed to be fun and relaxing. I think I snuck a little of each in this weekend, so it is a win for me! What did you do this weekend?