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.