Life Change Chapter 1

Okay so I did say that I was going to chronicle my weight loss journey on here and, to an extent, what I’m doing, what I’m going through, and how I define progress. This is me talking about my journey so far and I’ll keep making posts titled Lifestyle Change.

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Before I start this I really want to emphasize that what I’m writing about is what’s working for me. I’m very passionate about body acceptance. My goal is to be healthy. I refuse to do a diet because what happens when you quit? You gain it back. And frankly, I’m tired of being a mildly efficient yoyo. I’m figuring out what makes me happy, feel physically good, and keeps me from the diabetes and heart disease that runs in my family.

However if someone is comfortable with their body? Then do you boo. It is no one’s business what you look like

To all you people who like to leave comments on peoples Instagrams and/or social media that they need to get healthy, they’re promoting a bad lifestyle, and you’re concerned about their weight? Whether you know this person or not, it is not your business why they look the way they do. Maybe they have medical issues or physical issues preventing them from being healthy or maybe they are healthy and their body just doesn’t look like yours OR maybe they are happy with how they look and you have no right to comment on it unless asked. Unsolicited opinions to the right please, no one needs that bullshit. If someone owning their beautiful body (because everyone is beautiful) makes you uncomfortable? Maybe you should ask yourself why and then work on that.

Okay so I’ve started and failed my ‘lifestyle change’ several times over the last five years. I would do okay, lose some weight, and then relapse because of several different reasons:

  1. I am living with mental illness and a LOT of the pills that you’re put on? They have the side effect of excessive or mild weight gain. Sometimes you have to put your mental health before your physical health, because when I was in these situations I had become actively or passively suicidal.
  2. I would lose weight and realize my skin wasn’t going to stretch back and the thought of the surgery I would have to get to cut off excess skin is expensive and a lot of insurances won’t cover it. It’s demoralizing to watch everything sag when you’re confronted with images everywhere you look of tight skin and certain unattainable bodies.
  3. The skin flaps would get rashes in the summer if I got too hot. So it was easier just to fill out and be rotund than deal with constant antibiotics and pain. Keep in mind that I was showering three to four times a day at this point and being hygenic. It just happened because of how much skin wasn’t stretching back.
  4. I went through major depressive episodes and kind of just gave up.
  5. I do have medical conditions that make it very hard for me to lose weight. So I would be eating a lot less than my friends were, but I weighed two to three times what they did and it was pretty demoralizing as well.

That being said when I was eighteen I was two hundred fifty pounds. I was consistently gaining weight, but I would justify it by saying I’ll never get to three hundred pounds. If I got close I’d go into an intense diet and then quit cause I wanted to do what I wanted to and I wasn’t comfortable trying new things so I just wanted bread and carbs. And when I hit three hundred pounds by twenty two I kept telling myself that I would never get to three hundred fifty pounds. I had time to lose this. I wasn’t in danger. Three hundred and fifty three pounds was when I hit my limit. It was the most I’ve ever weighed.

I have two conditions and an injury that kind of screw me over in weight loss and my ability to exercise. Health wise I have PCOS combined with another condition where my body doesn’t know how to convert carbs and sugar into energy. It tends to just turn everything into fat, so my pancreas is always working overtime. The condition also makes me crave carbs like pasta, potatos, and bread.

Body wise I had a bad car accident which led to me getting back surgery when I was 20. I now have three spacers, six screws, and a rod in my back. I’m in pain management, but I’m essentially in constant pain and doing any strenuous activity exacerbates it. Personally I enjoy being active. I love walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, and dancing. I can’t jog until I lose more weight (I do not need to deal with shin splits on top of everything I already deal with) and I don’t dance in front of people. Everything I do in terms of exercise has to be low impact on my back. If it’s not I can end up in the ER trying to get relief because the pain has become too intense for me to handle with just my pain meds. Breakthrough pain sucks.

I have a weird body build, I lament it a lot. I don’t really carry weight below my waist. I carry it in my stomach and back. For some reason that has made me look smaller than I am. However, *I* knew how much I weighed. I was ashamed. I didn’t have curves or any kind of butt (lack of butts runs in my family) or hips or big boobs. I just looked at myself and thought I was disgusting.

About a year and a half ago I started to really look at myself. I was in a situation where I was trying to reclaim my body and make it mine and my doctor was telling me that my blood sugar levels were going from borderline and about to tip into me being diagnosed with diabetes.

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Me in May 2015 at my heaviest

My world stopped because one of my greatest fears is becoming diabetic. Then I had a doctor give me very bad advice with led to me starving myself for about three months. I got snapped out of it by my friends and family, though I’m not entirely sure any of them knew the extent I’d let things get to.

After that I was told not to count calories, only weigh myself at doctors appointment, pay attention to my hunger cues, eat 70/30 (70% clean/healthy and 30% unhealthy), don’t deny myself, do not diet, and have a cheat day. I was told to exercise when I could, but to not exacerbate my preexisting conditions, and because I was exercising and developing muscle to focus more on how my clothes fit.

So I started by cutting out sodas and sugary drinks (however if I’m sick or need serious electrolytes I have Gatorade). All I drink is flavored water, water, and tea. I don’t drink anything carbonated and, while seeing a diet coke makes me salivate a bit, I feel so much better from that alone. I stopped eating a lot of bread and switched pasta for veggie pasta and I’m actually a lot happier. For snacks I munch on string cheese or nuts or protein bars. I eat a LOT of protein. I became a lot more adventurous and tried a lot of different foods. This led to to me finding ways to eat veggies that I’ve always hated in healthy and yummy ways. I have so much more energy. Even when I have cheat days I avoid certain things just because they’ll make me feel lethargic and slightly sick. Bonus: My immune system has definitely improved a bit due to this.

I walk at least twice a week. I do a minimum of 1 mile and a maximum of 5 miles (per walk, for example I did two miles this morning). I like to have random dance parties with my nephew. He has some pretty awful dance moves that my sister can completely blame on me.

When you lose weight slowly through a lifestyle change…you don’t really notice how much you’ve lost or what you’re doing exercise wise because you’ve transitioned to it slowly, so you’ve slowly become accustomed to what your body is starting to look like and what you’re able to tolerate. Maybe this is just a ‘me’ thing though.

My two biggest ‘whoa! this is working’ moments happened at two different times. The first was this past March when my family went to Universal Studios for my mom’s birthday. I was the only one in my family who didn’t need to sit down, a huge contrast from when I’d been there with a friend the previous year and was in constant pain and needed frequent breaks. Out of curiosity I ended up checking to see how many steps I was taking a day on the last day we were there. What I saw made me cry (good tears I swear). We were averaging SEVEN miles a day and I wasn’t even winded. The reason that was so emotional for me was because for most of my life I’ve asked people to slow down for me or give me a break to catch my breath (a source of annoyance for a lot of my friends), now I was either keeping pace WITHOUT BREAKING A SWEAT AND *I* was being asked to slow down. Like when did this happen? And I realized that I’d been walking several miles a week several times a week for the past eight months.

The second one was weird. My pants started falling off of me. I just thought I’d stretched them out. My shirts were too big. Stuff that had fit me six months ago was falling off me now. I’ve never went down in terms of clothes sizes. I’ve always just slowly progressed further and further until I was essentially a 24/26 and 4x or 5x in women’s sizes. When it came to dresses that zipped I was a 26/28. My best friend and his boyfriend had made a comment about how much smaller I’d gotten since a concert (the picture at the beginning of this post, the one where I’m wearing the floral shirt? That was the concert they were referring to, that my best friend and I went to in 2015). I went to a store and tried on clothes. I realized that I’d gone down two pants sizes, almost three shirt sizes, and two dress sizes. I’ve had to rebuild a lot of my wardrobe. It feels amazing.

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Me on October 7, 2016, forgive my messy bathroom.

At a recent doctor’s appointment I had to be weighed, something I used to dread because it was proof of my failure. However, the number was 298. I haven’t been below 300lbs in over FOUR years and, on top of that? I found out eight months ago that I’m no longer at risk for diabetes and that my blood pressure is low normal.

I’m still working on it. I do keep a food and activity journal (but no calorie counting) and I definitely have some times where I slip up. But all in all I feel better. I’ve made it fourteen months. Let’s see what happens in January after the feasts involved with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

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That’s all for today. All posts talking about my progress in terms of body acceptance and my lifestyle change will be under a parent tag of ‘Lifestyle Change Chronicles’ (yes I know it’s lame af, but it’s almost ten am here and I need to go register to vote as well as finish my laundry and finish learning a song on the piano.

❤ Bye Lovelies
Lady Lynx

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