What I’ve Learned So Far

I’m not sure if I’ve had writer’s block or what, but I just haven’t had anything swirling around in my brain to jot down on paper. So today’s blog is going to be about what I’m learning about myself, since moving to Texas.

You see, when we lived in Missouri, I was making myself NUTS with trying to reach 100lbs lost by my 1 year surgery date. So much so that I literally ate the exact same, bland thing EVERY day for months thinking this coupled with staying under 1300 calories a day would do it,

Oh yeah and a massive amount of exercise. I was so anal about it that I would work out twice a day a few times a week and stick really closely to 1100-1200 calories a day. My exercise routine was so intense that I stopped having periods for months at a time.

I was tired.

I was exhausted.

I was bored

. Yep I hit 215 in a couple of months after adopting this approach. BUT I knew that I couldn’t maintain such a lifestyle for the rest of my life. Because who wants to eat tilapia everyday forever? NOT ME!!!
215 was 100 pounds from my highest starting weight of 315, but it was nowhere close to where I wanted to be. I wanted to end up at 157 because in my mind that would mean I was successful, 157 is half of 315  and I don’t know why but in my mind that equaled success. Then as I got to 215 on a severely restrictive diet,

My super perfectionist mentality was “well how the heck am I going to get under 200? Because I seriously can’t continue to eat like this” I started doing all kinds of research and decided once we moved to Houston, I would start working with a nutritionist who was a mutual friend of many of the fitness people I followed on Facebook but in the meantime what the heck was I going to do?

So I started this crazy lifestyle approach called Intermittent Fasting. I did that for about a two months. The approach I chose was Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting, which basically meant I would alternate between eating 600 calories and the next day eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted until my “cut off” time (whatever that was) It was NUTS, but I was losing weight and even hit my lowest weight of 207. However, I was making myself nuts because I was restricting myself on my “up” days and with the surgery I had could never really get enough food in to feel satisfied. I knew that long-term I couldn’t maintain this lifestyle either, so I was even more excited to work with a nutritionist once we got to Houston.

When we finally moved to Texas with all the crazy ups and downs of life, trying to get settled, finding a gym etc. I went from 207, 230, most, if not all of that, was from not eating well and not exercising. So when I started with Kim (nutritionist) in the beginning of June I was somewhere around 226-230.

I can’t even begin to tell you the relief I felt sitting in Kim’s office, telling her my goals, wanting to get to 157-180, oh yeah, in the process of this crazy journey, sometime from Feb. 2015-June 2015, I became ok with hitting 180. So Kim put me on her plan, told me to STOP counting calories, STOP weighing. (At this point I was weighing daily) STOP exercising for an hour and a half and adopt her plan. For the first time in over a year I felt like I could breathe. It was EXACTLY what I needed in that time. Kim took body fat measurements and weighed me at our meetings. In the first couple of weeks I dropped BF% and was well on my way to losing. Even though I weighed in her office, I faced away from the scale. The scale, up until this point, had been such a villain in my life.

As a side note, I think one of the biggest injustices of the bariatric world is this intense pressure to lose the most weight you can within a year to a year and a half. There is NO talk of healthy lifestyle choices in that thinking, or the idea that counseling may be necessary to deal with our demons. Or at least that was my experience. This unrealistic pressure to eat ¼ cup of food a day, starve yourself skinny. This just didn’t work for me because my surgery didn’t remove the hungry hormone, so I was hungry, and especially since I exercised the way I did. I was hungry a lot. But since I didn’t choose this approach Starve yourself skinny, I constantly felt like I was failing, that I would never reach my goals.

I wanted to break out of everything that was the old way I was living with in Missouri. So I committed to NOT weighing until September. Now keep in mind I was weighing incessantly. So this, in and of itself, was MAJOR switch, but I was ready. I was ready to not be so obsessed about the number on the scale, learn how to eat for life and exercise without completely killing my hormones. I was ready.

Then my grandma died unexpectedly and I felt like my whole world fell apart. I flew to Michigan twice in a month, ate like crap and honestly just didn’t care. I was sad. Depressed and lost. My grandma was my whole world. She was who I called when I had news to share. She was who I called when I needed advice. I talked to her daily and now she was gone, just like that.

It was an emotionally hard time as not only did my grandma die, but I was having massive issues with my sister.

Massive.

I just wasn’t coping well with any of it. So I gained and gained.

Thankfully never hitting 240, but pretty darn close at 238.

Then in October my husband was laid off and life has been really hard.

I love my husband, but WOW having the two of us under the same roof for hours at a time is NOT a good thing!! So I find myself sitting at Starbucks A LOT, drinking no calorie teas J

So where I’m at now is here…..

  • I’m back to counting calories, because for me, it’s the best form of accountability. I’m not so anal anymore that I have to hit 1100-1200 calories. In fact, my new primary care doctor doesn’t want me eating less than 1200 calories because he says it will wreak havoc on my metabolism. Which throughout this journey, I’ve learned that this is in fact a very true statement. Something else I’ve learned is that calories are NOT Food choices should be the focus. You can eat 1200 calories of garbage food (IE: fast food, processed carbs, low quality protein) and exercise and you’ll still lose weight, but this food over time will wreak havoc on your HEALTH. Or you can eat 1500 calories of clean carbs (IE: sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa), high quality protein (chicken, fish), any vegetables you want and exercise and drop weight but increase your HEALTH I feel like for the first time in a year and a half, health is truly my new focus. Health and fitting into my size 10 jeans J

I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to land on the calorie front at this point. I’m still experimenting, my aim is 1350, but if I go over, I don’t freak out like I did in the past. I’m still trying to figure out my exercise. This has been an interesting situation. Hindsight being what it is and all……

So just 4 months after I had bariatric surgery I was in Houston (this was last summer) and I started lifting weights at a bodybuilding gym, it was awesome. I learned soooooo much, but now I wish I would have waited until this summer and only did cardio for that time frame because at the time I didn’t understand that muscle weighs more than fat, I mean I have heard this forever, but I didn’t realize how it would impact my weight loss goals. Sure I lost crazy inches. I’ve gone from a size 24 to a comfortable 10/12, but I’m still over 200 lbs. So I’ve decided to only focus on cardio right now, 7 days a week for 45-60 mins a day with my max heart rate at 180. My steady state heart rate is 126-144. I will be doing all cardio fasted and doing HIIT (on the bike) 3 days a week. I will start lifting weight again when I’m 10-15lbs from my goal weight of 180. So at point, that means I have 58lbs to lose before I’ll start lifting weights again.

No I’m not worried about the “skinny fat” look at this point, primarily because my goal is to be HEALTHY, at a HEALTHY weight before I start adding muscle to the mix. I should have done this FIRST, but I didn’t listen to my surgeon. I thought she was crazy and she probably is for other reasons, but I remember her telling me that lifting weights would slow my progress and possibly even stop it and I thought she was nuts. But here I am, over a year out from surgery and nowhere close to being under 200 lbs. This will continue to be my goal. To get my big fat butt under 200 lbs. I’m giving myself 9 months from today to lose that weight, that’s just 6lbs a month, which I think is more than a healthy approach. I’ll still be eating 5 small meals a day as I’ve also learned through this crazy journey that this is not only healthy but works well for my body. And since Jeff lost his job and I can no longer work with Kim, I’ll be tracking all my food intake in my fitness pal again. My new name on there is angiegettingfit2015, so look me up if you’re on there. I’m tracking in MFP again because I used to type everything I ate up and journal it for Kim, which was an awesome accountability option because not only was someone seeing what I was eating but she’d give me pointers along the way to. Since that’s gone now, I need to at the minimum be tracking what I’m eating because this will safe guard me from overeating and I will be able to see what choices I’m making. I will still enjoy a weekly  “cheat meal” nothing to crazy, but something I may be craving and can enjoy once a week. I believe, for me, this helps keep me on the reservation and working toward my goals.

I’ve also learned that I am in control of NOTHING!!! Sure I love routine, structure and habit, crave it really, but at the end of the day only God knows what He’s doing and where He’ll take me. I’m not even guaranteed tomorrow, I only have today and I’m finally starting to really see that I don’t have to worry about what I will eat or drink or live as God cares for me so much, He’ll have it all figured out. I can honestly say this is the FIRST time in my life that I have so much peace. Normally this job situation for my husband would have me panicked, desperately searching for a job for him. But I can honestly say, I have peace. All the “old ways” of things I would have resorted to are just no longer who I am anymore. My heart’s desire is to be supportive and encouraging to him along this journey. I’ve had my moments, believe me, but God has been gracious to me and has given me a peace like I’ve never known.

So in summary, I guess I just feel like a completely different person today than I was a year ago. Nothing has worked out the way I had imagined and when I really stop to think about it, I just chuckle to myself and realize that my so called grip of control was nothing more than my sad attempt to feel at peace and ultimately God is in control of what happens to me!

He is my peace on this road toward health, mind, body and soul

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