**disclaimer, I began writing this post yesterday but wasn’t able to finish it until today**
As I sit on the cusp of a brand new year, I have decided to blog today about saying goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016.
It would be a lie to say I’m not happy to see 2015 long gone.
The irony in that statement is that this time last year I thought for sure 2015 would hold so many possibilities with
- my husband’s graduation,
- 100 lb weight loss
And the endless possibilities afforded to us with his job placement in Houston. I thought for sure hanging our hat on said job would bring some form of contentment and settle, none of which happened. Sure I realized my 100lb weight loss in 2015, in fact even managed to hit 108 pounds lost at one point, but was unable to maintain it due to not doing it in a healthy way, but more on that in a minute. Yes we took that job in Houston, but no it didn’t afford us any amount of settle and contentment, in fact it did the polar opposite. I felt constantly stressed. Constantly worried about money, making friends, fitting into an environment of people whom I just didn’t belong with.
It was a tortuous struggle and at points led to me feeling depressed.
What was wrong with me?
I didn’t understand?
After all, this was what Jeff had been working toward for SIX years and there we were, NOTHING was working out….we couldn’t find a house we loved enough to actually buy, couldn’t find a church we even sort of liked to get involved with, absolutely couldn’t find a school to put our kids in. It felt like if we were to stay it would be a lifetime of compromise. AND while all of that was going on, I was GAINING weight, granted it’s no shock, but I was feeling like a massive failure and I hated EVERY stinking minute of it. So it wasn’t a major surprise when Jeff was laid off in October, it just felt like par for the course with everything else happening in our life at that time. BUT what his lay off did do was pave the way for us to get the heck out of Texas. I didn’t realize until we hit Greenwood Indiana, on our way to Ohio how much I am NOT a Texan nor will I EVER be. It wasn’t until one morning I went to breakfast tin our hotel (in Indy) and I had the nicest conversation I had had in MONTHS with TWO separate woman, one from Michigan, one from Oklahoma and NEITHER one was suspicious of me, neither was guarded in talking with me, both actually wanted to get to know me and I instantly knew that we had made the right choice to get the heck out of Texas. When I’m in the Midwest I am among MY people. People who genuinely have care and have compassion toward complete strangers without any form of suspicion. I’m sure not ALL Texans are like this, in fact Texas is a very large state and my experience was only in Katy Texas but I can assure you I will NEVER live in that area again, especially now being away from there. I know fabulous people from Texas, Jeff has amazing family members from there so I’m not blasting all Texans, I’m just saying my personal experience was less than stellar.
OK so saying all of that, something I learned in 2015 is that my expectations of living outside of the Midwest did not come to pass and that was a HUGE learning experience. So now that we are back in the Midwest I feel happy. Happy to be with family, happy to be around people I can relate to and, because of that, I believe wholeheartedly I will achieve my goals of weight loss this year in 2016. Sure it won’t be without struggle, but I feel like I have more motivation now than I’ve had in months, so I’m excited about that!
So like I mentioned above, I did achieve my 100 pound weight loss goal prior to moving to Texas and looking back now I realize a few things and I wanted to share them with you so that you can see where I’m headed in 2016 and how I got to this place.
I was so hyper focused on losing 100 lbs in the first year following my surgery, I lost sight, or perhaps I didn’t focus on the things that really mattered…..like:
Learning to eat for life
Enjoying how my body was already changing with the accomplishments I was currently achieving.
I was measuring my success on the wrong things, only thing was I couldn’t see it at the time. Sure I had people point them out gently at times, other times not so, but it took the last six months of devastation and weight gain for me to truly understand what I was not seeing until now. Thankfully, it was only a 19lb weight gain that caused this “ah ha” moment and not 119 pound weight gain like in years past!!
So here’s what I’ve learned……
There is NO time frame on weight loss. YES in the bariatric world, surgeon’s led you to believe that you have this precious window of time that is your golden opportunity to lose weight and outside of that special window you are pretty much screwed. I get it, I really do. As the girl now sitting at almost 2 years post op with a 19 pound weight gain, I GET IT!!! My window feels closed, BUT I refuse to give up and do not believe that I am damned for the rest of my life, that somehow my ability to lose weight has completely dried up. I WILL NOT buy into this lie!!!! WILL NOT. I have to try. If there is definitely something I’ve learned about myself in these last, almost 2 years, is that I’m a fighter!! God has put this fighter spirit in me and I will fight to get out of this surgery, this life, this health journey all that I can to achieve every ounce of success I can!!
So what is success?
In 2016 success for me is going to look a little different than it has in 2014 (year of surgery) and 2015 (year of craziness)
In 2016, I plan to:
- LIFT WEIGHTS…..I LOVE lifting weights….love it. I had been advised to STOP lifting weights until I got within 10-15lbs of my goal weight (whatever the heck that is) and then resume and I even tried it prior to moving out of Texas and guess what I discovered? I HATED how my body was changing…..suddenly this overweight, somewhat tightening up body was becoming loose and flabby fat….yuck, I was not a fan. Suddenly size 10 jeans that slid comfortably on weighing 220 pounds required me to lay flat on my bed to zip them up and then they just weren’t comfortable. Suddenly my size 14s were now my new pants of the hour. I was NOT a fan. I realize VERY quickly that I didn’t like how my body was changing. I wasn’t happy at all, so what was I chasing? This question started to plague my mind. Was the number on the scale really the ultimate prize or did I enjoy wearing smaller size clothes? Then I had a “turning point” (as I like to call them, you know those conversations that are “ah ha” moments) via Facebook with a high school acquaintance and she asked me, “Angie could you be at your goal weight?” At this point sitting at 231, no I didn’t think I was, BUT at my lowest 207 could that have been?…..perhaps, or what about another number? How did I feel? Suddenly through this journey of not lifting weights, feeling my body change and not enjoying it caused this massive attitude shift from unrealistic to “how does your body feel? Could I have been at my goal weight at 207, 211, 215? It’s very possible…..but a year ago I would NEVER have entertained this idea…..NEVER!!!! but today is a new day and I realize that by admitting staying in the low 200s was never my original plan, if I’m lifting weights, like my body, wearing a size 10 and weight 211, why can’t that be enough? I am here to tell you that today IT IS!!!!
So my “weight loss” goal if you will for 2016 is to lose 50 pounds, not so much to put me at a certain number, but mostly because I think that it’s realistic to lose 50 pounds in a year. That’s approximately 4 pounds a month. Yes that would take me out of the 200s, BUT that’s not the focus because here’s why…..IF I get back down to between 207-215 while lifting weights and wearing my size 10s again, I will be a happy girl and just start maintaining at that point for a couple of reasons….1) I like how I look and feel at that weight and 2) I’m mostly just tired of chasing this elusive number.
- I’m sort of lost at the moment on calories. So something I did learn in 2015 is that not all calories are created equal and yet there are studies out there that show someone can eat a calorie restricted diet of donuts and still lose weight staying within a certain number. There are varying schools of thought on this subject and I will NOT get into it nor will I debate it. I can only tell you what I know to be true for me. When I eat a calorie restricted diet of nutritious foods I feel satisfied longer, however that being said, I’m tired of restricting my lifestyle so tightly that I can’t enjoy air popped popcorn or a donut on occasion if I so choose. 2014 was the year of massive calorie restriction, almost starvation mode, if you will. Yes I lost a boat load of weight and that was the beauty of the first year following bariatric surgery. 2015 was the year I learned all about nutrition for me. I paid a nutritionist, got on a nutrition plan etc. So 2016 is going to be the year I’m taking the training wheels off…I know that I need to track my calories, it’s the thing that works for me. I will fight the battles in my head over the other side of nutrition that says you don’t need to calorie track, I get it, I just need to for me……In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how many calories a day I require to lose weight and feel satisfied. I’m tired of feeling hungry ALL THE TIME (remember that’s what the last 2 years have been for me. So I’m sure the next several blog posts will be about my new experiments on myself with calories, food, exercise and how it’s impacting my body. My latest conundrum is this…..I use myfitnesspal (name is: angiegettingfit2015 if you want to friend request me) and I’ve set all the parameters and to reach my goal of 2lb weight loss a week, it says I should eat 1790 calories A DAY…..HOLY MOLY!!!! Can you imagine for a girl who’s lived basically in starvation mode for the last 2 years how these numbers look? Anyway, my current experiment is to see if eating even remotely close to that will garner weight loss in a week. Granted I’m not eating close to that, but with the holidays I’ve been pushing it J Something else though that I’ve noticed with the holidays is that processed carbs like: cookies, cakes, donuts do not keep me satisfied for very long, oh sure they are amazing to the taste buds, but what are they really doing in my body? I’m not sure other than producing belly fat….oh didn’t I tell you, when I stopped lifting weights, I quickly realized that I’m the body type that when I eat processed carbs they immediately go to my belly, not my butt or hips, but my belly…..I begin to look pregnant….lovely, I know. It has something to do with the PCOS that I have been diagnosed with, lucky me. Anyway, these last 2 years have been a major life lesson in learning all about my body.
- In 2016, I intend to listen to my body a lot more meaning, if I need more than one rest day a week I’m going to take it!!! That was something that this high school acquaintance said to me, that perhaps I was doing to much cardio, and yes at that time I really was, but something I realized is that this is the body that I have for the next 50 years and I need to do a better job of taking care of it, that includes resting it. I guess I’ve just gotten lost in wanting to push so hard toward my weight loss goal of 100 pounds (2014-2015) that at times I would push my body passed the point of sheer exhaustion, which is really stupid because all that does is increases one’s cortisol levels, which cortisol causes weight gain….duh. So in 2016, I plan to listen a lot more to my body and if that means 2 rest days or 3 in a week then so be it. I probably wouldn’t ever take more than 2 off to be honest, unless I were sick and I will NEVER miss a Monday as I think Monday workouts are just vital to the entire week, but that’s another post for another day.
- I need to learn how to shift my expectations of monthly weight loss from 8 pounds a month (what I was losing in 2015) to losing approximately 4 pounds a month. I’m hoping by making the above mental shifts that this will just naturally correct itself. It’s my hope that in 2016 I would fear getting on the scale like I did in 2015. I do plan to weigh myself weekly for a while until I get back down to around 211 and once I hit that and am maintaining then I will space out my weigh ins. I also plan to start having my husband taking measurements again on a bi-weekly basis and you better believe I’ll be shouting from the rooftops these accomplishments as this is the first time I truly see their importance!!
So let’s recap shall we?
In 2016, I plan to enjoy the ride a ton more than I have and not be so hard on myself, I think that basically sums it up!!
So to recap……
I’m thankful 2015 is OVER and I’m ready to face 2016 with open arms