Thursday, April 30, 2009

What fat does to your life..........

Doesn't this before picture look scary? Look at the fat around all the organs.

It seems I have been battling this weight loss my whole adult life. I didn't have a weight problem as a kid. After giving birth I had a lot of excess weight and that is where my story begins. I joined Weight Watchers for the first time in 1966. That seems like a hundred years ago to me. But I walked in there with a friend and was all excited to get started and begin losing this "baby fat". Well, the WW plan in 1966 was not so easy to stick with. Although, I was on it for quite a while, off and on I finally reached my goal and became a lifetime member in 1988. I remember crying when I finally reached goal and I got up in front of the group and was given accolades for having achieved my goal at last. I was able to maintain my weight for the next 7 years and then I approached peri-menopause. Between being a newlywed, caring for both my parents who were in failing health and working full time, my willpower went out the door and I begin to eat for comfort. I managed to gain over 100 pounds in about a year. I was so embarrassed. I was ashamed if I ran into someone I knew from when I was thin. I would avoid meeting friends who hadn't seen me in many pounds. Try as I might, I wasn't able to get the pounds rolling off as they had in the past. I had reached the age where my metabolism had slowed down to a crawl and the more I tried, the more I seemed to gain. I felt as though I had been on a diet my whole life and failed miserably. Looking back at photographs taken on vacations or special occasions I had pictures I would look at longingly and think, "wow, I look soooo good here" and others that I though, "I look disgusting in this picture". I was consumed with my weight. Every new diet book that came out, I bought and tried. Every television show that advertised a diet or someone losing weight, I watched. I was obsessed with losing weight and I was such a failure at it. I guess I was hoping the magic pill or secret information to solve my long sought after dream would be just around the corner. I had heard of Gastric Bypass surgery and reading up on it I found it to be "too drastic for me". I didn't want to have my insides changed around. I joined Curves and after working out there for a few months began working as a trainer there. I loved it. It had to be the greatest job I'd ever had. Although it paid next to nothing, it was fun and I could help others and workout for free everyday. A couple of years later I left Curves and began working at a club similar to the Curves workout. After a couple of months I was asked to manage the club. I accepted the job and loved it. I worked out daily and still couldn't seem to lose the weight. In fact I was slowly putting weight on. I was starting to be embarrassed to come to work. Here I am working in a gym and gaining weight. What kind of example am I???
Then about two years ago I saw a blurp on television about something called LapBand Surgery. I was hooked, I had to find out everything there was to know about this. I went online and searched every website I could find. I read up and found an online forum where the patients themselves would write in on message boards that covered every possible scenario concerning the band and any problems, questions, success stories and even failures. I decided to look further and see where the closest surgery center for this surgery was. I found one 70 miles north of home. They were having an informational meeting on weight loss surgery at a hotel in our town in a few weeks. I talked to my husband about wanting to go and hear about this surgery. He agreed to come with me. I led him to believe I just wanted to know what it was all about and yet, I was pretty convinced that it sounded like the answer to my prayers. After the meeting I was pretty excited. I filled out my application and sent it in. It took me almost 6 months before I had my surgery. We had a couple of long vacations planned that interfered with having it any sooner. So the whole time that is all I thought about. I went to everyday and read all the newest posts. Finally, I had insurance approval and a surgery date. I went for my pre-op appointment after having to jump through hoops to lose an extra 9 pounds I had gained over a 2 month trip. The doctor said he wanted me to lose between 5 and 10 pounds before pre-op. I was informed that if I didn't lose that required weight the surgery would be cancelled until I did. Great! Now I had to lose an additional 9 pounds. So I went on a liquid diet for 3 weeks and managed to lose 18 pounds by the time my pre-op appointment came. I was stoked. I had my surgery March 26, 2008 and now I was on my way. The surgery was considered an outpatient surgery but if you wanted you could stay one night in the hospital. I opted to stay because I had tremendous pain in my shoulders and neck. In fact I still had the pain for weeks afterward. I went for my 6 week checkup and told the doctor I still was suffering from this neck pain and had to sleep sitting up and he said, "hmm let me see, "Oh I repaired a Hiatal Hernia on you. That would be the cause of the pain" Why couldn't he have told me the day of the surgery? He came to see me a few hours afterward. Oh well. I finally recovered from that and began to lose my weight slowly.
I have managed to lose about a pound a week. Pretty slow, but I'll take it. I have lost 78 pounds thus far and I go to the YMCA in my town 5 to 6 days a week. I have become so much stronger and my blood pressure is much lower, my resting heart rate is much lower and I feel great. I still have a ways to go but I am not ashamed when I see people I know anymore. I was hoping my husband would want to follow in my footsteps but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. He has diabetes and I can't get him to the gym with me or to watch what he eats. He watched my Mother lose her eyesight due to diabetes and eventually lose her life due to the effects of the disease. I am terrified of getting it myself and that is part of why I workout so much. I can't make him change, I can only change myself. I just hope he will want to start taking care of his health before it's too late.
I only have one issue and that is reflux. I have been having to take Prilosec every day and I still have problems sometimes with acid at night. I sometimes end up sleeping in my recliner when it gets too bad. I wish I had someone I knew here in town who had the surgery so we could compare notes but at least I can check the forum message boards. I try to eat no later than 6pm and don't eat anything after dinner. But sometimes it doesn't matter. I have heard it could be the band is adjusted too tightly but the doctor doesn't seem to think that is the case. I have a 4cc band and I am filled to 2.2cc's. That is only a bit more than half. I am thinking maybe I should have my big meal at the lunchtime and just a small meal at dinner time. Maybe that will help too. Not that I eat that much. But all in all I would do this again in a heartbeat. It has made the difference in my being able to do things I wasn't able to do in years. I watch the toddlers at the nursery at our church on Wednesday mornings while their mothers have a bible study class. I get down on the floor and play with these kids and I could never have done that before. My life has changed so much and I am so grateful to my husband for his love and support and my surgeon for giving me my life back.