I am using this platform to begin *another* journey towards health and sharing it with a couple groups that I am using as motivation to get me to a healthier me.
I’ve never felt thin, although I did feel healthy for the majority of my young adult/ early adult life. There is a large difference in terms there and it’s only been a relatively recent acknowledgement that thin doesn’t mean healthy. But I’ll get to that.
Last summer I was having severe issues. I couldn’t walk very far without my feet swelling so bad that it hurt to put any pressure on them. I couldn’t go down stairs without holding on to a railing, or going one at a time because my knees and hips hurt. I felt lethargic and just overall depressed in a very physical way. I went to my doctor thinking that something outside of me had to be wrong: cancer, thyroid issues, colon/kidney/stomach problems. I went through a battery of blood tests, EKG tests and urine analysis. Everything came back relatively normal. Normal for a person of my size. Normal for a 5’5″ woman weighing 284 pounds. Which isn’t normal.
My doctor sat me down and said I have to do something. All of my ailments, all of my issues, all of it points to the access weight I am carrying. She gave me an ultimatum to begin changing my dietary and sedentary lifestyle or in 6 months we will have to begin looking at more drastic options such as surgery.
This floored me… surgery? It was enough to startle me. I need to make changes.
Luckily, I began a new job just at the same time that this push to change was starting. It’s much easier to implement changes when everything is changing. Plus, my new job had quite a few perks including a dressing room area with my own locker, shower and dressing table. This makes it easier for me to wake up at 5:15am, get to the gym by 6am, work out for an hour and head to campus to get ready before being at my desk by 8am. I’ve been consistently doing this morning schedule 4 days per week. I’ve hit Personal Bests on the elliptical, and worked my legs, arms and abs weekly. Kicking Ass and Taking Names.
Except, the pain wasn’t leaving. I’d feel great after the workout, but after a couple hours I’d be stiff again, my feet and hands were still swelling and I had a hard time motivating myself to continue… even after a couple months of setting the routine. I was in a rut and feeling like it would be a continual battle I’ll never win.
My girlfriend introduced me to Buti Yoga. That first session was a killer. Talk about feeling incompetent, feeling weak, feeling insecure. At the end however, I looked at these other ladies in the room. They were sweating as hard as me. They were all different shapes and sizes. They were all so supportive, asking each other honestly and openly about their lives and they included me! It was a warm glow that just made the last 45 minutes of pain not only tolerable but actually enjoyable. I bought a 10 class card that night.
Since incorporating yoga into my routine I’ve started to notice different results. My flexibility is returning, my muscles feel more toned and tightened and my view of myself is shifting. I’ve also talked to my yoga instructors and have added a collagen powder to my daily routine that seems to have had a wonderful effect on my knee stiffness and pain. The classes continue to push me to my limits, but I find that the “limits” are shifting and there are small and major victories when I finally get into a pose, or when I am able to hold a pose for 15 seconds longer than I was in the last class. There’s growth and change in my practice and that’s been so uplifting and wonderful! It’s a great addition to my current workout and I have since signed up for two classes offered through my work, going to yoga 2-3 times a week as well as my 3-4 times a week at the gym.
The pounds should be pouring off of me right? Nope.
I lost around 10-14 pounds in the last 6 months. That’s it. Yes, my health was obviously going in the right direction, but I am still carrying an amount of weight that is too hard on my heart, too hard on my body. It must be my intake. Time to review the food/drink intake.
I was watching my portions. I was paying attention to calories… sort of. Kind of. But I don’t like saying no to my joys, and my joys are tied to my food and drink. All of my social experiences involve and revolve around those two things. Then it was lent. Here I was, with another opportunity to enact a change at just the right moment. I gave up alcohol. (CAVEAT: I will say that I have two weddings during lent and I am drinking at my friend’s weddings. The first wedding was a great success- I stuck to champagne and white wine spritzers. I didn’t over indulge, still got to imbibe and had a kick ass time!) It hasn’t been as hard as I thought, but a lot of that has to do with it feeling like an experiment to see how many calories I am drinking without thinking and to hopefully reset my tolerance level so that I can moderate more effectively in the future. I’ve passed the three week mark and Monday will officially be one month.
The pounds should be pouring off me right? Nope.
Monday was my 6 month visit with my doctor. According to her scale I’ve lost a total of 10 pounds. Le Sigh. However, I’ve been able to wean off my diuretic for the swelling of my extremities, I am able to go up and down stairs without having to hold onto a railing, I have more energy and more umph to my days. Because of these changes and my obvious drive to continue this journey, my doctor is giving me another 6 months. Another 6 months to try and take some of the load off my frame.
Her plan for me: This week I am counting calories as I eat normally. Since Monday I am averaging around 2,100 calories a day. This is optimal to maintain weight and size. To drop pounds I need to limit the amount of calories/day. Starting next Monday I am supposed to lower 100 calories per day for one week. Then another 100/day for a week, every week, until I am averaging 1600 calories/day. This is the optimal amount to lose weight. Once I am no longer in the obese or overweight zone, or I’m at my comfortable size that gives me the flexibility and movement that I desire, then I am to add 100 calories/day week by week until I am at 2,000 calories a day to maintain that weight and size.
This is going to be something I am going to have to be aware of and monitor for the rest of my life. This is a trade-off to me, because the way my health has been heading, I’d have to take and monitor pills for the rest of my life. I’d much rather monitor my food and drink than a bunch of pills! That is my goal- not a weight, not a pants size, not some aesthetic ideal- but health, a healthier and happier me!
This is my journey. I am sharing it with you guys for two reasons: 1. To hold myself accountable. To make sure I am sticking with my plans, goals and journey. 2. To offer myself as motivation, inspiration or just someone you may relate to. I will be writing occasionally to offer any insight or thoughts or struggles or victories as they come.
Let’s Do This!