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My Own Journey to Change, Pt 2

The decision to have weight loss surgery was a long-time coming.  It was first mentioned to me as an option when I was at my highest weight of 221, back in 2003.  I was not in the right psychological frame of mind to make that choice.  Instead, I chose to try once again to lose the weight on my own.  And I did lose 40 pounds.  But, since I’m only 4’10”, weighing 181 pounds is still considered severely obese.  It was another 10 years before I finally admitted to myself that I would never be able to lose the amount I needed to all on my own.  That I couldn’t do it on willpower alone.  In addition, I knew I needed a permanent solution because otherwise I would just gain back whatever I lost.  After seeing a close friend of mine lose a significant amount of weight having weight loss surgery, I finally made the decision to at least look into weight loss surgery for myself.  This was in August of 2012.  It took another 8 months before I actually had the surgery.

Like I wrote in My Own Journey to Change, Pt 1, my main focus was on getting healthy.  And in my mind, the only way I could get healthy was to lose 100% of my excess body weight.  The only gauge I had for what that number would be, was the BMI scale.  According to that, for my height, my ideal body weight is anything between 89-118 pounds.  Quite a range!  The 89 number sounded ridiculous to me.  Even the 118 sounded like a pipe dream.  After all, I didn’t even remember passing 118 on my way up to my high of 221.  I weighed 200 pounds on my surgery date.  The idea of losing 82 pounds was overwhelming.  In addition to that, I knew that I was fighting a battle of time, as you lose the majority of your weight in the first 6 months after surgery and after that, the losing slows down tremendously.  AND, add in the fact that the average weight loss after gastric sleeve surgery is only 70% of your excess body weight.  For me, that would have only gotten me to 140 pounds.  Still way too high for 4’10”.  So, for me, I was losing all 82 pounds.  No ifs, ands, or buts. 

To be honest with you, before this, strong determination was not part of my make-up.  But, something happened to me when I started this process.  I knew that having weight loss surgery was a drastic, last-ditch effort to lose weight.  That if this didn’t work, there was nowhere left to turn.  I felt like I had no other choice but to work harder than I ever had before.  I very quickly learned, though, that surgery was only a tool that I had to use to get what I wanted.  That I had to work that tool with everything I had.  With that in mind, I did everything absolutely “right.” I ate no carbs.  I ate no sweets.  I ate only protein with some vegetables.  I worked out 4 times a week doing cardio kickboxing with a 150-lb heavy bag.  I also worked out with a personal trainer one day a week.  Now, mind you, before this, I was a total couch potato.  Hated to sweat.  Hated to be out of breath.  Hated any and ALL forms of exercise.  Until I found kickboxing.  I realized that in order to keep up with the exercise that is absolutely necessary to lose weight, I HAD to find a form of exercise that I enjoyed.  Otherwise, I would just quit.  Thankfully, the exercise I wound up loving was also one of the most intense, high-energy workouts out there.  Suddenly I wasn’t only losing weight, but I was getting stronger.  I was building muscles that I never even knew I had.  I found myself wanting to push myself harder.  Wanting to do things I had never even thought of doing before.  I found a strength inside of me that I never knew was there. 

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