Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life is what happens... *Guest Post*

Today is my surgery day, one where I'm getting my uterine fibroid (nicknamed "The Deficit") out for good. When I think of all the changes that this is may bring about, it's a bit daunting. Kind of like when I started blogging.

I've said it before, but when I started this blog, I didn't market it at all. I didn't tell anyone about it and I didn't really want anyone to see it. I had another blog that I pushed on people. Somehow, someway, Janell from Thufferin Thuccotash saw it and she was one of the first to cheer me on in the blog-o-sphere.  Surrounded by myriads (eleventy hundred if you will!) of posts with no comments, Janell's would be one of the few that I got.

I'll never forget her motivating words and her confidence that I had what it took to turn my life around. She was my best cheerleader and I owe her more than she'll ever know. Somehow it clicked that if a person who lived miles away thought that I had worth, why didn't I think the same? And what if I actually *did* have worth? It was an ah-ha moment and one that I'm forever thankful for.

Without further ado, I give you Janell's post. She's snarky, has dry humor, sarcastic, and wise. I hope you enjoy her just as much as I do.


I haven't met Anne though I feel I know her so well from her writing. We've shared similar struggles. She's younger than my twin sons though through reading her blog for the past many years I've discovered our age doesn't change much about our struggle with weight-loss. You can be a chubby 19 year old, a portly 28 year old, a pleasingly plump-ish 35 year old, a fat-ish forty year old, or in my case, a (finally) ex-moderately obese 54 year old since making the decision to have gastric bypass surgery this past June 15th. One thing we all seem to have in common is a struggle with our brain with regard to food.

I can read your mind. I know what you're saying:

  • Surgery is the easy way out.
  • I would never have *that* surgery.
  • I've lost weight before. I can do it again (by myself).
  • Surgery is cheating! (judgmental -- aren't we?)
  • You can surgically remove the weight but you can't fix the emotional problem of eating. (I agree -- though it's far easier to fight one battle at a time)
I struggled with the scale for years - though really my struggle wasn't with an inanimate object. I lost at least 100 lbs on my own with sensible eating and exercise, self-restraint, belittling, abuse. I have photos to prove weight loss. After my sister had gastric bypass surgery two years ago and I saw what was possible with her loss, I started to consider what might be possible for me with regard to gastric bypass.

I knew as I aged, I'd become less mobile. I was born with primary bi-lateral lymphedema and excess weight was going to make running, jogging, breathing, bicycling, living, ballet and tap, getting to the fridge, fencing, croquet, buying See's candy, curling and baking cookies, horseback riding more difficult as I aged. Though knowing I could become less mobile still wasn't incentive enough to lose the last 70 lbs I needed to lose. I'm the one who said "70 lbs" while my surgeon said 100 lbs which would take me down to my pre-birth weight of 154 lbs.

The problem is that as we get older and still have the same diet struggle, time's a wastin. All the while - time is flying, the years are melting out from underneath you. You're gonna get older like me, less mobile, less healthy, cancerous, cranky, crabby, pessimistic and pokey. It will take you a month to remember your ATM pin number. Yet you'll still be honking about starting your diet on Monday after you ate that whole pizza and drank 37 beers last Saturday night. When you reach my age, birthdays and holidays are right around the corner. As soon as one holiday ends, you can see the next one looming larger (than the number on your scale). You think you have all the time in the world. hah! Well if so, plan your funeral while you're figuring out which diet you'll try next because one day your diet plan and your funeral will intersect.

I've read weight loss blogs of people who (seem to really) want to lose weight and become healthier. Sometimes they post daily, sometimes a few times a week; chronic strugglers post caloric intakes, exercise schedules, foods consumed, things they learned about their  psyche, struggles and triumphs. Readers rally -- commenting support, cheering one - another on to the winner's circle. I've seen that circle written as 'onederland.' Then the following week these same folks are blogging again, only this time it's about how they drank Manhattans all weekend, ate half a smoked pig, stuffed themselves on chips and dip, ate only 6 happy meals, and finished last night with a whole pie a la mode. Come Monday, they are 10 lbs back up the scale, riding the self-abuse train again. And guess what? Time is beating you to the finish line.

My sister told me "some people aren't willing to give up the food." For some reason that statement stuck in my craw. I wanted to be able to give up the food. Once she said that, I thought about my addiction, my behavior and how (finally) for the sake of mobility and hopefully a longer life, I was willing to give up the food to see what was possible.

As of today, I'm hovering around 70lbs lost so far - since June 15th. I still wear the same clothes I wore when I was heavier (which either says a lot or a little about the clothing I *was* wearing). This sizable weight-loss has come at at time when my clothes may be loose but money is really tight. On one hand I'm waiting for the final (weight-loss) results while holding up my pants with the other. I can't complain because post-surgery I have loads of energy. I look better. I feel better. My hip doesn't hurt. My arthritic knee hurts occasionally (mostly after too much walking). I can move and breathe. I can easily walk up the stairs at work. I was able to give up food long enough to address the issue with weight so now I focus more on eating a nutritionally balanced diet. If I notice myself desiring less-than-optimum nutrition, I ask myself if I am able to only eat a small amount, why would I eat crap? Though I am not perfect. I'm just healthier, thinner, wiser and more wrinkled.

I decided to have gastric bypass surgery so I could spend the time I have left to live more mobile and healthier -- as long as possible. Being healthier helps me deal with emotional baggage because I'm not focused on beating myself up for eating because I didn't start my diet on Monday for the (as Anne would say) Eleventy-ith time . I'm not blogging about fluctuating weight. I don't want to write about exercise if it's not something I enjoy all that much -- not gonna be doing a triathlon anytime soon and if I decide to do one, I'll announce it on the front page of the NYT because it will *that* newsworthy. Bored and boring.

I wasted a heck of a lot of my life time thinking about being fat, being fat, overeating, eating, drinking, what to drink and making myself feel less-than because I consumed more than. Post surgery I'm focused on aspects of my life that -- pre-surgery, I didn't take the time to notice because I was too busy thinking about what I would eat for my next snack. (Oh, that, and this damn puppy.) But as you write your daily or weekly missive about the next weight-loss steps, the diet you'll start on Monday, remember that the only time life slows down for any of us is when you're waiting in line at the DMV. Other than that, time is jetting by and you're still contemplating your diet. Better to start mulling over potluck options for your funeral. At least you'll be thinking about food.


Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Thanks for your post, Janell. I agree...time can slip by pretty quick. I'm becoming less about the "someday" and trying to live more in the present.

Ironically, I AM headed to the DMV this morning! Lucky me. (I'm bringing a book with me about mindful eating...I see it as a time to sit and enjoy a book, with the DMV interrupting my reading, rather than "waiting"...)

Helen said...

The line about pre-birth weight made me laugh out loud inappropriately at work! But the rest was so worth the laugh and the read.

Beautiful Janell! (and thank you)

Shelley said...

Best.guestpost.ever! You are so right - life IS passing us by and it's time to start living and doing.

Bella looks so funny in that picture - like she's humoring you.

Denise said...

Wonderful post! So very true and beautifully said.

Lanie Painie said...

Time does seem to fly by and we waste so mmuch of it. Our most precious commodity. thanks for the reminder!

Katie J said...

Thanks for filling in Janell!

I wasted A LOT of time but can't go back now. Face the future is all I can do.

Gina said...

"...making myself feel less-than because I consumed more than." Excellent line! That was a great read and perspective. Thanks!

Lee said...

You must have felt a need to rationalize the decision to have WLS. You make a great case here. Just watched a dvd by Dean Ornish where he explains that sometimes making the big change is the right one for your health which goes against the baby steps advice for weight loss.

I'm committed to staying in my goal weight range because I think my fitness level in my 50s is going to have a direct impact on my quality of life if I'm fortunate to live into my 70s & 80s.

Unfortunately for you, Janell, you've shown that you're willing to write guest posts. Be prepared!

Dr. J said...

Even though medicine in many ways is in the toilet today, we do a few things good. As a surgeon, I know that everyone needs an operation, and it is my job to make sure they get the right one.

Sometimes weight loss surgery is the right one.

I don't want anyone to give Janell a snarky time. Just know, I am very good with a knife, and can remove your snark in a heartbeat!

the Bag Lady said...

Whoa there, Dr J! (Damn, just when I was going to leave a snarky comment, too!)

Great post, Janell! Loved the line about your pre-birth weight.

Mind Over Fatter said...

Janelle, this was a very to the point message and a fantastic one. I really resonated with the comment about how time passes by faster as we age (in my 50's) and I used every holiday as the reason this time wasn't right cause I wouldn't be able to stay on plan. At my age there are constant holidays and celebrations as you have more people around you. But that is done now, the journey has started and I see the fat girl in the rear view mirror - and I'm not going in reverse to pick her up! Excellent...

CherylK said...

This is classic "Janell". You sure did hit the nail on the head when you talk about time flying by.

And I hope your surgery went well, Anne. A very nice blog that you have, here. I'm going to take a look around!

Fat Grump said...

Oh wow!

Phew. This 50-something yr old woman has just been blogging about her struggle to deny herself cakes.It seemed like a huge problem - but it's not, not if I don't want it to be.

Now I have just read your words and part of me was shaken up, part of me was filled with a rush of determination - a determination to bloody well just DO something about my shape, my eating habits and my health while I am still mobile and still alive.

Janell - I am late to this post, but I hope you don't mind if I copy it and keep it on my fridge, all the way over here in the UK?

That was the most hard-hitting but sensible post - a real wake-up call - that I have ever read on the subject of losing weight.

Thank you SO much. It really is now or never when you are nearer to sixty than fifty. (56 but feeling 25 in the head!)As you say, it doesn't matter what your age, but if you have weight to lose, start losing it now. Why postpone that time when you look and feel better?

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)