A new approach

Taking a new approach to things and situations can be difficult, but sometimes it’s for the best. So in my attempt to do this, I’ve created a different way to get inspired to write more. This idea popped in my head randomly, even though I’m pretty positive others have thought of it before.

The idea is this: write down some writing prompts (it’s okay to get ideas from Google; write down the ones you’re most interested in) on some note cards, fold them up, and put them in a jar. When you feel uninspired, shake the jar, pick a lucky note card, and boom. Write about what’s on the note card. The writing prompt that I picked was “Find your most popular blog post and write a second series of it or an update on it.” For me, my two most popular blog posts are “Well, here goes…” and “Dear Kobe.” There is honestly nothing else I feel I need to write about Kobe Bryant because it’s still such a sad and tragic loss, and it’s still pretty fresh. This year has felt like two years to me, but unbelievably, at least to me, Kobe only died 5 months ago. Maybe next year I’ll have more to write. Until then, I’ll write about the first post I mentioned, “Well, here goes…”

Basically, in that post, I wrote about having trouble losing weight despite having tried everything to lose the weight. I talked to doctors, did tests, tried a million and one diets, and nothing worked. I decided to have weight loss surgery. This post was written May 11, 2018, and I had the surgery on August 10, 2018. I did the whole thing; the diet leading up to it, the psychiatric testing, the exercising, the seminars, the appointments, everything, leading up to the surgery. For the first few months after the surgery, everything was going pretty good. It was difficult, I won’t lie, but it was okay. I noticed I wasn’t losing weight as quickly as I expected, and frankly, as my doctor expected. I was doing everything right; my mom was helping with portion control, making the right food, and helping me mentally when I really wanted something unhealthy.

I went to the follow up appointments and my stomach healed perfectly. I was sticking to the diet and losing weight here and there. I lost right at 30 pounds. I loved the way I felt and even looked. My face was slimmer and I even lowered my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. I was so proud of myself, but in the back of my head, the depression said it wasn’t good enough. The thing is, it wouldn’t let me do what I had to do to lose more weight either. Eventually, I had that first bite of unhealthy food. It’s gone downhill since then.

I gained those 30 pounds back, plus about 5 more. I’m disappointed, I’m ashamed. I started trying to exercise again and I just do not have the energy to do it. I love hiking, but I haven’t hiked all year.

I went to my doctor about a month ago and asked her to check my thyroid because it can have a huge effect on weight loss and weight gain. I was even hoping there was something wrong just so it could be the solution to my problem. The tests came back normal.

I am starting to look into a personal trainer of some kind or even a nutritionist to help me. I will find out what I’m doing wrong or simply not doing to lose weight.

So that’s the update. The surgery didn’t work for me, but I have seen that it works for so many people. I would never discourage it, but don’t use it as an excuse to not put in the work. Having the surgery means putting in MORE work. It was the ultimate last resort for me. I am discouraged because of my weight loss journey, but I am not giving up. I just need to find what works for me. I’ve tried a lot of different things, but I haven’t tried them all. Finding the approach that works for me can be a life changer and life saver.

Ali

2018/2019… let’s do this

(Trigger warning)

2018 was a big year for me, physically and mentally. I can’t say it was all good, as I lost 6 people within my family and friend circle. I don’t think I’ve ever lost that many people in one year. It’s been a heartbreaking year, an eye-opening year, and a victorious year. I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished. I went into 2018 with a different mindset that I had never had before. I honestly still have no clue where the motivation came from, other than working my butt off in therapy. I didn’t realize my mindset was changing until it hit me like a brick wall.

The year didn’t start off great; my uncle passed away on January 1. I wasn’t as close to him as I had been in my younger years since we lived a state away, but it was still a challenging time. My mother lost her brother, my cousins lost their father. We are now upon the first anniversary of his passing and I know it’s not easier for anyone. In July, I also lost my great uncle. It’s been a rough year for my family.

In previous years, my “new year’s resolution” always included losing weight, but it never worked out because, well, I never worked out. I would work out or diet for maybe a week, maybe two, then go back to my old habits. This year, that would change. I couldn’t lose weight on my own, so I talked to my doctor and she recommended weight loss surgery. I went for it and made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon. After 3 months of preparation, dieting, and exercise, I had the surgery in August. I haven’t lost weight at the pace I would have liked, but I’ve still lost weight and I’m okay with that. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m still motivated to get the weight off.

As for the people I’ve lost this year, it was rough. I lost a few close friends and two family members. One of them, though, hit me like nothing has ever hit before.

I started my mental health journey in 2014, and I won’t get into details with that, because I’ve talked about it in previous posts. I was checked into a mental hospital and then immediately started group therapy after I was discharged. The first person that talked to me when I walked up to the door was named Katy, and she ended up becoming one of the most important people I’d ever meet in my life.

There were times during therapy and even outside of therapy that she would talk me through it and help me through it. I remember one day in therapy that I was called on to speak, and I ended up crying… hard. I couldn’t get through what I was trying to say. Katy sat next to me every day, and on this particular day, she looked at me and said, “I promise you that nobody here is going to judge you, and everybody here loves you, including me. I’m right here. Just talk to me.” Those words helped me get through the duration of my time in group therapy.

I learned that she had a lung disease when I would talk to her everyday, but I didn’t know how bad it was. She passed away this year, in June. The bad thing for me is that I didn’t find out until July. I missed her funeral, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I didn’t get to tell her how much she meant to me. It was heartbreaking. I still think about her and cry. I have never grieved over anyone else as hard as I have grieved over her.

As much as her passing affected me, I didn’t let it slow me down. I couldn’t. I know she would want me to keep working hard on my mental health, so I have. I have progressed, I think, a lot in therapy. I’m working my butt off daily to stay alive. Everybody has bad days, including me, but I get through them. Finn (my dog) is definitely a huge help with that. I’ve accomplished so much mentally, but also physically. I made a lot of progress in school. I’ve been getting out of the house more, but one of the main goals I have for myself is to get out even more. I’ve got so much planned; hiking, dog park visits, walking trails, yard work, and even just sitting outside getting more fresh air.

Health wise, I am going to continue to take care of myself. For so many years, I put my health on the back burner because I hated myself that much. I wanted to die so bad that my life didn’t matter that much. But now, I feel like I need to stay alive, and I want to stay alive. Some days are very difficult, and I still have suicidal thoughts from time to time, but I don’t feel as if I would act upon them now. It’s even kind of crazy to think about because I got so used to thinking I would be better off dead.

Another goal is to blog more! I’ve had to take a few months off from blogging, but I’m back at it. I felt like if I had writer’s block, then it was going to happen whether I wanted it to happen or not, and I didn’t try to force anything.

With all of that being said, I want to know how your year was and how you want 2019 to be. If you had a bad year, it’s okay. Not everyone is going to have a good year. And its okay to have bad days! Even if you have perfect mental health (and no one does), everyone has bad days. Try your hardest to bounce back the next day. I know it’s easier said than done, trust me. Depression is no joke at all. But stay strong for me, for your family, for your friends, your pets, your spouse, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, but most of all, stay strong for yourself. Because you’re worth staying strong for. You’re worth the life that the universe gave you. You matter.

Happy new year, and let’s have a great 2019.

My Weight Loss Journey, part II

It is officially happening. I’m having weight loss surgery.

I know I said it was happening in part I, but now it really is happening! I couldn’t be more excited for this new journey in my life.

This past week, I saw a PA (physician’s assistant) and dietician, as well as attended the informational (and mandatory) bariatric seminar, lead by my surgeon. I was told by the PA that I am an excellent candidate for this surgery, based on my build and weight. He told me I will have success in my weight loss journey after the surgery. What words could be better than those? He told me that we could schedule my surgery around the end of July or early August, which blows my mind!

When I spoke to my dietician, she had nothing but positive words as well. She told me some things I need to stop drinking, such as sparkling water. I’ll miss it, but I’ll definitely get over it. We talked about pre-op and post-op diet, and I got some samples of protein drinks, since I’ll be drinking those for a month after the surgery.

The informational seminar was just that – informational. My surgeon talked for an hour about what the surgery does and what it will do for me. He spoke numbers, like percentages about mortality rates, which are very low. Below 1%. The seminar made me want the surgery even more.

Next appointment is July 17, and I believe it’s my pre-op date for all the testing. I should most likely get my surgery date then, hopefully. I see my dietician again two days after that, then we’re in the final stretch! It’s getting closer and closer to surgery day!

I’ve been exercising a lot and making sure to close my rings on my Apple Watch. The three rings consist of moving, exercising for 30 minutes, and standing at least 12 times a day for at least a minute to get rid of the sedentary lifestyle. I’ve been competing with other people and even though they’re kicking my butt, it’s still fun, friendly competition.

I still haven’t lost any weight. My weight is still fluctuating between 250 and 245. I can’t seem to get below 245. I’m currently 249.

Part III will be next month after my appointments and I’m constantly updating on my new Facebook page! www.facebook.com/aliveewriter

Well, here goes…

For a long time now, I have had a really hard time losing weight. I blame it on depression taking all of my energy and motivation, but I have to admit, I’m also lazy. My weight is not consistent; I can lose 5 lbs., not do anything wrong, and overnight, I’m back up 5 lbs. and have a hard time getting it back off. I don’t know why, and my doctor has done all kinds of tests with no answers. I was diagnosed with an eating disorder a couple years ago (binge eating), so that doesn’t help.

I am on medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, neuropathy, and vitamin D deficiency as well as mental health medications.

I’ve been on the keto diet since February of this year and I feel like it has given me more energy, but I still can’t lose the weight, even when I haven’t cheated or binged. Because of all this, I talked to all of my all of my doctors and healthcare professionals and decided that weight loss surgery would be right for me.

I made the appointment with a weight loss surgeon and on May 8, I was approved for the sleeve gastrectomy surgery. I will be going through 12 weeks of a supervised diet, as well as information seminars and appointments, psychiatric evaluations, and other evaluations to make sure I am mentally and physically ready. In August (or around), I will have the surgery.

During the sleeve gastrectomy, a portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a “sleeve” for food. This procedure also decreases the hormone which causes hunger. The average excess body weight loss is 60-70%. The success stories consist of people being able to get off most of their medications.

I feel like this is what I have to do to be healthy. I’ll be keeping everyone updated here on my blog during this journey, so be sure to keep up with me!

To all that have prayed for me, please continue. This is a major decision that I needed to make.