Time to start fighting back…

I posted an update on my weight loss journey recently and it reminded me that I needed to get back on my diet. But guess what? I didn’t do it. Today, I walked from my house to my camper behind my house, which is about 50 yards away, and I was breathing hard and felt so out of shape. How sad is that? I mean, yes, it is hot outside but I feel like I should be able to walk 50 yards.

I immediately got on Facebook and asked my friends list what advice they had for starting to run and lose weight. Fortunately, I have some amazing people in my friends list so I got a lot of advice and tips.

I’ve come to realize that I am a doormat to binge eating disorder and frankly, I’m tired of it. I want to lose weight, even if only to be able to walk to my camper or go on a hike without feeling like I’m dying on a zero elevation trail. I want to be able to save money and not spend it on snacks throughout the month. I want to feel confident in the clothes I wear and want to wear. I want to be able to walk up to the mailbox without feeling the need to ride the golf cart up there.

So here it is: my pledge. I am going to start dieting again. I am refusing to use the golf cart to navigate around the property at my house. I am going to start exercising and training for a 5k (using the Couch to 5k app). I am refusing to binge eat at any time of the day, especially at night.

Because I want to not only be held accountable, but also actually see any differences, I created an instagram account strictly for my weight loss journey. Please go follow the account and seriously… hold me accountable. I’ll post photos and videos of my journey. This will help me be honest with myself; if I feel embarrassed about taking a photo of the food I am eating, then maybe I shouldn’t be eating it, right?

I have to do this for myself. I hate this photo of myself (to the right) because of how big I am. I know I shouldn’t care, but it’s for my health, both physical and mental.

Let’s do this.

www.instagram.com/alifightsback

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 III

On August 10, I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery, also known as gastric sleeve surgery. Yep, I went through with it. I’ll be honest, I am the first one to admit I thought I would chicken out. But here I am on the other side of surgery, and I’m doing great.

At my highest weight, I was 253 lbs.. I am 5’5″, so that is considered morbidly obese. Surgery day, I weighed in at 251 lbs. After the surgery, I was in some pain, but the pain medication kept it away. I vomited a few times (including in front of both of my guests. Ugh… sorry about that!). I had to walk around the hall multiple times and the next day I was discharged and went home.

It was tough the first few days. I could barely sleep on my stomach, but did. I had no problems sleeping (thank you, Ambien). Getting in the amount of liquids I need is still a struggle because my sleeve is so small now that it fills me up pretty quickly. I am on stage 2 right now, the pureed stage, and I am full after a 3 oz cup of blended soup. It’s so weird to me because before, I would eat because it tasted good and wanted more. Now, while I still struggle with that, I can’t eat more or it physically hurts. My sleeve tells me to stop by making it painful to eat more.

Since 8/10, I am down to 237 lbs., which truly blows my mind. That means I am down 16 lbs. in less than a month and I couldn’t be more happy. I’ve hit a couple stalls in weight loss, but I figured out what I was doing wrong, and fixed it. I don’t lose weight as fast as other people, and that’s okay. It’s frustrating at times because I don’t lose weight as fast as others, but my body is different than theirs, and that’s okay. I’ll get to my goal weight in my own time.

I’m walking everyday, but I haven’t made it to my first goal of 30 minutes yet. That’s because I have an intense back pain when I do walk for an extended amount of time, but I’ve discovered that if I wear my abdominal binder that the hospital gave me, then I can walk longer than if I don’t wear it. So I’ll get there. On October 1, I can go back to the gym and possibly start doing more cardio and start weight training.

That’s it for now, but I’ll continue to update as my weight loss journey continues. If you have any questions about the surgery, you can contact me by emailing me at aliveewriter@yahoo.com, or texting me at (318) 321-8725. Be sure to leave your name and a way to contact you.