I can not tell a lie -- I tried it once and it came out the truth. That's a bunch of BS, of course, but I'm so overwhelmed by "life" and growing in grace lately that I feel like a phony when dealing with all the kind words and compliments on my weight loss.
It's not that I haven't "lost" weight and overcome some adversity -- I just don't feel comfortable taking credit for being some type of "Joan of Fat" standing alone against a mountain of challenges. I'm far from alone and sometimes, I feel like I'm being carried through the worst of it.
I think when I get behind my typing fingers, everything comes out funny and witty. Truth is, I cry, I complain and I fall down. I would like to dedicate this column to the ugly truth and the people who make it come out beautiful in the wash. They deserve your admiration.
Seventy pounds or so: At a little past six months, I had lost 70 pounds. A week later, I'm sure I've gained 3 or 4 pounds. It was a week of PMS, NowMS and I think I cooked fried chicken three times. I'm notorious for water-weight gain, so I'll have to wait to see how things shape up when the bloating clears.
Emotional giant or mental midget: At times, I've been the biggest baby. I felt sorry for myself and tried to ask my husband for a divorce so I wouldn't "bring him down" financially. Well, he knew the drugs were talking and kinda just ignored me with a giggle. I felt horrible for the amount of time Reality Doc (E. Melancon) and SupaDoc (K. Leblanc) were spending on me and I tried to "fire" myself from both of them. Ya ever feel like a big fat burden? "This is my last visit!" They calmly ignored me and continued to do what was best for me. And finally, for the nurse at Vista Surgical Hospital who heard me say I would "rather not go on"... I doubt if I could really hang myself with all that plastic tubing and IV lines. I WAS JUST BEING A BIG BABY (the tubing package says it has a maximum capacity of 125 pounds, anyway).
Losing the weight: If you've have ever tried losing your extra 20 pounds, you might be impressed by tossing 70 in less than half a year. Truth: When you weigh 350 pounds, the initial loss does come quickly. My last 20 pounds will be like pulling teeth.
Unlike the diets of old, I'm losing weight and eating my own cooking or the cooking of our favorite restaurants (before the bills starting mounting). I've found that a lot of protein supplements can be replaced by "chewable" protein if you have the time to rope it, kill it and cook it. I think I was very blessed by meeting Executive Chef Ed Rhinehart several months ago. He's taught me so much and my entire family has benefited from raw vegan dishes and healthy ways to prepare lean protein. So, I cook, I eat -- I really don't suffer. It does take more time to prepare healthy meals and eat at home, but it's been a learning experience and sometimes a wonderful adventure. NUTS AND LIVE FOODS RULE -- Thanks Ed!
Cheating: That word is not in my vocabulary. Indulgence? Yes, I know this word. I have "planned indulgences." When faced with chemical additives in sugar-free ice cream, I have chosen just old fashioned Blue Bell for my family. I can't afford to double shop for food and I will not feed my toddler something that will give her gas and runny stools. Nope. Instead, I'm trying to practice moderation in my indulgences. Sweets can remain in the house for days without being consumed or I just can skip some of the treats. Moderation doesn't work for everyone and I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy ice cream and cookies if you can't dole them out slowly and responsibly. I feel that WHEN I reach maintenance, there will be no shocks to my system because I feel I can continue balanced, moderated eating habits for the rest of my life. I've only exiled the following foods from my kitchen and plate: sliced bread (wraps rule, though), biscuits (have you ever push the nurse-call button behind a biscuit?), over-cooked chicken, beef (anything), canned vegetables (when I run out of all those given to me at Christmas time) and carbonated drinks.
There was a time when I feared I might start losing weight so quickly I wouldn't be in control of it. Being sick and getting all these comments about "looking great" became a little overwhelming. I may have attempted to sabotage my weight loss just to get some control over my own life. I'm getting better (emotionally also) and I think I can lose more than 100 pounds in my first full year with this lap band.
Growing in grace: The Bible defines grace as unmerited favor -- not earned. I feel like I've received more than my serving of this dish. My weight-loss support system is huge. It started with my family and doctors' practices. When I've been a whinny baby, only my husband, the Vista Hospital staff, the MISI staff and the Associates in Internal Medicine staff have witnessed it and they have all been incredible.
The support system of ObesityHelp.com and its members has always been a constant in this journey. I received pages of email while in the hospital and I've met and spoken to several OH.com members who are no longer Internet friends -- they are just good friends.
My pals in journalism became my extended family and did everything from preparing meals, keeping me encouraged and combing my baby's hair. You may think it's a God-less profession, but ... oh yeah, that's right ... it is. (smile)
My favorite flavor of ice cream is still Moo-lineum Crunch. It just lasts a lot longer in the freezer. Ok, I feel less like a weight-loss phony now.
What's next in my journey? I want to play tennis, I want to workout -- I want to do all the things I can't do right now attached to a wound vac. There's a lesson in human nature there. I hope those desires hold when the machine goes.
My open wound is healing at a remarkable speed and I hope to be free of the wound VAC machine within a month. Check back to see if I'm playing tennis then.