The intake was five days before the first appointment. If you know me, you know I have a God awful memory. The funny thing is, I recall nearly every detail of that day and so much of that first week. I won't bore you with all that led up to getting to the appointment, but I felt almost numb by the time I got there. The intake was just checking vitals and doing some blood work. My blood pressure was very high, as it had gotten in those recent months. So high, a doctor was called in, and I was told I needed to lay down until they could get it down far enough to let me leave. If it wouldn't come down enough, they were going to send me by ambulance to an emergency room. It took several re-checks but eventually came down enough that they agreed to let me leave, if I went to my local urgent care to address the issue (where my doctor works out of). Before heading to urgent care, I went through the Taco Bell drive-thru for breakfast (even though I'd eaten breakfast earlier) and a Pepsi. Yes, the thought of getting sent to an emergency room, didn't even shape me up. My doctor was not working urgent care, but another Dr. I'd seen before was working. He blasted me for not coming in sooner. He was right, although I couldn't admit it at the time. I should've come in much sooner. I knew how bad it was. My systolic had been over 200 earlier that month. He adjusted my meds and made another appt for me to see my own Dr. that Mon. I remember the rest of the day, vividly, too.
My first appointment with the weight loss specialist went pretty well. I liked her quite a bit (although my following appointments all ended up being with another counselor). At this appointment, I had to face my fears and get on a scale in front of someone - not just anyone - a super skinny woman. I was shaking. It was such a desperate feeling. This was the reason I was there, though. I needed accountability. I couldn't seem to be accountable to myself, and I'm someone who hate to let people down, so I needed to be accountable to another person. This worked for me.
That first week, was actually a pretty terrible week in my life. I've looked back on it many times, and thought the timing of everything happened for a reason. As someone who always turned to food for comfort, had it not been for starting NowCare that week, I would've surely gained weight-and kept gaining it. Again, the details surrounding that week are so clear to me, even as I write. It's a week that kept seemingly bleeding into this year.
I've thought about the year and how I would describe it. What first popped into my mind, was it was a year of tears. I think I cried more this year, than the 44 years before, combined. I used to never, cry, mind you. In fact, at one point, I had realized I hadn't shed a tear in a couple of years. This year has been such an anomaly. It's a wound that doesn't want to heal completely, but it sure the hell should have by now. I also think, it's because as I mentioned earlier- I lost my comfort-food. It's hard to find a place for emotions to go, when you've spent a lifetime, soothing them with food. I no longer had that option. It has been a really hard thing to adjust to, slowly but surely, I find other - healthier - outlets for my emotions.
The year has been so much more than that, though. Tears won't define my year. I had a Dr's appointment a couple of weeks ago. I told him I was frustrated I wasn't off of my bp meds yet (it makes me crazy that I still have to take them). He looked at me, as if I were nuts and said, "A year ago you were in here and it was 180/120, and today it was 117/74." I thought about it and how high I knew my bp had actually gotten, and it was a great reminder of how far I'd come. A year ago, I had tingling in my arm, among a host of other things. There was a wellness fair at work recently, and they did blood panels right there. The nurse told me she wished her numbers were that good, and I didn't need to improve upon anything. (A year ago, the numbers basically said I was going to have a short life.)
I've been able to do so much more this year than I could've even imagined. I have an energy that I don't ever remember having. The weight loss has allowed me to find the confidence to try different workout classes, go to a gym, to put on shorts....little things most wouldn't think twice about. Most importantly, I was able to go home (to Alaska) and have the energy to keep up with everyone and be as busy as I wanted to be. The past couple of trips home, I had to sideline myself at times. Getting to zip line recently was so huge to me. I'll never forget the humiliation of being too big for every fucking zip line in Maui. The embarrassment of learning this in front of my little sister.... I missed out on such a big opportunity to adventure with her and her family. I've been able to hike the fuck out of some pretty amazing places this past year. The list really goes on and on. I feel good about living it to the fullest. There have been so many wonderful days. Days/nights where I've felt the love and known I'm doing my best to see all life has to offer.
Recently, on a couple of separate occasions, local friends have introduced me to some of their friends. Early in the conversations with the new people, they have brought up the fact that I've lost 100 pounds. It's a very weird feeling to know this is how I'm being described to people, or talked about. I've gotten very uncomfortable each time, but eventually the discomfort fades away after they start asking questions. None of the people who have asked these questions, have been overweight, but most people can relate to having issues with food or diet. We all have our own struggles. It's something I need to keep reminding myself. I see someone who isn't heavy, and I can't even begin to imagine that they have their own food issues. We all have issues, though. I'm learning this more and more, as different people have approached or written me.
Before starting at NowCare, I was already down 30 pounds (after I'd already started gaining weight back). In this past year, I've lost an additional 80 pounds. 110 pound weight loss is very hard for me to wrap my head around. It doesn't seem real to me. This is an average of a 1 1/2 pound loss a week. It sure doesn't seem like much, but thank God it adds up. I'm happy with the way it's all unfolded. It has been a little frustrating lately as things have slowed and gotten more difficult to see results, though. Today my counselor suggested I started adding more calories back into my diet to wake up my metabolism. I know me...and giving a food addict license to eat more, sure seems like a bad idea. I really hunkered down this last week to lose the two pounds I'd gained on vacation. I know if I'm dedicated enough, I'll get to my goal. I'm hoping to be satisfied once I hit my goal weight in another 17-18 pounds.
It's hard to know that I was bigger than a lot of Biggest Loser contestants or professional football players. My husband often makes comments about heavy people's weight, not knowing that I weighed more than them. I would shrink inside and wonder what he saw in me. It's true. I think I married Shallow Hal. If he ever saw the weight in me, he never let on. I've been really lucky that way, with him.
I've rambled on long enough. Today has been really big for me in a lot of ways, and I definitely felt the need to write. Thank you for taking the time to read.
I'll leave you with something I've mentioned many times....if I can do it, anyone can. It's no joke. I went into this kicking and screaming. I didn't think I was ready to make the changes. I got the shit kicked out of me this year, and still, I didn't use it as an excuse to eat poorly. You matter. You're worth it. If you feel you need to make a change, start right now. Start tomorrow. Hell, start Saturday. Just start soon. You owe it to yourself. It pains me to know there are people out there, who feel as sick as I felt. You can get better.
Oh, and sorry one more thing- I'm so grateful to every person who has been with or alongside me in this journey. I'm thankful for those who checked in on me on weigh-in days, those who walked at a pretty slow pace to stay with me on hikes, and those who have always treated me as if I were human, even though I felt far from it. You can be that help to someone. It goes a long ass way. A good friend of mine recently wrote me a very moving email. Among other things, she mentioned how she likes that she's seen me on the other side of the camera recently. Honestly, for years, I hated to have my picture taken (and still don't really love it). I would even think about how I was going to die (surely from weight related issues) and my kids would have hardly any pictures of me. So...I had a co-worker take these of me today. I don't even know if I could do a before and after-as I really didn't have many photos in recent years. It took a lot for me to not suck in for these pics- but here's for you my friend. Oh, and the coworker insisted I turn around, so I would have a picture of my ass. lol. You may as well see that, too. Ha. Your eyes, your eyes, I know they're burning :)