How I Found Freedom--and Realized We All Have Choices

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/1/2011 9:00 AM   :  232 comments   :  17,455 Views

I’ve come a long way since topping out at 460 pounds. With SparkPeople, I’ve lost 150 pounds and gained Freedom. Freedom is my seated, wheeled walker. I went from completely bed-ridden to completely dependent on a wheelchair to being able to sometimes use a walker and now sometimes not even having to do that.

So what was it like? My first time walking without my walker or a wheelchair? It was WONDERFUL! It was all encompassing and so worth every bit of pain I felt. You see, I had been trapped in my room for so long and in my house for even longer. I had the occasional wheelchair trip out or walker trip, but those were few and far between. This walk meant my choices were coming back to me.

Now please don't think I’m a playing a victim--I am not. I used to play the victim, but now I realize things are my choice. I also realize that sometimes people need help getting started (or a hand) along the way). So as you read this blog post, understand that I am simply explaining how my life got where it did and how I came back from it to lose 150 pounds. I am not condemning or condoning any lifestyle.

I remember giving up my choices. That’s actually what living an unhealthy life is about. (Wow, I just now realized that as I write this.) I wanted to avoid the pain of moving because I have so many chronic illnesses: 3 herniated disks, 2 pinched nerve bundles, degenerative joint disease, bad knees, sciatica, fibromyalgia and arthritis, and clinical major depression among others. I lived in my bedroom for all intents and purposes. It was easier to be in bed to relieve the pain than move and eat healthfully. Since I had to stand to cook and standing hurt, I didn’t cook; I thrived on foods that were quick and unhealthy.

At first it seemed freeing to just be in bed, but when it became difficult to even walk to the kitchen or drive to work, I got scared. Soon I was packing on weight, because I was not moving and eating unhealthy foods. I was being treated for my illnesses with steroids, which added to the weight gain. Things seemed hopeless and I would cry as my steering wheel pressed against the hernias in my stomach as I drove to and from work. Finally I quit my job. The pain of sitting was too much.

I couldn't see it then, but now I see how I gave up my choices and gave in to an unhealthy lifestyle. If I had to go back, I would have fired my doctor soon, found one who could see beyond the scales and listened to my BFF from high school, Lioness822, sooner about joining SparkPeople. My doctors were not taking care of my pain so I could move. They were also not recommending physical therapy that was suitable for me. They simply wanted me to diet and exercise. Well, with chronic pain and steroids, that simply isn’t possible unless you treat the underlying causes, which in my case also included deep depression.

Now, my team of doctors are carefully chosen--and fired if they don't seem compassionate and helpful. I do not stay with anyone I don’t like or who has a problem treating obese patients as whole people instead of just fat people. Now I choose to get out of bed and cook healthful meals. I also choose not to use the wheelchair for everything. Freedom, my walker, is getting jealous because I can walk in my house--and in and out of buildings now.

That first walk without Freedom, the walker, was full of freedom, the spirit! I felt freer than ever. I knew I was never going to take my choices for granted again. It was like you feel on an amusement park ride on the inside. Gosh, I miss amusement parks. Just watch, I’ll be blogging about my first visit to one sooner than we think.

I use physical therapy moves and yoga and seated cardio to compliment what I can do. What I CAN DO is MY CHOICE. What I can’t do is not my choice. I look at things that look impossible and ask myself “What can I do?” Maybe the answer is only part of it, but at least I have a choice now. Maybe I have to break whatever it is down. Maybe I have to think out of the box. Most of the time though, I throw the box away.

If you think you have no choice, think again. Look at these choices I made:


Me at my heaviest in the wheelchair.


Me working the weight off using Freedom.


Me standing free with my SparkPeople friend, McCourt.

How have you found freedom? Did you feel as though you had run out of choices? How did you find motivation?


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Comments

  • 232
    So happy for you and so glad you had the courage to share with us. I wonder what further progresses you have made since this was first written? - 1/30/2014   2:39:05 PM
  • DETOX55
    231
    You are a true inspiration!

    I have just commented on a different blog about why I find very overweight people hard to deal with...

    The fact you have taken responsibility for yourself - and recognised the importance of mental health in all this - is absolutely wonderful...:-)

    I applaud you and all the AMAZING progress you are making!!!

    Good luck on your further journey towards freedom...and may it be a life long decision...:-) - 4/23/2013   12:25:02 AM
  • 230
    Congratulations and keep up the fabulous healthy lifestyle,your a winner!!!! - 3/8/2013   11:46:12 AM
  • MARIACONCETTA12
    229
    What an inspirational story!! You are so right about the choices we make and need to be accountable for them. I have wanted to lose weight but have not put my mind to doing it. Therefore not losing it. Your story motivated me to make the choice to lose the weight I have been talking about for years. Thank you and good luck on the rest of your weight loss. - 2/25/2013   6:55:18 AM
  • 228
    Pretty amazing story! I look forward to seeing you on the roller coaster riders' spark team in a few more months! - 2/3/2013   9:13:25 AM
  • 227
    I can somewhat relate to having your choices taken away, Although mine were not permanent and yes to get pregnant was my first choice, However I did not(no one did) realize I was going to spend 6 months on the coach/bed. I dreaded getting out of bed only to walk down stairs to lay on the couch every day. But I had to make the right decision for my baby and my self. And that was to stay put. I remember thinking everyday I can't wait till I can walk again, Or stand.And that was 9 years ago. My family still tells me now that it is hard to keep me sitting in one place for too long. LOL I have to try to remember to sit to eat. I hated being trapped. At least that is how I viewed it. I was frustrating and I don't like depending on other people to do what I can do my self.
    My third child was my last child and for the reason I mentioned above. So keep up the good work every minute of pain is one minute less and every miles is one mile closer to where you are headed. Good luck - 1/5/2012   12:03:34 PM
  • KICKNCURVES
    226
    Your story is an inspiration to me. I can feel your strength and confidence come through in your writing and that's a long, brave journey to make out of depression. You give me hope. Thanks for posting. - 10/19/2011   8:29:27 AM
  • 248MELISSA
    225
    you are truly inspirational !! - 10/18/2011   9:19:18 AM
  • 224
    You're leading an amazing life - all the sweeter for what you have overcome! You should be so proud!!!! - 10/17/2011   8:50:26 PM
  • 223
    You're leading an amazing life - all the sweeter for what you have overcome! You should be so proud!!!! - 10/17/2011   8:50:26 PM
  • JULIA1154
    222
    I've just re-read this post - and wanted to comment once again on how refreshing and helpful your insights are. Thank you, Beth, for taking the time to share the fruits of your journey with us. - 10/14/2011   3:23:57 PM
  • 221
    God Bless You for finding the strength to save your own life. Too many people depend on meds and docs to take care of them - you elected to take care of yourself and look how far you came -----------love your story. - 10/14/2011   2:57:14 PM
  • 220
    All I can say is, "WOW!!!" You have really impressed me. You are one of the few people that I know that has truly embraced a change for the good! Congratulations!
    - 10/4/2011   11:21:50 PM
  • LIMASTAR
    219
    Congrats on winning the battle. You look great!! - 10/2/2011   10:53:32 AM
  • 218
    Beth - you are an amazing woman and such an inspiration. I needed the reminder today that everything is a CHOICE. God bless you, and keep up the good work! - 9/28/2011   8:45:59 AM
  • LIVELYGIRL2
    217
    Beth,
    Thanks for having the courage and goodness to share your story. My very best friend is about his size.
    I have been looking for resources to help her. Most of them have gone nowhere. Usually because of the cost, or she can't leave her home.
    Recently, I heard about a program that is called, Senior Center Without Walls, that provides classes via phone.I am more than thrilled about this option.
    If you would know of any useful resources fo her, you may send me an e-mail through my spark Mail. My addie on here is livelygirl2 ( Sue). In particular I have tried to find a group that could clean her home. It is full. God bless you/ and I pray that things get more and more improved for you. I know it's diffucult to wait so long, but look at what you've accoplished than how far away your total goal may be. - 9/27/2011   2:34:07 PM
  • 216
    I love your comment about throwing the box away. . .I think it's great and I'm going to steal it!!! Thanks so much for your blogs and willingness to share your journey with all of us on SP :) - 9/25/2011   10:40:59 PM
  • 215
    Keep up the great work! - 9/25/2011   5:36:47 PM
  • TOOTHLADY3
    214
    What an inspiration! Yes, you are on a journey of weight loss and good health, and a winning one at that! But you should be proudest of you! I know many people of all sizes who do not possess the determination, the understanding, the kindness, and the honesty that you seem to! Blessings to all that is your future! - 9/8/2011   12:29:31 PM
  • 213
    Way to go, keep going! - 7/31/2011   1:24:10 PM
  • DAWNMADAMS
    212
    This is a great post and makes a lot of important points that I relate to as a medical provider and one who also struggles with chronic pain and movement to maintain health. It is critical that providers allow their patients the time to listen to their patients real needs and establish health goals with a plan. Medicating people who are in pain so that they can move is critical and complicated. Firing people who will not work with you as a person is a great and empowering step. It is rare though, I think, that people struggling with debilitating obesity, see the options available to them. On the flip side, providing pain medication without a plan is risky business, and causes even worse problems. A combination of medication, appropriate useful physical therapy and some type of counselling to process the other components of emotional wellness either with your medical provider or mental health professional is a three pronged approach I believe in very much. Thank you for your insight and inspiration. All the best:)
    www.weightthatsnottheissue.com / - 7/31/2011   8:56:07 AM
  • 211
    Great story! You are an inspiration to me as I have been there....my highest weight was over 350 lbs and add to that the fact that I have rheumatoid arthritis, which makes it difficult to walk or even just move at times.
    I've used a walker in the past also and understand the feeling of freedom when I no longer needed to use it after losing weight. I still cannot walk long distances without using some kind of assistance (a shopping cart, for instance at the supermarket or department store) or needing to sit and rest for a few minutes, where before I couldnt get from room to room in my house without my walker! Or, even get up from my chair easily!
    I'll always have the problem of getting around easily due to my RA, and I dont know what my future will bring because of it, but losing the weight did help somewhat and I am so glad that I did start my weight loss journey because if not, I'd still be tied to that walker.
    You look amazing and again, thank you for your great story, encouragement and inspiration! - 7/16/2011   11:48:13 AM
  • 210
    thank you for your continued inspiration....I am grateful today that I have the mobility and all the rest to live a healthy life.....thank you so much for being here. - 7/12/2011   1:28:01 PM
  • 209
    Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration. - 7/9/2011   6:50:30 PM
  • 208
    I think you are very inspiring.I haven't been where you are, but can only imagine. Keep it up. You are very strong and inspirational! Thank you for sharing this. My motto I used recently for my first 5k (that I have been dreaming about since 2005) was slow and steady wins the race! :D You can do it! - 7/8/2011   11:20:30 AM
  • 207
    Great Job turning your life around!!! Your article is inspiring and a great way to give back. Thanks so much!
    - 7/8/2011   8:38:19 AM
  • 206
    Doesn't freedom taste great. You are so very inspiring - congratulations for fighting your way back and kudos to your wonderful freinds!! - 7/8/2011   5:34:53 AM
  • 205
    I like your attitude . You are also a good writer & tell your story well. Keep up the good work. - 7/8/2011   1:17:36 AM
  • 2BFITNHAPPY
    204
    What an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Keep up the great work! - 7/7/2011   8:12:44 PM
  • 203
    This brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations on a fantastic life change. What an inspiration.
    I choose to think you are fantastic! - 7/7/2011   5:54:15 PM
  • GREENMOUSE
    202
    You put it so well: it's all about choices!
    Thanks for your wise words and CONGRATULATIONS! - 7/7/2011   10:13:12 AM
  • 201
    Congratulations! You are ABSOLUTELY an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your story. - 7/7/2011   8:33:47 AM
  • 200
    Wow!!! What a great blog/story!! Thank you for sharing! You are so inspiring and you have changed the lives of so many just by sharing! That takes really courage! Enjoy your new Freedom and get ready to kiss the old one good-bye!!! - 7/7/2011   7:21:42 AM
  • 199
    Thank you for sharing your story, I'm finally dealing with my weight after gaining weight for the last three years following a divorce. It's stories like yours that keep me motivated. - 7/7/2011   1:39:07 AM
  • ENJOYTHISDAY
    198
    thanks for posting your encouraging wonderful story, I wish you the very best - 7/6/2011   11:57:38 PM
  • KORINEM
    197
    Thank you for sharing your story. - 7/6/2011   10:07:02 PM
  • 196
    Amazing story. Keep up the good work. - 7/6/2011   9:27:20 PM
  • 195
    Amazing!!! I am happy for you! - 7/6/2011   8:45:30 PM
  • MFLEESAK
    194
    You are amazing and so inspiring!!! - 7/6/2011   8:42:45 PM
  • 193
    What an amazing story your life is! Thank you for being an open book for us to read! My story has some of the same chapters, pain, very overweight, not moving, taking my own choices away and now we both have chapters on success and healthing up!
    GOD Bless you Beth!

    - 7/6/2011   1:12:37 PM
  • 192
    What an amazing story! Keep up the great work, you look fantastic and are an inspiration! - 7/6/2011   11:56:30 AM
  • DESPRITNAN
    191
    What an amazing journey you are taking, keep up the good work ! - 7/6/2011   11:39:59 AM
  • 190
    Thank you for inspiring me to get up and move! - 7/6/2011   10:46:30 AM
  • 189
    You are an amazing and strong woman! You looked all your obstacles in the eye and said "Beat it"!!!
    I tip my hat to you and wish you all the all the best. - 7/5/2011   4:17:08 PM
  • 188
    Your story is so beautiful and inspiring! Focusing on what you can instead of what you can't do, and you are so right - slowly and steadily more and more possibilities can open up to you!

    You have chosen yourself, and you have chosen a greater, more challenging life! - 7/5/2011   12:49:23 PM
  • 187
    I used to weigh 400 lbs, and although I was never bedridden, nor do I have the list of ailments that you do, Beth, I definitely felt that my choices became more and more limited, the more I gained weight. The heavier I became, the more I sat and the less I did with my kids. It was the last straw to face yet another summer of sweatiness, stickiness, and discomfort that finally moved me to do something about my weight. I was sad that I couldn't go to amusement parks, too! Not only did I not fit into the rides, but I didn't have the stamina to walk around with my kids as they enjoyed the rides! Forget about finding a bathing suit to go swimming with my kids...I didn't even want to be seen in shorts, never mind a bathing suit. That meant being even less active - no swimming, no walking, no biking, no hiking - talk about limited choices! I truly think it was guilt (about the weight gain) and shame (about not being able to do things with my kids) that motivated me to figure out what I wanted to do about my weight. Keep up the great work, Beth - you look terrific, and you are a wonderful inspiration to so many of us here on Spark! - 7/5/2011   12:17:11 PM
  • 186
    Wow! Thank you for sharing. I am so happy for you recognizing the choices you made in the past and now making good healthful choices for yourself. Keep it up! - 7/5/2011   9:37:40 AM
  • 185
    Loved the comment & awakening to the realization that you had given up your choices. It's so easy to externalize the blame but you've chosen not to and the rewards are now there for you. Awesome! - 7/5/2011   9:19:47 AM
  • 184
    OK Short and sweet! - YOU ROCK! Love ya GF

    PS stop making me cry! - 7/5/2011   9:08:56 AM
  • 183
    I so enjoy your written thoughts ------ Thank you so much for sharing and Hurray for being an inspirational and caring person!!! - 7/5/2011   12:21:22 AM

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