Friday, August 12, 2011
The other day, I was at Costco checking out. The cashier took a double take when she looked at my membership photo.
"Wow," she said, "You've lost weight!"
The response began to formulate in my head. "Well, actually I've lost weight and now I've gained weight back. I was 248 when that picture was taken, my highest weight ever, but I got down to 190. Then I injured my ACL and stopped tracking food on Sparkpeople and eventually over the past year I've gained back 25 pounds. I feel fat and disgusting and like a failure. Even though I'm exercising like crazy and I've completely healed from my ACL surgery and now I'm jogging and spinning and mountain biking and hiking, I'm still not losing weight and I'm feeling panicky and desperate and I wish I'd had the self control to keep up with the SP tracker, and even though you're complementing me I don't feel like I've lost weight at all."
Of course, I didn't say any of that, as she handed back the card to me after showing it to the box boy (man) who said, "Wow, good job!".
I saw this grainy black and white picture of myself looking unhappy, a little like an obese convict.
And I said, "Thanks!"
And I walked out of Costco, tearing up a little at how hard on myself I am, realizing that no matter how much of a failure I currently feel like, I am still 33 pounds lighter than I was.
Yes, I have lost weight.
Monday, April 04, 2011
I have been absent from Sparkpeople for a long time now. A lot has happened since my last blog entry describing my ACL injury.
I did Physical Therapy for a good 2 1/2 months trying to get myself strong enough that I wouldn't need knee surgery. No matter how strong I was, though (pressing 210 on the leg press machine, doing squats, exercising on the elliptical & stationary bicycle), I kept re-injuring myself. If I planted my left foot and twisted (necessary to do my Jillian Michaels workout, I might add!), my knee would do this little "clunk" thing and I'd be in pain.
I finally had an MRI the last week of December. Lo and behold, I didn't just have an ACL strain, it was a full tear. And I also had meniscus damage, probably resulting from one of my re-injuries because of my instability. Some people can cope without an ACL--I was obviously one of the non-copers.
So I scheduled ACL surgery for mid-February. I kept on exercising up until my surgery and went into it really strong. I was able to put some weight on it beginning the day after surgery, and I was able to completely straighten my leg (uncommon right after surgery) and bend it 110 degrees one week after surgery (they're happy with 90 degrees).
I'm almost 6 weeks out from surgery now, and though my knee still gives me some pain, I'm glad I had the surgery done. The instability issue is completely resolved, and I'm back to being able to use the stationary bicycle and walk in my neighborhood & on the treadmill.
This week my Physical Therapist & I agreed that I've done so much PT I really only need to see him once a week, and then go to the gym 1-2 more times per week to do my exercises.
The real challenge for me is that since my accident, I have put on 15 pounds. It wasn't the injury alone (and the inability to exercise as strenuously as I had been) that caused the weight gain--it was that I stopped wanting to say no to myself. I started working part-time in September, and some days it was just easier to stay home than go to the gym, even when I was perfectly capable of doing low-impact cardio and weights.
I also stopped tracking my food on Sparkpeople. It's a lot easier to stick sugary treats in your mouth if you have to face that truth-telling nutrition tracker!
Currently, I'm on day 7 of a 40 day sugar fast. I decided that I needed to do something "drastic" to let myself know I DO have self control and that my health is important to me. I'm not able to exercise as heavily because my knee starts to ache after too much exercise. But I CAN control my weight by choosing healthy, nutritious foods and slowly increasing my activity as much as my knee allows.
As discouraging as it has been to gain weight, I can still look back at those pictures from when I weighed 249 and see the HUGE different 45 pounds has made in my face & body. I'm changing the way I talk to myself, and I'm beginning to believe that I am going to be back on track soon!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
So, long story. . .
I was just getting back on track after my surgery in August--walking regularly, doing lots of cardio, but still overindulging on food. At least I was basically maintaining weight. When. . .
One Saturday afternoon I was at a friend's house. The kiddos were all jumping on the trampoline and I wasn't going to get my regular Saturday afternoon workout in, so I alternated getting my heart rate up by jumping on the trampoline with sitting back down with the grown-ups and visiting.
My third time up on the trampoline, I was jumping away when suddenly I landed wrong and my leg buckled underneath me. I couldn't walk, had to hobble into the house with help. My friend took me to the ER, where I was scolded by practically every health-care professional I saw. "Trampolines? Don't you know they're dangerous?"
Turns out I had an ACL/LCL strain. For those who don't know, the ACL is a stabilizing ligament that goes from your thigh bone to your leg bones in the middle of the knee. Without a tight ACL, I kept on having recurrences where my leg would buckle under me and I'd be in pain again.
The immediate emotion I had upon being injured was "Oh, no, I'm not going to be able to exercise." And sure enough, that leg injury kept me on crutches for a couple of weeks, with a leg brace for a few weeks more, when I finally was healed enough to start physical therapy. The challenge I had was that while you can control your weight simply through diet, THAT HAS NOT BEEN MY MAIN MEANS OF WEIGHT LOSS. All along, my weight loss has been mostly through exercise and SMALL dietary changes. To be unable to exercise was terrifying, because it meant weight GAIN.
I started PT at the end of October. I had a good session doing squats and stretches and step-ups and feeling like finally I was working on my muscle tone, if nothing else. Only a few sessions into PT, I had a pretty severe re-injury (while teaching the kid's class at church--crazy). I felt so overwhelmed, so frustrated. I had been back to walking/hiking. I had even gone to spin class and done my Jillian Michaels workout a couple of times.
That re-injury was about three weeks ago. Once again, I was getting stronger. I took it slower this time, just working on tiny muscle isolations--my hamstrings, my quads, my calves. PT took up several mornings a week when I would typically have gone to the gym, and I still haven't been back to the gym in probably 5-7 weeks.
Last Saturday I went on a good 3 mile hike. Felt strong. Sunday night I went to an activity at my son's school where I had to be down on the floor on my hands and knees pulling up duct tape from the carpeting. Monday when I went to PT my back was feeling a little bit off. By the time I was done with PT, I was having full-blown muscle spasms and could barely drive myself home, much less walk upright. I'm getting better, but slowly.
So here I am, having had three to four physical set-backs in the last four months. For a long time, I kept on eating as if I were still exercising 45 minutes 4-6 days a week. That meant I was up a good 10 pounds from my low of 189.8, and seeing 200+ if I was silly enough to step on a scale at night time. My new clothes were starting to feel tight, and I was frightened and desperate. Finally after these last two episodes, something clicked.
I realized--there are people in the world in wheelchairs. There are people with chronic pain disorders or other things that keep them from EVER being able to exercise. So what's my excuse? I started listening to my body and only feeding it when I was hungry. I started learning to stop immediately when I start to feel full. I started drinking water, and STOPPED eating my son's Halloween candy. And in a matter of two weeks, I'm down 5 pounds!
I also started the "Would you rather?" Diet. When I feel like eating something, I ask "Would you rather eat this? Or would you like to be cute?" (Right now, being cute seems to be winning out.)
So this is the good thing about getting stuck. I've had to figure out how to work around my new limited life. I'm realizing that if I can maintain/lose with very little exercise, I will be able to gradually add activity back as my knee and back allow. And in the meantime, I don't have to feel so "stuck" anymore. :)
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Coming into my house after a morning walk, I caught a glimpse of a girl. Her cheeks were pink, her brown hair a little windblown. She looked bright-eyed and happy. Her sporty black warm-up jacket hugged her curves. She looked like someone I once knew, and despite the extra wrinkles around her eyes and on her forehead, she was beautiful.
As of today, I have officially lost 60 pounds in the last year and a half. This is what I weighed when I got married 15 years ago. The girl I saw, who looks fit and happy and healthy, has been waiting a long time to show up in my mirror.
Feeling good today!
Monday, May 17, 2010
I started at 249 pounds in March of 2009, and currently I weigh 195.6. My goal weight is 141 pounds (a little arbitrary, but I saw a picture of someone who was 5'6" and weighed 141, and she looked great--not too skinny, but fit & healthy. Sixteen years ago I got down to 155, and I still felt pudgy, so I think 140-ish is a good goal weight).
I was just looking at my ticker, and realized that 195 is the halfway point from 249 to 141. Fifty-four pounds lost, fifty-four to go. Now that could discourage me. After all, this 54 pounds has taken 14 months, countless hours of exercise, saying no to treats, healthy cooking, changing my life entirely.
But then I thought about my Friday workouts at the gym. I hop on the elliptical, program it for 60 minutes and get started. Sometimes the first 30 minutes seem the hardest, as I watch the time slowly count backwards. 50 minutes, 40 minutes, 30 minutes. But once I start to see 2-something, a little hope rises up in me. I'm going to make it. I might feel exhausted, but I'm not giving up now--after all, I'm more than halfway there. :)
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