Sunday, November 18, 2012
Many thanks to all who took the time to read my blog!! You are so inspirational to me!!!!
It's being virtually surrounded by your guys' encouragement and support and being enveloped in the Love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that makes success possible in my life at all.
I'm in the hospital - my new home away from home. Following the August 2nd hernia repair, the October 12the hernia-repair repair, and the November 13th gall bladder removal surgery, I'm all "surgeried" out. LOL.
Actually, though, I believe there's a reason for everything that happens. When Jarrod, my husband, brought me to the emergency room on Thursday, November 15th, I had no idea I'd be admitted for having a 105° fever. Even so, it has been a blessing in disguise. I have had the honor of getting to know some of the most compassionate, conscientious, and devoted health care professionals EVER. I mean that with all sincerity. I am in the "short stay " wing of this hospital where they deal with individuals entering g the hospital through the emergency room. Their work and attitudes have been exemplary, specifically, Nurse Stacy. So while I've spent the last few days in some discomfort, I've been blessed with great company that has given me a renewed faith in the capacity for love for one another in the human heart. The Lord knew that I needed this mending of the soul as much as I needed the healing taking place in my body.
Speaking of the healing of the body, the culprit that caused the fever has not yet been identified, but the fever is much lower consistently.
Thanks again to you all for your thoughts and prayers. You are also in mine. Let's proceed on this journey to all-around wellness.
Good night, All.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Hello, fellow Sparker! I'm Tina. Like so many here, I’ve struggled with controlling my weight as far back as I can remember. I made several attempts with many different specialized diets and attended numerous weight loss programs that were very nutritionally sound. Nearly all of these programs were good programs and worked. Did you hear that? ALL of the programs WORKED…for some, even many, people. I was not successful in any of those programs. I have determined that the reason I was not successful in them is because they were dietetically-based, but lacked the critical component of instruction in HOW to implement successful life style changes.
It wasn’t a matter of not knowing that I needed to limit my caloric intake and to exercise (sound familiar?). Knowing and doing are two very separate actions, right? Instead, for me, it was a matter of not knowing how to change my life style to be able to accomplish those goals…rather than just going on a strict diet, by committing to a rigid exercise program, AND maintaining that initial passionate, fiery motivation to make these monumental changes all at once.
Many times, I jumped into the “Flash fire” of all-or-nothing regimens by changing everything at once, and allowing for absolutely no mistakes or do-overs. The result, of course, was really quick burn out. Like others whose stories I’ve read, I would commit to abiding by a very strict diet and exercise program and not allow for flexibility in any way. Of course, this didn’t work for me… quite the opposite; I would lose a certain amount of weight each time I jumped into the flash fire, and then, as the embers of that fiery motivation cooled, I would put the weight back on, and then gain a little more on top of that!
By the time I was thirty-three years old, I decided that I’d done all I could to try to help myself to be healthier, as I ended up less healthy each time I tried. All of my health issues, in addition to the weight were beginning to cripple me, and I knew that if I didn’t do something very soon to become healthier, I was not going to continue to live to see my son grow up. Thus, with the help of my medical team, I determined that I needed surgical intervention. In 2002, I made the decision to apply for bariatric weight loss surgery. Because of my insurance, I could only have this surgery within a specific medical network, which was just beginning the process of implementing their bariatric weight loss program. As such, it took me two and a half years to have the surgery after making the decision to go through with it.
On December 6, 2004, I had the gastric bypass surgery that was the gold standard at that time. I lost weight very quickly; one hundred fifty pounds in the first year alone. I loved the compliments that I received on my successful weight loss. The weight loss slowed and stabilized. By 2008, I had lost around 190 pounds. I was ecstatic!
I couldn’t believe how it was that people put weight back on after this surgery. It was a puzzle…that is, until it started happening to me. In the first three years, I was reasonably compliant with my post-surgery diet, and had begun exercising. However, I reached a point where I would push past “full” and eat an entire kids meal hamburger. Not a lot to eat, right? The stomach is a very flexible part of the body. It expands and contracts with the food it is given. Well, when your stomach has been reduced to 1-2 ounces, eating even a whole small hamburger will stretch out your stomach, leaving you with that happy, full, food coma kind of feeling. When you eat that amount consistently, it will permanently stretch out your stomach. That’s what started to happen to me. After my stomach stretched a little, I could finish that entire hamburger and feel comfortable, then add just a few fries and get that fuzzy, over-full feeling. My stomach stretched yet more. I was setting a pattern…slowly but surely, my stomach stretched out enough that I could actually eat an entire kid’s meal. I could even have soda every once in a while… which stretched my stomach even more. Then the sodas became more prevalent in my food intake. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE PUT WEIGHT BACK ON AFTER BARIATRIC SURGERY. They return to their pre-surgical eating patterns. The reason: Bariatric surgery is STOMACH surgery, NOT BRAIN SURGERY.
Let me take you back to the period of 2002-2004. During this time, I went to many required bariatric support meetings, group therapy meetings, a special program to help me determine why it is that I had a weight problem, individual counseling, and a doctor-supervised weight-loss program. These were to prepare me for the dietary changes that I would need to make after surgery. They told me exactly what changes needed to be made, but they didn’t tell me how I was supposed to achieve those changes. I am not telling you this because I want you to be awed by my preparation time…I’m telling you this because even with two and a half years of preparing and training medically for the changes following weight loss surgery, I still gained weight back after losing it.
In all fairness, I didn’t gain it ALL back, but I gained back a lot more than I let anyone else know that I had. I couldn’t let people know that I gained back ninety+ of the one hundred ninety pounds that I’d lost! It was in a relatively short period of time; about a year and a half. How humiliating! I didn’t tell my family, friends, co-workers, not even my husband and my very best friend in the world. I was too humiliated to tell the entire truth…so I told them I’d gained “some” weight back, and sometimes I’d even make up a number to seemingly minimize my “transgression”. I even told Spark People that I’d gained back less than I actually had. I’m very ashamed of having been deceitful about my weight gain with everyone, including you beautiful, understanding, encouraging, and non-judgmental Spark People. Please forgive me.
From the Spark People (the website) and actual Spark People (you guys are AWESOME!), I’ve learned how to stop jumping into flash fires to burn out and start setting small, attainable goals and to reach them through small, reasonable actions, one change at a time. I’ve learned that it’s not all or nothing. I’ve learned that I can exercise flexibility in my food choices and exercise.
It’s not an unforgiveable crime to eat a brownie. I’ve learned that after eating a brownie, I don’t have to punish myself the rest of the day, week, or month by binging on unhealthy foods. That’s exactly what I’m doing when I binge…I am doing harm to my body…punishing it for having taken in one morsel of a deliciously fattening food. I’ve learned that it’s ONE CHOICE at a time. There is a choice when I take the first bite of that brownie, there’s a choice when I take the second bite, and so forth. After each and every bite, I have the privilege, power, and authority to make the decision to throw the rest of the brownie away…or to enjoy it and know that the next choice I make will be a healthy one. I’ll repeat…it’s not a crime to have a brownie if I really want one.
What is a crime, to me, is to treat my body like a garbage disposal; punishing myself for making one less-healthy choice. It’s a crime to not exercise my right to do right by my body, mind, and spirit.
What’s my point? I guess my point is that I’ve been beating myself up over having had the surgery while I’ve seen so many individuals here lose weight without the aid of surgical intervention. The stigma of losing weight with the surgery has weighed heavy on me and has made me feel ashamed of myself for not having had the strength to lose weight without that help. While I’ve had bariatric surgery for weight loss, my journey to health has been and continues to be challenging. I had the initial weight loss, which I believe saved my life. I’ve learned now, after gaining so much weight back, and this far out from surgery, I have exactly the same issues that everyone else has. ~indygirl’s blog inspired me to write this blog…I’m no longer going to be ashamed of HOW I have lost and how I continue to lose weight and become healthier. Thanks, Beth!
I’m neither for nor against bariatric surgery. I did it. It saved my life. I’d never try to talk someone into our out of having the surgery. While we’re on this journey together, everyone’s path is their own. Everyone’s success should be celebrated, no matter how they achieved that success. Recently I had the opportunity to have a surgical revision to undo the damage that I did by stretching out my stomach pouch. Because I’ve been successful at losing the weight by making Spark People’s suggested small changes and sticking with them consistently, I chose to forego the revision. It’s not that I no longer believe weight loss surgery has a place in some peoples’ paths. It’s that I don’t want to take the risks associated with the surgery when I am able to achieve the same result without having it. I am thrilled to say that because of applying Spark People’s principles to my life, I’ve been able to make those life style changes that are necessary for me to lose weight, just like everyone else. I am happy to report that I have achieved an over-all weight loss of one hundred sixty one pounds…and I'm still going because of all the encouragement and support from all the wonderful Spark People I’ve had the honor of meeting.
Thank you, Spark People!!! Thank you, ~indygirl!
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Talk about changing things up in your life...
On August 31, 2012, I took my last class for my degree in Business Information Systems. It was a long haul, and it feels great to have completed all the classes. If I can get in the testing I need to gain a few more elective credits, I'll be able to graduate in December. I'm SO EXCITED about this!
Towards the end of September, I left employment with the State of Indiana. My job was incredibly stressful, impossible to accomplish due to lack of staffing, and wasn't a very good fit for me due to the politics involved. As such, I decided it would be best to resign due to the impact the stress was having on my family and my health. I really didn't like the job as a board director at all. While I enjoyed what I considered the accomplishment of being promoted twice within the agency, I was much happier in my previous job as an assistant board director.
So, now it's on to bigger and better things...I hope. I'll be praying that the Lord will guide my wonderful husband and me in what to do and where to go next. I'll be spending the immediate future working with ~indygirl on SparkPeople member conferences, completing the required testing to complete my degree requirements, and looking for a new job. I'm hoping to put to use my newly acquired education in Business Information Systems!
Between now and October 27th I need to get some medical issues resolved. On August 2nd, I had a hernia repair surgery. The hernia repair was successful, but the incision hasn't yet healed. It seems to be taking forever! I had some testing done this week due to some abdominal pain and they determined that I have "Sludge" and some gall stones in my gall bladder. I'll have more testing on that, and likely surgery to follow.
Thanks to all who have taken the time to read my lengthy blog. I'm so happy to be part of the SparkPeople family. Thanks to you all! I'll be praying for all of us as we move towards a healthier lifestyle.
Take care, All!
Monday, September 19, 2011
Wow! The rally in Fort Wayne on Saturday was small, but it was powerful! Thank you to all who participated and made it such a fantastic success. I LIVE for these rallies! I get so little time to be on SparkPeople.com, but I just HAD to check in to let you know how much I loved the privilege of meeting all you wonderful people. You inspired me to stay up past my bedtime to write a blog!
Every single person there was precious! To show what a small world it is...It took going all the way to Fort Wayne from Indianapolis to meet someone in the Indianapolis area who not only lives in the city but also WORKS IN THE SAME BUILDING as I do! I won't mention names...Lisa...you know who you are! LOL
Everyone keep on sparking...I may not be on the website a lot, but I'm sparking right along with you.
Love to all!
Friday, June 03, 2011
Hello, fellow Sparker! I'm Tina. My weight loss (and gain and loss) journey has been fraught with challenges, many of which you have likely encountered, also.
Bariatric surgery was part of my journey at the end of 2004. I had reached a high weight of 382 pounds. I couldn’t walk all the way to my office from the parking garage; needing to sit down and rest about half way there. It was not only a great health concern to my friends, family, and me. It was also terribly embarrassing. On December 6, 2004 I had the bariatric surgery.
By December of 2007, I’d lost about 190 pounds. After some traumatic family events that occurred in 2008, I found a way to start gaining the weight back. I began trying “new” post-surgery things that happened to be part of my old eating habits. They were disguised and tricky because I could no longer eat a huge meal. So I ate very small, 4-ounce meals. This didn’t seem like very much to eat. The problem came when I started eating way too many of those 4-ounce meals in a day. I started drinking with my meals again, which was a big no-no post surgery. I started eating sugary foods again. I stopped getting in enough protein. I started drinking pop again. Sadly, it was like old times.
By mid 2010, I had gained back 70 pounds of that lost weight. It had been gained, unnoticed by me. Only when my clothes started getting tight did I take any notice at all. Then I thought to myself, I still feel pretty good. However, by September of 2010, I was so uncomfortable and I’d started hurting again like I used to. It was not only uncomfortable. It was humiliating. People at work that had been my biggest fans during my weight loss stopped even talking to me. It was almost like they were angry or disgusted with me for having gained some of my weight back. I consoled myself by saying, “I’ve still lost a lot of weight.” But that was denial talking. I was feeling those old feelings of defeat and failure.
I’d been introduced to SparkPeople by my friend Beth a couple of years earlier. I would play around with it, set goals, and then stop using it. However, in September of 2010, I started thinking about it and doing it more seriously. I’d had “The Spark” that I’d pre-ordered at the 2009 Cincinnati SparkPeople convention. I actually read it! Everything that Chris talked about seemed so simple. I thought to myself, “Could it really be this simple?” Well, while it’s not at all easy, it’s simple and it is most certainly doable!
Since September of 2010, I’ve lost 31 pounds of the 70 that I’d regained, putting me at 241 pounds. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on the SparkPeople website due to having a full-time job, a family, and going back to school full-time. So, I visit the SparkPeople website when I do actually have the time. I read the articles and the blogs. Occasionally, I find the time to post something…like now. While I don’t have much time to spend on the SparkPeople website, I do spend a lot of time instituting Spark concepts in everyday life. For instance, even though I don’t track them every single day, I keep my own Spark streaks going…making small changes at a time…then moving on to new small changes, one at a time.
That’s exactly how I’m going to lose the rest of the weight that I need to lose to be healthy! I’m going to read Spark blogs and Spark articles when I have the time. I’m going to refer back to The Spark book when I have time. And I’m going to continue to make small changes until I reach my goal. Then, I’m going to maintain those changes until they are no longer changes, but rather, normal life!
We can ALL do this thing! Join me in what I know will be a successful journey for all of us if we just stick with it!
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