Saturday, April 16, 2011
Before you get the wrong idea, these are tears of joy.
For the first time in my adult life, I am no longer in the "morbidly obese" category. I also weigh less than my husband for the first time.
It has been a long journey, but clearly I'm on the right path now.
It took changing careers 4 1/2 years ago to get me motivated to lose weight. I'd spent all of my adult life as a reporter and editor. Jobs that, for the most part, kept me chained to a desk for long hours. As I grew older and better in my job, I was rewarded with promotions that increased my stress level and decreased the amount of time I moved around. At least as a reporter I got to go out to crime scenes or walk over to the courthouse.
I grew heavier and more achy. My mother suffered terribly from osteoarthritis and so do I.
At my last editor's job, I eventually became so unmotivated that it was too much effort to get up out of my chair to go downstairs to heat up my leftover lasagna or takeout Thai food in the lunchroom microwave. I grew to enjoy cold food seated at my desk and I moved as little as possible for 10-11 hours. Then I'd go home, sit in my recliner, watch TV for 3 hours and go to bed. Day after day after day.
And let's not forget the fast food. During the lunch breaks when I did go out, I found it so easy to go through the drive-through at McDonalds, Taco Bell or Jack in the Box. Imagine getting no exercise and then eating a quarter-pounder with cheese, fries and a drink (or something similarly high-fat high-calorie elsewhere) on a daily basis.
In 2006, my husband and I decided to open a retail store and that meant lots of moving around and the service and products we sell require some moderate physical activity.
It's not surprising that I lost a little weight right away. And that felt good.
The career change, along with the weight loss, was motivation to change that whole secretive side of my life that revolved around food.
The NutriSystem program was a great start for me because it taught me portion control, got me started exercising and forced me into a better eating routine and I lost more weight. And it really wasn't all that hard.
I lost about 60 pounds in a year and kept it off for two more years.
My arthritis got the better of me last year, however. And it became clear I'd need a major operation to replace my right hip.
The first specialist I was sent to said he wouldn't work on me because I weighed too much. He recommended pain management... For the rest of my life? I was only 50!
Clearly he was "the best" in the region because he kept his stats up by taking no patients who were unhealthy in whatever way he perceived that to be (too old, too heavy, too sick).
But it was also a bit of a wakeup call to me. Even tho I had lost a lot of weight and was successful at keeping it off, I had a long way to go. I had to face facts. I was still "morbidly obese" according to the BMI charts.
It was hard to lose weight when I could hardly walk. But I did. I lost 25 more pounds last summer. While using a cane.
One of our employees told me about SparkPeople and I joined Jan. 1. I had my surgery two weeks later. Recovery is slow.
I took the eating program to heart, which hasn't been too hard to do, especially since my motivation has been to ensure that I just didn't GAIN weight while recovering.
I went from barely able to get out of bed to using the walker to using a cane.
A few weeks ago, I began "enjoying" the recumbent bike and the treadmill.
This week, I came to work without a cane for the first time.
Since I started SparkPeople, I have only lost 7 pounds. Not a great weight loss considering it has been more than 3 months.
But I have not gained weight. And now that I'm able to exercise, I'm starting to lose it again.
Reading the Spark e-mails, motivational articles and following the eating and other programs has kept my mind focused on my ultimate goal: Being healthy. Going from "obese" to merely "overweight" in the BMI charts.
(Whether I make it from the "overweight" class to "normal," I'm not sure. And it doesn't matter to me right now.)
One thing I am sure of: I will NEVER EVER EVER go back to the fast-food never-moving lifestyle.