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I never realized how unhappy I was....

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

...until I lost 180 lbs. I never thought of myself as an unhappy person when I was morbidly obese. I was a master at ignoring my weight problem, pretending it didn't matter, that it didn't exist. I had a happy marriage, raised three sons, held down a full-time job and maintained a household all while being way too fat. Things were okay on the surface. And yet, as much as I tried to deny it or ignore it, I KNEW in my heart that being fat was literally ruining my life. It was the controlling factor in everything I did, especially as I got older, and the weight started to really effect my joints. Movement became really difficult, so I just sat in front of the TV, day after day. When I wanted to go somewhere, I had to consider, how far away would I have to park, what kinds of chairs would there be to sit in, would I be able to get through aisles or halls or around people easily or would my obesity prevent me from enjoying the activity I wanted very badly to participate in? These were the questions I asked myself before I went anywhere. I did not attend the high school graduations of several of my nieces and nephews, simply because I didn't want to walk too far from the car, I didn't think I could manage stairs in a gym, or handle walking on bleachers. I never fit in ONE chair when they would put a bunch of folding chairs close together as they like to do for those events, my bloated body always spilled over into the chairs on either side of me, and what if one of those metal chairs broke when I sat down? Too humiliating to even think about. There were so many things about my obesity that held me back from living a full life. The clothes I wore were HUGE, probably a size or two too big, just because I didn't want anything tight. I thought I was disguising my obesity by wearing FULL, flowing clothes, plus they were just more comfortable. Shoes didn't fit anymore. I wore Birkenstock sandals all year around because they were the only shoe that would go over my swollen feet. My ankles would swell every evening, and I would wake up in the night with my heart pounding, sure I was about to have a massive heart attack as my mother did, and suddenly die. I worried, I was scared, I was limited in what I could do and I felt powerless to change. It was overwhelming. I had so much weight to lose. How could I give up that fattening food I stuffed myself with and loved so much? I would tell myself that eating was my ONE joy in life. I never let myself get hungry, I constantly ate. I wasn't a person who could eat a huge amount at one time, but I ate ALL THE TIME! It's interesting how food really doesn't taste as good when you're not hungry. Food actually tastes better to me now, the fruits and vegetables and lean meat that make up my diet are delicious. I never ate those kinds of food before, concentrating on potato chips, candy, cookies, fattening meats, potatoes, gravy, butter, bread. And yet I never realized how sad I was. I thought this was my life, this is how I would live and die (probably young), as an obese woman.

But that day the doctor said to me, "The EKG seems to show you've already had a heart attack," really opened my eyes. Going to the doctor was always such an ordeal. He made me come in every six months for a blood pressure check-up and I dreaded it. The gowns didn't fit, the blood pressure cuff was too small, it was hard for the technicians to find a vein in my arm through all the fat when the doctor ordered lab tests, I argued with the nurse when she wanted to "get my weight." I didn't want to know how much I weighed. I didn't want them to know. Because then the lectures started. Oh my doctor was kind, but I felt his disapproval, his worry and concern, because my blood pressure was not being controlled by the 5 meds I was on, he knew I was headed for diabetes, high cholesterol, and quite possibly a stroke or heart attack. I'm sure that's why he misread the EKG, he just assumed I was already in trouble.

That day he spoke those words to me--Dec. 14, 2009--was the day my life changed forever. No longer would I eat mindlessly and consume thousands of calories beyond what my body needed every day of my life. No longer could I ignore what I had done to my body, to my health, to my life. I was almost 59 years old and that day I decided I would get healthier. I never thought I could be healthy, I just wanted to be healthier than I currently was.

Today--I AM HEALTHY! Oh, sure there are minor problems anybody has when they're 61 years old. Sometimes I am jealous when I see people who are crouched down, talking to their kids at eye-level, because my knees are so bad I could not begin to get in a crouched position. Not only would it KILL me to do so, I would never be able to straighten back up. But I know arthritis is my draw in life. It might just be in my genes, or it might be that the years of obesity did their damage, or a combination. Whatever--I can live with it--and there are surgeries that can help you feel better. I am having a hysterectomy on May 22, to take care of some other problems. When I scheduled the surgery, the nurse/scheduler told me, 'You're thin, you shouldn't have any complications with surgery." What a joy to hear that four-letter word: THIN!

I'm just back from a vacation where WALKING was the number one thing we did. We walked for miles, just touring the different sites, and there was never any question about whether or not I could do it. I knew I could. I had the energy and the ability, and besides I've been training for this very thing, with all my walking down the road in front of my house for the last two years.

And I feel so happy. Living life in a normal sized body is more wonderful than I ever imagined. It's so much easier than being fat. Sure sometimes I want to indulge in some food I know I don't need, or eat a bigger portion of something I really love. But I know this new life is all dependent upon me making the right choices and I think it's getting a little easier.

I saw the scale doing a slow upward climb in the last few months. I was being careful, but not careful enough evidently. So when we got back into town after vacation, I started once again making the really good choices that allowed me to lose all the weight in the first place and the scale is going back down! I want to lose 5 more pounds before my surgery which is 2 weeks from today. I feel good that I have gotten back into this more disciplined way of eating after eating too much for a while. I was afraid once I started that UPward climb on the scale I would not be able to reverse it. But now I have proved to myself that I can. It's a new life, a joyful life, a NORMAL life, and it's a life that I can feel blessed to be given the chance to lead.

I wore a new frilly, feminine, lacy blouse to work yesterday and made hubby take a picture. I LIKE feeling like a girl again, even at the ripe old age of 61!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are truly an inspiration! You give me hope that I too can achieve being healthy and active! Thank you for sharing your story!!

    2142 days ago
    You are an inspiration. Thank you.
    2142 days ago
    congratulations great jpb
    2142 days ago
  • 40BY0830
    2142 days ago
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  • BABY77A
    Wow, what a great inspiration you are to me. Thank you!!!
    2143 days ago
  • GABY1948
    I just bumped into this blog today and I am so thankful for blogs like very inspiring! Have a WONDERFUL day, I plan to keep up with you now...realize we are on some teams together...but SO proud of you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2143 days ago
  • MASE72
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    2143 days ago
    CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ! what an amazing and inspiring blog,And the doctor said THIN..i bet you couldnt stop smiling . And long may you keep smiling..well done.and thank you for this inspiring blog xx
    2143 days ago
    I agree with the others here. You are so inspiring. I want to hear someone tell me I am thin. Thanks you!
    2143 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/9/2012 4:43:07 AM
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon you are doing so great gives me hope i tell ya i have lost 30 pounds here and gained it all back plus 3 pounds on top of is a life styl change only good i did do was keep exercising everyday and counting my calories and fitness here and got so many spark friends,eat daily my 5 fruits and veggies. but the eating bad habits came back and can't seam to get my mind set the way it was when i started spark. to many years have gone by now yes years. but i will not give up you see you did it and i know i can if i get my miond set /.. i had that surgery you will be fine and also good luck on your spark journey. we are all here for you if you need anything at all just ask you have such a great story to tell you have lost a whole person great job keep up the good work take care lots of hugs,char
    2143 days ago
    Wow congrats to you i been having a hardtime losing wants to stay not get no where wish i knew how u did it i try so hard and weight dont want to come off its so frustrating. emoticon
    2143 days ago
    Keep up the great work - you are SO worth it!
    Thanks for being an inspiration!!
    2143 days ago
    I just came across you through this blog today and wanted to give you a HUGE congratulations. I just reached my goal two months ago and am determined to keep it off. I've been up and down my whole life with a high weight of about 260 ten years ago. I lost 115 pounds but gained most of it back and found myself back at 240 in early 2010. Your success is inspiring and should make everyone here see that no obstacle is to big to overcome with hard work and determination. Bravo!
    2143 days ago
    Awesome job, especially getting back on track. You give me true hope that I will eventually succeed on my own journey. I have approximately 180 lbs. to lose myself, and am doing on a crushed ankle that has endured many surgeries, but even after the last surgery, in a wheelchair for the 5 months, I still managed to lose weight. Thank you for your reaffirmation -- I truly appreciate it! Love the blouse, too! Vicki
    2143 days ago
    YOU are amazing and inspirational
    2143 days ago
    Congratulations on your success! You look great, and since when has 61 been a ripe old age???

    Good luck with the surgery.

    2143 days ago
    2143 days ago
    Thanks so much for the inspiration!
    2143 days ago
    You are beautiful! Your story is inspiring.
    2143 days ago
    You look sensational!!! Brilliant story. You have done an amazing job and I hope all continues to go well! WooHoo!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2143 days ago
    I wish you well with your upcoming surgery. I know how easy it is to see the slide back up with the scale, but you help remind me to catch it when it starts right away before it gets out of control. Thank you for the uplifting blogs that you bring to us.
    2143 days ago
    How many of us do not know if we are unhappy.

    You just shared a lovely revelation! Why eat ourselves "unhappy"? Yet we do it all the time.

    You are a great role model. Take care and let us know how you are post op!
    2143 days ago
    Wonderful blog!
    Beautiful Girly feminine top!
    You are such a success and inspiration!
    2143 days ago
    You gave me hope! I been just as you,,, eating and not be hungry! Eating out of preesure ane for comfort and its hard to reverse the trend of such bad habits. Esp when your own family dont support you but actually sabotage any good you do. I been up and down the scale too. Because of their negativity on my weight loss tour! Its good when you do succeed. You give me hope! Hope your surgery goes well, your in a better condition now that you are thin. Love the blouse. susana
    2143 days ago
    First of all, I want you to know that I am praying for you and your upcoming surgery.

    Secondly, thank you for writing this blog--now--when I seem to need it the most.
    To be perfectly honest with you, when I read the blogs about big weight losses, I don't care about them. It seems to me that they are saying 'If I can do it, so can you". I think maybe I get a little jealous. But you didn't say that--you talked about the things that I think about every day of my life. How far, can I fit, .........
    From the bottom of my heart, I am proud of you! You did a great job of losing all that weight.!!! God bless you and be with you. ((hugs)) Noel
    2143 days ago
    How uplifting this blog is! I've read parts of your story in your other writings, but it is beautiful to hear the positive changes that health has brought you. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!
    2143 days ago
  • TEMPEST272002
    I relate so much to your description of what it is like to be morbidly obese. I didn't realize how unhappy I was either. I'm so freakin grateful every single day that I'm ABLE to live a bigger life in this smaller body. You look lovely in your white blouse.
    2143 days ago
    Great great blog: I "liked" it. And I congratulate you, in your lovely blouse!!
    2143 days ago

    I read your blog and felt every word you said. Right now I am all those things together. I know all your worries and sadness. I have just started to take this all seriously and I will come back to your blog and gain strength knowing you were my age when you started too. As for the knees mine were never right to begin with. LOL

    Thanks for this blog,

    Gini emoticon
    2143 days ago
    You look fantastic! Such a great blog. Your evidence that we can win this war of ours.
    2143 days ago
    You look lovely in that new frilly blouse. What a difference 180 lbs makes in ones life. Only those morbidly obese really know what struggles one has to go through on just a daily basis..
    I too missed so much of life for too many years.
    Two years ago I was on the way down in weight, I managed to attended my grandsons graduation. It was hard to climb up into the bleachers even at 275.
    But this year my youngest grandson graduates and I will have no trouble climbing the bleachers. Plus I will be able to go out into the field and congratulated him. I couldn't do that 2 years ago.
    All the good habits you have learned are being put to use on a daily basis.
    This is your life now, and you will never return to that former self that was like a anchor, weighing you down.
    My best to you Pam, "Maggie", and to all the enjoyment you will experience from now on.
    Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2143 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/8/2012 7:45:56 PM
  • CANNIE50
    Ah, the quiet joys of normal. How lovely that you appreciate normal, and that you are experiencing every moment of every day, the wonderful results of your good decisions. I also am so happy to read that you are feeling a little more trust in your ability to reverse directions because I know that has been a concern for you. You look lovely in that lovely blouse, by the way. PS I wish this blog could be made required reading for anyone who feels trapped by morbid obesity, and is feeling hopeless. At the very least it needs to be front and center on SP's "most popular blogs" page.
    2143 days ago
    What a wonderful story Congrats!
    2143 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    I know from experience that you are speaking the truth! Sometimes it takes us a while to understand how we are actually feeling and lucky when we get a chance to see it in hindsight as too many people die before they do see it. Keep up the good work and hope you enjoy many more vacations!
    2143 days ago
  • CAMAEL100
    61 is only a number - you look and obviously feel fantastic! Great that you are now enjoying life! Best of luck with the surgery. As the lady said it will be so much easier now that you are thin.
    2143 days ago
    You're A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! emoticon
    2143 days ago
  • EFAY32
    Every time I read your blog I smile!! So many great and inspirational things you have to say. emoticon
    2143 days ago
    I am with Diedra! I want normal too. I am crying reading your post. you put into words my fears and thoughts today. Thank you.
    2143 days ago
    lovely blouse on a lovely woman who wrote a great and inspiring blog!
    2143 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Maggie, your honest words reflect the way a lot of people feel when they struggle with their weight. All that wasted time worrying about how to make plans work when you're out in public, trying to get the plane belt to fasten, etc, -- all those things are quality of life issues. For me, those are the factors that are directing me to lose weight. I want Normal.

    Thank you for sharing.
    2143 days ago
  • MISSB8604
    Amazing blog, as always.
    2143 days ago
    emoticon Go, Grrl! You look MARvelous!
    2143 days ago
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    2143 days ago
    You are beautiful & a very young looking 61!
    I love your smile and your attitude. Very inspiring!
    Keep it up and you will surely live to be a ripe old age.... but you are far from that now. :-)

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    2143 days ago
  • IN_IT_2_WIN_IT
    Thank you for sharing your story. Best of luck with your surgery.
    2143 days ago
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