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Staying Motivated and Recognizing Progress

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I have been on a path of improving my health for the past five years. I have made remarkable progress, but quite honestly, never as quickly as I hoped as I started each phase of my journey to lose 140 pounds. Although I didn't have any of the serious health issues associated with obesity such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or sleep apnea; I knew I was dancing with danger and would likely develop these if I didn't change my lifestyle. My other goal was to do this without weight loss surgery.

Five years ago, I signed up with a complete weight loss program at a health club. This was a very good program that included personal training, a lifestyle coach and a registered dietician. I lost, and kept off 25 pounds. More importantly, I established the habit of exercise and really cleaned up my eating habits. However, then I plateaued and gained a bit back.

Three years ago, and frustrated with my lack of progress, I again added personal training to my routine. This trainer definitely stepped it up a notch and I lost 25 pounds. I repeated the pattern of keeping some of the weight off and gaining some back, again. I also developed slightly elevated blood pressure of 145/80 and started taking blood pressure medication. This is not where I wanted to be!

Just over a year ago, I started down the path of evaluation for weight loss surgery. I decided that I needed to approach my own situation scientifically. Based on my efforts, which I knew were consistent and yet showed very limited progress, I felt that for me to reach and maintain a healthy weight that bariatric surgery was a tool I needed. My primary physician agreed with my choice and made the referral.

I thought I would opt for the lap band. Yet, when I met with the surgical team, they indicated that given various aspects of my needs, that gastric bypass or Roux enY (RNY) was likely the best choice. I then embarked on the 6 months of pre surgery prep that my insurance required. On July 11, 2012, I had laproscopic RNY surgery.

I have lost 58 pounds in six months, actually in five months because for the past month, I have once again been at the dreaded plateau! I have 57 pounds to lose to get to my personal goal weight. Here I am teetering at the halfway point on my goal. I've also been just 2 pounds shy "onderland" during this plateau!!! This is certainly discouraging at times. However, I am still pleased with my decision to have the surgery.

I am learning to celebrate non-scale victories (NSV). Here's my NSV list for the past month when the scale hasn't moved:
I have lost another size, so I think I am replacing fat with muscle (my dietician's thoughts about why I'm at a plateau).
I was able to complete a 1-hour Body Combat workout (a lot of kick boxing).
I receive complements on my weight loss and how great I look on a daily basis. People who haven't seen me in a while are amazed by my great progress.
I can do six flights of stairs in a row, and these are long, steep flights in the old building that I work in.
My recent bloodwork was perfect for all nutrients and metabolic measures.
My Dr. feels that I can stop taking the blood pressure medicine.

So here's to focus and staying the course. I need to remember this is not a race. Thinking of it as a race tends to make me take actions that slip back to the diet mentality rather than a healthy lifestyle. I plan to lose the other half of my weight loss goal by the end of 2013. How will I accomplish this?

I have added an extra 20-minute workout to my routine and have started to take a few a few on the stairs in my office 2-3 times per day. This adds 15-20 sets of stairs to my daily routine. I'm trying some new classes at the health club that are challenging for me. I truly track every bite I take and will continue to do so. I am also trying to meet the 40% protein, 30% carb and 30% fat balance that my dietician recommends for bariatric patients. I measure my portions and always leave some food on my plate. I'm here on SparkPeople every day. My Spark friends and the Spark stories of others are very motivating. These help me to realize that weight loss is challenging and rewarding, and for many of us an ongoing journey.

On your mark, get set, go!! (oops, perhaps that's is too much of a race mentality!!)
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