CHAPTER TWO: Finding Spark People
Okay, so losing 100 pounds could be done and I was encouraged. I started on my own without much of a program other than cutting down on portion sizes and trying to limit desserts. I didn’t think about losing 100 pounds as it would have been too overwhelming.
I struggled with deprivation; after all I was someone who wanted what they wanted when they wanted it and I looked at limitations as not getting what I wanted. I told myself I could have whatever I wanted but not all that I wanted all the time. I also used a physical mantra whenever I passed “casual food.” You know, that candy dish on someone’s desk, the Einstein bagels with cream cheese out in the break room, the birthday cake in the refrigerator…all those casual foods around me in my work area. Fortunately I had my own office so I could keep healthy food in my immediate area, but getting up and taking a break or going to the bathroom forced me to pass by all these foods. I struggled with the “one little bite won’t hurt” a lot until I started touching my middle finger to my thumb and saying, “It’s my choice.” The action that it took to do this seemed to stop me for a second and let me think if I really wanted what I was in front of me. That seemed to help with not feeling so deprived as it certainly was my choice and if I wanted to I could, but most of the time I stuck with what I had planned for the day.
Because I had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, my doctor recommended I attend a Mayo program once a week for new diabetics (and pre-diabetics) taught by a dietician. The classes covered how to read food labels, the balance between protein, carbohydrates, and fat, exercise and how it affects blood sugar, meal planning, weighing in and a host of other beneficial discussions. I resisted. After all I was watching what I ate, making better choices, and losing a little bit of weight. AND, I was not diabetic!
My family history is very strong for death from stroke and heart disease. Of course as a nurse I knew obesity and lack of exercise are key risk factors for heart disease. But denial was a powerful component in making me think I was exempt from any heart disease issues. My blood pressure was low, and I didn’t smoke.
But when I got the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, I really swallowed hard and there was no amount of denial that would let me convince myself I was okay with my weight. I had to lose weight. I did not want to be diabetic! That was what prompted me to think about bariatric surgery and even though that was not an option, I was doing okay on my own. I was rather miffed that my doctor suggested a program for diabetes, because I was not one and I was determined to not become one.
Looking back on this time, I have to hang my head. My stubborn, hard-headedness can be my worst roadblock to good health. Here I was being offered a free program that would support me in losing weight, I would have support from a group and I had a chance to gain information on how to balance carbs, protein and fat. And I was resisting and giving every reason to my doctor about not signing up.
For the next month or so I stayed with my eating plan, I started exercising a little and I lost one pound in five weeks. Frustrated I hadn’t lost more weight, I realized at the rate I was going, I could be dead before I lost all the weight I needed to lose. I reluctantly signed up for the diabetic program.
I kept an open mind, attended the classes once a week for 6 weeks, learned a lot I didn’t know, (surprise, surprise, I thought I knew all there was to know about losing weight), and I lost 7 pounds over the six weeks.
The most important thing I gained from the classes was an introduction to Spark People. The dietician leading the class used the website regularly for herself touting the food and exercise trackers. In November 2009 I joined Spark People and a new journey began.
This blog will continue: Chapter Three: Why Spark People Worked For Me