How I Found Freedom--and Realized We All Have Choices

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I’ve come a long way since topping out at 460 pounds. With SparkPeople, I’ve lost 150 pounds and gained Freedom. Freedom is my seated, wheeled walker. I went from completely bed-ridden to completely dependent on a wheelchair to being able to sometimes use a walker and now sometimes not even having to do that.

So what was it like? My first time walking without my walker or a wheelchair? It was WONDERFUL! It was all encompassing and so worth every bit of pain I felt. You see, I had been trapped in my room for so long and in my house for even longer. I had the occasional wheelchair trip out or walker trip, but those were few and far between. This walk meant my choices were coming back to me.

Now please don't think I’m a playing a victim--I am not. I used to play the victim, but now I realize things are my choice. I also realize that sometimes people need help getting started (or a hand) along the way). So as you read this blog post, understand that I am simply explaining how my life got where it did and how I came back from it to lose 150 pounds. I am not condemning or condoning any lifestyle.

I remember giving up my choices. That’s actually what living an unhealthy life is about. (Wow, I just now realized that as I write this.) I wanted to avoid the pain of moving because I have so many chronic illnesses: 3 herniated disks, 2 pinched nerve bundles, degenerative joint disease, bad knees, sciatica, fibromyalgia and arthritis, and clinical major depression among others. I lived in my bedroom for all intents and purposes. It was easier to be in bed to relieve the pain than move and eat healthfully. Since I had to stand to cook and standing hurt, I didn’t cook; I thrived on foods that were quick and unhealthy.

At first it seemed freeing to just be in bed, but when it became difficult to even walk to the kitchen or drive to work, I got scared. Soon I was packing on weight, because I was not moving and eating unhealthy foods. I was being treated for my illnesses with steroids, which added to the weight gain. Things seemed hopeless and I would cry as my steering wheel pressed against the hernias in my stomach as I drove to and from work. Finally I quit my job. The pain of sitting was too much.

I couldn't see it then, but now I see how I gave up my choices and gave in to an unhealthy lifestyle. If I had to go back, I would have fired my doctor soon, found one who could see beyond the scales and listened to my BFF from high school, Lioness822, sooner about joining SparkPeople. My doctors were not taking care of my pain so I could move. They were also not recommending physical therapy that was suitable for me. They simply wanted me to diet and exercise. Well, with chronic pain and steroids, that simply isn’t possible unless you treat the underlying causes, which in my case also included deep depression.

Now, my team of doctors are carefully chosen--and fired if they don't seem compassionate and helpful. I do not stay with anyone I don’t like or who has a problem treating obese patients as whole people instead of just fat people. Now I choose to get out of bed and cook healthful meals. I also choose not to use the wheelchair for everything. Freedom, my walker, is getting jealous because I can walk in my house--and in and out of buildings now.

That first walk without Freedom, the walker, was full of freedom, the spirit! I felt freer than ever. I knew I was never going to take my choices for granted again. It was like you feel on an amusement park ride on the inside. Gosh, I miss amusement parks. Just watch, I’ll be blogging about my first visit to one sooner than we think.

I use physical therapy moves and yoga and seated cardio to compliment what I can do. What I CAN DO is MY CHOICE. What I can’t do is not my choice. I look at things that look impossible and ask myself “What can I do?” Maybe the answer is only part of it, but at least I have a choice now. Maybe I have to break whatever it is down. Maybe I have to think out of the box. Most of the time though, I throw the box away.

If you think you have no choice, think again. Look at these choices I made:

Me at my heaviest in the wheelchair.

Me working the weight off using Freedom.

Me standing free with my SparkPeople friend, McCourt.

How have you found freedom? Did you feel as though you had run out of choices? How did you find motivation?