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My Six Month Sparkversary!

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I have been struggling for a while to get below 60 lbs. lost and just made it today, as it so happens, 6 months to the day since I joined SparkPeople. So, I think it is time for a little reflection.

Here is a lovely side view of me on a fishing trip before I had lost much weight. (Hate those side views and have avoided pictures of me in my fat state as much as possible!)

The "Razorback Fan" picture on my page shows my front view wasn't so great either! Seriously, I hated having those portraits made--but now I am glad to have my picture made!

As I reflect back I am trying to remember as much as possible about the problems I was facing at that time. Some of them have been chronicled in other blogs. My feet have been and will continue to be a problem--but even they are more manageable now. I am a diabetic, technically type 2, but have been on insulin for many years now. When I lost feeling in my feet due to neuropathy it was a wake-up call and that is when I went on insulin. The bad thing about insulin is--the more you take, the more weight you put on! My favorite form of exercise back then was walking and especially hiking. When I came back from a fairly easy hike with blood in my hiking boots from a blister I had worn but could not feel was when I discovered my neuropathy. Sooo--combine a loss of ability to exercise with added insulin--I have had a huge struggle with my weight ever since.

Another problem I faced was a frozen shoulder. I was dependent on my arms to launch my fat butt out of any chair I sat in, because my knees by themselves would not lift me. When my left shoulder gave out and I couldn't use that arm for leverage it was getting scary. I had already been confined to a wheelchair once when my neuropathy in my feet caused the bones to crumble and reform (Charcot's foot--a percentage of diabetics will get this.) That lasted 6 weeks and led to my next problem--the muscles in my legs atrophied and when I got out of the chair, I was walking down the hall when my knee buckled and gave way and I fell to the floor. That led to arthroscopic surgery on my right knee which looks larger than my left knee to this day--but thankfully it was a success and kept me from facing replacement. So--I was really not looking forward to shoulder surgery--but that was a strong possibility at the time I joined SP.

I have to stop and pay tribute to my local library. They were about to reshelve this bright orange book from 2 week status to longer status and I asked the librarian if it was available for check out and she said yes. Of course, it was the spark. I have read so many diet books before, but I thought--why not try one more. The rest, as they say, is history.

Do I really need to chronicle the many painful and even repulsive things about being "gross morbidly obese?" I couldn't bend over in the shower to wash my feet--I was very afraid of low boy toilet seats and fearing I wouldn't be able to reach around to take care of bodily functions much longer. I couldn't fit in a booth at my favorite restaurant. Forget about getting on a typical airline and having to pay for two seats. I couldn't put my belt on once my slacks were in place because I couldn't get it through the loops in my belt behind my back. Bending over and getting in and out of a chair was literally painful and I would groan and moan every time. Walking to the car was about the most exercise I could stand and when I went to the store, if there was no cart to ride in I just left and went to a store that had one. I could literally go on and on, but you get the point.

Now--how about today, 6 months later? I can get up and down without pain, just a little stiffness from my knee. I can put my belt on AFTER putting my pants on. I can wash between my toes in the shower. I can sit up from a lowboy toilet without having a hand rail to help. I no longer fear the camera, I rather enjoy it. Here is one of my most recent pictures.

I can take a hike at Hobbs Estate through giant towering pines for over a mile and feel great at the end. I do 60 minutes of cardio at least 4 days per week and am adding a lot more strength training to that routine. It HURTS me NOT to exercise. I can stand for long periods of time without feeling pain, and taking a shower doesn't wear me out as before. I can wear a pair of shorts 5 sizes smaller than when I started and a shirt two sizes smaller.

I can eat out without fear of gaining weight and enjoy trying out SP recipes at home. I don't lose my breath just walking down the street. And that booth at my favorite restaurant? NO problem! Friends are finally starting to notice I am losing weight. Next month I will celebrate my birthday, but my sparkversary is more important to me than my chronological age.

I have reduced my insulin to 1/4 of what I was taking and look forward to reducing it more. My cholesterol is in the low normal range, my blood pressure is good, my heart rate is good, my health is a thousand times better.

If you think this sounds like an impossible dream, I assure you it is not. Read the articles, read the motivational pages, try the recipes, do whatever exercise you can do and chronicle it, write a blog, share your success on Facebook, let people know you are serious, plan ahead, join a gym, participate in a team challenge, but most of all BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! You have the power to change your situation. Whatever problems you are facing, determine that you will keep on keeping on!
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