Thursday, August 23, 2012

Where Oh Where Oh Where Have You Been?!

I know - it has been awhile.  It has been more than awhile.  Thanks to each of you who have inquired about my blog and who have encouraged me to pick it back up.

So, what have I been up to?  Sit back, grab a healthy snack, this is going to be a long one.

I've been diligently ignoring that little voice of reason - the voice that says, "You should have some fruit and an egg for breakfast instead of this steak, egg, and cheese bagel from McDonalds that's over 700 calories."  I've been eating nothing but fast food, drinking nothing but Diet Coke and the occasional half pitcher of margarita . . . or two . . . I've been allowing my personal demons of self doubt and self hatred to run rapid in my head and heart. 

It has been really hard.  I was doing so good - feeling so good - then the rug was pulled out from under me.  I experienced a major blow to my self confidence.  I don't even know how to describe how I feel.  There's no words, but it has changed me.  It has made me doubt myself - question myself - hate myself.  It has occupied my thoughts and dreams.  I've tried to pull myself up, and I have been furious with myself for not letting it go.  I'm surrounded by the most wonderful friends and family who have supported me, loved me, encouraged me and yet I have let a small number of people destroy me - well, almost destroy me.

All of the stress has not only taken its toll on my heart and soul but also on my body.  I seem to stay sick, and I've been desperate to find a solution knowing full well . . . the solution lies within my own mind.  I know what to do.  I know how to do it.  I know I can be successful doing it.  Yet I don't?  Make sense to anyone else?  Nah, me neither.

A good friend started the ball rolling in the right direction when she simply mentioned how much I have changed, and I knew she didn't mean for the better.  Then, the string of doctors visits began.

First up, my dermatologist.  There's nothing like getting naked in front of strangers and having them look at every lump and bump on your body to make you think about your fitness or lack there of.  Then, I tried to sit in one of their office chairs, and I didn't fit in the office chair.  My hips were literally too wide.  Then there was the fun part of sitting on the table and getting the wonderful paper covering stuck up my rear while the edge of the table cut off the circulation to my legs.

Next up, the gyno.  If the dermatologist wasn't bad enough, two days later, I was pant less with a stranger . .  well, we all know where she was.  Before she got up close and personal, we had a one-on-one meeting.  This was a new gyno for me, and pretty much the first thing she brings up is my weight.  I was mortified and thankful at the same time.  I seem to need a "come to Jesus" meeting every now and then from someone besides my mom.  I wonder how different things would be if my main doctor would have said something years ago instead of watching my weight climb, but I can't blame him.

As I sat there controlling the tears of shame, I listed to my gyno tell me how my weight makes my birth control less effective.  WHAT?!  How I should probably use condoms in addition to my pills.  WHAT?!  How getting pregnant at my size would be very dangerous - very dangerous. 

She also mentioned bariatric measures.  That scared me.  I don't want to be that drastic.  God made my stomach the way it is for a reason. 

We talked a bit more.  I explained my situation, explained how well I was doing, explained what got me off track, and expressed my concern for my mental well being.  It is something I have thought a lot about.  I know what to do, know how to do it, know I can be successful.  My failures are all mental. 

Then, she tells me how my weight makes it almost impossible for her to diagnose cancer as she can't feel my ovaries to tell if they are enlarged or not.  With my family history, I am already at extreme risk.  Add all of this weight, and I'm doomed. 

If that wasn't enough, she dropped a huge bomb on me - give up the Diet Coke.  NO!  I know how bad it is, I know it sabotages more than helps.  I also know how much I love it.  Still, I decided to go cold turkey and stop the Diet Coke on the following Monday.  (That lasted all of 0 minutes.)

Humiliated and near tears, I am still glad I went.  It is something I needed to hear, and I hadn't had an exam for years (ironically, because my old gyno talked to me about my weight).  She was also able to recommend a good psychologist who specializes in eating disorders.  I will be scheduling an appointment the very second I get my new insurance card.

Up next, I saw my ENT for what I thought were severe sinus infections.  As I described my symptoms, he began to suspect it wasn't sinus issues but acid reflux.  When he said that, I immediately thought, "I don't have heart burn."  Apparently there are 2 types of acid reflux, and I have the kind not associated with heart burn.  The common symptoms are hoarseness, coughing, excessive throat mucous, sinusitis-like symptoms, post-nasal drip, asthma-like symptoms, burping, and throat spasms/choking.  The cough drops I had been sucking on without results?  They were just making it worse - making my stomach think I was eating, leading it to produce more acid.  The stomach fat?  Pushing against my stomach and pushing the acid up.  Two hours later, after three failed scope attempts, they went through my nose to look at my throat which definitely showed signs of acid reflux.  Great.  Just great.

But, let's rewind just a bit.  After talking about the possible reflux and before the scoping fun, my ENT brought up . . . yep, my weight.  I have to give him kudo for classiness.  He had a student with him and gave him an "errand" to get him out of the room before approaching the subject.  He also brought up bariatric measures.  I told him about the conversation with my gyno including the mental/emotional issues and the fact that I'm going to go to a psychologist. 

Guess what the ENT and the speech pathologist also said?  Drop the Diet Coke.  I also have a nice long list of foods to avoid to help with the acid reflux including acidic fruits (Philip couldn't help but point out - margaritas).  I don't like where this is going . . .

Finally, we come to today.  A few months ago, I bought a living social deal for a weight loss clinic.  I went to my first appointment today.  They do a combination of vitamin shots (mainly B vitamins) and a prescribed diet.  I was excited about the shots as many people notice increased energy and better sleep habits.  Then, they went over the diet  . . .
  • Breakfast - 1 egg, 1 slice of toast (35 or less calories)
  • Snack - 1/2 cup fruit
  • Lunch - large salad with  1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • Snack - 1/2 cup fruit
  • Dinner - 4 oz lean protein and all the vegetables I want
  • No oils
  • No dairy
  • Seasonings without salt 
  • No more than 2 servings of soda per week
I left with the plan to try it for 4 weeks, but the more I considered it, the more I decided this was not the route to take.  While I might lose 1 pound per day, it will not be in a healthy manner.

Here's the plan:
  • Take the shots (they really have given me energy!)
  • Limit the Diet Coke to 1 serving per day (if that)
  • Follow the 1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate whole grains approach
  • Count calories using My Fitness Pal
  • Limit processed foods as much as possible
  • Enroll in water aerobic classes
  • Get back on my blog!
I'm already on the right track!  No more waiting!  After my appointment, I went to Giant Eagle for lunch.  I made a big salad with just vegetables and vinegar.  I also bought some "quick to make" fresh vegetables to get me through until we can hit the grocery for real.  I also bought a TON of bottled water and flavor packets.  I even found one by Crystal Light that is margarita flavored, and it is ACTUALLY tasty!  For dinner, I had grilled chicken, green beans, and tomatoes.  While I didn't avoid acidic foods, it's a work in process.  I then signed on and spent a couple of hours writing this blog.  Oh, and I recorded everything (including the 700 calorie breakfast sandwich I had this morning) in My Fitness Pal!

Next up, I'll be calling about those water aerobic classes!!!  Spread the word - get more people following my blog!  The more - the merrier!

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