My Epiphany

Before you ask, I will tell you how it came about that I decided AGAINST the bariatric sleeve after all I have done to pursue it.

WELL, a week ago, I had a follow-up visit with the Nutritionist. I came armed with my food journal that they’d made us keep for several weeks. And to be honest with you, I felt a bit smug. Smug because I felt that I have done so much RIGHT. Each day, I had completed all the categories: the day of the week, the time of day, the exact name and portion size of what I’d eaten, the caloric and protein values, how much water I’d drunk, how much exercise I’d done, what non-eating activities I’d done, AND the daily personal reflection they asked that you write. I congratulated myself that I’d stayed away from carbonated drinks and caffeine and that I’d almost always chosen single-digit fats and sugars, as they suggested.

Did I stay inside the 1000-calorie limit that they had recently imposed? HELL NO–excuse the expletive. But when you think about it, the changes that I’d made had been so comprehensive that I began to feel like a new person; I DESERVED to be congratulated. And yes, I did lose weight despite the fact that my daily calories at first were around 1400, and later closer to 1200. I was certain that the Nutritionist was going to give me a pat on the back and release me to have the surgery that the surgeon had told me he’d be glad to give me the first week in August so that I’d have time to recover before the new school year begins.

Just imagine my shock and dismay when the Nutritionist said the complete opposite. She said that I’d done okay, but that in her opinion I had not PERFECTED the goals to the extent that she could feel confident that I would not sabotage my own surgery after I’d had it. PERFECTION????? So, all this time she was looking for PERFECTION? Something that she did NOT say in the original group meeting we’d had. Long story short, she sent me home for another month to PERFECT this new eating life-style.

I already know what you want to ask and believe me when I tell you that I addressed your question to her, so that you will not have to. I said–very calmly, I might add–“Forgive me, but is it possible that it’s just ME? Am I the only 300-pound person who wants to know how you expect us to PERFECT all this BEFORE we have the surgery? I mean, if we could do that, then why on earth would we be asking to have the surgery in the first place???”

I would like to bet you seven thousand dollars that you CANNOT guess what her wide-eyed response was. Go ahead. Guess.

HAH! You are wrong. Her actual response was—brace yourself for this please—“EXACTLY!”

WTF? How could she say “exactly” as though we were saying the same thing? As though we were on the same side of the fence. As though she were not the only obstacle standing in the way of my much-dreamed-of and sought-after surgery?!

When she saw that I was nonplussed by her response, she continued, “I mean, that’s what I ask myself every day! I want all of our clients to see and understand that if you don’t get this right, you are going to end up weighing exactly what you weighed before the surgery and then all of this will have been for nothing! Why would you sign up for a surgery without knowing how to maintain your weight loss?”

Okay, so I’m not ignorant. I realize the total validity of what she said. BUT IT STILL DOES NOT ANSWER MY QUESTION!!! How do you expect me to do PRESURGERY what I have to do POST SURGERY?! Because if I could, then I would not NEED surgery. It would only be a matter of time, and I would lose weight, slow as a snail though it may be. But I WOULD lose weight.

And suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. Surgery or no surgery, I will HAVE to demonstrate the willpower, the grit, the persistence to consistently do the right thing, eat the right thing, stop eating the wrong thing, stop eating when I’m satisfied, nourish myself with wholesome foods and not junk, stop all emotionally based eating, etc., etc., etc. So there was my answer. That was my epiphany.

If they were going to make me do all this perfectly before the surgery, then the surgery is just a quicker, more costly route with potential complications and recovery time that I can’t afford to miss from my job. At the very least, I can thank them for helping to reestablish my feet firmly on this path. When I signed up for the surgery, I honestly thought I no longer had the ability to control myself. Well, they helped me prove myself wrong.


I’m Out

Well, if you followed my blog because I was about to have Weight Loss Surgery…I’m sorry for both of us.

I’m opting out of the surgery, and I’m still pressing toward being my most authentic self. I hope you will remember that my original purpose for beginning this blog was to discover and express that true Self.

I am sooooooo happy for all my friends here who have had and those who will have the surgery. I wish you the best of luck and the best of health. I honestly mean that. I pray we will all get there; where we want to be.

As for me, I had to confront the truth: that I had made a fear-based, emotionally-charged decision: something I know from experience is a horrible thing to do and rarely has good outcomes. On the contrary, the decisions I have made that way have usually come with a horrifying price tag and many, many regrets. At the age I am now, I honestly cannot afford to make many more decisions like that.

Somewhere deep inside I have believed and do believe that I will receive Divine help. And yet it seems that looking back, I have consistently drawn back in doubt and then fallen into the trap of trying to do what has been successful for other people. I have never been true (over the long term) to the Guidance that I know for a fact that I have received. Instead, I have made many choices in desperation. Even now, I am carrying around an extra 100 pounds on my body that is largely due to one of those decisions to act in desperation when my weight-loss efforts were not paying off dividends fast enough for my satisfaction.

Be Blessed. Be Happy. Be Well.


Let’s See What Happens

Weight: 287 (per the scales at Planet Fitness)

I’m not doing very well. But I don’t want to gripe. I hate it when people gripe, especially ME.

Still, I will say that computer problems have prevented me from blogging regularly. I took my computer to Staples and they confirmed that it had a virus. Then, 5 days later (although they said it would be 3 days) I went to get my computer (even  though they said they would call me when it was ready; which they did not). Since I’m griping now, I bet you can guess that in spite of the fact that they said my computer was “cured,” so to speak, IT WAS NOT. I got home and had the same issues as before: pop ups all over the place and freezing screens with automated voices telling me my computer could be infected with malware. Yes, you already know that I took my computer back and asked they do the job they had already charged me $160 to do.

Since I am blogging now, I bet you think that all is well. It’s not. Even though no page froze when I tried to open this one, a new tab did open up by itself and I had to quickly attempt to shut it down before it shut me down. This is crappy. And YES, I will be taking my computer back again.

Meanwhile, I seem to have lost a few more pounds which is sort of cool. Why am I not more excited, you ask. Well, from all the hard work I’ve been doing I swear I would have expected to lose about twice that by now. I feel so discouraged, in fact that I have been at the point of saying the unthinkable, “Forget all of this! God made me this way, and I will be like this until I die.” Well, I haven’t said it yet, I’m just admitting that I’ve been close to it.

FINALLY, I have an upcoming appointment with the Nutritionist again. I have done all the food journaling they expected of me, so hopefully they will approve and release me to have the surgery. When they give the OK, then I will be put on the Optifast Diet for 3 weeks and VOILA! It will be time for my surgery. Well, that is as long as the original guy who gave me the psych eval releases me based on the psychiatrist’s notes from my visits at the Mood Treatment Center. My appointment with the Nutritionist is scheduled for Wednesday, the 15th.

So, let’s see what happens…


A Visit With the Exercise Therapist

Current weight: 287 (I think)

Okay, so we all have to go to an exercise therapist who is part of our weight loss team. They talk to you about your weight loss goals and how to come closer to achieving them by physical activity. But first they have to check your resting heart rate with this little machine. We had to come “4 hours fasted” to the appointment, and having not done any exerting physical activity. I can tell you that it was not hard to NOT do any exercise because after a week on about 1400 calories, I still didn’t really feel like exerting myself.

So there was HORRIBLE news…yet very enlightening. I had to weigh-in before the appointment officially began and then they clamped my nose and had me bite down on the little white tube-machine into which I had to breathe for about 10 minutes. The results were incredible and disheartening. According to them, a woman of my age, height and weight should be burning about 1900 calories a day just from sitting still; hence the 1400-calorie diet they had put me on last week to jump-start my weight loss and begin to teach me a new way of eating. Brace yourself: I only burn 1520 calories. I could have cried. Not because I have such slow metabolism; but because they now understood completely why after a week of so few calories, I had only lost 2 freaking pounds. I had already wanted to cry after I got on the scales, which I had expected would say something great, considering how constantly hungry I’d been throughout the week. But then, to hear this!

And here is the worst news: Since my metabolism is so jacked up, they say that I should never have been eating 1400 calories. They have now restricted me to a mere 1000. I’m certain that if I have any fat readers that you already know how I reacted to this. I went directly to Dario’s and ordered a Number 1, with the hotdogs all the way. (A  #1 consists of 2 hotdogs and a million French fries and a soft drink.) And THEN I went to Dewey’s Bakery where I ordered two white on white cake squares AND a chess tart. I admit that I could not eat all the food at once, thank God. But I still ate every crumb before the end of the day. SO THERE!

Right after that, I went and joined Planet Fitness Gym. And I week later, I have lost 4 pounds–according to the scales there. So, at least that’s good.


Two Ninety-WHAT?

Dang it. It had been cool to go see the physician a few weeks ago and weigh in at 290.5. Not that it’s a good number. It’s just that I thought I weighed even more. So what a bummer it was to get weighed at the first Nutrition Class the other day and be told I weigh 293.5. Not cool. I realize that we woman have a normal tendency to fluctuate in weight during the month just because of hormonal stuff and the moon and water retention. But at the same time I wondered if I hadn’t sort of let the reins loose a little once I knew I was a candidate for this surgery. You know, saying “goodbye” and “so long” and “adios” to a number of foods that I know for sure I won’t be able to eat again any time soon after the surgery. Is THAT why I gained weight without knowing it?

Not too worry though, little did I know that we would be put on a calorie-restricted(and fat-reduced and protein-enhanced) diet beginning on the very first day of the class. 1400 calories. I kindly raised my hand and told the young woman conducting the class that if I could successfully refrain from eating more than 1400 calories a day on my own, THEN I WOULD NOT HAVE SIGNED UP FOR THE SURGERY!! Some smart-a$$ fat girl (yes, I know we are ALL fat) interrupted to “encourage” me not to fret at all. She says that she has been doing this for a week and lost 6 pounds and that after the first 2 days she found herself eating far more food than she ever ate in her life. She said that she is now never hungry and that this it totally do-able.

Okay, good for her. My story is different. Although I can say that the first day was a true success, the second and third day, my body completely revolted. Like, “Woman are you out of your mind?! Do you think that a body that has become accustomed to about 3000 calories a day is just going to sit back and allow you to take all it’s energy away???” So I had headaches that ranged from mild to REALLY BAD for that time period and I couldn’t do any work or go get any exercise. And my stomach was always growling, begging for food and making other weird and loud noises that I don’t ever remember hearing before. And I felt faint and irritable and listless. And that’s when I decided that they don’t know what they are talking about, trying to give us all this one size-fits-all requirement. I told myself that I was just going to eat more calories whenever I felt that I needed them and furthermore that I would eat every single time my stomach or my headache signaled that I was starving.

And that’s what I did. I have ended up eating sometimes every 2 hours or so, but it’s usually only enough to stave off the gnawing hunger. And something miraculous happened: in the end I have still abided within 100 calories of the limit! And best of all, after a week of no energy whatsoever, I was able to get up and go walking for 30 minutes. Yay! AND, I was so upset that my son had not cut the yard, that I grabbed the lawn mower and cut the front lawn for 30 minutes. Woohoo! So the smarty-pants fat girl was right. This IS do-able.

So when I successfully demonstrate by turning in my food journals that I have totally cut out all carbonated drinks, that I can live off 1400 calories a day that mostly come from protein and non-starchy vegetables and that I get about 30 minutes of exercise daily, then I will be given a date for my surgery. And then the REAL trial begins: Optifast for 3 weeks.

And then, the surgery…



I had a truly wonderful visit with the psychologist named Camille Leaver. She was just like what you would expect: she asked probing questions, but never seemed shocked about any answers. She was non-judgmental and she–unlike Jeff Smith–was very affirming of the choices I have made over time. She congratulated me for implementing practices that help me stay fairly level and that help me cope in the event that my mood takes a dive. That was all very refreshing.

Of course I still had to go see the psychiatrist, and he was as wonderful as Camille. Even so, he suggested that I begin (or rather, RESUME after 7 years) taking Lamictal which in his professional opinion is a good proactive and preventative measure for what I might experience after the weight loss surgery. There are no guarantees that I will fall into black depressions after the surgery…but there are also no guarantees that I won’t. So, okay, fine! I got my prescription filled at Wal-mart and started taking it 2 days ago. I feel–THE SAME. Which is exactly what he expects to happen. If all goes well, I’ll just keep right on feeling THE SAME every day, which is the goal.

I’ve made my peace with the whole thing and I no longer feel like a hypocrite. Whomever feels they can judge me is welcome to do so. Like Camillle said, I have  a 7-year record of being off meds and in a year after the surgery if I want to come back off of them again, there should be no reason that I can’t. They started me off on the lowest possible dosage, and hopefully we will stay right there.lamictal[1]


Weight Loss as a By-Product

Dr. Dean Ornish once said that, “lasting weight loss is a by-product of deeper healing.” Have truer words ever been spoken?

The other day I was filling my sister in on the details of my visit with the surgeon and I told her about what I thought was going to be the moment of truth. The doctor seemed ready to call our little consultation to a close and wondered if I had any questions for him. Besides the most pressing question (When the heck can I get this surgery???) the main thing I wanted to know was how much weight I have to lose BEFORE the surgery. I held my breath, waiting on his response.

“No,” he says, “I’m not requiring you to lose anything; we usually reserve those measures for our larger patients.” Larger patients? He saw my eyebrows go up in question, so he continued, “I mean, those who are 400-500 pounds.” Aha. THAT was an eye-opener for me on perspective. It’s kind o t like the way I consider myself short because I’m shorter than almost everyone else I know. Then, once or twice a year, I meet someone who is 4’11” and then I think, now this person is REALLY short. Suddenly, despite my morbid obesity, I didn’t feel nearly as large. Interesting.

Still, no one weighs what I weigh without having some sort of underlying emotional issues. So when my sister asked me how much weight I was going to attempt to lose on my own before the surgery. I told her that to be honest, I’ve decided to do the internal work necessary to support permanent weight loss. If I don’t deal with what got me to this point, then I have the feeling that the surgery will only do me some temporary good, at best. When I say goodbye to the weight I want it to be forever. For me that means truly dealing with the spiritual issues that affect healing and wholeness. I’ve got some work to do and I’d like to take the summer break from teaching to FOCUS on that; to devote all my attention and awareness to it. If Dr. Ornish is right–and I suspect that he is–then if I get my inner healing taken care of, then weight loss cannot help but be a by-product. I intend to put this theory to the test.