Mar 11, 2017

Hitting the Bottom and the Start of a Journey Back - Weight Loss Journey - Part 1

Abigail and Dolley readers as social creatures we tend to share our success and our triumphs and hide our failures in the closet.  I've written before about my struggle with my weight but always about the success stories, never about the failures, never about the frustration, and ultimately never about the misery of having a lifelong weight struggle.

As a writer and a thinker, it helps me to share.  So perhaps over the course of the next several months, we will share a journey, no doubt one we've undertaken thirty times but perhaps this time, with time, persistence, and a lifetime of experience under our belts it will be different.  I am not going to post workouts, I am not going to post pictures - this isn't about making a show of me.  This isn't about glorifying the AFTER, this is about the journey and the pain and the frustration of living with chronic weight problems.

There are a lot of things I want to write about in this series, subjects I have been researching and studying for months, like DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), Insulin Resistance, Epigenetic Triggers, and the Psychological differences between the fat and the skinny people living inside us.  I'd also like to write about the complexities of the human body and how each of us knows what works for us and what doesn't.  Those are just a few of the subjects swirling around my brain but today I need to tell you about hitting rock bottom.

Where I Fell From

After a lifetime of ups and downs, my most recent transformation came in 2008 when I lost 45 lbs.  I went from a size 14 to a size 4.  I kept it off through 2009 but it started creeping back and by the end of 2010, I'd regained about 15 lbs.  Inexplicably in 2011, no matter what I did (extreme diet, exercise running 4 miles a day x 5 days a week) I could not lose a pound.  I was gaining a 1/2 lb a month.  I am not an over eater, I don't binge.  I don't eat out.  I don't eat junk.  I eat whole, fresh, homemade food.  I don't drink soda or much alcohol.  

I hired a personal trainer in 2012, worked out 5 days a week, ate fish, salad, water for 30 days and did not lose a pound.  I lifted weights and worked out religiously for 9 months with not a single pound lost.  I was now 22 lbs over my initial weight loss.

In 2013, my health went off the rails and I ended up in the ER a couple times and had three surgeries in 8 weeks.  I was a wreck and regained all the weight, all 45 lbs.

By 2014, I had regained all of my 2008 weight loss plus 5 pounds.  I was desperate and went to a holistic doctor.  He put me on the hardest diet I'd ever been on, it was awful.  Full of rules and deprivation and no coffee.  I lost 4 lbs the first week, 1/2 lb the second week, zero lbs the third week, and the fourth week I regained the 4 lbs I'd lost the first week.  I quit.

I quit it all.  I was done.  The 2014 diet had proven in my mind that no matter what I did I could not lose weight.  Complications from my surgery immobilized my back, scar tissue developed all through my abdomen and I gave up.  I'd take a stroll here and there.  I work in the garden.  I'd watch what I ate but I would not diet and I would not weigh.  I got on the scale backward at the doctor's office and told them not to tell me.  I was finished with the whole damn thing.

My Journey to the Bottom

The sad part is that I continued to gain that pesky 1/2 lb per month.  It's not noticeable from month to month,  I started seeing signs though that this was getting out of control.  In April of last year, I bought a dress for a client visit.  I caught a glimpse of myself in the restaurant glass door - I had a fat girl's leg.  Instead of going on a diet, I stopped wearing dresses.

In October, my son snapped a picture of me at an unflattering angle, I was enormous.  Instead of going on a diet, I deleted the picture.  In November, I had to give my measurements for a bridesmaid's dress, I nearly fell over.  I started seriously considering a diet then.  In February, my wedding ring stopped fitting and I had to take it off after 26 years.  Last week, the bridesmaid's dress arrived and it is the hugest most hideous thing I will ever wear, yards and yards and yards of sleeveless rose gold sequins.  I look like a sparkly naked cow.  I was done.

I went and saw the doctor that had helped me take off the weight in 2007/2008.  I was ashamed when I rolled in there.  She was shocked.  Instead of making excuses and telling her my tale of woe, I told her my plan.  I've got the meds, I've got the plan, I've got the motivation, and now I am ready.

My Plea to You

There is beauty in rock bottom.  A cleansing and a self-examination that does not come when you are in denial.  Rock Bottom is a place to stop and a place to start again.  We all get there in our own time but I would encourage you if you are in an avoidance situation, face it sooner rather than later.