Oh, now I get it. Thats what I said when I first started learning this information and then apparently I forgot everything Id learned because I gained all my weight back! Ugggh.
I FAILED BUT I DIDNT QUIT!
Anyone else ever had that feeling?
A lot of people have asked me how I lost so much weight (150 pounds) TWICE and why Im on the journey to lose 150 pounds AGAIN! Third times the charm, as they say. Its impossible to tell a big story in the space of 300 words, (my average post size), but if you really care, read on. By the end, you might just find yourself in shock and awe (doesnt everyones life cause a bit of shock and awe?).
If you read all the way to the end, youll see what a bumpy ride its been starting with
- the fat-a-tarian lifestyle;
- to losing 150 pounds;
- to falling in love with an emotionally abusive man and regaining 150 pounds;
- to failed gastric bypass surgery;
- to alcoholism as a direct result of the gastric bypass surgery;
- to learning to live healthy and losing weight AGAIN!
Whew! Hang on babycakes I told you it would be a bumpy ride!
My hope is, you might just relate to much of my story (if not the specific details). Thats why Im willing to open up and share. On the other hand, if you cant relate to it, I hope youll view my life (and my mistakes) with as much compassion as I would view yours. Please understand I did the best I could at any given moment. Having said that, I acknowledge I made some HUGE mistakes! Read on, my friend, if you care.
In an effort to serve; I have tried to share my story with you with as much honesty and transparency as can be allowed in less than 3,956 words. If you want more, Ill need to write a book LOL.
In the Beginning
I grew up a fat-a-tarian (think steak slathered in butter; rich desserts; mayonnaise on my vegetables, etc). I only knew fat-a-tarians. I fell in love with a fat-a-tarian. I grew fat as a fat-a-tarian. I got sick as a fat-a-tarian.
- Id seen my fat-a-tarian father laying on a gurney at the mortuary after dying a slow death from heart disease. He had his first major heart attack in his early 50s and he lived the next seven years of his life with just 30% heart function. This meant that he lived with an oxygen tank and could no longer walk more than a few feet at a time. When he went out, he had to use one of those motorized scooters (in his 50s!). He died in his 50s; frail and sick. I adored my father and this was a devastating loss! Sadly, I didnt learn.
- Id seen my fat-a-tarian step-father being taken away in an ambulance after the vessels in his head exploded quite out of the blue. Contrary to my fat-a-tarian father’s health, we never knew my fat-a-tarian step-father was in danger. He was slender and appeared healthy, but he wasnt. He had animal fat built up in his blood vessels and one day, his blood was working so hard to push through the built-up animal fat, that the vessels literally just exploded in his head. He was dead in a matter of hours. He too was barely 50! I didnt learn.
- Id seen my fat-a-tarian grandfather suffer a debilitating stroke that left him paralyzed on half of his body. He was only in his 50s when he had his stroke and he weighed over 300 pounds. His life (what was left of it) was never the same. Not even close! He died. I didnt learn.
- Id seen my fat-a-tarian uncle die in his 50s of adult onset diabetes. I didnt learn.
- Id seen my thin fat-a-tarian aunt die in her 50s of cancer. I didnt learn.
I Am in My 50s and Im Too Frickin Young to Die!
Youd think that everything above would have been enough to wake me up. But it wasnt. I didnt connect the dots.
I was ignorant, reasonably healthy, and nowhere near 50!
Yes, I was a FAT fat-a-tarian with fat glugging through my bloodstream, but I didnt have any illnesses yet.
I wasnt looking for a way to get healthy. I just wanted to get thin. Ever felt that way?
The Quest to Be Thin!
I did just about anything to get thin, and yet, I never got thin! Id lose weight; gain weight; lose weight; gain weight; lose weight; gain more weight; lose a little; gain a lot; get discouraged; gain more; get depressed; gain even more!
By this point, when Id go on a diet, Id lose very little so Id take even more drastic measures to lose weight nothing worked for long.
For all my efforts, all I really achieved was a messed up metabolism and a body that weighed over 300 pounds.
I woke up hating myself each and every day because I was fat and out of control.
Let me say that again because maybe someone reading this is feeling the same way and I want to wake you up before its too late!
I woke up hating myself every single day! Hating myself for being fat!”
What Ive learned is that when we hate ourselves, were in no position to lose weight. We dont take care of the things we hate! If youve ever felt like Ive felt, heres what we both need to do
- Forgive ourselves for what weve already done to our bodies. Its not too late to get healthy. When we know better, we CAN do better. It might take multiple tries and do-overs, but we CAN do better!
- Stop hating ourselves! We dont deserve it. God doesnt create no junk! Our fat, and all the experiences weve had because of it, has created the persons we are today. Those of us who have struggled tend to be compassionate and loving. We love everyone else far more than we love ourselves, am I right? Well knock it off!
- We need to start loving ourselves! Love ourselves first and foremost! If we wont love us, well never believe anyone else really does! We are beautiful. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Our bodies have carried us this far. We may not have taken care of them, but our pudgy thighs still get us from this place to that. Our hearts are still beating. Our eyes are still seeing. Maybe things dont work as well as they once did, but they work. We are survivors! We have survived the fat-a-tarian lifestyle and the diet mentality. Now its time to learn more so that we can be more, do more, have more, live more, love more!
The Journey from Fat to Fit
My journey from fat to fit is still a work in process. In fact, as I write this, Im back to 150 pounds overweight and Im beginning my journey all over again. The big difference this time is Im doing it with friends. Im inviting you in. Im tired of hiding my shame in plain sight and hoping that if I dont acknowledge it, no one will really notice. People notice!
But before I ended up back where I am now 150 pounds overweight I spent many years trying to get thin, only to end up really, really fat. I tried diet after diet, but I was never willing to truly change my lifestyle. I always fell back into my old comfortable habits because I was afraid. Afraid of giving up the foods I loved. Afraid of failure. Afraid of being thin? I dont know about that, but I do know I was discouraged and Id just about given up.
I lost 150 pounds and I thought it was forever!
This was me after I lost 150 pounds the first time on a quasi McDougall Program. Basically, lots of low fat eating and exercise. I was feeling good, but the ride was about to get very bumpy!
Id heard of Dr. John McDougall so I decided to take his classes in Santa Rosa, California, and I started learning what it means to be healthy. I learned that I would lose my weight as a by-product of getting healthy.
I learned that it could be delicious to eat a plant based diet. Most importantly I saw videos of the consequences of the fat-a-tarian lifestyle that I had been living.
- I saw solid fat being pulled from the arteries leading to the heart.
- I saw a liver so covered with fat that a doctor couldnt tell exactly where it was.
- I saw a heart so covered (and invaded) with fat that the doctor just sewed the patient back up. He could do nothing to save her..
- I saw cancer invaded bodies.
- I saw bones affected by osteoporosis.
- I saw the ravages of the fat-a-tarian diet. It didnt matter whether the patient was man or woman; rich or poor; black, white, or beautifully brown. And it didnt matter whether the flesh was steak, hamburger, chicken or fish. I witnessed person after person destroyed by the fat-a-tarian lifestyle!
In contrast to that, Dr. McDougall and his wonderful wife Mary, finished each class with a buffet of vegetarian dishes. I tasted the reality of what it was like to eat real food and it was DELICIOUS!
I Finally Connected the Dots! Eat Well Live Well!
Dr. McDougall believes in a very low-fat, plant based diet. In fact, he believes in keeping the fat content under 8% per meal. These are the principles I followed to lose over 150 pounds.
Now let me just say here McDougall is a plant based diet however, I never gave meat up completely. I know that Dr. McDougall would prefer everyone eat an extremely low fat, plant based diet, but when I took his course several years ago, he was completely cognizant that most of the people in his class wouldnt be joining the vegetarian lifestyle on a full-time basis. He taught me that all steps in the right direction are better steps than I took yesterday and they would all begin to add up to a healthier me. And they did until I went way off course.
At that time, I ate many more plant based meals (ie; vegetarian) than I ever thought I would, but I did still use some meats and Ill be including those recipes on this blog for those of you who arent ready to go completely vegetarian or vegan at this time (or maybe ever).
Like Dr. McDougall, I believe ALL steps in the right direction are important. If you want to go for a completely plant based diet bravo! I do think its a healthy lifestyle but I wanted to be real with you in this blog and you deserve to know that you can make tremendous progress in your health by cutting waaaayyy down on the amount of fats in your diet and waaaayyy down on the amount of animal products in your diet.
Whether you give up meat completely or not is a personal choice. Why not start with meatless breakfast and move on from there. If thats too tough, do it two days a week or three you get to decide but I encourage you to make it a conscientious choice, not just a happenstance situation.
Having said that let me just say I like to eat so believe me when I say I didnt give up flavor when I adopted my quasi-McDougall program. Quite the contrary. I found food to be more delicious, more exciting, more rewarding than Id ever experienced before. Id never really like to cook before. Prior to McDougall, I far preferred fast food meals and high fat restaurants.
McDougall opened my eyes to a whole new world. A world of healthy, low fat, delicious, energizing, food! But Im jumping ahead a bit. My lifestyle changes didnt start with the food. It started by understanding how my body (and your body) is dying with every bite of fatty food we put in our mouths.
Its time, my friend, that you and I embrace the truth of how our bodies work.
When WE know better, WE CAN do better! I believe that about me and I believe that about you!
Were frickin heros! Look how far weve come already!
Look at what weve lived through lived with lived in and were still here; seeking truth! Youre my hero and Im gonna try to be yours!
Here are some videos by Dr. Michael Klaper that I think youll find enlightening. Again, remember, this journey is about progress, not perfection thank God for that! The videos share important information about how our bodies work and how proper nutrition is the most important element of living a healthy lifestyle.
Be prepared. There isnt anything gory or gruesome about these videos but you will see clogged arteries and more ravages of the fat-a-tarian lifestyle that youve probably been living and I went back to. Buck up little buck-a-roo its time to face the truth about what weve been doing to ourselves. When we know better we can do better. Whether we do or not is completely up to us and I certainly put this info on the shelf long enough to gain all my weight back but Im going to rely on it again to lose all my weight for the last time!
If youre not ready to become a vegetarian dont be skerrrred. Its okay. You dont ever have to! Watch the videos anyway it will help you I PROMISE!
Okay, here’s the rest of the story…
I lived the McDougall low-fat, non-vegetarian, lifestyle and over the course of about two years, I lost over 150 pounds. I was exercising every day and loving it. I finally felt good about myself or so I thought.
Remember when I said that if you dont love yourself, youll never truly believe that anyone else could love you? Well those are words to remember, my friend.
You see, you can lose your weight, look great, even have men who ignored you before, desperately want to date you; but if you dont love yourself, you will inevitably pick a man who will prove to you that you are unlovable.
Thats what I did.
It looked like love But it didnt feel like love Love doesnt hurt!
I fell in love with a very over-weight man who really wanted to lose the weight. He adored me. He surprised me at work with flowers in the middle of the day. Hed grab me and dance with me in the grocery store if he heard a love song on the speakers. He showered me with poems. He loved everything about me until
I fell in love with him. Once he had me, he set out to remake me. I didnt see it then, but I now believe he was afraid hed lose me, so he set out to change me.
Remember, I didnt yet love myself, so it was easy for me to believe he was just trying to help me become better.
I thought I would help him learn to live healthy, instead, piece by piece. year by year, inch by inch, he tore me down until I didnt know which way was up.
I gained all of my weight back and lest you think Im blaming him, Im not. As Ive said, when you dont love yourself, you dont believe anyone else can love you either. Not loving me enough to protect me was MY responsibility!
Prior to meeting “the man”, my nightmare Svengali, I’d done lots of work on my physicality. I’d lost the weight. I’d educated myself on nutrition and exercise and I felt good about all of that, but I hadn’t healed the hurts that allowed me to gain all that weight in the first place.
And so there I was again, nearly 300 pounds and feeling discouraged. I’d spent seven years with a man who was emotionally abusive. Every time I found the courage to walk away, he’d turn on the charm and I’d find myself right back in his arms. After all, who else was going to love this unlovable 300 pound woman?
Gastric Bypass Surgery
Well, it seemed like a good idea to me at the time. Id tried losing weight the healthy way. Id done it, in fact, but Id gained it all back. Gastric bypass surgery was just coming into its own and I saw it as the magic answer and boy oh boy did I need a little magic in my life.
I felt hopeless. At that time, I was still in and out of that abusive relationship. I felt worse about myself than I ever had before. I was a failure.
I knew better; I did better; and I STILL ended up fat!
Now even the man didnt want me. He told me I was the first fat woman hed ever dated, so I should feel honored. Keep in mind this statement came from a 300+ pound man! And keep in mind, I wasnt fat when he met me! None the less, I was devastated.
I went under the knife. No insurance. $27,000 out of my pocket. But hopeful that this would be the answer.
I wanted to lose the weight once and for all and I was willing to do just about anything to accomplish that. I knew that if I had a stomach that could hold no more than one egg, Id finally be able to lose my weight forever.
Hold Onto Your Seats… The Ride is About to Get Bumpy!
First of all, gastric bypass surgery is probably one of the worst things you could ever do to your body. Yes, youll lose weight, but if I knew then what I know now, Id never do it!
- Youll lose weight, but you also get foaming of the mouth (it took over a year for that charming side effect to leave)
- Youll lose the weight so quickly that youll be left with sagging skin and droopy boobs (yes men, you too!) MASSIVE exercise will help, but it WILL NOT prevent it!
- Your 1 egg stomach can and will stretch back to its original dimensions
- Your body will be deplete of vitamins because of the amount of intestines they remove. Some surgeries are more drastic than others.
- Youll live with what they call dumping. When you eat sugars or fats, your body will feel like its having a heart attack. Youll get lethargic and need to lay down. Youll eat them anyway.
Pretty pleasant, right? But thats not the worst of it!
Alcoholism As a Result of Gastric Bypass Surgery!
When I had my surgery, they warned me that alcohol could go through my system very quickly and that some people feel tipsy with as little as one drink. No worries. I hardly ever drank alcohol.
They never mentioned alcoholism as a by-product of gastric bypass surgery. I dont believe theyd made that connection yet, or if they had, they certainly werent talking about it.
Well guess what? Within two years of my surgery, I was an alcoholic. I went from drinking alcohol maybe three or four times a year, to being addicted to it. It hit me so fast and furious that I didnt even know what had happened to me. I accomplished in ten months what it takes others 10 years to accomplish! I couldnt believe that I was an alcoholic! Me? Really? SHIAT!
How did this happen to me, I wondered. I saw it as just another sign of my weakness. I couldnt control my food, and now I couldnt control my alcohol.
It never dawned on me that up to the age of 36 years, Id never been much of a drinker, and that within two years of my gastric bypass surgery, I was a full-time, all out alcoholic!
And I stayed an alcoholic for 9 years! Alcohol had a huge grip on me and I couldnt seem to shake it loose.
Now research has shown that alcohol metabolizes differently in a person thats had gastric bypass surgery; compared to a normal person. It not only gets into our system more quickly, but it has a much larger effect on the brain; similar to cocaine or meth. Ive never used drugs, but now I fully understand the hold they can have on a person.
To make things worse, (like I needed anything to be worse), I gained nearly 200 pounds during those drinking years even though Id had gastric bypass surgery. I drank wine, which is just about pure sugar! So yes my weight was back to where it had started plus some for the SECOND TIME only now I was an alcoholic to boot!
Thank God for Oprah!
One day, I was sitting in my living room, drinking my second bottle of wine, watching Oprah and I heard the most amazing thing. The guests (including singer, Carnie Wilson) had all had gastric bypass surgery and all of them had (or were still) struggling with alcohol addiction.
It turns out that 30% of patients who have gastric bypass surgery develop an alcohol addiction, where one was never present before. I was one of the unfortunate 30% and finally I had an explanation about why I became a sudden alcoholic. You have no idea how much comfort that gave me.
If youre interested, in this topic, as I was, here are some results I found when I did a Goggle search.
I was still an alcoholic, but now knowing that it wasnt my fault, it gave me the courage to get healthy. It wasnt an easy road, but it was a road, and Im happy to say, Ive been sober now for SEVEN YEARS as I write this in 2013!
The Journey From Fat to Fit One Healthy Choice at a Time!
As I said, Im a work in progress. Unfortunately, Im back to the beginning and yet not because Ive learned a lot on the roads Ive already walked. I certainly dont have the whole thing figured out and what worked with my 35 year old, pre-gastric bypass body, may not work as well with my now 55 year old body.
Im going to take what Ive learned in the past, try to improve upon it by what Im learning now, and lose this weight for the last time!
Im not here to judge you or tell you what you must do. Your journey is your journey, just as my journey is mine.
These days my journey isnt about perfection, its about progress. Ive been here, there and everywhere and there are only a few things I know for sure
- It aint over until its over. As long as I dont give up, I have not failed.
- Each moment is an opportunity to make a healthy choice.
- I must love myself and know I am worthy of being loved.
- If I can help others to understand what healthy living is and isnt, then my journey is not in vain.
- Be not ashamed. It is simply my journey. The good, the bad, and the ugly have molded me into the beautiful, forgiving, compassionate, loving woman I am today.
- If my journey disappoints you, its none of my business. Its my journey.
- If my journey encourages you, I am blessed.
Losing It With Friends in A Healthy Kitchen!
What about you? Wanna join me/us on this journey? Cmon, lets be friends it begins with telling us some of ‘your truths’. If you were gonna ‘play in our playground’ and lose ‘It’ with friends, what’s the ‘It’ you’d most want to lose? Why not leave a comment below to tell us a bit about you! We really DO want to know you.
Heres to Peace, Love, Getting Over It and New Friendships!