If you have read any of my Losing It Series posts, you know that weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle have been a challenge for me all of my life. in 2008 after the death of my best friend from a massive heart attack following gastric bypass surgery, I decided to change my lifestyle. My mother died a few months later because she refused to make the lifestyle changes similar to ones I needed to make. I weighed in at 300 lbs. I wanted to get healthy, lose weight, and get stronger. It is now 2016. I have not reached my ultimate goal, but I keep working towards it.
I can give you all of the reasons why it has taken this long. Knee injury with weeks of boots and physical therapy followed by surgery, Achilles tendon surgery (more boots and physical therapy, a car accident that re-injured my knee and neck, hand surgery, foot surgery, 2 hospital visits for pneumonia,and so on. Each time I had periods where I was unable to exercise and eating became my coping tool. Each time I would gain back 15-25 pounds only to have to lose them again.
I managed to get to 199 lbs before the last two set backs. My goal was never to see 200 again. I managed to get back up to 239 before I made the decision to once again set my goals and work hard to reach them. My doctor made a huge light bulb go off when he told me that I could still eat healthy and lose weight even if I couldn’t work out on a regular basis. I realized I had been using that as another excuse. However, getting strong and working out are what he prescribes for my arthritis and overall health issues.
This time I took a more drastic, costly choice. I not only joined the gym, but I signed up with a personal trainer. We had a long talk before I made the decision to do training. I liked his personal life experience and his education. I have been working with him for the past few months, and it is working.
He not only teaches me proper forms for working out and creates workout plans, but he goes deeper. His clients keep a workout log, a food log, and a thought log. We talk about lifestyle changes and attitudes while we are training. His training includes your mind and attitude along with the physical.
I am very close to reaching the “onederland” mark again. I turn 65 on August 20. My goal is to be under 200 lbs and have gained more lean muscle. My eating has changed drastically. I have eliminated most refined sugar from my diet and lowered the amount of my carb in take. However, come August 20th, I plan to have a piece of chocolate cake and some ice cream!
I am excited about turning 65. College classes start back for me the week after my birthday. I am excited about being able to move more comfortably, to be able to fit into the smaller desks still in some of the classrooms, and to be able to sit down and get up off the floor comfortably. Yes, we sit on the floor in some classes (mainly theater)!
I look forward to the next phase of my life. I plan on being around a very long time. I want to be like the 77 year old body builder or the 92 year old marathon runner. I have been told grey haired older women at the gym kick butt! If you see older people at the gym, take a minute to smile and give them a thumbs up. That might just be you someday!
This summer I am taking Women’s Global Health and Human Rights at College of Charleston. One of our big assignments was to create a YouTube video PSA. Only after completing the video and posting it on the class site did I learn (finally read the rubric) that I had to get over 400 hits to get full points.
This is my first attempt at making a movie or a PSA so it is a bit rough around the edges. Please be sure to click on the link and help me get 400 views!
Would love some feedback or ideas about how to make the next one better. I already know that the audio on the videos wasn’t the best so that is something to work on!!
One of my morning classes was canceled so I headed to the library to read for this afternoon’s Sociology of Food class. I found myself thinking about the finale of The Biggest Loser and the winner Rachel. The internet, facebook, twitter, and all social media have been buzzing since the reveal on Tuesday night’s show. Rachel, 24 year old swimmer, who started the show at 260 pounds, lost 155 lbs. At 5’5”, she weighed 105 at the finale. Most people who saw the show felt she was “too skinny.”
According to most weight to height charts, she is indeed underweight, but not as much as many are suggesting. Weight charts I was able to find suggested weight from 111 to 130 for a small frame. Her BMI was 17.5 and according to CDC site 18.5 is the lowest for a normal or healthy range. According to her interview later, she said that she is eating 1600 calories a day and working out every day. She also said she followed the advice and support of the medical team.
Do I believe she might have taken this too far? Probably so. We have seen this played out on the finale of the show many times. Everyone puts on some weight after the show and GAME are over. Yes, it is a game and a contest for $250,000. Rachel is one of the most competitive players I have seen in the Biggest Loser and she said she wanted to win. I certainly hope she did not trade one type of eating disorder for another, and I hope she is able to find a balance for the healthy lifestyle she wanted.
Why am I writing this? I wonder why people were not shocked and angry and demanding action when Rachel appeared on the show weighing 260 pounds. Why didn’t someone in Rachel’s life demand something be done before she appeared on national TV? Where is public outrage that we have a nation of obese people and children? Instead the public cries out for something to be done when a person who has lived with such pain and guilt over what they have done to their body tries to lose the weight and as Rachel said “to gain back my life.”
I guess the real question I am asking is why no one was outraged that at 5’1” (almost) I weighed in at almost 300 pounds. I remember long before hitting that mark on the scale, I saw the doctor’s chart while the nurse took my blood pressure, and I saw the words “morbidly obese.” I was shocked. How could that be? I had always been “chubby” or big boned”, and even the fat girl, but if my chart said morbidly, why didn’t the doctor say something about it? My grandmother told me I was fat all the time. I was teased in school and church as a young girl, and I hated my body, yet the word shook me. It was something more than how I looked and what size pants I wore. This meant I was sick and could get sicker and perhaps even die from my weight. It would be a few years and many more pounds before I made realized what that meant.
Five years ago, my doctor had a talk with me. The lab results were back from my physical and I was now pre-diabetic and would need to be on medicine and stick my finger for a blood sugar count daily. I now also needed too be treated for high blood pressure. I knew something had to change, but how? I have tried dieting and only had success once in my life.
I was in recovery from alcohol and drugs, but this was different. It was harder. It continues to be hard today. Along with making a lot poor choices when it comes to food and not getting enough exercise, I have an eating disorder. I am a binge eater. I don’t offer it as an excuse, but because most people know very little about eating disorders. Here is what it looks like: Binge Eating Disorder
- Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
- A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes.
- Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating.
- Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.
I have had to ask friends and family for help dealing with this. I have had to tell those close to me about these behaviors when I see them start to resurface. I have lost almost 100 pounds and put back on a few. I am no longer on medication for diabetes and no longer have to monitor my blood sugar. I am still on blood pressure medication but at a much low dosage. I still need to lose more weight, probably about 40 pounds, but I can’t seem to get past the place I am at right now and it is discouraging. And, even if I lose all of the weight, the damage done to my body can’t be undone.
As I watched the show I realized that I still see myself as the “before” contestants on the show. Each season when I look at the women on the show, I know that I used to weigh more than most of them. This year only Holley and Tumi weighted more than I did at my highest weight. By the end of the show almost all will weigh less than I do now. I wonder if I will be ever be able to do what Rachel and the others accomplished.
I understand what it is to lose weight and see your body change. In spite of successes, I still see the fat girl. I want to work harder and eat less just to be normal. I have put my health at risk at times by overdoing exercise and not eating properly. If I had the chance, I would work with a trainer like Jillian, Bob, or Dolvet. I would be happy to have someone push me to the point that the show contestants are pushed. (Yes, there are trainers here, but I can’t afford the cost of private training.) Announcement—- I don’t need advice on diet plans or groups. Read my blog and you will see I have done them all!
I just want to be healthy. I want to buy clothes in regular stores or not have to go the Plus Size department. I don’t want to feel embarrassed to go to the beach or wear shorts. I want to look at myself in mirror and not be saddened by what I see. I don’t have a small frame like Rachel, so I will never be in a place to be judged and criticized for being “too thin”, but once in a while, I close my eyes and wonder how it must feel.
Five years ago my mother had surgery in early August for something called spinal stenosis. It can cause pinched nerves and pain in legs and back. It is often caused by osteoarthritis. There is no “cure” other than surgery when it progresses too far, but there are things you can to do help reduce the severity. Weight loss and exercise are the two things that work best. This was her third surgery for this condition and her doctors advised against the surgery since she also had adult onset diabetes and emphysema. On September 18, after 6 weeks in the hospital, she passed away from complications and pneumonia. She was 71 years old.
I realized I was going down the same path and that unless I made some drastic changes in my life, I would face the same issues. Like my mother, I had smoked for a number of years, but I had already stopped smoking before my mother passed. She had emphysema and COPD. She was extremely overweight; so was I. At 5’1″, I weighed almost 300 pounds. She had high blood pressure; so did I. She had diabetes. I had been diagnosed with “pre-diabetes.” I was taking medication and checking my blood sugar daily. She had osteoarthritis; so did I. The doctors had recommended exercise and weight loss for many years. She didn’t listen.
I knew I wanted something more for my life. I wanted to be able to enjoy life to the fullest. I didn’t want to be confined to a walker, be in pain, live on boxes on pills, and be limited to sitting at home. It took me several months to make a decision and start to make changes in my life. After getting off to a good start, my best friend died after gastric bypass surgery. It was a major setback in my attempt at healthy living. However, good friends, family, and a wonderful therapist help me get back on track.
I have shared the ups and downs of this journey in my blog posts. You can read some of them on the Weight Loss and Healthy Living page. I finally hit “onederland” last year. I am off the diabetes medication and have normal blood sugar now. My blood pressure medicine was cut in half. I hit a plateau after that and weight loss was very slow. After a bout with the flu in Dec. last year, I was sick with bronchitis for several months until I was hospitalized in May for pneumonia. Lack of exercise, poor eating habits, and months of steroids accounted for gaining 20 pounds.
Early in June this year, I was convinced to join “The Biggest Loser” contest at a local gym. It was a 9 week competition that included training classes each week. I wasn’t sure about doing it, but decided to give it a try. A little exercise never hurt anyone and it might help me get my strength back.
Now, please understand that I have belonged to gyms before and during this weight loss journey I have exercised quite a bit, however, I have never exercised like this before. I have learned about planks, wall squats, mountain climbers, burpees, Russian twists, curtsy lunges and more. I have pulled tires around parking lots and even lifted a monster sized tire with my group while my very
insane brave trainer stood in the middle.
Last week I decided to get really brave and do a parking garage workout. I wasn’t really sure what it entailed and honestly, I was a bit scared. The parking garage workout included r
During this time, I also counted calories to include carbs, protein, and sodium. I will admit that I went under my calorie count for a couple of weeks and my trainers help me understand the need for proper nutrition and calories, etc.
Even with all of this, I only lost about 11 pounds during this 9 weeks. I know and appreciate that any weight loss is great, but I was disappointed with my numbers. I did lose inches and I am now able to fit into the new pants I bought at the end of season last year. I am going to keep following my weight loss program and exercise classes. I have a weight loss goal and I intend to reach it.
I “gained” a lot during this 9 weeks. I was challenged physically in ways I never imagined possible. I came home from class so sore I could hardly walk up the stairs. Yet, the pride in what I was able to do far outweighed any physical pain. I met some amazing people in my classes who are supportive and encourage each other. My trainers Jamie and Nicole have pushed me to do the things they believed I could do and adapted exercises when my injuries/knee issues prevented me from doing something. I learned that I can live without stuffing my emotions and fears with fattening, comfort foods. I discovered that apples, bananas, berries, and grapes are pretty sweet without added sugar! (I still won’t eat peas or broccoli!)
Most of all, I learned that being healthy is more than just losing pounds. It is about living in a body that works at its optimum condition. It is about believing in yourself and pushing yourself to do the best you can. I am learning that I am more than my body. I may not have won the “biggest loser” contest, but that’s OK. This is one time that “gaining” was a good thing.
I found this old post from my Blogger days. It was one of the first from the Losing It Series. Thought I would share this since it is no longer on my active site. I may pull some more posts from that series in the coming weeks.
I found the miracle cure for weight loss. I found it on the internet, of course. It is called the Tapeworm Diet. I am not kidding. There is a Tapeworm Diet; and yes, it involves a real Tapeworm. Here is the information I found about this “diet”:
“So what does a tapeworm in your gut actually do? It secretes proteins in our intestinal tract that make our digestion of food much less efficient. A less efficient digestive systems means that you can consume more calories through your food since your “body guest” is also noshing on them for his own growth purposes. Some scientists estimate that those infected with a single tapeworm can lose up to one or two pounds each week.”
Extreme? Maybe, but is it anymore extreme than allowing a surgeon to place a big rubber band around your stomach or cut out part of your intestine? What about giving up sugar and carbs totally? We could say it is easier than running triathlons, jogging for miles everyday, or spending your life and fortune in a gym.
Let’s look at those people on the Biggest Loser reality TV show. They leave their life, families, and jobs to go and live in a big house with strangers. They show off their layers of fat being pushed up by tight spandex to the entire TV viewing world. Don’t forget that they are beaten to death by two obsessed trainers.
I wonder if any of you reading this understand how desperate many of us are to lose weight and change our lives. We have bad knees, bad backs, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many other health issues caused by weight. We look at the clothing in our favorite store and then have to go to the “other” stores that sell fat clothes. Oh, wait, sorry, I meant Plus Size. I dream of the day I can fit into a size 16, while normal weight friends are mortified it they hit a size 14.
Many of us have tried the most popular solutions that have passed our way-Atkins, Sugar Busters, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, diet pills, Jazzercise, Aerobics, and more. I have even been looking online for “fat camps or fat rehabs.” They do exist, but not in my price range. One week at a well known “weight loss spa resort” in Hilton Head costs $3400 for a 10 day stay. They recommend 21 days at a special rate of $6900. The truth is that I would gladly pay that and more if it would work.
If you are scratching your head and thinking, what about good old fashion calorie counting and exercise, you are not alone. Sure it works. Absolutely. The problem is maintaining that for a lifetime. I will write more about the “cravings’, the obsession”, the inability to stop once you start in another blog post. I can’t eat ONE doughnut. I can’t even imagine why someone would eat just one. I often wonder why they make little bags for one or two doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme? One dozen is more realistic.
OK-enough for today. Thanks for reading and following along with me on this journey.
I started a series called “Losing It” when I first started this blog. I update it from time to time. A lot has happened since I last wrote about it so thought this was a good time to share what has been going on. You can read other posts here and here and here.
One of the last updates to my weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes was to share my excitement in reaching “onederland.” If you are not familiar with that term, it means having your number on the scale be in the 100″s. In that post I stated that I never wanted to leave “onederland.” Sadly, I wasn’t able to do that. I worked hard in 2012. I went to the gym a couple of times a week and in January of that year I started taking Karate. I went to class three times a week and earned a blue belt by end of the year. My knee was stronger (after surgery), I was losing weight, and I felt better than I even had.
Dec. 25, 2012 was a great day. I had a great holiday season with family and friends, but late on Christmas day I started running a high fever along with headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The next day the doctor confirmed my fear. I had the flu in spite of having the flu shot every year. It seems this year the scientists guessed wrong and many people found themselves being ill. The doctor gave me Tamiflu and in a few days I was feeling better.
Suddenly that changed as I developed bronchitis. I was diagnosed with COPD a couple of years ago but hadn’t had any problems until this happened. Antibiotics, steroid shot and oral prednisone were the treatment. In about 10 days I started to get better but within a couple of weeks, the bronchitis was back and so was all the medicine. This happened two more times and in May the final round of bronchitis turned to pneumonia and I spent a few days in the hospital.
Since Dec. when I got the flu, I had not been able to work out or exercise. The steroids took a toll on my ability to sleep and created craving for food, especially carbs. I wanted to eat all the time. Needless to say, I gained weight. I put back on about 18 pounds. Just a few weeks ago some friends and my daughter encouraged me think about signing up for the Biggest Loser program at a local gym. It was a very minimal fee to become part of the program and you were able to take 2 fitness classes a week. There are prizes along the way and a grand prize at the end. I had my follow up with the doctor and he said I needed to get back to healthy eating and exercise.
I joined and was excited to get back to exercising. I looked a the schedule of classes and saw names I didn’t understand. There were classes like Tabata, Bosu Ball, HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) and more. I decided to start with a class called Cardio Kick and thought it would be something like a kick boxing class. Sounded harmless enough….WRONG. It started outside and we were told to jog one time around the parking lot (this is in a shopping center so no small lot) and then walk around the lot. When we returned, each of us was given a task. My task was to plank on a mat on the sidewalk. OK, I can handle that; until I discovered I had to hold that while the others did their tasks. My daughter was in the class and her task was to pull a big mud tire on ropes across the parking lot and back. Then I got to pull the tire while others planked, did jumping jacks, etc. We then each went a specific distance apart and were told to do jumping jacks. The first person in the line carried a sandbag on their shoulders to the next person, who then took it to the next, etc. This was only the first half of class. I wasn’t able to complete the whole class. I had to walk the last 15 to 20 minutes.
Each time I go to class I look for a class that looks easier than the one before. I tried Butt and Gutt. I tried Bosu Ball-3D abs. I tried Lower Limbs. All were equally as difficult. I finally tried Upper Limbs. Surely that would have to be easier than pushing tires, doing walking lunges, and other equally torturous thing. Again, I was wrong. One task was to have all of us (about 8) line up on the floor in a plank. One person lined up opposite us and then had to go down the line in a plank and do patty cake to each person’s hand. We then rotated until we had all been in the front. Everyone was sweating, moaning, and shaking by the end. Another task included a 25 pound weight in one hand while doing side bends.
Yet, I haven’t quit. The trainers are amazing. They push but they also adjust for injuries, age, and condition. They are willing to talk and encourage everyone. Even if I don’t keep up or can’t do it perfectly, they encourage and cheer you on. I have been in many exercise programs where I felt out of place and perhaps even unwelcome. I am getting stronger with every class. My breathing is better and I am not getting winded nearly as quickly. I have even lost a few pounds.
I am determined to get back to “onederland” and reach my next big goal. My eating is back under control and I feel stronger and better every day. I also hurt like crazy after each class, but it is that good kind of hurt. I am praying for no more illness and no more injuries. The Biggest Loser program will be over mid August. I will update once the program ends and let you know what comes next. I am ready to “take my power back.”
The program is in Summerville, SC. Here is the website if you want to check it out. http://www.qikfit365.com/
Do you know this year is almost half over? It seems as if I just put away Christmas decorations and changed over to my summer wardrobe. WordCount 2013 Blogathon starts in two days. It was changed to June this year. I am excited and I must confess, a bit anxious. I started the Ultimate Blog Challenge in April with some great ideas but by mid April I was facing some life challenges that made writing difficult. Final exams at school put added pressure on my time. It wasn’t long before I hadn’t written a blog post or worked on any other of my other projects. Soon, I had bronchitis that turned to pneumonia and spent a few days “vacationing” in the hospital.
I have missed writing. It is such an integral part of how I process and make sense of life. It is as if I were missing a friend who was away. I sometimes take the time I spend writing for granted. It seems mundane and at times, just a bit of a chore. Did I mention that I was taking an online writing course during all of this ? One of the things we did in the class was to set some goals and create a schedule for daily writing. As I recuperate and build back my strength, I am working on setting those goals and finding a daily writing that works in my life. I hope WordCount will help be get back on track.
How do you stay focused? Do you have any routines? What about goals?
The fact is: Heart disease kills one in three women each year – that’s approximately one woman every minute. But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface. To learn more, click here.
In 2003, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute took action against a disease that was claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year – a disease that women weren’t paying attention to. A disease they truly believed, and many still believe to this day, affects more men than women.
Stemming from that action, National Wear Red Day was born. It’s held on the first Friday in February every year to raise awareness about heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women.
From time to time I write about an issue that is important to me. Many of my friends support issues that have touched their lives in some way. One friend who gave birth to a premie supports the March of Dimes. Many of my friends support suicide education and prevention programs. Other friends support causes such as MS, MD, Cancer Awareness programs, and AIDS awareness programs. I have two issues that stand out for me. One is mental health (including alcohol and drug awareness) awareness programs. The other is the American Heart Association. National Wear Red Day is a reminder for women to check health checkups, take preventive care when it comes to heart disease, and know the signs of a heart attack or stroke.
Before March 7,2008 I never really thought much about heart disease. It has always seemed like an issue for old men. None of the women in my family have ever had issues with their heart. My father died from complications of heart disease, but he was a man after all. Truth is, I didn’t really know many people who had died from heart attacks.
On the morning of March 8th, 2008, a phone call changed my life. My friend’s voice cracked as she told me that my best friend had died the night before. I didn’t understand. She was only 57 years old, just a year older than me. She died from a massive blockage in the arteries of her heart. An ambulance was called but she died before they could reach her.
I have always heard that you can’t die from a broken heart. I thought I might for a long time after that. She did die from a “broken” heart. No one really knows why or how her heart was in such bad shape. She dealt with many health problems over her lifetime and had undergone gastric bypass surgery a year earlier. She had lost a lot of weight and was leading a more active lifestyle that she had in many years. It just didn’t make sense.
I share this story with you today because there is something we can do to help ourselves and other women. We can support each other when we are dealing with the stress of living life. We can encourage our friends to eat better, exercise, quit smoking, and get yearly check ups. We can share information about health checkups and about the signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke.
I still miss my friend more than I can tell you. I don’t know if some test might have found her problems or if she ignored signs of a pending problem. I only hope that sharing this information will help keep the women in my life heart healthy.
If an apple a day really did keep the doctor away I would surely invest in home delivery of apples. There are over 600 varieties of apples and I would order as many as possible to make sure I can keep all types of doctors away. Perhaps red apples cover blood born illnesses or green apples cover digestive disease. I have Googled varieties of apples but haven’t found any conclusive proof this will work.
Health insurance has become a hot political topic. Over 48 million American’s are uninsured and many are under insured. I am not interested in debating Obamacare. This isn’t a political post, but health care in America is a real issue for many.
I have had decent health insurance coverage for the past 12 years. My employer did cover part of the premiums. I had copays and deductibles for most services. Mental health coverage was extremely limited and almost nonexistent. However, I did have coverage.
I no longer work full time. I am able to keep my insurance by using a federal program called COBRA. This means I can keep my insurance for 18 months by paying the full amount of premiums. Over $500.00 a month is a very difficult payment with no income. I am looking for part time work, however most part time jobs do not offer health insurance coverage.
I won’t qualify for Medicare until I am 65. That means I have 3 and 1/2 years of finding my own coverage. If I make the choice to do without insurance, I am putting my health at risk. With the current pre existing condition limits on policies, I may not be able to get coverage for any existing conditions if I let my insurance lapse.
I am sure someone is scratching their head and wondering why I put myself in this situation. Why am I not pushing my way into prospective employers’ offices and diligently seeking a job? Surely this opportunity to go to college isn’t worth losing health insurance. That is a long, complicated, and difficult question to answer.
My question is why I (along with millions of others) should have to answer this question at all. Affordable health care should be accessible to everyone, not just those who are fortunate enough to find a job with a company that offers this benefit and helps cover the cost.
This is an issue much too complicated and difficult to discuss in a blog post. I don’t have answers. I have some ideas but those too are complicated. I don’t know how I am going to find a solution to my current dilemma. I might go ahead and buy some apples, just in case.
What has your experience been with this topic? Do any of you go without insurance?
I haven’t made any new year’s resolutions. I have promised myself to continue in my efforts to lose weight and be healthy. I want to WALK in the Cooper River Bridge Walk this year. It is a 10K walk/run in the spring across a large suspension bridge. If that is going to happen, I need to start walking NOW.
I accomplished a lot last year. I reached my biggest weight loss goal, but I need to move on to the next goal. I found creative ways to exercise. I took karate, I went to the gym, and went for walks on the beach with friends who made me work!
The holidays are over and it is time to accept reality. Work, school,time for friends and family, and exercise are all part of my day to day life. I am ready to dive in and get to work….at least in theory. I will let you know how it goes this next week.
Anyone facing a similar challenge? How do you motivate yourself?