A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A SLEEVER. Today I write my last Sunday post after almost 15 months of blogging about my journey. We just spent Christmas week in Switzerland and despite eating lots of sweets and more cheese and potatoes than I care to admit I lost weight during the holidays. So I am at the lowest weight in my adult life as I write my last weekly post and that feels great.
I started writing this blog a few weeks before my surgery in late October 2011. I was like a car careening out of control—my hip hurt, my feet hurt, my knee went out on me, I had high cholesterol and borderline high blood pressure, my clothes didn’t fit, and I felt like crap.
Worse yet, I was in Europe and even though I looked and looked, there were no other fat, limping people to be found anywhere.
OK, that wasn’t the worst part. The careening car crashed into a wall when my thin, healthy husband of 20 years found the courage to tell me how much he hated the way I looked and he just couldn’t live this way anymore. It wasn’t a gentle suggestion for me to lose a few pounds, it was an explosion of emotions on both sides for what seemed like an eternity. We had rarely talked about my weight issues even though they kept getting worse every year; outside of a few comments with my friends about dieting, I just never talked in any depth to anyone about it because I felt like such a failure. So this was an entirely new ball game without any rules to guide us.
So let me recap: 15 months ago I couldn’t walk, I had some serious health risks, I was on medication, nothing looked good on me, I had a sad case of low self-esteem and a very unhappy husband. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also had taken a bad fall on my bike and I got a really shitty haircut just to keep things really interesting. I was so far into denial about my weight I even thought about leaving my husband because then I wouldn’t have do anything about my weight or face another failed attempt at dieting. After throwing myself one big pity-party and assessing my options, I decided it was time to look into weight loss surgery. For me, it was really the only option—I was 58 years old and after trying every diet on the planet since I was 15 I knew dieting was not going be a solution that would work; at least I knew it wouldn’t work for me. I didn’t know if surgery would, either, but it seemed promising and my husband was willing to help me figure it out.
Once again, denial kept me from admitting how far gone I was. I remember thinking maybe they wouldn’t take me because I wasn’t heavy enough at 204 lbs (my highest weight had been 223 lbs). But when I filled out the paperwork, they didn’t even blink an eye. It’s like when you tell people how old you are and you secretly want them to say “Really? You don’t LOOK that old!” But they didn’t say a word, and off I went into the operating room just a few weeks after looking into this as an option. As they say, no time like the present!
I HAVE NEVER LOOKED BACK.
I have not had one regret.
I have learned so much about myself.
I feel closer to my husband than I have in years.
I have my health back, no more joint pain, no medication.
My self-confidence has returned.
I enjoy going to the gym.
Clothes look so much better on me; it’s fun to shop and for the first time in my life, my sister and friends give me clothes!
And so many other little things happen every day that are wonderful all because I am now a normal-weight person. (Although I still have a bad haircut!)
When I started writing this blog almost 15 months ago I was emotional, very sad and a little nervous.
By the time I went into surgery, 14 months ago, I was hopeful and curious.
Twelve months ago, I couldn’t eat much at all, couldn’t drink coffee or wine, threw up often, but I didn’t care—I was finally losing weight and my body was changing so quickly!
In March of this year, 10 months ago, I started exercising (even running!) regularly; I felt much younger than my 58 years and coffee and wine came back into my life.
Six months ago, my husband and I celebrated our 21st anniversary back in Hawaii; I was wearing a size 8 dress, a much smaller size than when he married me! I still ate very small meals and, to be honest, still didn’t enjoy eating very much.
Three months ago, I weighed in at 138 lbs with a BMI of 24—numbers that (according to the Centers for Disease Control) tell the world my weight is normal and healthy. About this time, food started tasting good again, but I am happy with small portions.
I have maintained a normal weight for the last 3 months and I fully believe that with my new lifestyle I can continue to do this. I now need to watch how much I eat but I feel that I am no longer in an out of control car headed for trouble.
Even still, I feel like a phony a lot of the time. There are people (close friends who say I inspired them!) who have accomplished what I have by traditional diets and exercise and all I can say is WOW. I know surgery wasn’t the easy way out, but I also know I could never have been so disciplined to be on a traditional diet or patient enough to lose a half a lb. a week. I know I would have felt sorry for myself all along the way, and there would have been a good chance I would have just bagged the whole idea like I did many times before. There is only one reason I have been able to become a normal-weight person and that reason is because I had weight loss surgery—I’m not special in any way. But I have had a good positive attitude and that’s made it a lot more fun.
All along the way I drew support, inspiration and information from my husband, my sister, my close friends, plus the forum and the readers of this blog. I thank each and every one of you for coming along on this amazing ride the past year; your comments have meant so much to me and it’s fascinating to hear about your own personal journey.
Fifteen months ago I read another person’s blog—reading her blog gave me confidence and encouragement about making this important decision to have surgery and change my life. I loved seeing her BEFORE AND AFTER photos, which really ‘sealed the deal’ for me. I hope my blog might help someone else along the way. I found this quote recently and I think it sums up what happened when my husband finally came forward and then ultimately what I also had to do:
To be willing to step out of your comfort zone is a courageous thing to do and yet it is essential in order to step into your Authentic Self.
Although I will no longer post each Sunday, I may post something from time to time if I think it’s relevant, encouraging, or really interesting. In the meantime, for my last trick, I thought I would leave you with 24 photos… 12 BEFORE and 12 AFTER. Each of the two photos is similar in some way but taken a year or so apart. Although I feel a little funny posting photos of me all the time (and I think I’m pretty brave to post some of the earlier ones!), photos have a way of sending messages—whether ones of encouragement to others or just helping to keep me in check. Either way, it’s amazing WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR HAS MADE IN THE LIFE OF THIS SLEEVER!!!
After traveling the US, Canada and Europe for almost two years, we have now settled in Amsterdam. If any of you ever come through this amazing part of Europe, please let me know. I would love to meet you in person!
Dank u wel (thank you) and Gelukkig Nieuwjaar (Happy New Year!)
to each and every one of you!
QUEEN OF CROP
(click on photos to enlarge)