How I Lost 245 Pounds
I think that it started when I didn't even see that I had gained 420 pounds.
To me, I had been so heavy for so long that I didn't realize that the weight was gaining. People are kind, they don't say anything, and people are used to seeing you that way. I remember numerous times I was starting to have a lot of health issues, things were not going well physically for me. I am a motivational speaker so I get up and talk in front of p
eople, but I realized that I wasn't really getting up. I would sit on a stool in front of forty, fifty, one hundred people, not moving, and telling people to do all these things in their life. I thought, “Wow, I'm not really being that motivational for myself,” and it would be really hard for people to motivated by me.
I started this journey back in 2006. I went to Mexico to have the lap band put in and I had health issues with it. In 2010 I had to have the band removed. Unfortunately, during the clinical trials they discovered that there are different sizes and I happened to have one that was too small for my body. Thank goodness, they were able to remove it and about a year later I made the decision to have a Roux en Y.
I see magazines everywhere saying that surgery is a “gimmick” but I don't believe that at all.
When I was 420 pounds, I was barely walking and had to use carts to get around, I couldn't even drive my brand new Jeep Liberty that I had gotten. It was heart breaking because I couldn't get behind the wheel because I was so heavy. I ended up having to sell it and get rid of it because it was too small for me. I loved that car because that was the car that I got just before I got separated from my husband. The Jeep Liberty represented freedom for me. It had been the first car I was ever able to purchase on my own, and I was proud of it. When I realized I couldn't fit behind the wheel anymore, it was really sad. I had to sell it and have people drive me around. It was like trying to be independent but you had to depend on people to help you.
I'd get up every morning and avoid looking into the mirror.
I just didn't want to see it. I remember looking into the mirror one day and saying to myself “Wow, who is that?” Then I'm 300 pounds and I look again and I'm 350. Then I have a lot of emotional stuff going on in my life and the next thing you know, I'm over 400. I just didn't see it. It's gradual, but not as gradual as you think. All of a sudden I realized that I had to do something about it.
So, when I did finally get the Roux en Y I had it done and followed every step that my surgeon, my dieticians told me to do. I followed the program to the letter and lost over 200 pounds, about 240. Losing that weight gave me a new life, a new freedom. It didn't come without cost though. I do have to be careful. I have to watch what I eat, I don't drink water 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after. I have been religious about that. I have continued to do things that make me healthier. Most people say that I look younger now than I did how many years ago. That's a great feeling considering I'm 57 years old and looking better than ever!
I think also too, it has a lot to do with my own spiritual growth. I kind of encompassed my journey not only with my physical program with my doctors, surgeons, dieticians, nurses and stuff, but I also coupled that with a spiritual program.
I have rebuilt my life by realizing that I am creating my own world.
For years I didn't think that people created their world, I didn't think that anybody did that. But now I have started teaching people what I learned, and how to create their lives and their world through their words, thoughts, feelings, actions, and emotions. I am my attitude, and if I got really down, I started eating and if I got up, I wasn't. I can tell you that when I was overweight I would eat when I was happy, eat when I was sad. I just ate. Now I realize that I looked for anything and everything for an excuse to eat. So, my world really was all about food. Whether I ate it and didn't like it or whatever, it still was all about food.
Now I don't think like that. I have kind of a reverse problem, I kind of have to remember to eat and remember do things that I don't normally do.
I remember too that my life did not come easy for me considering obesity runs in the family and there are other family members that have struggled with it. It was very ingrained as a young child what it was like in our family. Food was the thing that everybody had as a common place to come together around. Food was our friend, our family member that we would all celebrate around. I think everybody even today still does that. We would celebrate around food, birthday cakes when it's our birthday or you have Fourth of July BBQ. We would have all these little get-togethers and they all rallying around some type of pot-luck or some type of dinner. I remember as a child it was so important to always have family dinner, and in my mind associates family and eating together.
I think that can be, sometimes, not such a wise statement. Can you see yourself getting together without food involved? Very rarely. So, I had to learn to stop doing that. I had to learn to stop making the food be the collecting point for my life. This is how I got together, “Oh, come on over and we'll have hors d'oeuvres.” “Oh, come on, let's have dinner” or “Oh, come on, let's go out and eat.” Every time I did that it was only hurting me more and more and more because I'd go sit down at a buffet and get three or four huge platefuls. That's huge. I don't do that anymore. I don't go to buffets. I don't sit down and eat that kind of food because to me it would be a habit to take a lot of my plate. I wouldn't be able to eat that much, but again I have to change the way I do things. So, when I normally would do something like go out to a buffet, I don't do that anymore. I do it differently. I don't rally my friends and family around food anymore.
I had to surround myself with people were supportive of my life, supportive of my weight loss, supportive of where I'm going, and help me to rally in my own journey. You have to get rid of those things that are chronic, those things that are a bad habit. People can be a bad habit. I know this. Sometimes you have to change who you're hanging around. It's kind of like a recovering alcoholic. I have 36 years of sobriety this year and it's amazing how I didn't see the correlation. but it's how easy we would hang out with certain people that could further our addiction or further our issues because it made us not have to look at what I have to change, or look at what I have to do for myself. I could blame other people. I could blame my children, my ex-husband, I could blame anybody, family, whatever I wanted to.
In the end I was really the only one in the driver's seat of my own life, but I kept handing the keys over, putting somebody else in my driver's seat.
“Chauffeur me around, would you?” Just like had ended up happening all those years ago when I couldn't drive my Jeep Liberty. When I couldn't drive my Jeep Liberty I had to literally get chauffeured. Isn't it interesting how I literally created that very same thing in my life before I started to loos weight. If I'm here and I want to make a change or a difference, I have to start right here, in me, and that's the only way I can do it. I have to watch and do thing that I didn't do before, like I have to move more, I have to diet.
I hate the word 'diet'. It's more like just life changing ways. I'm going to change the way I see food and I don't have that relationship where food is my friend, food is where we rally and have good times. Food is something we require for our life to keep going, but I don't have to make it be the whole thing, be 'this is it'.
When I think about it now I was in a size 34/36 clothes. I'm now in a size 12. So, it's kind of a really big leap from where I was from where I am now. Depending upon where I am in my own life is really dependent on where I want to be. If I want to be somewhere, if I want to do something, then I have to initiate it. I have to walk through that door. I'm the one that has to make that change. I'm the one that has to decide.
All the surgeons in the world can say what they want to say, but this is life changing. My surgery to have the Roux en Y is a tool, it's not a cure. It never has been a cure, it will never be a cure. It is completely and totally a tool, like exercising or even diet plans or whatever, the pills they have out there or whatever. Those are all tools. I don't see them as gimmicks. The surgery is a very painful process, but you know what, living the way I was was even more painful. I knew that it was really the one that was going to save my life and I had to do it. I don't say it's for everybody, but it worked for me.
If anybody can learn from this and grow from this, if I'm going to motivate people to move forward, then I have to be the change that I want to see and I think that it starts here. I have to start trusting myself and trusting my instincts. That's really been my biggest key to my own success. If I'm going to be a motivational speaker like I am, then I'd better be able to motivate and show people how to do it. That's what I do; I show people how to do it and that's one step in front of the other, it's creating those moments and changing them with little steps not big one, because sometimes you overwhelm yourself and you get too big of a leap and you spiral backwards into a failure or some type of thing that you go, “Oh, I'm such a bad person.” I have bad days. I'm a perfectly imperfect person and that's OK because I'm going to make mistakes, I'm going to screw it up. The difference is, I can forgive myself because I know it's just a moment and the next thing you know I have another moment. Those moments will change, those moments will grow. I'm hoping I can stack all those positive moments to have the healthy, positive life that I've created for myself. That's how you do it, it's stacking those positive moments. If I have a hiccup and have a bad moment, it's not the end of the world. Breathe, take your breath, move on, and just go right back and there's a new moment to recreate.
So, that's what I do. I think that's really the journey. It's just figuring out that you're the one that has to change. You're the one in the driver's seat of your life, your journey. If you give your power away, you're powerless. If you take your power back, you're powerful.