Health

The Real Reasons Why

For a good part of the last year or so, I’ve been wanting to focus on getting healthier and losing weight, but with so many changes and health issues along the way, I just haven’t made progress in the ways I was hoping to by now. And somehow, it’s already November and 2017 is almost behind us (thank GOD for that though), which is really hard to believe. Since I feel like I’ve stepped out of the fog hanging over the last several months, rather than letting a few more slip away with no progress, this week, I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers. And while I’ve joined a few times over the last couple years here and there, this time it feels different. I think I’m just ready to commit to making my health a priority again, and have the bandwidth to focus on it for the first time in a while.

One of the things I love about the Beyond the Scale Weight Watchers program is the whole “beyond the scale” part. At the beginning when you sign up and weigh in for the first time, they have you to take a few minutes to write why you want to lose weight. The receptionist actually had me write something down right then, which I think is good because it forces you to think about it. They say the more specific and detailed you can be the better because then you can start to visualize it, which can be pretty powerful, especially in moments of weakness.

After leaving the meeting, I’ve been thinking more about all the whys – why do I want to lose weight in general, why Weight Watchers again, why right now – and thought I’d share what I came up with. It’s really easy to list off surface level reasons, so I forced myself to dig a bit deeper with each.

  1. I don’t want to be back to the “before” and I’m terrified that’s the direction I’m heading if I don’t make some changes.
  2. Weight loss is mostly related to what I put into my body, which is something that’s totally within my control. Lately, so many things have felt outside my control, especially related to my back issues, so I’m looking forward to focusing on something where the outcome is completely up to me.
  3. I want to get excited when I see someone has tagged a picture of me on social media, rather than be filled with dread for how bad I might look in the picture.
  4. I’m currently a size 12, which is towards the top end of the range of sizes regular clothing stores carry. I want to be able to shop at regular stores, not have to go to the back of the rack to pick the biggest size they carry, and to feel good when I try on the clothes.
  5. I want to feel proud of my body again. I worked so hard to lose all the weight last time, and I’m ashamed I’ve gained some of it back, especially after undergoing plastic surgery to memorialize my hard work.
  6. I want to wear a bikini with confidence again. I vividly remember the first time I ever wore a bikini in my entire life by myself at a public pool in DC, and how liberating it felt. I truly believe that people should wear whatever they’re comfortable in, and I’m at the point where I don’t feel comfortable bearing my stomach.
  7. I want to be comfortable changing in a locker room or in front of friends again, instead of turning towards a wall and doing it quickly in a panic or going into a private bathroom stall.
  8. My parents have a long list of health issues related to being overweight, and I’m at the age where those things aren’t too far off if I don’t get it under control. My dad had a heart attack at age 40 (!) and both my parents have struggled with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being prediabetic/Type II diabetes. I don’t want the same fate.
  9. Holidays are a really tough time to lose or maintain weight, so rather than let myself spiral out of control these next few months, I want to focus on taking care of myself and get a head start. Time goes by so fast, especially as we get older (it’s science!) so rather than let a few more weeks turn into a few more months, I’m starting now.

Stepping Out of the Fog

The last few months have been quite a whirlwind. You know how they say “When it rains, it pours”? Turns out that’s true.

I alluded to this vaguely, but back in June my career took an unexpected turn when I found out that the job I’d been at for just under a year wasn’t going to work out longterm. It was a very humbling experience that made me do quite a bit of digging and soul searching, which I’m still knee- (elbow-?) deep in at the moment. In some ways, it’s hard to believe it was already almost 5 months ago (!), but in other ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I still had an office job.

That change in and of itself has been a lot to navigate, but I’ve also been dealing with some health issues, which you may have caught wind of if you follow my Facebook page. Long story short, back in April (so two months before the career shift) my back started acting up again for the first time since having Emergency Back Surgery in 2006 (part 1, part 2, and part 3 of that story), and it really, really messed with me after being pain free for 11 years. I tried to do everything in my power to avoid having back surgery again, including making some pretty dramatic dietary changes that seemed to make a significant impact.

I was trucking along and feeling like I was almost out of the woods with my back (and ready to refocus on the next step in my career!), when seemingly out of nowhere, I started having pretty severe abdominal pain on September 20. I tried to suck it up but after it didn’t go away for over 12 hours I went to the hospital, and I ended up needing emergency gall bladder removal surgery that day. (PS: My first emergency surgery was at 22, my second at 33… let’s hope this trend is over and I don’t have to think about what’s next at 44!)

The surgery itself was pretty uneventful and I was released the next day and sent home to recover. At 10 days post op, I went in for a follow up and everything was looking awesome, and the surgeon decided to put new steristrips and adhesive over the incisions to help it heal even better. When it started itching a bit the next day I assumed it was just from healing, but then it started getting itchier and redder and I realized I was having an allergic reaction to whatever they’d administered. I had to go back in and once they removed the steristrips it was INTENSE to look at the reaction. Since I’d recently had the surgery, I couldn’t use anything topical to treat the reaction and instead had to take steroids, and after being put on the wrong type and then the wrong dose over the next 10 days by the surgeon’s office, I went to see my PCP and got put on the right dose of steroids and at long last, the reaction started to dissipate. That was 2 weeks ago today that I got put on the right dose of steroids and finally, finally, finally I feel like I’m stepping out of the fog of these last few months and can start to shift my focus back to the bigger question of where to go from here.

Since I’ve laid out the crappy stuff that has happened over the last few months, let me end on a positive note and also share some of the highlights:

  1. I formed an LLC to do consulting work and landed a client almost immediately who I’ve been working for on a part-time basis since! I had been thinking about starting my own company for some time and knew that there was never a better time to try, so I did.
  2. I traveled a bunch – including to Charleston for my birthday week in July, Jamaica for a destination wedding in August, and New Orleans for a friend’s birthday last weekend. (Check out my Instagram if you wanna see pics!)¬†Up next: family vacation in Antigua over Thanksgiving in November for my dad’s 70th birthday!
  3. We made an offer on a house that got accepted, but then we backed out. I list this in the positives because while that particular house didn’t work out, it was very helpful to see the homebuying process and looking at houses is really exciting (albeit depressing with the cost of real estate in DC).
  4. I’ve been looking for a volunteer opportunity to weave into my schedule, and decided on Reading Partners, where I’ll work with a student for an hour a week to help with their reading for the whole school year. I had to get a TB test, fingerprints and a background check to be able to volunteer since it’s in DC Public Schools, and I have my orientation tomorrow and am SO excited to start!

I’m planning to expand on a bunch of the topics mentioned in this post, but let me know if you have specific questions or anything you’d like me to address. I’ll be back soon!