Today has been good – I had my ‘head’ meeting with the psychologist who works on the weight loss surgery team.
This guy has always been fantastic. He gave me a couple of home truths that were well needed during our first meeting – I think I have seen him four times now over the past two years – and his approach rubbed off. I cut the crap and started taking responsibility. None of this, ‘don’t blame yourself, blame the marketers of junk food’ stuff. I was the one putting the shite into my mouth and I was the only one who could stop doing it.
It was a good chat. He was thrilled with my progress – I took him my before photos to remind him! He had also looked at my blood results and said that everything was as it should be…so he knows I am working hard. He asked if he could bottle whatever I had done to pass it around – bless him!
One of the questions he asked me was around what had changed – why am I succeeding this time.
This is a hard one to answer. Well, it’s not…the mind shift is the answer. It is far harder to achieve that mind shift though. I often get asked what keeps me motivated. ‘Death’ is the simple answer! I had given myself type 2 diabetes and I had given myself cancerous cells in my womb…I was on the fast-track route to a mortuary table. My life had stopped pretty much. I was functioning at a basic level, but I would fall asleep mid-conversation with people. My breathing was terrible. I couldn’t stand up for more than a couple of seconds without breaking into a sweat and getting immense back and joint pains. I hid away from friends and family and felt like there was no hope.
When you reach rock-bottom there really is only one way to go I guess. However, my hope is that you never reach this place. It is like falling down a fecking very deep well and having to claw your way out one tiny centimetre at a time. The pain I was causing my family and friends was immense. I had my wonderful horses sitting in a field doing nothing much. I had a huge amount to live for…so I woke up one morning and decided that enough was enough…and I changed!
So we discussed all of these things. I also told him that I knew in my heart of hearts that if I had eaten a good breakfast, lunch and dinner, that any ‘hunger’ was emotional and not physical. So I learnt to deal with emotions. I probably became even more of a nightmare to live with – I have always been fairly outspoken, but getting these emotions out made me even more so. Some days I do nothing but rant and rave…but I haven’t caved in with my food yet, so those around me let me rant and rave quite happily.
As the days go by the emotions have evened out. I learnt how to express happiness, and I am now taking out anger on my exercise instead of on a burger or four! I can deal with loneliness, sadness, boredom…you have to find ways of dealing with these things. It is never easy though…but neither is being fat. I have a little saying, “Losing weight is hard. Being fat is hard. Choose your hard!” – I remind myself of this when I am wanting to give in. I remind myself that this new way of living is giving me my life back.
Battling against thirty years of habits and lifestyle is tough though. But the battle will get me another thirty years and more to live my life in a different way. I seriously doubt that you would be reading anything I had written today if I had carried on as I was…I genuinely think that I would have been dead by now.
So you just have to crack on and take responsibility. It is no good people telling you that it’s not your fault – as ‘professional’ people had told me. The reasons that compel you to eat might not be your fault; who else but you sits down and eats what you eat? Who chooses to eat it? Unless you have serious relationship issues, I doubt that you are strapped to a chair and force fed! Compassion will get you so far – I had lots of compassion, understanding and advice from people – but taking responsibility to change will get you a hell of lot further…and only you can do it.
I was a little apprehensive about this appointment. I was referred to the weight loss surgery team over five years ago. There are four people that I have to see – the consultant, the surgeon, the dietitian and the psychologist. Until they all agree that you are ready, you don’t get the surgery. I mainly saw the dietitian at first. They wanted me to get my binge eating under control and I had to show that I could lose weight myself. It took over three years to get an appointment with the psychologist…the person with whom the change started…and could potentially have started with a lot sooner.
The dietitian is lovely. But I know what healthy eating is. I can list calories and fat content and protein and carb content in the majority of foods. So her help was great, but it didn’t do much for me in terms of education. I would highly recommend her – or a qualified dietitian – for anyone out there struggling with what they should and shouldn’t be eating though.
The surgeon I have seen once…for less than five minutes…he poked my stomach, said “okay” and that was the last I saw of him!
The consultant I have seen – either him or his team members – on a number of occasions. It is his team members, along with the diabetic team (they are one and the same team really), who keep telling me that I cannot lose my weight without surgery. They keep piling on the pressure every time I see them – at my last diabetic review I kept getting asked when I was having the surgery. I asked for a six month reprieve when I last saw them and it wasn’t granted…they were planning on operating on me in October. Despite me having lost over 13st, I was told that I would not lose anymore without surgery.
So the week after, during my appointment with the dietitian, I told her that my other half was working away in America for four months and that I wouldn’t have the surgery without him here…I got my six month reprieve one way or another!
Today, with over 17st lost, the psychologist and I discussed what the best course of action is. Having waited for over five years to get to the point that a date was set for surgery, I would hate to remove myself from the list only to have everything come crashing down and then need the surgery. I seriously doubt that this will happen…I am 99.9% confident in my abilities to see this through. The surgery could be a psychological wolf at the door that is making run towards a healthy lifestyle. If I remove that wolf…what happens? The likelihood is that I would carry on as I am because I feel bloody fantastic…but ‘what if’?
My chap agreed that he is going to keep seeing me regardless of what the rest of the weight loss surgery team want to do. As a consultant he can see who he wants to, and he wants to keep seeing me. We discussed that at some point, a decision will need to be made. Yet he told me that he is seeing patients who weigh 115kgs (about 18st) who are on the list for surgery…so I have some leeway! I just cannot understand why the others are pushing me towards it so much – why not give me a review in six months and see how I am doing then?
The fact is that I still weigh more than most surgery patients do…even having lost over 17st…this blows my mind a bit. I know losing weight is hard, and I don’t want to be one of those people who say, ‘If I can do it, anyone can’…but part of me feels that this is true. Why anyone at 18st would contemplate surgery is beyond me. Our conversation today surrounded the head shift. We discussed the fact that it doesn’t matter what the weight loss method is, you can still put weight back on. A 12st person could have reached that weight by following Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley, or by having a gastric bypass. That 12st person can eat a packet of crisps a day more than their calorie requirement…and they will put on over a stone in a year. Until you change your mind and your eating habits then nothing will help you…so if you have to change your mind and your eating habits in order for the surgery to be a success, how is a surgeon with a scalpel going to help?
I absolutely agree that there are people out there who need the surgery. However, if you were to have seen me at my biggest you would have said that I was a prime candidate…and I have managed to lose a significant amount without it. It just makes me wonder how many people who have had it can do the same. I am all for getting treatment if it is needed…I just question whether, in the majority of cases, it really is needed. I also question the results, as I know many people who have had surgery that are struggling terribly and putting weight back on. As with all things, there are success stories. I am just not willing to put my body through life-threatening surgery to become one, when there is a healthier method of becoming a success…especially when it means I can tuck into a massive burger if I choose to!
As for the ‘Thomas the Tank’ part of the blog post title today…well, this one almost got me into some trouble!
I was at the gym and could hear someone grunting for Britain in the weights section. I was right over the other side of the room! He was lifting the biggest weights I have ever seen. Although there was a real lack of control and the weights were being ‘lifted’ on the momentum of the swing rather than through his effort – but a big muscle-bound chap is not one to tangle with…especially when I have the physique of a deflated hot air balloon…so who am I to give advice?!
Anyway, I carried on my workout to background noise which created the ambience of a brothel. I completed my cardio – oh, and the weird lady who likes to stand right next to me made an appearance again…right next to me in an empty cardio section! I then completed my leg workout before heading over the muscle-bound bear section to work my arms. As I sat down on one of the weight benches, this chap started making loads ‘pffftt’ noises and then ‘schmusht’ noises. It sounded like an episode of ‘Thomas the Tank’…I was just waiting for his arse to start whistling!
I got the giggles and tried to do some weight lifting gurning faces to hide my giggles. I even bit my lip until it bled as I was conscious that we were surrounded by mirrors. It was so funny! I have real issues in keeping a straight face at times and, once I start, I struggle to control myself. I had to think of all sorts of horrid things to sort myself out.
Once I got to the machines that were hidden out of view, I allowed myself a laugh…and continued to have a big grin on my face whilst finishing my workout. It was such a good session…a decent workout and a good laugh…perfect! Poor chap. I wanted to go and hand him some weights half the size of the ones he was lifting!
That pretty much sums my day up. Apart from the horrendous car parking fiasco at the hospital – I left an hour to do what is a ten minute journey…the parking is awful. I was asked to move my car a couple of times, to stop blocking traffic, only to have people queue-jump. I was going mental at the parking attendants who kept moving me and yet ignoring others who were doing the same. Then some plonker reversed into my car – despite myself and three other cars beeping at him to stop! The psychologist decided not to check my blood pressure on this occasion…I would have been admitted immediately I think!
I also went to check on the horses. They were soaked, I got soaked…I need to buy one of them a bigger rug as his bum cheeks are hanging out of the end of his rug…he must have been standing in a gro-bag over the past few weeks. We also popped to Asda and I am reading through some uni books in preparation for my next session on Wednesday. All pretty tame stuff really. A few more episodes of Prison Break will be on later I think.
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).
Today’s food has been good. It was the usual for breakfast – and it really seems to fuel me during the gym sessions. Lunch was smoked salmon trimmings mixed in with eggs and black pepper and scrambled. I had this on top of spinach and toasted wholemeal rolls with cherry tomatoes. Dinner was a spicy chilli bolognese – extra lean mince, red onion, green and yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, courgette, spinach, mushrooms, Worcester sauce, beef stock pot, chilli flakes, smoked paprika and some mixed herbs…this was layered with my cheese and tasted lovely. The pineapple fingers were a gamble…a day past their sell-by and I was worried that they would be ‘fizzy’…but they were great!
Exercise: 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and 40 minutes of weights.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx