On December 1st I went to my doctor to check up on a cough that wouldn’t go away. Turns out I was ultimately fine, getting over Whooping Cough. I’ll live. At the appointment I purposefully didn’t want to be weighed because I knew it was probably not good and I had been halfheartedly working out for awhile, so I thought I was okay. However, those pictures from Thanksgiving where I was at a side angle, not posed, had been haunting me.
When the nurse left I jumped on the scale anyways and to my horror realized I gained more weight since August. I was 8 lbs. away from 300 lbs. A number I didn’t even see when I was carrying another human being on my person.
I don’t know why I was shocked or why exactly this was the turning point, but I suddenly knew that I needed help outside of my own abilities. We got through the exam on my lungs, etc. and I asked the doctor if she had a few more minutes to talk. I laid it all out there. That I was gaining (we looked at my chart, I have gained 40 lbs in the last year) and it’s not stopping. I told her I was binging at times without using that word, that I was discouraged and desperate to try something further before we got to the point of surgery. I am terrified of surgery. That I know exactly what I’m supposed to do but I feel stuck and scared. She listened and then suggested an appetite suppressant.
She told me it’s not a magic pill. It may make me lose weight but I will gain it all back when I go off of it if that’s all I use, and I will have to stop taking it because it’s not a long term solution. I have to do work with it. She has seen some success but not much because people usually have that attitude. I agreed to give it a shot for 3 months. My blood pressure has always been fine and that was the only thing that would stop her. It does not mess with any of my other medications and I should have no real side effects. I agreed to try it for 3 months.
I left her office and walked to my car, closed the door and bawled. I cried all the way to Walgreens to pick it up. I took my first pill in my car before picking up the Thai I ordered for lunch and going back to work, still crying. I looked up a ton of information on the pill at work to prepare myself for any lesser side effects (dry mouth, high energy, trouble sleeping, bad taste in mouth). When I got home from work that night I went upstairs and sat in my dark bedroom on the floor and bawled some more. Sobbing, heaving cries. I gave myself 30 minutes of tears and decided to get up and get going.
I got myself here, I can get myself out. No, these pills aren’t the same pills I found in our spare bathroom when I was a kid and realized my mom hated herself (why did my mother keep her diet pills in the kids bathroom anyways? Ah, probably hiding them from her husband.) I’m not a failure for asking for help. I trust my doctor to know if these are dangerous and I have a time line of 3 months to get my ass in gear. USE THIS TIME.
USE THIS TIME has been my mantra for the past two weeks.
Immediately, day one, I noticed I wasn’t hungry like I normally am. That all-consuming constant nag that says “EAT SOMETHING RIGHT NOW” was and is gone. It has been, dare I say, EASY to stay under 1,500 calories, even 1,300 most days. The hardest thing for me in the past is now suddenly a non-issue. I can see why this works temporarily for people.
I don’t want temporary but I’m not sure where I’m going just yet either. When I start to spiral or shame talk myself I start worrying about the end of this 3 months and how much I’ll put back on. Are these pills a crutch? Can I unlearn this behavior?
I haven’t set a weight goal or anything, because I don’t have a tangible goal like that yet. Mostly I want to fit into my clothes again. I want to be active for my kid. I could give two shits about a size in a piece of clothing. I can’t even fathom being lower than a 14, so I’m just going by “how much can I lose this week.” I know this will change, but I can’t get past day to day right now. It’s also dangerous for me to do so, I’m learning, as I spiral quick. Day to day.
December 1 I started logging my food, every bit of it and continue to do so. If you know me, you know that I absolutely HATE this. It’s why I resented Weight Watchers, etc. But I haven’t hated it. It’s felt like a science experiment on myself. Day to day.
I rejoined the YMCA the next night and swam laps, weekly, for 45 minutes. I walked my 292 lbs. ass across the pool and swam in the lanes next to the high school swim team practice. I didn’t waiver. I have a set workout routine at home and the Y that I use almost every day (except Wednesdays) that includes weight lifting and cardio, plus yoga that I do every morning before my family wakes up. I am planful and I don’t miss anything, so far. I even sleep in my workout clothes so there are no excuses.
I also haven’t told a soul I’m doing this. My boyfriend knows I’m eating better and working out and it’s important to me, but I haven’t told him about the pills. I’ve told none of my friends or family. I do not want to even post about any pounds I’ve lost or will eventually lose on Facebook, etc. I feel protective of my body and where it’s at. Everything feels very fragile and I don’t need approval or input for where I’m going or how I’m getting there. I am also scared that people really don’t have faith in me, like I always fear.
I trust myself enough to know that if these pills start making me act weird, I’ll stop. I’m in contact with my doctor weekly about progress. I have had no real bad side effects other than I can attest that the dry mouth is NUTS.
That nagging hunger being erased has given me a freedom to really start examining how I got here and where I’m currently sitting. I’m only two weeks in here, I’m not naive enough to think I’ve conquered some hill. There have been a few victories mentally that I can claim though.
Not having this all-consuming hunger has made me realize I don’t really need to eat as much as I did. I was WAY under estimating just how much was going into my body and I was eating for reasons other than hunger. I eat when I’m not hungry, when I procrastinate, when I’m tired, when I’m anything emotion and I eat enormous portions. After work one day last week I went directly to the pantry to look for a snack and realized “Wait, I’m not hungry” it was just that time of day where I check the pantry. I’ve caught myself doing this numerous times.
I also listen and watch those around me. My mom came up and spent a lot of time talking about what she was eating or wasn’t eating, how “good” she was being, how much weight she was losing etc. I sound exactly like her yet I watched her eat garbage, exactly what I had been doing. My boyfriend eats terrible and constantly. Mounds of food, snacks on a constant rotation to his mouth and never much greenery. He has the luxury of moving all day at his job vs. me where I sit, but still, how long can that last? Have I been trying to keep up with him when we eat together?
I didn’t really ever taste food as much as I thought I was. I’ve shared the memes on Facebook that were all “fuck this, i want chocolate” and yet I’m sitting here turning down cookies for strawberries because I actually don’t like how sugar tastes in my mouth after I’m done swallowing. This Sunday I made my famous chili that I normally stuff a half sleeve of Saltines in. I ate it without crackers, measured by a measuring cup, and I was a little nervous I was going to have to power through it. It tasted amazing!
I have also almost completely erased alcohol. I drank fat free hot chocolate Friday when my neighbors brought over Not Your Father’s Root Beer. I’ve turned down cocktails when out to dinner with family. I drink iced tea when we watch hockey at the bar. I don’t exactly miss that either. After two weeks my skin looks way better, as well. I’m canceling my wine club membership in January with no regrets.
The spiraling is still going strong, but I’m trying to learn from it as I go. Yesterday we had our office xmas party at lunch and there were a ton of cookies and brownies, etc. I indulged in 5 cookies and half a cupcake and felt that binge mentality come on quick, like I couldn’t get enough. I stopped, pounded water and had a very sensible dinner later but the guilt and fear that I had after it stayed with me until this morning. I had to tell myself that I’m working out today not as punishment for yesterday but because it’s good for me. I made myself work out when it’s normally been easy because giving up over one bad day wasn’t an option. I’ve had to tell myself that if I don’t lose another 7 lbs. like last week, it’s OK as long it’s going down. I cannot believe (well yes I can) how much guilt and fear and shame is ingrained in me over this.
When I start to tell myself this is just another phase, that my boyfriend has no faith in me that I’ll be successful, that I’m setting myself up to gain 30 more pounds after I eventually stop I have to really adjust. As in, it’s a physical hard stop I have to make. During work outs when I’m tired and want to give up, I just keep saying “use this time, use this time.”
For all the body positive work I have done over the past 3 years, I completely forgot about a huge chunk of my brain that still holds on to 13 year old chubby Lulu with new big boobs, 5’9″ sudden frame and hips and thighs that don’t look anything like her tiny sister’s.
Mostly, in a nutshell, I’m amazed at how I’m doing and how different this feels. Did I hit rock bottom? I’m terrified to tell anyone that I’m doing this. I’m in awe of throwing away half a small salad because I’m full. I’m proud that I can turn down booze or grab a protein shake instead of burgers and fries. I don’t get sad when I think I have to do this life for the rest of my life, instead I’m excited to see where I go.
That all-consuming hunger I had that died, hopefully forever, but maybe temporarily until I know how to work with it, has left me with a clear head for the first time in my life. I’m scared of it, but I’m hoping to replace it with something else.
Wish me luck.