Okay, so I need to get my butt back on track. That isn't to say I haven't had successes along the way, but I'm now two years out from surgery and I've only succeeded by cheating the system a bit and having a little luck as of late. As I approach year three, the year in which most WLS patients either see continued success and improvement or start reverting back to old ways and enter that dangerous potential of 50% who regain, I'm kicking my butt back onto the track I know I need to be on.
This past year has been a whirlwind.
1. I got a divorce. It really was the BEST thing for me. I exited (finally!) an abusive relationship of 23 years and reclaimed my worth by filing those papers. I also took positive steps to protect my children...well, child... from further risk of abuse. So while on one hand it felt like a failure for awhile, I'm starting to realize now that it was the smartest, bravest, most bold thing I've ever done and I couldn't be more proud of the woman I've become through all of it!
2. I met someone new. God, that sounds SO cliche to say that right after I got out of one relationship I jumped into a new one. It wasn't intentional, I promise. Honestly, my marriage was over years ago. I stayed because I thought that was what was best for my kids, but the plan was to stick through a few more years and then once the kids were off doing their adult things we would finally break ties and go our separate ways as well. Well, at least that was MY plan. I had all but given up hope that I would ever find someone that would make me feel the way I wanted to feel - worthy of love. I honestly just didn't think that person existed. And I think the most important thing for me was finally realizing that I was OKAY with a life alone if it meant I could be myself and not feel trapped and hated and unloved every day of my life. So while I was on dating sites looking for people to hang with and experiences to fill the void, I accidentally found someone who matches me so well that I'm still wondering if it can really be real. We're a year into knowing each other, and 11 months into officially dating, and we don't have any plans to stop that any time soon. In fact...
3. We're looking to move forward with our lives...together. Here's the rub. He's ready to be 100% committed to me...but he's not quite ready and comfortable yet to step into MY life completely...which, unfortunately for him, is the only option right now. I have a 15-year-old who isn't done being raised. I have to stay devoted to him for at least a few more years to get him on the right path...and that means boyfriend either has to fit into what we already have...or not. So far he's trying, and I cannot thank him enough for that. It's been hard for him, though, finding his place. And I get it. Completely. I was 16 when my mom finally met her now husband, my step-dad. It's a weird age and I didn't fully accept him for about 10 years. Teenagers are weird and selfish and annoying sometimes. My son is being great about it, but I know they're both struggling a bit to figure out what kind of relationship they're supposed to have. That being said, he's super supportive of my kid and his activities and interests and he loves to come to his events and cheer him on. It's just a strange dynamic and it's going to take time...and maybe a sit-down talk about expectations.
4. The biggest thing I did lose in the divorce is my oldest son. Our bond was solid before, but I already felt him pulling away before the split. Problem was, now he had a "safe" place to run away to. See, I'm an "overbearing" mother. I want them to do things like learn life skills - cooking, cleaning, bathing, following through with your commitments - and I ask them to do those things on the regular. If you sign up for a sport or group - you follow it through to the end. You do your homework and turn it in. You ask for help when you need it because you're almost a grown up and you need to find your own voice (I'll stand behind them and help, but I'm NOT doing it for them). You wake up and do things like take a shower, put on clothes that are appropriate, talk nicely to people, pick up after yourself, complete a few chores to help the family -- you know, the regular LIFE SKILLS we all have to develop at some point. But for an 18-year-old who is struggling and feeling like a failure, it's easier to run away to someone (his father) who doesn't care if you do those things. Who still thinks it's okay at the age of 38 to play video games all day in your undies and drink energy drinks and eat junk food until you burst. There's no expectation of a healthy diet or healthy life habits. And for 17 turned 18...that freedom sounds like a dream. So my son moved out to his father's house without telling me, with plenty of encouragement from an ex who no longer wanted to pay child support and set out with a goal of getting the kids to want to live with him so he could save his pocketbook (even though parenting isn't a skill he's ever learned), and for one kid...he won. So now my oldest son is a Senior in high school and doesn't even communicate with his mother. I text, he ignores. I come by, he hides. I say hi, and he acts like nothing is wrong, says hi back and then doesn't speak to me again until we accidentally run into each other in person somewhere. I texted a week ago to ask if he would be coming over for the holidays. No response. This has been the HARDEST thing to go through IN MY LIFE. My kid didn't die, but I mourn him because he cut me out for NO REASON (I've literally asked, and all I got was the "overbearing" comment...which sounds like a fed word because I have never heard him use that term EVER).
5. The SKIN. OMG the skin. So I've now lost nearly 250 pounds! That's great, I know! I'm happy about it, trust me! But the damage to my body is REAL. And the mental part is the hardest to deal with. Right now it's teetering on the edge of "normal" and "plus size" because of the parts of my body that I can no longer change without surgical involvement. I'm within about 20 pounds of my goal...and it's estimated I have about 10-15 pounds of loose skin that needs to be removed from my body, so... how do I deal with that? I've seen a plastic surgeon. He has written an "aggressive" letter to my insurance company asking for coverage, but the outlook with my insurer isn't good...and I'm not that hopeful. Or, at least, I'm trying not to get my hopes up. So now I have to deal with the question - What more, if anything, can *I* actually do to get myself closer to where I need to be?! And that's why I'm here...
If I can't change the skin, I have to change what's under it.
I have to improve my health.
I have to improve my mindset about my body.
I have to improve my overall lifestyle so that I'm living MY best life, whether I'm a size 14 shoving skin down the front of my pants and crying in a dressing room, or size 8 with a flat tummy (HA! Like that will EVER happen...*sigh*).
So, yes, it's been tough, but I'm certainly tougher.
I survived a 23 year abusive relationship.
I survived an abusive father.
I survived a father who then abandoned me because he didn't like when I stood up for myself and demanded appropriate interactions.
I survived being nearly 500 pounds, nearly bedridden and immobile.
If I can survive that...I can survive this.
Okay, so goals:
I'm going to be VERY careful in setting weight goals right now. My life in the past 7 years has lived or died by the number on the scale and pretty soon, there will be NO changing that. I'm about to head into maintenance mode...which is pretty scary for me because I have LITERALLY never been there in my entire life. I've been dieting and trying to move that number since at least the age of 8. EIGHT! That's nearly 30 years of living my life and determining my success by ONE TOOL. So what the hell am I supposed to do now? I have a little while to figure it out, but right now I'm at 220 and I want to be at 170-190. So I'm setting 2-4 pound goals and sticking to those and giving myself the power to care or not care whether I hit them. God, this part is SCARY y'all!
There are three major things that I CAN control now and for the rest of my life. One is food. I'm still a foodie. I'm pretty sure I always will be. But more than anything I know the rules of my body and what it means to eat a healthy diet. High protein, low carb, low sugar - basically a meat and veggies kinda life. Thankfully it's both the fuel my body loves and the stuff I generally like to consume, so it shouldn't be too hard once I build the healthy habits back. It does mean I need to set some limits for my sugar consumption, which has kinda taken off the past year through life's stresses. So that's where I'm focusing my attention. Less sugar. More meat and veggies. I CAN DO THIS!
The second thing I CAN control is my activity. I still have some pain issues related to the skin and those aren't likely to go away any time soon, but I've learned how to manage them and still be active. I know what works for me and what doesn't. I have to build on those healthy habits and find GYM goals that will show success even when the WEIGHT goals are failing me (or not...because maintenance mode is a SUCCESS, NOT A FAILURE). So I need to get back to the things that work - walking, running, lifting and yoga. Maybe I can find some new fun adventures too!
The last thing I can change is my ATTITUDE. I need to find things to fill my time that also fill my soul. I need to get back to things I love that don't involve food. Honestly, I need to FIND A LIFE that doesn't revolve around LOSING WEIGHT. That has been the ONE defining thing for me for my entire life...so what the hell do people do when they aren't constantly focused on LOSING WEIGHT?! I have to find something to fill my life with and not rely solely on other people and a SCALE to make me happy. So I'm building some thoughts in my head of how to structure my 2018 goals to incorporate understanding what my life will be now that my only focus isn't "getting healthy" because I AM healthy.
Geez, y'all. I do not know what I'm doing. I don't even know if this is the right place to do this... I may look into blogspace all my own to take this journey because Spark is so (rightly so) focused on this idea of losing weight and changing your physical self...what other parts of life actually EXIST? Someone point me in a direction! (Do my work for me! lol)