Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Way Things Are Sometimes

For anyone who visits here, and not over there (at Bowling With Borderline Lil), I thought I would post a few updates. I don't maintain this blog, for a number of reasons, but I do get your emails and comments - thank you everyone! One of the reasons I haven't posted much here for the last 6 months, and why I don't always respond to emails from pre-surgery patients, is that these days I have mixed feelings about weight loss surgery. My surgeon has been asking me to come in for a follow-up as it's been 18 months since I went to see him, but I have avoided it. I don't know what to say... I'm binge eating again, I can eat almost as much now as before my tube gastrectomy, I've put on weight over the last year rather than losing it? I think that my surgery, weight loss, divorce, breakdown were all meant to happen, but occasionally I think about how I was able to have this drastic surgery with NO psychological counselling, even though I now know I have BED (Binge Eating Disorder) and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). I think most people who have the surgery will be fine, as long as they don't have serious eating disorders. I think the surgery (and the 50kg weight loss) probably saved or at least prolonged my life. Being divorced is tough, but it's okay, and I think it's an honest life - more than I had before.

Please don't misunderstand me, I firmly believe in weight loss surgery as a concept. I know it's helped millions of people. In many ways, it helped me. I just wish that I had been forced to have some counselling beforehand, in order to discover where some of my future issues may have been. Anyway, it's done now, and I'm grateful for better health, and the rest is up to me. I just wish I'd never believed that it was the answer to my problems. THAT, my friends, is something I am still learning. I also believed it would change my eating habits, which is not true. For 6 months I ate a lot less, but now I know I have stretched my stomach and can eat way too much, and as usual all the unhealthy food choices are the attractive ones.

On a more positive note I am working again, part-time for a charity doing events management, admin, assisting the Executive Officer. I LOVE my job, and the people at work. It really makes a difference. Also, there are no men there LOL. Which is a good thing when you're easily distracted haha. I am determinedly single now, not interested in even the idea of a relationship, and that has helped with my recovery. I'm stable and sane these days - and owe a lot of that to my psychiatrist and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I'm hoping CBT can help with my binge eating too.

The negatives in my life are few, but major. I haven't exercised regularly all year, apart from sporadic visits to the gym. I am cash-strapped in the wake of divorce, disability, and part-time employment. How does Alanis Morrissette put it - "I'm broke but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind..." Overall, I am on a much healthier path than this time 6 months ago (or 12 months ago).

Would I have the surgery again, given the choice? Yes. But I would insist on counselling, and do a lot more reading about binge eating and addiction transferral. I hope this post doesn't come across as negative, I've put off writing it for a long time because I wanted to be honest without being a naysayer. But in the spirit of blogging, the truth needed to come out.

Peace to you, my friends xx

Friday, May 8, 2009

Battle Of The Bulge

This morning I joined a 20 week challenge at my gym. The brilliant and stellar owner, Pat, called me the other day to tell me about it, as she knew my motivation had been seriously lacking. I hadn't been to the gym for about 6 weeks, and my depression had been so bad that most days I couldn't even get out of bed to shower. Things have started to turn around, and get better, so I decided to take up the challenge.

There are some lovely people in the group, who will meet once a week to compare food plans, exercise, successes, and the gym girls have taken measurements and weights.

FYI, I weighed in at (gulp) 123.5kg (271 pounds).

I am officially 5 kilos heavier than the beginning of the year, before my breakdown. Which is okay. I have made peace with it, and it's a lot less than I would have regained before I had the surgery. I guess I need to accept responsibility now, the smaller stomach basically lost the first 45kg, now I have to apply common sense and restraint to lose the rest. Gorgeous Jon, my surgeon, called me the other day and left a message asking to come in and see him so we can keep track. I have been avoiding seeing him, I am so conflicted now about the surgery and how easy it is to have it done (without psych evaluations, etc). I still think it's a terrific thing, and worth doing, but I do think there should be more support - especially as I was already diagnosed with depression and had serious binge eating issues.

I guess people will say I should have reached out and asked for help before I hit the point of having a breakdown. But the illness is deceptive, and I was on a high seeing such great results. I think I got carried away with the compliments and the fact that I looked better and could buy nice clothes. Shallow!! Now I am dealing with the reality that although I am 45kg lighter, and a lot healthier and fitter, my life is still empty and I am still suffering from image problems and sadness. I'm glad to have finally received a diagnosis, though, because I always knew my behaviour was "out there". I know what's "wrong" with me, and even better I know how to fix it (or at least manage it).

I had a great workout this morning, I have missed going to the gym! I have a new job starting next week, which is Tues, Wed and Friday, so am hoping to get to the gym at least twice a week. I need to establish a new routine, but not overdo it. My other problem, which is something the gastric sleeve couldn't fix, is snacking between meals. Totally out of control. I'm hoping that working again, and being busy, will help me forget about food a little haha!

Probably I should set some goals for the 20 Week Challenge (which is called The Battle of The Bulge, hence the title of this post). I don't want to focus on numbers, but getting back down to 118kg would be nice, which is where I was before my mental episode! I will work out some other fitness goals and post them here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Once I Was Overweight

Once I was Overweight. It was 1992.
I'm almost five foot ten and I weighed about 80kg (175 pounds).

After that, about 4 years later, I moved into the Obese category, weighing about 95kg (209).

Eventually, after the Heartbreak of 1997 and the Doomed Marriage of 2000, I qualified for the Super Morbid Obese category, and let me tell you not just any old fat chick gets that label. My BMI was 54, and I weighed around 170kg (374).

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was the second heaviest person in my class. It was 1986 and I was 16 years old, almost at the height I am now (five nine and a half). I weighed 64kg. Smack bang in the middle of the Healthy Weight category. I'll say it again - I was the second heaviest person in my class, including boys. Every day I was told I was fat, ugly, slow and was always the last person chosen for sports.

No wonder I have such a screwed-up body image. No wonder I constantly question whether it's even worth all this money (cost of my weight loss surgery =$18,000) and effort to get to my new goal weight of 80kg, which will see me still Overweight. I need to find a way to disconnect from the numbers, but how do I measure my "success" if not through BMI points, clothing sizes, centimetres and kilos? Sure, there are a number of things I can do comfortably now that I couldn't 50kg ago. I'm not disputing the fact that I've lost weight and gained health and fitness. But basically, I've hated my body since I was 10 years old, no matter what number was attached to it. And lots of other people have hated it too, and have told me so.

Sadly, I find myself still hating my body, still lamenting its ugly lumpen-ness and scarring. Even worse, now I've lost a lot more weight from my top half than my bottom bits - where I was once an "even" size 26, I'm now 20-22 in pants and 16-18 in tops. Nothing fits me properly. I would never want to go back. But sometimes I wonder WHEN or IF I will be able to learn how to value my body instead of viewing it as my enemy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Binge Eating Vs Mindfulness -- SMACKDOWN

Awareness of the moment is when change can begin

My new weapon in the war against regaining the weight - Mindfulness. Interestingly enough, the concept of mindfulness is a huge part of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy I'm learning in order to help deal with my psychiatric illness. In one of those rare moments of synchronicity, it turns out that my impulsive behaviour (binge eating) is connected to my illness (BPD), as well as being one of the causes of my weight problem. The good news there is that one weapon can do double duty and (hopefully) kick both these issues in the ass. Mindfulness is one of those simple concepts which could fix most of my problems... basically I just need to slow down and examine each moment, thought, feeling, urge, impulse, emotion. Rather than eat, emote or act as soon as the urge strikes me, I need to take time to decide on the truth and validity of the desires. Am I really hungry? Is this the "best" food choice for me? Dr Phil's Weight Loss Challenge states it similarly by putting thoughts through the Four Questions: Is my internal dialogue true? Does it serve my best interests? Does it advance and protect my health? Is it helping me achieve my weight management goals?

It seems simple and trite, but I know it works. It's just a matter of adding that extra step or two to my thought patterns, an extra step I think most people are born with or learn as children. I consider my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to be training myself to audit or interpret things and installing a new filter/interpreter. After all these years of living in the moment (or even a step AHEAD of the moment, crazily enough) it's tricky to slow down and think about things analytically before acting/eating. With eating, so much of it is habit -- I always prefer eating in front of the TV or while reading, which is definitely NOT being mindful. Eating at the table with my family has just become an agony...which I try and get over as soon as possible, again NOT the way to be mindful of how and what I am eating. I'm going to eat in my room at my desk, or outside on the patio, in an effort to retrain myself. I just CANNOT learn to eat slowly and mindfully with the loons I call my family staring at me!!

I've found a couple of great Mindful Eating websites which will help me learn better habits. Understandably, my shrinks are more focused on other areas of CBT at the moment, but there's no reason I can't apply basic mindfulness techniques to my everyday eating. I am trying not to become extreme in my views about what I can/can't/shouldn't eat... for obvious reasons. I have also decided to not worry about my actual numerical weight for a while, as long as I stay under 125kg. There is a long road ahead, and being well and stable is a more important goal than being "X" kg. I'm going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, and doing my best to avoid junk food. The rest of it will come later.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Trying to update the layout of my blog is proving to be exasperating. I was also asked today
whether I should have two separate blogs, one with the original purpose of tracking my weight loss surgery, and a new one with the details of my breakdown/rebuild during and after diagnosis and treatment for BPD. I think I probably need two blogs. Whether I have the mental or emotional stamina for two... well, that remains to be seen. Bear with me while I work it out...

NOTE -- Recent posting about non-weight loss surgery stuff has now been shifted to its own place Just so the weight loss folks don't get scared away!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Week That Was

Weigh in day, and thankfully I have lost most of the weight I've put on so far in 2009. (Note to self - Breakdowns wreak havoc on healthy eating plans). I'm just over 119kg, after weighing in at 122.8 halfway through January. Yikes.

My new plan is going well, have been on annual leave so the real test will be going back to work on Tuesday. To say I'm dreading it would be an understatement...the social pressure is more of a problem than the actual work, which I love and am good at. But the bitchiness, cliques and net-bullying (via Facebook etc) is hard to deal with. I feel like I am 15 again, and on the outside looking in, which is weird and depressing. It's been a test of the "new me". I've had to change my antidepressant medication, after 5 years of it working it suddenly stopped, which may or may not be due to extreme weightloss and or hormonal changes. My new medication seems to have levelled things out again, and I have a new psychiatrist who is awesome. I think that there are a lot of things I haven't dealt with since my sleeve and my new life path... such a lot of image and self-esteem issues, and the whole marriage breakdown and having to be single for the first time in 10 years. My psychiatrist thinks that "simple" (haha) depression is not the correct diagnosis for me, and I am scheduled for a 2 week Cognitive-Behaviour-Therapy course later in the year. The outlook for my particular "mentalness" (lol) is often bleak, but my psych (Ian) says I have a lot of things on my side, and I am willing to work hard to get well.

Interestingly enough, one of the side effects or "co-morbidities" with my illness is BINGE EATING!!!! Weird. I said to Ian, "Man, I miss binge eating, I really miss it like an alcoholic must miss drinking"... because even though I make poor choices sometimes with food, I physically am unable to truly binge on food. Which is a GREAT thing, don't get me wrong!! But sometimes I remember the comfort (short-lived though it was) that I got from an entire pizza and a block of chocolate and I feel sad, I do, even though I know it's stupid.

On the factual side of the journey -- I've been going to the gym three times a week, and made a pact with myself that for every hour I watch TV I have to do 15 mins of crunches, leg lifts, pushups, etc. Trying to stay under 1300 calories each day, around 20-30g of fat. I've also been walking 2-3 km a day, thankfully we've had a few cooler days here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not For The Weak of Stomach or Faint of Heart


I was reading Gillian McKeith's book "You Are What You Eat" yesterday, based on her TV show, and she recommended colonic irrigation, especially for people with poor digestion. My mum and I had been talking about getting colonics for ages, as some friends are addicted to them and say they are the only way to get properly "flushed out". So mum and I were lucky enough to get appointments this morning, and had the colonic...AMAZING experience, though not for the faint hearted hahahaha! Our practitioner uses something called the "LIBBE" procedure/machine, and it's kind of DIY, so there's not someone in the room with you all the time, lessens the embarrassment I guess. Anyhoo, you don't need more detail I'm sure, but the stuff that came out after 30 mins or so was terrifying and mesmerising - like a car crash, I didn't want to look but couldn't look away!!! Better out than in as my nanna would say! One of the benefits, as noted in Gillian's book, is that after the clean out you really do think twice about what you are putting in there!! We'll see how long it lasts. Also, I was 2kg lighter afterwards (which was good as I had put on 2kg in the last 2 weeks!).

I did the food shopping this morning and made some healthy choices, hooray, and am looking forward to snacking on plums, peaches, hommus and vegies, lowfat cheese and ham rollups (a Weight Watchers favourite snack) and the occasional orange jelly snake! For dinner we had chilli con carne, made with heart smart beef mince and carrot, onion, tomato, beans, with a tbsp of light sour cream it was about 300cal. Filling and yummy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Honeymoon Is Over

So here's what I just realised. It's easy, FAR too easy, to sit back and feel happy and proud about losing 52 kilos. I am proud of myself, damn it, and I don't want to take anything away from the success I've already had. However... I really need a kick in the pants, my friends. It's time to either settle for still being 40kg overweight, or to step up and finish this thing once and for all!! It's time to kick some butt, and even though I am in the midst of a breakdown, re-structuring my depression and anxiety medication (while still dealing with a pending divorce, etc, etc), I know that there's only one person who can get me over the line. And that's ME.

Truthfully, I haven't lost any "real" weight for a long time. Oh, I've had reasons, and some damn fine excuses thank you very much. But in the end, that's all they are - excuses. The same old crap I've been telling myself and everybody else for years. Too busy. Too tired. Too sick. Too FREAKIN bad!!!! I need to snap the heck out of it and get back on track, and that starts today, here and now.

Firstly, I need to start exercising properly. The walking I do every day, to and from bus stop etc, is not cutting it. I visited a new ladies only gym that's opening up nearby and will start there on their first trading day - Tuesday. It's gorgeous, all brand new equipment and I will be supporting a local business owner. They have a recumbent exercise bike - woo hoo!! Always wanted to try that, those other exercise bikes give me a pain in the you-know-what hahaha.

Secondly, CUT THE CRAP. Mental crap, yes, but mainly food-type crap. Twisties, chocolate, coffee, diet coke, muffins, chips - these are all things that have recently entered my body on a daily basis. Uh uh!! NO MORE. Tomorrow I am shopping for all my old favourites, fat-free jelly snakes, low-fat yoghurt and mousse desserts, rice crackers and lots of fruit.

I know that I've already passed the prime weight loss time, which docs say is between 6 - 12 months after the surgery. I'm well into my 15th month sleeved. But just because it's not going to come off as easily, does not mean it won't come off. It will. I'm going to build muscle with weight training, which I've always loved, and that muscle will help me burn fat. I'm going to cut out snacking between meals and choose high quality foods for my meals.

I'm sorry, but I am NOT HAPPY WITH LOSING 52 KILOS!!! I need more, dammit, more, more, more hahahahaha!! My goal weight when I started this journey was 80kg, my surgeon said 100kg was a fair goal. So my first goal is to be under 100kg by my 39th birthday in June. Once there, I will re-examine my goals, and will reward myself with a visit to a plastic surgeon to start looking at tummy tuck and boob job options for 2010.

Deep breath, kick in the pants, and here we go....