In March of this year, I stepped on my bathroom scale, afraid to look down. My weight had climbed to a horrific number – 263 pounds – after a decade and a half of minimal physical activity, out-of-control portion sizes, emotionally charged eating binges, and a torrid love affair with carbs. At 29 years old and clinically labeled “morbidly obese,” I was already suffering the ill effects of carrying nearly 300 pounds on my small 5′ 3″ frame. For about three years, my feet have ached every morning upon waking, and the pain continued through the day. The previous several months saw a sharp decrease in my energy levels, which had been already abysmally low. I was in a place where I’d wake up in the morning and cry because I was so tired and couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed. Additionally, my PMS symptoms were horrible. One day, I yelled and cussed at my poor mother for God remembers what. It was her birthday. I felt horrible, but in the back of my mind I was grateful that I had been ugly to her and not my kids; it was she who suggested it seemed hormonal.
So there I was, in March of this year, two months from my 29th birthday, 263 pounds, and sick and miserable. v My husband and I had begun discerning adding to our family, but I couldn’t bear the thought of becoming pregnant again at a starting weight of 263. I had been on bedrest for my last two pregnancies due in large part to complications caused by my weight. Just like that, I’d found my motivation – the prospect of bringing a new life into this world.
After years of struggling, finding motivation and then losing it again, I found a reason to lose the weight – and it’s for my children, born and unborn.
I made a resolution to lose 100 pounds by my 30th birthday, which will be in May of 2015. To date, I’ve lot 31 pounds and counting. I posted my progress on my personal facebook page last week and had over 100 “likes,” and almost as many positive, encouraging comments from friends and family around the world, encouraging me in my efforts. I could not believe the overwhelming support and love from these beautiful people. I will be printing their comments and putting them around my house and office to remind myself to just keep going on days when I’d rather have a Dr. Pepper than water, or curl up for a nap rather than go for a walk.
So, how am I losing the weight? Portion control – my biggest struggle – has greatly improved. The Paleo diet has been working exceptionally well for me. This way of eating focuses on vegetables, proteins, and “healthy” fats like avocado, nuts, and coconut oil. Beans and complex carbs like rice, potatoes, bread, and pasta are off the table – literally. In addition, I began the Couch to 5k running program (and stopped and started again a few times!) at the suggestion of several friends. I alternate this with my fave workout from the fabulous 80s – Callanetics – and my very favorite, Pilates. Perhaps most importantly, I sought medical help for what I suspected was low progesterone. With the help of a NaPro OBGYN and several months of charting my fertility with the Creighton Model of charting, we discovered that I have been struggling with several underlying medical issues. I was diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency (likely contributing to my depression and fatigue), low progesterone and estrogen (contributing to my horrific mood swings and uncontrollable appetite around ovulation and my period), and Thyroid System Disorder (also contributing to the extreme fatigue, slow metabolism, and depression.) After six weeks of Vitamin D therapy, my levels are much better than they were. I have been on the thyroid medication about a week and we are working on getting the dosage right, and it’s still too early to tell whether it’s helping. All I know is that knowledge is power, and it’s a lot easier to slay your dragons when they have a name.
I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues for a long time, and I still have a long way to go in remembering that loving myself is more than just a New Age catchphrase – it’s a spiritual discipline. St. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:19 that “…the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” When I look back at my years of overeating and inactivity, I have to face the stark reality that I haven’t treated my body like a temple. Kenny Chesney sings, “The body’s a temple/That’s what we’re taught/But I’ve treated this one/Like an old Honky Tonk.” Yeahhh, that’s me, except I’ve treated mine more like a sit-on-your-couch-in-yoga-pants-and-order-Chinese-while-watching-Runway-Bride-for-the-millionth-time. I realize now that I’ve got to work a little harder at this temple upkeep thing. Ironically, I work in Facility Management and help ensure my company’s office buildings are well-maintained and regularly inspected, repaired, landscaped, etc. If I handled one of our buildings the way I’ve handled my body…well, I would’ve been fired roughly 16 years ago. Oops. So I’m trying harder. I’m eating better. I’m having random dance parties with my kids, to get us all moving. I’m drinking black coffee, lemon in my water, and I’ve kicked my beloved Dr. Pepper and Diet Cokes to the curb. I’m taking baby steps, and they’re making a difference.
They say that a journey of 1000 steps starts with the first one. I’d say I’m about a 100 steps in. Will you join me in ensuring our bodies are worthy dwelling places of the One who created us?