In October 2007 I reached my highest weight ever, tipping the scales at a whopping and heart wrenching 370 pounds! How did I get there? How could I let myself get that damned fat? Well, I had been in denial about my weight for so long, made helpful by the stretch pants and tee shirts that had become my uniform in recent years. You can really pack on the pounds in material that stretches to twice the size of the garment and not really be aware of how much you’ve gained.
Last October was when I found that I had ballooned to the point where I was forced to buy a pair of size 32 jeans for an activity at work because my size 28 jeans were way too small to even pull up over my gelatinous rear end, never mind button the damned things. I remember crying real, bitter tears at knowing that I was now in the size above the size I swore I would never get to. I had always taken a bit of comfort in knowing that if I could still fit in a size 28, then I was still somewhat normal because I could walk into a regular store at the mall (Lane Bryant still being a normal store in my mind) and buy clothes off the rack. A size 30 meant I had violated that barrier of normalcy, but a size 32 meant that I was way beyond those bounds.
So, what did I do? I continued to eat and not move just as I had prior to buying the biggest piece of clothing I have ever had to put on my body. But discomfort was brewing in my mind and I knew I had to make a change or I was going to die a whole lot sooner than I should.
In January 2008 I made an appointment to be assessed for weight loss surgery (gastric bypass being my goal). My insurance would cover it. I signed up for a flexible spending account at work to pay for my out of pocket expenses and I was all set to lose 10% of my weight that the surgeon required before he would do the surgery. But I still wasn’t ready to make the move or the changes that my life depended on. I stalled on beginning any sort of a diet. Exercise was also completely out of the question.
And then in May my gall bladder became so infected that I could not eat or sleep without serious pain. I was rushed into surgery to remove it; and with that I was unable to deny that my health was in rapid decline. I was now without an organ that I entered this world with in full working order. And the reason for its cessation to function was tied to my high fat diet.
Over the next few months (June through July) I cut out snacking, stopped drinking sodas and I moved to eating 2 meals per day instead of the 3 full meals plus snacks I had previously been consuming for far too long. And then in August I made even more drastic changes. I became familiar with these things called vegetables. I had seen them lying around my burgers and as garnishes for Mexican plates before but they were not a real or substantial part of my diet. They were window dressing for the main event – high fat burgers, fried chicken, enchiladas, tacos, and many other grease laden slabs of meat and mounds of cheese that only served to hasten my weight gains.
September 2008 brought a whole new me resigned to taking the final steps to really make the changes that were necessary to rid myself of the fat that was consuming my life by the day. I restarted counting points with Weight Watchers. I began honestly journaling my food intake. And I became aware of the impact that sugar and fat and fiber had on my weight and my body. I started to read labels and make smarter choices in what I ate. I then began to think about how to make changes that would be permanent. What did I need to do this time to make permanent changes? Read on.