Friday, August 30, 2013

Owning Up

Yesterday I decided that it was time I faced up to the scales and the damage I have done to my body over the past few months. I am not a big fan of the scales and I would prefer to live without them, but I realised that I was actually just hiding from them right now. I needed to see the number so I could do something about it before I weighed 130 kilos again.

It was worse than I could even imagine... I have gained about 20 kilos this year.

94.5 kilos (208 lbs).*

I actually don't have the words to say much more about that. All I can say is that I am ashamed and devastated that I let this happen after losing the weight and having body lift surgery.

The only other thing I have to say about this is that I will lose this weight, starting this minute, today.

Here are some photos I just took in case anyone is interested in seeing how weight gain after a body lift looks. You can see that most of the weight is on my thighs, arms, back and chest... I still have a nice flat tummy... for whatever it's worth.

* Edited to say 208 lbs, not 298 lbs... that for alerting me to my typo!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Get Fit Attempt #1079

I have been a bit of a misery guts lately, luckily my latest get fit attempt has given me a good laugh.

A bit over a month ago I saw a flyer posted advertising a cheap 6 week membership for C*rves gym in the little town I am currently living in while I look after my mum. I have never had a desire to join C*rves, but I thought it might be a good way for me to get some exercise in while I am here. I normally find that when I am exercising it helps keep me positive and have a better focus on eating healthy.

So I made an appointment to go in for a consultation to get started. From the second I walked inside the 'gym' I felt like I had been transported back in time. I almost turned around and walked out the door when I saw the equipment. It was so old that I wasn't even sure it was safe. Generally I find that one of the only fun things about the gym is the cool space age equipment. So that was strike one.

I met the extremely enthusiastic and sweet owner who was going to get me started. I let her know that I had a long and troubled history with dieting and exercise and I didn't want to diet or be weighed. I could see she was immediately thrown when I said I didn't want to be weighed because I don't think she knew where else to focus our consultation. I also said I wasn't there to focus on losing weight and I just wanted to exercise for health and fitness. Unfortunately the consultant seemed to have a set spiel and didn't seem to be able deviate from her script.

So I sat through all her helpful tips on walking 10,000 steps per day, drinking 8 glasses of water, eating less than 1200 calories and keeping a food diary. Then she made me choose a size I would like to be and measured me to tell me how many centimetres I needed to lose to achieve this size. Of course she also tried to sell me their diet plan that would really help me lose weight. I am not sure what part of 'I am not here to lose weight' that she did not understand. Strike two.

So I got past all of that and just wanted to get on with working out. For those that don't know, the concept is that you work out at a high intensity for 30 seconds at each station and the workout is complete in 30 minutes. I actually don't mind the idea of this because it takes away the pressure to do a crazy long workout. Also, I hate exercise, so getting it done in half an hour is awesome for me.

The workout space is very small and cosy and the staff like to get right up in your business to encourage you while you are working out. They are asking you if you have had your 8 glasses of water today, standing beside you at every machine encouraging you to 'push out' and the final straw for me was when they introduced me to the other girls so we could chat while we worked out. This whole scenario is my worst nightmare. I can't handle anything more than a smile and a 'hello' as I am walking in the door of a gym. Call me unsocial, but I do not want people hovering over me while I workout and I especially don't want to chit chat with strangers. Strike three.

I lasted 4 sessions before I just couldn't bring myself to go back. So it's back to the drawing board...

Monday, August 05, 2013

One Step Forward...


It's been a month exactly since I last wrote on this blog. Right now I can't say that anything much to do with weight loss has been going on in my life. My whole life has pretty much revolved around taking care of my mum while she battles lung cancer. It has been a lot more difficult than we anticipated because when she started chemo and radiotherapy a few weeks back it pretty much almost killed her. Less than a week after she started she had a heart attack and also got an infection and stopped breathing because the treatment was just too much for her. Luckily the ambulance arrived in time to get her breathing and she has been released from hospital and is doing a bit better now. There is not much more to say about that right now except that it is heartbreaking to watch a loved one be so sick, scared and in pain.

Everyday is scheduled with chemo, radiotherapy, blood tests,  psychologists, cardiology etc etc etc... this carer stuff is literally a full time job. Then I am still also working my full time job at night after mum goes to bed. I am working from home and basically just trying to keep my head above water so I don't get fired. I feel massively guilty all the time because I really don't think I am doing anything terribly well right now.

I made a very big mistake about 6 weeks ago when I decided I should go off my anti-anxiety pills (cymbalta). I have had a very tough time with them since I started them about 12 months ago, but it just never seemed like the right time to go off them. I was either busy at work, or had surgery or Christmas or holidays or a lot happening... there was always an excuse. Then when I found out about my mum's illness and that I had to look after her I knew I had to get off the pills so I could focus.

The side effects I had from the cymbalta meant that I could barely look after myself, let alone another person. I had terrible night terrors and sweats every night that haunted me through out the day. I had such bad insomnia that I literally fell asleep at work every single day for the last 12 months. I am not joking at all. Anyone who knows me in real life has had me fall asleep on them at some point over the last 12 months.

Me asleep at work, as taken by a colleague

It is awful to feel so out of control, but also so scared to stop taking the medication because they had given me peace of mind from my anxiety. For once in my life I didn't feel like the world was going to end, that everyone I love was going to die in a car accident, that my flat was going to burn down, that I was going to be fired because I am bad at my job, that everyone hated me and wished I was dead, that I was a horrible person and made people miserable. It was a hard choice to make, but I needed control of my life back, even if that meant going back to living with so much fear and anxiety.

It turns out that getting off the tablets was even worse than I had read about. I went through a horrible withdrawal and I am only now starting to feel like my old self. There is no doubt that getting off those tablets was harder than having weight loss surgery and a body life surgery combined. Firstly, the physical side effects: brain zaps, light/noise/pain sensitivity and the fact that withdrawal is mostly likely the cause of my falling down the stairs and spraining my ankle and getting the flu. I was also slammed with emotional side effects that really knocked my socks off. I became paranoid, angry, impatient, angry, mean... and even more angry.

I am normally a ridiculously patient and calm person. I can honestly say I have never raised my voice at anyone. I am definitely not a saint, but being angry and impatient are not in the (very long) list of flaws that I have. Unfortunately over the last month I have behaved extremely badly and I have felt powerless to stop myself...

I punched a traffic light when I missed my tram, I picked up my lovely laptop and smashed it on the table when it wouldn't connect to the internet, I gave a kid the evil eye twice for kicking the back of my seat, I snapped at the lady serving me in Myer, I hung up on a Citibank call centre person on two separate occasions, I made a rude gesture at someone who pushed in front of me on the train. Plus I have been generally short-tempered, mean, snippy and awful to be around.

I think I am 75% better now, all the physical side effects stopped after about 3 weeks, but some of the emotional side effects are lingering. This may be because my body has to learn to cope and be happy without the help of anti-anxiety/depression tablets. It might also be because I am under a lot of stress while I am caring for my mum, missing home and trying to keep up with work.

I am really glad I am off the medication now. I just wish I had done it 6 months ago when it became clear that they were not good for me. I am sleeping through the night without nightmares, the revolting sweats have stopped and the fogginess is gone. I love feeling back in control of my mind again and like I can get through the day without letting anyone down. I am more than a little ashamed that I have been so focussed on myself at a time when all my focus should be on helping my mum.

Things can only get better from here.