Sunday, May 20, 2012

GRADUATION THOUGHTS

I "graduated" from high school in 1980 when I was 17. I wanted to be a teacher, but I got married 3 mos later, still at age 17 by the way (long story) and well, college after that was just not an option.

A couple years later I "graduated" into motherhood. That was one of the most rewarding times of my life, and also the beginning of the downfall of my weight struggle. I was pregnant four times and I was blessed with two living children, BOYS, I had a miscarriage at 4 1/2 months and a stillborn daughter, whom I buried in 1987. I gained most of my weight after that. Sadness is a hard thing to overcome.

I still can't explain how it got so out of control, my eating that is, but I found myself at 523+ pounds and stayed there, with a yoyo syndrome of lose 100 gain 120, lose 75 gain 100, etc. over the next 20 years. I had "graduated" into a morbidly obese woman, who was facing death. Literally. Doctors gave me 2 years max to live.

Around this same time I also "graduated" into becoming a NANA. This was one of the most amazing times in my life. I LOVE my grandson more than anything. I did NOT want to die and not see him grow up.

It was time to "graduate" into a healthy person again. I started to find creative ways to exercise, I ate good, I followed the WW plan & I lost 125 pounds. It took me 3 1/2 years to do it. But it wasn't enough. At the rate I was losing the Dr said I would still die before I got healthy. I was still on oxygen, still could barely walk or drive a car and still on many medications. I had to do more. I wanted to do more. So I went to the Bariatric DR and signed up for weight loss surgery.

In 2008, on my 46th birthday, I "graduated" into a WLS patient. My stomach is now the size of an egg. I physically cannot eat the amounts of food I was accustomed to anymore. The weight began to fall off for 18 months, I lost 200 pounds during that honeymoon period. I felt worthy again. I believed I could DO this finally.

BUT life is never perfect even for a hard core perfectionist like me. Next, I "graduated" into that dreaded period of re-gain... yep it happens... after 18 months, even though I have had surgery, I am just like everyone else, I have to watch what I eat and exercise if I want to lose or maintain. Those one taste of a chip lead to a snack bag of chips, that led to a can of pringles over the course of a day (still can't eat in one sitting). I watched new WLS friends coming into the program weighing what I weighed now, and then getting down to a size 4, and I started feeling like I was a failure. I went from 523 to 179 to 220. From a size 6X dress, that was still tight, to a size 12... now more like a 16 or an 18. Jealousy can lead a person to not think good things about themselves. I was so happy for my friends but their success was only highlighting my failures in my eyes.

"Graduation" day again, this time to a pity party, a long pity party. Why bother? I may be 1/2 the person I used to be but I am still fat. I can walk again, I can drive, I can exercise, I can ride roller coasters.


I don't need seat belt extensions on a plane but I am still fat. Everyone looks better than me. I don't like these parties. I am thankful I have friends that care enough to remind me of the things I CAN do now and how proud and inspired my journey has been. They reminded me I CAN DO ANYTHING. Anything? Even going back to school? YES especially that.

So in 2010 I enrolled in college. I want to be a licensed clinical social worker, I want to counsel and help weight loss patients, people who need to lose, are losing, or have lost weight, especially 100 pounds or more. I've been through the good times, and the bad times and fallen but I've gotten back up. I guess I have overcome. I want to help them too. Losing weight is the hardest thing anyone will ever do and with or without WLS it's always up to the individual. Yesterday, I "GRADUATED" from college with my associates degree, and a 4.0 GPA. Me... the failure. I can no longer call myself that failure word with a straight face. 



I still plan on losing more weight. I still plan on using my "tool" to control and manage the foods I CHOOSE to put in my mouth, I still plan on exercising my body in the gym and my mind with positive and encouraging thoughts. And you know what, if my weight stayed right where it is now, I am still a success. I am NOT DEAD, and I have no plans on dieing anytime soon.

I have "graduated" into an empowered, determined, & confident woman, & I want everyone to know that they TOO can be that person.


So there you go... This is where my mind is today... 

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