Getting Fit...

Last August at my annual physical exam I was a wreck; both physically and emotionally. I could barely walk, I was in terrible pain, and I spent my days sitting as still as I could to avoid making the pain worse. I need to use a walker anywhere we went where I knew we'd be walking further than about 10 feet. I had a cane I would use around the house, when I was forced to move from the one chair in the house I felt reasonably comfortable sitting.  Honestly, I was starting to think that I and my family would be better off if I were dead. Not a happy thought, no.

My doctor prodded me and handed me tissues as I cried from the pain of his exam. He finally said, "I think you are ready for this..." and handed me a flyer for a doctor supervised weight-loss clinic affiliated with Morristown Memorial Hospital.  I was angry, but at the same time I knew my weight was part of the problem. I decided to give the clinic a call and see what the program was all about, thinking that if I lost some weight, maybe the doctor would start taking my other problems more seriously and stop blaming it all on my weight!

I may have mentioned this all in a previous post, but that gives you the background on how my weight-loss journey started.

I called the clinic and found out there was a three month wait to see the doctor in charge of the clinic. They told me he would evaluate me, send me for medical tests and based on those results, customize a plan for me. I didn't want to wait three months! I wanted to get started right away! It was a rare moment of clarity and motivation and who knew how I'd been feeling after waiting 3 months.  So the receptionist told me I could get an appointment with one of their nutritionists right away, they had openings in their schedules. So I thought, fine, maybe they can at least get me started in the right direction.

A lovely lady named Lisa sat down with me at my first appointment and we talked for a long time. She questioned me about my eating habits, life-style, sleep, yadda yadda and eyed my ever present walker with concern. She got my starting weight and I nearly cried when I saw the scale readout. I hadn't weighed myself in a long long time.  She was a little at a loss as to what to do with me. Usually she had a battery of test results and doctor recommendations to work with. So she winged it. She gave me an eating plan, a shopping guide, some suggested recipes and wished me luck. I sailed out the door with a new found hope that I might be able to do this and told her, "see you in 3 months!"

That shopping guide became my bible. I didn't eat anything that wasn't on the list for the first month. I also vowed to stay away from the scale. The sweet cravings nearly killed me, but I powered through. Then I had a "cardiac event" that got my cardiologist all alarmed. He sent me for a battery of tests and I got some scary news. Suddenly losing weight became VERY important. He was pleased with what he saw on the scale. I'd already lost a good amount based on his weigh-in from a previous check-up. I was thrilled with that! I knew I was on the right track, so I soldiered on.

I could feel my body changing. Pain levels were a bit more manageable. I started getting hopeful that I might one day be able to exercise again. I decided to shoot for March of the following year or when ever I hit 50 lbs gone to try walking.

Meanwhile, I finally got to see the clinic doctor. It was now late December and I'd lost over 30 lbs on my own, 18 using their eating guides. The doctor was very impressed. I went through a battery of tests and blood-work and found out just how out of whack my body was. I had several vitamin gaps, crazy low iron, and I was glucose intolerant. Not good. He made some tweaks to my shopping list and eating plan, put me on a couple supplements and iron, and told me to come back in a month. That became my routine. Once a month visits to weigh in, check in with the doc, get my vitals taken, meet with the nutritionist and gab with the staff shrink about my food issues. I'd settled into a routine that was working for me. I could even eat some take-out and go out to eat. Many places had low carb options or I could just nix the potato or rice and sub in extra veggies.

So here I am. 48 lbs "in the plan" and 12 or so I lost on my own, gone for good. I started mall walking in February, got new walking shoes, and this past weekend I started using a Leslie Sansone walking video to increase the intensity of my walks. I also got a BodyMedia Fit armband monitor for my birthday to keep me motivated. It keeps track of how much sleep and exercise I get. I can input what I eat on their website, get reports, challenge my personal's fun!

I am not a fitness convert. Not yet, anyway. The walking is HARD, but I am hopeful it will get easier over time. 1 mile a day. I never thought I'd be physically able to do it!  So why am I blathering on about this stuff? Some friends were curious about what I was doing. There you have it. If I can motivate you in some way to make some changes, good!

I saw a woman at the clinic today who was a little bigger than me and getting around in a Rascal scooter. I wanted to run up to her (because I can RUN now) and tell her to stick with it.  Things do get better! I was months away from getting a scooter for myself. I had actually looked at them on the web. I was nearly to the point where I couldn't walk AT ALL. Scary thought. Oh, and I hardly use the walker any more. Just me and my cane. And today I found myself just carrying the cane and hardly using it. It's amazing.


Donna H. said…
Oh Becky! Thank you so much for sharing this! I am so happy for you. I was in tears reading this...I know the struggle. I took a different path (some say easier but I beg to differ). It's a bit faster but the challenge remains forever. One thing I can say it the difference with every 10 lbs or so is enormous. I had no idea how much suffering I had imposed upon myself until I lost most of the weight. I too was sick of hearing all my docs (and even family members) telling me "if you just took off the weight". But this isn't about me, it's about your hard work and dedication to you and your family for a happier, healthy, longer life! I am inspired by your story to get back on track and live a healthier life. Thanks for sharing! <3
Donna said…
I have another Internet friend who has a similar story. Once she resolved to get healthy, there was no holding her back. She's still losing weight after two years (she had a LOT to lose.)

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