Tag Archive | weight

Catch 22

Sometimes I feel so torn, like I have no right to complain about my problems ~ that others have it so much worse than I do and I should just shut up and feel blessed.  But when my life, that I thought was on a pretty good track, goes awry, I need some time to regroup, ponder and pray.  Lord, what am I to do next?

That’s what has happened recently.  Besides being morbidly obese, I have severe arthritis in my feet and knees ~ especially my right knee, which is now bone-on-bone and beyond pain comprehension most of the time.  I now walk with a cane all the time, which I hate.  I’ve been seeing an orthopedic specialist for 2-3 months now, and, after visiting him yesterday to hash out our next strategy for pain relief, instead he said he can do nothing more for me.  Then he went into a long dissertation about how bad my knee(s) are and that I’m a candidate for knee replacement surgery IF I can lose a minimum of 60 lbs first.

He continued his long monologue about bariatric surgery, and that it appears to be my only last bastion before being immobile/unable to walk.  I sort of remember being in minor shock at that point.  Deer-in-the-headlights kind of thing.  I thought, “But no!  That can’t be!  I’ve been working hard, changing my eating lifestyle and losing weight!”  He seemed to have read my thoughts and said that at the rate that I’m losing, it would take me about two years to lose the necessary 60 lbs.  “Not fast enough,” he said.  He’s talking by the end of THIS year.  But I’ve lost 25 lbs. since the week before Christmas.  I thought it showed good promise.

I left his office in a fog.  That fog turned into despair and then depression.  The thought of bariatric surgery made me shudder.  You see, I had such surgery in 1988 when I was 29 years old.  From the moment I woke up in the hospital, gagging on the NG tube down my throat, the next 10+ years would be a nightmare of hell on earth with regard to my digestive system.  Most of the first 5-6 years were spent vomiting and/or feeling nausea like you can never imagine.  I used to have extreme nausea for hours, sometimes all night, and would curl up on the floor or the bed in the fetal position and rock myself until the feeling passed.  I used to beg God to make it stop, crying that I would never eat whatever hellish food that had made me sick that time.  It continued on into my current marriage, as of 1998, and I used to have to ask Al to pat me on the back (it helped?).  It was embarrassing the first time it happened with Al, and I had to explain it all… why I was curled up into a ball on the top of our bed groaning and begging to die.  It may seem irrational, but I’d rather spend an eternity in the firepits of hell than vomit once.  Vomiting, for me, IS the embodyment of death.  Next to gagging, it’s the closest I can come to meeting eternity without actually dying.  I don’t know why.  So, this bariatric surgery had been my near-death experience, over and over for decades.  It has lessened now to only once or twice a year… praise the Lord!

And now here I am, again, confronted with having a new torture to deal with all over again.  Even though my common sense tells me that, after 30 years, procedures have changed.  It has to be better now.  And I know I have to try this again.  I say “try” because I may not get accepted, and/or my insurance may not cover the surgery.  Last night I wallowed a bit.  But I also prayed and asked many of my wonderful friends to pray.  I figured my options are either sit and do nothing while my health continues to go downhill one part at a time, or I could take God’s hand and keep going, keep moving forward and do the best that I can to right myself.  I’m admittedly scared.  I’m no longer 29 years old.  It’s 30 years later and I don’t heal as well.  Regardless, I cannot be idle, self-pity or wait any longer.

The answer is to push forward, step-by-step and go where God leads me.  I’ve contacted a local bariatric team at our local Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.  It’s the way to start.  I’m working with them to see if I qualify and if my insurance covers the surgery.  I should know in a few days.  I have to be optimistic.  Any other option is not acceptable.



And So It Begins…

2017 is coming to an end and 2018 looms ahead.  Feeling pretty good about myself and the future, for once.  I’m still working on putting the past behind me 100%, it’s so hard not to feel remorse or guilt for so many things.  I need to remember that God has forgiven me for all of my past transgressions, and there’s nothing more important than that.

So, I’ve been losing weight.  I started my own version of the Atkins diet several weeks ago.  I’ve lost 16 lbs in 3 weeks.  It’s a good start and I’m happy with it.  My PC doc is good with it and very supportive.  However, I have not been without my weaknesses.  Eating LCHF (low carb, high fat) is not as easy as I thought it would be.  I really miss a lot of foods, and finding substitutes is far from ideal.  But I’m muddling through.  Eggs (fixed numerous ways), bacon, sausage and other meats are “ok”, but getting tired of it.  NEVER thought I’d be sick of bacon and eggs!  But I sure miss my cereal!  I’ve discovered cauliflower – Steam Fresh riced cauliflower – and I really like that.  Great substitute for mashed potatoes and/or rice.

I don’t like feeling hungry all the time, though.  I never feel like I’m full… or even close to full.  More often than not I feel ravenous.  I’m working on finding some recipes that use almond flour so I can BAKE something.  I’ll get through it.  I’m determined to make this work for the rest of my life.

Tomorrow is the beginning of a New Year.  365 days of new choices, new goals making appropriate changes.  I’m going to try to blog more often.  Not that I think anyone reads my posts… well, “someone” does, as I see almost each day that someone has viewed my Home Page.  Wish I knew who that person was.  But anyway, I do this for me.  And, since I got a new camera for Christmas from my beloved, I think I’ll try hopping back on board with some of my favorite authors on WordPress.  I used to always post photos and take part in challenges.  I need to get back to that.  I have lots to share, and I like being a part of those who also like to share.  Looking forward to being more WordPress prolific again!

Anyway, I think that’s about all I have for this morning.  Maybe I’ll post some pics this evening of the new family addition(s).  Until next time, thanks for stopping by and taking a peek.  Bye for now…

~ Tamara Eckstadt


July 27, 2017; Journal Entry 2: Eat Clean ~

I guess the term “eat clean” is the mantra for those (of us) who are trying to get healthier, lose weight, and live (not a “better life”) up to our potential. I haven’t researched all that is involved in this journey yet, it’s going to take awhile to take it all in. Besides, Al reminded me that Dr. M doesn’t want me to change my eating habits just yet. He wants me to be “raw” (in my natural state of gut health) for when I get all of this blood work done that he has requested. That’s next month. He said after he sees the results, THEN “we’ll talk”! He said he is going to teach me how to read carbs (and avoid them), sugars, fructose ~ I sure hope he teaches me how to replace them with stuff that tastes good! Regardless, there is plenty of information out here on the web just for the asking. And I already have several/many friends who are supportive and willing to help. One particularly special lady in one of my quilt groups has requested to be my partner in my endeavor! I almost cried! We’ve exchanged phone numbers and will keep in touch with each other throughout the journey. One of my goals is to lose enough weight to be able to fly down to see her next year (she’s in Florida). No, I won’t fly like “this”. Massively obese and unhealthy. I filled the dishwasher yesterday and had to take a shower afterwards as I’d broken out into a soaking sweat. Then, drying myself from the shower made me all sweaty again. No, I want to go to Florida and not be ashamed to wear shorts, or even a bathing suit, or sleeveless shirt or tank top.

Anyway, the research begins. Mostly, I need to find good, clean alternatives to the crap I’ve been eating ~ and it’s gotta taste good. Flavor is my downfall. Can’t they make a nice, dark lettuce that tastes like a potato chip? Is that asking too much? I’m not kidding myself, this is going to be tough. I’ve been craving carbonation all day so far. Soda will be the hardest thing for me to give up… but I am determined. I want so hard to make this work this time. No tricks, no special pills ~ just healthy eating and bring in some exercise and I’ll get there. I HAVE to.

Input is very welcome in the comments. Know of a good, healthy recipe? I have an awesome Ninja blender that could make rocks into a smoothy. What’s yummy?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Blessings ~ Tamara

July 26, 2017; Journal Entry 1 ~

Well, this is the first day of the rest of my life, yesterday is behind me and I have many more years ahead of me.

For the past several years, and even moreso the past 5-6 months, I thought I had hypothyroid. I seriously had what seemed to be all the symptoms. My primary care doctor diagnosed it and was treating me for it, and I’ve trusted her and her predecessor for 19 years now. But, with the onset of such awful symptoms as fatigue, confusion, memory loss and all the others, I felt I needed more help, so I sought out a endocrinologist and met with him for the first time yesterday.

Admittedly, I was not too impressed at first, but Al (who agreed to come with me) and I gave Dr. M the benefit of the doubt and listened to him. The first thing he said was that I do NOT have hypothyroid. I was rather taken aback. It was a long discussion, over 1 1/2 hours. Dr. M decided that I am “pre-diabetic”, and explained exactly why in a language that we could understand. This man was NOT condescending like many physicians. He explained that it is all of the medications I am currently on that were causing the symptoms I was having. Well, I’m still not so sure about that, but he came forward with a “plan” to help me feel better, and get into better health. He also wants to wean me off of most of my meds and replace them with vitamins, a supplement of super-probiotics to help my gut health, and get me to eating the RIGHT foods that will make me feel better and lose weight. Well, THAT sounds logical! And it’s the closest any physician has come to being absolutely real with me. Even my own PCP. We went and got the super-probiotics last night, but still need Vitamin B12 and CoQ10, I’m already taking Vitamin D.

So Al and I talked about this new “regimen” at length last evening, and we both feel Dr. M has my best interests and my best health at heart, and I’m going to go ahead and see where this leads. First thing Dr. M said was “NO SODA”! So I had Al take the 4 Pepsi’s I had in the fridge and get them out of here. I’ve been drinking flavored water since last night. Not particularly satisfying, but better for me. Al and I had hefty salads last night for dinner, with a hint of cooked chicken chopped up into it. A drizzle of salad dressing. And NO ice cream before bed! Off to a good start, I’d say.

Today, Wednesday, 7-26-17, has been the beginning of the real test. I’m alone at home all this week on vacation. Temptation is pretty much everywhere, but I’ve done good. I ate a bowl of Special K w/strawberries with a banana cut up on it for breakfast. I ate a pint of blueberries for lunch. Yes, I pint! I adore blueberries and I just kept nibbling on them while I was on Facebook and then they were gone! That’s not a bad thing… blueberries have antioxidants and are good for you. So I’m happy for today so far. I’ve been “exercising” by doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming etc., but at some point down the road, when I get my energy back, Dr. M is going to discuss exercise… ones that I can actually do. For now, he doesn’t want me to change much until I get a blood workup next month.

So begins my newest adventure towards weight loss and better health. I think the difference is, this time I have professional help, and he believes I can accomplish my goals. One of those goals being quality of life, not just more years. I consider myself a beautiful woman “as is”. But the potential to be even more beautiful (with weight loss) via lifestyle change is within my grasp, finally. I WANT IT!

This is my story and I’m sticking to it! I can do this. I will be using my blog to journal the journey, and I hope you’ll join in and encourage me, hold me to task, and don’t let me use excuses for any temporary failures I might encounter. I’m sure there will be some. But I will not be discouraged or swayed. I will not let it be “too late”!

Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, Tamara ~

Love/Hate Relationship ~

I hate food.  I seriously, really hate it.  You might ask, how can someone so fat hate food?  Well, I can hate it, but I still have to have it to live.  If only it weren’t that way at all.  I hate how it makes me feel, and I hate that it’s my own fault that it makes me feel that way.  It all comes back to me, and I acknowledge that.

When my siblings and I were kids, my Mom was an awesome cook.  We were made sure to have three meals a day, two of which were usually home cooked.  Don’t forget to add on those after school snacks, and the ice cream or pop corn before bed.  And no, we did not eat either healthy portions or healthy foods.  And I’ve always been “large” – yeah, that means fat.  Always.

Now, since I’ve become “aware” that I hate how fat I am, I hate how I look and I would love to feel better about myself by losing weight, I’ve examined every possible reason for WHY I am so overweight.  I’m thinking if I can understand the reason why, I can change my lifestyle and get some weight loss going on here.  I’ve come down to the conclusion that I just plain and simple love the taste of it.  If it were socially acceptable to eat a meal, chew it up and spit it out rather than swallow it, that would be my Utopia.  I have very strong taste buds, and they are a source of great pleasure for me.

I have tried, over and over, even very recently, to change my lifestyle, my way of eating and my food choices… and it works, for awhile.  I cannot maintain that for very long.  Let’s face it, a breakfast sandwich and Frappe from McD’s is a whole lot better tasting than a bowl of oatmeal and an apple or banana.  Even if it fills me to the extent that it makes me feel like absolute crap afterwards.  I’ve proven I can lose the weight if I can eat right.  I have not yet proven that I can maintain eating right of my own free will.  I’ve tried to tempt myself with nice clothing, with “do it for Al”, “do it for yourself”, “do it for your grandchildren”, “do it for God”!  I cannot get myself on board for any length of time.

I found myself feeling like an absolute blimp at lunch today after eating a KFC “bowl” and a McD’s medium Frappe.  I STILL feel awful, and I will not want to eat dinner with my husband as a family.  But, I will, because that’s what families “do”.  I felt full at lunch after eating only about 1/3 of the bowl, but I kept going.  This little voice in my head kept saying “Finish your plate.  There are people starving in Africa.”  I looked at my bowl and could not get myself to throw it away!  And now I’m paying the price with discomfort.  Serves me right!

Did I tell you that in 1988 I had my stomach stapled?  It worked so well, but was not without its nightmares!  Even today, I have a very small capacity for food in my stomach.  A half sandwich will do me fine for lunch.  A small bowl of cereal for breakfast is great, and one hotdog (no bread) and 3-4 fries is all I need to be full for dinner.  But still I choose to overeat.  Is it truly a flavor addiction?  I wonder.

After I first had my surgery, it took me months/years to “learn” how to re-eat so I didn’t make myself sick.  Not sure I ever really did get that down (so to speak).  I vividly remember eating the “wrong thing” more often than not, and spending hours, sleepless nights even, vomiting or wanting to vomit but being unable to.  You see, I’d rather die than vomit.  In fact, to me, vomiting is the closest thing to death without actually dying.  So, in many ways, I simply refused to allow myself to when it probably would’ve made me feel better in the long run.  And, back in the 80’s, we did not have “support groups” for fat surgery.  Even so, I did lose weight.  I lost 30 lbs before I ever left the hospital.  Then I continued to lose through the 80’s and 90’s and it was GR8!  Overall, I think I lost about 98-99 lbs before it leveled off and I began to gain again.  I learned that eating junk food digested easier, tasted better and made me feel better.

It was a tough road, and it took a long time, but I finally gained back all the weight I’d lost and a little more!  Success!!  ???  That’s where I am today.  Sitting here approximately 5-6″ from my desk because my ample belly is in the way from me reaching my desk.  That ample belly that I know is the greatest risk of me dying sooner rather than later.  What’s it going to take before I finally hit rock bottom and decide I need to start losing (again) and maintain it?!  A heart attack?  And someone needs to have a serious discussion with my enabling husband.  I have had such a discussion many times, but he does not maintain it either.  He brings me chocolate, ice cream before bed, soda…  I’m not blaming him, as he does it out of love and wanting to please me.  I have, in the past, begged him not to capitulate to my food whims.  Neither of us maintains.  Sometimes I look at him like he’s a saboteur, then feel bad.  He has this “way” of guilting me into eating, even if I am full and don’t want to!  At dinner, “Aren’t you going to eat something?”  “Aren’t you going to eat with me?”  Eating is always  a social event to him.  We go to visit his mom, we must eat and eat big (she used to be, but no longer, a gourmet cook).  I’d try to nibble just a little of each thing, but was always pushed by his family for not eating enough.  He never did speak up for me, even knowing I could potentially spend the entire 2 1/2 hr ride home sicker than a dog.

More food for thought?  Recently there were two incidents that happened that really brought it to the forefront, once more.  Shopping at Lane Bryant at Destiny USA – cause that’s the only “fat store” locally that might have something pretty for Valentine’s Day, I was browsing in the lingerie department cause I’m “older” but I ain’t dead.  I just wanted something new and pretty for our special V Day weekend.  A customer service person approached me and asked if she could help.  I explained I was looking for something special for Valentine’s Day and she actually took me my the arm and redirected me away from the pretty, sexy things to the frumpy, cotton, tee shirt type crap!  She said “Oh, we have something just right for you right over here.”  I left informed, not insulted.

The second recent eye opener was literally an eye opener.  I was going through our 2013 vacation photos and came across several Al had taken of me, and I gave them a thorough examination.  I was simply aghast.  I had no idea that I was that big!  You know how you have a certiain idea of what you look like to others?  I was duped.  I didn’t look “that bad” in the bathroom mirror, which is quite large.  Holy cow!  Meant literally, or something more like a pinniped (seal).  It embarrassed me to myself.  A couple months ago I was thinking I was a pretty beautiful woman, but this was NOT beautiful!  I just kind of stared at some of the photos of myself for a few minutes, burning the memory into my mind so as to give me momentum to maintain once again.

So, here I am.  This is, essentially, a vent.  It’s one of those “ate too much at lunch, feel like crap and wanna puke” vents.  I’ve never been this honest about this aspect of my life, but here it is.  This is my life.  Where am I going from here?  Well, I’m not going to give up!  I’m going to go home and have yet another talk with my enabler husband, shop for better foods (fresh fruits/veggies) and get back on the wagon yet again.  Dinner tonight?  I doubt it.  Lunch today will last me clear into tomorrow mid-morning.  “Sorry Honey, eating by yourself tonight.  I’m going to work on my quilt, I’m not hungry!” 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  TTFN – Tamara Eckstadt