Tag Archive | weight

Full Steam Ahead

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog.  I’m going to try to fix that and begin posting regularly.  I’ve been on this weight loss journey since las December 2017, and it has now become “real”.  First, let me say that I’ve lost 66 pounds on the Keto diet since then, and it’s working.  That has been an exciting realization for me.  It has not been without its difficulties, believe me, but I muddle through and take the bad with the good.

The good is that with the weight loss, I’ve also lost clothing sizes.  I’m down from a 26-28-30 to a 24-26.  I also notice that I can now “do things” that I haven’t been able to in such a long time… like touch my toes!  I can stand and/or walk more than before on days that the arthritis isn’t ravaging my legs and feet with pain.  One odd, noticeable thing is that I don’t see any change in myself in the mirror.  I know I must look different, 66 lbs is a lot of weight loss, but I cannot see it.  When I look in the mirror, I see the same fat face, bulging cheeks and triple chins that I’ve always seen.  Yet, my husband says there is a noticeable difference all over.  I think that’s the only “bad part” about the journey so far.  Well, that and not being able to just eat anything I happen to pick up.  I have to be very conscious about what I buy for groceries, what I eat for each meal, and very careful about what I do/don’t eat.  It’s been hard, and I have given in here and there ~ a little ice cream before bed, a slice of rye toast with my eggs a couple times a week, the soda (diet/sugar free).  All that has to go again, starting now.  Even though I have still continued to lose weight with those no-no’s.

Tammy 8-20-17 (3) ipiccy

So, I have been going through the motions to have bariatric weight loss surgery.  Yes, I’m losing weight through diet, but not fast enough.  My knees, legs and feet are giving out rapidly.  I need to lose the weight so I can walk better without so much pain, and then maybe have knee replacement surgery later.  But it needs to happen faster.  So I went to an info session at a local hospital in February and decided to pursue WLS (weight loss surgery).

It is an intensive and expensive endeavor.  Fortunately for me, my insurance covers a good deal of the expense.  The process to even get approved is approximately six months filled with appointments and group sessions.  I’ve met twice with my surgeon, so far… a nutritionist, a psychiatrist, my cardiologist, had tons of labs, and endoscopy, gone to support group meetings, and there is more to come.

My husband, Al, is right there beside me backing me up and being supportive.  That in itself is motivation enough.  Yesterday I received the approval from my insurance company to go ahead with the surgery.  As they say, “It just got real.”  Am I ready for it?  I can say, yes, I’m ready ~ but honestly, I’m scared as hell.  This is not something to take lightly, and it effects your life – your entire life – for the rest of your life.  More to come…

Thank you for stopping by.

Blessings ~  Tamara

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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 ~