As I have declared this Celebrate Transitions Month, I feel it is no longer possible for me to keep my biggest transition from you. Occasionally I have shared bits and pieces about transitioning from living in the US to living in Australia and from working in Printing and Publishing to retraining as an Intensive Care Nurse, and I have even alluded to this big transition…and I do mean big.
Quite honestly, I have debated about whether to actually share this with you all, but you have been good enough to follow along this past year so it’s the least I can do…be honest with you.
This is me. Or actually, it was me on my wedding day to the Fashion Mister. I hadn’t always been this big but I had never been the smallest girl. In my twenties I had been fit, trained in several types of martial arts, wore a size 12 and had an active life. In my thirties, things changed. For a number of reasons, my life changed dramatically and I gained weight, A LOT of weight. Towards the end of my thirties, I decided I wanted my life back and moved to Australia to try to literally find the real me inside.
Luckily, I met some fantastic people, including the Fashion Mister, and studied Intensive Care Nursing. The Fashion Mister fell in love with me, we got married and one day while at work I made a decision. It was time for more transition, I needed to be healthier, I was not happy carrying all that weight around. It was a little like holding on to the past, and I was well over that.
I was wearing about a size 22-24 at the time and weighed about 125 kilos (275 lbs). The Fashion Mister and I started jogging and trying to be more mindful of what we were eating. My body slowly changed.
I managed to get to about a size 18 and dropped about 15 kilos (33 lbs)…but that was it. I certainly felt better about myself but I knew I needed to do so much more and when my transition stopped, I became discouraged and promptly gained most of the weight back.
At 123 kilos, it was time to get serious.
After all, I spent 12 hours a day, three days a week looking after critically ill people. Many of whom had multiple complications due to obesity. We put people on bariatric beds when they weighed 110 kilos and I weighed more than that! What if something happened to me and I had to be on a bariatric bed in the very hospital where I worked? I would be so embarrassed.
And then, don’t you know…it happened. I had pericarditis which required me spending a night monitored in my own unit. I managed to avoid going on a bariatric bed by lying about my weight. When I needed a blood thinning injection, I gave it to myself because I couldn’t stand the thought of one of my colleagues seeing my stomach.
That was it. Things had to change!
I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, I had tried and failed too many times. So I checked in to options and decided to have lap-band surgery. It was a key whole operation that required one night in hospital. I chose to go to a clinic that specialized in the procedure. They had a team of surgeons, GPs and dietitians available and there were regularly scheduled follow-up visits to make sure that you were staying healthy.
I only had few adjustments to the band over the first year and things were going very well. The weight was melting off, I felt better about myself, gained confidence and became more active. When I got to a size 14 I started buying myself some of the clothes that I had been wanting for ages. Two Pair of Ralph Lauren pants made it into my wardrobe and I was in heaven!
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. Over the next two years I was quite obsessed with being thin. My activity increased, walking 6 kilometers a day and only taking the stairs at work while not increasing my intake. My friends all started telling me I was too thin. I liked the idea of wearing an ever smaller size and told them I felt fantastic and ate tons. All while I dropped from 75 kilos (165 lbs) to 65 kilos (143 lbs). I was thrilled! In my adult life I had never been that thin. At almost 5’10” I was wearing a US size 6, and I liked it.
And then the palpitations got worse. I have had them for a very long time, it’s all part of a genetic thing but these came with dizziness and that worried me. I saw my GP, she suggested I see the bariatric team because she thought I had lost too much weight. I had my band adjusted and slowly began gaining weight. The dizziness went away.
When I got back to 75 kilos, I felt great! But my eating habits were so skewed that I crept up to 85 kilos. That is the weight I was at when I started this blog 12 months ago. Over the past year I have concentrated on all things in moderation. Although I rarely have a soda, pasta or bread they are not forbidden, I just find there are other foods I would prefer to have. And now that I am not taking the stairs so much at work I am making a little more effort to get a few walks in. Instead of having ice cream or chocolate every night, I drink a glass of fruit juice, apple guava is my current favourite.
Without making any adjustments to my band, only adjustments to my thinking and behaviour, over the past 6 months I have been able to get my weight to be consistently between 75 and 77 kilos (165 and 169 lbs). I can honestly say, I am very happy at this weight. And even more happy that I have been able to take control without extremes.
Oh, there are things that could be different. I’m not a fan of my giant calves or angel wings. But I’m going to be 50 this year and I think it is about time I stop worrying about those things and start liking myself just the way I am. Plus, I just don’t want to miss out on the great food and drink in life that would be required to change those things!
Well, I guess it didn’t kill me to share all that with you. I am grateful for my big transition. Being healthy is the best thing I have done for myself.
- What to Expect During Bariatric Surgery Recovery (aboutplasticsurgery.com)
- Obesity Fact #9: Bariatric Surgery Works (drsharma.ca)
- Weight-loss surgery cheaper than obesity (kjrh.com)
- Hospital spends up large on big patients (stuff.co.nz)
- Celebrate Transitions Month (astimegoesbuy.me)