Do you ever wonder what happens to the fat when you lose weight? I mean, where the heck does it go? Does it just disintegrate or something? Imagine someone losing 50 or 100lbs. That’s a lot of fat! So what happens to it? How does the body actually become “lighter”? There is always this hype about drinking a ton of water to help lose weight faster. I’ll admit, I have always failed in this area. I guess because I’ve been able to take off enough pounds per week, so I figured I can do without the added benefit of pushing water down my throat. Besides, I’m just waaaay too busy to go to the bathroom 12 times a day. But then I discovered something that got my attention. Losing weight without drinking enough water can actually be damaging to your kidneys. Let me repeat that. Losing weight without drinking enough water can be damaging your kidneys. I know….I thought the same thing.
Kidneys are the organs of the body that really cleanse and remove wastes and toxins, then return clean blood back to the rest of the body. During the weight loss process, the burning of fat and calories create even more waste in the body than usual. Water is absolutely crucial in helping the kidneys with this vital function of getting rid of normal waste and the extra waste that comes from weight loss. If toxins are not removed, the kidneys will become clogged and possibly develop kidney stones. Kidney stones increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. And if you’re on a high protein diet like most of American “dieters”, it’s even more crucial to drink plenty of water to prevent the chance of developing stones. Whether you are on a weight loss program or not, proper hydration is fundamental to your kidneys’ health.
So if you are like me thinking the biggest benefit of drinking water while dieting is to speed up the weight loss, think again. I have been convicted. I am trying to lose 125 more pounds. Can you imagine how much waste and toxins will be released in my body during this process? Let’s just say water is my new BFF (that means bestie or best friend forever…….for my “not to hip” readers). But just by using the word, “hip” should tell you that I’m not too “with it” myself. LOL (laughing out loud).
Anyway, get that water in….it’s part of the journey!
This might seem strange to some, but reaching the first 50lb goal of this weight loss “go round” has been bitter sweet. It came with feelings of victory, joy, excitement, IN YOUR FACE! kinda feelings. But then it hit me. I have something to actually protect now. Like, this is for real! Not only did I reach a 50lb goal, I also officially went UNDER 300lbs. That’s huge….literally….but that’s not what I’m talking about right now. Anyway, then the other feelings set in. Anxiety. Fear. Defeat. Fear. Hopelessness. Fear. Irritability. And then FEAR again! I think you get the picture. Fear seemed to dominate my happiness. It overshadowed my accomplishment to the point where I began to get cranky about the fact that I have to really live this new lifestyle if I want to stay under 300lbs and ever get under 200. It became real. People say losing weight is only half the battle. I say it’s a whole lot less than half. Let’s say at the age of 38, you spend one year reaching your goal weight. You still have 50 years to stay that way, God willing you live that long. So my point is, you can pretend or temporarily change your behavior, but for it to really stick, it will take the 3 Ds -daily deliberate decision making. I understand why the experts say diets don’t work. I realized this the moment the weekend came and the family wanted to go out to eat. I could not believe how much anxiety went into my going out with the family and having to choose something sensible instead of something deliciously over salted and covered in cheese. I mean, who knew? Isn’t that crazy? I’m just keeping it real. I was really irritated. I was also irritated because I wanted to go to one place and the hubby wanted to go to another. I gave in to his choice not realizing how much this would affect the rest of the evening. He had no idea what he was about to face either. So I looked at the menu online of the restaurant of his choosing before we left and decided that I would order a turkey club without the fries. Sounds good right? WRONG.
I didn’t know this was going to happen, but when I got there, I did NOT want a turkey club. I looked at the menu and was literally in a battle with myself about doing the right thing. Don’t get me wrong, I know its ok to splurge a little. But this was the holiday weekend and I was planning to go to a cookout at my mom’s the next day, and I knew full well I would indulge a little there. So then the cranky kicked in. I am not proud of my behavior, I’m just telling the truth. So I was looking over the menu and one by one, my family states what they will order. The daughter – I want this bacon cheeseburger and a sprite. The son – I think I will have either the Philly burger or the bacon chedder burger with fries and honey mustard. The hubby – I’m going with the garlic shrimp and sirloin steak with mashed potatoes. WHAT THE???? So I annoyingly looked at the section of the menu with the “Lighter Side” items. My husband says to me, “I thought you were going with the turkey club?” Me (I’m not proud of this) “I don’t want no freakin turkey club.” Oooooh…really girl? Was it that serious? I guess it was. This was not directed at him, it was my irritability setting in full because I had to make a decision to have long term happiness rather than short term gratification. A concept most 300 pounders aren’t accustomed to. I guess this is how addicts act. Hmmm? Anyway, I ordered this “under 550 calorie” steak entrée. I honestly don’t even like steak, so I didn’t eat it all and pretty much didn’t enjoy my evening because I was so irritated. Sad but true. Needless to say the rest of the evening didn’t go so well between the hubby and I. (I still won) but I guess I started it, all because I lost 50lbs that I knew I had to protect. I know I’m only one chocolate chip cookie away from resorting back to the old me at any given moment. So I know I have to be wise. Can anyone else relate to this on any level????? It would really help to hear someone else’s real story. I’ve lost 50lbs before and I don’t recall this reaction. I believe because this time, I really really want to change and never ever go back. The more I want it, the more frightened I get I suppose. As for the hubby, he later said, “If you really wanted to go to the other restaurant you should’ve just said so. LOL…..This is part of the journey.
Whether you have a food, alcohol, lust, or drug problem, you can relate to this. This is embarrassing to admit, but I have to be honest about the struggle. You don’t get to be over 300lbs without having a real problem. Real problems take time to correct. It requires perseverance, patience, pain, and prayer! As I share my journey, I don’t want to be one of those people that you read about on a magazine cover that have lost 150-175lbs and when you ask them how they did it, the answer is “I had a turning point and I’ve been healthy ever since”. That’s bull! When there are so many people struggling with obesity and they look to these magazine articles for insight and some kind of lifeline to help them, it can be misleading. Anyone wanting to lose over 100lbs or anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight knows exactly what I’m talking about. You’re in the line at the grocery store with your cart full of junk food that you plan to give up next week, and an amazing “Half Their Size” cover story catches your eye. So you pick it up with plans to read it later hoping something in that story speaks to you. I know for me, I’m hoping to find one person that has a “fat story” that resembles mine. Maybe this might be my defining moment. It never is. Do you know why? Because while these are great, inspirational stories, they barely scratch the surface of what it really takes to conquer the obesity monster or any monster for that matter. I’m not saying they’re lying. I’m saying some critical stuff is being left out. Believe me the obesity monster puts up one heck of a fight whenever challenged. I know this from my own experience and truth.
So what will I say to people when they say “How did you do it”? I won’t say I had a defining moment, because there were many. I won’t say I made one decision and just did it, because I know I had to make that same decision over and over again to keep going. I won’t say that I did it in 18 months, because in reality it took me nearly a lifetime to get it right.
What I will say is I went through cycles of the new healthy me to the old me, and back again. I will say that my first 50lb lost could’ve gone a lot faster but I gained and lost some of the same pounds. I will say that I would go weeks eating healthy but then one holiday or celebration would temporarily set me back to my old self. Then I’d say, but over time the stretches of healthy eating got longer and the cycles of old me got shorter…..as I never gave up. I’d also say that I didn’t let the cycles completely take me off the path. You see, the cycles are like detours are winding roads. I’m still going in the right direction it’s just taking me a little longer to get there. I guess you could say it’s the “scenic route”. And each time I’m on a straight away of healthy eating, I’m getting closer to my destination. What I am trying to say is the path to change of whatever your struggle is never cut and dry. The journey is a combination of ups and downs, twists and turns, straights and detours, successes and failures, joy and sadness, determination and weakness, hope and despair. And then finally success and freedom. It’s all part of it…..just keep it moving.
So today I went in for my monthly weight loss follow up appointment. I am excited that I lost 44lbs total and now weighing in at 306. Those numbers are great, but the numbers I’m more impressed with are my BP numbers. My blood pressure is down lower than its
Better Numbers not just in Pounds
been in years! I have had blood pressure as high as 176/100. Each doctor visit since starting the weight loss program, the BP has been going down. Today it was 126/80! This is the part that really counts. Its nice to lose weight to look better, wear nicer clothes, and feel more confident. But it is so much more rewarding to have actual evidence of your overall health getting better as a result of losing weight. It can be more motivating than dropping the pounds. Seeing that change in blood pressure proves to me how much my weight affects my health. I have a little more to go on now. Gaining the weight back would mean more than just getting fatter, it would mean my BP would go back up, potentially leading to more health problems like heart disease, kidney failure, and increased risk of stroke. Recent labs even indicated my cholesterol was down from last year. This really puts things in perspective. I feel like I have been spared and given a second chance dispite the way I have treated my body. The weight loss doctor is even recommending I speak to my primary care doctor about taking me off one of my blood pressure meds. This is exciting news! Now my motivation is to change not just my numbers in pounds, but all the other health numbers that count like BP, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. I thank God and pray that He will keep me on the road to better health and quality of life.
It has been about 3 months since I made the decision once again to “get serious about losing weight”. At 350lbs, I desperately turned to diet pills to treat my obesity. It was really a last resort for me. Not even 5 years ago, I was able to lose 95 lbs. without taking any pills whatsoever! Obviously, I have gained it all back and then some. I’m not sure how I was mentally able to lose all that weight. But I know exactly how I gained it back, but I will share that another time. Since then, I just had not been able to pull myself together to get started. I can honestly say that since 2006 I have made some kind of attempt to lose weight at least every 3-6 months without success. And it hasn’t been because things don’t work, it’s because I haven’t stuck to anything for more than 2 weeks until now. So I turned to a diet pill prescription. My doctor prescribed phentermine or Adipex, which is an appetite suppressant (and I’ll discuss the side effects in another post). My plan – to take them only for 3 months and transition into something more long term and lifestyle oriented. Basically use them as a stepping stone to get me started or at least until I lose 50lbs, which would put me under 300lbs.
So I got the prescription in January, didn’t start until February and now it is April. I am on my second prescription, but there is probably a 2 or 3 week supply still left in the bottle. It’s because I haven’t been taking them every day for a variety of reasons. One being because I sometimes want to EAT. But even still, I have managed to lose weight. The tricky thing with diet pills is that you still have to be psychologically ready to change your life. You’d be surprised how mentally difficult it is to just take the freakin pill. It amazes me. People may have this idea that taking diet pills guarantees success. Wrong! First of all, you have to actually take them. And honestly, someone who has reached 300lbs may not be ready to give up the one thing that diet pills will take away (the freedom to eat whatever the heck you want, when you want). Even though I knew it would help me, it took me a month to take the first pill. But I finally did take the plunge. I have also been working out 3-4 times a week and joined a free weight loss support group at work as an accountability tool. I have lost nearly 30lbs! As exciting as this is, I want to caution anyone who is considering starting a diet pill regimen. Discuss this with your doctor first and do some research. And if you decide to go this route, have a transition plan before you start. Diet pills are truly temporary and should be treated only as a means to take the edge off while you develop the lifestyle habits that will actually lead to long term success.
Wow, it’s been a super busy day! But I’m not complaining because my weight loss has allowed me to do things today that I could have only dreamed of a few years ago. Let me back up for a moment. Like many others, I have struggled with losing weight since Michael Jackson moon walked for the first time and Run DMC collaborated with Aerosmith on “Walk This Way”. Yeah, you know back when parachute pants hit retail? But anyway, about 2 years ago, after hundreds of rounds in the boxing ring, my skinny, alter ego Mia, finally beat the pounds off of Fat Me. At 175lbs lighter I couldn’t ask for a better 40th birthday gift. My day included a morning run, helping out in my daughter’s classroom, shopping for me (not my kids), a pedicure, dinner and dancing with the hubby, and topping it all off with a trip to the amusement park with the kids this weekend (roller coasters and all). 40 and fabulous!
So I started my day with a light (and I do mean light) jog. You see, I always dreamed of running. Not necessarily a marathon, I just wanted to run. So I recently began training to run a very short marathon. Today I ran about 2 miles. It doesn’t seem like a lot for some of these “die hard” athletes. But it’s a big deal to me since there was a time at my highest weight that I could not even walk 10 minutes without my back screaming at me to sit down.
But let me get back to my fabulous day! I also volunteered at my daughter’s school. So what? Well, when I was heavier I felt embarrassed for my kids so I didn’t spend as much time at the school as I or my daughter would have liked me to. At over 300lbs, I just felt like an alien around all those little kids and their thin moms. My son was older and could care less, but my daughter wanted mommy to be at school like the other moms. I had a lot of excuses for her, but not anymore. Anyway, from the school I did some shopping. And unlike the light jogging, the shopping was heavy! I think I seriously have a shoe fetish. I love shoes! I could never really wear the ones I wanted because my feet were chunky. Besides, could you imagine balancing a watermelon on a toothpick? That’s how my big body would have been in cute heals. So I picked up 2 pairs of strappy heals, some boots, jeans, some make-up, Spanx, and a dress. And no, it wasn’t a “little black dress”. I know many women dream of wearing that little black dress after weight loss. Not me. I have tons of black dresses in my closet because it’s the only color I wore for years. No, I wanted color. I dreamed of the “little purple dress”. I could finally wear my favorite color without looking like Barney!
Next it was time for my pedicure. You’re thinking, “Thick chics can get pedis too, why is this a realized dream?” Ok, for most, pedicures represent relaxation and kicking back. NOT! For a 300lb woman, it means you are going to get a workout holding your leg up because you feel sorry for the poor little woman handling your giant calf. So instead of relaxing you’re looking forward to muscle spasms later from doing leg lifts to spare the tiny woman the burden of holding a leg that’s as big as her own body. AND you absolutely must give a bigger tip. So yeah, not fun. But today, guilt-free pedi!
Finally, I went home and slipped on my “little purple dress”. And thanks to my Spanx and going from a size 30 to a 14, I didn’t have to tug at the dress all night to keep it from clinging to my back rolls. I strapped on my cute, high-heel sandals and hit the town with the hubby. We went to a Latin dance class that we had been going to for a couple of weeks. I love dancing as much as I love shoes, so it was so much fun. And then we enjoyed a late dinner at the Samba Room. It was fabulous!
Ok, I hope you enjoyed that story. The thing is, what you have just read hasn’t actually happened yet. It is truly my lifestyle dream. I am at the beginning of my journey to get there. 25lbs down and 150 more to go. But I wrote this so that I could visualize my own weight loss success. Join me over the next several months and watch me realize this dream through what I like to refer to as the “3 Ps”- Prayer, Pain, and Perseverance. I will rewrite this story in October 2012!