Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hello darkness, my old friend... and heading back to the light

It's been a few months since I blogged, and for all the new WLS friends out there, when I go radio silent that usually means I'm struggling.  At 2 1/2 years post-op and having surpassed my goal, I'm dealing with some weight regain.  6 pounds from my set-point, 9 pounds from my all-time low.

How did that happen?  I stopped jogging, maybe only doing it once a month.  Still getting in lots of steps, but doing less cardio has a consequence. I started grazing - mostly eating things I shouldn't (carbs) or don't need to (peanut butter), and mostly when I'm preparing food for others, but not always.

Why?  Stress and old habits.  There have been lots of stressors - but we all have them, and mine weren't particularly horrible (nobody died, nobody lost their job, my husband is very lovable).  I came off my 5 day pouch test feeling great, and that lasted a couple of weeks.  Then we had the stress of my father-in-law's health declining some more and the resulting anxiety that brought upon my husband.  And getting my son prepared for some very difficult testing - in that last month I baked like a fiend to reduce my stress, but instead of giving it all away I nibbled at some of it (just in small enough doses not to dump, like any addict learns to avoid the crash).   The testing went well, and all of the stress was worth it, BTW, but I HAVE to remember I have other coping mechanisms I should use.

Then I started looking into a new direction for myself - a new career, starting with a Master's program in School Counseling.  It's very exciting, and it set off a roller coaster of emotions.  The principal and guidance counselor I work with think it's a great idea and will write recommendations for me - Whee!  Up I go... Finding out my undergrad GPA was even lower than I remembered - crap.  Taking a practice GRE was painful but assured me that I could meet the requirements with room to spare - yay!  Realizing that the idea of my going back to school part-time was freaking out my husband and increasing his anxiety and depression - ouch.  Talking that through with him over our anniversary and having that reverse into his full (albeit still typically anxious) support - whew.  Realizing I could take the 1 hour MAT instead of the 4 1/2 hour GRE was good, and then when I took it and got stellar results was WONDERFUL.  Now my applications are turned in, and I'm just waiting - for the recommendations to get turned in, the transcripts to arrive, and the decisions to get made at the two different programs... and waiting is hard. I'm settling in for about 2 months of it.

Last week I started with the mental tweaking.  I changed my Facebook profile pic to the one of me about to do the triathalon I did in March.  I needed the daily reminder of what I can accomplish.  I reconnected with some old friends that I haven't visited in a while.

The last two days I have been making better choices.  I've eaten clean, surpassed my step goal, and yesterday I jogged 25 minutes and felt good.  I've reminded myself that I can manage my stress in healthy ways now.  Now I just have to re-establish the habit.  The scale hasn't started moving back down yet, but it will.  And when I'm thinking about baking, I'm back to asking myself - are you wanting to bake for a good reason, or because you want to eat the cookie dough?

I also found a new fun way to enjoy my jogging (especially good when our weather has been so stormy).  I've been taking my Kindle Fire to the gym and setting it up on the treadmill so I can watch movies/ shows while I work out and my kids play.  It's a great distraction, and yesterday I was actually looking forward to it so I could finish the movie I started the other day.  Anything that works, baby.

I'm feeling like I'm training for a race, but unlike my 5ks or triathalons, this one is the ultra-marathon of life.  I need to build up my endurance, because there is always stuff to endure.  Starting something new is exciting, but the challenges will come and I have to be strong enough to meet them.  To prepare myself physically and mentally.  To know when to ask for help and support.  To keep my priorities in order.

The journey goes on, one step and one day at a time.  It's easier on days I get a good sleep.  And more fun some days than others.  But I have the tools, and I can do this for the rest of my life.  We stumble, we fall down, but we pick ourselves up and get back up stronger and wiser.  All the other WLS vets out there - if you are struggling you are not alone.  If you are doing well - share!  We could all use reminders of success for inspiration.  

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