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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ready for a New Phase

Tipping the scales over 300 lbs. in 2004. 
Today, at 175 lbs.
after two months of
focused exercise.
It's hard to believe that it's been eight years since I had gastric-bypass surgery. It feels like a lifetime ago when a diagnosis of obesity-related infertility sent me into an emotional tailspin that ended with me tipping the scales at 350 pounds. It was then that the idea of never having children became scarier than the idea of controlling my weight once and for all. I tried losing weight "the old fashioned way" with exercise and a tightly controlled diet, but results just didn't come fast enough to make much of a difference.

That's the short story of what led me to have gastric bypass. It wasn't an easy decision but it was the right one for me. And though I've had my share of ups and downs over the past eight years, I've never once regretted my decision.

Since getting remarried in 2009, I've effortlessly maintained my weight around 180 pounds. By BMI standards, I'm still considered obese, but at least I'm not morbidly obese.

After my bowel obstruction, my weighed dipped in the low 100s. I looked and felt like death warmed over. My skin was so thin that my veins were visible everywhere, giving me a blue hue, especially in photos. My head was bigger than my body, making me look like a bobble head. As I worked to gain my weight back in a healthy way, I chose 180 as my goal. I felt that I needed to have that extra weight as a cushion in case I were to fall ill again. I never wanted to feel weak and emaciated again. It's been a comfortable weight for me -- emotionally and physically -- and one my doctors have all supported.

But now I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to push past that fear and drop a few more pounds. It's not that I think I "need" it. I don't need to be thinner than I am. I am quite content wearing size 14 jeans and medium-size shirts. But I am ready to lead a more active lifestyle, which will naturally lead to a bit of weight loss. It's taken a few years, but I am ready to let my body set itself at a lower point.

So what am I doing? My primary focus is exercise, which is always a challenge for me. I'm working out twice a week at a functional fitness studio, adding a day each month until I'm at 4-5 intense workouts per week. As far as diet, I'm more mindful of what I put in my mouth and pay closer attention to the foods my body doesn't tolerate well. For me, that means minimal animal protein and more raw veggies and fruits in the form of smoothies and fresh juices. I've even started a new blog about it for those who want to follow me as I continue this journey.

As I reflect on the past eight years, I realize I have not yet arrived. There is always another step that can be taken in the pursuit of health and fitness. Success, for me, isn't about numbers on the scale or the clothes rack. It's about feeling my best, and my best is yet to come.

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