Finding My Way Back To Health

I started on this journey back to health two years ago this past April. For years I’d been experiencing declining health. It seemed like each year some new problem would crop up. It started during my pregnancy with my son over fifteen years ago. I put on seventy pounds during that pregnancy. I ate very poorly giving into every craving I had. I developed sinus issues during that pregnancy, acid reflux and when my son was born I needed to have my gall bladder removed.

As the years went on I went through the yo-yo effect. I’d be good for a while but eventually a plateau would hit and I would fall off the wagon. I should state for the record that I am a food addict. I use food to comfort myself. It’s my drug of choice and trying to change that mind-set is something I struggle with every day. Some days are easier than others.

Other health challenges I’ve faced are asthma (since I was a teenager), high blood pressure, angiodema that we never could figure out what was the cause. And more recently I started having this awful hacking gagging cough that leads to vomiting at its worst moments.

It seems that these last two years that every time I take two steps forward I take one step back. I’d been a part of the Bariatric Clinic here in town. They help people with weight management which sometimes includes surgery. I wasn’t interested in surgery because I knew I could do this without it. I just needed some guidance. And I had a lot of help through the clinic. I was able to see a dietician, a physio therapist and a counsellor.

I did great with the program. I lost thirty-five pounds. The picture above is of me running with my youngest daughter. I’d decided I wanted to train to run a 5 km race. I felt motivated, healthy, excited. And then I injured my foot. At first I tried to push past the monster blister on my foot (caused by Dr. Scholl’s Insoles. I don’t recommend them). But eventually walking on my blister lead to a blood blister which was impossible to walk on. My trying to push past the pain lead to Planter’s Fasciatus. And because of that I became depressed (yet again), gave in and put twenty pounds back on.

It was incredibly discouraging. I’d made so much progress. I’d gotten off of my high blood pressure meds and now I’m back on them. I knew I wanted to try again but I needed motivation and support. And then a Facebook friend posted a 8-week challenge group and I decided to go for it. And it helped. Following the goals I ended up losing twelve pounds in those eight weeks. And then it was over and I fell off the wagon again. So when others from the group said they wanted to try it again I was all for it. But this time it didn’t work for me.

I felt myself getting discouraged when I worked hard and the scale went up or didn’t move and eventually I stopped trying. I went up by ten pounds. The group wanted to do this challenge again. I wanted the support but something wasn’t clicking for me. That’s when I realized the problem was the scale. I was using it to determine success. So I joined the challenge as a non-buy-in and said I’d post my weight only every six weeks. Tomorrow marks that six weeks. I also took pictures and measurements at the beginning of those six weeks. I should have put the measurements on my computer because of course I lost the paper I’d written them down on. At least I have the pictures and I know my starting weight. So tomorrow I’ll re-measure and put those numbers on my computer.

But regardless of what the scale says I know I’m making progress. Six weeks ago my clothes barely fit and I thought for sure I was going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe one size up. But now my clothes fit comfortably and I’m noticing small changes in my body. I can see muscle development in my shoulders and biceps. My belly no longer looks like I’m pregnant.

I still have my weak moments but without the scale to get me down I don’t let those weak moments rule my life. Before I started this I was incredibly depressed. I still feel that way sometimes but those moments are fewer and they don’t last as long. I’m able to actually pull myself out of them faster.

Something else incredible happened. I actually discovered that I love strength training. I always hated it, avoided it. But attending a strength training class was what I needed. I needed the encouraging environment. Now I can’t wait to go to strength training class, and my group fight class. I’m back to walking and today I walked 5km. Something I haven’t been able tot do since last summer.

I’m feeling so good that my husband and I signed for an obstacle race. We’re a part of team from our local YMCA. And we’re going to be training together to get ready. This is a slow process but it is worth it.

I also made another change about two weeks ago. It was something I swore I’d never do but I was tired of how hard I was working and how lousy I was still feeling. So I gave up gluten (with the exception of a couple of slip ups). And it has made a world of difference. My gagging cough is gone and I feel so much better. I can’t wait to see how much difference I’ll notice after six months.

The picture above is the same picture I have on my fridge. Back when it was taken I was still feeling down on myself because I didn’t feel like I was doing enough. All I saw was all the work I had to do. And now I look at that picture and I think of all I’d accomplished to get there. I’d overcome chronic back pain, asthma, chronic fatigue. I’d worked hard to get there and I looked good. And what I love even more about the picture is seeing my little girl running behind me. I know she is learning from my example.

This summer we’re going on a vacation to go to my brother-in-law’s wedding in B.C and on the way back we’re going to take the kids hiking in the Banff area and show them the town. So we’re having the kids earn money by walking or running. And for every KM they walk they earn a dollar (There is a limit). My kids are enjoying it. My youngest is winning because she’s been walking every day to the Y with me while her siblings were in school.

It’s important to me to teach my children healthy habits so they never have to struggle like I have. It’s not easy. But it is worth it. What ever barriers you have, to reaching a healthy weight I guarantee you that you can overcome them. When I first started the pain in my back was so bad that I sat on the couch everyday waiting for the day to end so I could go to sleep. I was taking multiple pain medications and still struggling. The day I’d decided I’d had enough I got up and went for a walk. It only lasted ten minutes but it was the first step. Now I workout for an hour and half to two hours a day, six days a week. My back pain is managed without prescriptions drugs and I know someday I won’t need pain medication at all. I feel stronger when I eat healthier and exercise. If I can do this then so can you.