Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekly Weigh In: Why Go Public?

Last week I put my personal weight loss goal out to the world. If you know me, you know that I am a pretty private person and wouldn’t normally do that. So why now?

Several of you have told me of your personal battle with weight loss. You tell me you desire to eat healthy foods but aren't sure how to do that with such a busy schedule. You wonder how to get your kids (and spouses) to eat healthy foods if they are already accustomed to packaged and fast food.

It's easy to think that everyone else has these things under control and doesn't struggle with the things that we find difficult. Well, I'm here to tell you that everyone else DOESN'T have it under control and there are many people struggling with the same issues that you are.

Some of you have been overweight your whole life, or at least as long as you can remember. Others gained a little more with each pregnancy until now you find yourself with a significant amount of excess weight to lose. Others got stretched so thin establishing a career and/or taking care of the family that they just quit taking care of themselves. Are you in one of these categories? Please share your story in a comment below, it is helpful to others to know they aren't alone.

Here's my story in a nutshell. At age 16 I was diagnosed with a serious illness. I cheated death and my body responded to "last resort" chemotherapy. I went from being athletic and participating in sports to spending 3 months in bed, then progressed to being up and around but barely leaving the house. I missed my entire Junior year of high school; a teacher brought assignments for all of my classes to me and picked them up the next week as he dropped off new ones.

Chemo is not is poison. It is intended to go after rogue cells in your body, very aggressively, and kill them before they kill you! Unfortunately, while it is killing the bad cells, it is also killing good cells. It is a trade off. You are alive, but there is always damage to your body...most of which you won't likely know for years to come.

I learned through this experience that my body responds differently than most people in many situations. Many people get quite ill and lose a lot of weight when taking chemo. Not me. I got quite ill, and gained 65 lbs.

About a year later, as my strength returned, I again became active and began what would be a lifelong struggle to lose that weight. I was able to lose it and get back to my athletic condition, however, I was soon to learn that my medical issues (and weight gain with them) was only beginning.

Fast forward a bunch of years (let's just say I was in my late 30's). After gaining and losing weight with each health issue that came along, I was in great shape. I ran mountain trails every morning before work and worked out in the gym 4 days a week. I felt great.

I met an amazing man and knew very quickly that I wanted to spend eternity with him (after having gone through divorce and spent 10 years as a single mom). Four months later we were married. Four months after that I was diagnosed with Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). (How's that for 'long story short'? I'll save that whole story for a future post)

IBC is very aggressive and has no lumps associated with it (again, future post). I was told of the diagnosis on a Friday afternoon and was in chemo Monday morning! In 12 months I had 6 major surgeries and 30 weeks of chemo, and you guessed it, I gained a bunch of weight. 65 pounds to be exact.

Through a series of other medical issues and surgeries (again, chemo is poison and damages the body), I carried that extra weight for almost eight years. You can read here  How I Turned it Around and Lost the Weight. I did lose the 65 lbs and was in great shape. I even started running, something I have never been inclined to do.

I was running 5-8 miles a day when another series of medical issues cropped up. 18 months and 5 surgeries later I was up 42 lbs. HOLY CRAP!! Here we go again!

So, back to the question of why I put my weight loss goal out to the world. It's my way of making a commitment that I can't (or won't) allow myself to back out of. I am fully aware that there are additional medical issues for me to deal with in the future. Instead of giving up and letting myself go, I feel the need to get myself back into the best physical shape I can so I will be strong and able deal with whatever comes my way.

So, once a week I will check in with my Weekly Weigh In and share highlights of my week, good or bad not so good, and even how much weight I lost.
We all have issues to deal with that are the cause of our weight gain. Yours are as valid and difficult for you to deal with as mine are for me. I always have a good attitude and think positively, but that doesn't mean that every day is easy when it comes to losing weight.

I am motivated by your success and your ideas and tips. In return, I hope to share something that enlightens or motivates you. Let's start conversation on how we do it so we can learn from each other.

This week I lost 3 pounds. Great start. I need to stay focused to meet my goal by June 7th.

What's your story of weight gain and/or weight loss? Whether you share your goal publicly or not, share your tips and ideas that might help someone else on their journey.

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