Tuesday, January 12, 2010

my story..."I don't want to be like my mother"...let me explain...

I pretty much do things at the urgings of others rather than my own iniatiative. Not because I am not capable or lack the self motivation to accomplish it, rather its easier for me to be effacing than self complimentory. I have actually meditated long and hard about this and have come to terms with learning how to accept a compliment and actually enjoy it. But this was not always the case.

My story begins in May 2009. My office decided to do a "Biggest Loser" Challenge and I decided to join in on the FUN. I told myself I am sure that in 13 weeks I can lose 10 lbs, I can do this.I got a little competitive spirit in me. So we all put monies in a pot with 20 participates the total was quite enticing at over $1600.00. Eventually, many would drop out of the challenge and others would give up. So I started with what would be one of the most praiseworthy journies of my life. I hope this continues to take me to me bigger and better things, some on the horizon and some yet to be revealed, but we will get into that a little bit later.

One thing was sure, my streak of competition boiled forward and I immediatedly enlisted the help of my eldest brother Carlos, who won a similar competition in the previous year. I listened, asked questions, read, and scoped the web for information. This still remains my habit today.

So our office weigh in was on May 27th. I stepped on the scale at our weigh and tipped it at 238.7 I honestly had not known what my weight was before that date because I had conveniently removed the last working scale from my bathroom ages ago. But I was determined that this might be a good thing. I will play along, I am one of the managers and this will be team player activity. Why not? I have wanted to lose weight, but never put in much effort in doing so. I just never imagined how much I wanted until June, and July, and August, and even today. I never allowed myself to analize why I was overweight or why I had become 238.7 lbs. I can say it now as a badge of honor without getting alarmed as I was then by these numbers. I repeat it and tell my story now as many times as I can, as a constant reminder. I have been there, I know what its like.

For some who have not been overweight, or had weight problems, you may not understand the true meaning behind the incredible success of the biggest loser shows, supplements, books, and all the other "weight loss" products, there are hundreds, thousands out there promising one thing or another. I love this reality show now and did not follow it until last season, mid way through after already losing 40 lbs. I was touched by the similarity of stories, not just the numbers because this is not what being overweight is about, but the SHAME, AGONY, LOSS OF CONTROL, and so many other FEELINGS that need to get in control before the weight start falling off. Does it really fall off? Yes, I can attest to it. It does.

It was june 2nd 2009 and my parents and I were flying to Houston, Texas for my oldest nieces (granddaughter) high school graduation. I sheepishly started using my "excuse". "Oh no, I will pass, I am doing this weight loss challenge at work", "I can't", passed up on all this royal graduation feast of a party, cake and all, including all running liquor, corona beer, ( my favorite), and every other bubbling beverage known to man. During these days of empowernment of denying myself Coke, and that extra serving, and tres leche cake with frosting, my glory became awareness of my mother succumbing to the ill effects of her diabetes, and kidney failure disease. My story changed into another purpose and degree. The person I most admired, most treasured in my life, the person that could handle and do anything above extraordinary, the person who could move mountains, and solve anything was all but helpless. She was so ill during these days, suffering from fatigue, insomnia, lack and excess of appetite, anxiety, and sheer fear I'd say. This was not the woman I know.

My mom has suffered from diabetes for years and years and has been controlled with insulin. Her kidney failure came on about 2 years ago and ended up with her having to have peritoneal dialysis on a daily basis which true to her style, she makes sure its doesn't interfere with her vacation trips to Colombia, S.A. or Europe, or Caribbean cruises she loves so much. She orders her supplies from Baxter Home Health equipment on a timely basis and has it delivered to home, plane, or boat depending on the itinerary. At home, she has her dialysis supplies and equipment in a fully functional room which my dad equipped for her comfort and sensitivity that she does not want to feel like she is a "patient in a hospital" when at home. My parents nightly routine and life is quiant and sweet and lovable and both manage this successfully with the support, help and patience of my extraordinary dad.

But on these early days of June, I noticed and had an incredible epipheny that took me to another level. At one point, my mother asked me to go and heat up the "bags" (peritoneal fluid that is heated and administered to the peritoneal area- belly through a port). As I carried this 1.5 gallon size bag to the microwave. I held it in my hands and at that moment my story became about something else. I clearly remember walking down each step reciting words/ phrases to myself. I don't know if out of anger, sadness, retaliation, defeat or victory, maybe a little bit of everything. I stepped each step downstairs and this is what echoed in my mind: "I don't want to be like my mother", "I don't want to have this disease", "I don't want to have diabetes", " I don't want to have diabetes".

After that I remember I went to bed. Made my usual evening Prayer for my mothers' wellbeing and my fathers' strength, and for all of us, my siblings who do not know how to exist without her. I woke up early the next morning, borrowed the keys to my sister expedition and went to the grocery store, and walked around. I walked around for a while, clueless to what I was doing or looking for but I must have been more focused than It seemed because I remember that I bought raisins, oatmeal, bananas, pint of egg substitue and apple juice. I had promised myself at that moment the prior evening that my life would change and it did. By the time, I returned to Georgia, I stepped back on that scale and the numbers that were staring at me seemed to be wrong... 229. No that couldnt be right. But in fact, it was I confirmed it with another scale I had lost 9 lbs in 5 days with a little control. Wow ! I thought to myself, "If I thought I could lose 10 lbs in 3 months and I lost 9 lbs in 5 days, I can so do this".

My biggest loser challenge became..."My biggest winner challenge". Every step of the way became about winning, not losing. I won the battle of control. I won the battle over my feelings towards food, towards myself. I was worth it. I took the time for myself, regardless if I had laundry to do or fold. It did become about me. We tend to lose that as moms and wives. Not because we dont have the support or love to grow, but because we lack the confidence and initiative to make ourselves just as important as our kids and husbands. My husband has his SAFE line..."honey, do what makes you happy", what kind of crap is that. he told me that when looking at employment opportunities, wanting to lose weight, blah blah blah, blah blah. that doesnt help me. But in reality, it was his way of saying YOU HAVE TO FIND IT YOURSELF. Noone can do this for you. Noone. By our first staff meeting in the Atlanta office after beginning the challenge and 3rd weigh in-July 10th, I weight 216 lbs, I was down 22.7 lbs in a month. I was bewildered by many things that day. First by the incredible reaction of so many on seeing me. yes, in their reaction to the changes I had made physically. Noone up to that point and even after that had asked me about diet or what changes I had made. It was all about the physical difference they saw in me. I didnt understand that yet. I was overwhelmed. I also noticed how little had changed for so many others who were also in this challenge with me. At the staff meeting, as I brought in my water bottle and yogurt to eat my breakfast, I noticed the others still reaching for the sausage biscuits, orange juice, chocolate milk which is offered at the meeting. Many came in with their Venti sized whipped cream topped lattes and cappuchinos. I looked around and found myself very alone. I will admit, my inner competitive voice told me, "wow, this is going to be easy". But, honestly, what I was looking for was camaraderie. By the time, I reached my office in Buford after the staff meeting, I recieved multiple emails from other participants in the challenge as well as other well wishers congratulating me for my success. I was happy, but well aware I still had a long road ahead. My next goal was being under 200 lbs. I recieved the most incredible support from the staff in my office in Buford, I remember getting the howls when I wore a new size large shirt instead of Xlarge, I remember the words of encouragement that they would give me, i remember the work outs that my buff coworker, Cesar would let me join in with him at the gym and not be embarressed to be seen with me. I remember my cousins husband, Brian trying to reach 200 lbs and me trying to leave it. I remember the days of lounges and squats and circuit training and runs on the threadmill, and stairmaster tortures. I remember the listening ears of my brothers who gave me compliments and advice to continue on. The challenge progressed weeks by weeks. I changed habits, and continued to make new healthy alternatives. By late July, I weighed 205.4. By August, 20th I hit the 200 mark. that was big !!!

When people ask me how did I do it. I answer eating right and exercise. Through reading and research I have learned that the first is so much more important than the latter. My habits have changed dramatically from justifying to making a conscience decision for my benefit. My relationship with food has changed. I do not look at it as a means to endulge, but a means to fuel my body for its daily activities. I look at food as a delicacy, as a substance for purity and wellbeing. I judge the quality of food and the quantity rather than the convenience. This is my line. I EAT with quality and quantity in mind rather than convenience. NO FAST FOODs, NO COKE, NO JUNK. Quality foods, are you worth it? Are you a winner? are you determined, focused? What will it take to make you see it as a reality? It took me seeing my mother, the most independent, confident, productive woman I know, fearfully ill, to change my fate. Change my course, dead in my tracks. I promised myself. I will not get diabetes. I am determined to continue my battle, and eventhough the war is over, the daily battles continues which are so much easier to handle than the war.

The challenge took us to the final weight in on september 4th 2009, I weighed 195.5 lbs with a total loss of over 43 lbs. I shared the pot with another winner. I recieved $ 830.00 and our 2nd winner Brandi, recieved over $ 300.00, She lost 11 lbs. Go on Girl!

You can do it too. I promise, if you take yourself into consideration. Make yourself a priority. Really look at yourself inside and out and want the change, and determined to make the change. All you need now is the method. EAT CLEAN, eat healthy, drink water, sleep and love your body. You are so worth it.

I didnt believe I had issues with my emotional side, but boy was I wrong. As I mentioned, before, you want to know why all weight loss products are so profitable. Because this type of challenge grows from DEEP inside and can only solved by searching DEEP inside. WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION, whether competition, health, conceit, or just not wanting to be that " oh, but you have such a pretty face" anymore. Take it, run with it, and it will happen. Once you got it.... keep going. I am not even worried now about the numbers rather the progress whether its seeing that pair of size 12 fit so baggy now or the long boots I have never been able to fit over my calves, or size 8 dress I have hanging in my closet as my next step.

I push, i cry, i tire, i push some more, I sacrifice, I hurt, I feel, I care, i honor, I progress and with it all, I am so happy. I am free from the shame, the disgust, the hatred of loss of power and control that I had for years. Now I am strong, now I am happy, now I am powerful.

This is my story. What is yours?

To explain the first phrase of my blog, I have been asked to stand up at our Saturday spin class and give a little inspirational tidbit of my journey. Wish me well- mainly the part of "little tidbit" is what I am worried about. LOL

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