Weight Update

So, if anyone has been on tenter hooks waiting to hear from me about my surgery, it was cancelled. Unfortunately, covid 19 came to my work and we lost a few lovely old folks- who were end of life which is why they were with us, and about 21 of the staff team tested positive including me! I had felt some cold like symptoms- sneezing, snotty nose and my chest felt a little off, not unusual for an asthamtic in Winter. Anyway, I was self isolating on my lead up to surgery, following the Liver Reduction Diet and generally psyching myself up, went for the covid test and blood test on the Wednesday, got a call on Thursday saying I was positive for covid and surgery was cancelled for Saturday. Called work then booked myself and husband for another test as I was convinced it must be a false positive, it wasn’t! But hubby was negative and no symtoms of any kind which was good, so after already isolating for 12days, we then had to really isolate for another 10. I am lucky to get paid as I work in health care, hubby didn’t but managed to move some annual leave around to help him out. We are not eligible for any assistance as we earn too much- which isn’t actually a lot! I was on a total rollercoaster of emotions for next few days, angry, upset, frustrated, depressed, hopeless, glad, happy etc. After the weekend, I did start to even out again, the Saturday which was meant to be operation day was the worst emotion wise, I felt like a complete failure, I couldn’t even get surgery right.

Long story short, what I took from the LRD and lead up from the 1st Jan was that I had actually lost weight, I had walked a lot on LRD- completely on my own and in quiet isolated areas so no risk to anyone before I knew I was positive-so it proved my body was capable of so much more than I had ever realised. By the end of Jan I had lost 1stone 7pounds and was very curious about how I had done this! That month, we had one take away pizza on the day I found out I had covid, it was sooo good, and I drank one bottle of wine on the 31st Jan. I had no interest in chocolate and things were great, I was also off work for most of the month and this set me up well. Once I was back in work and trying to figure out eating, managing emotions and the usual crap thats difficult for those of us with weight issues I hit a plateau. Instead of my usual reaction of exclaiming I had failed yet again and was clearly a complete waste of space, I read about plateaus and wondered with myself if that might be why I had infact appeared to have gained two pounds yet knew I was calorie counting well. I stuck with it and the following week I lost the two gained pounds, plus another one! Over Feb I lost 5 and a half pounds. My exercise/walking went to pot in Feb, a mix of tiredness back in work, struggles with eating, feeling overwhelmed at times and general life made it a very tricky month. So, I decided that for March I wouldn’t focus on a weight loss goal, but a physical movement goal, so I decided to set myself a goal of 11k steps a day for the entire month. This has been the push I needed to get myself moving again and I have done some great walks and at 19 days in have done at least 11k steps every day! I am very proud of myself! Eating is still a massive issue and some days I am winning and others I am doing my best.

I feel I am learning lots of things about myself that I never knew before, I feel that some skills I couldn’t grasp before are starting to make sense and my ability to use those skills is improving. I am trying to just be curious, nothing is black and white, I am constantly learning and educating myself around weight management. I have ruled out bariatric surgery, but not the gastric balloon which would assist me with portion control and they have a substantial supportive 18month psychological program as well. As it stands I have lost 2stone 3pounds to date, I have never lost this much weight before! I am giving myself until my birthday doing it this way and then will revisit the balloon. Currently I am using my fitness pal to work towards a calorie deficit, continuing with DBT, reading books like Dr Chatterjee Lose Weight Feel Great and still speaking to fitness lady from the NHS!

Stay safe everyone!

Weight Part 2

So after looking around at different options, including a life coach, psychologist, counsellor etc, I decided to join the Bariatric Mind Mastery Course. I had a life coach a few years ago and whilst it was good, the work didn’t manage to get my mind on board with itself, and I didn’t lose weight. I have had a virtual gastric band via hypnotherapy, which at first was great but then I put all the weight and more back on again. I have tried all the fad diets, I have tried weight watchers so many times and slimming world slightly less, all work initially but I felt deprived and that meant it wasn’t sustainable and as soon as I got fed up/disheartened all the weight and more piled back on. I was tempted to go private to a counsellor/psychologist but it is very hard to know online who is actually going to be any good. I am under the NHS weight loss service, that pretty much shut down with Covid, except for the lovely exercise lady, Steph, she has been fantastic throughout. If I am honest, I feel very let down by the service, if it wasn’t for Steph I would have given up. I was referred to have a Psychology assessment and the Psychologist felt I needed to do some psychological work in order to move forward with my journey- this was in May 2019. This year in June they finally started virtual group sessions, on a Thursday which I have to work every week as other nurses are already off. So I was not able to attend. To say I was disheartened would be an understatement especially as I had been told they would more likely be on a Friday, which I could have worked around. I got dispondant, Covid was smashing through, stuff was going on with hubby’s job, I couldn’t see loved ones and I put on weight getting to my highest ever weight. Cue crying and self hatred going through the roof, which led to overeating to smoosh down such horrid emotions.

I got in touch with a company which specialises in gastric balloons, they offer one for a year and it has an 18month support program after which I felt would be beneficial and necessary. I clearly could not get into the right headspace, I was frustrated with people who said they had gotten fat during lock down, maybe putting on a stone or two. That added to my self loathing, if they hated two stone they must think I am disgusting and awful. My head wasn’t a nice place to be.

I am a member of two bariatric support pages on facebook, and have been for a while, these are for people who have bariatric surgery which I have been toying with for a couple of years now. One of my biggest fears, was getting surgery, it being life altering, yet I put all the weight back on because it is a tool and won’t fix my brain. The NHS weightloss group are clear that I wouldn’t be a candidate until I could prove I could lose weight on my own- ironic as the reason I was part of the group is because that is my problem! Emotional me finds that upsetting and frustrating, rationale me understands that to make this tool work I have to think differently. There is very clear evidence that says that people who are morbidly obese will find it extraordinarily difficult to lose more than a stone or two without drastic steps, such as surgery. There are many reasons for this, including that our bodies will have stopped producing the I’m full hormone, so even if we eat less we won’t get that full signal, our gut bacteria is often full of unhelpful bacteria which craves sugary food, and because we are used to huge portions etc it is just so hard to manage. There is more about this that I will waffle about at some other time!

So anyway, one of the facebook groups I am in, is ran by Debbie- The Shrink on Your Couch. I have seen her advertise her Bariatric Mind Mastery courses several times and toyed with it. She uses DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) as a cornerstone to the course, DBT focuses on emotional regulation and understanding behaviours. I have used it in my professional role on a small scale with people who self harm and suffer with suicidal impulses, and it has worked well when implemented as it taught them how to understand themselves and work on other ways to cope. So I decided, fuck it, its £473 (500$), I am worth that small investment and worst case it won’t bankrupt me if it doesn’t work- I am so optimistic!

I love this course, I love it. Debbie had a gastric sleeve, she was obese, she struggled with her mind like I am, she gets it. Other’s think they get it, but they don’t. I said to my dad, I know you think everyone is the same, but they can’t be, or else they would all be morbidly obese like me! It felt so validating to read someone else felt similar, and the first week of the course was eye opening. A new chapter is released weekly over eight weeks and I have just worked though week 3. I don’t feel like I am dieting, I feel like I am just thinking it through, if I want cake or chocolate, that is fine, if I want wine, that is fine. But think about it, examine any feelings and emotions that are showing up, do I want it, or am I suppressing a feeling? Its a wonderful, complex topic and I would like to share some of the things I have learnt going forward, I feel this could be it, whether I will still need the assistance of a balloon or surgery in the future or if I can do it alone, I don’t mind.