Thursday, September 13, 2012

My life in pictures...part 2

I was 25 in this photo, In my 2nd year
at Uof T.

On Tuesday, I started telling a bit of my background story.  You can read it here if you already haven't.  I'm sharing my past with you to give you an idea about what a life long struggle obesity has been for me.  I have lost a lot of weight in the past, and I have gained a lot of weight as well.  I have tried many, many diets...Weight Watchers, Dr. Bernstein, Atkins, South Beach, cabbage soup diet just to name a few.  I've taken diet medications...Phen Fen, Meridia and Xenical.  Phen Fen and Meridia were taken off the market due to life threatening side effects.

I've starved myself and was even bulimic for a period of time in my late teens.  I have never shared the fact that I was bulimic with anyone before.  It's how I kept my weight around 200 during that period in my life.  I have always felt a lot of shame in association with the bulimia.  I was able to stop doing it on my own, mostly because my mother figured out what I was up to and confronted me. Even with all my efforts and intervention in the past, I have never been able to lose weight in a healthy manner and keep it off.  I"m determined to finally get off the crazy diet merry-go-round!

During a trip to Cuba.  I'm not sure of the year.
Possibly when I was in Centennial.
During the same trip to Cuba.  This has to be one of the
only pictures taken of me in a bathing suit.

I started gaining a substantial amount of weight in my first year at Centennial College.  I still lived at home and was working part-time to put myself through school.  I started Centennial when I was 21 years old.  I don't have many pictures of myself from that time period, because I hated having my picture taken.  After gaining so much weight, I pretty much stayed away from the camera.  I made a lot of friends from Centennial, some that I still stay in touch with today.  It was an overall good experience for me.  I was passionate about school and excited about my future working as a Child and Youth Worker.

When I was 24, I began working on my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto.  My weight continued to balloon.  I didn't really make any friends in university.  I just showed up to lectures, did the work and left. I actually couldn't tell you the name of one person in any of my classes, in fact the whole experience is a bit of a blur.  I know I graduated though, because I have the degree to prove it.  All I can say for certain is that at the beginning of university, I gained a lot more weight and weighed over 300 pounds by my 2nd year.  I started using Phen Fen in third year and lost about 30 pounds by the time I graduated.

This is my mother and I at my University
of Toronto graduation in 1997.  I was 27.
I was 23 or 24 here.

My father, mother and I at a
wedding.  I was 23ish.

When I was 28, I decided I had to do something about my weight issue.  Something drastic.  I went to Dr. Bernstein's Diet Clinic and shelled out about $2500 to go on a medically supervised starvation diet where I got B12 shots in my ass 3 times a week.  I lost about 100 pounds and was the lightest I had been since high school.  The diet worked, but wasn't realistic for maintenance.  I don't agree with Dr. Bernstein's methods, but in all fairness, I was also not ready to really lose the weight.  I wanted a quick fix.  And what a quick fix it was.  20 pounds lost a month!

I hooked up with my hubby the next year, and that's how he fell in love with me.  One hundred pounds lighter.  We were both young and stupid.  We were jokers, smokers and midnight tokers. Midnight toking brings obvious consequences...the munchies.  I started once again on my upwards spiral of weight-gain.  We married in 2002 and I weighed 281 on my wedding day.  I was happy I was marrying the man I loved, but miserable that I was so huge and couldn't wear the dress I wanted.  On a happy note, I was able to lose about 10 pounds just before the wedding.  My mother had to safety pin my dress on my wedding day to keep it from falling in the front.


For the next five years, I pretty much maintained my that's a lie.  I gained a lot at one point and was over 300 pounds again.  I went on Meridia and was able to get my weight down to 265 just before getting pregnant with my son.  I was pregnant in my 37th year and miracle of miracles, I had no complications during my pregnancy.  I had a normal blood pressure, no gestational diabetes, not even morning sickness.  

I was about 7 months pregnant
here.  And I cropped out the back
to make myself look smaller!

But I did gain 45 pounds and the day before I delivered my son, I weighed in at 310.  I remember freaking out thinking they couldn't give me an epidural because I was too big. I did get an epidural but the machine was malfunctioning and it was no help.  No matter, I ended up having to have a c-section.  Apparently my pelvic bone is fused shut.  Who knew?  Not me until I was being sewn up on the operating table.  I was told then I could never deliver vaginally.  Sucked that I had to labour for 12 hours before learning that!  No matter...Julien was worth it!

One day old.  I'm tired and scared to death!

After having Jules, I began thinking again about how I was going to get my weight under control.  I dropped about 20 pounds after giving birth and steadily maintained my weight at about 290.  I went to my family doctor, Dr. Pitt, and asked for a referral for Gastric Bypass surgery.  Dr. Pitt reluctantly sent me to Dr. Joffe in Toronto and I met with him at his office.  The waiting list was 2 years, and Dr. Joffe convinced me that the only way I'd get my weight under control was with weight-loss surgery.  I believed that this would be the "quick fix" I needed.  From what I've read and learned from WLS bloggers is that WLS requires a lot of work.  It's not a cure all, it is an aid to a lifestyle change.  

By the time my 2 year wait was up, I was still convinced that this was the route I was going to go. I called Dr. Joffe's office to find out where I was on the wait-list only to learn that he was no longer practicing in Canada because he lost his license.  Read about that here if you want.  Finally made sense to me why there was a  nurse sitting in on our consultation who wasn't even taking notes, she was just sitting there.  He was under investigation and couldn't be alone with female patients.

So I freaked out because I had to start all over again.  I went back to Dr. Pitt, got a referral to the Bariatric clinic at St. Joseph's here in Hamilton, and got the referral to Dr. Poon's clinic at the same time.  I started Dr. Poon's Metabolic Diet on September 17th, 2011, and had an information session at the Bariatric clinic the first week in December.  By the time December rolled around, I had already lost 33 pounds and just wasn't feeling the surgery anymore.  I never went to the information session.  I knew at that time that I had finally found the lifestyle that was the right fit for me.  I knew I could do this, and more importantly, I wanted to do it!  I was pumped and finally ready to take control of my life.  There has been no looking back since.  Here I am 103+ (plus because even though I haven't weighed myself, my clothes are getting baggy) lighter and I can't imagine ever going back to my former self.  

I've said this before and I'll say it again.  If you want this badly enough, you can do it.  I used to say stuff like, "I'd die if I can't eat pasta", "I need to have Snickers Bars in my life", "I'll enjoy myself today, and diet tomorrow".  Tomorrow finally came for me on September 17th.  That's when my life changed.  Guess what? I can live without everything I thought I couldn't.  What I can't live without is my son and my husband.  And they shouldn't have to live without me because I finally killed myself with food.  I had convinced myself that  even though I was morbidly obese, I wasn't unhealthy.  Of course I was.  I was on two blood pressure medications for Pete's sake!  Maybe I didn't have Diabetes...but in time.  My birth mother battles with Type 2 Diabetes.  That would have definitely been in my future.  I'm finally done the denial and the excuses and let me tell you, it is so freeing!

I'm so close to reaching my goal.  I'm no longer obese...I'm in the over-weight range according to my BMI.  Once I reach goal, I believe the real work will begin.  I am going to have to be conscious of what I eat for the rest of my life.  I need to always be aware of my triggers and I need to keep up with my running and physical activity.  I don't deserve food treats because of how hard I've worked, I simply need food to survive.  The only way that my weight-loss is going to be a success this time around, is by changing the way I think about food.  Without that key piece to this equation, I will weigh in at 300 pounds once again.  And that folks is just not worth anything I could eat.  

Summer 2006.
Summer 2012.
We've come a long way baby!