“Not Running”

going a little crazee!

I think I am going a little stir crazy.. Yesterday I woke, tired exhausted and grumpy. I knew that after being out for dinner two nights in a row to see my friends, (one who just flew in from the UK) I was due for a day home. I started off quite enjoying the day, I got up, dressed, and then onto the net for a look at some of my favorite sites,Esty and Pinterest (I may be addicted). I chatted to a friend on the phone…And then, I got restless…

It was a lovely day outside, some friends had posted on FB about their training for an upcoming event (tough mudder), I was super jealous and my brain just wanted to chuck on my running gear and head out the door; my body on the other hand was still on strike.

I was driving my housemate (Lynn) mad, by saying I would rest, and proceed then roam around the apartment like a nutter; cleaning out under the laundry sink, cleaning out my bedside table, throwing away junk, and counting up my spare change collection ($70 was a nice little bonus). I would return to sit on my bed and write between these little outbursts, but I was really just wanting to burn off all this mental energy.  Exercise is a great way for me to unwind and do this, somehow on a long run I can turn the music on, let my legs pump away and allow the thoughts of the day wash past me, running exhausts me physically and aligns my thought patterns, it has become the feel good drug for me, it replaced food… I do not like the feeling of not running,  not cycling or not working out at Step into Life classes. It doesn’t feel right…

Before surgery I thought that I would struggle with this; the being stuck at home, not moving, not being as active as I want to be… Honestly it scares me, not exercising and or being active feels too much like my old life. This coupled with the fluid retention, swelling and exhaustion; well it is not a great combo…

But then this morning (after another fitful night sleep) I awoke with a little more energy, each day is one day closer to a full healthy recovery and running, that is what I need to focus on; I also felt like I could perhaps start to go for short walks, I checked with my surgeon House this afternoon after a minor procedure to remove some more fluid, he said YES to walking now. So it is all systems go from tomorrow; Slowly of course 🙂

Till next time, Lin xox

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Plastic Surgery; Preparation

Trusting your Surgeon - you need to feel comfortable with them!

I first saw my Plastic Surgeon in November last year (2011) ,and, prior to going, I had done all the obligatory preparation that the modern woman does;  primarily  I Googled the heck out of the topic.  😉

But seriously apart from the google self research, I got a referral from my lap band surgeon, spoke to my GP and gotten another referral for the plastic surgeon, and begun to meet with a psychologist  to talk about the changes ahead.

During all my research there did not seem to be a lot to find about people’s personal journey’s with this type of surgery. There was a lot of info from American sources, mainly plastic surgeons who were explaining their services and methods of surgery. Overall I did not find much of this information to be either relevant or helpful.

What I did find helpful was a list of questions to ask your plastic surgeon about their qualifications, the procedures you are considering, what they would suggest, recovery etc. I went to the Plastic surgeon with the idea of what occurs in America as being the norm. This would be what most of us have seen on USA TV shows; where people who were once morbidly obese and after losing their weight, have multiple procedures at once – including a belt lipectomy (tummy tuck all the way around the middle), arm lift, thigh lift and breast lift.

So I spoke to my Surgeon (lets call him House) who has consulting rooms at a very reputable Private Hospital in Malvern. On our first meeting he listened to my story of weight loss, running and wanting to deal with the skin that was holding me back both physically and emotionally. He listened well, answered all my questions on my list and explained what he thought would be the best plan forward for my personal situation and case.

House explained that I would likely get better results in the long term by breaking all the procedures that I would need up over 3 different surgeries. This would allow my body to recover better, allow the skin to be stretched in one direction for one procedure and then tightened the opposite direction on the next procedure. House also explained that in the USA they tend to have to do all the procedures at once to get their health insurance to cover it as they often won’t cover and pay for multiple procedures despite this providing better results over time (Yet another reason to be thankful for Australian Health Cover).

House was great in the initial consultation, he showed me pics of his work and I felt at ease with him. I scheduled the 1st surgery for tummy tuck including a lateral thigh lift (this means it goes a bit wider than a tummy tuck over to the sides) and a Brachioplasty (arm lift) for Feb 14th 2012…We agreed that these were the two main areas that were affecting my health, exercise progress and self esteem the most, and to start there and work on the other areas progressively over the next 18 months.

From this point it was a matter of working out the logistics such as; time off work, money, and staying fit and healthy… What I found out in the lead up to surgery was that despite wanting the surgery I was very scared and fearful of what was ahead.

Some days I was fine with the idea of surgery, but mostly I spent most of my time trying not to think about it. Part of the reason (apart from not liking hospitals) was that I was scared more this time than the last time I had surgery (which was the lap band surgery). I was scared because I love life now; and actually have a life to lose… Last time I didn’t have any quality of life, nothing to lose and the prospect of something going wrong didn’t seems like it could be worse than the life I lived then.

I spoke to friends and colleagues, and my Psychologist about this… Their feedback was it is OK to be scared (it is normal) but they also reminded me that my surgeon and all the people involved in the surgery are professionals and do this type of surgery all the time!

This was what I needed to hear and allowed me to think about the surgery in a new way…

So in the lead up to surgery; I used a variety of strategies to get through and deal with the anxiety –

*Being informed & trusting that House is a professional who knows his stuff and practices at a great hospital.

*Staying busy and speaking to my friends, family and Psych. A Big thanks to my all friends and family for listening to me and a special thanks to SM who told me her personal story of plastic surgery and what she went through with a tummy tuck!

*Continuing to live a very social life – Meeting up with friends, going out, working out and having a few drinks; still living and enjoying life.

*Knowing that at the end of it all, I am strong and can get through this (They have drugs for the pain right!)

So in the next installment I will talk about the day before surgery and the big day itself!

Till next time

Lin xox

Surgery, My Valentines Present to myself!

I haven’t blogged a lot over the past few weeks, and I apologize for this. I have felt caught between a rock and a hard place over the past few weeks, and this has been because I have been getting ready for reconstructive plastic surgery.

Under the Knife - Happy Valentines Day!

I have been dealing with a variety of different emotions over the past months as I have been meeting with doctors, surgeons and my psychologist in getting ready for this, the next part of my journey.

With losing a huge amount of weight, I also lost any chance of my skin being able to bounce back, I lost all skin elasticity and therefore kind of looked like a deflated balloon when all the clothes came off. This was not something that I was happy with, part of me felt deflated too, it wasn’t boding well for my self esteem; Moreover it was causing me medical issues, especially when it came to exercise and physical training.

After speaking with my GP and referrals and appointments with Reconstructive Plastic Surgeons, I decided that the best way forward from this point would be to undergo 3 separate surgeries over the next 18 months. This would address most of  the issues and allow me to move forward emotionally and physically. It would also give me the best chance to have good outcomes without stressing my body by trying to have everything done in a short time frame.

I haven’t exactly hidden the fact that I am getting surgery, I have told friends, colleagues and family what I am doing – just haven’t blogged about it yet. I have had extraordinary support from everyone I have told.

I have had some crazy moments, moment of being so scared and paralyzed by the thought of what was happening, but have been supported through all these emotions by amazing people in my life; I am blessed to have such great friends, family and support.

So on Valentines Day this year (2012) I went into Hospital to for the first of 3 surgeries (Or as i jokingly call them to my friends – the slice and dice) I am now recovering from a tummy tuck / lateral thigh lift and a brachioplasty (arm lift) still in Hospital and will blog a bit about the journey that I have been through over the coming days… It has been a rough couple of days in Hospital, and the recovery has been slow! But I am happy to share it now, I was scared to write about it at the start, to share it – always for fear of being judged! – But now I know that I need to share it, because if this helps one person who is going through something similar, then this is how I pay it forward…

Will write more soon , Till next time

Lin xox

Does Real Lasting Change Start SMALL?

Enjoy it one small bite at a time!

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small , Lao Tzu.

We often over look or diminish the small changes in our lives. We wonder why we aren’t able to maintain the massive changes we initiated at the start of the year (i.e NYE resolutions)… We try to change much in a short space of time, not allowing our brains to really fully adjust to the “New” state of play.

In reality there is no new state of play, there is only a radically altered playing field that is foreign to us. I believe that when we try to change things quickly, most of the time our thinking and processing are not able to keep up. We try to do it all at once, many times I have thought and voiced the idea of  “All or Nothing”, and I can think like this, but in reality and upon reflection, it is small consistent changes  that have impacted on my habits the most and have given me the best outcomes.

Here are some examples of small changes I made;

I began walking 5km about 3 times a week, after a few weeks, unwittingly I increased this to every second day, after a few more weeks, I increased it to everyday…. Then over the coming weeks I increased the distance to 10km every day…. I did not start out at 10km every day – I allowed my body and mind to adjust slowly over time… Building the habit, increasing the frequency and the intensity. Had I said at the start, “I will walk 10km everyday” I doubt I would have developed it into a habit….(In fact I know it wouldn’t have because I had tried that before) But I did over time build it up… And it was only on reflection that I realised that this was what I did, originally I didn’t have a plan, I only liked getting out and walking on the beach and because it made me feel good I did it more often. The walking lead to running, short distances lead to long distances – but all of this was over time and done gradually.

Recently I have been moving to a more protein focused diet and reducing my carb intake. I started with the focus on one meal a day, moving from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner…a friend said start small with breakfast,  very smart advice; I am still working on this change in diet – but am making small incremental changes over time that will hopefully add up to healthier habits in the end.

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Now that I have less weight to lose it doesn’t come off as easily – I now understand the pain of losing that last 5kg – It seems like a small number, and it is hard to move… I used to be able to move 5kg quite easily (but that was when I had a lot to lose). Now I am down to the thin end of the stick 😉 – where it is all about the small changes, the small choices. It is where choice builds on choice. I need to remember that I can divide this number into smaller numbers, look at it as 1 kilo at a time, essentially breaking down the job into smaller jobs – take those first steps and make the small incremental changes.  Because I know that if i am true to myself they will add up to a healthier me.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Lao Tzu

And while this blog is about losing weight, and reclaiming my life, I think that these principles can be applied to most areas of our life where we want change. Finances, weight, fitness, career progression, study etc.

Someone once said, “take a bite and then chew like crazy!” – I say  “Bite off a little, and enjoy it one mouthful at a time so you don’t go crazy”

It is about taking stock of the situation, being honest with ourselves and not getting overwhelmed by the reality – then – breakdown the problem into SMALL changes that overtime will allow us to enjoy the greater journey of overall impact.

Till next time, Lin xox

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.                                              Henry Ford.

Where’s your head at?

Escaping from negative thought patterns is hard work.

Recently someone introduced me to the concept of gentleness. Now I can hear some of you now say What the??, Yes, I know what being gentle means, and as a social worker, friend and family member, I know I can be gentle to others,

But gentle to myself – well that is where it gets hard.

………………………………………………..

When this concept was floated, it kind of stuck a chord with me. I have beaten myself down for years, told myself that because I was fat, I didn’t deserve to be “happy”, I didn’t deserve good things in life, I was a failure, blah, blah, blah – you get the idea. Bascially I spent the majority of my day mentally beating myself up on every aspect of my life.         And let me say this is not the mindset of someone who will succeed at anything.

Body acceptance and being gentle to yourself is sooo important when it comes to changing in the long term…. I found this article that explains it a little.

“We may balk at the idea of body acceptance. If we accept our bodies, won’t we become complacent? If we embrace our imperfections, won’t we lose our motivation to exercise or eat right? Actually, the opposite is true. Some studies have shown that a healthy body acceptance actually encourages us to exercise and eat right. The reason? People who are comfortable with their bodies emphasize function over appearance, so they eat more intuitively, eating foods that make them feel good when they’re hungry. Meanwhile, people who diet because of body dissatisfaction are more likely to fail.via The Perfect Body – How to Accept Your Body Through Exercise.”

Looking back (Ahh don’t we love hindsight) I can now see that by hating myself, I was not allowing myself the space to build on any positive changes. Changing and Escaping from this mental game was part of what allowed me to change and keep changing.

It started with me believing that this time – with the Lap Band, I would have a tool that would help me succeed. In fact I think the Lap Band allowed me some mental space, it gave me a physical barrier to stop eating too much. This assisted me in looking at the weight that slowly came off, and over time (months and years) realising that I could win at this as it was not coming back on. I started to really believe that the weight was coming off for good. That I could accept the fact that I was changing, and that I might get to a place I was OK with. It also stopped the daily ritual I had of mentally abusing myself for eating too much or not doing enough exercise.

It is important to note here that I don’t think that being gentle of myself is the same as making excuses for eating poorly or not exercising, that to me (now) is not negotiable…         Being gentle means I will not abuse my mind, call myself names etc. I will speak positively to myself and say “anti up girl you can do it”, “stay strong” and “Yes I can”

I still struggle with being gentle with myself, it is a new concept to think about… But I now realise it has been something that I have been practicing unconsciously over the past few years. I am not skilled at it yet… I am still scared of putting weight on, and I am still incredibly driven and feel bad when I don’t exercise or eat something I perhaps could have said no to. But I now know that mentally abusing myself was part of the cycle that kept me obese. While I am gentle to clients, friends and family, Now I need to practice being accepting and gentle to the person I will spend the rest of my life with… Me.

I hope that after reading this you will think about being more gentle to yourself too and rephrase old negative thoughts to a new positive framework… I can change, I will succeed, I have strength, I am enough.

Till next time, Lin xox