No class for me this week as I am in Kansas City attending the General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association. I am sorry to have missed class but the content of the denominational meetings are giving me hope in a world with so much pain and despair. We are an activist faith and we are trying to deal and provide remedies to the white supremacy culture both in the wider world and within our faith. It has also been wonderful seeing old friends.
I am staying on plan despite the awkwardness and complications of flying. It is hard to drink enough water, but I am trying. I am also skipping the afternoon workshops in order to check out the hotel pool and get some exercise in. I hate to miss anything, but after years of attending GA, I have attended versions of most of the workshops before. It is the plenaries, the business meetings, the voting and exercise of our democratic principles that most engage me these days. And I really do need to exercise.
I have refused lunch and dinner invitations because I don’t need that challenge, but last night I did sit in the hotel bar drinking a sparkling water with lime as my friends had gin and tonics while we talked. Life is good. The very fact of life is good.
(No stats this week)
We are officially half way through the total meal replacement phase. Then we will gradually began eating real food again, but making better choices and consuming much smaller portions than previously. I am at 300.3 pounds as of last night. Only 100+ pounds to go to get down to a weight where knee surgery will be a viable option. Somehow, that doesn’t seem nearly as daunting as it did a few months ago. It is still a big number, but I am making progress and remain determined to do this. It has been difficult to get this far, and I can’t let the efforts I have already made be in vain. Si se puente!
Class was much better last night, we asked and the substitute facilitator agreed to let us do check-ins before the content part of the class. It is so helpful to hear from everyone and to give and receive support. We are also very happy that our regular facilitator will be back in a couple of weeks.
Challenges for me this week included attending a retirement party with lots of food. It was outside, so I could put my camp chair away from the table, but it was still a challenge. Watching others eat a regular meal isn’t as hard as watching folks snack.
Then there is physical pain. I got an x-ray on my shoulder this week and have severe arthritis there as well. Swimming is harder, although the hot tub helps. Good food has always been comforting to me. Eating more yummy food than I need has been a useful distraction when I have been in pain, physical or emotional, at least in the short term. Now I will need to rely on cortisone shots and physical therapy, and ice. (But oh, not the ICE that is causing so much pain to our immigrant neighbors. We need to melt that one down and wash it away.)
We leave for General Assembly (Unitarian Universalism’s annual denomination-wide meeting) in a few more days. Other than getting all the meal replacements into my suitcase, it shouldn’t be that hard. Finding time for actual meals during GA’s jam-packed days is always difficult. I think it will be much simpler to just mix up and drink a shake every 2-3 hours. Unlike in the past, however, I won’t be able to hang out in the hotel bar with a martini, chatting with the good friends that I only see once a year. I still hope to spend some time with those friends.
Doing hard things
Is always hard
I have done many other
Hard things in my life
Never making the easy choices
When it came to love
I can do
This hard thing too.
(My stats for last week – down 2.4 pounds, drank 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 250 minutes. My total weight loss so far is 24.2 pounds.)
This week we had quite a bit of discussion about which week of the program it actually is. The facilitator thought it was week 8 and she is correct in that it was our 8th meeting. We are, however, just beginning our 7th week of full meal replacements. We go 15th weeks without any real food and then gradually reduce the meal replacements as we, um, “replace” them with real food. We are almost half-way through this first phase and the entire program is 18 months long.
This week was a little disappointing as I only lost a half of a pound. Some folks even gain some during this phase, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Bodies adjust differently to change,
I find that I am increasingly aware of my body, how I feel in it, where it hurts and where it feels good. My knee is better after the cortisone shot, but my left shoulder is now very painful. Had an X-ray today and see the doc on Monday. I’d never write about this physical stuff normally; there are always aches and pains and they increase with age. The reason I am doing this is to feel better, however, so when I feel worse, it frankly pisses me off. This is hard work. I want rewards that I can feel in my bones.
We talked about rewarding ourselves during class, and no, going out to dinner is not an option. I bought a few extra bottle shakers this week. The powered “shakes” are very sticky and the shakers get sort of yucky after repeated use and are almost impossible to get really clean. The dishwasher just bakes the crud on. I got a two pack of these for $5 on sale at Tuesday Morning. I like them quite a lot, they have an air hole that makes it easier to drink, but I hate the writing on them.
I would cover the writing with stickers, but that would make them even harder to wash.
The class is just barely tolerating our substitute facilitator. We were grumpy about her not having the forms we need. We played with our phones and had side conversations during class. Behaving badly can be a little empowering at times.
Don’t tell me I will be beautiful
When I am thin
I already am beautiful.
Don’t tell me there are other ways
That would be easier
This is what I am doing.
Cheer me on.
Tell me I am brave
Be proud of me.
I hope I would do
You needed to do.
(My stats for last week – down .5 pounds, drank 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 390 minutes. My total weight loss so far is 22 pounds.)
We had a substitute facilitator this week – and we will have her for the next 3 weeks before our regular one comes back. It was a little disorienting. The substitute was fine, and is likely awesome, but the group, including me, acted out a bit. We have bonded, and our regular facilitator is part of that bond. She knows us. We know her. It felt a little like it did back (way back!) in high school when we had a substitute teacher. This program, with its rigid rules about the meal replacements, doesn’t encourage much flexibility. Any change is hard when we are trying to make such a big change in our lives.
We also talked about support systems and not so supportive folks, of who to tell we are doing this and who not to tell because they might be judgmental about our choice. I have been extremely public about being in the program. It doesn’t get much more public than posting about it on a blog and then sharing that blog on Facebook. I have received only positive support, which has been very helpful. My family and close friends have been particularly wonderful.
I gave up shame years ago, and believe that sharing this process may be helpful to others. The one concern I have is that the friends that I have bonded with over the years around being fat might feel abandoned by me and might be afraid that I will start judging them. It is hard to live in this world as a “person of size.” We have shared tears, anger, and laughter over our common experiences. They loved all of me and I loved all of them. That won’t change, for me anyway. I know the pain too well to judge anyone for their size. We are all beautiful and worthy of love just the way we are. I would not be doing this if I did not know that my health and my life are at risk. I will do this and I will succeed, but it is a hard choice and not one I would recommend to anyone unless they have similarly powerful motivations.
(My stats for last week – down 4.2 pounds, drank 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 370 minutes. My total weight loss so far is 21.5 pounds.)