My long-term readers will remember my earlier posts on weight loss. If you haven’t read them, you can check out one HERE and I have a few other posts too BUT they are ancient and need updating!
Addictions are everywhere. The ones we normally hear about are drugs, alcohol, sex, and porn. Those are the ones that usually get blasted all over social media, television, and news reports. However, there is also food addiction. It took me a long time to admit that food truly is an addiction for me.
I found an interesting fact in Scientific American while doing some research. It states, “Foods rich in fat and sugar can supercharge the brain’s reward system, which can overpower the brain’s ability to tell an individual to stop eating. In these cases, the more someone eats, the more he or she wants.”
Another quote I found in this article stated, “An inability to suppress a behavior, despite the negative consequences, is common in addiction.”
That was me. I love zucchini. But if you put a plate of zucchini in front of me next to a plate of cupcakes, I will not be able to suppress the behavior of foregoing the cupcakes. It becomes an addiction.
When I made the decision to have weight loss surgery, I read everything I could get my hands on about it – recovery, food, pain, the actual surgery, and everything in between. I KNEW in my heart that my choice in food was an addiction. I knew that in order to overcome that addiction I had to remove temptation and I also had to make life changes. I began by mentally preparing to override my negative, bad thoughts in order to focus on the task at hand. I read a book called Sugar Shock. I will say that in all the books I read, that one really hit home. It showed me how addicting carbs could be, rather, how addicting carbs are. I began attending nutrition classes and meeting with a counselor. Because of the surgery, I was told that I would need to cut out carbs and focus on high protein foods. I already knew this through the research I had already done. However, because I had a food addiction, it was impossible to cut out all those succulent carbs without the surgery and on my own. When I read Sugar Shock, I wept. I realized how out of control my addiction truly was! I had to make a change and, more importantly, I had to do it soon. My life truly depended on it.
(This was probably my heaviest. So scary to see this now!)
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The process of getting approved for the gastric sleeve surgery through military medicine took only three months. I had an excellent surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and was one of their last patients prior to their Flag casing ceremony.
The first week after surgery I read the book Made To Crave while still trying I was still trying to mentally adjust to what I had read in Sugar Shock. I was riding a roller coaster of emotions due to pain killers and lack of food. I became so upset at the book I threw it across the room. I just couldn’t. At least not yet. It was too difficult reading a book about craving God instead of food and learning how to overcome weight struggles. I don’t know why it was difficult nor why I thought that, but I did nonetheless.
As time went on I lost 130 pounds. However, I was left with a LOT of sagging skin on my stomach. That excess skin was partially due to having very large babies and partially due to the fact that I lost those 130 pounds in a year. The next step was to get the medical team to approve me for a tummy tuck. Around this time we had moved across country to Fort Lewis, Washington. Again, I was approved very quickly. The only issue was my husband was away when they decided it was medically necessary that I have this surgery! When I had my sleeve surgery, I had zero complications. Not so much with the tummy tuck! I had a multitude of complications. I lost a tremendous amount of more weight. My incision ruptured and had to be packed for nearly a year. I wasn’t medically released from the doctor during that time either. It was a nightmare! I thought I was never going to get past this recovery. I continue to have issues and need my tummy tuck revised, but that is another story.
(As the weight was coming off)
(Right after my Tummy Tuck. I mean I had JUST had it. I just had the drain tubes removed that day and took my oldest to a Toby Mac Concert with me wearing a tummy girdle!)
(Months after the Tummy Tuck when I still was packing my incision. Still very ill if you can see it on my face.)
The time came when I was finally able to hike, walk, run and practice martial arts. I still have abdominal pain from time to time so some activities have limitations, but I haven’t given up! In Washington I had no issues maintaining my weight. However, after healing from the tummy tuck, I gained back a little weight and then maintained my weight with no issues.
(Hiking Mt Rainer before my tummy tuck)
(WashJam 2013. Clay was gone and I took my oldest)
(Clay and I at Master Shon’s Tae Kwon Do tournament in Washington State)
Speeding forward, when Clay found out he had orders for an overseas assignment, we made the decision for me and the kids to move back to West Virginia. So much happened during that year and someday I will go more into detail. I was physically, mentally and emotionally stressed. I wasn’t able to work out like I should. I told Clay I was starting to look like a busted can of biscuits. Eventually we moved to Tennessee and closed on our house, Clay came back and I still wasn’t exercising.
(After Clay came back this last time)
I knew I had to take back control. I had to get back to the basics and start from, well, the beginning. An addict will always be an addict. As a food addict, you can relapse if you surround yourself with unhealthy foods.
I became depressed. I’ve never suffered from depression. Even when I was 130 pounds overweight, packing my incision for over a year, child-birth, none of that brought on the feelings as bad as what I went through these past couple years. I did finally reach out for help for it.
(On the Duck Commander Cruise in October of this past year)
My weight has always been a struggle. I gained and I lost through high school. I was never overweight, per se, but I was never skinny, either. While attending college, I gained the freshman 10, the sophomore 15, the junior…..well, you get my point. No one made fun of me about my weight until I was turned down in relationships because of it. It seems guys wanted skinny girls! Clay never really had an issue with my weight but he also was addicted to porn in our early years of marriage. While he didn’t attack my weight, he also didn’t seem to be attracted to me. As women, we are blessed and cursed with this gift of remembering everything; I relived our first years of marriage all over again. Rejection. Shame. Guilt. I wasn’t worthy. I did finally reach out for help. However, instead of reaching out for medical assistance (as with my surgeries), I reached out to God.
I went through the Armor of God Bible Study at church. Boy did I get upset at this study! There were times I had to put the book down. There were spiritual exercises that really pushed me. It was hard. I also talked to Clay about my state of well-being. He is truly an overcomer. He has been redeemed from porn, alcohol and other yokes of burden. I sat him down and talked to him about my depression. I poured it all out to him. Every single, ugly, horrible thought. He held me and I cried. I am not sure he really knew what to say or do, but that was enough. Since that night we have openly talked about this, much like we did when he struggled with porn and alcohol.
(At my nephews graduation from boot camp in January)
With the Lord’s unconditional help, I am in a MUCH better place.
(Just a couple of weeks ago at the gym and the before is 5 years ago. Right before I started shedding pounds.)
I’m exercising again. Thanks to Clay’s new job, we were able to get discounted gym memberships that offer child care! I am learning to love myself and the fact that God doesn’t make us all a size 2, 4, 6, etc. I know that I need to treat my body as a temple by trying to cook foods that are healthy and balanced. I also know that I need to continue to work out.
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The greatest thing I have been reminded of in all this is my devotion to the Lord and spending time in His Word.
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When I attended the Dove Awards last year, I remember watching Big Daddy Weave perform their song, “This is My Story.” I’m blown away every time I listen to it! That song has become a favorite on my playlist while getting my time in at the gym. Another song is “Redeemed.” These aren’t songs the normal gym goer probably has while lifting weights or running on the tread mill, but I’m far from normal. I’ve completed my time on the treadmill and the machines and have moved to the track when listening to these two amazing songs. By the time I hit the track, I need motivation. First “This is My Story” and next “Redeemed.” I am encouraged. I am motivated. I am reminded, I am redeemed.