Four Things That Help Me Stick to My Diet

by Mary Ann

Not long ago, Kristin asked me what keeps me motivated, and how I’ve been able to keep from being discouraged so far. She wanted to find out the reasons for my momentum so far.  I think there are a lot of components to this.

1. I have a very supportive family.

My family is being especially supportive as we deal with the fact that I’m not eating carbs pretty much at all.  My son made me low-carb cheesecake for my birthday, and knowing that I need portion control, cut it into 18 servings and froze it so I can enjoy it over a long period of time.  I have been astonished at some of these group sessions to hear how many folks that have family that tries to sabotage them.  Spouses intentionally cook beloved unhealthy dishes that will trigger cravings. It made me sad, and grateful.  My husband has been extremely supportive, and I am very very blessed to have him.

2. I have supportive friends.

My chosen family at ComedySportz  is made up of individuals who are wonderful, supportive, delightful people, both locally and around the world.  My friends outside of CSz are loving and supportive as well.  When I occasionally post one of these blog posts on facebook, or share how much weight I have lost, I am flooded by warmth and messages of love and encouragement.  When I see them in person, they congratulate me, ask me how I’m doing, and make me feel loved and strong.

3. I know how bad it can get.  

The folks in my class that have 100 pounds or less to lose, while facing their own health issues, don’t know how absolutely horrible it can be to be in the category that I am.    I don’t mean to minimize their situation, it’s not a good one.  I don’t pretend to understand the challenges anyone faces, but I know this.  When you get to be as big as I was when I started (and really still am), there are physical challenges that are ridiculous.  Here are some examples:

  • I couldn’t stand up for very long.  Walking out to the car in my own damn driveway winded me.  I would pretend that I had to stop often because of my bad knee, but in all honesty, I couldn’t breathe.
  •  I hurt, all the time.  Muscles ache, joints ache, my whole body is exhausted from carrying all of this flesh and fat around.
  •  In 2011, I missed the fact that my gall bladder was loaded with gallstones, because I attributed the gut pain to the aches and pains of
    being a fat girl and didn’t seek treatment until it was an emergency that required immediate surgery.
  •  Sometimes seat belts don’t fit, and I have to get an extra airline seat when I fly, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m constantly evaluating chairs with arms, booths, and other seating situations.  As much as I love Disney, I have had to walk out of a theme park ride in front of dozens of people, because I simply didn’t fit in the seat. I was horrified and embarrassed.
  •  There are some things that I won’t discuss, because it’s too excruciating.  Suffice it to say that there are things about being huge that are pretty mortifying and upsetting.  I have cried many many times about these things.  I’m crying now as I (don’t) write about them.  Maybe someday I can share them openly so I can help others, but today is not that day.  If I ever open up blog post #1 to the public, you can read about them.

4. Getting rid of almost all carbs has taken away all of my cravings.

I started this on March 10, and I am still astonished that I don’t really want food all the time.  I still sometimes forget to eat, and I am delighted with it every time. I actually giggle out loud when it happens. Some folks in this program, knowing that their plan allows up to 100 g. of carbs, shoot for that every day.  I don’t.  I shoot for less than 50, and most days I eat less than 30.  Today my total will be 22.

I am confident that this time is different, that this time I will be successful.  And more than that, I want to find a way to help other people  get out of this place, this hell that the superobese face.  I want to take their hands, look into their faces, and let them know that I SEE them. That they don’t have to live this way anymore, and that it can be better.

There was a point that I just accepted that I was going to die of obesity.  That this mountain was literally too big to conquer.  It was looking at my beloved husband, and watching him care for his ailing parents that changed it for me.  I don’t want him to have to deal with my health issues, too.  Diabetes can be a slow killer, and caring for someone with the health issues attached to it is not easy.  I love him too much to do this to him.  And in the process, I’m realizing that I love me too much to do it to me anymore, either.

And on this journey, I am well aware that for now I am a negative example for folks, because I am still really big.  I’m okay with that.  Sometimes in the group sessions, I want to grab someone from across the table and say “Don’t give up!  Don’t!  You don’t want to be where I am/was!  You don’t!”   Instead I share what’s working for me.  I offer encouragement. I tell them that they are not alone, that we are in this together.  I try to listen.

And if you are reading this, please listen to the me that is still too big for a single airplane seat.  Your life can be more than it is.  You don’t have to die of obesity.  You don’t.  We’re on this journey together, and we can do it.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  We can do this.

(Mary Ann is down 84 pounds as of 8/12/2013)