Friday, December 12, 2008

My Anniversary....One Year

It is one year since I started to lose weight by changing the way I think about food and the way I choose to eat.

I am a long way from the weight loss goal I set for myself…I had hoped to be at goal by the time a year was up.

In fact, I was sure that I would be. (That is, once I quit thinking that I would “give this a try” and began to think “I am going to do this”. )

Well, I’m not even half way to goal in the year.

My goal was to lose 113 lbs to be at 140 by now. I have lost 41.6 pounds, bringing me to 211.4.

I'm OK with that.

I have learned that there is more to losing weight than losing weight.

In fact, losing weight is the easy part – it’s the changing of a lifetime of bad habits and destructive thinking that is hard.

Even harder than that (for me at least) is taking a lifetime of living a sedentary lifestyle and trying to incorporate activity.

That will be my challenge for the next year, I guess.

Aside from the very real facts of having to change deeply ingrained thinking and behavior, there have also been some extenuating circumstances.

This past year has been one full of change and travel - probably not the ‘ideal’ time to embark on a change of eating habits. (As if there would ever be the ‘ideal’ time)

Let me bore you with the details:

After a summer of watching his opportunity for work in Alberta slowly dwindle, my husband decided to take a job that was offered to him in Louisiana. (You cannot get much farther from Alberta than Louisiana and still be in English- speaking North America.) Naturally, I went with him.

This meant leaving my family, my home, and my familiar life to go live in a place where I knew no one, had no transportation when my husband was at work, in a new climate and culture – where I was told to check my bed at night for poisonous spiders. Don’t get me wrong….I loved Louisiana! I’d go back in a minute – to visit. In the fall/winter. These things, while a great adventure, are stressors.

From the day we decided to take the job until the day we pulled away was 10 days. 13 Days since the job offer had been made. And Jim was away at work for 4 of those 10 days. We did not even have passports when we decided to go, so you can imagine what a whirlwind of activity preceded our departure. We didn’t so much ‘pack’ the trailer as throw things into it. What do you take when you are moving for an undetermined amount of time? We had no idea how long we would be gone – in fact, when we left, we did not even know we were going to Louisiana….we were hired by a consulting firm in Oklahoma – they would “place” us when we got there.

Although we felt quite ‘right’ about our decision, it was extremely difficult to leave our kids and grandkids. We are quite close, as a family – our kids would miss us and we would miss them. A lot. Talk about conflicting emotions…excitement at the “adventure” we were about to experience…..pain at leaving our family behind….

the greatest conflicts were:

My daughter and her husband had just returned from Zambia where they had been on “field assignment” for Youth With a Mission after being in school in Montana since March. For the first time since they had been married, they would be living near us. I had been so looking forward to having them nearby. (Kathryn had been living in Calgary, Thailand, and South Africa for two years before their marriage, so I had only had my girl living near me in short ‘spurts’ for 4 years) To make it even harder to leave, Kathryn was pregnant and she had had quite a difficult pregnancy up to that point. They were planning to be in Canada for no more than 2 years…..and now, just when I would have my daughter at home for an extended time, we were moving out of the country!!! Talk about stress….She and I were both heartbroken. At least we had had lots of practice living a long way apart. We had learned to maintain and even grow a relationship long distance.

Also, Our youngest was barely 18 at the time. He was finished high school but did not yet have a job. Vinjelu and Kathryn would be living with him for about a month but were then moving into town. Danny would be living alone (except for our 5 dogs)…..he was never one to have a whole lot of friends and the ones he did have were still in school. I worried about leaving him….I was not sure how he would handle the loneliness – Jim and I had taken a month long road trip earlier in the year….Dan had been very lonesome then. I also worried about the state of our home with just him to care for it. Jim had confidence in him, though, and in the end….Jim was right. Dan did fine.

Interjection: We had a wonderful time in Louisiana….for the first time in many years, we had a “normal” work schedule….Jim went to work at 5 am and returned ‘home’ every night for supper by 8 pm. Almost every night, anyway.

Up until a couple weeks before Christmas break, Jim did not have any weeks “off”, but since he was learning the area and the job, he had more short days than normal and most weekends were no more than driving out to his locations to check well pressures. I went with him at those times and then we’d have the whole afternoon together to explore our new home. It was during this time that I reached the end of my rope in regard to my weight. I was desperate. I had gained five pounds since arriving in LA. I’ve already documented coming to this point here so will go on to my next point….

I had been “on program” for barely 10 days before we flew home for Christmas on Dec. 21. Much of my shopping had been done on line, and delivered to our home (unwrapped), but I still had plenty left to do….not to mention:

groceries for three days of Family celebrations with not only our kids, but extended family as well.

Add to this, my house had been “cared for” exclusively by an 18 year old boy for the past 4 weeks. It wasn’t too bad… but really, can you expect a teenage boy to notice the details?

Also, there were no decorations out, and no Christmas tree in the living room. I told everyone that there was a good chance the tree would have nothing but lights on it since I did not think I’d have time to decorate. (Usually, we have a family night and whoever can make it, helps to decorate. There was no time for this, obviously.) Andrew (number 3 son) ended up doing it for me when he and his wife arrived for the holiday.

I spent 2 days in the city doing my shopping, necessitating eating out. This whole time, Jim was also rushing around doing his shopping – it was normal for him to be shopping on the 23rd and 24th. I NEVER go near a shopping center on those days, normally. Does that sound like just a little extra holiday stress? It was….but I was so glad to be home and around my family that it was easier than it sounds….thanks in large part to my sister (in law) who drove me to both cities so I could do my shopping (Jim was using my truck – his was in LA) It was a treat to spend so much time with her. Of course, both days involved eating in restaurants.

Beginning a “diet” just before Christmas seems to be a little self defeating, but I had been given good advise from the counselors at LA Weight Loss Center and I did OK – I mostly resisted the treats but allowed myself certain indulgences so I did not feel deprived.

My daughter AND my DIL were both due to give birth the first week of January. Kathryn started to have contractions on Christmas Eve. Jim was booked to fly back to work Jan 8. (I had planned to stay home for a month – to help the new mommies get settled) We spent those 10 days or so before Jim left staying close to home ‘just in case’ – Kath really wanted her dad to be in the waiting room at the hospital when her baby was born.

However, the babies were both born AFTER Jim left….I was to be with Kath and Vinj during labor/delivery so every time she thought “this was it”, I was awake for most of the night – either waiting to see if the labor was real or driving in to town to meet them at the hospital. This happened two nights in a row before it was the real thing.

I arrived at the hospital at 1 am on Jan 10. I will not go into the experience of watching my baby have a baby – that would take WAY too much time. Seth was born at 11:28 a.m.

Much later, I went home for a shower and to email photos to Vinj’s family in Zambia/Europe then was back to the hospital shortly before Mike (son number 2) and a very pregnant Victoria arrived to meet Seth. While Tor was holding Seth, he began to cry and…..her water broke.

I was afraid I was looking at another night without sleep, but they sent me home and said they’d keep in touch – Victoria’s mom was going to be with them.

I was relieved to be able to sleep for a few hours between calls keeping me updated on what was happening with Tor. At about 8:30 a.m. I got the call that the birth would be within an hour.

That estimate turned out to be incorrect. I was a little slow getting going, (24 hour shifts do not come as easily as they once did) but I made it to the city before Kaden was born at 11:24 a.m. Jan 11. 4 minutes less than 24 hours after Seth was born.

Did I mention that Mike and Tor live an hour away?

Kath had some recovery complications so required a little extra help, plus I also spent time with Victoria. The two girls lived an hour apart – AFTER I drove the half hour to Kathryn’s. Thank God the weather was quite warm for most of that time (above freezing, actually).

As well, since Vinj’s car was not up to longer trips, I took them to Calgary for an overnight trip that involved a ‘baby meet and greet’ with all their friends there, a 4 hour 'once per month course' which they had been taking, and picking up Vinjelu’s mom from the airport. She was to stay with them for 10 days.

All this travel, visiting, and mothering was hard on the eating plan! In spite of all this, by the time I returned to Louisiana, I had lost 12 pounds in total.

Back in LA, Jim was now on a two week on, one week off rotation. We could not afford to fly home every month (especially since 1 week off meant only 4 actual days at home) so we did some sightseeing. We took one major road trip. I gained SEVEN pounds!!! Oops…I should have taken my scale with me.

We were in LA for another 7 weeks before we drove home….Jim had been offered a job in Wyoming with a 2 on, 2 off rotation by a company he dearly wanted to work for. Most importantly, to him….Wyoming is within a day’s travel of home.

We left our trailer park ‘home’ on March 21, headed for Iowa so we could visit Jim’s Uncle and Aunt for a day or two before driving west to check in with Jim’s new boss in Wyoming on our way home. Seven days of eating out three times a day (even in Iowa, since we cannot be in Uncle/Aunt’s home because of Jim’s severe allergies to their cats). The seventh day found us at Son Andrew’s home in southern Alberta….finally, a relief from restaurant food! We stayed with him and Keltie for 2 days before finally driving home. I had learned from my mistakes on the previous road trip….by the time we got home, I was down 2.6 pounds since we left.

I was home for 3 days then Kathryn, Seth, and I flew to England to spend 10 days with Kathryn’s SIL who had just had a baby. While at her home, I did most of the cooking and shopping so was able to stay pretty close to plan. We also spent 2 days in London – being tourists. (I LOVE London!) I lost 1.6 pounds while in England.

I was home for 3 days…trying to get my body clock back on North American time before Daniel and I left in my little car (which we had bought in LA) to meet Jim for his first 2 weeks “off”. We had tickets for the NASCAR truck race and IRL race in Kansas City and decided to take Dan along….he’d been alone for pretty much the entire winter, looking after our home and our dogs….we wanted to give him a holiday and (most importantly) time with us.

Dan and I left at midnight after Robert’s (oldest son) 30th birthday party, trying to get in front of a major spring snow storm that was moving in….and remember, I was suffering major sleep deprivation at the time…..We were not able to completely avoid the snow storm and by the time we were in the worst of it, I was delirious with exhaustion so Dan drove – on tires that were meant for Louisiana weather, not wet, icy snow.

We were gone for 1 day less than 3 weeks. Again, all that time, we were eating out. To complicate things, I got sick. Real sick. You can’t eat salads when your throat is so swollen that the lettuce scratches and makes you choke. I reached for comfort foods….lots of nice, soft, cheesy pastas…ice cream….thick, creamy soups….. It could have been a lot worse…..the “damage” by the time I was at home….a gain of 2.8 lbs in 3 weeks of eating out.

Another change… more travels planned. My husband’s job would be bringing him home to me for 2 weeks at a time every 2 weeks. For the previous 8 years, I had been traveling to where ever he was working in the province every two weeks. Staying home all the time has been a big change for me – it took some getting used to.

Then Danny moved to town. Another change. Now, I am alone when Jim is at work. No big deal, I have wheels and people to visit if I’m ever lonely….but another change which I have documented here.

Now, we have another change coming…..don’t know yet what it will look like, (see yesterday’s post) but it will be a change, most likely.

I could have lost more weight over the past year and I certainly have not conquered the E word, which would make a huge difference, I am sure. But, all in all, I am actually quite proud of myself….in spite of 3 major road trips, an overseas trip (first time), a month of running around (literally), and 4 major ‘shifts’ in my life, I have managed to make some pretty big changes in my way of thinking about food, the foods I reach for, the way I prepare my food, how I deal with cravings, and most importantly….the way I think of myself.

There is an ad for a weight loss center here in Alberta …. The ‘catch phrase’ is this:

“It’s not what you lose, it’s what you gain”.

How true.


Loving My Creator said...

Honey, once again you have done a splendid job of recapping our journeys. I truly pray that you and I can once again, go on a month long trip together. Maybe across Canada this time.

~TMcGee~ said...

Karyn, I am astounded that you lost that much with all of that going on. You, my dear lady, are an inspiration to me and so many others. I love not only reading posts about your weight loss victories but about your love for your family. Gosh, it just brings a smile to my face the way you all are so close.

God bless you and yours especially in this new journey that you will be embarking on soon.

Pamela said...

Oh my gosh, you have been through so much! You are such an amazing inspiration!!

Hide those cookies said...

What a year! You're proof that it's possible to lose weight no matter how crazy life is.

Good point about how difficult it is to change the habits of a lifetime!

Glad to have you on the web to inspire me daily! Good luck on the next year!

bbubblyb said...

Yes, what a year you've had. I think you've done wonderful with all that's been going on.

Cmay said...

No excuses. I'll remember this story the next time an upheavel in my life provides me with a chance to "excuse" my eating habits for a while.

Way to go!

Lyn said...

Your really should be proud, Karyn. With all that chaos you still lost weight. You're doing fantastic, truly. And you have taken the time to leave me such nice and supportive comments on my blog. I really appreciate your friendship. Thank you so much.

I hope things work out for your husband and his job. The whole Visa thing makes no sense. Seems very unfair. I'll keep you guys in my prayers.