Kelly the Culinarian: Motivational Monday: Lea Anne's Weight Loss Story, Part 2

Monday, May 6, 2013

Motivational Monday: Lea Anne's Weight Loss Story, Part 2

Good morning, readers! Hope you're having an awesome Monday. For a Monday, and all. If you missed part 1 of Lea Anne's weight loss story, you might want to start there. I used to work with Lea Anne and have watched her change her body and her life with the assistance of weight loss surgery (WLS). But make no mistake: Lea Anne's journey has been difficult, painful and wrought with sacrifice. She's agreed to share her super-inspiring story, and I hope you'll join me in congratulating her on how far she's come.

March 2013
I spent the next few weeks mentally preparing myself for death and dealing with this feeling of fear. Was I afraid to die or afraid to leave the people I love most grieving and stuck dealing with my finances? I didn’t want my fiancĂ© or mom to have this burden so I did my best to get my affairs in order. I changed the beneficiaries on my life insurance policies, collected all my bills, statements and such and left detailed instructions of how they could access my accounts. Three days before surgery, I wrote letters to them. They were typical “goodbye” and “I love you” sentiments and I felt selfish for leaving these for them to find in the event that something bad happened, but I needed to write them. I needed that clear conscience.
November 2012
Amidst making peace with myself and getting emotionally prepared, I had to begin a liquid diet of water and protein shakes one week before surgery. In the weeks leading up to that last meal, I ate as though every meal was my last. I ate whatever I wanted and however much I wanted. It was like I was saying farewell to all of my favorite foods. This was the last time I’d be able to eat whatever I wanted for a very long time so I was going to do it my way. And, when I had my last hurrah, I said good bye to food for seven weeks. On day 1 of the shakes, I weighed myself for my starting number: 340. On the morning of my surgery, I weighed 322, so I’d successfully lost 18 pounds in one week. It was amazing.
During my recovery, I lost weight very quickly because for the first two weeks, I was on clear liquids. Chicken broth, tea, water and sugar free popsicles. After this first stage, I graduated to protein shakes and lived on those for the next four weeks. By week three of the shakes (five weeks after surgery), I was sick of them. I cried every day because I was hungry but wanted food and not the damn shakes. I was an emotional mess. I hated myself for letting food take over my life and becoming so overweight. I hated that my fiancé could eat real food and the smell of it just made me cry harder. The poor guy ate out or with friends almost every night to spare me the misery and probably to get away from my pity parties.
Sept. 2012
Almost 3 months after surgery, I could begin to eat real food again and I was seeing real results. I lost 89 pounds in 3 months, 102 by 4 months, 118 by 5 months and 127 by 6 months. I set small goals for myself throughout the weight loss and continue to do it today. I have lost 164 pounds in one year and although I’m still losing, it’s very slow and I have to work hard to not only lose but maintain the weight I’ve lost. My goal is to lose 171 pounds because I will have lost more than half of my body weight from the time I started at 340. After I meet this goal, I’ll probably set another one.
For the first few months, I couldn’t say that this process was worth it. The painful days after surgery and the struggle to live without eating were still new. It took about 6 months before I could honestly say yes when asked if I would do it all again. The advice that I give people considering surgery is to remember that you know yourself better than anyone. Thank family and friends for their opinions and ask for their support even if they don’t agree with your decision to have WLS. You need to put a lot of trust in your instincts and feelings because they will help you make good decisions both before and after surgery. Educate yourself about the different procedures and get to know your surgeon and his staff. You are putting your well-being in their hands so they owe it to you to make you feel comfortable with your decision. Above all, be patient with yourself.
Today, I’m at a point where I can eat almost anything I want without my body rejecting it. This is so hard because I have to force myself to say no. Food truly is much more than nourishment. It can be the center of celebrations, losses and everyday life. I know now that even after all I’ve gone through, food will always be a challenge for me. Choosing to eat to live rather than living to eat will always be my albatross. But, after a year, I’m finally healthy and I feel good. I’m able to do things I never would have imagined. I will continue this journey for my physical health and because it’s given me empowering strength.

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