Today marks my 2-month balloon anniversary (the 1/3 mark for removal). This has been one of the best things I have done for my own health, not because the balloon has actually done the work, but because it has forced me to be introspective and make changes I should have made years ago. I am halfway to my weight loss goal and only about 10 lbs. away from being at a “normal” BMI range, not something that means much to me generally, but it is the metric used for purposes of the balloon eligibility so I’ll use it as one more way to measure my progress as well.
Although I have a long way to go (about 18 more lbs.) I do feel successful already. I truly believe that much of this can be attributed to the people I surround myself with on a daily basis. It is certainly helpful to live with the doctor that did the procedure on me, but that really is more because it has changed his perspective as my husband. I think this process has given him, a person who has never really struggled with weight loss, a literal insider’s view on the process! He is invested in my success in a way that he has never been before, essentially my success or failure impacts his reputation and so he is doing everything he can to help me. This includes changing many of his habits that have weakened my resolve in the past like the daily after dinner dessert, or the cravings for cheesesteak or burgers that can pop up at any time. Obviously I have some responsibility here, I could always say no, but having a husband who will never acknowledge you are fat combined with one who loves eating all the same things you do makes life happy but not always the healthiest! He has really embraced my decision to make a change and we are actually enjoying many parts of it. If you have a partner on board, it certainly will make it easier than one who actively opposes your efforts, but it is not your only place to seek support.
Our entire office has gotten on the health bandwagon and we are in it together along with our ORBERA patients (and really any of our patients who want our help). It is so nice to go in to work and have everyone trying to keep up their water intake, pick the healthiest option for our lunches, and sharing ideas. I am fortunate enough to have our medical assistant, Mildred, doing this with me. We encourage each other, make suggestions for snacks, and do our fair share of complaining about everything from missing certain foods to aches and pains from exercise. We try to not do it too loudly in front of Dr. Din :)
I can’t undervalue the professional help I’ve gotten through our ORBERA team and Isagenix. The nutritionist has been so helpful in helping me figure out how to make this my life in a way that I enjoy versus a temporary solution. Our personal trainer Melvin is instrumental in getting our patients on the path to sustainable fitness. He is definitely tough love, but I reluctantly admit he was right about working out first thing in the morning! What a difference it has made. Isagenix is the brand I choose for nutritional supplementation, but as much as I like the products what I really like are the coaches who have so many ideas on how to use the products as well as the real support they provide clients in setting and reaching goals.
I have assembled the most beautiful group of girlfriends (inside and out) through the years. Almost every one of my closest friends is in fantastic shape and looks great. What has kept them my closest friends through the years is that for each and every one of them it is the least important thing about them and not one of them has EVER made me feel like I was somehow less because I had weight to lose. I actually blame some of them for keeping me fat by always complimenting me :) Not that it would have mattered, because as my friend Neelofar says, “weight loss is like religion, you don’t convince anyone to do it by talking about it.”
There are women out there who obsess about their own looks to the point that you can’t take it for one more minute and those who derive their value from weight and as a result they try and make you feel inferior when you aren’t meeting that mark, but for me, they don’t stay friends for long, mainly because it bores me to tears. I mention this because I think for women this is the most damaging kind of person to be around. It’s not helpful and it isn’t what will make you successful. They are also the easiest to replace. I did it years ago and have never looked back. The bonus of having healthy, supportive friends is that once you decide to get healthier these are the ladies (and gentlemen) who know how to do it. My friends are my best cheerleaders and role models as I decide what to eat, where to eat, how to begin exercising again, when to take it to the next level, and when to give myself a break. They have been my biggest cheerleaders and I have learned so much from them through the years. Obviously friends who are in a different place in their journey may not be the best to be around RIGHT NOW as you are trying to acclimate, mainly because of the temptation to overeat, drink too much, and blow off workouts, but as long as the friends you have are supporting you they are an invaluable resource (I had to say that because obviously I was that friend two months ago!)
My incredibly healthy daughters, who are far more athletic than I ever was especially at their age have been so supportive, except for the time I substituted half the cheese in their lasagna with spinach. Jenna has walked with me to get my steps in, passed up on things I know she wants to eat because she doesn’t want me to feel tempted, and says absurd things like if I get any smaller people won’t be scared of me anymore. Inshira FaceTimes me daily from college and listens to boring stories about new recipes, new workouts, and miniscule changes in weight and size, always supporting me and exclaiming, “you’re doing great Mama!” even if I’m not. It does help that they are a little older now and that I can motivate myself by thinking about repossessing clothes I’ve bought them when I get to my goal weight.
Last but certainly not least, is all of our patients, friends, and family who keep an eye on the blog and follow us on social media and ask me how the process is going when you see me. It keeps me honest in a way nothing else has. I’ve always heard that publishing your goals can be helpful in weight loss but never thought much of that idea. First of all, it seems like a set up for a much bigger failure than if you just fail alone, but also it’s kind of a self absorbed, boring topic that I could never imagine anyone cares about. This is all probably still true, but it has really been helpful for me. Whenever I think about quitting, I imagine explaining to all of you how I ended up gaining weight with ORBERA and it gets me back on track!
Surround yourself with likeminded people, know that we will be your in house team even if you have nobody else with you on this journey, and put yourself first because nobody else will.