Self Journey

Day One

December 26, 2019

I have had so many day one’s in the last several years. I have had day one of my realization that my marriage was not as happy as I thought it was. Day one of seeing that my mother-in-law was to blame for the majority of my marriage problems and understanding that my husband was not willing to meet me half-way in fixing our marriage. I had a tearful day one of realizing that it was time to move forward with starting the process of ending my marriage and eventually a day one of my new life post-divorce. This inevitably led to day one of my new life in a new town as a single mother after 18 years of marriage. It was exciting and scary all at the same time. I remember standing alone in my new home and crying after signing the mortgage papers. I should have been proud, but I was sad because I wanted someone to celebrate with and I was alone.

I took a step for the future of my children on day one as I set off to earn a master’s degree because I knew I would not be able to provide for my family on a nurse’s salary alone. Day one of a new career path away from the bedside. Day one for multiple attempts at diet and weight loss just to see my weight continue to climb and my fitness level decline in sync. Day one for too many new relationships most of which were mistakes and poor judgements, all of which have become learning experiences and not the heart ache that I thought they originally were. Day one of understanding that my stress is creating a vicious cycle of weight gain, physical pain and depression.

Day one of deciding to face a fear of travelling alone with my kids. What if something happened? What if we break down? Or what if everything just goes well and we have fun? Nothing bad happened! We had an amazing adventure and had so much fun. The kids were happy, they bonded more, created positive experiences and loved every minute. During that trip, I experienced day one of realizing that I can do this on my own. A companion in life is not something I needed; it was something that I wanted. Realizing the difference was life changing. Day one of realizing that I am stronger and smarter than I give myself credit for. Day one of seeing that I have a full life with a supportive family.

Then day one of taking a chance on love. Day one of blindly trusting, listening to my gut instinct and following my heart. Day one to trusting and enjoying new experiences. Day one to opening my heart to an incredible man and to trust him to keep me safe while traveling to a foreign country. Day one of my eyes being opened to life outside my sheltered world and making friends in countries far from home. Day one to realizing that happiness is real.

Today is another day one. It is the day that I take my body back. Here is the truth of my life in the last year. I knew I was overweight, but I also knew that I am in my forties and sometimes these things happen. I have so many excuses. Medications, stress, busy lifestyle, work-life balance, no time to cook, no time to exercise, and so many others. At first, I didn’t mind my curves. I have been a very thin and athletic body type for most of my life. I was a runner and a biker, and I enjoyed physical activity.

Somewhere around the time I started Nursing school is when things started to change. I became sedentary due to the research and paper writing and studying that I needed to do. I didn’t have time for the outside activities that I loved. I was pulling all-nighters to get the papers written and prepare for tests and trying to survive all the clinicals. I was eating fast food and junk food as I studied. I was exhausted, stressed and trying to be a good mom to my four young children, trying to coordinate who will drive them to and from school and watch my 2-year old while I was in class. It really isn’t very shocking that I started having IBS and weight gain during this time.

This worsened as I graduated, and my husband was laid off from work. I needed to find a job quick, so we didn’t lose everything, and that job came in the form of a 1-hour commute to the city for a night shift job as a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It was stressful, it was exhausting, and I realized just how much I still needed to learn. I suffered workplace bullying by veteran nurses and struggled with the commute home every morning. I loved it and hated it all at the same time. Our marriage suffered additional declines as my mother-in-law criticized my choice of employment and how stressed out her son was for being out of work. Apparently, my stress level wasn’t important.

Today, I am 100 pounds over where I was when all of this started. I was a little soft and curvy then and now my doctor tells me that I am obese. Ouch. I didn’t feel it until about 6 months ago when I had my health scare, landing me in the ED twice in a month. I thought I was having a heart attack, which turned out to be a panic/anxiety attack. It was a wake-up call and I wanted to do better. The weight kept coming on though. I am a busy lady. I have a stressful job with a long commute and am terrible about making a lunch before I walk out the door in the morning which leads to a fast food lunch. I get home around 6-6:30 in the evening when the kids are already hungry and asking what is for dinner as I walk in the door. At that point, we need to get something quick so fast food or carry-out it is. The vicious cycle continues. I have the best of intentions on the weekends, but my love and I tend to go out to dinner often, which is never good for a diet. We both agree that we need to cook at home more and then we get busy with things and out to dinner we go.

I went on a follow up appointment with my primary care doc and she was not happy with me as she looked at my vitals in comparison to my last visit 6 months ago. I had gained another 25 pounds. I cried out of embarrassment and frustration. I cried because I am in constant pain which is causing me to limp and wince every time I go from sitting to standing and then attempt to walk. Do I exercise? No, I can barely walk to the bathroom or from my car to the office. The pain is constant. The good news? She said that there is nothing actually wrong with me. All of my symptoms will reverse if I lose weight. I cried as I admitted to her that I needed help.

I was given labs to complete and a referral to a Bariatric weight loss center. I have not completed the labs yet, but I did make an appointment with the Bariatric center. Their earliest appointment is not for two months. I cannot wait two months to move forward with my life and to start feeling better. I need to take action on my own.

Today sparks the first day of my path to wellness. It is not a perfect day by any stretch. I did not exercise. I have been on the couch most of the day with my work laptop open in an effort to prepare myself for the day tomorrow. I had a donut with coffee for breakfast. A couple of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies with another cup of coffee for lunch. I am having macaroni and cheese for dinner. It seems like a fail, but it isn’t. I now know what I need to change, and I have a plan. I will make mistakes; I will stray from the plan, but I will succeed because my life and happiness depend on it. I need to be healthy so I can live my best life for my kids and my love but especially for me. I am useless to my family if I cannot physically be there for them, so this is my fight for my life. I will take it back and I will start the journey without the assistance of a bariatric center. I can do this. I am strong. I am driven. I am resilient. I will succeed. I am happy. Today is Day One of the new me.