Losing weight is one of the hardest journeys a person can go on. It’s easy for doctors to tell you to lose weight. They’re not the ones who have to cut down portions, change eating habits, find the motivation to exercise, and start a diet and keep to it. Many struggle with weight loss. They find it hard to keep to an exercise regiment, to keep to a diet, and to give up foods they love. Some lose a lot of weight then get off track and gain it back. A weight loss journey can be trying on a person emotionally, since it’s an emotional battle as well as a physical battle.
In 2020 I was so proud of myself. My doctor told me I needed to lose weight to have surgery to fix a broken bone in my back. My friend Denise and I began to walk. We even did a 14-mile walk. It nearly killed me, but I did it. I changed my diet. I began to make protein shakes to help with hunger, I started cutting down my portions, and I ate more fruits and vegetables. I lost over thirty pounds.
I was so proud of my accomplishment. I was able to have my surgery. I was pretty laid up after surgery and had some complications that made recovery take longer. In the meantime, I gained some of my weight back, but I was positive once my back healed, I would lose it again. After a year of healing, I was finally able to work out again with Denise. With screws in my back there were some limitations to my exercise routine, but Denise was good at finding ways around them.
Then in September 2021 I was diagnosed with osteoporosis caused by hormone therapy I was taking from breast cancer. My oncologist told me the osteoporosis was worst in my lumbar area and was the cause of the bone breaking in my back. I could no longer lift more than 10 lbs. I couldn’t do the rigorous exercises I had done with Denise. The oncologist told me to do weight-bearing exercises, walk, and to be careful not to fall.
I continued to walk to work, but I lost my drive to lose weight. Instead, I allowed my mind to take over. I magnified my situation. I began to fear breaking a bone. I even began daydreaming of situations where I would fall and break my back. I no longer felt strong. Instead, I felt like a porcelain doll who could break if I wasn’t taken care of properly. I went from working full size register to working express. My self-esteem plummeted and I fell off my weight loss journey.
What if I trip down the stairs in my home in the morning and break my back? Would I lie in pain for hours until my husband got out of work and found me? What if while walking to work I trip and land on my back, breaking it? Would someone stop to help me? Would I be able to reach into my pocket to get my phone and call 911? What if I slip at work and break my back and must be taken out in an ambulance? What if I must have a second surgery, but this time I have to learn to walk again? I became convinced that I was going to end up breaking my back again and it was just a matter of where and when.
I was using the fortune teller error type of cognitive distortions. I was convinced that things were going to turn out bad and I believed it was going to be true. I believed I would fall and end up having another back surgery. I felt helpless. I also magnified the seriousness of my illness. Osteoporosis is serious but not as bad as I made it out to be in my mind. I saw it as a end to my weight loss journey. How could I work out if I could break something?
As I struggled with my emotions, I fell off my diet and have gained almost all my weight back. I keep saying tomorrow I’ll go back to my diet, but tomorrow comes and I find myself snacking on foods I shouldn’t. I stopped exercising except walking to work when the weather is nice.
This Christmas my husband got a bonus from work. We agreed to purchase an exercise bike. I have been working on cleaning out a space in our living room so we can put it together. My friend Cheryl has one and we agreed to do virtual workouts on the bike. I can’t do the exercises I did before, but I can still work out. I need to lose this weight to protect my back. I’m working on rekindling that determination that helped me lose weight for surgery. I’m also fighting those cognitive distortions and my fears by journaling out my feelings and talking to my support team. When I start daydreaming of possible ways I could get hurt, I tell myself to stop and then I try to focus on something positive.
If you fell off your weight loss journey, don’t give up. Dig deep down inside you and find your strength to get back on that journey. If you’re struggling with your thoughts and emotions then use coping techniques to get through them and get back in the “I will lose weight” frame of mind. You can lose weight and keep it off. I know you can do it.
I’m determined to use my exercise bike each day once we put it together. I’m going to work harder at my diet, and I will combat my fears and negative thoughts. I will lose weight in 2022. My determination will help me stand in the light of 2022 as a skinnier and healthier woman.