Winds of Change (4)

I was dating a man who got me interested in bicycling. We had great bike rides alone and with groups. Day trips and weekends with friends. What fun. I truly enjoyed that I could bicycle without complaining or being tired from the exhaustion of carrying extra weight around. Dragging an additional 169 pounds anywhere on a bike would not be fun, I’m positive of that. We averaged anywhere from 25 to 40 miles a ride sometimes less and sometimes more, a lot more.

He happened to be diabetic so my eating style was very similar to his. I avoided carbs because of space in my stomach and he avoided them because of his blood sugar. It was perfect. I maintained my weight and he lost weight. I didn’t have the challenge of providing snacks or meals that were bad for me. After all self control is a thing and I sure wasn’t very good at avoiding things that I shouldn’t eat. I always had dumping syndrome from the quick absorption of sugars and other things like MSG and preservatives.

One Sep 15, 2007 we went on a dinner date. I’ll never forget how nervous and antsy he appeared. As we chatted the usual conversation of our day. He asked me to marry him. Yes, just like that… nothing romantic.  Of course I was excited by the proposal but I also had more than myself to consider. We talked about my children and how chances of me always caring for them is probable and it is likely they would live with me long term. He understood and accepted. I in return replied, Yes! I’ll marry you. He retrieved from his pocket a little purple ring that he got out of one of those $0.25 machines. As I sat and stared at it in confusion, he said I want you to help me choose a suitable ring. We went that evening and chose the most beautiful ring in the store. We actually set a wedding date but we took our children to Vegas and eloped a week later. He wanted us to live together but didn’t want to give the kids the wrong impression about living together unmarried.

Over the next several years we continued bicycling several days a week and eating healthy. I stayed on track with my goal of not being a statistic of failed weight loss surgery. I was very focused. I took a second job in 2009 with the failing economy. I needed to supplement my income. I started having headaches that lasted for 3 or 4 days at time. I noticed the colder weather seemed to make my neck hurt. Turns out my neck was causing the headaches. I had severe skeletal issues mainly in my neck but also in my hips.  I was advised to discontinue all exercise. I had large bone spurs that nearly connected my vertebrae together to a fused state. I was lucky I hadn’t fallen off my bike. It was likely I would have injured myself into a wheelchair. I had Chiropractic care 2 or 3 times a week for approximately 14 months. I had put on weight from my sedentary lifestyle maybe about 30 pounds. I was sad and frustrated that I couldn’t do anything about it. I also felt a disconnect from my husband who was riding without me. It was something we always did together and I enjoyed the time we spent.

I finally got permission to “start slow.”  I did. We went on an 8 mile ride. I’ll never forget that day. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. Boy, my butt did not remember how that seat felt. I went on several short rides and never really felt like a I fit in with the new members in the group. I felt like I was the new rider and people didn’t even communicate with me. Strange and uncomfortable. I decided to join a regular gym to get some exercise. But as it turned out I didn’t know what to do.

I started noticing on social media the advertising and promoting of a 20 pound weight loss challenge. I signed up and went to an orientation and learned that it was group classes and you get instruction from the trainers. I joined on the spot June 1, 2014. Got the meal plan and struggled with the modified diet. It is physically impossible for me to consume the amount of food that they wanted me to consume. Plus, drink a gallon of water a day. I was constantly full and miserable. I spoke to them about my diet issue and restrictions and they really were not helpful. Also, not knowledgeable with my procedure. Learning that, I changed my food intake to suit what I know works for me and carried on with the workouts. I enjoyed them. They were hard but fun. But then my knees started hurting. First just one and then both of them. I could barely walk. I took a weekend off. By Monday I was still in horrible pain and went to the Dr.  Those bone spurs pop up everywhere. Both kneecaps have spurs that were rubbing on the ligaments causing pain. Again, I was advised to discontinue exercise until they felt better and then to use knee braces. I was able to get a medical release and freeze my challenge at the gym.  I did some research online about sugar. I started eliminating it…ALL OF IT! Including fruits and some vegetables that have sugars.  I was depressed and desperate. I needed a solution to these pounds that were sneaking back on. All I can ever think about is failing. I didn’t want to hear or see the “I told you so’s.”

After about six weeks, I started back slowly and was able to keep the inflammation down. I also avoided the lower body day workouts. Which probably helped. I had completely removed sugar from my diet and I felt amazing. I was no longer sluggish, my complexion was bright, I didn’t have cravings and I was down several pounds. I felt proud of myself for pushing through yet again.

I started noticing changes in my husband. He was unhappy. He was avoiding me. We had little communication and it made me sad that no matter what I did or said to him he didn’t change his actions or behaviors. I made excuses for him. We stopped doing things together. I retired from my manicurist position because I was burned out. It had become uncomfortable to be at home. But, if I went anywhere I was subjected to accusations. I needed to entertain myself in his presence. Difficult task but I kept busy. I started prepping many meals all in one day. I learned how to organize my kitchen and make it work for me. I learned the grocery store and how to avoid the things I don’t need by organizing my shopping list. I got to be a pro and getting in and out of the grocery store with ease.

I was sharing my meals on social media and would get lots of comments and kudos. People started asking if I would help them. So, I started selling meals then doing grocery store tours. More and more people were asking for advice from me. I helped tweak eating habits and find solutions for people to figure out what works for them and what does not. I was feeling so good about people noticing my changes and wanted my help. But, I was exhausted mentally and physically. My life felt like it was in a downward spiral. I discovered my husband was seeing someone. It was pretty obvious once I realized it was happening. It had been for awhile. I kept asking and he kept denying. I told him I was leaving and he wouldn’t let me. Fact was, I had already lost interest. I was being ignored and I didn’t see much hope in a change. I went to counseling. I shared all the details. I was advised to leave but chose to stay.

I continued meal prepping for us and others. I worked long hours to avoid being at home. I went to the gym at 4 or 5 am most days. My weight had returned back to its “great” weight. My body was never so defined. I was feeling good about myself physically. I was being complimented and it felt good. I continued to try to get my husbands attention but I was not successful.

The day he told me he was leaving, I was so surprised. I was more angry at myself for staying the last few years than hurt that he was leaving. I know now that the relationship was toxic from the beginning. He was a narcissist and I was convinced that I was the one in the wrong all the time. That’s why I stayed. Over a period of time I felt lonely and abandoned. I also felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. But, I was sad. Incomplete. It’s possible that my job was partly the cause of those feelings. I was laid off a few months later. That was definitely an ego blow. I had never been released of my responsibilities before and it was extremely painful. I spent hours crying and days in bed depressed. Friends trying to make me happy. I didn’t want to do anything. I knew though that I needed to be at the gym. I know that I feel better when I put in that work. I made it a point to go.

A few weeks into my unemployment my divorce became final.  I was asked if I would be interested in a few days away. I reply with “Of course I would except I’m in no position financially to go anywhere currently.” This person insisted that I would only be responsible for food and gas in the rental car. The travel, room and rental would be covered completely. It was definitely awkward to accept but I’m told the meditation and soul searching would do me good. I knew I was flying but I didn’t know the destination. I eventually learned it was Hawaii. I was nervous about going alone but excited to be alone.  The days before my flight I started receiving emails with my travel itinerary, my condo information and my rental car reservation. I was on my way to Kauai. I learned so much about myself while I was there. What I want in my life. How I have settled all these years. I don’t give myself enough credit for what I am capable of and certainly not what I have done.  I’m planning to celebrate and take myself there again. I absolutely loved being with me and getting reacquainted.