A Weighty Issue: Looking forward to seeing a lot less of me

Sixty-plus days and counting since I’ve had my gastric bypass surgery. The time has been flying by rather quickly. With this in mind, as I stood one day in front of my bathroom mirror. I looked closely. My whole body was much thinner. It was surreal. So, I said, “I see myself, and then yet … do I?”

The answer is, “yes.” Although my features have been transformed, I’m still “Casi.” I still have the same feelings, thoughts, spirituality, likes and dislikes. However, a tiny part of me grieves for yesteryear.

After all, my excess weight took many years to put on, then remained stagnant, then yo-yo dieting, and then finally the toll it took on my bones, joints, emotions and general health. Let’s be real, my weight has caused much damage over the years and eventually surgical intervention came to be.

So, why do I say I grieve? Freedom of comforting myself via food. My personal feeling of being hopeless and helpless was actually a feeling of that comfort. Yes! Bring on those hot delicious pasta dishes with gooey cheese. Bring on those candy bars and potato chips. Well now; post surgery, I can’t do that anymore. I have to figure out some sort of comforting aspect to take the place of good. For instance, I like to quilt, make jewelry, play cards, write poetry, and journal. That’s the key. Find something you like to do and use it as your new outlet instead of comfort food.

So, as my grief discontinues; hope and better health is on the horizon. So it has. I went to the doctor for a check-up – blood pressure medication – DISCONTINUED! Cholesterol medication – DISCONTINUED! Lymph-edema in my legs – GONE!

My problem areas are still feeling nauseated at time and sometimes up-chucking. Although, I have figured out why … which is I gulp my food and yet I always have.

I HAVE to concentrate more of taking smaller bites, chewing more slowly and pulverize the food in my mouth. Also, another concern is to get in all my supplements, protein and hydration in any given day.

Believe me, I’m working on it and every day is an improvement. So is my weight and how my clothes fit. My pants are much baggier – in fact, I look like I’m wearing “parachute pants.” These were popularized by an eighties musical artist, “M.C. Hammer,” who sang “U Can’t Touch This.” So, when I look at a candy bar … I simply say, “U can’t touch this!”

Recently, I was referred to physical/occupational therapy. At first I thought, “What for??????” Then, as I began the program with my occupational therapist, Susan, and began to learn new techniques to get optimal exercise. Some things didn’t pan out – like lunges … killed my bad knee. My favorite thing was the Wii program. I played “bowling” – LOVED IT! I still had to work at it; like keep my back straight as I “threw” the ball. Probably the most helpful thing that I did was to participate in “balance” games on the Wii. I do not have good balance – in fact, I’m a horrible klutz and half the time it looks like I’m drunk (but I’m not – except when I was 21) when I walk. The games involving balance were valuable and helped me a lot. We used the treadmill, too. Yes, you are clever – Susan – you kept me chatting and I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes and didn’t even realize it.

Well, I was discharged early from the program – which was a complement to me, at least. I began to go back to the YMCA to the fitness center. The hard part was to motivate myself to get there. Upon descending the stairs to the fitness area, I became excited and looked forward to my routine. It consisted of a warm-up on the treadmill for five minutes with a one-minute cool-down. Then I headed for the weight machines and did two sets of 12 for each machine. Some machines were easier for me than the others and the weight I lifted reflected that – on one machine; I lifted 65 pounds. Afterwards, I meandered back to the treadmill for 20 minutes at an incline and a pretty reasonable speed – does tortoise count? No, really, I walked at 2.1 speed. I was interrupted as a whole bunch of cute guys walked in. My head whipped around and looked and I hurt my neck. Nevertheless, I was super proud of myself for my achievement after sooo long of not being at the YMCA. My plan for exercising is three days a week; so my feet and back can rest between intervals.

Although I haven’t officially weighed myself recently at Dr. Gupta’s office, I did weigh myself at the YMCA with a weight of 251 pounds. I’m super excited and I look forward to fixing those bumps in the road and get that behind me so my sister can take me to Florida for my fast approaching weight goal. Ha! Ha! That may be true; however, I really do want this experience to be successful (and go to Florida).

Be well and healthy my friends. Until next time …

Casi Stewart can be reached at casichilstew@yahoo.com. A Weighty Issue appears every other Monday on the Life page.