Linda C – 120 lbs. Weight Loss
Where do I begin? Such a daunting, or rather, rhetorical question when it comes to weight loss. We all think we know what to do in order to lose weight. Eat less, Exercise more, Repeat. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Possible? Capable? Doable? Manageable? Achievable? If it really worked that way, then there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic.
Maybe it isn’t the food that you’re eating, but rather the means of your eating. Maybe it comes down to will power. Will you have the power to cease the refuge you seek from food? Comfort, Contentment, Companionship, Consistency, Calmness, Control. Will you have the power to tame the conditions that foods deem? Cravings, Urges, Impulses, Solace, Dependency, Addiction. Will you have the power to acknowledge that food provides much more than just nutrients? Avoidance, Distraction, Unfeeling, Intoxication, Resilience, Diversion. Will you have the power to accept that food has consumed your every thought and resulted in your lack of… Self-control, Self-restraint, Self-discipline, Self-possession, Self-respect.
If I had to answer those questions 8 months ago, I would have faltered. I also would have stayed 120 pounds heavier.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression… ‘There will be days like this.’ For me, ‘those days’ all collaborated into a year; 2017. It was a year that would test me physically and mentally. I’d be scrutinized by my strength, vulnerability, endurance, tolerance, sustainability, will, faith, and purpose.
The year began on the cusps of my Mom’s discharge from ICU. She was able to recover from her distressed lungs and her compromised immune system. A feat her three sons couldn’t do at the ages of 2, 9, and 19. We had a follow up appointment scheduled for late morning, giving me plenty of time to feed my sister’s horses down the road. The weather was demanding. Blowing winds and snow, limited visibility, and temperatures hovering around 25 degrees. As I walked out of the barn, still in revelation that my mom conquered another health scare, my feet hit the frozen driveway. The next 3 hours were excruciating. My femur had twisted with such force that it split like a tree branch. With my leg distorted, my body crumbled, and my airway restricted by my excess weight, the ‘bargaining’ began. “If the pain stops, I promise to lose weight. If my lungs can get air, I promise to lose weight. If someone finds me, I promise to lose weight.” I was found 3 hours later, covered in 4 inches of snow and nearly frozen.
The first sentence in my medical chart described me upon arrival as very obese and frozen to the touch. It was also noted that due to my obesity, surgery and recovery will be very difficult. And it was. I came home nearly 6 weeks later and 23 pounds lighter. But it didn’t last.
The next five months found me out of work, in physical therapy, using a walker and eventually a cane. Instead of celebrating my last day of PT, I was admitting my Mom into the hospital. The next 5 days were turbulent. I stayed with her until her last breath on July 4th.
Together we had shopped, prepared, cooked, shared, indulged, confided, related and struggled with food and weight. We will start tomorrow we’d pledge. Our intentions were good, but the 2 for 1 buffet coupons were better. But not anymore, now it’s just one.
I lost my best friend, my confidant, my security, my identity, my other half, my everything. Who was going to be my pillar of strength? my source of solace? my comfort?
Food was preferential. It became my medicine. It voided my feelings, quieted my rage, soothed my anger, relaxed my mood and suppressed my secret. It also induced weight gain.
In the fall I started back to work with a new gait, a lot more weight and without my mom. A month later I bent over to pick up my cat, and snapped my ankle. A week later my cat died. She had been my savior. I spent the next four months in a cast, riding a knee scooter, and using crutches. I also incurred another forty pounds. On March 1st my cast came off, and I was weighed. 255 pounds. What have I done? Why did I let this happen? Why can’t I stop? How do I stop?
Mom, please help me.
My epiphany began one evening last May. It was a typical
night. I came home from work, put on my pajamas, turned the television on, and sunk into the couch. I also had my ‘Fix’ of various food bags. But this time as I mindlessly stuffed mouthful after mouthful, instantaneously consumed bag after bag, the feelings of brokenness and despair magnified instead of dissipated. I felt completely overwhelmed and out of control, as if I had hit rock bottom. Hopelessness set in. Followed by Desolation, Despair and Darkness. And then I heard her. This complete stranger talking directly to me from the television set. Who was she? How did she know? Who sent her? Why to me? A stillness came over me. I sat up, brushed off the crumbs, gained my composure and directed my complete attention. After all, she was taking her time to speak to me, reach out to me, and to help me right here in my living room! I felt an instant connection. She was authentic, genuine, factual, the ‘real thing’, and everything she was saying made sense! Eager to find out who this person was, her name was posted! Dr. Wendy Scinta, founder of Medical Weight Loss of New York! She was on an episode from the ‘Cycle of Health’. I immediately wrote her name and number down, called the next day, and had a consult the following week.
After Dr. Scinta entered the room my anticipation, my anxiety, and my embarrassment quickly diminished with her compassion, her assurance, and her sense of humor!!
I knew I was where I was meant to be. I could literally feel the affirmation. And then she asked me four words ….
“So, what’s your story?”…. I never could have envisioned how profound those four words would be. No one has ever asked me that question. I thought she’d ask me all about food, after all, that’s why I’m obese, isn’t it? Well, it turns out everyone has a story whether we realize it or not. Maybe we have erased it, suppressed it, or justified it with food. Maybe food has chosen us the same way alcohol, drugs, or gambling has chosen others. This dysfunction with food may have begun as our shield, our protector, our confidant, but eventually will end as our breakdown, our enemy, our betrayal.
My epiphany that May evening was direct. Dr. Scinta was clearly my ‘Divine Intervention’. She sought me out, extended the flag, and patiently waited for me to acknowledge, accept, and surrender. It would be deceptive, misleading, and unjust of me if I said it was all smooth sailing from there. I mourned, grieved, and longed for my known ‘Fix.’ One of my biggest challenges was releasing and dealing with the feelings that the layers protected. I had an extensive fear of being unfixable, unavailing, and unsuccessful. I feared the end result would be wasted time for Dr. Scinta and her team. However, the various modalities, or puzzle pieces, tailored specifically for your individual needs helped immensely. It is obvious that everyone in her office is working together for your success.
I stayed on the Full Plan for almost 6 months and lost nearly 100 pounds. Transitioning to the Partial Plan and then to Maintenance has been incredibly overwhelming. Although I’ve lost another 20 pounds, I am so afraid of sabotaging my success, compromising my courage, or facing my failure.
I worry that I won’t stop eating. I worry that I won’t know what to eat. I worry that I won’t know how to eat. I voice my fears to Dr. Scinta, to Martha, to group. And I listen. And I’m reminded of the tools, the hard work, the support, and the success that has occurred in the past 8 months. I remain humble, yet cautious. Proud, yet mindful. Focused, yet aware.
I honestly believe that without the magnitude of expertise, support, assurance, compassion, loyalty, assistance, devotion, determination, or patience, oh the endless patience from Dr. Scinta, Martha, and her team, I would not have been able to do this journey on my own. You never wavered. You never gave up on me. You never doubted me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to me, believing in me, helping me, and inspiring me. You have restored my dignity, my power, and my purpose. You truly have a gift.
I will be forever grateful to you. Big hugs to you all.
I can say with complete confidence and assurance that the care, the treatment, the knowledge, the science, and the support of Medical Weight Loss of New York will be a worthwhile, productive, successful, gratifying, informative, beneficial, and rewarding experience. Hey, if I can do it, you can to! Just breathe, believe, and begin by answering the following question.
So, what’s your story?