Weight Loss Journey – Beck’s Progress
I wrote Part 1 of the Sloth Comeback in August of 2020. We posted it this morning, but dated it for when I wrote it.
And what happened? Was this my “Genesis Project” as I had titled it in my notebook?
No. No it was far from that. It was a tiny step out of depression but it wasn’t the movement that I thought it would be.
In fact, I slipped down further. No real reason for it.
I had started a job that I actually liked and paid me much more decently than I have had in years. It had benefits that I qualified for after a year of work.
I just wasn’t there. Personal issues with my child happened in November and December of 2020. Heart breaking and soul crushing issues that are not my story to tell but devastated me none the less.
I started smoking again. A huge let down to myself, but I did it to myself. And I found myself constantly binge eating.
I know now that these self-destructive habits were failed attempts at coping mechanisms. But you can’t go into the past and slap yourself to wake up and deal with the muck your laying in.
As for me, I don’t even think that I was there for a few months. I just couldn’t seem to make myself feel anything. Nope, not happy nor sad, I could only feel anger and nothing. And so it went throughout 2019 and 2020.
I was in a state of nothing.
January 2021, I should have felt optimistic about the new year.
A vaccine was being created and might be available soon.
But I wasn’t.
On the 10th of January, the unthinkable happened. As I sat outside holding the stray cat that claimed me as hers. A cat that I allowed into my home and loved like a baby was snatched from my hands by two dogs.
Before I knew it, and much before I could fight them off of her, she went limp being pulled in between their dangerously powerful jaws. I went a little nuts.
I ran at these beastly dogs, beat them with my fists, my feet, anything and everything that I could get my hands on. Every ounce of anger I felt about her loss unleashed on them with every ounce of strength I had. Nothing made them let her go. And then they started to chew. I panicked. They were going to eat her!
I grabbed the water hose and sprayed it directly in their horrible vicious faces. They dropped her. All I could do was scoop up her limp and bloody body and at least rescue it from being consumed by the vile creatures.
Until you see a beloved animal snatched from your hands, hands that are supposed to protect and care for them and then watch them die in fear and pain clutched tightly between two locked jaws of two beasts, to watch her be pulled at so viciously and chewed on… you can’t know the pain or loss. That day and that event will live in my mind and will for the rest of my life.
I hate those dogs. I wish them dead. Every single time I see them still in the neighborhood because animal control thought my baby was worth no more than a $500 fine, I feel angry. Knowing that they have killed other cats in my neighborhood and still they are allowed to be here and present a danger. I feel angry.
I Feel Though
I feel guilt. I feel shame. I feel at total fault that her little life was taken. I failed her. I did not protect her. I feel rage. I have never hated an animal before in my life. I hate these beasts. To me they are no better than the hell hounds of legends.
My anger fueled action. I had a fence put up to close in my back yard. I have two small dogs and another very indoor kitten (at the time) to protect. I stopped leash training my kitten. I took as much action as I could to protect my living fur babies. And throughout the trauma, I felt things.
Not positive emotions, but I felt. I loved my Princess Isabella so much, but through her loss I began to feel. I would trade my feelings for her life in a second if I could. There is no doubt in my mind, but I did start to feel. Her ashes are here with me, safe inside where I wish I could have gotten her to live. But I failed at protecting her. And I felt absolute guilt that her loss started me to feel things again.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
I probably should have gone to therapy at this point, but I can’t really afford it.
Instead, I started looking into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I got a book explaining it, and a workbook to use and I set to work on myself.
I learned a technique called mindful eating. In short what it means is to only eat when you are actually hungry. To pay attention to your body and your moods. To actively be in control of your brain. Don’t eat when you are bored. Don’t eat when you are sad. For the love of all things good in the world DO NOT BINGE EAT.
And that’s what I did, I started working through my grief and pain and started being mindful of myself. I lost weight. I wasn’t sure how much weight but I did loose weight.
I finally got on a scale in March of 2021. I was down to 203 pounds. I didn’t diet. I just didn’t eat to “fix it”. That sounds so much easier than it actually is, but that’s what I did.
Then came the real spark in the ashes that has been my life for the past two years, the Phoenix Egg in the ashes. I had the thought “If I can have that much loss through just being mindful, what would happen if I actually tried?” So I tried.
I knew that low carb was working before but I love pasta and fried chicken. And yo… I was raised on Taco Bell. How in the world could I cut that out of my diet again?
The thought of being gassy and disappointed in veggie spirals instead of actual pasta didn’t seem like the mindful thing to do. It didn’t seem like something that would bring me joy. It felt restrictive and annoying. I didn’t want that.
I just really didn’t want to do it. Yes, it worked for me. I got down to 190 doing it and I worked out like a beast. But I’m older now, and my want to work that hard was not tickling the Sloth’s fancy. I almost gave up on the idea.
That is when I started thinking about why low carb works. The answer is ketosis.
How does one put their body into ketosis, safely without giving up the carbs? I started to research and talk to my primary care doctor about it. That’s when Intermittent fasting was brought up.
I did some research on it. If you are thinking about it, I would highly suggest you do the same. Especially talking to a doctor. And PLEASE remember that no diet is one size fits all. What I do might not be the right thing for you. You have to do the research and trial and error for yourself.
My doctor explained to me the dangers of intermittent fasting. The biggest one being that people over do fast. They don’t take in enough calories to keep the body working correctly.
I spoke to him about the minimum number of calories needed to be healthy. I spoke to him about my body’s vitamin deficits. I spent time talking to him about the safe ways to do this without falling into the binge and purge habits of my youth or the just straight up binging of my adult hood. We discussed possible medications, I ruled those out and took the vitamin and mineral suggestions.
Armed with all of this knowledge, I started it right away.
I do not eat before 1130 am and I do not eat after 6pm. I stay at a minimum of 1200 calories and a maximum of 1700 calories. I log my food intake religiously.
I do exercise some. Not as much as my goals tend to push for, but I at least stretch every day.
The weight just started leaving me. I felt good about myself just a little. I started working with a trainer because what’s the point of losing the weight if you are just going to be loose flesh? Or at least that was my thought.
I kept a feelings journal. You would be surprised how much feelings have to do with what I put into my mouth.
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Here it is June 4th, I recently turned 43 years old. (I do remember at some point my goal was to not be fat at 40.) I am still in the overweight category.
But I am working on that, I weigh 168 pounds. I wear a size 12 pant.
I do not spend my life in the gym. I haven’t seen my trainer in a month. Work schedule prohibits that a bit, but I may get back to him soon.
I am proud of myself. I have more goals set. I will continue to work on them.
So am I cured? No. And I mean NO. Weight loss has not miraculously cured my depression.
My house still is not in the condition I wish it to be in. I still have days where I don’t want to brush my hair. I have to battle to be motivated to stay on my diet and not binge. I have to battle with myself to be productive at all, anywhere. Work, home, whatever. I still have the urge to just go to bed and sleep the world away.
At this date, I am still smoking.
I just continue to work on the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and try to convince my inner Artax that getting out of the swamp is the best thing for it. All I have right now is an egg in the ashes of who I once was. The egg hasn’t hatched yet.
My Phoenix self hasn’t risen up yet. Its feathers aren’t in bloom. I look forward to the day it sings and takes flight. I fear the day when it might burst into flames prematurely and send me back to the ashes.
Every single day is a fight. But I am fighting.
I take joy in my successes. I look forward to more. Not just in my weight but in all of my goals.
Mental health isn’t a battle easily won. I think in the long run you can’t really defeat depression. You have to learn to live with it. You have to learn to cope with the fact that it’s just part of you. You have to fight your demons.
They will always be there, lurking, waiting for a weakness. Waiting for a moment to strike at you. That’s not a defeatist thought. It’s just the reality of depression. It is there, waiting for me to slip and fall back into it’s cold embrace.
I describe it as being in an abusive relationship with myself. The part of me that wants to self-destruct wants to be held by the demons. The rest of me, does not. This duality is at odds with each other all the time in my head.
So What’s Next?
I am working on tools to learn to cope better but I think this will be a battle I will have for my lifetime.
I hope that by being open and honest about my struggle I will help at least one person in this world feel less alone in their own battles.
We say here “Forget skinny, train to be a bad ass.” That is what I am currently doing. I am training myself to be a bad ass by taking care of myself in all ways, not just my weight.
I am striving to have the passion for life I once convinced myself that I had. To love myself regardless of what the voice in my head says about me. I struggle. I have some victories. Mostly I have hope. And hope is a really good thing.
I believe I should stop rambling at this point. I don’t know if any of this will make sense to anyone. I hope I have updated you enough. I hope you have interest in this open letter. I hope that you love yourself even when you don’t like yourself very much. I hope that you take care of your whole self. I hope you have the most amazing, wonderful and perfect day ever.
Until next time, with the greatest of hope and love,
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