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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fat again and again but never quitting

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I last posted anything here... Life has been busy, beautiful, chaotic, blessed and filled with smiles and moments to treasure... it has also been pretty fattening for me... Let me tell you a little background...

I've struggled with my weight for a long time... At first it was more of an imaginary struggle, I was the teen that just wanted to be skinny and petite... even when that just wasn't me.... I liked a guy who liked skinny girls so even at a healthy weight I started to obsess about it... that's when my love/hate relationship with food began....

I submitted myself to pills, crazy diets, shots in the "problem areas", etc... I would always lose weight and then I'd gain it all back but then some.... and that... that's exactly when the problem started... every time I reached my goal weight then I'd gain it all back but with additional pounds that weren't there to begin with... and at some point the imaginary issue became a real one... my eating was deeply connected to my emotions... I'd lose weight out of "spite", I'd gain weight out of sadness, I'd lose it to prove a point, I'd gain it because I didn't know how to stay thin! it was crazy...

Fast-forward many years... to 2011 (a husband and 2 beautiful daughters later) I started to change my life for my health not just for the way I looked... I had two girls to care for, to play with, to enjoy life with and to live long for! I wanted to be healthy and enjoy outdoorsy activities with my wonderful husband, life was good and I no longer wanted the quick fix or to impress someone... I wanted to live a good, healthy life and set a good example to my children... I started walking a lot and then running, I counted calories obsessively (not really knowing how food works or anything about nutrition) and I managed to lose 50 pounds... I was on top of the world... But ... I still wasn't happy ... I still wanted to lose weight and I started to realize that after months of intense exercise and watching my calorie intake more than ever the weight just wouldn't budge... I went to doctors who said "well, eat less" (how??)... I was becoming increasingly discouraged and frustrated... what was going on? A doctor even prescribed a low dose of thyroid medicine (Levothyroxine) and mentioned I had thyroid issues... the medication didn't seem to make a difference (except that I just didn't feel quite right)... back then (and as you'll be able to see on this blog) I was an avid baker... I loved sugar, butter, flour! I enjoyed baking often throughout the week and while I didn't eat what I baked I was giving it to my family because well... they didn't have a weight issue... in my desperation I started to read medical books, researched about thyroid and started to look into different eating plans... That's when something clicked! I now learned how food can heal you or make you sick... it's not all about counting calories... especially if what you are pursuing is HEALTH... I also learned how your body "gets used" to a certain level of exercise and you have to "switch things up" a bit for it to work... I loved all this and I now realized that I was hurting my family by feeding THEM sugar and flour.... (I then learned butter was fine! I always thought I had to eat everything LOW FAT! LOW CALORIES!) ... I started to see food differently.... as a source of fuel! I also learned that I am not a slob! (hahahaha).... I learned that while society sees all fat people as undisciplined, lazy cows... we sometimes are the most disciplined of all.... submitting ourselves to painful and even dangerous procedures, diets and medications... many of us are willing to *lose our lives* on an operating table to MAKE THIS FAT GO AWAY! I ALSO learned that while I had read books that made my fatness seem like a spiritual issue IT WAS JUST NOT THAT! I didn't need someone telling me that I was fat because I wasn't going to Jesus when I craved cupcakes!

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I want to make sure I am clear on this... I am not saying that having a relationship with Jesus won't help you through it all.... I am saying that YOUR WEIGHT AND MY WEIGHT can't be blamed on our spiritual lives. Because if "you go there" and you tackle your weight issue as a spiritual issue then ... when the weight doesn't budge or when you "gain it back" now you'll be discouraged for being a double failure... not only in the physical but in the spiritual area too... and I think that's dangerous.

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When we have a weight struggle we all try to find the ONE REASON behind it... the ONE THING that will do the "trick" to help us lose the weight and keep it off.... the truth is that there are SO MANY FACTORS BEHIND IT ... I learned that many of them I CAN'T CONTROL.... and many of them I can.....

Girlfriend, if you're reading this and you've tried everything let me tell you YOU ARE NOT ALONE... I have been there... If you, like me, have gone through phases where you start posting pictures on social media of yourself because you finally start to feel comfortable with the way you look and then at some point there are less and less pictures where you appear and then there is just NONE.... I get it! I've been there! It breaks my heart when I start to see less and less pictures of the people I love and I know have struggled with their weight... because I want to give them a hug and say "I KNOW! I know! It hurts!" I know exactly what they're feeling because either I have felt it or I am feeling it right at that point.

So.... back to where I was.... Like I said... I started to learn about nutrition and exercising... seeing it all differently... and through it all I kept working... pushing through... and I joined a gym I think in 2015 (Life Time Fitness) .... I started to train everyday by myself and occasionally with an amazing trainer... (Aaron Miller)... He taught me about different things I could do and introduced me to strength training.... I had never understood "weights" and now I was using them and actually enjoying them... I started to see my body changed... I lost weight but now that wasn't my only metric... I started to see my body fat go down and my muscle increase...it was awesome! For the first time in my life I felt STRONG... stronger than ever... I wasn't pursing skinny... I was pursing health, strength, muscle definition... I started to understand how with age you want those muscles to protect your joints and bones... Now the whole food=fuel thing made sense... I was eating to fuel my body, to restore, to replenish, I was eating with a purpose... Protein and carbs they all had their place in my life... sugar wasn't even tempting any more... I did things I never thought... it helped me even overcome some fears and set goals not even weight related... My goals were now go climbing or get on a zip line (which I did) ... I felt young! (even at 37!!) and in my "I'm so young" feeling hubby and I thought "let's go for another baby" ... (I am so happy for that!) ... I got pregnant right away... it was 2016 and I thought this would be the easiest, healthiest pregnancies of all ... it wasn't ... somehow I developed gestational diabetes... WHAT??? .... I managed to keep my numbers controlled by not following the doctors' recommendations and diet... I armed myself with a glucometer and my knowledge of food... this would be my chance to prove what I've been doing... and it was! I tested following the doctor's diet... low calories, low fat ... and my sugar went through the roof... I followed my own knowledge of food, how things work... and my numbers were perfect... My doctor said he had never seen such great numbers.... I was ecstatic that regardless of a medical condition I could protect my baby now with my knowledge of all these years of studying and researching....  I then had my baby... a 3rd. C section... things weren't easy inside the operating room.... The doctor was amazed (scared) at how thin my uterus was and how it miraculously didn't rupture... he said "had he known this, there would've been an emergency c-section way sooner" ... he managed to close the uterus... (he explained what he had to do but I won't bore you with that) ... I was recovering and hoping after the delivery I would, naturally, lose weight... but it wasn't the case.... after having my 9 pound 8 oz. baby I went to the dr's office for my 1st check up and huh... I had gained 5 pounds... HOW? 1 month later I was another 15 pounds heavier (than my heaviest at pregnancy!!!) and then I continued to gain.... I went back to the gym trying to give it my all... I went back to my knowledge of food and it just wasn't DOING IT! I continued to see my reflection get bigger and bigger... what in the world happened? My body wasn't doing what it was supposed to....

I have a friend that I work out with and she said "Paloma, I see all you do! I think you should go to the doctor because this isn't normal" she was right... But doctors had disappointed me so many times before... could they help? I decided I would go back to Mexico to see a doctor there.... The private medical practice in Mexico is outstanding... the service is personal, they care to dig to find the real source of the issue.... and an aunt of mine recommended an endocrinologist there... (I thought it had to be my thyroid just like the endocrinologist here in the USA told me)... I set up an appointment....

As I waited for the day to come to go back to Mexico I discovered some classes in my gym.... I started to attend Strictly Strength, Pilates, STRIKE (kickboxing), Life Barre, Barre Fusion and  Zumba. It was challenging for me... My body was against me.... I felt embarrassed, self conscious and just disgusting...

Have you ever felt like you have to explain to people "trust me! I am not a lazy fat person! I really try!!!"? I felt like that.... while other people were doing crunches and planks I was sweating just trying to lift my head from the ground because of the massive body I was trapped in....

One day I hit a new low.... It was a day in July this year (2018) right before my trip to Mexico to see my doctor...

It was my second times trying the Pilates class... where thankfully the lights are dim... and as I sweated and puffed trying to do the challenging movements I started to cry... I could've started sobbing uncontrollably but of course I wasn't going to... I was surrounded by people... thankfully I was sweating so much that you couldn't tell there were so many tears.... but inside of me I was yelling... screaming at every move! Wondering how in the world someone so dedicated like me got to this? I have helped people change their lives around... I have blogs and facebook pages about nutrition, I have held nutrition classes in my home, a friend of mine not only lost weight but her consistent headaches were gone following the tips I shared with her.... and yet... here I was .... reaching the morbidly obese title all while I NEVER STOPPED FIGHTING!!! I didn't deserve this! I should be able to do the movements! and yet... I am an ungraceful mass attempting to do Pilates. I should just have a cheeseburger!

I am letting you in my deepest feelings..... I was hoping nobody could see me.... I was hoping I could just disappear and yet I felt like "the BIG center of attention" ... I reassured myself and told myself "don't worry... it's just your mind! I'm sure nobody notices" ... As the class ended I wanted to run out of there... I picked up my mat and bolted towards the door... when I saw a lady I know... she's sweet and her intentions are good... but given my state... you understand how I felt when I saw her...

She's graceful and slim, she's very outspoken about nutrition and healthy living.... I can't see an ounce of extra weight on her....  She doesn't really know me that well so of course she doesn't know what I've been through....

She stops me... I am in pain inside....

She encouragingly tells me "Paloma, you did a great job... "

I want to disappear

She tells me "We're all in different places in our journey..."

I want to run.... I start to explain... I want her to know... My journey is long... I am not a beginner... I should look like her... not like me....

The worst happens....

I start to cry.... UGH!!! I even start to explain I am going to see a doctor!

She starts to pray for me (I told you ... she's sweet! I just didn't feel I could go through that... not in that moment) ... People are passing by us because we're close to the door..... I didn't want anyone to see me and here I am... being prayed over out loud by the door.... with the mixed feelings of thankfulness for her taking the time to pray for me and try to encourage me and sadness and anger that I am seen LIKE THIS!

I thanked her and disappeared... I couldn't get to my locker quickly enough... I picked up my kids from childcare and got in the car.... now to cry even more.... I got home, wiped my tears away and started cooking lunch... hubby came and I started to tell him... now sobbing....

Praise God for my husband.... He's so good through all of this, encouraging and always tells me how much he admires everything I do... So he just listens while I sob...

And so we started our trip... As I saw the doctor I explain to him what's going on... he sees my lab results (of all the tests he ordered) and tells me there was no way I was going to lose the weight ... I needed help... it's insulin resistance... It is different for everyone as not two people are exactly alike... In my case I just couldn't lose the weight and on the contrary I continue to gain...

I explained my frustration... he listened... I asked all the questions I needed to ask about food/exercise and since his wife is a nutritionist he understands all my questions about proteins and carbs and fats... and when he suggests me to watch the fat intake (for now)  I ask him about the ketogenic diet (which at some point I attempted) and he explains why and how it just wasn't going to do anything for me... finally a doctor took the time to listen and had the full knowledge to answer... He prescribed some medication (metformin) and I explain how I don't want to be on meds my whole life... He tells me I won't have to because if I put the work I say I do ... the time will come when I will be able to continue on my own... I don't want to get my hopes to high but I leave his office with answers and it just made sense...

I continued with my normal routine of exercise and tweak my food intake a bit.... (didn't really change much but I was less wary of carbs) ... And I started to see results....

God has put people in my life that have been amazingly NEEDED in this process... not only my doctor has been helpful through this all, my husband, my beautiful children, my friends, the person who prayed when I felt like hiding, my siblings, my parents but also my instructors... I am going to say particularly Annika!

That short girl that is fiery as nobody else... She deceives you into doing "just one more" (don't trust her though), she pushes you, challenges you and gets you to do what you thought you couldn't do....

It was through her STRIKE (kickboxing) class that I knew I needed her in my life.... As I went to her first class and I heard her speak... I wondered if everyone else was feeling like me... Each class is like a breakthrough session... like a therapy through physical movements....  I wondered who else was facing their demons through her class as she yells "punch him in the face!" ... because as she says... "your enemy might not be a person" ... And every time I am in her class I do... I punch my fears, my I can'ts, my insecurities and my negative self image, I punch the guy that followed me and my girls at a store and took pictures of us, I punch the voices of people (or a person) who once put me down.... and I get goosebumps and as the class ends I get the feeling of being a winner... I get to lift my arms in victory because regardless of it all and everything you've read... I am a winner... hey ... not everyone "sticks with it" after years and years... I am no quitter, I am stronger than I might appear on the outside... and like my oldest daughter once told me "mommy! You just never stop!"

Because while my body might not show it... My girls have seen it... and while I don't look like the "example of health" I AM the very example that I wanted to set for them... to fight, to not make excuses, to overcome and to keep going no matter what...

Have I felt like quitting? Many times!!! I am far from perfect and if it wasn't for the support I have I probably would've quit already.... There are times where I have actually thrown in the towel and eaten what I shouldn't  but then I pick the towel back up and keep going. Not because I am special.... Everyone can do it.

I told my doctor it's hard to continue when I see no results and he said...

"oh but you do see results! If you weren't exercising and eating the way you do you would be diabetic right now.... because of what you do you're NOT"

See... eating healthy and exercising and taking care of yourself is never without reward... You deserve it!

I have so much to say... And while I am thinking of writing a book or starting a group or a page or something... For now I tell you...


If you have weight issues it doesn't mean...

You're lazy
You're not disciplined
You're less spiritual than...
You're a failure....

Just like not every skinny person is hardworking, spiritually "there", disciplined or a success....

We can't generalize.... ever... Your issues are not my issues... I can't pretend to understand exactly what you've done, I can't say "you're fat because...." and simplify it into ONE thing ... it might be even outside of you....

Genes, leptin, fat cells, age, etc... all play a role... in my case that last pregnancy, at my age, with my medical history, hereditary factors all caused the perfect storm and at some point no matter what I did I still needed something external to come in and interfere....

And right now... while I have lost 30 pounds (since July 20th 2018) and I strive towards losing many more.... (many many) and while I hope to be able to keep all the pounds off I know it will always be something I struggle with.... for me (like my doctor said) it will always be an uphill battle... and I know for many people it is the same way...

Do not get discouraged... keep fighting...

You're not alone in this! Don't compare yourself to others... If keto doesn't work... You're not doing something wrong... it might just not be for YOU. Remember... When it comes to weight loss and health NOT ONE THING works for everyone... What might be good for others might not be fore you...   you might have to tweak things a bit for yourself... Are there plans I recommend? Of course... My favorite ones are:

Trim Healthy Mama
The Fast Metabolism Diet
The Paleo Diet
The Whole30

And if you want to get all into it (like I did) and learn about the science behind it all... I absolutely recommend this book:


Hungry Gene: The Science of Fat and the Future of Thin


You'll learn so much from all these books ... But again, take your time with it all... Be consistent and see what works best for you specifically.

And here's a picture of me.... still with lots of pounds to lose, still far from where I want to be but celebrating the fact that I am healthier and never quitting... and the fact that I entered these jeans again!



Thanks again to everyone who has been supportive through all my stages... thanks again Anikka for being MY trainer... because if you go to her class.... she's YOUR trainer (no matter how PACKED that room is!).

If you're trying this alone... Don't do it... Surround yourself with support! I'm here for you! If at least as comfort to know that someone "gets it".

© Paloma K.

Disclaimer: This post contains may contain affiliate links. Which means that if you follow a link a buy a product I get a small percentage of the purchase. It doesn't cost you more. I am not paid to recommend any of these products, these are my actual, real, personal opinions.

2 comments:

Unknown said...
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Sarah said...

I've never been to your blog before but I clicked on a Pin to a recipe you had for a salmon sandwich ;) and then ended up reading this whole post. And as a fellow blogger, I want to commend you for putting ALL your thoughts out there for the eyes of others.. there will be someone who reads them and needs to hear what you are saying. I know you don't know me, but I am proud of you and all your efforts and for not giving up and giving in. Just wanted to encourage you, keep on Mama :)