I thought I'd do a recap of my journey over the last 12 months, since today marks a year since I was fitted with a gastric band and so much has happened since then!
I spent my life yoyoing between fat and thin, starving and stuffing, happy and sad and after trying so many "diets", I thought that surgery was the answer - the solution to my weight management.
I say management because for quite some time I have believed that weight is a monster to be tamed and kept under control - an evil being that is so powerful it can command me to do crazy things! Like going to eat KFC or McDonalds 3 or 4 times per week, on top of take aways in the evening and sweets on my desk at work - not that I thought that it was any sort of issue whilst I was doing it either!
Anyway, after reaching 106 kg and fed up with my appearance, my mind was made up, my money ready, and I had researched and contacted 6 different companies before deciding which one to have my surgery with. So I made my way to Derby the night before the operation, for the first time thinking about the magnitude of my trip.
I had been on a prescribed "liver-shrinking" diet for one week, measuring and calculating tiny amounts of food that I could eat in order to loose weight and reduce the size of my liver before the operation, so that it wouldn't get in the way of the surgeon. I had lost 1 stone (7 kilos) just doing this: similarly to other quick-fix diets, I felt great about the weight loss, but I also knew that it was one of those short-lived results.
I left paper love hearts on each pillow of my husband and kids on my way out of the house and called them on FaceTime in the evening, before the mandatory selfies and rest. As I was in bed, I feared that maybe this wasn't it and that I was putting myself in danger of undergoing surgery and not waking up, or that it might still not work. BUT I still went through with it the following day - of course!
Achy and sleepy, I made it to the toilet the flowing afternoon to admire my scars and take another selfie - just in case the weight had already magically disappeared... of course it hadn't.
Over the following month, I had to learn how to eat again, starting with a diet of just liquid food like clear soup, broth, bovril. Then moved onto a thicker liquid diet where I started adding some small portions of plain yoghurt, runny smoothies, or blended vegetable soups. After almost a month, I was then able to start eating some easy mashed up solid food - slowly chewing my food and listening to my body's new feeling of being full sooner than I ever expected.
I found that the band does restrict the amount of food you can eat in one sitting - especially given that I loved BIG portions and buffets! However, you could still overeat if you really wanted - it might just take you longer! However, something that I also learned whilst on this journey is to stop eating when I'm no longer hungry rather than stopping when I felt full - big wake up moment for me!
I have to say that although I did loose some weight and reduced the size of my portions considerably, and even rejoined the gym (going 5 mornings per week!) my weight plateaued at 90 kg and no matter what I did, it did not seem to shift one bit! Annoying!! However, the good thing was that at least I was not putting the weight back on! I spent the summer feeling great and much slimmer than I had been in years - getting reacquainted with a more comfortable and confident me.
By the time I got to the Autumn, it was obvious to me that the gastric band was not really doing anything for me - I had learned for quite some time to manage my food intake and still not eating big portions, but the KFC was starting to creep back in from time to time, in small portions but still not what I was supposed to eat according to my nutritionist who sent me an email every couple of months to tell me what I was supposed to eat without expecting an answer or actually calling me to check what was going on - or to know whether I was even still alive given I didn’t answer one single email of his… shocking!
So I got to Christmas time, still weighing 90 kg, still eating the odd KFC and still having a pretty healthy diet - or so I thought - but the gym was starting to slip! But hey, who really cared about the gym when I had a eat-all-you-can 24/7 cruise going round the Caribbean to look forward to?? Hell yeah, restaurants aboard open throughout the day, ice-cream bar as well as self-service machine, a-la-cart 3-course dinner every evening, oh and let’s not forget about the cocktails - especially the Nutella-ice-cream one during one of the midnight buffets just in case I had missed out on some treat during the rest of the day!!! Mmmmmm
Despite the lovely food, I felt really run down by stress, I had bad sinus pain and congestion pretty much throughout the holiday, I was bloated and had headaches... What a lovely way to enjoy the holiday!
It is a miracle really that my weight stayed at 90 kg with all I ate whilst away, but little did I know my life was just about to change...
A friend of mine I went on holiday with and a devout vegetarian had been telling me about this naturopathy course that she had been on - believed it or not I have always thought that health starts from within and turned to herbal remedies plenty of times. I was intrigued to know more.
Once home, I started reading about the course she had been on as well as others and the more I read and the more I felt the need to know more. I needed to turn my health around and I had this urge to do it quickly! It didn't take me long before I enrolled and started the course within a week!
I found studying Naturopathic Nutrition enlightening and thought-provoking: so many basic yet overlooked concepts about health and nutrition started flooding my mind and I started making the changes that I was reading about. So I increased my hydration considerably, went gluten and sugar free, addressed my Omega 3s and 6s ratio, and started detoxing techniques such as enemas, fasting, castor oil packs, and Epsom salts baths.
Within just a couple of weeks I started feeling a massive difference in myself and slowly developed a greater sense of wellbeing: my headaches and sinus problems disappeared, I had the heaviest sleeps I had in years, I felt less bloated, more energised, AND I lost weight without having cravings for naughty food!!
That in itself was the single best victory for me. I actually shifted from dieting to being healthy almost without realising it and with little effort. I lost another 9 kg in 4 months, almost as much as I lost in the previous 8 months - quite significant given that I actually eat quite a lot, but of the right food.
Naturopathic nutrition has also changed the lives of my husband, kids, friends and family, as well as the lives of the people that have come to me for a consultation, support and advice. It has reawakened my senses, my energy, my spirit and more importantly it has given me a new lease of life, a more focussed and happy life.
As I've fed myself naturally and found that nature is my ally in many ways, I could not resist to play on words - so here's to NaturAlly Fed! Here's to a new life and new path! Here's to those that have inspired me and thought me along this journey! And here's to those who support me and are joining me in this crazy yet amazing new chapter of healthy happy life!