Sunday 20th September 2020

Update: Two Years Since My ‘Weight’ Post.122/2019.

Update:Two Years Since My ‘Weight’ Post.122/2019.

Looking back to the last post I wrote here for 2017 I decided it was time for an update.

Firstly, two years!!

Secondly: Am I brave enough to do this?

Y. E. S.

Some background information. I would urge you to read the post I wrote back in December 2017 as it was the most honest I have been publically about the challenges of being overweight, obese and all the years I did not speak of it.

Two years ago, I was the lightest I had been since…early my  20s (we are talking over 48 years ago).

I was that weight for a few reasons…the major one being oral cancer in my upper mouth requiring everything to be removed and a reconstruction process begun. My ability to eat was severely challenged.

At my ‘weightiest’ 2013, and ‘lowest’ November 2017.

But…from the image of me at my heaviest in 2013 I did start to lose some weight (not by dieting) but by a couple of years of anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diarrheoa) from 2014 onwards.

In fact, without trying, as they say, it did come off. I admit, I could not eat much (without having to find a toilet very fast afterwards)….but, in 2015 into 2016 the weight loss whilst gradual did worry me but I was assured by my GP that it was OK. It was my body and the fact I could not eat much.

Interestingly, and I have only recently formed this view, I was on a long-term anti-depressant for at least 10 years before coming off it slowly probably in 2012 -2013 so I may never know if that too played a part in my body holding onto fat.

I also come from a family line of overweight people from both Mum’s and Dad’s relatives.

Why Am I Writing About This Now?

Well. The woman who always saw herself as F A T (and tried to L I K E herself too) is having to come to terms with:

  • how I am,
  • how I may proceed knowing weight has been an issue in my life for a L O N G time…
  • and to see if sharing my update helps not only me but others.

I am pretty sure THIS is a topic that is often OFF-LIMITS.

What’s Happened In The Two Years Since The Last Story?

  • I continue to be a work-in-progress as far as my relationship with my appearance is concerned.
  • I admit it is getting better as I compare the ‘health’ of me now, to the ‘ill-health’ of me as I was recovering from surgeries July 2017 until I got my upper prosthesis in August 2018.
  • I went up a size in some clothes in the past year. I also added around 6 kg in 12-15 months.
  • I refuse to get worn down by the weight I am story again so I am doing my best to look well and feel good too.
  • Since May 2019, the Apple Watch helps keep me honest with myself, via the daily steps and movements records. I do around 6000 most days, sometimes around 5, 500 and other days well into the 7000.
  • The thing is, even with the upper prosthesis, it is still a challenge to find foods that work for me outside the home. 
  • In this collage you will see a plate of baked vegetables. That was all I could see that was suitable on the menu at a local club at a Christmas lunch.
  • This time, when I attend, I am having cake and coffee…because I know I can eat that in public and I will not fill up and I can eat a better meal at home.
  • It really is trial and error. Sometimes the size of a meal stops me. This is OK at home as I can have the other half the next day. Many restaurants do not allow take home bags. I learned that I cannot rely on take-away or restaurant food when I had my first overnight stay in Sydney in June. It surprised me.
  • I want to remain well, comfortable and confident in myself which is why I continue some photos every few days/weeks.
  • These help me SEE that perhaps what I FEEL is wrong…as I often am surprised by my image.
  • I do admit now, that the photos I see of me post-cancer surgeries are not those of a healthy woman (albeit thinner than I had been for decades) so to want to be her again is not to be well.

More musings….

As I said above, I remain a work-in-progress. I was/can still be a comfort eater but this is what has changed.

  • I know about my cravings.
  • I know that cravings can go, given the chance, just like feelings change too.
  • I understand myself so much better now when I start thinking about food I might want because I ask myself “what is it that is troubling me?”

In the past, I would not have even gone that far. I would have scoffed the chips, bitten into the crunchy foods and allowed the smooth chocolate to melt in my mouth. I do not eat much at all like this any more. I do still eat something for texture or taste but my full limits have changed as has my mouth so far less is consumed.

Dealing with what is troubling me is the big shift.

  • I can speak to my husband about it,
  • write in my journal,
  • go outside,
  • blog,
  • do some art…
  • anything to change the situation and thoughts…and guess what happens most often..the craving has moved on.

This knowledge for me has been life-changing.

Here is where I learned about it and still continue to learn. Of course, my self-talk is probably one of my better teachers…as long as I remember the newer approaches..and yes, I mostly do. In fact, I even ask myself questions to check.

  • Is this what I really want now?
  • Am I actually needing to…(insert what I might do other than soothe with food.

I am glad I decided to write this up. I wasn’t sure. However honest me could not let the story of what’s happened just sit from where it was 2 years ago. An update was the way to go as so much has changed for me in terms of understanding my insides (brain) and the outsides (body) and the connections.

How about you?

How are you at understanding yourself in terms of appearance?

It’s a tricky thing. I get that too.

Denyse.

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

This is the ‘last post’ on a Wednesday in 2019…and will be returning on 8 January 2020.. See you then. Happy Festive Season everyone:

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

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Comments

  1. Nicely written and it is really hard to write this stuff down Denyse. My takeaway from this is that I am grateful for being an “organised’ person. To maintain weight now that my eating habits have changed dramatically has taken a real shift in mindset. I think you look super healthy now and probably, like me, better than you have for years. Merry Christmas x

    • Thank you so much for your kind words.

      I said to my husband as I prepared to post this I can vividly remember puzzling over this …”eat more, don’t lose any weight” sooo different. Good ole Head and Neck cancer. ha!

      Mindset is it. I often think “oh I could eat that now” but when I check it out, and remember HOW I have to eat now, along with how it will feel inside, I change my mind. I sure am learning to listen to my gut and eat better – at least for one main meal where I know I need to enjoy more protein to stay well.

      Good luck to you too. Going great with all your changes and trying new things.

      Denyse x

  2. Denyse, good for you for facing your fear about writing about weight head on. You are right, many of us don’t like to talk or write about our weight, myself included. I have also faced many weight challenges and have had some wins and some losses. It seems that you have been learning a lot about what will work for you- it is always a work in progress! You look good and happy in the newer pictures. Carry on! Wishing you happy holidays.

    • Thank you Michele, this is a lovely comment which comes from your heart AND your life experience.

      I hid my story for so long but no more. Hard as it was to reveal things 2 years ago, I did. Now, if I had not done any update then I would have been not sharing what is reality.

      I go for wellness and health these days and yes, I too like the looks of the newer me.

      Hope your holidays are filled with all you wish for.

      Denyse x

  3. I think it’s great that you’re able to better understand your eating habits and behaviour around food and far more conscious than you once were!

    • So much understanding from those books.

      I also think I was in the right place mentally to absorbe the messages.

      All those decades ago, with some success at WW not one ‘leader’ knew about what I called ‘mouth hunger’.

      I also know how much I missed textures in my foods with 14 months on limited foods.

      Thanks Deb,

      Denyse x

  4. Denyse well done on writing such an honest post. I’m sure many would identify with feeling of self loathing in relation to food. I’ve dealt with image issues for all my life. The way I handle it now is to focus on fitness and not the mirror or dieting. Mostly that works for me but I do have my moments occasionally. #MLSTL Sharing.

    • Oh that is good to know Jennifer, that your way is working well for you now.

      More than anything now I tend to ask myself ‘what is it I am looking for or needing by having this or thinking about this food?’. That’s when I learned, a craving is “just” a feeling and it can move on.

      Love learning new stuff when I am ready.

      Thanks for popping by.

      Denyse x

  5. I think feeling like you’re at a healthy weight is what’s really important. Whether you get there through a change in diet, more exercise, or good choices, it’s all a win. Food plays such a big part in our lives and there are a lot of unhealthy ways to be thin – that’s what we need to avoid. Eating intentionally and knowing what our triggers are is definitely a sign we’re doing well in our relationship with food. Moderation in all things (especially in salt, fat and sugar!) I’m glad you’re getting there Denyse xx
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM

    • Yes I hear from many how well I am looking and indeed I am feeling that too.

      But it is hard to silence the inner critic and the one who still believes she will see an “old, fatter” image in the mirror.

      Getting there is good. I no longer limit anything though – that IS the big difference for me – but I do know how to CHOOSE foods for what they will do for me health wise.

      Thanks Leanne for your support.

      Denyse x

  6. Denyse, it’s alright to embrace the weight loss head and neck cancer often bestows upon us as long as we’re not too emaciated! Don’t feel guilty for looking fabulous at 70.

    • Yes I now realise. Such a different way of looking at my appearance too…I “am” getting there. In fact, looking at the image on the right at the top, I know how hard life was for me then. I was post 2 of the surgeries and pain was high in my mouth. I do look “too” thin there.

      So much good has happened since then and yes, I am G for grateful!!

      Thanks wise woman.

      Denyse x

  7. I can definitely relate to a lot of this! (Not the cancer part, but the food and self-acceptance part). I recently lost 60 pounds on purpose, because it was an eating disorder that caused the weight gain. Learning to manage my emotions without turning to food is SO difficult, especially when I am feeling angry! Stuff the anger in, and stuff the food in! But life is always a work in progress.

    • Oh Bethany, we are so alike…and needing to face and deal with emotions without food being the first go-to is a challenge…but “we” are doing it.

      Thank you for sharing your experience as well.

      Denyse x

  8. Yes this resonates with me on a grand scale. I’ve always had a love hate relationship with my body. Being a petite (5’1″) curvy woman, I’ve always struggled with how I look. However I’m slowly learning (as you have) that being healthy is more important than looking slim. I’m recovering from bursitus in both hips which prevented me from exercising too much, but I’m slowly getting back to normal. I’m feeling really healthy right now and I’m focusing more on this rather than what the scale tells me and how I look in the mirror. I’m still work in progress!

    • Thank you Kathy.

      It took me a LONG while to own up to all of this from my past, which I did in the 2017 post.

      Now, again, to keep myself honest, I needed to write the update.

      Yes, I am learning to like what/who I see in the mirror more, and I know that healthy and well is what I like too.

      Thanks so much for sharing how this has been for you. Yes, we are continuing to learn more about ourselves this way, and blogging to connect our stories helps breakdown barriers for me.

      Denyse x

  9. You are always so honest Denyse so I’m not surprised that you wrote an update to your earlier post. You have come a long way in many areas and understanding yourself is probably the best one. Take care and enjoy your Christmas. #mlstl

  10. Wonderful that you understand yourself and how and why you eat now. I think I need that mindless eating book. I still do that and I emotionally eat. I lost quite a bit of weight during 2017/18 but I can feel it creeping back on. I don’t weigh myself anymore as it gets me too upset. I’m in the process of menopause (monthlies all over the place) so my body is going through quite a bit right now … and I try to keep that in mind. BTW – even if you’ve gained back a little weight – you’re still looking fabulous Denyse! xo #TeamLovinLife

    • It is amazing to me how much we ‘eat mindlessly’. Quite fascinating and even though our stomach may be satisfied, we often keep eating out of habit.

      I agree about the scales…I was weighing myself about once a month till recently but when I saw, over time, there was magical change (up/down) I decided to free myself of numbers and concentrate on being more mindful of eating..and of moving more.

      Be kind to yourself Min, you have been unwell for a long time in 2019 and as you recover you will get to be out there walking again too.

      We can be our own worst enemies – time to be our best friends.

      Merry Christmas.

      Denyse x

  11. You look great Denyse and I agree that we shouldn’t focus on the number on the scales because there are many factors that can affect our weight. I would much rather have an outfit that I try on regularly. Eating well and keeping healthy doesn’t have to be a chore and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle are great. Thanks for sharing your journey with us at #MLSTL and have a wonderful Christmas and fabulous 2020. Hope to see you linking up in the New Year. xx

    • Thank you Sue for your kind words and understanding.

      I do feel well and acknowledge that I look good (and healthy) as I am.

      It’s a big mindset change that I now think I am managing well.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family. Exciting times for those with little ones like your grandson.

      Yes, I will be back in the New Year to link up for #mlstl.

      Thanks again to you and Leanne for your link up on Wednesdays.

      Denyse x

  12. Oh Denyse I thought this was going to be about dieting & I was going to say how good you look but you’ve been through so much haven’t you. I hope you’re keeping well which is the most important thing. I can relate a bit to how you see yourself, I have rheumatoid arthritis and I feel I just don’t look like me. Our brains are complicated and sometimes we see something different to what others see. I think you’re looking fab!
    Lorraine x

    • How kind you are.

      Thank you Lorraine.

      Rheumatoid arthritis must be so painful and as I understand flare are not pleasant.

      Being kind to ourselves using our inner voices is half the battle won.

      Takes care and your words are very helpful.

      Warm wishes

      Denyse x