Advent Calendar – Dec 10th: My Battle

« The first step towards getting somewhere, is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. »Unknown

While I have been sharing my stories of travel, family and what matters most to me with you, there is a journey I undertook this year, that has had the greatest impact in my life and had helped me gain greater insight into the person I am.

On August 1 of this year, I began to apply discipline to what and how I eat, in order to lose weight and return to health.

Those who know me, know that I have been struggling with weight gain for the last 26 years and have seen me over the years lose weight and put it back on, trying different diets but ultimately, never winning the war on my obesity. Looking back, I understand now that the explanation for my failures and short lived successes was in part having the wrong weapons and not having the right strategies.

I also understand that for most of my adult life, I have had a life-long battle with mild depression, and have self-medicated with food. As a teen and young adult I was active, and was able to stave off depression through excercise and being physically active. As I took on a more sedentary life, my coping mechanisms switched to food.

My arsenal usually included motivation – sometimes strong other times weak, a new diet (Weight Watchers, protein-powder, cabbage diet, 17-day diet, 7 day diet, etc) a goal – long term or short term, realistic and yet many times unreachable, and the support of my family and friends. I will be honest, I was not big on exercise, but sometimes, I included it, knowing it was key to a helping my body fight the fat so I walked, did Curves, did yoga and even took on a personal trainer.

Yet, despite my best efforts and intentions, I ended up being morbidly obese, seeing my mobility progressively declining, and my physical and emotional pain increasingly debilitating.

I was no longer able to do the things I loved, and suddenly all of the accomplishments in the rest of my life dimmed as I began to regret my wreckless attitude towards my health and planning for the future. This summer, I reached a new level of desperation, teetering on the edge of having to start using mobility aids and limiting my activities to the confines of my apartment, my car, and the houses of a few friends and family, where I knew I could navigate without too much difficulty. I still have not toured the basement of my parents new home because of the flight of stairs, and it was a supreme effort to pet sit for my loved ones, where stairs stand between my bed and the rest of the house.

Thankfully, I am made of strong stuff and deep inside me, at my core, the light and resilience of a woman warrior still flickered and had not given up and was at work, whispering to my unconscious to keep at it.

I knew I had the knowledge and the experience to lose weight, but it had all been self-education and I felt I needed to enlist the help of a nutrionist who was more knowledgeable about the relationship of food with the pain I was experiencing, and help me find the formula that would work for Me.

This time, the Warrior Queen inside me, articulated very clear and precise goals and objectives in a loud, strong voice.

My goal was to recover my mobility, and engage in the activities I loved doing but could not anymore.

My weight, and pain were the barriers to achieving this goal, therefore, I needed to remove these barriers. The pain was caused by inflammation. The inflammation was caused by the inability of my body to deal anymore with the amount of toxins I was feeding it.

Out of desperation and resilience came a S.M.A.R.T plan, a goal-setting system I had applied regularly in my work life with much success. My goals were Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Four months later, on December 1, I was down 60 pounds and still at it.

• I am without physical pain.

• I am able to go into stores for short shopping trips.

• I can stand and talk to people.

• I am down two dress sizes.

• I have 10x more energy.

• I no longer have acid reflux, and have stopped taking proton-pump inhibitors.

• I have a better heart rate, and excellent blood pressure.

• I can do housework.

• I sleep through the night.

• I no longer snore.

• I am happy, and laugh more.

• My creativity has exploded in every direction, which feeds my happiness.

• I am using spices and herbs, and healthy fats that were never part of my cooking before.

One of my goals, was to be able to vacation with my family in November, and be able to move about the resort, and join in on the fun, not limited by my mobility. Not only did I achieve that goal, what renewed my determination most, was that when I returned from my 3-week vacation, I had lost 6 pounds!

Who does that?! Who is able to go on cruises and resort-vacations for three weeks, and lose six pounds? A determined, disciplined woman focused on winning the war. That’s who. A woman who thrives on challenge, and can do anything when determined to prove to herself that she can do it.

I don’t eat between meals. I eat three meals a day, in an 6-8 hour window. I have abstained from alcohol, sugar, dairy, wheat and ALL additives. I eat whole foods that I prepare. I exercise 15 minutes a day.

Slowly, my organs are starting to heal and perform their functions like they were meant to. My muscles are beginning to strengthen and able to support me.

Discipline. Discipline was the weapon I added to my arsenal.

My mother once said to me, with all the affection and love she had for me that I had trouble saying no to my desires. That stuck with me. She was right. She had articulated what was at the root of my accomplishments, but also, my setbacks. This was the key to the 26-year battle that I needed to conquer once and for all.

Discipline. Saying no because my goal was more important. Being pain-free – physically and emotionally – was more important than the cheese, crackers, glass of wine, chocolate, sandwich, candy, chips, sushi etc, I could put in my mouth. Winning and the taste of victory is more delectable and important to me, than the momentary pleasure that comes from straying off the plan.

If you listen, you can hear my war-cry. It comes from years of failure and frustration. It is fuelled by determination, focus and a hunger – for Victory!

6 thoughts on “Advent Calendar – Dec 10th: My Battle

Add yours

  1. Oh Sylvie. I am so sorry that you were in such pain and so happy to hear that you are feeling better. Your courage in tackling this and in telling your story is astonishing. You are my hero – always have been. Dawn

  2. Thank you so much Dawn for your kind words of support. I felt the hug and it warmed my heart. I was happy and determined to share my story as I see it as a positive message. Hopefully it gives others struggling with weight, the inspiration and strength not to give up.

  3. Another step towards success, you’ve got this Sylvie, you have a family that loves you very much. Bravo bravo
    Lily

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