Yes, I’m here. Really!

I’m so sorry I haven’t written a damn thing since…oh, about 1990. That’s what it feels like.

The thing no one tells you about losing a ton of weight is that you get to a point where you feel so good you want to do so much more – but you’re still dealing with the same 24 hours that you had before. If I’m going to have this much energy, the least they could do is give me more hours in which to accomplish all the amazing shit that a Hot Mess Princess must do…am I right? Well, they didn’t.

Y’all know that my plan for pulling away from emotional eating was to substitute that incredibly destructive behavior with something positive. A lot of people would have chosen exercise as the alternative, but I’ve seen that go the wrong way too many times. You can be just as compulsive with exercise as you can with eating and, if anyone’s going to fuck up their good intentions in that area, it’d be me. No thanks. I chose needlework because it’s been a passion of mine since I learned how in Girl Scouts…and because I know I won’t get crazy compulsive about it. It’s something I retreat to when I start thinking about food or body weight or anything negative and destructive. It brings me peace and calm – and it keeps my hands too busy to eat.

The farther I get from my surgery date, the more grateful I am that I had a plan for replacing destructive behaviors. Just over a year ago, if I had a bad day at work I’d get home and curl up with a pizza and a pint of mint chip ice cream. And maybe a bag of salty potato chips. And some licorice, perhaps. The list was endless and so was my appetite for calming myself with eating. Nowadays I eat considerably less. I’ve either made peace with the foods that were my vices or I’ve completely banished them from my life – but I didn’t have brain surgery, y’all. I still fight the compulsion to stuff food in my face and chew away my anxiety. The gift is…I simply can’t do it.

What an amazing year it's been...
What an amazing year it’s been…

Having 85% of your stomach surgically removed doesn’t magically make you want salad and green smoothies for the rest of your life, but it does stop you from washing off a bad day by downing an entire box of Little Debbies. IF there was a box of snack cakes anywhere near me today and IF I wanted some, I could probably get part of one down. Maybe a whole one if I hadn’t had anything to eat for hours and hours – and, in spite of what the multi-billion dollar diet industry tells you, one snack cake isn’t going to kill you. For the record, though, snack cakes are on my banned list. Why? Because I simply don’t get enough enjoyment out of them anymore. They’re not worth the empty calories. My taste buds have radically changed…and most processed snacks taste nasty as hell to me.

So I’ve been doing a lot of needlework, which I love…and it doesn’t make me wear bigger pants. I’ve also been doing a few household projects that were badly needed, including cleaning our dumping ground of a bedroom so that the elliptical trainer could be unearthed. It took me hours of emptying storage boxes and tossing, putting away, or donating the crap inside in order to get to the damn thing – but I finally did it. It was an epic project on the same scale as finding King Tut’s tomb, peeps. Now the elliptical waits for me every morning. Sometimes I get on it, sometimes I don’t. But it’s all up in my face again, and it’s made me realize that the second part of my journey is just beginning.

The most recent needlework project I completed for our home. I love the quaint country look of this design.
The most recent needlework project I completed for our home. I love the quaint country look of this design.

For the past year, I’ve celebrated some amazing milestones. 50 pounds. My first drop in clothing size. Reaching my feet for the first time. Dropping another clothing size. Riding a bike. Hitting the 200’s on the scale…and more. These milestones are all amazing and wonderful. They’re also mostly weight or size related. Now that I’ve lost 113 pounds and I’m halfway to my goal weight range, I realize that there will come a day when I don’t have any more weight to lose. There won’t be any more sizes to drop. And then what will my goal be? If I’m not careful, I won’t have anything left to strive for. There won’t be anything left to write about – except maybe when HMH successfully farts along to the 1812 Overture – and I assure you, that’s not pretty.

Kokopelli Sunrise won an Honorable Mention in the State Fair of Texas needlework competition!
Kokopelli Sunrise won an Honorable Mention in the State Fair of Texas needlework competition!

I still have quite a few weight loss related milestones to celebrate, but I’m adding some exciting ones to strive for in 2015 – and, just like needlework, they’re helping me substitute one habit for another. I’m going to add the habit of exercise to my repertoire in the new year…and, like my withdrawal from certain foods, diet soda and caffeine, I’m going to do it with baby steps. With me, baby steps seem to be the only way I can really get things done. 2015 will be about celebrating the remaining weight and size milestones while bringing in new healthy living goals that will set me up for a lifetime of happy exercising.

In the next few weeks, I’ll share my 2015 goals with you and I invite you to share yours with me. As always, we’re stronger together than we are apart…and the wonderful thing about this thing called the internet is that even someone living in a remote location with no friends or family close by can feel connected to others with the same issues. So let’s squeeze together and hug it out and get ready for an amazing year because we deserve it.

I’m ready. Are you?