On Saturday I went to Weight Watchers for my weekly weigh-in. I weighed 263 lbs. Based on past posts, many of you understand how frustrated, angry and disheartened I felt when I looked at that scale.
My Weight Loss and Gains
Here’s a quick history of my weight loss journey, which you can see in the graph below.
I joined Weight Watchers January 2009 and was at my highest weight of 303 lbs. For about two years my weight changed very little, but around August 2012 I started dropping dramatically. What changed? I stopped just showing up to meetings every week, and started to actually work the program by tracking my food and exercising. Go figure, huh?
Boldly displayed you can see November 12, 2012 when I could proudly boast that I’d lost 88 lbs. and was well on my way to weighing under 200 lbs. Unfortunately, I never reached it. I’d exercise one week, eat well the other, but hurt myself in the process and gained 47 lbs. back. The positive is that I did not gain all my weight back, which happens to most people, and I give Weight Watcher’s the credit for that.
I’m sorry if it SEEMS I have been obsessing about my weight lately, but it’s only because I AM obsessed with my weight. I want to look better, feel better, and I want to wear nice clothes. Most importantly, though, is that I just want to stick around for awhile. The statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health are pretty grim.
The average life expectancy in the United States is 78 years.
Life expectancy in the sub-Saharan African country of Sudan is 59 years. In Ethiopia it’s 53 years.
And what is the life expectancy in the United States for those with a serious mental illness (schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder)? It ranges from 49 – 60 years. Those are really sad numbers.
It’s no surprise that those with a serious mental illness have higher suicide rates. In fact, one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide, however that awful fact is not the major factor in lower life expectancy. The shorter life span is because they
…are more likely to suffer chronic diseases associated with addiction (especially nicotine), obesity (sometimes associated with antipsychotic medication), and poverty (with its attendant poor nutrition and health care) and they may suffer the adverse health consequences earlier
Let’s look at these three factors:
Addiction: For decades, addiction controlled my life, but I’m happy to say that I’ve been clean and sober for 13 years.
Poverty: While, my husband, Maurice, works full time, the amount I receive from Disability is right at the poverty level for one person. So, it’s not accurate to say we live in poverty, but we certainly have had to forgo necessary medical care because of lack of funds, and there’s not much that I can do about that right now.
Obesity: Ding! Ding! Ding! Obesity takes the prize. Of the three factors, that is the one thing I can change and, hopefully, make a difference. I’ve already started reducing meds that have a serious impact on weight gain, but I must recommit to living healthier as well.
Because I want to live a long, healthy life, I may be writing more about my weight loss journey. I think I’ve said that many times before, but I can’t continue to just give it lip service. Statistically speaking, I have to act now.