A PTSD Induced Change

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 1

I have been desperately trying to lose weight for months now. To facilitate this change, I was hiking on some of my favorite local trails on a fairly regular basis… but all of that changed one fateful, disturbing morning at the end of May.

At Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve (the most cherished trail in my collection), maintenance crews regularly work in the park — burning marsh grass, clearing wastewater pipe access, mitigating dangers to the wildlife, etc. Due to the fact that I live in the Sonoran Desert, these crews work early in the morning; and smart hikers, who don’t wish to fall face-first in the dirt due to heat stroke, hike at the same time. (Therefore, schedule predictability is a necessity that cannot be avoided in the summer and fall here.)

On the morning referenced above, I happened to run into a member of the maintenance crew that had said hello to me on more than one occasion (sometimes with an additional wink). I always politely responded in kind, and didn’t think much of it… until this man stepped out in front of me on the trail, and said with a smirk on his face, “You always hike alone, Gorgeous? That doesn’t seem wise.”

Those of who you suffer from PTSD know that your warning bells are always on hyper-alert… sometimes unnecessarily to our detriment (like when my poor husband accidentally “sneaks” up on me, and gets a terrified scream and punch to the gut); but in this particular case, my internal security system told me to run and never look back.

Feeling quite stupid for being so frightened by this encounter (because I never truly know if I’ve read too much into a situation), I hesitated to tell my husband about it; and just stopped hiking. But eventually, I worked up the courage to speak to him about it… mostly because my inability to do anything about my weight was slowly drawing me into a deep depression I knew I couldn’t fall any further into without dire consequences.

To his credit, Mitch did not pass judgement on the situation, and told me that he understood my fear and anxiety; and then asked, “What can I do to help, Cass?”

“I need a safe place to workout — somewhere where there a lot of people, and preferably several escape routes.” So my sweet husband gave me permission to join a local gym — one that is literally less than a block away from our home.

I joined on June 8th, and went everyday for seventeen days (feeling better than ever about my chubby lil’ self)… and then tested positive for COVID. I was sicker than hell, transferred the virus to my husband, and eventually had to be put on Paxlovid (an anti-viral) to beat the infection. So, I was unable to go the gym between June 25th and July 10th.

Weight Gain and Yet Another Change in My Routine

I returned to the gym two days ago; and weighed in. Over the course of my battle with COVID, I somehow managed to gain two pounds (going from 262-pounds on June 17th to 264-pounds on July 11th). I’m now the heaviest I’ve ever been.

Mitch, on the other hand — who has been joining me quite often at the gym, and serves as my weight-lifting coach — managed to lose five pounds; and though I understand that men and women have very different metabolisms, and that Mitch has more weight to lose than I do, I still felt slightly discouraged by his success when compared to my failure.

Instead of letting it deter me though, I decided to do something about it. I re-installed the “Lose It” app (designed to implement a calorie-intake regime based on your weight-loss goals), and stuck to it yesterday. I’m hoping to lose one pound per week, at the very least; and intend to keep going to the gym on a daily basis, whenever possible (because bad days, or illness, are bound to happen from time-to-time).

Numbers are Just Numbers

What I have learned from this experience is that regardless of the numbers on the damn scale, I feel better when I work out. Instead of feeling melancholy about my marshmallow figure, I feel accomplished and strong.

The weight loss will happen if I just keep moving my feet (and stop shoving too many snacks in my gob); but until then, I’m going to have as much fun as possible trying to win the battle of the bulge.