My R3 Journey

My R3 journey started around 2017. I wanted to lose weight feel and better about myself.
You see, I wasn’t always overweight or obese, I was always fit in spite of my asthma. To keep my lungs healthy, I worked out several days a week lifting weights. I did aerobics two to three times a week. I swam. I biked with the bike club two “short” rides and one long ride every week. I also rode my bike to work 19 miles each way practically every day. I was active and had a great social life.

Then, I gained a little weight, not much at first. After a major asthma attack which landed me in the ICU for several weeks, I gained “prednisone weight” about 20 pounds. I still participated in the Dublin Marathon three weeks after getting out of hospital. I was so full of Prednisone weight, I walked the marathon. (It took five and a half hours.)

Shortoly afterward i participated in an asthma drug study. During that study, I gained 70 pounds.

I had become fat. Not only that friends treated me differently as though I lacked will power or I was lazy. I wasn’t, but…

Around this time my dad went into a nursing home, since my mother did not drive,I became a driver for her and patient advocate while working 60-hour work weeks and volunteering for local charities. Although I was busy and on my feet all day and water running three days a week, I remained heavy.

At my heaviest, I was 250 pounds and often the heaviest person in the room. I hated it.

At this point, my dad passed, I was now my mothers caregiver, and my doctor suggested  human growth hormone injections to see if I could lose weight. His program started out promising, and combined with early morning workouts with a personal trainer, I lost 13 pounds in the first two weeks, but nothing after that. After 3 months we were stopped.

That brings me to that first R3 Challenge around 2017. I took the before picture and submitted it. I didn’t do all that well, but I did lose maybe 10 pounds
When comparing  the after picture with my before picture you could tell my clothing definitely ldid not look or fit the same. The same clothing is in both photos. If you look closely you’ll see my left arm is in the pants. Most of my work colleagues and friends thought I lost a lot of weight but I hadn’t. I’d lost inches. A Non-Scale Victory (NSV).

I semi-participated in other challenges after that, but never really finished them. My schedule was terrible, I was taking care of everyone and everything but myself. But I finally was just under 200 pounds thanks to swimming and rowing three times a week. It was progress.

In 2021 my mother passed away and I decided I needed to make life changes.
I changed jobs and put my house on the market. I took a trip to South Carolina to check out the housing market.

2022 arrived. For me, 2022 will forever be “Year of the Shoulder”. The year began with a good purchase offer on my home on January 6.  That same day, while at work, I tripped over a case of wine, fell and broke my right  shoulder (my dominant hand). My house was closing on January 25. I had 20 days to pack, find a new home and move—all with a freshly broken shoulder. I ended up purchasing a brand new house sight-unseen in Florida with a closing date of January 26 — a day after my New Jersey closing. I was lucky as I was also able to find a good mover to match my timeline. It was a very painful move but i made the 16-hour drive with my dog.

Once arriving in Florida, it was time to regroup. I found I moved to a new development in a town I had never heard of, but it was now home.Rain was coming down in buckets. The pain prevented a lot of unpacking (I still haven’t found all of my silverware).

Being on Worker’s Comp, I needed to find an orthopedic doctor in Florida who would accept the Worker’s Comp insurance to care for the shoulder. I finally got an appointment for an orthopedist on April 28. I weighed in at his office at 213.

I wasn’t happy. I went on a girls’ trip vacation wearing a sling and was once again the fattest person in the room. I was sick and tired of being overweight, unhappy and in pain. I had to do something.

When I saw the Challenge beginning June 6 – the same day I started Physical therapy — I joined. I figured I couldn’t work and unpacking the garage was still a tedious, painful, one-armed process. I couldn’t even find my scale in the garage, I had to buy a new one! Nor did I have a mirror.

I started the challenge.Some days were good, some weren’t. My physical therapy lasted the entire length of the challenge. I was in constant pain. When the challenge ended, I was down 25 pounds! I was surprised I lost the weight, since I wasn’t the best at sticking to the plan 100 percent.

The best part, I continued to lose weight (another 15 pounds) after the challenge just by following the Real Life part of R3. 

In August, after an 18-month wait, I flew to Washington, DC and Arlington National Cemetery to bury my mother. The flight home was an adventure. After multiple delays and a layover, I arrived at my destination airport, and I woke up two days later in a hospital ICU. Apparently, stress and the pain medication caused a cascade effect resulting in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). I also had never been a diabetic prior to this event, I have no memory of being in an ambulance, in an ER or let alone in an MRI, but I was. 

When I was released, to go home —my day trip to DC had turned into a week. I had gained 11 pounds (they said water weight from IVs). It took three weeks to lose the water weight following R3’s Real Life phase. The good news was the endocrinologist approved the R3 plan and liked the idea of my eating five to six times a day to keep my metabolism balanced. By September, my blood numbers were back to normal and I was taken off nearly all of the medications that came home with me from the hospital.

October came and I was down a total of 53 pounds. I decided not to do the Fall R3 challenge. I had a surgical date for a total reverse shoulder replacement on November 16—
I didn’t want hospital food ruining my challenge! Knowing I would be incapacitated for six weeks, I cooked R3-friendly meals—enough for 42 days and froze them tor my recovery meals. By the time of my surgery, I had lost an additional 14 pounds. This time, at the orthopedic office, I weighed in at 146 pounds! Fully Dressed. With shoes. 

Of course, after surgery, I swelled up and gained 30 pounds! I left the hospital weighing 176 pounds, It took a month to shed those 30 pounds of water weight. Again I did it by following my R3 Real Life phase

On December 31, I was 145 pounds.

I’m happy about the weight loss, especially since I wasn’t allowed any workouts other than walking my chihuahua. I admit I feel better about myself now that i’m closer to my ideal weight. My shoulder needs to finish healing, before I can go back to swimming, water running and rowing, to stay fit, but I’ll get there with R3. I want to lose the last 15-20 pounds for my ideal weight.

Today Im ready to start the January 2023 challenge on January 16. Who is ready to join me?

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