By Jennifer

I never intended for this to be a two-parter, as you could probably guess from my first post. But I had an experience last week that led to the realization that I still have hangups about asking for help in my life. I wanted to share this experience with you.

I don’t talk about it, but I live my life in constant pain of some kind. Weather it be pain in my back, in my hips, my knees, or my hands, it’s always there. It’s almost never enough to be dibilitating, but it’s always enough to be an annoyance. I can’t do high-impact exercise (I hate that because I LOVED Zumba). I can’t run. I can’t dance like I used to (another thing that saddens me – I used to love to dance, too). For a long time, I thought it was my weight causing these issues. I thought that once the weight was gone that I’d be able to start doing all these things again and that my mobility would magically morph into me becoming a prima ballerina or contortionist. Needless to day, not only did that NOT happen, but my extreme weight loss seemed to have an adverse reaction to my body. My mobility actually went DOWN. There are some things that are much better – my heart rate is better, I don’t get winded as easy. But when it comes to my muscles and joints … well, let’s just say that I’ve gotten used to walking like an 80 year old woman some days.

One day last week was one such day. I had a day unlike any that I had ever had before.
I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk. I could barely sit up.
It scared the hell out of me.
Here I am, an (almost) 40 year old woman, who is about to have to start using a walker.
I cried the majority of the day because even menial tasks – getting dressed, brushing my teeth, even TYPING – shot waves of pain through my body.
It was terrifying. It was excruciating.

I want you to know that I am not posting this as a plea for sympathy. In fact, just the opposite. I want you to take this as a life-lesson that, prayerfully, you don’t have to learn on your own.
The fact is, I was not taking good care of myself.

I was eating poorly, and I was, flat out, trying to do too much on my own.
For the last week I had been trying to do it all – I had been doing everything in my household, working 7 Bites AND working on my husband’s and my business. And not once did I say, “Hey, would someone unload the dishwasher?”
My diet for the last month had been primarily processed foods – cheap food cooked in 10 minutes or less.
And I hadn’t been drinking my water or taking my vitamins properly.

I had a full 24 hour period where I could do absolutely nothing but rely on other people.
Sometimes God teaches us a lesson in strange ways …

It’s important for us to take care of ourselves. If we don’t care for ourselves, how can we expect to take care of anyone else?
Did you know that autoimmune disorders and other disorders such as fibromyalgia can be triggered by surgery and/or extreme weight loss? When you have bariatric surgery, there are two factors.
It’s important to note here that not every bariatric patient experiences this – and most don’t.
But many do.
Poor diet choices, poor hydration, not taking vitamins, not getting ANY movement … these are all factors as well.

As of now, I am undergoing dietary changes to find if there are food triggers causing my issues. I am increasing my mobility with GENTLE movement (i.e. water aerobics, stretching, yoga, walking, etc.). And I am drinking lots of water. While I may never be pain free, I know that these things are all helping keep it manageable.

And … I’ve learned that sometimes I HAVE to ask for help. I CAN’T do it all.

Take care of yourselves, friends. Nourish yourselves. Be sweet to yourselves. And love yourselves.