Monday, February 17 was the 15th anniversary of my "accident" on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Last year, around this time, I wrote a blog entitled Things I Have Learned. Recently, I received a stark reminder of something that I hadn't learned or at least had refused to acknowledge. The last blog I wrote was about a dog sled ride I took February 1st. It was a beautiful ride and a wonderful time, but in the context of that ride, I finally acknowledged that I had lost control over my weight. Not only was it affecting my wife and my caretakers, but it was also affecting my enjoyment of the things that I love to do. As I have stated so many times in my writings control is a major issue for me and probably almost anyone who has a disability. I prided myself on the way I had taken control of many of the frustrations and limitations that were placed on me by my quadriplegia. I knew I was overweight, but I had found reasons to excuse it. Such as, my condition limits my ability to exercise or I have greatly limited my food intake from what it was prior to my accident or eating is something that I can do that I really enjoy. But in reality all of these were excuses!
Prior to my “accident” I was very physically active and 6'5" tall, which allowed me to consume a great amount of food and maintain a body
weight between 215 and 220 pounds. During my struggle to survive, my weight plummeted to around 180 pounds. When I returned home after six months of rehabilitation I was still under what had been my normal weight. In the beginning, there was no need for me to curb my appetite. Quite the opposite I was being encouraged to regain the weight that I had lost. My weight began to creep up, but I was unable to hold it in check even though I made a serious effort to control the amount of food and portions I ate. Over a period of years my weight grew to over 260 pounds. A couple times I made an effort to restrict my caloric intake but was unable to maintain the effort for any length of time.
The problems I encountered on the dog sled ride caused me to realize my situation and make a mental commitment to change my lifestyle, reduce my weight and increase my physical activity. In other words, take control. This must be a change lasting the rest of my life and I know it. With the mental decision made I turned to a weight loss app I have used before.
Lose It, which I wrote about in an earlier blog Have I Got An App For You is already helping. While not designed for people with disabilities it is easy to adapt for people in unique circumstances. My activity level is increasing and my weight has begun to drop. There is a great difference between talking about doing something and making the mental commitment to do it.