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  1. Guatemala was amazing. It's such an incredible country, full of natural beauty and vibrant indigenous culture, and the people are extremely welcoming. It's very poor, and has a tragic history, but there's a lot of joy there nonetheless. After 15 years (my last trip there), some things have changed quite a lot: more tourism, better tourist infrastructure, not so off-the-beaten-path feeling.

    NSVs of the trip:

    • Sitting on a plane for hours is a lot less awful at my current weight. I didn't feel like I was overflowing onto anyone else and my hips had room. That was fantastic. 
    • Being really active was soooooo much easier - from climbing Mayan pyramids to hiking to kayaking (particularly getting in and out of the kayak!) to just plain old walking a lot, I was able to enjoy the trip to its fullest due to my better physical health.
    • I look pretty good in the trip photos! I have avoided being photographed for a while now due to hating how I look, so this is great. Lots of photos, and I look *fine* in them. No cringing.
    • I was able to eat. Not perfectly on plan, but generally enough food, and not much in the way of junk - a couple of french fries here and there, a few tortilla chips. Bars and shakes were necessary to keep the protein up. I ate a lot of eggs and beans and queso fresco and avocado.
    • I'm feeling kind of normal-sized now - I certainly want to lose more weight, but I feel like an overweight person who doesn't stand out instead of like a fat person who people might stare at. This helped me to just feel more relaxed and happy the whole time. 

    I was gone for 17 days and didn't weigh myself for that whole stretch, which of course completely messes up my beautiful beautiful precious spreadsheet. I was gone on my 5 month surgiversary (the 14th) so I don't have a spot-on five month milestone (sad emoji). So, this morning I weighed in at 201.8, which is down 8 pounds from the day I left - not too shabby for a vacation! That puts me sooooooo close to onederland. I was kind of secretly hoping I'd have passed that threshold by the time I got back, but 10 pounds in two weeks is a big ask. That puts my (a little bit more than) month's loss at 15 pounds. That's about how much I've mostly been losing per month, but now that I'm down almost 90 pounds (what????!!!!) it's a lot more, proportionally speaking, so it's more obvious. I've got about 50 pounds to go until my current goal weight - I'll see as I get closer how I feel about it as a final ending point. A little higher? A little lower? Secretly hoping a little lower.

    Eating was a bit of a pain in the butt. I got really sick of the bars and shakes. Breakfast was easy - the typical breakfast in Guatemala is black beans, eggs, queso fresco, fried plantains, and tortillas (plus maybe avocado). Get rid of the tortillas (I tried them but sadly they kind of gum up my stomach and make it so I don't eat any more) and I'm good. I even ate some of the fried plantains most days - the oil didn't make me dump, and I was needing the calories, since my food intake was pretty low for most of the trip. Lunch or dinner in restaurants every stinking day was a bit more of a slog. I could eat vegetarian most places, since Guatemala is on the hippie backpacker trail, but vegetarian and low-carb are mostly mutually exclusive there, as with most places. I ate a fair number of salads with a bit of cheese and/or egg, I ate the toppings off a slice of pizza a couple of times, I attempted felafel once (the crispy nature of it just DID NOT SETTLE and I was so lucky as to see it again very soon after dinner), and I ate the tuna out of a couple of tuna sandwiches. I had some shrimp and some fish. It was a bit tedious trying to figure out how to work the menus, though. It did make me realize that I can have fun on vacation without being very excited about what I was eating, which is great.

    I drank alcohol twice: one glass of white wine for my birthday in Antigua, which knocked me for a loop, but it was OK. I also had a sip of "caldo de frutas" (a brandy sort of drink that is bright pink from hibiscus flowers and has fruit chunks marinating in it) in a small town, accompanied by a bite of the fruit. I kind of had to - it was being served to me by the man who made it, and he really wanted me to like it. The bite of fruit had enough alcohol and sugar in it that I feared a dumping episode was on its way :blink: It wasn't, I was OK, but it certainly messed up my Spanish noun/adjective agreements for an hour or so (I was having a long conversation with my guide on church architecture and history - he was laughing and correcting me, fun for all).

    Exercise was hit or miss. Some days I walked a LOT (25,000 steps on my biggest day). Some days I spent a lot of time in various modes of transport. Looking at my Fitbit data, I got at least 10,000 steps almost every day. Pretty good. Mostly the good thing was that I was able to keep up with my much more physically fit friends, even when it was 95 degrees with 90% humidity! I would have died trying to do this vacation 6 months ago. Actually, I just never would have gone :(

    We spent several days walking around Mayan sites in the Peten (on the Yucatan Peninsula). We climbed to the top of Temple IV to watch the sun rise one day - gorgeous. We listened to howler monkeys shrieking in the trees and saw toucans and parrots flying overhead in the jungle. We toured around highland villages, watched locals devote themselves to a Mayan/Catholic hybrid local saint (Maximon) by giving him money and making him smoke cigarettes and drink the local firewater. We explored the many villages of Lake Atitlan by boat, observing the language and cultural differences between them, despite their proximity to each other in their unique location under three volcanoes. We stayed in a tiny isolated village with no cars and listened to the dogs bark, children play, turkeys gobble, roosters crow, and watched a massive lightning storm burst to life above the volcanoes across the lake from us. We entered 500 year old churches and saw the ancient saints dressed in Mayan clothing, just like the worshippers. We visited several markets and ate street food at stalls with local farmers, conversing in Spanish, which was a second language to all of us, as they are mostly Mayan speakers.  We watched a volcano erupt. We spent many long hours in good conversation. It was a great vacation! 

    Honestly, the simple fact that I went on this vacation at all is an NSV. I kept thinking that the whole time. 








  2. Oh, we've all been to those wretched team building outings....playing "get to know you" bonding games with the mean girls in the next office or the jocks in the next cubicle. Undoubtedly, you were asked to complete ropes courses blindfolded or lift one of your coworkers using one finger each. (Complete nightmare scenarios!!)

    But, there's a part of those team-building sessions that simply intrigues me...the part where, by some sort of interactive questioning, you find out How much you have in common with others. 

    Last night, my best friend (that grew up across the country from this army brat) revealed to me that, as a child, she would also stick the Chiquita banana sticker to her forehead, between her eyebrows, where it belongs. I was stunned, thinking that me and my sisters were the only weirdos that fought over that darn sticker, the winner triumphantly strutting out of the grocery store ahead of the tearful runners up.

    Then it dawned on me.....what if my weirdness isn't actual weirdness. What is my strange behavior is actually widespread. So, friends, let's play a sure to copy and paste your answers, so we can all see how we common our "odd" WLS behavior is:

    (answer yes or no....and feel free to add your own peculariarities to your answer list)

    1. Have you ever stood in the mirror, sideways, and tried like heck to pull your stomach behind you, so you'll see what you eventually look like??

    2. Have you ever sucked in your cheeks and stretched your face toward your ears on both sides, trying to see what your thinner face will look like?

    3. Have you ever worried that the loose skin under your chin will someday look like a V? (Mostly because that's what happened to the character Fat B****** on Austin Powers---still can't get that line out of my head)

    4.  Have you ever played  the "Honey, am I her size?" game with your significant other or basically anyone else that will play with you?

    5. Have you ever weighed yourself before AND after going #2, to see if it makes you lose a little more that day?? 

    6. Have you ever tried on a garment of your child or much-smaller spouse just to see if it would zip?

    7. Have you ever celebrated because the weight you gave to the DMV to put on your driver's license is no longer a lie?? (Still my favorite NSV)

    8. Have you ever played with a BMI calculator to see exactly how many pounds you'd have to lose in order to be considered "underweight" if for only a moment?? (Okay, maybe this one is just me...)

    9. Have you ever wanted to buy a plane ticket just because you no longer need the seat belt extensions?

    10. Have you ever had people take naked pix of you, just so you could see exactly what you look like from every angle, now? (And then frantically erase them while making the photographer swear to have a spontaneous bout of amnesia)


    Needless to say, my YES score is 10/10. But, I'm willing to bet that my odd WLS behavior isn't so very different from many of yours. And, for those of you whose WLS oddities have not yet manifested and are currently giggling at the thought of weighing yourself after using the potty, just wait....some day, you'll remember this blog as you stand on a step-stool, manipulating your shrinking tummy in the mirror to see your future self...


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    I share my office with another nurse, who lost 70 pounds last year after a visit to her doctor put her in the prediabetes range. She ate a ketogenic diet for 6 months and dropped it all. Since taking a desk job and stressing about a few things in her life, she's gained some of it back - and while she constantly talks a good game about needing to get the weight off, she's also one of those "frenemies" who constantly tries to push you into eating something. I don't think she does it meanly, I think she wants me to keep eating the way I used to because then I was her excuse, you know? "Delila ate x, so I ate some too!" But for the past couple months I pack a healthy lunch most days and this seems to have almost made her more aggressive. 

    Yesterdayy, I ate what I take pretty often - chicken salad that I fork onto small slices of cucumber to eat. It's a nice meal to try to focus on eating slowly and listening to hunger signals, and the cucumber helps keep me from wanting to drink too soon. She asked me three times if I wanted anything from a local sandwich shop and I told her no, pointing at my lunch. She said, semi sarcastically, "Oh, so healthy" and rolled her eyes. My boss also brought in brownies as its been one year since our office opened, and my officemate started in about that too, that I wasnt going to have "at least some?". Mondays are my official weigh in days for my pre-op program, and she knows as such. She offered me a pickle as well, and when I declined I got a rather harsh "Pickles don't even have calories!" I've tried explaining before it isn't about the calories - it's about the fact I'm satiated and don't need anything further, but it just falls on deaf ears. 
    I finally told her it had to stop yesterday. I despise personal confrontation. If someone is interfering with a patient, I'll be on your butt so quick you can't even blink, but when it comes to defending myself...not so much. Asking her to stop and respect that I'm doing what I need to do to get healthier was super hard, and she took it wrong ("I'm just saying a little brownie won't hurt you, I don't know why you're so upset" etc) and we sat in an awkward silence until it was time to leave. I can suffer through some awkward silence for awhile if it means the badgering stops, though. I have enough food demons to battle without someone I sit next to 8 hours a day encouraging them!
    TLDR: badgering coworker finally put in her place (kinda). 
    I also had my weekly class last night. Only a few ounces lost, but between hormones (TOM) and having a broken foot reducing my activity, I'll take it. At least its not a gain!  Last night's topic was "Self Care". Was pretty interesting to see everyone's different definitions and rituals for psychological, emotional, and relationship self care and how it can relate to weight loss. Several people graduated over the last couple weeks, so our class is a bit smaller now and kinda cozy with each other - its made it less of a chore to attend for sure!
    Puppy tax for long winded personal issues posting :D This is my patriotic pupper, Wifi. 


  3. Nothing really new to share as of late. I noticed today that in exactly 3 weeks, I finally see the doctor to get the ball rolling. I can not wait! In the mean time, I've been researching surgeons, diets, and other tools needed for this journey. I've even somewhat binge watched My 600 lb Life on TLC.  It's not a bad show. Somewhat educational and such. In each show, you see the life of a person as they prepare and deal with WLS. Each show consists of a year.

    I've also have been forcing myself to eat veggies. The only ones I like are beans, tomatoes, lettuce and potatoes. I'm trying to expand my tastes. Starting with celery. It's not bad with peanut butter. When I was a child, my mother never really insisted we eat veggies. She tried on occasion to get us to eat corn and peas but I just couldn't get into them. I hate onions. So, this 6 month diet will be challenging in regards to that.

    I've also started walking more. It's been really hot, though. The only time I can is late evening. I've been trying to distract myself with hobbies but my mind always returns to this. 3 weeks feels like forever!

  4. Deciding to undergo WLS is one of the biggest decisions I'll ever make in my lifetime.  The mental journey that accompanies this process is so very interesting.  I'm finding that it is not just about the food choices; it is a deeply personal experience that creates the need for much self-reflection in order to have the maximum chance for long-term success.  Here are some things I've uncovered about myself in just a few short months (I am lucky in that my insurance situation is such that once I was motivated enough to go to an information meeting, following the steps made this a relatively short process, compared to what I've read that others have had to endure...feeling very fortunate on this).

    I have spent a large part of my adult life utilizing socially acceptable constructs to allow me to hyper-focus on food.  I have been a vegetarian, not a vegetarian, cookbook collector, a food politics advocate (say no to GMOs!), a CSA (community sustained agriculture) participant, a farmers market faithful, pinterest recipe queen (having categories as specific as Scones), a foodie, a canner, and the family member who loves to host big family gatherings and express my "love" in the form of massive, delicious meals that people couldn't stop raving about or eating.  My identity, aside from my profession, has been almost completely wrapped up in food.  While it seems very obvious now, I never realized I was doing that until now.

    While my aforementioned best friend, Food, and I were keeping ourselves busy, I was at the same time isolating myself and neglecting my health.   Over time I felt less and less worthy of spending time, energy or money on self-care, and that I shouldn't subject people who weren't family to have to spend time with me.  I felt like my body didn't deserve to wear things like jewelry or make-up.  Clothes had become as utilitarian as possible, both from lack of options and interest.

    The more diet plans one tries and the older one gets, the harder it is to gear yourself up for another one.  We know where they end up, ALWAYS with a net gain.  As I contemplated whether to have the surgery or not, this was a huge deciding factor.  The pre-op diet was very easy for me; I did not feel deprived or hungry (I should disclose that it was only 8 days long compared to the months or longer required by some drs or insurance companies I've read about on TTF), but I kept having the thought that if I can do this now, why can't I just do this without the surgery?  Since my surgery, I've noted various situations or encounters with food and thought, had I not had surgery and was just on a restrictive plan, I would have gone off of it at these points, reaffirming that this was indeed a tool that I needed.

    I had to face the fact that I have successfully accomplished most of the other goals I have ever set for myself and the weight loss battle remained elusive.  What were the chances that someone with a middle aged metabolism and a long history of unsuccessful eating programs was going to succeed without this bigger step?  Less than 5%...

    The odds not in my favor for going it alone, I decided I needed to go for it even though I have spent the majority of my life seeking alternative medical solutions; my chiropractor was essentially my PCP for most of my life.   I did a lot of research, read blogs and forums, watched YouTube videos, had a moment when I found out about the probable hair loss and a few other things, but ultimately made it to my surgery date feeling ready, calm and dare I say, excited about the possibility of success.  

    My surgery and hospital stay went very well.  I was surprised at how it felt to be cared for by nurses, my husband, my friends and family.  That is usually the role that I play, so receiving that from others felt foreign at first and I had to reassure myself that I was worthy of that care.  I have found that the intense focus on caring for myself after surgery, the routines with meds, nutrition, exercise, are contributing to that rebuild of worthiness as well.  

    So my next step is to properly frame a new relationship with Food.  It can't be eliminated; so it must be dealt with.  Instead of depending on Food to help me fit in to areas in life I thought I wanted to be in such as food preservation groups and best meal preparer for those in need, it must take the role of providing some of the care I need to take of myself.  It has to provide true nourishment and not be exploited as a temporary emotional buffer or way to focus on eating without signing up for something gross like a hot dog eating contest.  

    Today is my first day off of clear liquids.  Starting today I get to choose each and every day what the new food relationship will be.



  5. nimiety
    Latest Entry

    Where "it" is both this bloglet and its author.

    Things are a little bit bananas over here. It is hard to figure out where to start.

    My relationship is over. We met seven years ago tomorrow, on the Brooklyn rooftop where last night I drank wine and ate scallops and corn and heirloom tomatoes with my friends, and now it is over. It feels like my life is crumbling around my ears. I feel at sea in so many ways. I do not love my ex-boyfriend less than I did. I will miss him terribly, and we are going to try to stay in each other's lives. But our partnership is over, and I am going to have to grieve it. My previous serious breakup did not make me feel all these horrible things, so I am in uncharted territory. 

    I am also in uncharted body territory. I'm under 195, and I went to a wedding a couple weekends ago wearing a size 14 dress from J. Crew. Today I strolled out of the house in size 14 Gap skinny jeans—which I believe is the first time I've worn pants not to the gym in oh, round about eleven or twelve years. My experience of the world is changing. 

    My behavioral baseline is changing too, and that's something I'm thinking about—how much I need to work to keep myself in "active loss" mode, and how much I can let myself start moving towards a behavioral mode that will let the chips fall where they may, weight-wise. I'd definitely like to lose another 20-30 pounds. 

    And the loose skin has started to drive me nuts. I signed up for RealSelf and started reading plastic surgery reviews.

    And honestly, I want to put all those things out there and up here, but that's just about as much depth as I can handle tonight. I hope everyone is doing well. I'll be back sooner rather than later.

  6. like_rain_to_sea
    Latest Entry

    I'm one of those people that weighs hardly ever. Its been a weird trigger for me in the past and I'd rather avoid that. So I am determined to only weigh myself at appointments and on the first of every month.

    My total weight loss so far since the start of January is 46.5 pounds (or three stone). 23 of those have been since my surgery on the 11th of May. I have also lost 17.5 inches total from various parts of my body. All in all a pretty good result. I am just happy it is coming off. I still can't eat a lot so my portion sizes remain quite small. It means I am basically eating all protein to make sure I am getting enough in. But drinking all my water in has been no problem so far.

    Had my first group appointment the other day and that was interesting. We talked a lot about nutrition and our medications and things like that. Pretty good stuff. Feeling very lucky and fortunate that my journey hasn't been as hard as some others, also a little guilty too. But I know its a different journey for everyone. 

  7. Sunday I will begin my 2-week "diet" before surgery. My clinic does not require an all-liquid diet, just super low-carb - under 20g a day. This past month I have been working and lowering, and lowering, and lowering my carb intake. I haven't had any alcohol for over a month and I haven't had any sugar in a month except for fresh strawberries and a small squirt of whipped cream once a week. I know this is the final prep to shrink the fat around my liver and make surgery safer. I am taking this very seriously. Sunday is the final stretch toward this goal of getting surgery. It's been a hell of a 10 months to get to this point.

    Saturday night, however...

    I've planned for one final night of indulgence. My best friend and I are going to have a party night together. Have lots of alcoholic drinks, lots of greasy food at our favorite dirty diner, sing karaoke, and a final indulgence of Cheesecake Factory. She's not interested in surgery but she is interested in improving her health and losing weight. This Last HURRAH is for us both.

    I have already picked up the Cheesecake slices for us and I will say that I almost didn't. I had some very intense feelings of embarrassment about going to the restaurant just to order from the to-go counter and take the big bag of cheesecakes on the bus home. I wanted to order the slices online using a delivery service app but the slices my friend wanted were both limited edition and only available in the store. I couldn't order them online. I work exactly 2 blocks away from Cheesecake Factory and walk by it almost every day on my way to the bus. In the 15 years I have worked here I have only been there probably 5 times. It truly is a rare indulgence, and that is 100% due to the shame I feel whenever I go there. I even felt shame about it the ONE time I ordered online to eat in the privacy of my home because a delivery person would had to bring it to me. The place is just so over the top with large portions and once slice of cake has the caloric intake for 2 whole days of food. The last thing I want is for someone to see me, the morbidly obese person that I am, buying 4 slices of cheesecake. The judgment of strangers shouldn't matter to me, and it normally doesn't, but I was really struck with the realization that I was judging myself. I was buying 4 slices of cheesecake with the full intention of pigging out on them this weekend. It's disgusting. I'm disgusted with myself. I don't even want to eat the stupid cheesecake now.

    So me and my best friend are going to go out and have one last party night. I may or may not eat a greasy cheeseburger. I may or may not drink a lot of alcohol. The cheesecake might end up in the trashcan. I don't need it. I don't need it ever again.

  8. Hi everyone!


    So, I got a new lens! It's something I've been wanting for a really.. really.. really long time, and I hardly ever treat myself, but I bit the bullet, closed my eyes, and ordered it. I am thrilled. Thrilled with my lens, it's awesome. However, I am not able to take Selfies with it, alas.. Here are the last selfies from my other lens : 


    Goodbye old lens (No I still will use it, but I LOVE this new lens) It's a telephoto lens... So.. I took a picture of this dragonfly today. 


    That's from about 6 feet away.. And here it is fully zoomed in :


    Aww.. so excited! I did try to get a picture of the waterfall and failed but it's an interesting shot of water nonetheless : 


    I am still learning how to use it, I took some shots of myself, and they all failed spectacularly :

    sxVRVd5b.jpg GaG4CgRb.jpg CoUz9qzb.jpg

    From this not big they look okay, but really they are all out of focus. Which is fine, just frustrating. Regardless.. Today I went on a short hike. I've been meaning to do more, but the past two weeks have been hectic. My kids are out of school, my landlord called and informed us that he sold our place, so we may be asked to move shortly, which sucks, We've been here 9 years, my youngest has summer school for reading, and speech therapy, and we are in the middle of a heat wave, the other day it was 110!! I did go to a lake on Monday, but I didn't take any pictures, it was incredibly hot, and I ended up swimming out the middle of the lake with my daughter on my lap (using an inter-tube), and was exhausted. So, I've not had the time or the inclination to go out and walk, but while Kira was at school today, I went out. The trail I went on is the PGE ditch, it apparently goes all the way to Lyons Dam, (Which is about an 8 mile hike), but I didn't have time to go that far. A strange shift of perception.. (I'll get to my point in a moment)

    Here is the beginning of the trail : 


    And about a quarter mile up the bend, or a little further is this : 


    And walking across it is very high, but very pretty (apparently, when you get to the end of the trail, it's a mile walk along 200ft up, similar to this, Oh I can't wait) : 


    Now, before I lost weight (And here is my point), that minor walk, felt like it took forever. I was winded, and hurting when I got to this, point, and ready to go back. Today, getting there, was quick, and easy and I couldn't believe how short it was, and how easy my body was able to make it there. It was slightly shocking. 

    Anyways, I went about 2 miles, I wanted to go further, and I will, but I had to head back to get Kira from school.. Here are some more shots of the ditch/trail : 




    And one more shot using the new zoom on the lens.. This bird was about 50 feet away! 


    I will have to finish figuring out how to use it, but I am still so happy with it. 

    And on a side last note.. Kira got a new headset, which she loves, and it's made my other daughter Brin, jealous : 


  9. Today 5 years ago I had my bypass and it was the best choice I made. Were there ups and downs? Yes but I have no regrets. I was 300 lbs and now 180. I got as low as 150 which was a healthy weight but looked sickly on me. Where I am now, I am happy. I feel and look good. My high blood pressure is no longer an issue. And my fear of getting diabetes has been pushed aside. Tomorrow is my workout day and I am looking forward to going there and staying as fit as I can. 


  10. lightenupwoman
    Latest Entry

    The best thing about getting a divorce was moving to this complex that has the nicest pool ever. I think my daughter and I have been every day since it opened. No kidding. 

    I was just thinking it is so nice to just swim and not feel self conscious about being over weight. And to not get winded or something when I'm playing with my daughter. 

    At the same time, the typical female brain of a woman living in this culture starts doing really annoying things. Like looking at other women's bodies and missing my curves, missing my larger size breasts, looking at women in bikinis with totally flat stomachs and realizing I will never have that. I just wish when I was young and thin I would have appreciated my body for one damn day! 

    Oh well I tell myself I need to love myself. I didn't have surgery to look good, I did it to feel good. And I need to love the fact that I made the right choice for me. This surgery was so life changing. 

    I live in an area where half the people at least are from other countries. And so there are many times I am literally the only white American at the pool, which is fine, that's how I like things to be, I've always tried to put myself into situations where there is a lot of diversity. One thing that really bothers me is that the women from some countries apparently aren't allowed to swim. But their  husbands can. And I just feel like it's so unfair. I have seen everything from a woman wearing a sari, a woman wearing the full on hijab with the full body gown/dress thing sweating by the side of the pool, and then just women who apparently have to wear long pants and three quarter length sleeves at all times. 

    And I look at them, then look at their husbands, and I just feel like this is shitty. This is so shitty. And then I wonder what they think of me, not just me, I wear a suit that has swim shorts and a tank top type thing, it's more sporty than sexy. But then you see women with huge breasts with them just hanging out or suits with almost butt floss. And I wonder what these women are really thinking, are they feeling like we American women are slutty? Does it bother them that their husbands can see us but they have to sit there in the heat and just watch their families have fun? I do have to say the husbands don't seem to notice the American women, they feel very safe and like they aren't pervs or anything. I'm not trying to say that at all. Most of them are focused on their kids and it's cute to see.

    Or who knows, maybe the moms are thinking about something else and it doesn't bother them or they are so devout that this is their religion and this is how it is, this is their role and they wouldn't want anyone to feel sorry for them. 

    I love swimming and if I couldn't swim because it was supposedly wrong for me to show my legs and arms in public, I would be so sad. 


  11. Regina2

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    Hi I had my surgery on 4/4.  I had complications - my esophagus was perforated during surgery resulting in a second surgery you the next day to have a stent inserted into my esophagus so it could heal and a third surgery 5 1/2 weeks later to have the stent removed.  While the stent was in eating was a challenge and I threw up or heaved for weeks so I kinds missed the stages of purée and soft mostly i don't remember because of all the meds but lost almost 40 lbs. It was pretty miserable and I am still having some issues because of the perforation, that coupled with missing food I am weepy and feel sorry for myself way to much!  I read how people are so glad to have had wls and it was the best decision and I hope to feel that way soon.  I have gotten a little better with missing food but then I have a bad days with the health problems because of the surgery and it brings me down and I wonder what in the world I have done to myself.  Since the stent was removed and I actually began eating I have lost about 7 lbs in a month.  One problem I am having in particular is constipation! Yikes I think my body forgot how to poop!  I am adding benefiber but I have to add a laxative at least every other night.  Any advice on this particular issue would be appreciated! So that's my basic story, I have been reading forums and it does help but this is the first time I wrote about my journey.

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    I've never been great at managing a blog, but I plan to keep a short blog to reference days and details as I go through this journey. I attended a "Weight Loss Surgical Informational Session" hosted by Via Christi last night, which after my obsessive reaching lately, did help ease my nerves a bit. I have mixed emotions: 

    • Excitement - Ready to get the ball rolling, excited to see results 
    • Embarrassment - Haven't discussed this with anyone outside of my parents, who were the ones to bring it up to me, and my husband. I somewhat feel like I'm taking the "easy way out". Since I don't know anyone who's personally had this, I fear stigma of people gossiping behind my back about my weight loss. 
    • A mild amount of fear - What if I regret this? What if something goes wrong? Will I ever be able to eat my favorite foods again? 

    I'm not too worried about the procedure itself (leaning more towards the gastric sleeve at the moment), but moreso the healing process after and the whole post-op stage as a whole. 

    Weight: 249.6 lbs 
    BMI per CDC: 48.7

    "For your height, a normal weight range would be from 95 to 128 pounds." It's been a good 10 years since I've seen that on the scale, so I have a long way to go. 


    8:00 a.m. - Pre-workout 
    9:30 a.m. - Protein shake made w/ 6oz of almond milk
    9:45 a.m. - 2 scrambled eggs with cheese (est. 288 cal. per MyFitnessPal) 
    1:15 p.m. - Nutrisystem Chicken Parmesan (270 cal) 
    2:00 p.m. - 13 Apple Cinnamon rice crisps (120 cal) 
    4:30 p.m. - Sugar free lemon lime jello (10 cal) 
    8:00 p.m. - 4 oz teriyaki chicken / 0.5 cup jasmine rice 


  12. I grew up in upstate NY, one of 3 children; an older sister and a younger brother.  Yes I was the typical middle child; self-sufficient, lots of friends and all about going to school for the social side!  I wasn't overweight as a child, kind of gangly and Tom boyish, playing in the woods behind my house!  It was a good childhood, family camping, trips to zoos and parks and the occasional vacation to Wisconsin or North Carolina or Virginia to visit family members!  Once I hit puberty my body started to change of course but I think I took the widening hips and larger breasts as somethin I needed to tame!  That kind of set me up for failure & I spent way too much time obsessing over my changing body than it warranted.  I spent my teenage years at a normal weight but I couldn't see that!  I married when I was 18 (1 week past my 18th birthday) because I thought I was a grownup and had my 1st child at 19.  By the time I was 27 I had 5 daughters and weighed somewhere south of 180 wasn't a bad weight for me it was just not the weight I wanted to be!  Then we moved to Florida for my husband's job...Florida is a place where you cannot hide your weight, too little clothing!  I have spent the following 20 years going from 175 lbs to 245 or so pounds, up and down with much ease really....gained 20 lbs...try this weight watchers diet....gained by 45 lbs...let's try that herbalife diet.....gained 50 lbs.....let's try phentermine and vit. K shots!!  And then we move to Tennessee two years ago....let me tell you I Love Tennessee!   But we adopted our 5 year old grandaughter and I decided to stay at home after working for a dozen plus years in a fast paced (as in you ran for 12 hrs straight, no sit down breaks or anything remotely like a break) medical floor as an RN.  I started baking our own bread (yum, yum!) And pies and goodies! And quickly ballooned up to 275 within a few months!  It has progressively gotten harder and harder to keep up with my newest charge and I feel guilty because I'm not able to keep up with her.  We went on vacation to NY by way of Gettysburg and I spent the majority of the time being out of breath or just sitting in the vehicle waiting for my husband and grandaughter to return from whatever sight I couldn't even get to!  We went to breakfast to this overpriced cafe that I sat so gingerly in the chair I couldn't enjoy even a moment of that ridiculously over priced food because I was afraid the chair would break!  We rented a rustic cabin for our stay in NY and it was beautiful there, I got to see my family but I ended up with a UTI because she says under her breath, it's hard to perform proper hygiene while in a  rustic cabin (I know TMI!)  I had already decided to try to have WLS before that vacation and it couldn't happen quick enough.  I had gotten to the point of weighing in at 316 lbs, I'm diabetic, have hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis in my back, hips and knees, high blood pressure and needless to say mobility issues and constant pain.  I want to be around to help guide my grandaughter to her adulthood.  I want to be around to enjoy our retirement and enjoy my 10 grandchildren!   I want to kayak and swim and slide downhill and just grow a garden and raise some chickens!!!!  

    I started this journey on August 30th, 2016 when I went to my first consultation at the Vanderbilt center for bariatric surgery and weight loss. I won't kid you the journey from August to finally having surgery on March 31st, 2017 was not easy, but was so worth it!!!   Ten years ago I would have told you you were crazy to say I would have WLS, but now I am so grateful and happy that I have had WLS, it's given me hope for the future that I had lost!!  Here's to a new me and here's to a new you!!!

  13. I finally had my one week follow up appointment this morning! It felt so overdue!

    My initial follow up appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, 2017 and I was so anxious for it. I wanted the doctor to give me the look over and tell me how I was doing for peace of mind. More than that, O felt ready to move and stretch a little beyond walking the 4-5 times a days around my apartment, but the staples kept me back.. I was so tender still around the incision sites that anytime I moved and felt something sting or pull, I sitting out for the count. But I know they were healing because of the itching. Itching is the universal constant for healing wounds and honestly it's the worst tease because you CAN'T scratch at them. Or also in my case: wear a bra, Because one of my incisions was right between my breasts and wearing a bra put pressure on the site and constantly rubbed at it. So for about two weeks I was free-boobing it. (An oddly freeing, but weird feeling without the support)

    Unfortunately, my appointment was pushed back two days until this morning due to an emergency with the physician's assistant. This morning was the first time driving my car in almost two weeks and it did require a little ingenuity to bend in the places I needed to. But I got it all worked out and showed up this morning at the requested 15 minutes early to do the whole check-in and paperwork process, but afterwards ending up waiting almost an 1 hour and 40 minutes passed my appointment time. Just chilling in the waiting room watching Fixer Upper on Tv. I was a little annoyed that they were so far behind schedule, but I was more worried they would tell me we'd have to cancel and reschedule again. I needed the staples OUT! Thankfully it just turned out that he had been caught up in surgery and I headed back for my weigh-in and blood pressure.

    It was a bit of a let down. :( At home I always weigh myself in the morning at the same time before I've eaten breakfast, after I've gone to the restroom, and without any clothes on. I want it to be as consistent and as accurate as possible to just weigh me. And from yesterday to this morning, for some reason that I'm guessing has to do with water weight (I haven't been the greatest at getting beyond 32 ounces yet when I should be at 50 ounces), I went up 1.7 pounds. Well dang. And then at the doctor's office, with the clothes on and everything, it was 3.7 pounds increase. Which sucks to see the numbers, but things are fitting differently and the shape of my body is changing and I'm just going to focus on the non-scale victories for a while. (but still weigh myself for the consistency) My blood pressure was 124/82 which is still in the pre-hypertension range, but it's a bonus in my book because I always free out when I go to the doctor's and the number is inflated from the anxiety. So if it's that high nervous, in chill-mode I'm gonna be in the normal ranges! And I know that as I continue to lose the weight and work on my cardio, the numbers will continue to drop all around.

    And I was nervous to get the staples out despite how much I was excited for it. A hundred irrational fears ran through my mind as I sat in the room waiting, mainly thinking in circles about:

    • Is this going to hurt?
    • Are they going to give me a shot to take the staples out?
    • Have the staples been in so long that the skin has started to grow over?
    • What if I've been over doing it and I've ripped something?
    • What if the staples rip something when they come out?
    • What if my incisions are infected?
    • What if I start bleeding again?
    • What if the incisions haven't closed enough that I have to get new staples or stitches?
    • What if I need to take more blood thinner injections?
    • Is this going to really hurt?

    I could not just settle down and let it go. But the nurse came in, and she was very friendly and all matter of fact about it. I think from start to finish, taking the staples out and putting on the new steri-strips took less than 5 minutes. She had me lay back on the standard examination table found in every doctor's office. I did get to sit propped up at an angle, so not completely flat and feeling vulnerable. I held up my shirt and bra out of the way so she could get to all the incision areas and she started before I even thought she had opened up all the supplies. There was a little bit of pain, but not from removing the staples themselves. On the incisions that had a little bit of dried blood around the staple site, I felt a slight tugging sensation to get the staple out. And depending on how much she had to tug, sometimes it's twinged the incision area. Honestly I caused myself more pain than needed because I tightened up during the procedure, so I overworked my stomach muscles and for about 40 minutes afterwards had some spasms and cramping along the main wound site. Just need to chill and go with the flow more. 

    But now that the staples are out, I am less afraid of sneezing too hard, or sitting down to fast, or stretching, or bending to the side. Driving was still an interesting endeavor after the appointment and will probably continue to be for a while, but I am cleared for full on walking now and I think that will do the most in helping to loosen up all the internal muscle stiffness. And is just in time too. Before my surgery was scheduled, I had signed up for the Warrior Dash 5k this Saturday, April 29, 2017. I know the obstacles are definitely beyond anything I'm ready for at this point, but I'm planning to push myself with the 3.1 miles. Here goes nothing. 

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    Day 4 of the 5DPT: I woke up this morning and I was 207.2. This means I've lost 6.4 lbs in 3 days. I know the 5DPT isn't about losing weight (although it goes hand in hand with eating correctly), but it's always nice to see the scale go down. I will say that today has been the hardest so far - not because i'm hungry, but I didn't have a lot of time to do prep last night for "firm proteins", so I've been living off low-sodium lunch meat and chopped chicken breast IN chicken salad so it's more dense than chicken salad alone. At this rate, a turkey burger tonight sounds amazing.

    So, I have to say - I'm not hungry. I'm not craving any carbs. I've been able to manage my 30-minute liquid cutoff before and after meals. And the 6.4 lbs has been just enough to see some of my clothes actually fit, which is always a motivator. For me, so far the 5DPT has been more of a mental reset than a physical reset, and I actually do feel like I have more confidence that my pouch still works, and that I can stick to the pouch rules and have success again. We'll see how day 5 goes, but dare I say I'm optimistic.

    MORE MOTIVATION: Interesting fact recent posted on Science Daily:  "Obesity resulted in as much as 47 percent more life-years lost than tobacco, and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure, new research has shown." 


  14. Ok, sorry for the Squirts part of the title but I could not resist.  For any of you that have had the Sleeve surgery, you will totally understand what I mean - it is truly liquid in- liquid out at this point. I am now able to have full liquids which includes all soups and protein shakes but within 15 min of drinking any of those, it is time for a dash to the bathroom.  I swear, I have no clue how my body has a chance to absorb any protein with how quickly it goes through me.   Thank goodness for my Isopure protein drinks - they cost $4 a bottle but they are the only thing right now that my new smaller tummy likes.  I use the Grape Frost flavor and mix it with Ocean Spray Diet Cran-Grape juice.  The Isopure by itself has a funny after taste to me but when mixed, I don't notice it.  One bottle of Isopure has 40 grams of protein so it is a great help on trying to hit my 60 grams target.  I am not sure if I am hitting that target this early in but my Dr told me that it is really hard to during this early liquid only stage.

    Now for the good!   I am down 20 lbs since surgery (28 prior to pre-op).  I know I am not supposed to weigh myself each day but it is really hard not to.  I really need to hide the scale away and only bring it out once a week so I don't get frustrated when I have a day where it does not go down.  Overall my pain level is next to nothing now.  I am not having to take any pain meds. My stamina is not fully back yet but I am focused on increasing my activity level a little each day.  I am going on a cruise the end of May so I even ordered a new swimsuit in a smaller size as my incentive to keep my eye on the prize and make the most of this tool.  My Dr said I could start trying puree food this weekend which I am SOOOO ready for. 

    Now for the Bad.... Food Porn - yes I admit I have indulged in it.  For those of you that wonder what the heck I am talking about, I call Food Porn the act of chewing food you can't have and then spitting it out.  A couple of days ago I fixed a home made version of Shake-n-Bake Pork Chops and I could not resist.  I chewed several pieces and enjoyed the act of just chewing something and savored the wonderful tastes, then spit it out.  I of course, did this when no one else was around except for my fluffy side kick, Ginger, who luckily can only bark, not narc.  I have been good since then, but I swear I never realized how many freaking Food commercials there are on TV - when you can't have something I guess that is when you notice it more.  

    I have watched more Game Show Network and put together more puzzles in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 10 years!  I normally am working long hours, traveling frequently, and rushing to my kids events to hardly have a chance to sit down until late at night.  I have been a fish out of water during this recovery.  I will admit it has been nice to ignore my work laptop and not feel guilty.

    I have taken 3 weeks off work so I will go back to my hectic office job next Wednesday.  I probably could have gone back a little sooner but with my frequent dashing to the bathroom, I am glad that I am not there. I will be on full puree foods when I return to work so hopefully this whole squirt mess will be calmed down.  I know TMI but what the heck, this is the one place I can be totally honest since we are all on this same crazy journey!

    That's all for now folks - blog with you again soon!   : - )

  15. Well, the weekend has come and gone and progress has been made in several areas.  Today I am 1 month, 2 weeks, 2 hours and 10 minutes smoke free (as of 10:30 AM). :)  According to my app, I've been smoke free for 961.11 hours, I've saved $200.25 and I've not smoked 1,001 Pall Mall Light 100's (or 5 cartons-worth).  I would reward myself with some type of treat, a movie, some electronics, etc., but unfortunately(?) my wife's budget has cannibalized the 'Cigarette Budget' and added it to the 'New Car Fund'.  Fair enough.  I'd just waste it on crap anyway.

    This weekend was a very productive one, though it almost turned out to be a bust.  Friday evening I let myself go and ate half of a large Pizza Hut pizza.  Maybe you've been there before, and maybe you haven't, but it's a weird experience in retrospect.  I had one slice of pizza, then another, then another and another.  I went to bed with my stomach aching and feeling like a slob and a loser.  I wasn't even that hungry.  It just felt good to eat.  I felt dejected and sad; worse than if I had smoked a cigarette, or even a pack of cigarettes.  Saturday I couldn't do much of anything because we had family over, one of which who has had Bariatric Surgery recently.  We ate pretty sensible on Saturday.  One weird thing I tried that I hadn't tried before was a lettuce wrapped sandwich from Jimmy Johns.  Everyone wanted Jimmy Johns for some reason.  I just ended up pulling the lettuce off and eating the meet and cheese.  The lettuce wrap did not work as intended, in my personal opinion.  It was well done, but too much.

    Sunday, I knew I had to atone.  Luckily it was a very sunny day out, even though it was only in the mid-30's.  I had to run to the office to take care of something I had forgotten about on Friday, and since my office is right on the Ohio River, I figured I'd go for a stroll, and considering I'm not under the constraints of work, I could stroll as long as I wanted.  I sat my Samsung Fit2 for an hour's walk and set out fully intending to walk a lot more than that.  And boy did I walk.  I just kept walking and walking and did a circuit through three cities!  I started in Covington, crossed over into Cincinnati, walked around the newly developed Smale Riverfront Park and passed my beloved Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds.  I did some exploring then crossed a bridge over into Newport, KY and then walked back through to Covington, KY where I started.  My results were as follows:

    Time Spent Walking: 01:36:03 (stopped and started a lot to take pictures)
    Distance: 4.04 mi
    Total Calories Burned: 722 Cal (According to Samsung SHealth)
    Average Speed: 3 MPH
    Max Speed: 5.5 MPH (Damned techno)
    Total Ascent: .59 mi
    Avg. Heart Rate: 119 bpm
    Max. Heart Rate: 146 bpm

    I don't care too much for all of the 'Total Ascent' and some of the other measurements.  I care most for the distance and the time spent.  I know that it's a lot of up and down hill stuff, it's not all flat walking, and I know my average heart rate would be higher but I stopped a lot to take pictures (in the span of 90 minutes I took a total of 75 unique pictures, two movies, and 5 panoramic pictures for reference.  Next time I walk I intend on doing so without the camera.

    At any rate, Sunday I did well on my food log.  I ate ~800 calories and burned about 722 according to Samsung.  If you read this far, can you tell me if you think that is healthy?  I know asking health questions to anyone outside of my doctor is frowned upon, but I'm curious and I feel okay, don't want to bug the physicians unless I'm really feeling funky. 

    Sorry, wanted to get this blog finished before I have to leave for my kid's doctor's appointment.  She's 15 months old today, and I've got a feeling that it's immunization city for her.  Pray that we have a nurse that doesn't drag the process out.  Most nurses can give 3 or 4 jabs in the blink of an eye and I can distract her from them.  The last one put about half a minute or more between each shot and poor baby girl did not appreciate that at all.  Neither did mommy or daddy.

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    I am reporting to the hospital tomorrow at 5:30am central time for my surgery that starts at 8am. Its been an interesting journey so far & I know that journey is only going to get more intense in the next 17 hours. I first saw the dietitian August 15, 2016, weighing in at 397lbs. Before I started my two week (2/21/2017) liquid diet, I was 355lbs. and now today, I am now 335lbs (62 lbs. lighter since August). That is a far cry (91Lbs. difference) from my highest recorded weight of September 2014. 
    I want to say a big thank you to all the admins & those who have given me so much support and advice on here. Onto the next step of this journey,,,,,

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    It's 2am, getting late, and I'm listening to a 90's play list presented to me by Apple Music on iTunes.  It's adult pop of the 90's.  I'm 36.  In 1990 I was 9 or 10 depending on the month.  So the nineties coincided with my tumultuous adolescence.  I was just as crazy as any other teen but perhaps even crazier. That's a story I'll save for some other day.  :-)

    Right now lets focus on this woman I've become.  I'm creative.  I like to paint, bead necklaces, explore new and old music, and I daydream.  I'm pretty and kind of smart.  I never was married and have no kids but revel in my freedom and feel little more than gratefulness when I see my friends and with babies and children because I know my life is easier and my heart is already full.  

    My weight has become major eyesore and health issue.  I'm almost 5-5 and I weigh 324 pounds which means that I basically need to lose 200 pounds. I do have a food addiction and it is somewhat out of control.  If I'm not eating I'm reminiscing about food or plotting my next meal.  I need to grow apart from this addiction because its killing me.  

    I just wonder if I can do it without surgery but the clock is ticking and I know that a diet and exercise will not make me lose as fast as having a sleeve gastrectomy.  I can do both and lose like crazy.  I can undo the harm I've done unto myself over the years in much less time if I subject myself to this.  I just worry that I'll be one of this people who regret their decision at least in part.  I feel like after the surgery, food and I will have a weird, awkward relationship and I won't know who I am anymore. lol.  Food is a part of me like a lover I suppose.  It's been  a lifelong thing between food and I and I've lost many relationships in this life and losing my love and passion for food because I won't be able to take more than a few bites at a time sounds rather like a punishment I don't necessarily deserve.  Or do I?

    I AM one of those people.  I am one of those people who binge-ate like it was a career and didn't care about the consequences.  I refused to exercise most of the time.  Maybe punishment IS what i deserve?  

    I'm planning on getting my surgery in January 2018 so i'll have time to test myself and if needed I can prepare myself for the surgery.  I might not end up getting it if I can kick this problem without a sleeve.  

  16. madre7

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    Hello, I'm new. has anyone had pain like someone "kicked them in the stomach" ? when I wake up, when I drink or not., it doesn't seem to go away, walking helps but it comes right back soon. I had sleeve done on 12/14/2016 and I was wondering if anyone has any ideas that helped them relieve this awful pain. please help, thanks

  17. Warning: horn tooting ahead:

    When I began this bariatric adventure my leg pain and numbness was so bad I could barely walk or stand for five minutes. I had to stop working at a big hospital back East and move home to my family on the West coast. I told the team at the weight loss clinic that my goal was to get down to where I could be back on my feet and get back to work, if not I would have to go on disability.  I'm an ultrasound technologist, so it's long hours on hard floors all around the hospital. Well today, I got a job offer :D from the nice little hospital five minutes from my house. I have worked so hard to be able to stand and walk again. I really think I will be able to do the work.

    Tomorrow I have an appointment to see the surgeon's office for my 6 month follow up from RNY and I get to tell them the good news. I have lost over 100 lbs :D (some of that was pre-op diet) and am somewhere in Twoterville :D. My home scale won't give me a reliable reading, so I don't know exactly where I am. My primary doctor told me a few weeks ago that I am having the best outcome of anyone he has ever worked with through this process. That really helps make me feel good when I worry that I should be losing faster.

    So anyway, not to ramble and brag, but I have hit the century mark, made it to Twoterville, and got a job.  Life is good.


    HIGHEST WT. 261 LBS.


    DATE OF SLEEVE OCT. 21, 2016



















    Clip on the pictures below. The top picture was taken at the end of week 4. The bottom picture was taken the day before surgery . 



    2016-10-29 15.58.55.jpg

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    I haven't been around in a while! Lots of life has happened in the last few months. I got a new (much better) job, my husband and I are moving out of our house because our landlord decided to sell it, and I finished the last of my appointments for all my pre-op requirements last Friday! it's been very stressful and a little overwhelming but I'm trying to deal with it by taking my stress out at the gym rather than in the kitchen.

    Of course there's a problem with my new insurance, because I started a new job & thus got new insurance. It seems like what I have done so far under my old plan is not going to be enough for my new insurance. My prior employer's insurance had a 6-month monitor requirement whereas now I have to have a 12-month program. Thankfully I only lapsed one month because of the job change (I have an allowance of 3 months can be lapsed in the new program). So I think the worst that will happen is that I'm going to have to keep going with the pre-op appointments until April. I hope I can just get a waiver since I completed everything under my old plan, but since I still don't even have my insurance cards I can't be sure what I need to do yet. Until then I'm just going to stick with it, keep exercising & eating right, and keep making monthly appointments until I hear different. 

    It sucks I have to wait 6 MORE MONTHS, but honestly the first 6 went by so quickly it will be April before I know it.

    Now to make sure I don't have any holiday gain!

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    #SelfieLife #Beautiful #FaceBeat #EyebrowsonFleek etc, etc, etc!!!! 

    How many times have I taken a gorgeous photo of my face, hair done, makeup done and posted it to my social media accounts? I can't even count at this point. But the truth is, what about the other portion of my body? Some may say I am "THICK" or "CURVY" or a little extra to hold on to… I pride myself on loose fitting tank tops to disguise the muffin top that I have gradually created for myself. Jeans? I forgot what those were! The thought of trying them on one leg at a time only to get to my hips and either JUMP, shake or suck in my gut to put them on has become a tiring task in its’ self. Leggings have become my new best friend along with flats. FLATS are the new high heel for fashion in my closet! Just the thought of squeezing my now chubby toes into a sexy 5-6 inch heel is tiring enough… Now, I just want everything to SLIDE N GLIDE… slide into my leggings and glide away in my flats… awe the simple life!

    But is it really so simple? I have just been getting by and accepting the unhealthy physical change not even truly knowing that my mental has adjusted to this bad habit as well. I think that I secrete confidence and in reality I am disguising my pain and defeat. I wish I would have thought about it a while ago. I wish I would have known that my SELFIE is SELFLESS without my true worth being the  equivalent to the picture. This is NOT going to be an easy journey, but I can only pray that GOD gives me the strength and courage to make every appointment, to be sure to be as up forth and coming with all of my flaws, to be patient in the process. My goal is not to just be SKINNY! I want to be GREAT in all aspects and not just SLIDE and GLIDE thru life, but to be able to LIVE it…


    Today I go to my 1st VGS seminar with DR. Douglas Khan… today marks the 1st day of my new life… My #SelfieLife will no longer be just a face, but a new self-image ALL THE WAY AROUND!