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It's only the beginning...

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ThriftyTheresa

Feb 28th was the end of my 4th month of the Supervised Weight Loss required by insurance. I did not lose any weight - however - I did not gain any weight, either. I weighed in at exactly the same (give/take a few ounces) as I did at the end of January. I am still at 35lbs under my highest weight. I am not celebrating and I am not upset, either. I still have 2 more months of supervised weight loss before surgery and I am focused on losing more between now and then.

February 3rd was my birthday and I allowed myself to indulge this month without guilt. I had cheesecake multiple times during the month, I had friends take me out for drinks, nachos, brunch throughout the month. My father and I went to Las Vegas to see Cher on Valentine's Day. We ate mostly convenience/fast food and I had cocktails in the casinos. I splurged on Chinese food, Indian food, and Pizza at home. But every time I ate/drank something I tracked it on MyFitnessPal. All the good and all the bad. I tracked it all. I still had "high protein/low carb" on my mind every time I make my food choices. I allowed myself to splurge on certain meals and I would balance that out with healthy choices for the rest of the day/week.

The nurse who I met with for my appointment did not shame me for my "bad month" but actually commended me that I did not gain. She reviewed my entire month of food - all the bad and the good - and she says it shows I can do "maintenance". I don't quite agree with her, because frankly there were times where I was a complete hedonist and binged without abandon. That is something I don't want to do again.

I am not a fan of the "everything in moderation" mindset because I certainly don't want to talk myself into destructive behavior after I have surgery. I don't want to look back on my "last hurrah!" and my "food funerals" had this month and think to myself that it would be OK to go back to poor eating habits with the false bravado that I could "cheat" and not gain. And the nurse said it was OK to cheat from time to time. That false feeling of security is how other WLS patients get regain. I don't want to even entertain that idea that cheating is OK.

I'm a food addict. You don't tell a drug addict that it's OK to have a little heroin from time to time just to treat yourself.

My eyes are firmly on the goal of losing more before surgery. So March 1 I am back on track and so excited to be in Month 5 out of 6!. February is now over and I am back on track. Packed breakfasts, lunches for work. I have healthy dinners planned all week. Anyway...onward and downward!

 

ThriftyTheresa

I've been pretty secretive about this weight loss stuff. I have only told 5 people so far; my father, 3 close friends, and 1 coworker. I keep all of them up to date with my monthly weigh-ins and they have been very supportive of me. I am hesitant to share this process with anyone else - specifically my coworkers because of how judgmental and gossipy they are. I'm wondering at what point people will start to notice my weight loss, my dietary changes, or anything else.

Right now, at a 35lbs loss from my highest weight I can see the differences already in the mirror. My double chin is going away. My clothes are baggier and loose. I don't want to spend money on new pants yet so I have to wear a belt to keep my baggy jeans up. My winter coat is at the point where it is so big and baggy it's not keeping me warm anymore because it puffs out like a tent because it's not touching my hips or waist anymore. I know I am changing, but I am also actively looking to see my changes. No one looks at me like that. To the world, I'm just fat.

10+ years ago me and my best friend worked really hard together and we both lost a lot of weight. We were cooking together and working out together. She lost 60lbs and I lost 50lbs. We were both wearing clothes 3+ sizes smaller. We were feeling great, looking great, and so happy with our progress. We planned a lunch to meet up with a couple of friends we hadn't seen in a long time. We were so excited to see them and excited for them to see our great weight loss. We were both expecting a WOW moment when they would walk in and say "You guys look great!" but that never happened. Neither of the women commented on our appearance for about 2 hours. So we started talking about how we had both lost a bunch of weight and both of the women were all "Oh! Wow! Good job! That's great!" but neither of them realized anything was different when they saw us or hugged us. We were both still fat. We were fat, lost a bunch of weight, and were still fat. All these women saw was me and her were fat. Not as fat as before? They probably couldn't tell the difference. It was very discouraging for us both. We both left that lunch feeling sad that our friends did not have the WOW reaction we were expecting. And not long after that we both started slipping on our healthy eating and we both stopped going to the gym. We both regained all our lost weight plus more over the years.

I've talked about my coworker situation before. I'm not friends with these people. I'm not planning on telling them a dang thing except I am taking time off work for medical reasons. But when will they notice? I've lost 35lbs in 3 months. Has anyone noticed? No one has said anything. On one hand, no one is gossiping about me to my knowledge. If they were gossiping like they usually do I would have heard about it by now. On the other hand, they didn't bat an eyelash when I severely sprained my ankle back in September and was wearing a brace on my leg for 6 weeks. I still limp from time to time and no one ever asks me if I am OK. So what would it take for them to notice me losing weight if they are not even going to notice I have a leg brace on for 6 weeks.

When I lose 100lbs I will still be 253lbs. I will sill be clinically Obese. The closest I have been to that weight was 275 which is where I was when me and my friend had that lunch with those blind ladies. That's only 22lbs different. So if no one noticed my weight loss when I was 275, will they notice when I'm 253? Could I lose 100lbs and not have anyone notice?

Keeping this a secret feels safe to me because I'm safe from judgment, but not being acknowledged for my hard work will be discouraging. I wish I had more people that I felt comfortable sharing this with. I guess that's why I come to forums like this and write blog posts to get my feelings out because I really don't have many safe outlets for my thoughts and feelings, especially with this sensitive and controversial topic of weight loss surgery.

 

ThriftyTheresa

Monday was my 3rd pre-op weigh-in - I lost 5.2lbs in January. That makes 25lbs lost since October and 35lbs lost since my highest weight in 2015. Yay!

Not as great as last month when I lost 10lbs, but I am happy with 5lbs. That's more than 1 pound per week so I am pleased. That is healthy, normal weight loss. I met with the dietician again for this appointment and she was super happy with my progress. Went over my month of food that I printed out from MyFitnessPal and she liked what she saw. She was proud that I was tracking everything, even the "bad" days where I splurged and went over my calorie count or carb count. We discussed vitamins and I got some samples of the chewable vitamins I will need to use after surgery.

Still waiting for my first counseling session. It took 3 weeks for the counseling center to call me and make an appointment. And now I get to wait another 4 weeks to have the appointment. I'm glad I don't have a mental health issue that needs immediate attention because this place is freaking slow to get anything done. I'm trying not to regret my decision to stick with them and wait for my appointment instead of saying "forget it!" and finding somewhere else to go. The location is convenient between work and home. Hopefully the therapist they assign me to is a good fit and it will be worth all this hassle in the end.

Onto Month 4! February is my birthday month and I have a trip to Las Vegas coming up around Valentine's Day. Hoping Sin City doesn't suck me in and ruin my healthy eating. I'm going to bring protein powders and healthy snacks with me. I'm only travelling with my father so the alcohol drinking will be minimum but I will be sure to log it if I do have any. And I'm sure I will burn a lot of calories walking around like I always do on vacation. Looking forward to it.

ThriftyTheresa

I have never been a cook or interested in cooking. Funny enough, I love watching cooking shows and food videos online. Probably because I am a food addict rather than a chef. With my life so far I pretty much only cook when my Dad is coming over to visit. I rarely cook for myself because I live alone and hate the cleanup afterward. Why dirty the dishes when I can grab some fried chicken at the deli or a bowl from Chipotle? This is the kind of thinking I am trying to get away from.

During this pre-op weight loss I am re-learning the types of food I should eat, specifically protein rich and low carb. I've done low fat, low sugar diets before. Having the emphasis on the high protein is new for me. I never realized I was not getting enough protein in my diet, but it makes sense once I think about how much pasta and rice and potato and breads I would usually gravitate toward. Meat was an after thought. But that is changing. I've been reading a lot of blogs and watching a lot of videos for food inspiration and recently I have been trying to cook some stuff at home that I can take to work for breakfasts and lunches.

My favorite thing to make, thus far, has been a chicken crust pizza. Very good and satisfied the pizza cravings while packing in the protein. Last night I tried making cauliflower cheesy breadsticks - dipped in marinara. Those were good too for a pizza craving. I will be trying both of those again because they were very easy to make. I tried making a cauliflower fried rice a couple months ago and I need to try that again. I wasn't happy with the flavor, but flavor can be changed with better spices and ingredients so I don't want to give up on that. Try, try again.

My other favorite thing to make is ANYTHING I can put in a muffin pan. Great portion control. Easy to refrigerate and heat up. I've made 3 different types of egg muffins - a savory Chinese-inspired egg foo yung cup, a fresh crab , spinach & egg cup, and a basic Ham, egg, veggie and cheese cup. All of them great for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners! I also made cheese stuffed turkey meatballs/mini-meatloafs. Those were fantastic.

Last weekend Dad was over and I baked some salmon filets. I forgot how much I love salmon! And it's SO easy to bake. I need to have more of that in my life.

I've never cooked for fun before. Cooking always seemed like drudgery but I am changing my mind about that. And as long as I do the dishes while the food is cooking/baking then I don't worry about the mess(I have to wash by hand, no dish-washer machine). And I mentally count it as activity points because I'm in the kitchen on my feet for a hour or so and not laying on the couch being a potato.

Ugh...don't think about potatoes. I miss potatoes. Is there such thing as low carb potatoes? I'll have to research that.

 

ThriftyTheresa

Saturday I attended my 3rd WLS support group meeting at Swedish First Hill in Seattle. The topic of the day was GOALS and setting SMART goals.

The acronym SMART has several slightly different variations:

S - specific, significant, stretching

M - measurable, meaningful, motivational

A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

Right now my first goal is to lose at least 5lbs per month for the next 4 months. That would put me at 40lbs down, and under 300lbs, before we schedule surgery. I am already at 20lbs down and I am confident this 40lb loss is achievable. The last of my 6-month supervised weight loss appointments is on April 26th, 2017 so that is my deadline for this goal.

Seems reasonable and achievable. More goals will be set up post-op, of course.

In other news, still have not seen a therapist. Had the initial assessment/intake appointment 2 weeks ago and they have not contacted me to meet with a counselor yet. Kind of peeved about that. After we talked about Goals at the support meeting the ladies who run the classes asked us for suggestions for future groups and the overwhelming response was that everyone needs more emotional support and would like the Psych team to present some topics - most classes are run by the Nutritionist team. Most of the attendees are post-op and they are struggling with a lot of emotions. This is why I really want to get a grasp on this emotional stuff while I am still pre-op, to get some coping skills to help me once I become post-op. If I don't hear from the Counseling center this week I am going to get some other referrals from my insurance and find another place to go.

ThriftyTheresa

Friday Dec 30th was my Month #2 Medically Supervised Weight Loss appointment. I lost 9.6lbs in the month of December! That's amazing considering I had a Las Vegas vacation where fast food was the daily routine and I splurged on having wine every night. So almost 10lbs down from last month - that's nearly 30lbs from my highest recorded weight in 2015. I'm so pleased with myself! And yes, I did eat that Indian food on New Year's Eve and it was delicious!

The nurse went over - in HUGE detail - my blood work/labs from September. Pointing out things we want to watch for in the future. I have never had someone explain lab work so completely and really help me understand those numbers. For example, my thyroid numbers have always been "within acceptable range" but she pointed out that the number I have, although within range, is something to watch. Also my cholesterol, even though I have never been told about this before. We will do bloodwork again in February and be able to compare between September and now.

She also provided me with an awesome printout of all my stats from my 3 appointments in October, November, and December to show how EVERYTHING has gone down - weight, measurements, fat %, BMI, and even blood pressure. She says since October I've lost 3.95% of my weight. They like to have at least 5% weight loss before doing surgery and at this rate I will be a star patient. YAY!

So now I am officially in Month 3 of my 6-month plan toward surgery. I'm so happy with what I have accomplished thus far. Onward and upward (or is it downward?) Happy 2017 everybody!

ThriftyTheresa

Nothing much to report this month. I actually have my 2-month weigh in later today at the surgery clinic but felt like blogging now instead of waiting until afterward. Haven't started therapy yet either. Due to holidays, et. al. they couldn't get me scheduled until Tuesday Jan 3rd. So next week I imagine I'll have a pretty big update.

This year has been pretty average. That's a good thing. Nothing terrible has happened to make it bad (other than the Presidential Election) and nothing amazing has happened to make it good. Average is acceptable. No news is good news as they say.

Earlier in the month I took my Dad to Vegas for a short trip. We went for a bingo event and had a really nice time. Not only did we both win some money at Bingo, but Dad also had several large wins on the slot machines and came home with pockets full of cash for the first time in nearly 10 years. Usually he doesn't have a single dollar to his name by the end of the trip. Since we both came home with money we have already booked our next Vegas trip for February. Our Christmas presents to each other were I bought the airfare and he bought tickets to go see Cher. That will be a great time. We have a blast together - he's my favorite travel companion.

Diet-wise, I feel like I am doing OK but know I could be doing better. The numbers are going down on the scale at a decent pace, but I have to admit that I am not 100% complaint. This is something I plan on fully divulging to my nurse later today at the appointment. And something I plan on taking about with the therapist when we get into that as well.

The full truth - On the weekends I kind of go wild with food and indulge in a little too much wine. I don't drink to intoxication, but the empty calories and carbs of 2-3 glasses of wine on a Friday and 2-3 glasses on a Saturday is not something I should be doing. I know this. Any diet I have been on has always had 'cheat days" and my weekends have been a free for all. I find myself pre-planning my weekend binging all week long. I eat clean during the week, have my protein shakes, track every morsel that goes in my mouth, don't go out to lunch with my coworkers, don't buy muffins and donuts in the cafeteria, but the entire week I'm thinking about how Friday after work I am going to treat myself.

This week I have bee completely obsessed with the idea of ordering Indian food. I have not have Indian food for a couple of months and have been craving it for weeks. My fat brain is justifying it by saying "You won't be able to eat this after surgery. Don't deprive yourself now." I want it SO BAD. And I am going to get it. I know it's wrong. I know it's not on plan and I'm going to eat it anyway. I'm probably not even going to feel guilty about it. My Catholic-brain tells me that this is the perfect definition of SIN, but I also know sins are forgiven when we are truly sorry. I just haven't gotten to that sorry part yet.  I'm a sinner - and it's delicious!

There have been several times in the recent months where I will pre-plan binge eating. I have never realized I was a binge eater until recently. I don't always act on these urges but I sure do think about them at a lot. For example, before going to the monthly Bariatric support group at the hospital, my fat-brain tells me that after the class I could walk 3 blocks down to the Piroshky place, or take the bus to Trader Joe's and get some treats. I did not do either of these things and instead I got a ride home where I had a normal, good meal and I was proud of myself for not giving in to temptation. But last week, after work I went to the grocery store and got a bottle of wine and a single serving of cheesecake. I ate a normal, good meal for dinner but I still had wine and cheesecake as a treat. Why did I do that? I didn't need to but I did.

Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on this. I don't sit around a beat myself up about my poor choices, but I want to acknowledge that I do see my poor choices, bad behavior, and hope to get better. That's why I'm entering therapy for food addiction and that's why I'm being honest with my doctors during this pre-surgery process. I have 4 more months before surgery. My New Year's Resolution is to learn from these mistakes and to better prepare myself for the future. Keep making good habits and priority and to lessen the food-reward system I have created for myself with the after-work wine and desserts.

I'm still going to eat that damn Indian food tonight. It's still 2016.

 

ThriftyTheresa

It's been a couple weeks since my Psych evaluation and ever since then I have been tossing around the idea of seeing a therapist/counselor . I have never entertained the idea of seeing a shrink in my life because I do not have a history of depression or other mental illness. But I also never entertained the idea of Weight Loss Surgery until this year...

After talking to the Psych at my surgical clinic I've come to realize how nice it might be to talk to someone, in depth, about my history of obesity, my relationship with food, relationships with others, and also help process my grief about the death of my mother which was directly related to her lifetime of obesity. I skimmed all of these topics with the Psych at the clinic, but overall the interview we had was about my readiness to take the step into surgery and if I was aware of what I was getting into. There's no doubt in my mind that I am ready for surgery - there was no doubt in the Psych's mind either. But the conversation clearly brought up some thoughts in my head that I have been mulling over for 2 weeks now.

I've checked my insurance and found a counseling service nearby that is not affiliated with the hospital and have sent them an "application" to find me someone to talk to. I decided to try this place instead of talking to the other psychs at my weight loss clinic because I want to do this mental health work as a separate thing to the physical work I am doing for surgery and doing them at two different clinics just makes more sense to me.

I like to think I have a support system in place, friends and family, to help me through rough times but I'm warming to the idea of speaking to a third-party who is not going to be an enabler or worry about hurt my feelings. Friends and family mean well but they're not professionals.

So...that's the nuts and bolts of it. Hopefully in the next few days I can have a meeting with someone at the counseling center and see if I will feel comfortable talking to them.

ThriftyTheresa

Officially finished my first of six months Medically Supervised Weight Loss. I was up 1 pound from the week before and will blame that on Stove Top Stuffing which is my Thanksgiving downfall. Me and the nurse went over my last month of food that I have been logging on MyFitnessPal. Her notes to me are that I am focusing too much on calorie restriction and I need to focus on high protein, low carb. I thought I was doing OK but she pointed out a few things that are probably preventing me from losing more on my own. She told me to stop thinking about calories completely - read labels starting with protein and carbs. Don't worry about high fat. Most high-protein foods have high fat but it's not all bad fat. Don't even look at fat. Try to achieve 100g-150g of protein every day. I have been getting under 100g, but usually between 80-90g each day. Try to stay below 100g carbs. This is the same info that the dietician gave me last month but I guess my mind really got caught up with calories so I was under-valuing my intake and not boosting it up with high enough protein. I need to eat more vegetables too. That's a no-duh. I hate most vegetables.

She also said I am eating too much tuna. She said to have no more than 3 servings of tuna a week. Mercury poisoning is a real thing  - LOL! I never really thought about that!

Overall I am pleased with my progress for this first month of doing it on my own. Using the info she gave me I hope that month #2 will be easier and I have my fingers crossed for a higher weight loss this month. But most of all, I want to get these new eating habits to stick and prove to them I will be a good candidate for the surgery.

ThriftyTheresa

I work in a 24/7/365 department and I had to work today - Thanksgiving day. I'm not too upset about it because it's the first time in about 4 years I've had to work today. I'm thankful for having a job and I am thankful for the health insurance that will be funding my bariatric surgery next year when the time comes.

Today I came to work prepared with a decent meal for lunch and snacks. The sugar free black cherry jello is a decent substitution for cranberry sauce. The apple slices are a decent substitution for apple pie. The frozen meal is pretty tasty and not overboard on the carbs. I'm still pre-op so I can enjoy this for now. Tonight I'll have a protein shake for dinner. Friday after work I will be cooking a small turkey breast with some veggies and potatoes for me and my Dad to celebrate Thanksgiving. Next Thanksgiving's meal is going to look a lot different than this year.

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ThriftyTheresa

Ticking off another box toward the goal! Friday Nov 18 I had my psychiatric consultation.

I was not nervous about this, maybe I should have been, but it was a walk in the park. We mostly talked about why I wanted surgery and how I am learning as much as I can about my post-op life before I get there. She briefly talked about my family and my childhood. Nothing bad there. I don't have a history of substance abuse, or eating disorders (other than overeating) and no history of depression or mental illness. I'm grateful that I don't have the struggles that so many other people have. I'm just fat, lazy, and eat a lot, mostly when I'm bored.

I probably came off sounding like a complete know-it-all, which is probably a red flag for something, but the Psych lady told me several times she was very impressed with my knowledge and said that she sees no concern for me since I am preparing myself so well. I still have 5 more months of supervised weight loss to continue to educate myself and learn more and she was very enthusiastic that I will be a successful patient.

I will get to see her one more time before surgery. We made an appointment for March which will be my Month 5 and closer to surgery time. She just wants to check in with me and see how I'm doing on this long road. Right now I'm super excited, ultra motivated, and raring to go. 5 months down the road I hope I can say the same, but if I'm starting to struggle it will be nice to have another opportunity to talk to her if I am encountering any stressors or concerns.

Next Tuesday, Nov 29th, is my official Month 1 weigh-in. I had a very good weigh-in before the Psych appointment, but I'm not counting my chickens yet. Waiting for next week to have my official results. I will update more then. Until that time - Happy Thanksgiving to all!

ThriftyTheresa

BP down 10 points!

Had a quick check-in with my primary care doctor yesterday after work. So far I've only lost about 10lbs since I started this whole shebang in September but I have a week and a half before my official MSWL weigh-in so I'm hopeful for a little more off by then. But the good news is that my high blood pressure has gone down 10 points! It's still on the high end of the scale, but it's showing progress and I am very happy about that. Doctor was glad about that too. She praised me for the work I am doing on my diet and is very happy that I am taking the steps toward weight loss surgery. She signed my "Letter of Necessity" for the surgeon's office and said to check in again with her in February or March.

Tomorrow (Friday) is my Psych eval at the weight loss clinic. Not worried about this at all. I don't have any psych problems (that I am aware of) and feel confident that I understand the risks of the surgery and am prepared for the changes my life and lifestyle habits will face post-op. Let's hope that my next update will not be "I got denied by the Psych!"

ThriftyTheresa

Saturday morning I went to the monthly support group meeting at Swedish. It's the 2nd Saturday of every month and I am already looking forward to next month!

The group was comprised of both pre-op and post-op people. Some have been post op for just a few weeks and other have been post-op for a few years. A couple people were still waiting for their surgery dates and I was probably the newest person who still has a long wait ahead of them while I go through the MSWL.

The class was hosted by one of the dieticians and we had a guest speaker from the physical therapy group of the hospital to talk to us about exercise. We went over some basic stretching exercises and she gave us elastic workout bands for strength training to use at home. Dr. Sung was also there, but he was not conducting the class. He was just hanging out with all of us and answered a few technical questions for us. He is so funny and so passionate about his job. He impresses me more every time I get to talk to him. The fact that he wants to be there for his patients on a Saturday morning when he could be having a day off speaks volumes to his dedication. It was cool to see Dr. Sung right there with us using the exercise bands and getting in a good stretch.

After the exercise class we just did a round table discussion of anything and everything that people wanted to ask or share. It was fantastic having such a variety of patients there to learn from. One of the pre-op ladies asked how people made their decision between RNY and Sleeve and we got some answers from a few people. There was a gal who just had her sleeve surgery 2 weeks ago and she was super happy and feeling great. Very encouraging for us pre-op people who many be nervous. We talked about preparing for holiday food time and also talked about being prepared with food, snacks, and protein when you travel. I have a short trip coming up next month so that was helpful for me to think in advance of bringing some healthy foods with me, especially for the plane ride.

I have a basic checkup with my Primary doctor on Wednesday to see how my blood pressure is doing. And Friday I have my Psychiatric consult at the weight loss clinic. 2 weeks until my first 1-month weight check-in. Gotta keep rocking and rolling toward the goal.

ThriftyTheresa

Yesterday was Halloween. I did not buy any candy. We only had 1 knock on our door last year so I did not buy any candy this year. Not bothered by that in the least. I wasn't craving candy, I normally don't crave candy anyway, until November 1st with all the Facebook posts about freaking candy! People posting piles and piles of candy their kids picked up, or bags of candy they have left over from trick-or-treaters. Even people in the weight loss support groups are posting tons of pictures of candy and bragging about how they are not going to eat it. I wasn't triggered to want any candy until I saw all these stupid pictures of candy! And here I am eating my sliced apple pieces.

I am also being triggered into irritation and aggravation recently by fellow pre-op and post-op people in some of these forums and groups that I read - mostly on Facebook. I get so irritated by people who aren't educating themselves about this major life-altering surgery and then doing things to put their health in jeopardy. Asking basic knowledge questions that common sense should already give you the answer. For example, "I've never experienced dumping syndrome. Is it OK to eat this Halloween candy?"  I need to step back from reading these groups or I am going to lose my mind. I have another 6 months before my own surgery and I am taking every moment to read and learn about this procedure, but I want to bang my head against my desk with some of the things I read.

On Friday I actually came here to write a huge blog post about all the bad information I keep reading and the stupid questions people are asking and the disgusting bickering and jealousies I am seeing. I wrote out that blog post and it was LONG and full of swear words that this website filters out anyway. After writing it I felt better and I did not post it, but I still feel the same way.

So I'm going to step back for a little while. Read a little less group stuff, scroll past the of the "DUH!" questions and stick to the uplifting before/after pictures and NSV moments to concentrate on the positive. I'm going to eat my apple, drink my protein shake, log my food journal, add some extra steps to my fitbit, and try to ignore the ignorant folks who are making this journey less enjoyable.

ThriftyTheresa

First appointment with the dietician at Swedish yesterday. Overall, it was OK. We talked about both my lifetime habits of bad eating and the steps I've taken over the past 2 months to try and make better choices. A lot of it is basic knowledge. Eat this/not that. Counting calories and all that business. We discussed that during this next 6 months I should try to eat a diet close to what I will be eating post-op, with a focus on protein first, vegetables second, and keeping carbs in check. She gave me a goal of 1200-1500 calories per day, 130-150g of protein, and less than 100g carbs per day. Those numbers will change post-op of course, but these were the numbers they want me to following during my 6 month supervision.

I have 3 months to do this on my own and see a nurse monthly for check-ins. Then I see the dietician again to discuss more post-op information, and then another 2 months with the nurse.

One thing they didn't give me is a weight goal. They did not say that they want me to lose X amount of weight. They did say don't gain any more weight during this time. I weighed in at 339 and can't go over that, which is fine by me. We also did not discuss exercise at all. Just food. Track my food. Eat good food. Don't eat bad food.

My biggest hurdle is pre-planning my food. I've already been tracking my food for over a month, good and bad, and the calories add up faster when I don't plan what I'm eating in advance. I'm also better on the weekdays because during the week I am partially pre-planning and at least bringing my breakfasts and snacks to work, but during the week I tend to be a meal-skipper and either don't eat lunch or don't eat dinner. Again, because I haven't pre-planned it. And then the weekends have become a free for all where I just graze or succumb to temptations.

I've done this before. Hundreds of times. Recommitting myself to healthy eating, tracking every morsel that goes in my mouth, choosing good things and not bad things, eating 5 or 6 small meals instead of 3 large meals, reading nutrition labels, drinking water, taking vitamins. None of this is new. That's both a blessing and a curse. I know how to do this. I know I can do this. But I also know I have failed at this hundreds of times too. Is this the time when the good habits will stick? I sure hope so.

ThriftyTheresa

Even though I am usually the largest person in the room, I am often completely invisible. I think a lot of fat people experience this. I've gotten used to flipping back and forth from being the person that everyone stares at to being completely ignored.

Today I was rudely reminded of this unwanted power of invisibility when I was in the cafeteria at my workplace. Typically I only get the self-serve coffee but today the yogurt I had for breakfast wasn't cutting it and I was really craving some eggs. I stood in the line at the grill and waited my turn. When I am at the front of the line, the cook looks AROUND ME like I am an obstacle and asks the guy behind me for his order. The guy behind me starts giving his order, and I pipe up and say "I WOULD LIKE SOMETHING AS WELL, PLEASE." They both look at me like I have just committed a crime. Once the stunned looks wore off the cook takes my order and I go pay for it. Scrambled eggs with mushroom and spinach. Thanks.

Somehow I became the rude person in this scenario. I waited patiently for the 5 people in front of me to get their orders and then it was my turn. And when I was being skipped over and had the balls to speak up for myself suddenly I'M the one who did something wrong, out of turn, out of line, and how dare I?

Things like this don't happen often, but they happen often enough that it's not shocking to me anymore. If I had a nickel for every time someone slammed into me on the sidewalk,  I'd have a full time chauffeured town car by now. How can you NOT see me? I'm HUGE! I'm coming right toward you! I'm moving away from you and you still manage to hit me like a bumper car! And you give ME a disgusting look like I hit YOU? Is my gravitational pull that strong?

I was reading something in a group earlier where someone said that now they have lost 1/2 of their weight they are not longer invisible and it is uncomfortable for them. The woman said she was getting a lot of unwanted male attention and she wished to be invisible again. That's a heartbreaking situation. I hope she can become more confident in herself. But for me, I don't find comfort in invisibility.

I wonder how my feelings will change once my body changes. I wonder about how people will treat me once I am no longer the biggest person in the room. Will the attention I receive be uncomfortable or unwanted? Will I wish to become invisible again? Alternately, will I become a self-absorbed, attention seeker constantly posting selfies to get admiration and praise? I don't want to be any of these scenarios.

I hope after WLS I will just be me - visible and acknowledged by those around me. I also secretly hope the cafeteria cook looks around me and skips me again because I am too skinny and he didn't see me there. :P

ThriftyTheresa

I had an embarrassing moment occur when I had my first appointment at the clinic on Wednesday. I've been thinking about it ever since and realize that it was a profound lesson to learn from.

The first nurse brought me in to a very small room to do my basic vitals. She asked me to take my shoes and socks off to be measured for height and weighed. I still have my wounded ankle wrapped in ace bandages for stability and she needed me to take that off too so the bottom of my feet would make contact with the metal conductors on the weight scale. After limping through the height measurement and standing still (very hard on a painful ankle) on the scale she said I could put my shoes back on. I normally sit on my bed or couch at home in order to wrap my ankle. I was struggling really hard to try and wrap my ankle sitting in this chair in the tiny room. There was also a blood pressure machine sitting directly in front of me that I kept bumping into with my foot or my leg. No position I tried to sit in would make it possible for me to bend over and reach my feet with both hands to get the bandage going. My big belly was in the way and I couldn't reach my feet. I was getting really frustrated.

The nurse noticed I was having a hard time and offered to help me. As soon as she asked if I needed help I started crying. It was a spontaneous panic attack. Tears running down my face, lump in my throat, nose sniffling, I can feel my chest tightening and my heart beating faster, and face growing red and warm. I kept apologizing and thanking her. I'm sorry. Thank you. Thank you so much. I am so sorry. She just kept saying It's OK. No problem. It's OK. I'm getting emotional now just remembering the scene and typing it out.

Besides the anxiety I was overwhelmed with embarrassment. This little lady had to kneel on the floor, put gloves on to touch my ace bandage with all the dead skin dandruff falling off of it, and wrap up my foot and ankle. I was mortified.

I've always been blessed to be able-bodied. Even though I am over 300lbs, I am tall and I have always been very capable of taking care of myself. Reaching my feet has always been a little hard but I can still manage to cut my toenails and even paint them from time to time. I think I'm pretty active in my day-to-day life. I've always been able to walk anywhere I need to go. I live in the city, don't drive, and I really do walk just about everywhere. I really can't imagine how much more I would weigh if I wasn't as mobile or had pain problems like I have been having with this sprained ankle.

All my life I have been self-sufficient, independent and strong. But with that little lady on the floor wrapping my foot I felt like a huge failure. I could not take care of myself and that scared the hell out of me. It was so embarrassed. More embarrassed then when I actually fell and hurt myself. In the days since I have thought about this and realized I had some smaller feelings of embarrassment when my Dad stayed with me for 3 days to help me after I fell. He brought me the crutches so I could get around. He brought me food, went to the grocery store for me, did my laundry, and even cleaned out my cat's littler box because I couldn't walk or stand to do these basic things. There were moments I teared up a little bit when he was with me, but I didn't break down. He's my Dad. He took care of me. That's what parents should do. But this little nurse, this stranger, it was devastating to have her help me.

I know where all this embarrassment comes from. Besides feeling strong and independent, I always wanted to be able to take care of myself because my own mother couldn't take care of herself. My mom died in 2010 of kidney failure brought on by uncontrolled diabetes and super morbid obesity. The last 5 years of her life were horrible. Not only were her kidney's failing but she also broke a bone in her leg. Because of the diabetes the break would not heal properly and walking was pretty much out of the picture. She was in and out of "rehab" nursing homes. My Dad did EVERYTHING for her. She barely moved a muscle. She would be in her bed or chair and just tell him to go do things for her. I never really saw her try to get better. She had really given up. My relationship with my mom soured in the last few years of her life because she was a living example of what I did not want to be and I was frustrated with her beyond belief. Nothing I could say or do was going to motivate her to change. I imagine she had times of embarrassment when she was completely immobile and unable to do anything for herself. Could not clean herself. Could not use the bathroom. But, honestly, I saw her more as a dictator on a throne ordering people around to do things for her. It's a terrible picture of my mother that I carry around with me. I wish my memories of her could be better, but it is what it is.

So right now I am fighting the fight with obesity that my mom could not fight on her own. I refuse to be immobile. I refuse to give up. I refuse to let the fat win. I refuse to die young. I refuse to stop fighting. I am strong and I know I will beat this. I just need a little help - but asking for help and accepting help is the hardest part.

ThriftyTheresa

Had my first appointment at Swedish Weight Loss Clinic yesterday. I finally feel like I have a game plan together and that the ball is OFFICIALLY rolling now. I was hoping that I would be nearly 2 months in to my supervised weight loss with the work I have been doing with my primary care doctor, but after speaking to my Nurse/Case Worker with Swedish we both came to the conclusion that it is in my best interest - as far as insurance approval goes - to do the 6 months entirely with the team at Swedish. That way there is no question from my insurance that I did a fully supervised diet with a registered dietician and doctors monitoring the whole shebang. All my monthly appointments are now planned with the first appointment being October 24th.

Sooooo...that means my last appointment will be March 29th and they will be able to submit all my paperwork to insurance in April. I could have the surgery in late April or May. Great plan!

During my appointment Wednesday I got weighed - lost 5 lbs since September. I got an EKG. They didn't talk to me about the results so I don't know anything about that. I imagine if they saw anything weird they would have told me about it.  I met with the Surgeon, Dr. Brian Sung who did the seminar the week before. He remembered me asking the tough questions - LOL - and said I have educated myself very well and he was very happy with me taking the initiative. I also met with the PA Margeaux who will be part of my surgical team. Between the 3 of us we have clearly decided upon RNY as the procedure that will be of most benefit to me. My assigned nurse/case worker will be Marcey and she was super helpful with planning everything I need to do step by step.

I will not need to do an Endoscopy because I do not have a history of acid reflux. I will not need to do a sleep study because I do not have concerns or show signs of sleep apnea. Other than my supervised weight loss and meeting with the dietician, I only have to meet with the psychologist.

I finally feel at peace knowing that the plan is 100% together. I have appointments already pre-booked for the next 6 months and know surgery will soon follow after that. I'm very excited for what the future holds!

ThriftyTheresa

I knew from the beginning that it is not going to be easy breezy coordinating everything I need to do in order to get my insurance to approve this surgery. Right now I feel like I am talking to 5 different health care people and, of course, none of them talk to each other. I am my own advocate and I am making things happen, but getting conflicting information from various sources is overwhelming,. It's making me feel like my feet are running underneath me but I am going nowhere like a cartoon character.

I have United Healthcare/Optum and to start this journey I had to contact their in-house Bariatric Services hotline first. Did that on September 10th. September 12th I got assigned a Case Manager who went over all the obligations I need to fulfill. The most complicated part has been who I need to contact for my 6-month supervised weight loss.

Case manager gave me a phone number to call that is part of the Optum program to work with a Wellness Coach. She said working with the Wellness Coach would fulfill my 6-month requirement. So I called that number on September 16th. That phone call was a huge waste of time. I gave him my health info, made a goal, and he told me to eat breakfast every day (because I normally skip it) and made an appointment to call me again in 3 weeks on October 6th. So yesterday I get a phone call from a different guy who asked me all the same questions as the first guy. Once he finally read my file which said I am a Bariatric patient he realized that I am basically talking to the wrong department. He helped get me referred to a Dietician specialist and I get to wait another 2 weeks to get that phone call on October 20th.

NOW I just got a call from the Coordinator at Swedish who processed my paperwork that I provided at the Surgical seminar on Wednesday. She says that I need to talk to THEIR Dietician but it's not covered by insurance and I will have to pay out of pocket $230 for one appointment. I don't have to do 6-months with them, but I do have to have the one appointment because it's specific education about before and after surgery.

So I have a call in to my Insurance Case Manager to get back to me about WHO should I really be talking to for this 6-month supervised weight loss. I am seeing my doctor every month (I have had 2 appointments with her in the past 2 months already) - is this medically supervised enough? Do I need to do the phone calls with the Dietician through the insurance company as well? Do I need to see the Dietician at the surgery center also and pay out of pocket? Should I just go to Weight Watchers for 6 months and get it over with (this is approved by the insurance but I'd still pay out of pocket)? All of the above? How many people want to monitor my weight for 6 months? When does this 6-month period start? Am I already in month 2, or do I need to start all over again with someone/something new?

In a perfect world I am hoping my Case Manager says to just stick with my doctor since I'm seeing her every month. That is the easiest way for me and I have physical documentation that my doctor signs every appointment so there is no question that I have been medically supervised.

SIGH! We shall see...

ThriftyTheresa

I was finally able to make it to the Introductory meeting for weight loss surgery at Swedish Medical Center. It was presented by Dr. Brian Sung who is the Medical Director of Surgery for the clinic. He talked and did a slide show for about an hour and took some questions. Being completely honest, I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know about the procedures. That's not his fault - I'm just an over-achiever who has been obsessively educating myself about this over the last few months. He covered the material quite well and was very warm and nice. I just didn't learn anything new. During the Q&A portion most people asked basic questions about insurance and how many appointments they will have to do before the surgery. Most of these questions couldn't be answered because each individual is going to be different.

I asked a few questions, just to get clarification on a couple topics like  post-op gall bladder concerns, and GERD/acid reflux. He answered my questions well and clearly. I hope these questions helped the other people in the room who were not as prepared as I was. Then I hit him with a BIG question -

How often is he doing Sleeve-to-RNY revision surgeries? He was upfront and honest - he just did a revision surgery like this yesterday. I asked this because he made it a point during the slide show that Sleeve surgeries are VERY popular, but they don't have the long-term data that RNY has because it's only been common for a few years. People are getting sleeve surgery because they think it will be easier, better, or less invasive than RNY. (His words, not mine.) He was quick to point out that so far the data on Sleeves show that there is LESS percentage of weight loss than those with RNY, potential higher regain risk. He also mentioned about the Acid Reflux/GERD issue with Sleeves being a common reason for the revision. This is a pretty major reason I am leaning toward RNY for myself.  Revision surgery is out of the question for me because insurance will only cover this procedure once per LIFETIME. Anything else would be out of pocket, even if is deemed "medically necessary" it would not get approved by insurance.

One thing I really liked about this doctor was that he was very much into Advocacy for obese patients and the discrimination they are up against in the medical community. He openly addressed the idea that a medically necessary surgery for an obese patient may need to happen more than once to improve health, quality of life, and years of life would only be given ONCE per LIFETIME or be completely denied by insurance. If I had lung surgery and later needed another lung surgery, it would be covered by insurance without question. But if an obese person needs additional help they're screwed by insurance. And the fact that a lot of insurance plans don't cover bariatric surgery at all is a huge slap in the face to the care of their patients. He talked about discrimination that other healthcare professionals have toward obese patients, not to mention the media, and the world in general looking down on us.  This is why he has made Bariatric surgery his specialty.

So, again, I didn't really learn anything new but because of his honesty I am feeling more comfortable about my decision to chose RNY over the Sleeve. Of course I still have another 5-6 months of work to do before making a firm decision, but going to this meeting was a big step in the right direction. They took all my Primary Care and insurance information and said within in the next couple weeks I would be contacted by a case manager nurse to begin. Yay! 

ThriftyTheresa

I have known 3 people over the years who have gone through RNY surgery and each has served as an example to why I NEVER wanted to get this surgery for myself.

A very close friend of mine got RNY around 1999. It was a pretty new procedure at the time and popularized by the media with celebrities like Carnie Wilson.  I have clear memories of this my friend eating McDonald's french fries around the 2nd week post-op and claiming they were the only thing she could eat without getting sick. That seemed pretty wrong to me, but who was I to question her? Her weight dropped rapidly over the course of the first year. She moved away and we lost contact but I would see pictures of her online throughout the years. She kept weight off pretty well for about 2-3 more years but got into a problem with alcohol. During the time she was an active alcoholic she regained a lot of weight. I'm proud of her that she got treatment for her alcoholism, but the weight gain remains.

We are no longer close friends and I cannot comfortably ask her about her post-RNY life and struggles so I don't know if she has other health issues related to the regain or if she has even tried to lose the regain weight. I wish her the best, but she is my example of someone who did not educate herself about the procedure before going through with it. She really thought this was a quick fix. Possibly because there wasn't a lot of research or support groups or help to be found way back then. However, even I knew eating deep fried food just days after your surgery was not the best way to start off your new lease on a healthy life.

Next is a couple who I met a few years ago. Both the husband and the wife have had RNY surgery and they are night/day opposites when it comes to the results. He's currently over 300lbs and is very open about the fact that he has regained a lot of weight but says he's still smaller than he used to be so he's happy. I never knew him at his heaviest or at his smallest so I cannot compare. Frankly it sounds like he has given up. His wife, on the other hand, is a skeleton of a woman. She is rail thin, pale like a ghost, tired all the time and simply looks like she is sick. I never knew her at her heaviest, but over the last 5 years I've watched her get smaller and sicker-looking. She often cancels plans because she is not feeling well. I can't imagine that this woman is getting all the nutrition she needs to be healthy.

I don't mean to sound rude putting these people on blast about their success/non-success of their eating/drinking habits. We have all had our own success and failures with weight loss and weight gain! That's the whole reason we are here! My point is  I don't know anyone personally who has been successful and HEALTHY after weight loss surgery. Because of these examples in my life I never considered weight loss surgery something that I would do. Then I found this website!  I have taken it upon myself to learn about the surgery options, understand pre and post care, see healthy examples of people living post-op for 5-10+ years I realize that it is completely up to the individual to make the right decisions for themselves and for their healthy success. Just because my friends were not success superstars does not mean that I can't be!

I'm still in the baby-steps toward getting this surgery approved by my insurance, but I am committed to learning more, making educated decisions, seek help when needed, and to take this seriously. And I don't really like french fries anyway. :)

ThriftyTheresa

I recently saw a thread on a Facebook group asking if people shared their WLS journey with their coworkers. 95% of the comments were from people sharing wonderful stories on how their coworkers are supporting them, caring about them, helping them, and even walking/exercising with them. It's awesome that these people have their coworker's support.

I don't work with people like that.  Let's put it this way, I have been on crutches and a leg brace for over a week with my ankle injury. Exactly 2 of my 12 coworkers have asked me if I'm OK or need any help. I've worked here for over 13 years. TWO people cared enough to ask me if I'm OK. Why would I want to share my deeply personal decision to chose a potentially dangerous surgery to help me lose weight, open myself to a hoard of unwanted opinions on my healthcare decisions, and possibly be criticized or gossiped about? No thanks. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate my job or hate these people I work with. I like my job and like most of my coworkers for the most part. I'm just not FRIENDS with any of them. We do our job, we go home, we come back to work the next day. We are coworkers. That's the long and short of it.

As of right now I have told exactly 3 people. My father, my best friend who is also overweight, and I reached out to an friend who lives in another state who's daughter went through RNY surgery last year. I have been seeing pictures of this young woman over the past year and she looks wonderful! We are around the same age and around the same size when she started her surgery process.

Other than these 3 people, I don't plan on telling anyone about this. I'm certainly not going to share with anyone while I am still in the introductory stages and dealing with insurance approval. When I get a surgery date I will obviously have to inform my boss and schedule time off of work. No one needs to cover my job while I am out so there is no reason this wouldn't be seen as a typical vacation time-off unless complications arise and I need additional hospital care.

I know I can't hide this from my coworkers. My lifestyle with food is going to change drastically BEFORE and after surgery. We do the occasional potluck for holidays and Friday group-lunches a couple times a month. My participation in those types of events will certainly change. I am going to change physically. At some point it's going to be obvious that I am losing weight. Are people going to ask me about it? Probably those two who asked me about my hurt ankle. Perhaps I will feel differently on the topic after the surgery and want to share it with people. But frankly, my coworkers are not on the list of people who get to be a part of this journey with me.

While I am on this road toward WLS, it is my unofficial part-time job to educate myself as much as possible to make the best decision I can for my health and happiness. Learning everything I can beforehand will not only make me a better advocate for my health care needs, but also provide me with the confidence to educate others, dispel rumors, and address any questions my coworkers may have for me if they want to talk to me about the changes that will be going on in my life.

ThriftyTheresa

Last Wednesday, September 21st, I was supposed to attend the Introductory WLS meeting at Swedish Medical Center here in Seattle. I got off work at 2pm and the meeting was at 4pm. I needed to stop at home first and I managed to fall right outside my home. My ankle snapped one way and my body went another and I crashed onto one of my knees. The saving grace of being near my front door, I was able to hobble inside and immediately start icing both my ankle and my knee. Thankfully it's just a nasty sprained ankle with a few torn ligaments, but it has been a painful and difficult few days. My knee is black and blue but thankfully not hurting much at all other than the initial swelling. My father was able to bring me some crutches to use and those were very helpful during the first few days. Right now I am only needing a brace/splint to keep the ankle stable and I walk VERY slowly with quite an impressive limp.

Pretty hilarious that it was the last day of Summer/First day of Fall. I can laugh about it now, but I cried when it happened. Not crying because of the pain but crying because I could not attend the surgery seminar. I had been waiting 2 weeks and was SO excited to go and really get this process started.

Seminar has been rescheduled for October 5th. I'm not a very patient person. It's a virtue I do not possess and often pray for. I know I have at least 6 months before I qualify for surgery, but waiting to even BEGIN is the hardest part right now.

ThriftyTheresa

I should probably do an introduction since strangers on the internet can read this.

HI! My name is Theresa. Born, raised, and living in Seattle. I am currently 41 years old, single and childfree. I'm a crazy cat lady but I only have 1 cat. Her name is Lovie and she is the sweetest baby in the world. I work fulltime in a call center. My department is 24/7 so I sometimes have weird work schedules including swing shift, graveyard shift, and occasional weekend work. Right now I am working 5am-2pm. Early mornings are not easy but getting off work in the afternoon is great for getting doctor appointments!

I like long walks on the beach...actually walking in sand is difficult so nevermind. My hobbies include thrift shopping and reselling vintage delights on Etsy. My store is ThriftyTheresa and I have a lot of fun doing that. I like to travel and go to Las Vegas a lot with my father. We also went on an Alaska cruise in May 2016 and it was phenomenal.

My father is a big part of my life. He's 74 years old now and in pretty good health. He does have Type 1 diabetes and developed that about 15 years ago. He's not overweight and gets around pretty well. He does live on his own and I don't think he takes very good care of himself. Since mom passed away I have seen changes in him emotionally and physically. When he's depressed he doesn't eat and is getting more frail as times goes by. Whereas when I am depressed I overeat to sooth myself. I know there is going to be a time when I will need to be his caregiver and that is one of the major reasons that weight loss surgery is on my mind. I need to be healthy to take care of my father when he is no longer healthy. But for now we hang out often, go to Bingo, watch movies together, travel together, and have a good time. He is a great father and a good friend. I'm blessed to have him.

We lost mom back in 2010. Officially she died from kidney failure but that was a result of uncontrolled diabetes leading to organ failure among a litany of other health problems. The last 5 years of her life were a misery being in and out of nursing homes/rehab centers. Mom was obese her whole life, like me, and together we did all the weight loss yo-yo dieting through my childhood and teen years. We were never successful and she died well over 300lbs at the age of 65. She was a wonderful mother and friend, but seeing her suffer and deteriorate over the last years of her life is a glimpse into the future that I could have if I don't take control of my health before it's too late.

The last time I was ever successful with weight loss was back in 2003-2005. I was living with a roommate, my best friend Katie, and we were a great team supporting each other. We shopped together, cooked together, worked out together and were successful together. I lost over 50lbs and she lost over 40. I don't know how or why we stopped doing so well, but we both stopped. In 2005 we moved out and away from each other and it was all downhill since. The last 10+ years has been sliding into comfortable bad habits, not caring about myself, and the pounds just packed right back on.

Since then I struggle to maintain a good diet. I am conscious about the foods I chose to buy and eat, but I am also prone to say "@~$& it" and will pig out all weekend eating sugary and fatty foods and drinking alcohol.

Now is the time where I put these bad habits to rest. I have so much knowledge in my head about the "right" way to eat and exercise it's ridiculous. Now is the time to put that knowledge back into practice, and with the support of my father and my doctors I know I can be more successful than ever before.

ThriftyTheresa

I found the Thinner Times website a few weeks ago when I was casually thinking about if weight loss surgery was right for me. Since then I have been researching, reading, watching videos, and stuffing my brain full of information about the surgery types, pre-op and post-op requirements, and doing everything I can to get this ball rolling.

September 12th I contacted my insurance company (United Healthcare/Optum) and have been given a Nurse "case manager" to help me start this process. I gathered my 5-year weight history from my annual doctor visits to show I have been obese for enough time. Last year my highest weight was 352. My current weight is 343 as of my Dr. appointment on September 14th. My lowest weight in the past 5 years was 337. If they want to see I've been obese since elementary school I would be happy to get all that documentation for them too.

This will be a long process as my insurance requires a 6 month period of doctor-supervised weight loss with monthly weigh-ins. My case manager gave me a phone number to call for "Wellness coaching" that is provided free by the insurance company. I had my first phone call with the coach last Friday Sept 16th. Frankly, it was dumb and useless. The coach took bare minimum information about me and gave me the goal of taking breakfast to work at least twice a week because I skip breakfast most days. We have call #2 in October and he will set me another dumb goal. Whatever. I don't care. I will talk to anyone and do anything they tell me to do in order to have my insurance approve this.

Today, September 21st, I am going to an introduction seminar at Swedish Weight Loss Center. This is an approved Bariatric Center of Excellence that my insurance company requires I use. Looking forward to this meeting and getting more information from them. Part of this process will also include me working with their nutritionist/dietician so if the "wellness coach" phone calls continue to be bogus I will at least be seen by a medical professional and not just chat with some jerk in a call center. (PS: I work in a call center too. LOL)

It's only been a few weeks since the weight loss surgery idea has been in my mind but I am going full force gung ho to get this started. It's only the beginning. I'm hoping at some point either my insurance Case Manager or the Surgical team at Swedish will start to take control of this and guide me in the right direction. Right now I'm my own advocate and am making this happen. I guess that's a good way to start since I will have to be my own advocate for personal change Pre-op and Post-op.

I have so much swirling around in my mind so I'm going to blog a lot in these first few days to get all the things inside of my head OUT onto "paper". I haven't had a journal for many years so this feels good to type everything out in a safe space like this. Not all of my friends are going to understand why I am making this decision so it's great to be surrounded by like-minded individuals on this website in all of their different stages of progress.

With all that being said - I'm just happy to be here!