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Back from vacation! 5 months post-op

Jen581791

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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. 

 

 

 

 

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20 Comments


Thanks so much for sharing your awesome trip! Way to go losing weight on vacation!!! Such an overachiever! :) Next stop, ONDERLAND! So exciting

Jen581791 and BurgundyBoy like this

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Thanks, @Gretta. Yes, this was certainly the first time in my life when I LOST weight on vacation! I'm hoping not to stall out before hitting onederland - it seems like a lot of people do...

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Wow, what an amazing trip!  It is inspiring to hear about your successes when I'm just 9 days post op and trying to think through a day of meals when I go back to work or eating out for the first time.  From reading on your blog I can tell you are an experienced traveler, but I think you are very courageous to go on a such a long trip, so far away, with so many unknowns.   And then to lose weight on top of all that?! Thank you for sharing it here - beautiful pictures!

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I can feel you glowing through the screen. Guate sounds like an incredible time and I'm glad you had the experience. I'm also glad you could keep up physically with your friends. 

Can you believe it has been 90 lbs already? That's amazing! Think about what life was like at this time last year and enjoy every moment de tu nueva vida!!

xo

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48 minutes ago, kayak19 said:

Wow, what an amazing trip!  It is inspiring to hear about your successes when I'm just 9 days post op and trying to think through a day of meals when I go back to work or eating out for the first time.  From reading on your blog I can tell you are an experienced traveler, but I think you are very courageous to go on a such a long trip, so far away, with so many unknowns.   And then to lose weight on top of all that?! Thank you for sharing it here - beautiful pictures!

Thanks, kayak! I really hope you feel as great after 5 months as I do :) I really got a lot of inspiration from other people's blogs here, so I guess it's time to pay it forward. 

I am a pretty experienced traveler, but Guatemala is still an adventure. It's sure different to go as a real grown up instead of a poor backpacker, though - we've sacrificed some of the adventure for convenience and comfort in our old age. Should we catch a chicken bus for a 5 hour trip to XYZ? Nah, let's take a 2 hour private shuttle instead ;) 

The food part was the hardest. I was really low on calories and protein many days, but what are you going to do? 

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39 minutes ago, Carina said:

So much positivity here...great!

Thanks, Carina! I have my grumpy moments, for sure, but this whole WLS thing has mostly been a really positive thing for me :) 

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28 minutes ago, NerdyLady said:

I can feel you glowing through the screen. Guate sounds like an incredible time and I'm glad you had the experience. I'm also glad you could keep up physically with your friends. 

Can you believe it has been 90 lbs already? That's amazing! Think about what life was like at this time last year and enjoy every moment de tu nueva vida!!

xo

So much fun. Getting those 90 pounds off sure made everything easier. I kept doing things and thinking "I would never have been comfortable doing this last year!" 

Trish1967 likes this

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Amazing! I love to travel but I've always been a bit nervous about places that aren't touristy - partly because of weight, and partly just nerves of new things. I did backpack around mexico a bit in college and adored it, and you've made me so excited to be able to do that sort of thing again! You look amazing and happy in the photos, and Guatemala looks awesome also. You came home super close to a major milestone - won't be long now!

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2 hours ago, delilas said:

Amazing! I love to travel but I've always been a bit nervous about places that aren't touristy - partly because of weight, and partly just nerves of new things. I did backpack around mexico a bit in college and adored it, and you've made me so excited to be able to do that sort of thing again! You look amazing and happy in the photos, and Guatemala looks awesome also. You came home super close to a major milestone - won't be long now!

The hubby and I did a fair amount of backpacker traveling back in the day (Mexico and Guatemala for several months - ah, the luxury of time). If you liked Mexico, you'd love Guatemala :) And you're right, sooooooo much easier as a thinner person. You'll get there soon! 

delilas, BurgundyBoy and Trish1967 like this

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What a beautiful telling of your trip; love the activity and food details!  And all from our shared WLS point of view which is so special.  The pictures are great, the culture and you!

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5 hours ago, CoTN said:

What a beautiful telling of your trip; love the activity and food details!  And all from our shared WLS point of view which is so special.  The pictures are great, the culture and you!

Aw, thanks, @CoTN! I hope my WLS travel insights will be useful or at least interesting to someone!

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The pictures are beautiful, and the pics of you are truly showing your happiness and enjoyment of your wonderful adventure! I'm so happy for you, and all of your NSV's, during your vacation!! And the weight loss!! Congrats!! 

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14 minutes ago, Trish1967 said:

The pictures are beautiful, and the pics of you are truly showing your happiness and enjoyment of your wonderful adventure! I'm so happy for you, and all of your NSV's, during your vacation!! And the weight loss!! Congrats!! 

Thanks, Trish! Yes, it was a very NSV-ful vacation :) 

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You look amazing! So glad you had such fun. And 90 pounds is fantastic!

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Beautiful pictures!   Thanks so much for sharing and 90 pounds is so inspirational!

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20 hours ago, Jen581791 said:

Thanks @Raddy and @Kiplill! Honestly, 90 pounds is pretty inspirational to me, too :D It seems a little unreal! 

But it IS real...and YOU did it!!! Awesome sauce!!! :) :wub:

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