I recently returned from a trip to visit one of my nearest and dearest friends on the west coast. Due to the remote location she lives, I don't often get to see her and certainly not in the 6 months post-surgery. Once I landed in Seattle it was a 9 hour drive to her home and I was BEAT when I got there. We have Marco Polo'd frequently since surgery (a great video message app) so she knew generally what I looked like but she still said she was shocked at my smaller body. Just like my mom, when she hugged me, she exclaimed about getting her arms around me. I knew she was excited and happy for me.
What followed next was five days of shenanigans just like we had together back in college. We saw dinosaurs (1st picture on left), beautiful turquoise water with chocolate brown sands (middle picture) and every morning I was greeted with a gorgeous view of the ocean (far right picture). When I saw the picture my friend took in the dinosaur park, it took me a hot minute to realize it was me in the photo. I still feel dissociated from my body size at this point and am surprised/confused when I see myself in the mirror....or in photos others have taken. Lately I've not been shying away from photos as much and I'm okay with what I see right now - as long as you can't see the arm flaps and belly rolls! But really, my self-respect in regards to my appearance has started to come back and while I'm not a crazy selfie taker - that will just never be me - I don't shy away from being in photos with my friends and family. It's like there is a record of me in life now. Has anyone else been the subject of more photos now that they are losing weight? For those that are still waiting for surgery, do you avoid the camera as much as I did? (Pretty much like you don't exist at any family and friend gatherings)
My friend and I took a few mini road trips while I was in town and we always tended to do our deepest talks during these road trips - enjoying the sights, the fresh air and hikes through the redwoods. Before we left the first time I had asked to borrow an extra sweatshirt (this weight loss means I get MUCH chillier than I expect) and she jokingly said we might be the same size now - something that had never been true for the 14 years of our friendship. I laughed and said, most likely not so give me something that was big on her. I put the sweatshirt on and it did indeed fit big. And then, during a trip at the end of my visit, we spoke openly about our weights. My 100#+ weight loss and my current weight versus her current weight and it turns out I am 12# lighter than her now. It's an odd feeling to have that shift in the friend dynamic. In this case, it was not at all a negative behavior towards me but my dear, sweet friend was notably down on herself after that exchange. I have no doubt that she was/is still excited for my losses and life change but rather than be inspired to make her own, she seemed so saddened that she is at the size she is - which has been relatively stable for the entirety of time that I have known her. I feel bitter sweet about my visit. I love this friend and miss her most terribly. The milestone of 'Smaller Than My Bestie" was not a milestone I had anticipated and I can't quite decide if it was a good one or a bad one. Has the friend dynamic for anyone else changed with weight loss?
The exciting stuff all happened last month: goal weight.
***edit*** It just dawned on me that as of last week, I’ve lost more than I weigh now (i.e., I’ve lost half my body weight). What the heck?!? How did I miss that!? Oh yeah, I was never expecting it to happen, so I wasn’t watching for it. How in everloving heck did I carry that much of me around all the time????
So, what’s been going on this month?
Well, I’m trying to find my actual goal weight, which I think is going to be 10-15 pounds below what my original GW was. Still not certain, though.
This month, I thought I was going to slow down a lot on my losses, but that hasn’t exactly happened. I bumped my calories up to around 900 per day, 1000 on many days, and still I lost 8 pounds this month (from 151 to 143). That’s about 5.5% of my body weight (same as almost every other month since surgery) - actually quite a lot on my newly thinnish frame, so it made me shrink out of clothes I bought as a celebration of arriving at GW - not really a tragedy, of course, and my tailor is experiencing the ongoing windfall of having a WLS patient as a customer. It does make me wonder, though, how I’ll know when to stop and whether that will be hard to do. I decided to bump my calories up to 1000 for the week and see if anything happens. Doing some back of the envelope math (and assuming I believe in calories in calories out), if I’m losing 2 pounds per week right now, I should have to bump up my calories by 1000 per day to make that stop. That sounds pretty freaky, and I’m not sure how I’d go about it, but I think I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I don’t think I’ll actually need to eat that much because I remember gaining weight while eating about 1200-1400 calories per day the last time I dieted down this low (starving on the minimum of WW points, exercising about 2 hours per day, and consuming a lot of “diet” stuff and low fat carbs). That’s when I decided maybe 140 pounds wasn’t for me - it was too hard and I couldn’t maintain it for more than a few months. I was hungry all the time and too busy with grad school and full time teaching to exercise that much every day. So I decided to let it slide up to 160… and so it began.
I’ve done a bit more shopping since last month - I went to Dubai, and it was Shopping Festival, so good prices. This is good fun. I can try on anything and it looks OK at least - even if it’s too small, it just looks too tight. It doesn’t “make me look fat.” This is a pretty bewildering space to be in. If I can wear anything I like, what do I wear? I’m thinking about this a lot, and spending a lot of time looking at clothes online to try to figure out the answer to this question. As for actually trying on clothes, it’s a long, painstaking process. I have to take about three of each item to the fitting room - my eyes don’t have any idea what size I am yet. Add to that the fact that I’m shopping at stores that hail from many different countries with different sizing systems, and wow, that’s a lot of numbers to figure out. A US 6 is a UK 10 is a French 38 is an Italian 42 is a Japanese 11 is a jeans 28…
One more getting-close-to-my-one-year-surgiversary observation: My sense of taste has mostly gone back to normal-ish. I still have a heightened perception of bitter and sour, but I proteins are tasting normal-ish to me now. I had a couple of lattes over the weekend, which would have been disgusting to me a few months ago - it just tasted a bit bitter but not terrible. Proteins don’t all taste the same anymore (thank goodness!) and cheese actually tastes basically how it’s supposed to. Or else my brain has re-wired itself to perceive the new signals in the same old way. And if that’s happened, then who cares as long as the result is the same? Fruits and vegetables still taste the best to me. That’s a good change, and one I can live with very comfortably.
Here's a photo comparison of me at GW and me yesterday (three weeks difference) to show what 7 pounds does now. It's the same one I posted in the comments on my last blog post, so nothing new, sry
Hashtag FLO - For Ladies Only!
So before surgery, for about six years, I had no period, or maybe like... one a year. I'm only 46 now, so my docs did tests to find out if I was in early menopause, and I wasn't... it was obesity-related amenorrhea. (I have probably spelled that wrong.) Before that, my periods were always super light - we're talking maybe a teaspoon a day, rarely enough to even bother with a pad. I had cramps right before, and they were in about the area you'd expect, and not at all bad. More like tenderness and vague discomfort. Occasionally a sudden sharp OW and then done.
Now that I've lost so much weight - about 40 lbs more now than I ever lost even on Paleo - my periods are coming back. Again, my doc wanted to make sure I was not in menopause and this was not abnormal vaginal bleeding, so I got tests done again, and I am still not in menopause, and this is just a period.
BUT IT IS SO DIFFERENT.
I mean... different in some ways, but in other ways just the same. Like, totally recognizable as a period; I knew it was just a period even before the test results were in. But... my first period after surgery was bad, but I had been told to expect that, and I was ready for it. It was only bad in terms of heavier bleeding, and lasting longer. And now... this month... not a ton of bleeding this time, but I'm just miiiiserable. My stomach - ok, not really my stomach, but my digestive area in the belly region... is just tender and bloated and owwie. Which is making me tense up there, and that in turn is more discomfort. I'm totally constipated and nothing is working on it, and there are cramps, and I feel gross, and just... UGH.
Is this what a normal period feels like? Or is this some kind of post-surgical hopped-up period and it won't always be this bad? I kind of missed my period while it was gone, mostly because it meant I was too unhealthy to have one. But it was also kind of nice NOT to have one! If this is going to start being a once a month event... DO NOT WANT!
So for those of you who saw my whinge about stalling... my stall is broken! 5 lbs worth of broken. I believe the stall was courtesy of my period, which comes and goes like the west wind these days.. and since yesterday, the west wind has been blowing. (My doc has had me do all the necessary tests, and there's nothing wrong... apparently this is just how it works when your period slowly comes back after being shut off by obesity for as long as mine was.)
Stats update: I'm down a total of 117 lbs as of today - 57 before surgery, 60 since surgery. I only marked a 10 lb loss in month 4, but then lost 3 lbs between the 8th and today. Go figure! I guess that's month 4's gift to month 5.
Some milestones I've crossed since I started month 4: I have now lost more weight since surgery than I lost before surgery. I'm closer now to goal than to my high weight. And I have less than 100 lbs between me and goal as of this morning!
And that's my super ambitious goal, too. The original goal I had set for myself, before I got wild and brave, was 170. I am only 68 lbs from that goal today. And only 68 lbs from catching up with Leah, who tells me she is now feeling the heat! Honestly, I think Leah looks great at the weight she is, so if I can get there? I would consider myself hugely successful, even if I never made it to my ambitious goal. Plus, I wouldn't have to go shopping! We're the same height, and Leah has awesome taste in clothes and is willing to share!
As for my program's goal for me... Originally it was 226. That's just the formula - losing 60% of my "excess" weight would put me there. I'm 12 lbs away from that today. At my last weigh-in/checkup, they declared me "ahead of the curve" for weight loss at this stage, but weren't willing to suggest I might eventually get to normal BMI (my ambitious goal).... now they think getting under 200 would be wildly successful. I asked if they thought I could do better than that, but "under 200" was all they would sort of commit to. So they will pat themselves on the back 39 lbs from now.
Back when I first started, it was hard for me to believe I was 215 lbs over "normal" BMI for my height. And it was super hard to believe that I could ever lose that much weight. Now I'm over halfway there, and I am starting to see it as a real possibility. It's kind of amazing! (Also, hilariously, I am now 3 lbs under the weight @CheeringCJ was at her starting point! I'm coming for you, CJ! )
Food stuff: All good on that front. My nutritionist was right (how often do you hear THAT around here?!) - I was eating too fast. I've slowed myself down a lot now, and for the past two weeks I have only thrown up once. That was last night, when I got carried away with some very delicious chicken satay. Dense protein is still something I have to be super careful with, and though I ate less than 4 ounces, I did it too quickly. I'm mostly hitting my protein and water goals now, so I feel like I'm really on track. I probably get between 800-1000 calories a day at this point. I stay under 40ish grams of carbs, and the rest is protein and fat.
Other stuff: Can we talk about pants sizes??? OMG. So frustrating. About a month and a half ago (I think) I bought a single pair of 20 jeans, which were super tight at the time. I wanted them to last a while! They were tight everywhere - calves, thighs, butt, belly. But I could put them on and zip and button them, so I bought them. For the first two weeks, I often wore them around unbuttoned for comfort (hey - I work from home, I do what I want!) But now... now they are officially too big. They are super baggy in the butt and thighs, there's a big gap in the waist band at my back, and even loose on my calves (which are weirdly muscular and thick even without as much fat on them). AND YET THEY STILL FEEL TOO TIGHT IN THE BELLY. How is this even possible? I am mentally, emotionally and 95% physically ready to move down to 18's... but my belly won't cooperate. Granted, I haven't tried ON any 18's yet... I just feel like there's no point as long as these are still feeling tight in that area. Ugh. I don't know how jeans fit on other people, but me... I have two distinct bellies, and upper one and a lower one, and the waist bands of my jeans sit between the two. THAT is the part that is still thick enough to need a 20, even though everything from there hangs down off me like a sack.
And then... there is my skin. I remember when I first found this place... one of my first posts was a question about excess skin. (In fact, here's that post: https://tinyurl.com/yc9c2dsr ) 117 lbs later, I can report that oh yeah, I have some saggy baggy skin in places. My thighs, in particular, have started to take on the crinkly wrinkly look of empty plastic grocery bags. My upper arms, particularly underneath close by my shoulders, are saggy and floppy. My butt I have not examined closely, as it is behind me , but I can tell there is some sagging and wrinkling going on back there when I shower. My belly isn't very saggy or wrinkly, because I'm not losing much fat there!!!! (ugh).
But my boobs... well. At my last mammogram I told the tech, "Hey, good news! These come pre-flattened, for your convenience!" I have always been pretty small in the chest for a fat chick - I never got beyond a C-cup even at my highest weight. (Do you know how hard it is to find like, a size 56 C bra? Do you have any concept of how EXPENSIVE one is?) I got by mostly on Just My Size sports bras, which I actually still own and wear. They are really, really comfy. However. A few days ago, at the end of the day, I took my shirt off to get ready for bed and found that one of my boobs had slid out of the bottom of the sports bra sometime during the day and I HAD NOT EVEN NOTICED. So super glad that day that I do work from home!
However... it honestly isn't bugging me as much as I feared it would. For one thing, I am not partnered (and don't ever plan or want to be - that's just how I roll). The only person who sees me even partially naked is Leah, who is unlikely to care (or, to be honest, even notice - she really only sees her own body issues, not anybody else's!). The only people ever likely to see me in a bathing suit are great friends who also will not care (plus there are bathing suits these days that cover a multitude of flaws). I'm more excited about my new mobility than worried about my looks. Maybe that's because I'm older - if I did this in my thirties, maybe I would care more, but if I did this in my thirties, I'd probably have less loose skin to worry about anyway. My clothes currently hide everything I want to hide, with the exception of a little wrinkling in my neck. Everybody thinks I look awesome - *I* think I look pretty awesome with my clothes on! Certainly worlds better than I did before.
Anyway, there is excess skin, but it doesn't impede me in any way, so right now I'm not worrying about it. Eventually I may do plastics, just so clothes fit better. I'll definitely do a panniculectomy at the very least, because it'll be covered by insurance and I tend to get uncomfortable rashes under there. But that is a concern for after goal, and right now? I'm doing pretty good with it all.
(I know this post is endless, but I'm not quite done yet. I'm a writer by profession and a rambler by constitution, and since I'm socially aware enough to NOT blast everyone around me with my constant thoughts on WLS and weight loss and basically talking about myself constantly.... you guys get the blow back. )
I just wanted to talk a little more about how I feel about things now, as opposed to how I felt 9 months ago. I weighed 355~ lbs on my last birthday. If I keep losing 10ish lbs a month, I will be getting really close to 200 on my next one (April 9). The change is, pardon the pun, immense. 9 months ago I was essentially disabled. I could barely walk around my house. I was in near-constant pain any time I wasn't sitting down or lying down. I'm 5'3", and the pressure 350+ lbs put on my frame was debilitating. I huffed and puffed any time I had to walk - and I'm talking any distance. Like getting from my recliner to my fridge was painful and got me out of breath. I distinctly remember one afternoon after work - I got off the bus a block and a half from my house, and by the time I got to the house my knees and ankles hurt so much, and I was so out of breath, that I started crying. It was pain and self-pity and anger - Leah always got home first back then, why wouldn't she come and pick me up at the bus stop? She knew how much walking hurt. (Not that I had ever even asked her to - too proud for that. She was just supposed to KNOW and do it, right?) I felt hideous, too - fat and ugly, uncomfortable at all times even when I wasn't in pain.
Now... I can't even explain how different things are. Yesterday I took the dog out for a walk, and after about a half mile decided to turn and go the short route home. Because I was worried about the dog's feet on the ice and rock salt, and because I was cold. More than that, I decided. After half a mile! I could have gone on for another two miles. I have gone on for two more miles on some days! In point of fact, I don't know how far I can go at this point - we usually do about 2 miles, but the dog is set in her ways, so we always go the same route. And it doesn't hurt, it doesn't tire me out. I can go out and shovel snow for an hour and come in and stand around talking. I can go up and down my stairs twice or three times and not be out of breath. I sleep better. I often sleep all the way through the night - I never did that before surgery! I no longer need a CPAP machine. I'm not afraid of airports or train stations - I can walk as far as I need to walk. I don't worry about stopping to rest before going in to my boss's office at work, even if I'm coming in from the far parking lot - there's no redness or huffing and puffing I need to conceal. I can walk around a grocery store or a department store for an hour and then out to the parking lot and not even feel it. A while back, when I'd lost about 50 lbs from my high weight, I posted that I couldn't imagine what things would feel like after 50 more pounds. Now I know - it feels STUPID GOOD, that's what it feels like.
And now I can't imagine what it will feel like in 50 more, but I do know I'm really, really looking forward to it.
It's been awhile. I'm not going to make excuses. I fell off the wagon. My old eating habits kicked back in for a bit, as did depression. I'm getting back on track now. Thankfully, I only regained a couple pounds. However, I saw where I was headed.
Some good news...blood test results, breathing test and EKG came back okay. My vitamin D level is a little low. But, there is nothing that will prevent surgery from happening. On my next appointment, endoscopy of digestive system will be scheduled.
I hope ya'll had a great Holiday season! I will post more soon.
I'm in pureed foods mode right now. I'm supposed to start soft foods later this week. We'll see how that goes.
My sugar readings are still normal, which is awesome!
I've lost a total of 24 lbs (14 since surgery). I'm down in the 180s now, so I can't complain. Just going with the flow.
Unlike what it sounds like, Phase One Maintenance is not actually stopping losing weight, at least for me. Phase One is figuring out what my real actual GW is - where my 5 pound forever range lies. I felt I was at an acceptable weight when I hit 150, so anything thereabouts would feel like a success to me, but I think I will ultimately find myself a bit lower than that. Right now, I'm at 145, and it feels fine. I'm going to shoot for 140 and see how it is there. I might go to 135, depending on how 140 feels, and whether anyone screams "Stop!" at me (that responsibility would have to rest on my husband's shoulders, since I'm not around people I know very well right now). Lots of online weight calculators put me at around 140, based on sex, height, and age, but I'm willing to consider numbers on either side of that. It’s mostly just weird to not have a goal of losing. I took a “What diet is right for you?” Buzzfeed style quiz the other day and it stopped after I put in my stats and said: “You don’t need to lose any weight. Are you just looking for a way to change up your eating habits?” I was like “What?! Oh yeah, I don’t. I forgot.” Like I actually have zero context in my life for what it might be like to not have the goal of losing weight. It’s never happened to me before.
For those who are further away from GW than me, 5 pounds may seem like nitpicking, I totally understand that. That was like less than 2 weeks of losses earlier out for me, and didn't seem to make much of a difference one way or another. However, at this point, 5 pounds makes the difference between clothes fitting and not. I bought a couple of pairs of trousers the day I hit GW, and I'm already taking one of them to the tailor's this week, as they've gotten unattractively loose. They weren't tight to start with (should have gotten a size smaller but they were out), but they went from "Those fit nicely, in a not-tight kind of way," to "Those look sloppy and over-sized" in a matter of three weeks. The other pair of trousers went from tight skinny jeans to comfortable jeans.
Most of the time now, I feel pretty thin. I feel great, actually! I have tons of energy, I feel confident, and I actually look good to myself when I see myself in the mirror (usually - dysmorphia stuff means that sometimes I look fat to myself - I am aware that this is not correct). It's really shocking to feel this way. Shocking in a good way. I saw myself in the mirror in a store at the mall the other day, and I thought, “Hmm. I look like a thin person.”
I've been shopping a couple of times recently, and it seriously feels like being a kid at Disneyland. I can try on anything. Sales associate asks what size I'm looking for, and I can honestly reply without feeling ashamed (after living in oppressive fear of this question for many years). I'm trying to learn how to pick the right size to try on (no way can I eyeball a piece of clothing and have any idea) and also to try on one more size smaller, just to see if it fits. It's pretty baffling. Everything looks way too small, like it’s a joke. I know that vanity sizing shifts over the past decade or so are working in my favor, but my mind is having a hard time adjusting to wearing size small and single digit pants sizes.
I'm still going to the gym most days. My knee is healing, albeit slowly (why can’t I heal like a person in her 20s?), so I can do the stair stepper and the treadmill and the elliptical, but just slower than before. I'm finding it more difficult to get my 10,000 steps every day, too, so my average has gone way down. I realize that my knee needs some babying right now, but I'm impatient. I went to the desert this weekend and was worried about walking around in the sand, thinking that would bother my knee, but it was actually great - the sand sort of made it so I couldn’t twist my knee no matter how I stepped. I went for a couple of very long walks through the dunes. Why can't everywhere be sand dunes? I ask myself this question a lot (the desert is my happy place).
So, food-wise, I’m really pretty much eating like I have been for the past many months. I've upped my calories to about 900 per day, most days, with a few higher when I'm doing something like going to a party. I've eaten a few crackers here and there, with cheese, but I haven't gone crazy or anything. I had some sweet potato chips last weekend - again, just a couple of small handfuls and not going crazy. It's nice to be able to have that control. I just don't feel driven to eat in the same way I was, which may very well be a sign that I'm firmly in the honeymoon phase still (thank goodness). With a couple of my social groups, they have clearly identified that I do not eat sweets or most carbs, so they're making a point of not offering anymore, which is fantastic. I feel like I've trained them. “I don’t eat sweets.” My plan is working.
Some things I've been eating a lot lately: pomegranate seeds in my Greek yogurt -yum! And nicely crunchy. Tuna with chopped pickles and Hellman's light mayo (I can't taste the difference, and it has about 1/3 of the calories, so hey. Thank goodness I can find that and Vlasic pickles here - globalization has its benefits, I guess). Indian food sauce in a jar with shrimp, or fake chicken, or paneer, or tofu added - it's nice and spicy, I can control exactly how much I eat and know the nutritional info, and it's quick and easy. Scrambled eggs are getting easier, so I have them sometimes now. I'm trying to add frozen chopped spinach and other veggies to lots of things to get more fiber and iron. But mostly more of the same: protein drinks, Greek yogurt, cheese cheese and more cheese, nuts, fake vegetarian meat, shrimp, and some salads and veggie sticks. I honestly don't feel too bored with it. My husband has been channeling his energy into cooking for himself (he usually cooks Indian food, but carbier than what I want so I usually just have a bite), and he remarked the other day that he's happy we're not eating out so much now, since we eat better at home and we're saving money better this way. I thought that was quite strange, since we used to eat out a lot, but hey, if he's happy. He’s definitely losing some weight, too, which he’s pleased about.
In case this blog entry didn't seem like it had anything very exciting, here are some pictures of the Empty Quarter to make you feel better about reading this far. It's a gorgeous place - sand for a thousand miles.
(ok, so it took me 2 days to get this compiled!)
2 months...it flew by and I am loving every second of it!
I am having fun with clothes again…it’s been a long time since that has happened. Nothing is tight anymore and I feel so much more confident and I am mixing and matching and accessorizing and just loving it…and I haven’t spent a dime yet!!! WHY didn’t I have this surgery 10 years ago when I was determined to get to my goal weight and never made it (despite paying hundreds of dollars to Weight Watchers?!?!)
I did my measurements and 2 month pictures (I think I will post the pics next month…I saw a big difference in them but for some reason I am still embarrassed about them). So, after looking at my measurements I think I have concrete evidence as to why my bra band got too big to work anymore and I had to go down a size and why I no longer need the buttons and zippers on my pants anymore…..
I lost 15.25” the first month, and then this month I lost another 17”!!! Some highlights are a whopping 4.75” off of my waist, and my chest (where my bra band is measured is down a full 4”!!! My hips are down 3”, my thighs are down 2.25” each, and my arms are down a total of 2”!!!
Here’s the picture of my body measuring ribbons too! AMAZING, right?!?!? I never thought I could lose this much in 2 months!!!
I also lost 11.8 pounds this month. I felt like I was at a stall most of the month, but when I looked at the graph I was shocked that it was almost 12#!!! I had no idea it would be that much!
My parents are coming up tomorrow for a funeral and I haven’t seen them in 2 months, so it will be interesting to see what they think! I haven’t told them how much I lost, so it should be a happy surprise! I am so glad I told them about it.
So, I am the incredible shrinking woman!!! And honestly I am FEELING INCREDIBLE!!!
Here I sit, worried. My op is next Tuesday but I fly out on Monday alone, to face my future head on.
I've watched the vlogs, I've read the blogs I'm very ready to have this op.
I know it's not going to be easy, I have a fear I'm going to die on the operation table, and flying home after 5 days makes me wonder if I'll even make it through the airport from gate to exit without collapsing. Maybe I'll need a lift on one of those electric trollies to beep me through, a fat VIP!
Will my mind trip me up post op? Will my addiction fight back?
Oh dearey me, This is a happy first blog post!
One day at a time, just one foot in front of the other. Lets try to look at this from another angle.
Ok, here's a positive. I started my low calorie diet on Friday and have already lost 6lbs. There. That's my positive
Time for tea
Howwww!? Week 6 already. So here's what's been going on.
Finally feel I've gotten a hang of water and protein. Being able to hit 64 oz+ of water and 60 grams of protein finally got the scale moving again too (or the rain dance, or praying to the scale gods, yknow, whichever). This week I'll be adding in actual dedicated exercise rather than lapping the house or going to target to lap (which is horribly dangerous for my pocket).
I have a crazy craving for onions. Never been a major onion fan, but I'll be darned if I didn't cook at least 3 different dinners this week involving them because I just love the taste suddenly.
Went to see the surgeon for my 1 month, and instead saw an NP who didn't listen to a word I said and was not at all familiar with my case. When I checked out, I told the girl for my two month, I expected to see the surgeon, and I wanted my case changed to a different NP (we follow with an NP starting normally with the six month one). She initially tried to say it wasn't possible, and I told her I wouldn't return for any further appointments unless I was reassigned. Magically, it became possible
Saw the nutritionist as well, although a different one than normal, and she also didnt know what was up and didn't know I'd been on Step 3 for a couple weeks, and even on telling her this, she didnt seem to know what to do except spend 30 minutes reviewing step 3 with me. Right now, I'm wholly not amused with the post-op program.
I'm getting ready to return to work. I bought the bento that eggface recommends, because it's the only one that really has removable containers, and I want to be able to pack stuff that can be heated and stuff that doesnt need heated. It'll make getting 3-4 mini meals in during work so much easier. I've been testing a few things that will be easy to take (italian and deli rollups, all manner of leftovers, frittatas, etc) this week to make plans for what to take. I have one of the old style giant hospital insulated cups (most hospitals here stopped carrying them because theyre too heavy for older patients, but they sell them in the gift shop for 5 bucks, ha!). It's 32 ounces, so I feel it will help a lot in getting in fluids at my desk.
They want me to eat through the day and take in a protein shake in the evening if Im not at goal, but the last couple days, I've discovered starting with a shake has been the key difference between me meeting goal and not meeting goal. I can't talk myself into a shake in the evening - the thought of even milk by then makes me cringe. So for now, I'm sticking with what's working. I know when I can fit a little more solid/soft in, I'll be able to go it without a shake, and hopefully my aversion to eating later in the day will wane, too.
I also was told to restart vitamins this week, and to add in B12. I ordered off celebrate, and besides the price, am pretty pleased. Their calcium chews beat swallowing big pills by a long shot.
I took pics the other day and was surprised by how noticeable the difference in my belly and chest is. Definitely motivated to keep that tradition up.
Last but not least, I'm biting the bullet and going back to using MFP. I've been using loseit, and I like it a lot - I feel the interface is a lot cleaner - but it really only lets you track breakfast/lunch/dinner and one snack, and it's driving me batty. I also can't edit or create recipes from their desktop site, only from their app. I'm using a notebook to kind of plan my water and protein for the day, but the specifics of calories and macros I prefer in an app. If you have it, add me My username is delilish.
ANYWAY. That's my update and Im sticking to it. <3
Happy New Year! I have been busy with the holidays and haven't been on here much. Sorry about that! I figured I'd update how things are going, though.
I've lost a total of 45 lbs since I walked into the surgery clinic August 30, and 31 of those pounds were since surgery 6 weeks ago. I'm not sure at what pace I'm supposed to be losing, but I'm losing steadily, so I'm not worried. The holidays have been very difficult, both in terms of eating and in terms of the emotional difficulty my family has experienced with the loss of my sister. But it has also been a time when I have been given immense support from my family for my weight loss efforts. My mother made a small Christmas lasagna just for me, with peeled zucchini in place of the noodles. It was delicious! She also served a turkey mainly because she knew I could eat it. My husband has taken care to adjust our Christmas and New Year meals so that I can have a portion of them easily. Tonight I'll have some smoked pork loin and collard greens with mushrooms - and one single black-eyed pea (I can't have beans yet).
I have found some foods that could prove "dangerous" for me if I'm not careful. I ate some parmesan crisps - which were a lot like crackers and SO GOOD, but they are too easy to eat too many of and they are just something I'm eating because I want crackers, so I'm probably going to set those aside for now. Cheese in general is something I find that I tolerate well, but will need to be careful with. It's higher in fat than other options, so I will sometimes eat cheese when I really could eat something higher in protein and lower in fat. I will not give up cheese (I LOVE IT SO!), but I'm trying to be careful about when I eat it and how much I eat it.
My set diet from my nutritionist/surgeon is VERY strict, but I have bent the rules a bit. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners in general. I can tolerate sugar-free popsicles because they're tart enough that the artificial taste is overpowered, but I HAAAAATE artificially sweetened yogurt. I found Siggi's yogurt at Whole Foods, which is very lightly sweetened with agave nectar and sugar and has a little bit of fruit in it (which I'm technically not allowed yet). BUT a 5 oz container has 11 grams of sugar, about the same amount as 8 oz of milk, and 15 grams of protein - with no weird artificial sweetener aftertaste. So I'm eating it, dammit. Haha! I haven't had any issues with it and it's practically the only carbs I get in a day, so I feel pretty ok about it. The black cherry is my favorite.
If The Curry Incident of '17 (which I blogged about) was dumping, then that's the only dumping episode I've had. I have not vomited. There have been a few things that didn't settle well and gave me a little digestive turmoil (just gurgling and slight pain), but nothing serious. I haven't started exercising yet because I'm still struggling to get all my fluids and protein in (the thought of a shake makes me gag a little - but I've been putting unflavored protein in Fairlife milk and that's pretty ok). BUT I got all my protein in yesterday and I'm on track to get both my protein and fluids in today, so tomorrow is when I start my workouts! SOOOOOO typical to start a workout plan on January 2. Haha!
I hope the new year is good to all of you. I'm hoping for a much better year than our last.
8 weeks already?!?!
First of all, I can’t believe I have reached 8 weeks, where did the time go? I have no pain, and haven’t for weeks so that is great I don’t even have pain when I eat or anything. I did have an issue with my incision (the bigger one that had the stomach pulled through)…it had a “piece of suture” sticking through it at my last surgeon’s visit (12/8) and it occasionally bleeds in the center but it hasn’t for a few weeks. However, I woke up the other day and it was bloody around it so I took a shower and washed it off, but then it was bleeding again after it. What is up with that? It never hurts and when it does bleed, I just put Neosporin ointment on a Band-Aid and it heals up but it has never quite seemed to stay sealed in the center (it never looks opened, it must just have the tiniest opening). Has anyone had issues with theirs? I am not worried about it because it is never infected etc but it is odd. Here are pics of it when I woke up 12/23 and then after I showered….you can see a small opening but it isn’t opened looking now).
Anyway, enough of that….as for food, I am “allowed” anything (except for bread, pasta etc which I have to wait until I reach goal or one year out, which I could really care less about, I haven’t had them in months and am fine w/o them and nuts which I can’t have for a year but I’d like to!) I was posting today that I can’t really do salad well…I’ve tried two times but it just fills me up and I don’t get enough protein out of to benefit from it….so I am going to wait a while on that again. I haven’t had anything hurt or come back up or disagree or anything….which is great but then again it makes me nervous since I was hoping for more “restriction”! Silly that I worry about it because if I did have a bunch of things I can’t eat or that get stuck or I throw up, I’d certainly be complaining about that!
So today is the beginning of a new year….2018 has arrived and do you know what one of the nicest things about it is??? For the first time in decades I am not making a resolution to lose weight! That is the most freeing feeling ever! I was just talking to my husband about that yesterday….I finally don’t have to make that resolution. Funny thing was last year on this day I had no idea what this year would bring…I had no idea I would decide to get WLS and then have it done and be fully recovered by the time January 1st rolled around again! It is amazing to me! I WILL lose weight this year, I HAVE to! Next year I will have to resolve to keep it off, but this is my easy year….yet I don’t want to squander it. I want to work at it so that I get the most of it and the most weight off that I can!
I have started to do weird things….like doing squats when taking something out of the dryer, and bun clenches while folding! All things that utilize the new muscles that have found their way out of the layers of fat that once covered them! I challenge myself to how tight I can hold my stomach while doing certain things and I do twist the whole time I am brushing my teeth. It’s become in interesting game with my body and its newly discovered muscles! Oddly enough the fronts of my shins hurt from how many toe raises I do while sitting (like right now I am doing them!). I figured it can’t hurt so I’ll just keep doing them all!
I have no real tangible idea of what I will look like next year. I was at Walmart yesterday and saw a cute Christmas shirt on clearance for $4…..and I stood there so long looking at the Large and it looked SO small, but then figuring I would probably be a Medium then, so I pulled the medium off the rack and thought “there is no way on earth that would fit me”! I should have just bought it to see next year! J But my used to being fat self can’t fathom it at all!!! So, I left it on the rack walking away trying to imagine the new me!
I had a dream last week….I was in a pageant and I was mortified because I hate being the center of attention….but then I realized I looked nice and was dressed nice in a pretty dress that was very slim. I stood in front of the mirror before going out on the stage and thought “it’s not so scary, I am presentable”….I didn’t see the face on the mirror, but my face has never been what’s held me back, it’s always been my weight and my appearance in clothes that made me want to fade into the background. I woke up feeling very confident (never did finish, but the feeling was there that I COULD go out on stage and not hide). I kept thinking of it all day….it wasn’t anything concrete, it was just a feeling it gave me that the fear and shame of hiding from the public is going away! I like that!
Clothes have become easy for me. I have lost 39# and I am easily out of my “fat clothes” (sz 22) that I had to buy this fall since last year’s fat clothes didn’t fit me! My last year’s clothes that were 20s fit nicely though there is no need for buttons/snaps and zippers, I can pull them down w/o using them so it won’t be long till they are too big but for now I am enjoying that I don’t have to make sure the shirt is long enough to cover the fact that they look too tight in the front or I don’t have to wear a tight cami underneath to try to control the muffin top! I tried on a new pair of 18s that I never wore and they were snug but zipped right up….I have a feeling that next month they will be ok! I am loving this! I have so many more clothes to choose from now. I used to rotate the same 5 outfits every week….and by that I mean 2 pairs of pants, 1 pair of jeans (Friday dress down day) and 5 shirts (fortunately on Friday we wear school spirit clothes and my school has given me at least 10 shirts so I have plenty to rotate through, but the 3 that were clingy so I never wear them, I just might dig out soon and wear!!!) Now I have so many clothes that USED to fit that fit again so I am “shopping” in my own closet...saving money AND feeling good about myself!!!
One interesting thing is I have lost so many inches under my bust that all my bras are too loose…already!!! It is awesome and thank goodness I saved some on my way “up” because I had to get rid of my good bras already. I have read about bra extenders but I need bra shorteners! The other interesting thing that I LOVE is that losing all those inches there make my shirt do what women’s shirts are supposed to do (you’ll understand, ladies) and actually glide over my bust and then just hang down!!! In the recent year(s) I have looked like I grew a second pair of bosoms and they fell just beneath my first pair and my shirts had to accommodate them along with the third set that was less like bosoms and more like a spare tire roll under my waist! (that by the way is still there just someone is letting the air out of my spare! Amen to that!) So I am feeling more feminine having a more normal (one bosom!) shape! (you get what I am saying, right girlfriends?!?!)
Another thing different in me is that I am looking for another job…and I have the confidence to go for interviews….I love my job and I make a big difference with the special needs kids I work with but I am not crazy about any other aspect of it. I was out for 5 wks and got no paid time off. (I actually got approved by the state for 5 wks short term disability at half pay but haven’t seen a dime yet). Everyone loves what I do but I am grossly underpaid for it. I talked to them about a raise but it is out of everyone’s hands so I am told. Plus I don’t get benefits, and my husband’s job was dissolved and his severance package ends this month and then we have no benefits, so I am thinking I need more money and benefits for my new job. I wasn’t thinking a career but now I am thinking “why not?” I am 51 now and I can get back to my FT career I had at the university I worked at before (I took the school job because it allows me to be close to my kids while in elementary/high school and one is out, one is a sophomore and the other (my one I worry most about bc he is autistic) is in 8th grade and heading to high school next year). I debate about this all day long but I am getting a peace about it. I pray about it every day and I wonder what God will have for us this year, but I also know He will provide for us and take care of us, and I am so thrilled He let me get this surgery 100% paid before our benefits ran out!!! And now I have the confidence to go where ever He will lead me to this year.
anyway, here's my biggest incision...no, it's not T shaped, that is just where the blood dripped down...and in the center is the little part it bleeds from.
S - ickening eating habits
I - ntegrated tool
X -tra room
Wow have I been absent from Thinner Times for the past few months. I have been overwhelmed with a terrible work situation and then the holidays hit. BAM! And here were are, at month six. Actually past my six month-iversary. I have no idea on my weight or measurements (haven't weighed or measured in a month but clothes fit the looser so at least there's that).
I traveled and will travel more for this holiday. The first was for my grandfather's 90th birthday. My parents came to the airport to pick me up and they didn't even recognize me. It's been surreal at 100+ pounds down. I've gone from a size 28+ (because I wore stretchy cottony things and who knows their actual size) to an 18. I recently bought a pair of jeans at the thrift store that were a size 16. The sweatshirt I am currently wearing is an XL. SURREAL!
Sickening eating habits. There is no other way to describe my thoughts as I watched my parents. I spent the holiday with them and there was bread and butter with everything. And so many, many snacks between meals. So many, many sweets. I'm not going to lie, I was completely revolted by it. It's hard not to respond when I see them doing all the bad habits that I know I had pre-surgery and lead to my max weight of 370 lbs. I am concerned for their health, obviously. So I would make lots of salads in the hopes of filling them up before they ate the main meal. And fruit salads in the morning. But they love their carbs. I'm such a midwest girl from a midwest family. I was sickened by it all and just went for long walks around the neighborhood to distract myself. Everyone said how good I look but how do I *not* harass them about eating better. Both of them know they have gained weight over the years and want to improve. I feel almost like I'm part of a pyramid scheme and I'm trying to recruit others into the VSG lifestyle but I SWEAR!! this works! But wait, there's more! If you act now, you'll also get a set of Ginsu knives that will cut through cans!
Integrated tool During all of these family events there were a lot more dinners together where my eating habits were heavily scrutinized. There was also the issue of me not even feeling like eating most of the time (still no appetite at 6 months out and focused only on getting to 80g protein). Perhaps they weren't as heavily scrutinized as I felt, but I was aware that I was eating approximately a cup of food to their very full dinner sized plates. There were also some very judgemental dinners with family where they felt the need to weigh in on my unmarried, athiest 'lifestyle' and did not want to hear about the new homeless initiative I started with my Humanist group. Le sigh. Family drama, eh? But I felt like I integrated my tool well. My VSG tool is something I am still getting used to but I shipped protein bars and protein chips to where I was staying in advance so that I could have them with me. I did NOT eat a single Christmas cookie or bread/pasta/empty calorie food and managed to find decent offerings at quite a few restaurants. So is my tool fully integrated into my life? Not yet but it did feel more integrated with the additional family challenges. The dating challenges are still just that, challenges. But I'm finding a way around those too. Salads really are key.
Xtra room! YES!! Allow me some leeway with that spelling - how else can I use an X and part of my fun with these posts are finding things to fit the letters. HOWEVER, during this holiday I flew for the first time since surgery and there was XTRA room in the airplane seat belt!! I won't say there was extra legroom because I really am too tall for these seats but there was extra seat room and I was even stuck in the middle seat for one flight! What an amazing feeling to know my extra large body (rather than 4x body) could fit in the seat without ending up with bruises on my hips from the seat rests, without crossing my arms over my body and hoping/praying/swearing that if I could will myself or squeeze myself smaller so I didn't 'spillover' to my neighbors, I gladly would. It was a great feeling.
So as we all get ready to celebrate the end of 2017, which I have to say has been a remarkably terrible year for me in many ways but also already a new beginning, I want to say thank you to all of those who have gone before me and gave me the courage, and give a huge, squeezy hug to all of those who go after me in order to give you comfort. There will be terrible times, there will be times when you may not regret the decision but need a break from thinking or writing about it on this forum, but to know this community is here....well, it makes me smile, gives me continued comfort and keeps me coming back.
Blood sugar: 88
Weight loss: 0.4lbs (total lost: 20.4lbs/13 lost since surgery).
Pain level: still about a 1, mostly around the one incision where they removed my stomach
Protein consumption: only about 40 grams yesterday. Goal is 60-80 grams daily.
As far as the pureed foods go, I've tried homemade chicken salad, diced ham, and a poached egg (which I was told is often well-tolerated). None of them have gone down really smoothly. The only pureed food I can get down with ease is small curd cottage cheese. I'm not going to push it. Otherwise, it hurts or just feels uncomfortable swallowing down those other foods.
By weeks, yesterday was week 4. By day-to-day, my surgery was the 29th, so tomorrow is the official month mark. Regardless, I'm so excited to be here.
It's incredible how much I feel my body has changed. I'm down 20 pounds. I've been doing a better skincare regimen while I've been off work as well, and between the two, I can kiiinda already see a future where I'm not just dumpy and thick. I attended my works holiday party and got more compliments than I think I've ever received at once. My parents were thrilled when they came over for Christmas Eve, although I felt my entire family was watching every single bite I took (and there were a few snarky comments from my cousin - who is considerably larger than me - about how I "made all this food for everyone that I won't even eat").
It's surprising to me how much of a fight it is to still tamp down bad habits. While my taste buds have changed somewhat, I still have a strong preference towards salty/fatty foods. Sweets just don't taste good to me, which is fairly fortunate, but I've never been much of a sweet tooth person. So far, my sleeve has handled pretty much everything I've thrown at it. As long as I go slow and chew thoroughly, it's a champ.
I learned a valuable lesson Tuesday when I went to see the new Star Wars with my DH. We intended to eat prior, but every place at the mall was so busy there was no way. We ended up sitting at Starbucks, me sipping tea, but because of the crowds they were out of most food that wasn't bread. I did drink a small tea, but I'd been a bit short on fluids otherwise. Our theater is one that serves food to you, and we mistakenly thought we had tickets for that, but we ended up on the "other side" where its still a concession stand. Which would have been fine, it serves food, but again, the lines were astronomically ridiculous and I had doubts about my ability to eat the "grilled" chicken they were serving, so we just found our seats. By the end of the movie, I was dizzy and nauseated with a hollow feeling that felt like a drill through my stomach. I had tears in my eyes just trying to walk out of the theater and I gripped my DH's arm the whole way. When I thought back, I realized it'd been ~7 hours without eating, with several of those hours being us walking around an outdoor mall, and one small tea was the only fluid I consumed. We sat down on the stairs and he ran to get a bottle of water, which helped considerably after about 15 minutes, and then we ate a bit and the worst of it finally passed.
Lesson learned. I can't go that long without eating, and I certainly can't go that long without drinking - at least not this early in the process, for sure. It's easy sometimes to 'forget' to eat, or honestly, to not feel like shoving another 2 ounces of protein pudding in my mouth, but I'll need a plan in place for any long outings from here out.
Overall, my meals right now are a mix of super soft things like pudding (I add unflavored unjury to it) and things that are a bit more substantial, like deli meat or even small pieces of carved turkey or a low fat hot dog. When it's pudding or yogurt, I can manage 4 ounces, but anything with meat, I max out at 2 ounces.
My birthday is Monday and I'm excited to welcome in the ripe age of 33, knowing that this age is going to be a huge change from 32. New job, new body, new habits, more hiking (gosh I'm so excited for this bitter cold to end and for clearance from my surgeon so I can hike).
Happy New Years to all if I don't see you this week. <3
Blood sugar: 87
Weight loss: 0.2lbs (total lost: 19.6lbs/12.2 lost since surgery)
Pain level: about a 2
Protein consumption: about 42 grams yesterday
I've been cleared for pureed foods! Woohoo! I've literally been starving for the past week and a half, so I'm hoping this will curb some of that. My surgeon's PA said that, unfortunately, around 1/3 of their patients experience true hunger from day 1 and I seem to be one of those lucky individuals.
Otherwise, the PA is very pleased with my progress so far. I told her how the skin surrounding my incisions has been a bit itchy. She said I can try a very small amount of Benadryl cream or hydrocortisone ointment, but I have to be careful not to get my incisions too moist yet with creams and lotions, because my incisions can split open. That would obviously be bad.
I ordered these little hors d'oeuvres dishes from World Market that are 2" squares that hold one liquid ounce. I also ordered a set of cocktail forks and spoons. Those are what I use to eat. They've come in very handy for measuring out an appropriate portion of cottage cheese or chicken salad (which I made homemade from a rotisserie chicken this afternoon and am enjoying now for my first pureed meal). I felt like the chicken was a little bit difficult to get down, so I'm going to hold off for a bit before eating it again. My next experiment will be with eggs, I think.
Blood sugar: 94
Weight loss: 0.4lbs (total lost: 19.4lbs)
Pain level: about a 2 most of the time, although when I hiccup it hurts my entire belly cavity. Also, sipping down my first shake of the day today is hurting like crazy and I don't understand why. Even the teeniest, tiniest sip feels like I swallowed a whole pretzel log sideways in my stomach.
Protein consumption: only about 26 grams yesterday. I need to do better today.
Blood sugar: 84 (now I have to worry about it going too low)
Weight loss: 0.4lbs (total lost: 19lbs)
Pain level: hovering between a 2 and 3
Protein consumption: about 52 grams yesterday! I'm getting there. Goal is 60-80 grams.
For the past two days I've nibbled on small curd fat free cottage cheese, a little at a time. I just felt like I was ready for it and wanted it. I don't even like cottage cheese, but it tasted so damn good in light of all the shakes and sugar free popsicles I've been having. I just made sure it was a toothpaste consistency before I swallowed it down --- and the teeny bit that I ate each time barely fit on the tip of a cocktail spoon. No adverse reactions. And 1/2 cup contains 11 grams of protein. I had about 1/4 cup yesterday. Again, it took me about an hour to eat that 1/4 cup, but I did it and felt well afterwards.
I also tried about a tablespoon's worth of unsweetened applesauce last night, just for something different. It took me about 20 minutes to eat that tablespoon, but again I had no issues.
I have my first post-op appointment this coming Thursday with my surgeon's PA. I'm hoping she'll give me the go-ahead to move on to pureed foods, because I feel like I'm ready to. Normally, they want you to be on full liquids for 14 days, but I feel like my body is telling me it's time to move forward. Fingers crossed.
Oh, a revelation last night. I only have 6 incisions, after all. There's a spot on the left lower side of my belly that's had a yucky scab and bruising. Since I've taken a few showers since my surgery, it's become clear that's it's not an incision, as I originally thought...and the giveway should've been the fact that it doesn't have any glue on it, but it was hard to tell initially. I finally figured out it's where they gave me a needle in my stomach with the medicine that prevents blood clots. I have a smaller, less hideous matching spot on my right side, because they gave it to me upon admission on my left side and then again on my right side upon discharge.
So yay for colorful contusions that aren't incisions.
Blood sugar: 94!!!! Weight loss: 0.2lbs Pain level: fluctuates between a 3 and a 4 Protein consumption: about 30 grams yesterday. Goal is 60-80 grams.
Yesterday I had a good long walk around Target, where I had to pick up a few last-minute things. The venture wore me out, though, and I was happy to get home.
For dinner, I treated myself to some Campbell's cream of potato soup mixed with skim milk, of which I was able to consume 2 oz. I had to pulverize the chunks of potato so that they blended in with the liquid part of the soup. Basically, I dunked my spoon upright into the cup and just sipped off the residue that was left on the spoon when I lifted it up. It took about 45 minutes to an hour to consume those 2 oz., but it felt like a gourmet meal compared to all of the water, popsicles, and shakes I've been having. I felt very satisfied after eating it, which was nice.
I'm finding that already, I'm able to take slightly bigger sips of liquids than I was just 4 days ago. That's been helpful in getting down my couple of medications that aren't liquid or chewable. My surgeon's office says that for the next 3 to 6 months, I will need to remain on chewable or liquid medications that can't be consumed in a pill or capsule that is smaller than an M&M.
My incision and stomach muscle pain is alleviating more each day. I can now get into a sitting position without too much agony. Standing or walking for long periods of time can make my incisions start to hurt and just make my belly ache. You don't realize how much you use your core muscles for simple everyday movements, until they're sore.
My weight loss has suddenly slowed, but based on an article about weight loss plateaus that I read earlier this morning, I completely understand why and I'm not worried about it. I have an obsession with the scale anyway, so that's my own issue to work through.
Blood sugar: 105 (not a true fasting blood sugar reading, because I was up at 5am to have pain medication. I'd gone to bed without any and made it through almost the entire night without it. I think it probably has a little bit of sugar in it, plus I had a sugar-free popsicle afterwards because I was thirsty and I hate the taste of the pain med, so the combination probably affected my sugar reading a bit.)
Weight loss: 1.4lbs (bringing total lost to 17.2 since NYC, 7.2 since surgery)
Pain level: still a 4
Protein consumption: only about 24 grams yesterday. Goal is 60-80 grams.