Month 10ish - still losing!

Maybe not as fast as before, but I'm having a loss week this week.  I admit, I struggled this month, mentally and emotionally.  Intellectually I know that my weight loss is periodic - I stall for about 3 weeks a month, then lose over one week, then stall again for 3 weeks.  It's like clockwork.  But somehow I felt sure that this month's stall was different - that this was the stall that wasn't going to break, that I wouldn't lose anything, that I might even end up regaining.  I'd gone up about 2 lbs in the middle of my stall weeks, then dropped down one and stayed.  And stayed... and stayed - I was 186.6 for ten. days. straight! without variation.  Didn't seem to matter what I ate or how much I drank.  186.6 started to feel PERMANENT.  The brain is a scary device, y'all. And it will screw with you just for giggles. But then I went down to 183, and that's where I am today.  I *hope* I have a few more pounds of loss to go before I settle into the next stall.  One of my little mini-goals was to be below 180 by my August vacation, which starts on August 8th.  I know missing that won't mean anything in terms of how my body feels or looks - nobody is going to be weighing me to the tenth of an ounce with their eyeballs!  But I just *want* it, so I'm hoping I can get there.  Also, if I don't, it'll mean I only count 2 lbs of loss for this month - because my 3 week stall will likely still be in effect by August 8.  ANYWAY.  That's enough of scale numbers.    Time to talk about other numbers... like my heart rate and BP.  I thought very hard about subtitling this post "Still Not Dead!"  My pulse is super low these days.  My resting heart rate is in the low 50's throughout the day, and (according to my apple watch) dips into the low 40's while I'm sleeping.  I know this because I got a new sleep tracking app, and it requires that I sleep with the watch on. The first night, my watch kept waking me up to alert me to my low pulse!  That was kind of freaky.  It's even dipped down to 39 once or twice at night.  And then:  Today is the 2nd day of my every-five-to-six-weeks IvIG infusion for my autoimmune issues (which don't do me any harm as long as I get the infusions).  Every 5 weeks or so a visiting nurse shows up and I have two days of infusions - 4 hours each day.  Then I'm good to go for another 5-6 weeks.  During the infusions, the nurse has to check my pulse, temp, and blood pressure at the start, once an hour, and again at the end.  Today my first BP reading was 86/59!  I was like - "Uh, that can't be right, can it?"  At my last infusion my average was something like 115/80.  We re-checked it a few times over the next five to ten minutes and got 100/60, 95/59, 106/55.  I asked my nurse if I were, perhaps, dying.  She asked me how I felt - and I felt basically fine.  Normal.  I certainly didn't feel anything that would indicate a suspiciously low BP.  She said as long as I felt ok, I shouldn't worry about it. I know a lot of you vets have the same issues - suddenly low BP and pulse rates after surgery.  I did a search for "bradycardia" and low pulse and low heart rate here, and found a LOT of posts on it (including one of mine, from back near surgery day!).  So I know this isn't something to be really nervous about, but honestly - since when have I needed a reason to have health anxiety!?  It doesn't help that yesterday my nurse told me how she ended up in the ER a few weeks ago with an extremely low pulse - in the 20's.  She had RNY 10 years ago, so she's also a serious vet, but this was the first time she ever had that issue. (For those of us who worry about regain, here's some inspiration:  She did regain a LOT of the weight she had lost originally... and has now lost it all again, just by getting back on the program.) I'm just going to keep an eye on it, and see how it goes.  If I stay worried, I'll talk to my PCP about it.  But I suspect she'll say the same - if I feel good, don't worry about it!  I wonder if this is somehow related to how hard our bodies had to work to get our blood around when we were much more obese?  Maybe we DO have the hearts (and heart rates, and BP) of elite athletes from doing all that work! In other numbers news, I'm wearing size 14 pants now!  Granted, they are pretty damn tight.  The first time I fit into them, I told Leah it was like having an external lap band on top of my RNY!      But they fit well enough to wear in public, so I'll take it.   I'm eating mostly (I'd say about 95%) on plan, and the 5% off plan moments are few and far between.  I'm much better at getting my protein in these days, and my liquids.  I use Fairlife Milk instead of Premier Protein shakes unless I'm in a SUPER hurry.  And I'd say that most of my food still falls into the category of "mushy". I still eat a lot of greek yogurt, some eggs, some refried beans, some chili, some cheese, and the occasional protein bar (I like Kirkland brand these days, which have a ton of fiber and protein and taste "okay" but not great). About 300 of my daily calories (which hover around 1000 each day) come from Fairlife whole milk.  I don't do a lot of vegetables, but I do go through salad phases sometimes, and I love berries - mostly blackberries and strawberries, but also some blueberries.  I'd love to eat apples, but they're a bit too stiff/woody for me still.  My new "sister in law" (Meg's brother's wife) made us brunch this past weekend, and made two LOVELY quiches - which may be the only way I eat eggs from now on, they were SO delicious.  As far as meat goes... I mostly stick with easy stuff like bacon, ground beef (in chili or in "burger" form with cheese and lots of mustard).  And lately, scallops!  What else... oh, so those Mission carb balance tortillas with 4g net carbs and a whole bunch of fiber?  I eat those sometimes.  Usually with refried beans in the middle and a bunch of shredded cheese melted on it, and then dipped in greek yogurt (which is exactly like sour cream!).  Leah makes fajitas some nights, and I'll spread guac on one of those tortillas and then shred chicken on top of it, and layer on onions and some sour cream.  It is FABULOUS, and essentially the only way I can eat chicken - which 9 times out of 10 is just too dry for me.  With regard to exercise - I'm still mostly walking.  But I have joined a gym and intend to start using it!  I just need to get through this infusion, which takes a lot out of me for a couple of days, and then I'm going back in to start my official workouts!  I'm smaller now, but ready to get STRONGER too.  Finally - I FINALLY had a follow-up appointment with my actual surgeon!  I had most of my immediate follow-up with his PAs and with the NUT.  I was supposed to meet with the surgeon at 6 months, but it was rescheduled... and then rescheduled again... and then again.  The last time I asked what was up, and learned he had had some health issues of his own.  But I did see him last month, and it went great.  He was really impressed with my progress - he said I had lost over 70% of my excess weight in just 9 months, and if I never lost another pound I was still one of the best outcomes he'd had.  Then he went on to say that he expected I would keep losing for a while yet - and asked me how I was doing with loose skin, etc.  So we talked about that for a while, and he said if I ever wanted to have anything done, just let him know, and he'd refer me to a great plastic surgeon.  And he told me to document EVERY skin issue I had, no matter how small, to make a case for insurance covering it.  I made a point of telling him that I'd really been looking forward to meeting with him just so I could thank him, because he had changed my life for the better in ways I couldn't even begin to describe - and he said I'd just made his day.    So another month down - two more to go before my Surgiversary!  I can't wait to get there, and see where I've landed after a full year.  I have Great Expectations.   




Five Months of Maintenance

So, first of all, five months of maintenance success! Hooray! I’m basically always between 132 and 135, even when my calories and exercise vary a fair bit. That makes me feel fairly confident that I can do this. That’s a good feeling. I still wonder if I’ll be able to eat/exercise like this forever, and I have that old nagging feeling like things are going to come crashing down around me and I’ll start the regain process (again), but those feelings are a little quieter than usual right now. Some NSVs:  Swimming in public, pretty frequently. I’m growing more comfortable wearing a bathing suit. My thighs are a bit saggy and wobbly, but I kind of don’t care that much, particularly if I’m somewhere I don’t really know anyone. (I mean, deep down inside I care, but I try really hard to look at the bright side on this). I love love love swimming, and it’s been really fun to remember that. Sometimes I see a larger person rocking their bathing suit and feel like “Good for you! I was not strong enough to do that!”  Yesterday was my birthday, and I went swimming in the sea to celebrate. It was wonderful - the air outside is infernally hot, but the water is just cool enough to be refreshing. I also went to the gym on my birthday, which is its own NSV, I suppose… I went to the Dead Sea last weekend (it’s a pretty quick getaway from here) and was totally comfortable parading around in my bathing suit, down to the water, back out to the showers (wow, so salty, gotta get that water off fast!!) and to the mud pots! Dead Sea mud is renowned for its healing/restorative mineral content, so people smear the mud all over themselves, let it dry, and then go into the water to wash it off. Like a mud mask for your whole body. I felt OK enough doing that (laughing pretty hard the whole time) that I was OK with another tourist taking my picture for me while I was all full of mud. Photo. Stranger. Bathing suit. I know I don’t need to explain any further why that was such a novel experience. I had a really good time, and I know that I would have had a really bad time if I had gone when I was a lot bigger. I would just have been too self-conscious to do all the things I did. I probably would have stayed in a long flowy maxi-dress and pretended like I didn’t really want to swim. Maybe put the mud on my face. And felt awful and depressed. I also found a place where I can float like a champ: the Dead Sea has like 10x as much salt as the ocean, so you actually can’t NOT float. Like physically impossible to put your whole body under the water at the same time. I may not be able to float very well in a pool anymore, but Dead Sea floating is a cinch. Vertically upright, I was floating with everything down to just above my elbows out of the water. Laying flat, it’s like you’re laying ON the water instead of in it. Weird! There’s only so much damage I can do at an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet! Breakfast buffets - like the fancy hotel variety - were always my favorite favorite favorite. And, to be fair, there are always a lot of good, healthy options there: omelettes, cheese platters, yogurt, fruit, and in this part of the world, hummus, veggies, and other Middle Eastern things. I’ve had a few of these now post-op, and although I’m basically never going to get my money’s worth, I can definitely find a wide variety of things I can have small servings of, which altogether add up to be a pretty healthy although sometimes too big breakfast. The size is very much self-limiting, though. Whereas before I would have had multiple plates of amaaaaaaazing things, now I can have really one one small plate not very full, and I usually leave a fair bit on it. I have snuck in some less healthy options on occasion (mini pastries) but the world has not ended, and I have not been triggered to eat all the pastries in the whole wide world. One and done. Not super, but not terrible.  Some difficulties:  I still seem to eat things that disagree with me fairly frequently. Sometimes this is self-inflicted, for sure: if I eat something too soon after having eaten something else, or if I eat too much, or if I eat something I know has caused problems in the past. However, it is sometimes a huge surprise: I eat something that should be OK, I eat it at a totally OK speed, I don’t eat too much, and still I have problems. By “problems” I mean I have to run to the bathroom and revisit my meal. This happens more frequently on vacation - unfamiliar food, not being in charge of my eating times, and being served large quantities all seem to be things that make it more likely. This is not fun, especially if I’m at a restaurant. I suppose I will learn in time, but right now there’s a lot of trial and error going on.  Traveling. I didn’t take enough bars/shakes with me to Jordan, and I was staying with a friend, so I wasn’t really in charge of what to eat or when. This led to some hungry times when I should have had a snack, and to some bad restaurant times when there wasn’t really much available that was suitable for me. This is a friend who doesn’t know about my surgery, so difficult to steer my actions in a non-weird way when I was needing food for the fifth or sixth time that day, or not really wanting to go to a pizza restaurant for dinner. Also not a person with a firm understanding of low-carb or dieting in general. Some awkward times. Next time: bring more bars and other snacks. Some observations on my body:  My skin is tightening up some (come on, faster!). I’m also lifting weights a fair bit now, so I presume that is helping. I actually have arm and leg muscles that you can see pretty easily. Like even in my forearms!  My hips and other joints are slowly changing in their angles and my posture is therefore changing. I no longer have a really big thigh gap - my hips have moved enough so that I have a very small thigh gap. This is a good thing, because it felt kind of weird, like my legs were too far apart. Biomechanics. I just move around better now. My body is changing composition a bit. I’m the same weight I was when I got to GW, but I wear one or two sizes smaller now. Clothes I bought when I got to GW are now too baggy. This is also a good thing! It means I’m leaner. I don’t have one of those impedance scales (however well they work) but I can tell that I have more muscle and less fat now.  When I’m at the gym, I look like a gym person. I look pretty lean and somewhat like I know what I’m doing. If I look down at my legs when I’m doing leg presses or whatever, I can see muscles working. If I look at my arms in the mirror when I’m doing arm exercises, I can see muscles working. Fascinating. Now I know why those horrible gym people are always staring in the mirror at themselves. That's February on the left and yesterday on the right. Not much difference in size, but different posture. My arms are thinner, too. Some observations on my brain:  I’m feeling more like an EX fat person now. I can remember clearly what it was like, and I can imagine my own reactions to various situations based on being heavy, but my first thought in most situations is not a fat-person-thought. The “I can’t do that” reaction is fading somewhat. The “I couldn’t have done that before, but I’m sure I can now” reaction is winning at the moment. That said, I look down at my thighs and they look big. So it’s not the body dysmorphia that’s going away.  I don’t feel like I’m on a diet anymore. Partly this is because I have a pretty high daily caloric requirement (about 2000), so I’m mostly trying to eat more all the time instead of less <— (I know, if you’re struggling with eating less, this is not what you want to hear from me. I totally get that. Somehow I won the WLS lottery and my metabolism is pretty much “fixed.” I feel extraordinarily lucky about this and do not take it for granted. On the negative side, this means I have to eat very frequently, which is a total pain.) I still eat pretty much by the book, just more food. Sometimes I have things that are definitely not on my list of “stuff I should be eating” but they are occasional indulgences, and they don’t send me into a feeding frenzy, so that’s good. I had half a small Pinkberry on my birthday, and while it was good, the sugar was a bit of a shock to my system and it made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack for about a half an hour (no dumping though, for better or for worse). The things I really don’t eat (bread, rice, pasta, sweets, fried things), I mostly don’t eat because they make me feel bad, or too full to eat things I need to eat. I eat whole wheat crackers with cheese everyday (this would have been my downfall previously) but I can only eat so many/much before I feel full, so it doesn’t really trigger an eating binge. It fits in my daily MFP numbers, too. What’s coming up: I’m going home to the US this week for a visit, so I’m sure that I’m going to be facing a lot of family/friend conversations about my weight and appearance, and I’m really dreading most of them. I kind of wish it was all over with - like it will be next year, I suppose. Having lived thousands of miles from my people during much of the losing phase, I haven’t really had to face much of this, besides on social media. This will be real life, and I worry a bit about how it’s going to make me feel. There are some people who I’d like to tell, but I worry about whether they will keep this information to themselves. There are some people in my family with their own weight struggles, and I worry about making them feel bad about themselves when they see me. Oh, they’ll be happy for me, but also feel bad about themselves at the same time - I know how that goes. Wish me luck. 




Breathe, Emma (1)

I have this coworker who whenever she gets stressed out she says “Breathe, Tina.” I work in a call center and sometimes life can be pretty overwhelming. There’s always one more call to make, one more dollar that needs to be collected to hit goal, 1 more minute that I need to be chained down by my phone cord to make my productivity goal.    I feel like all week I’ve been telling myself to breathe. “Breathe, Emma.”  Not just because I’m overwhelmed by a lot of things, but because there are a lot of things in my life. Blessings, burdens, fears, anxieties, questions. Sometimes I just find myself telling myself to stop thinking and just breathe.    This week I took a really big step. I went to my GP and talked to her about my weight. I had a really crazy realization as I was talking to her. I realized how important the mind stuff is going to be in this journey.  My GP showed me my chart and I crossed over into the obese BMI category in 2011. I was 16 years old. It was also the summer that my life got really, really messed up.    My aunt, who was one of my very best friends died. She was 53. She had a massive heart attack. She worked as an in home caretaker at an agency that helps adults with disabilities. It was 10 days after my great grandma passed away. It’s also when my future step father started being more verbally and emotionally abusive toward my mom, sister, and I.    Whoo. “Breathe, Emma.” Isn’t it kind of crazy how we have these really major life events but we don’t process them until much later? Or how they manifest in ways we didn’t even think were possible?    I realized where I am at currently, my future health isn’t very bright. Both sides of my family have morbid obesity, alcoholism, and heart problems. Those are a big deal. Especially in that combination.    “Breathe, Emma.”    I was totally terrified to take that first step this week. I was terrified to acknowledge the elephant in the room, and to take that really big plunge. I am terrified of heights, and I feel like a kid trying to jump off of the high diving board at the pool.    My doctor said she was really proud of me for making that choice. We talked about getting my weight on track, and what the probability of getting to my goal weight of 140 with and without surgery, as well as what that looks like long term as far as keeping the weight off. It’s not in my favor.    As of right now, my game plan is to meet with the care coordinator in my doctors office biweekly for the next 6 months, then I can have a follow up with my doctor in January, 2019. The goal is to get me educated on my diet, and exercise routines, and how I can better care for myself.    I found out that my insurance does cover bariatric surgery, and I don’t believe they require a 6 month education/nutrition plan, but the surgeon in my local area does require it.    After that period, if my doctor thinks things have progressed well, and I’ve managed to lose a good chunk of weight, she said she will be happy to refer me to the local surgeon to see what my options are.    This week I also have my first counseling appointment to start addressing some mental stuff.    “Breathe, Emma”    Weight this week: 282.4   Wins: I took the first step in taking control of my weight, and taking responsibility for my life and my choices.    Setbacks: I’ve been really upset by some family members who I think mean well, but aren’t very supportive at this point.   Verse of scripture I’m finding especially encouraging this week:     

I gave blood today and had two great things happen...

First of all, the lady who was taking information said to me “how much to you weigh?” And for once I didnt’ have to whisper (or lie!) and I just said 166 like I was “normal people” and then later I got a free T-shirt and she asked me what size and I said large,  she said “that is going to be huge on you, you look much smaller than a large!”  WHAT???  You are my new BFF, lady!!!  Never leave my side and just keep reminding me that I am MUCH SMALLER!!! I think that is my weird  thing I am dealing w/ this month, is being a NORMAL person.  Part of me feels so out of place, like I’ve entered the land of the regular people and I don’t belong, yet, I’ve been given a pass to enter and see what it is like.  I don’t know if any of you are dealing w/ that or if I am just a weirdo but I just have this weird feeling of “so this is what it feels like to be normal” I am not thin or skinny and never will be but I am just normal and regular!  It is bizzzare like I am in wonderland w/ Alice and everything is different than i am used to.  I feel like I don’t belong here and will be asked to leave when i gain the weight back.   Such odd feelings!     I ran into my surgeon on the way up from the train and he said he really doesn’t recognize me anymore when he’ sees me!  Awesome!  I reminded him that just before surgery I told him I was going to be his ideal patient and he laughed today and agreed and said “I wish they all were like you!”  I went to my support group meeting tonight and I just want to scream to them, STOP DIETING AND CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE!  They are talking about eating rice cakes and whole wheat pasta w/ just a “little” Alfredo sauce...what?????  We had a NUT there tonight (tho she never works w/ Baritatric pts, just diabetics, so it was a poor choice).  She was suggesting for breakfast 2 hard boiled eggs, an apple cut up and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter...and I said “I am 8 months out but there is still NO way I could eat an entire apple and 2 eggs and PB!”  She didn’t get it anymore than the ppl at the group did!  My leader gets it. I told them I eat mostly meat at dinner....I just get my protein into me first and if I have any room left a bite or two of veggies, I don’t have a side salad like they were talking about, I don’t have room.  I just think they don’t get it.  I feel like the WLS ambassador to them all, explaining things.  Which I dont’ mind but still, they are just so clueless!

I'm Overweight!

I'm not obese anymore! I'm overweight! At least according to one BMI calculator on the internet. But I'll take it! 

I'm feeling pretty good these days. Exercising more, though I really have to find stuff that's fun or I just won't do it. Riding my bike is good. So is roller skating. But so far the getting up in the morning to run or do body weight stuff just ain't happening. I HATE IT SO MUCH. I figure that instead of fighting that, I'm just going to find fun stuff that I'll actually do. Maybe one day I'll find running fun. That day will probably not be in Arkansas in July. LOL! At least there's a breeze when I ride my bike! 

Speaking of riding my bike, I did not walk up any hills today! I rode them all! That's a big deal. I've noticed my balance is way better. I used to not be able to take my hands off the bars at all or I would wobble and that's not the case anymore. My knees don't drift to the sides to make room for my belly anymore, so my cadence is better. Curves are easier to take. It's just all around better. 

And I look like this now (pardon the crappy lighting - I had my mirror in my closet this morning). Yes, I have pastel pink hair.  Also, that's a dead MacBook Air. Something my husband rescued form a trash pile. We don't just leave our computers lying around. Haha! 

My 8th month surgiversary (on time for once!)

Another month?!?  I can’t believe how fast time flies. Sometimes it feels that I recently had surgery but sometimes it feels my sleeve has been part of my life for years!  Honestly I’m glad it’s part of my life and will be with me forever!  Before my surgery I remember wondering would I regret my choice to barbarically have the majority of my stomach severed off and stapled back up just to be thinner?  Of course in my research I found it was not all that barbaric and most people are fine with it.  Obviously I went ahead with it and had it done. Not. A. Single. Moment. Of. Regret. Ever!  Even when it hurt when I woke up, no regret. Even when I was on my fourth week of liquids only, no regret. Even when I was sitting at Thanksgiving dinner eating pureed, no regret. Never, ever once.  Of course now that I’ve lost 75#, hit my doctor’s goal weight, am out of plus sizes forever, lost tons of inches, and went down 5 sizes there isn’t even a thought of why I’d even HAVE a second of regret! My weight loss has slowed considerably and I’m trying different things to see if I can change that up. The inches lost is slowing as you can see in the ribbon picture but my body shape is still shrinking (as you can see in my monthly shots). It’s been a bit of a mind game when my Dr was so impressed, I started resting on my laurels. I added more carbs into my diet and that hasn’t helped. It’s been mostly good carbs (fruit) but I’m responding by holding on dearly to every ounce and I want to make this year work for me so I decided to wait until after Nov 6th to add them back in on a regular basis.  I still want to continue to lose weight and I want to make the most of these next 4 months.     I do like how I feel like a totally different person. Like I’m getting a glimpse into the world of normal size persons and not fretting 100% of the time if I’m the biggest person in the room or if I look dumpy in these clothes or if I will fit in that seat etc. I spend a lot less time worrying over silly (though real) things like that!  I’m still not thin but I’m not morbidly obese either!  My back is much thinner (my front is smaller but loves to hang on to it’s overhang!) and I occasionally catch glimpses of my reflection and don’t recognize myself! (Specially from the side, where i was so big)  I was attributing it to “good mirrors” and “good angles” at first til I realized how consistent it was and my dear husband is always trying to convince me how thin I am because I don’t always see it.  I can’t stress enough how my mental outlook has changed also. It’s too difficult to explain but I suspect you guys get it bc you’ve gone through it! (Which is why it is so comfortable here….you guys GET IT!).  I do find myself in a weird limbo of not being fat but not being a dieter either. Like my friends are either skinny or fat and not trying or desperately trying every diet out there in order to yoyo up and down. I don’t fit into any of those categories. I wish I was able to admit to the surgery bc I feel like I’m playing into the ignorance about it but there is just too much prejudice around it for me to be able to admit to it right now. I feel like if I kept it off for years and was a really WLS success story then I could admit it but right now I feel they’d be watching for me to fall/fail (and part of me is afraid of that too!). I find myself in my old brain wondering when this will be done. It’s been a great ride, but when will the regain start?  I keep wanting to see ppl I haven’t seen in a long time bc this is my thin summer….who knows what next year will bring?  It’s a terrible way to think of things and I’m working on rewiring my brain but from so.many years of the cycle I’m just used to going back up after my skinny season. So it’s a continual process of discovering and growing and changing as all of you know from your own journey! Here’s my pictures from today (I couldn’t find the tank top so I have a substitute one on). And look here, I got my 8th month surgiversary post and pics up THAT DAY and not 3 wks later…haha!   

Seven Months

This months stats:    Pounds lost since last month: 8 Total since surgery: 76 Total since highest weight: 93 Current BMI: 37.4   I actually took progress pictures earlier this month, and realized afterwards I'm wearing compression leggings, which is kind of cheating! I'm posting them regardless, because there is progress in my arms and the like as well. And I finally had to change shirts, because the original shirt is now a tunic on me!       The past month, I've gotten several compliments from my new(er) coworkers on my weight loss. I started here in February, so they never saw me at my biggest, and met me after my two biggest weight loss drops in months 1 and 2, but it feels good knowing its still showing through!   I have a huge amount of loose skin/fat hanging around under my arms. I expected to have issues with my belly and the like (and still will, its definitely where Im currently carrying most of my remaining weight), but wasn't expecting such an issue with my arms. I've been dermarolling the area a couple times a month just to firm it up a smidge and that's been working okayish. It at least got rid of the stretch marks I had there   I finally redid some measurements earlier this month, which I haven't done since February. April 18th last year is when I started my six month pre-op program. October 12th is when I ended it. February was month 2 post op, and these are just after my 6 month mark:     So in total, I've lost nearly 2 inches from my neck alone, which is crazy to me! Also 12 inches from my waist, and a couple inches from my calves. I'm glad I redid my measurements, as the scale was a bit sluggish last month. This helped reassure me, especially since adding in strength training and upping my calories has slowed my weight loss.    I posted in general chat about my nutritionist upping my calories and carbs this last month. While I did lose weight still this month, I think I need to revert to my normal post-op eating, if for no other reason than this: old habits sneak back in when I am constantly in the mindset of "I need to up my carbs". Things like chips made their way back in this past month, and while last month I lost the same amount of weight without the cals and carbs, I simply dont feel comfortable with this all right now. I want to take advantage of every "good" month I can, and I feel as if the extra carb allowance has just turned into a rationale to eat things I shouldn't.    We talk a lot about how that first year is to establish new habits and a new relationship with food, and I just can't put myself in a situation of falling back into what got me here so soon after surgery. I'd like to think my mental fortitude was higher 7 months out, but the truth is - it isn't!    My foot situation continues to be a boor. I graduated from physical therapy finally (yay!) only to get waylaid by a severe paronychia/infection of the cuticle in my big toe. Goodness only knows how I got it, but after a round of antifungals, antibiotics, and as of yesterday, having the toenail actually removed (ugh), I hope its on the mend.    In other news, I don't mind pictures nearly as much. We had a lot of parties this week at work to do a "farewell tour" for a doctor who is leaving. Each day had a different theme, and I found myself jumping in to the group pictures, and even (gasp!) sharing them to my facebook without shame. That's a nice damn feeling   Until next month  




Busy busy busy.....

I have not been on here in a while - my apologies! I took on a new project at work and I'm spending a lot of time working with people experiencing chronic homelessness, so when I'm not working I'm drained from work and can barely think. If I'm honest, my self care looks a lot like binge watching Supernatural and ignoring the real world. I see enough of the real world these days. 

A couple of weight loss updates: 

I have lost more than 100 lbs! I've lost a total of 103 so far. Things have slowed, but the chart still trends down so I'm not worried. To be honest, I would be ok if I didn't lose another pound. I mean that. But I'm eating what I need to eat and still losing, so that's fine too. 

I have some clothes that are a size 12 now. They FIT ME. That means I no longer *have* to shop the plus sizes. That is so weird to me. It's been at least 20 years since I've been in a size 12. 

I have made my peace with carbs. I eat them now. I make sure they're not crappy ones. I still don't do sugar or white bread or rice or pasta - and really have no desire to. However, I don't sweat my bits of fruit and whole wheat crackers with cheese and the occasional bit of potato. I was really freaking out about it, but I haven't had any issues losing weight as long as I keep the carbs at a reasonable level, so I'm focusing on building some sustainable, healthy habits there. 

Also -  HOLY MOLY do people flirt with me now! I can't turn around without someone striking up a conversation and asking if I'm married (I am - but my rings are too loose so I don't wear them on the right fingers) or offering to carry stuff for me or telling me they like my hair, dress, whatever. I haven't had any creepers creepin', so it's not been unpleasant. It's kinda nice to feel like I "still have it." Ha!




E - L - E - V - E - N (plus)

E -xcess L -egs E -ntrance/Exit V  - ictories (non-scale and scale!) E -xcitement N - ew home   This eleven + month update (one year surgiversary is just 4 short days away!) brings together so many changes and excitement in my life. A year ago about now, I was on the pre-surgery diet, excited and nervous about the changes this surgery would bring.  I have not been as active on this forum as I was in the beginning and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Perhaps I should make it more of a goal to post more than I do but I have never been a big one on social media, which blogging and forums fall under in my book.  I do know how helpful I found everyone's posts while I was in this pre-surgery process so for that reason, I do make sure I come back at least once per month for this update (okay, so this one is a little late...sigh).  There is great accountability in this forum and it is somewhat comforting to know that is here as a resource.  I am one of the lucky ones that did not have complications following my sleeve surgery and while I am not yet at goal, it is within my sights! Now, on to my eleven month update.... I live a very active summer lifestyle and scuba diving is a big part of it.  One of the biggest ironies (to me at least) was that the more you weigh on land, the more lead weight you need to pile on to sink in the ocean.  Talk about the ultimate insult!  Not only did I have to schlep this bodyweight around on land, I have to add even MORE and schlep it to the bottom of the ocean!?  This time around in my scuba diving adventures, I am wearing way less lead weight (from ~26 lbs to 14 lbs) and while the excess skin does make strapping everything down an interesting challenge, entrances and exits to the water are soooo much easier.  So while this is technically a scale victory, there are some non-scale victories roped into it.  When I went to the dive shop, I needed to rent a BC (buoyancy compensator device/jacket).  The guy looked at me and gave me a medium.  A MEDIUM folks!!  Say whaaaa...?  And it fit!!!    My team down in Florida hasn't seen me in a year and were shocked by the changes - it always starts with the hair (I have much shorter hair than I used to), then they scan my body, exclaim on my diminished size and they all seem to think I have longer legs.  LOL  I keep telling them they can notice my height now that I am not so wide.  I also reconnected with some colleagues that I have not seen in over 10 years.  I don't know that I would have reached out, nor pursued an actual meeting, had I not had the weight loss surgery.  I would have been ashamed of how I had let myself go and the size I had attained.  I will be returning to New Jersey with even more changes - a new home! and my entire family in the same state for at least a few days.  My family has been spread across the globe for the past 20 years as my brother lived the military life with my nieces, my parents retired and I roamed the planet in pursuit of my education and career goals.  I am closing on my very first home purchase (a lovely condo I am excited to make my own) just in time to celebrate my one year surgiversary.  Keeping to good eating habits will be important during this exciting and stressful time.  I am up for the challenge!! Stay tuned for the one year surgery update!

My 7th month surgiversary (a little late)

It's been absolutely a break neck speed I've been functioning at for the past few weeks. Our oldest daughter had a new baby (our 5th grandchild!) and I got to be there for the birth again, one of our sons graduated, my husband's car died which left  us scrambling for a few days searching the web for a good deal that we could pay cash for and we found a terrific car for only $7K, my husband is having his ordination service this weekend and I am hosting a party/reception for 150 ppl afterwards, the kids program I run at church (3yr-5th gr) started up last week (I have to organize my 25 leaders, write the curriculum and teach two classes every week) and our dear friend passed away suddenly Tuesday, leaving a vacancy in the preschool room so I had to go in there and teach last night which was very difficult to do.  Saturday we have her funeral (my husband is doing that) and our granddaughter's dance recital and then back to church to set up for the reception.  So it's a mixed bag of joy and sorrow and a whole lot of late nights and work. The long and short of it, is life is precious ....and I CAN DO this!  I haven't stress eaten or turned to my long lost friend, the refrigerator.  It may be hard to keep up emotionally but physically I got this. I remember back in the day when I'd get so overwhelmed that I'd nearly give up.  Now with my new sleeve, my new body, my new brain and my new outlook, I don't get that same way. I still feel plenty confident that there is nothing God and I can't handle together.  (Addendum: I wrote this yesterday morning but didn't have a chance to post it bc my brother in law got rushed to the ER with chest pains (he was fine in the end) so my husband rushed up to be with him. He was there for ten minutes when he (my husband) dropped his phone, bent over to pick it up, and passed out and hit his head on his brother's bed! So then they threw him on a stretcher and checked him into the ER!  Turns out my husband was fine...he was prepping for his colonoscopy today so he was on just a liquid diet but he hadn't had anything yet (just a little water) when he rushed off to the hospital so his blood sugar had dropped (he's not used to the difference of fasting with being diabetic now) plus his BP was low bc he has lost weight and his BP meds are too much for him (his doc had cut them in half but may have to cut them out altogether).  So anyway, another brother of theirs left work to rush in and be at the ER with BOTH of them!  I told him to be careful bc there is only one more brother that could come help him out if he ends.up as.a patient, and he lives far away in Florida!!!  What a bizarre day, right?!?  You cant make this stuff life is indeed interesting to say the least! I was keeping my adult kids informed via group chat and they were cracking me up talking about how the guys were doing a three stooges schtick there..."paging Dr Howard, Dr Fine and Dr Howard"!  Haha! At least we can all laugh about their crazy day.)   As for my past month, the scale didn't move tons, which was disappointing, but one day into my 7th month and I got to my doctor's goal weight of 170 he set for me to lose in the first 12-18 months!  Then I went up a few, down one for days and now I am consistently in my 160s (168.6, whew!) and pretty content there. My personal goal is 160 and I would be thrilled with that. I know that is totally doable now (where beforehand I doubted even 170 was doable....I hadn't been there is years. Last time I was in my 160s, the calendar was in the 1980s!!!!). (addendum #2: down more weight today...down to 166.4!!!! I've been losing every day this back on the beginning!  Whoo hoo!  I'll take it!) I am in a size 14 pants and a L top. My pants always look big so I get a new smaller size that seems snug until I look in the full length mirror at work and see the baggy thighs and then I know it's time to go lower again! (Again, I'll take that!) My husband and I walk 3 miles (5 makes total for the day). most every night except when it rains. I don't make excuses.  Last night I was emtionally and physically drained when we got home from church (where I was running the kids program and teaching my departed friend's class in her place) so that would've meant come home, grab a snack (or two) and crash on the sofa. Last night, it meant have a cheese stick and go walk three miles for an hour with my hubby!  I like my new life!   I have my 6th month check up next week with my bariatric surgeon and nutritionist  (a month late bc I needed the new insurance).  I'll be interested to see my lab work afterwards. I'm sure he will be proud I made it to his goal already.  As for the way I look, I'll post my pic but I couldn't notice any difference.  However I know I don't hate my pics that candidly get snapped. (I don't have to edit them and crop out my butt or fat arm etc) Between my new grandbaby and my son's graduation I've had lots of pics I didn't know were being taken and I am shocked at how different I look. Oddly enough, our oldest DTR was behind us taking pics (see attached) at the grad and I was so surprised that my shoulders and the back of my neck were normal looking ( they used to be very rounded and almost hunched looking ).That is a nice surprise I never thought about as a result from my surgery.  I'm adjusting well to my new job and I'm fine with the fact that I'm not off during the summer like when I was teaching. I am getting to know my co-workers which is much easier when I'm not so self conscious of myself. I have a walking buddy that walks as fast as I do so we can get about 1.75 miles in during our our 30 min lunch.  Last night my husband was prepping for his colonoscopy (translate: couldn't leave the house) So I walked without him last night.  I got 10K steps but then kept walking. I had a call to make about the party we're hosting this weekend and so I just did that while I kept walking. Ended up with 14K steps!  I also added HIIT into it and did half the track speed walking or light jogging and was fine, not work out. So all in all I am in a great place and loving it. Never a millisecond of regret!!!    




Vacation outcomes

After a long vacation in France, I’m happy to be back home. Just to cut to the chase, I weighed exactly the same today as I did the day I left, surprisingly (132). What’s surprising about that is that I didn’t *lose* weight. I was on a walking vacation, walking each day from one town/village to the next, with my suitcase being transported by a service so it would magically arrive in my next destination before I even got there, thereby eliminating the need to carry a heavy backpack - very civilized. I walked a portion of the Camino de Santiago/Chemin de Saint Jacques pilgrimage route, which is a group of trails that have been used for many centuries by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. This trip is exactly the kind of thing that I had in mind as a goal when I decided to do WLS. I walked 521,821 steps over 17 days - that’s about 250 miles(!), an average of about 31,000 steps per day. That’s around a half marathon every day for two and a half weeks. It’s not exactly mountain-type hiking, but it’s a lot of fairly long uphill/downhill stretches on sometimes extremely muddy trails, so pretty energy intense. I was walking about 6 hours per day.  My Fitbit informed me that I was burning around 3000-3500 calories per day, which is 1200-1500 more than normal. I started by trying to eat mostly on-plan, just more, but after a few days, I was visibly losing weight (in a bad way), so I knew I had to ramp up my intake a lot, which meant one thing: carbs. I don’t want to turn this post into food-p0rn, so I’ll just say this: if they have it in France, I ate it. Lots of it. Apparently, this was an OK strategy, because the scale is on target today, although I was actually expecting losses. My body composition has changed a fair bit due to the increased exercise, though, so I’m smaller at the same weight, and a little scrawnier looking. I was thinking I’d be down 5 pounds or so.  Eating was actually a pretty big challenge on this trip, partly because of the nature of the places I was staying. I was walking out in the countryside and staying in small BnB type places, but in France, those places include dinner, and are more of a family-style sort of thing. Picture me and my husband, sitting around the dining room table with a French couple and perhaps a few other guests (we were sometimes the only people, though). Full French 4 course dinner. Two to three hours at the table (on the plus side, my French has benefitted enormously from this intensive refresher course!). No idea what was coming out of the kitchen next. Yikes! It was a recipe for disaster on several occasions. France has a very strong food culture (obviously) and it was SOOOOO hard to try to politely eat enough to not be insulting while still not killing myself with food. I know, I know, I know: just say no. But that is NOT HAPPENING at a French chambre d’hôtes (BnB type thing). It’s not like a restaurant - it’s like being invited to dinner in someone’s home, where they’re showing off their culture to you via food. So, some dinner strategies I used: warn the host that I’m tired from walking and won’t eat much (effectiveness rating: 2/5 - abandon after two attempts), push food around and play with it a lot, perhaps hiding it under garnishes and such (effectiveness rating: 3/5, continue to use throughout trip), warn the host that I have a tiny appetite and normally don’t eat much (effectiveness rating: 4/5, continue to use throughout trip), drink while eating (effectiveness rating: 5/5, would not have survived without this, now I really understand why it is so dangerous to do this).  I also ate a lot of things that were new to my pouch on this trip. I have been a vegetarian for about 16 years, with the exception of fish in the past two years. I had not eaten any other meat at all since around 2002. I decided that between my WLS food issues and my vegetarian food issues, the easiest way for me to get the nutrients I needed without being a hugely boorish guest (and American, might I add, another strike against me, culinarily speaking) would be to just suck it up and eat meat. I was very proud of myself for doing that. It was not easy at times (duck andouille sausages? gag). This also set me up for some epic dinner fails. One dinner I had to get up and go puke TWICE. I know, what was I thinking? Eating after puking? Yeah, we were only on the second course by that time, though, with two more courses to go. I have it so strongly beaten into my head to be as polite as possible about food when I’m a guest (particularly in another culture) that I just cannot say no. Let’s just say that my hubs has developed a keen sense of what my face looks like when things are about to go sideways. Anyway, I managed to make it through, and the dinners were the worst thing about the trip - an odd thing to say about a trip to France. I mean, I had some really nice food, but the stress of trying to eat an acceptable amount of who-knew-what-was-coming-next made it really hard.  Some things I learned:  I don’t dump from sugar. This has now been very firmly established.  I can drink a lot more alcohol than I thought (that stops today, though).  I eat amazingly slowly, even compared to normal slow eaters.  I can sometimes hide the fact that I eat strangely small amounts, but that depends a lot on the day and the type of food. Soup is fabulous for this. Refined carbs make it just about impossible. The easiest things on my pouch are the worst things for my health, generally speaking (dessert is a cinch, frighteningly).  Pasta and rice are just no-go zones for me.  I really prefer to eat at home rather than in a restaurant. A nice cup of herbal tea makes everything feel better. Eating meat won’t kill me, but I’d still prefer not to.  Duck andouille sausage tastes no better coming up than going down.  Some non-food observations about my trip:  It’s been maybe 5 years since I was last in France, and I was surprised to find that even in this short amount of time, the number of overweight French people has increased. When I was a teenager, there weren’t really any overweight French people - like nearly zero. Now, overweight people are pretty common to see, and there are even some obese people. That has got to be pretty hard to live with in a society that is much more toxic toward overweight people than the US is.  My brain is obsessed with body size right now. I’m sure this is because it’s trying to work out its own self-image still, so it’s trying to figure out where I lie on the spectrum of sizes it sees, but it’s almost intrusive how much I think about it. “How about her? Is she bigger than me or smaller than me?” This is my brain all day long. And, honestly, it’s not very good at judging that - it’s still really working things out. I’m not looking forward to continuing this for a long time. It’s a very unkind and evaluative way of looking at other people. I’m sure I’ll get over it, but in the meantime, it’s on a constant loop in my head.  I’m so fit right now! It’s awesome! I can power uphill for half an hour without stopping, and it’s enjoyable. I’m not out of breath. I can just keep going and going. Even at the end of a day of walking 14 or 15 miles, I feel fine walking around town to go sightseeing, climbing up things and down things and just being active. I’m so glad I was working hard at the gym before going - that helped a lot, I’m sure. When I’m 70, I want to be like the 70 year old French people I met out walking. They are in fine shape to walk 15 miles a day for weeks, or even months for the ones who were going all the way from the middle of France to the tip of Spain. I think that must have a really positive impact on their whole life - just to be in good enough shape to do that at that age means that you’re a healthy person doing healthy things with your life.  Some non-WLS observations about my trip: Walking all day every day is a pretty zen way of spending a vacation. I’ve done this kind of walking vacation before, but only for 5-6 days. That’s about the point in this trip where I felt like I was really getting into the swing of things, so I’m glad it was longer this time. Would I want to keep going for the full 2-3 months to complete the whole trail, from beginning to end? Not sure. That’s a long time. I’m just enough of an introvert that having dinner around the table with a new group of people I don’t know every evening is a bit much for me. That’s a whole lot of small talk.  There’s a little pocket of SW France that has been my favorite for many years. Our trip took us through it, as well as some areas around it, and my opinion is reconfirmed: this is my favorite part of France. Fairytale villages and castles, beautiful rolling hills and forests. So pretty.  And now without further ado, some vacation pix.   




Taking a Good Look at the Complication

Hi all, It's been a month since surgery and a couple weeks since I got home. I'm feeling almost normal. Most of the pain gone and my strength and energy is rebuilding. I've lost 40 - 50 lbs in a month. Which feels awesome but strange. When I got out of the shower and started getting dressed, I was like I feel smaller! And yes, I still feel like that. If it weren't for the blood issue, I'd rate this as perfect. Tonight, I watched my 600lbs Life. A patient got his 2nd skin removal. On the operating table, blood drained into him. So much blood leaked into him that he flat-lined for a minute or  so. I guess what happened to me isn't that rare. Not sure how I feel about that.  




Edging up on 9 months

Just a quick update because I haven't posted a progress pic in a while!  I spent a lot of time in Boston today, shopping for a sleeper sofa for the new house.  Most of that time was in Room & Board, and when I found myself in front of a huge wall made of mirrors, it seemed like a good time.  And since I'm feeling a bit brave, here is a night before shot I have never posted.  I reserve the right to yank this down tomorrow if my nerve fails me!  I regret my choice to do my "before" practically undressed... it makes me super anxious about posting them, and I'm totally not posting in bra and undies for my afters.   I tried to get them about the same size/perspective so it would be a good comparison otherwise, though.  I can't help the fact that I was in a ball cap and look like a Newsie, though.  It was a bad hair day! The trip was full of little victories.  I went to Boston via the Orange Line and Green line, and if you know the train stations in Boston, it's a ton of stairs to get too and from the trains.  A year ago if I wanted to take a train, I had to take elevators to get from one floor to another in the station.  This time I climbed all those stairs, without even holding on - going up OR going down.  Sometimes two or three flights in a row.  Then spent at least a couple of hours in Room & Board (though part of that was "testing" sofas by lounging on them!) and going up and down THOSE stairs - there were four floors.  Then we went to Muji, a "minimalist Boston retailer" that had a little of everything - housewares, clothes, furniture, pens & stationery, just a bunch of fun stuff.  I found out I'm a medium for the purposes of linen sack dresses.    Riding on the train provided another NSV.  Not only did I fit comfortably in a seat right next to Leah - there was SPACE between us!!  About an inch of it!!!  I found it so exciting I had to take a picture, of course - mine is the leg on the right.    And now on to the life update... I may not be around much next week, and I absolutely won't be posting on my 9-month surgiversary.  Turns out we're not going to have the leisurely move-out week we had hoped for.  Events have conspired against us. Instead, we're going to have to have all of our stuff out of our house on the 7th, and camp out on a futon with a cat and a dog in an empty house until the morning of the 8th, when we'll have the closing on our current house.  Then we will have the closing on the new house that afternoon, and move everything, including three frazzled women, five unhappy cats and a dog, ...into a house that won't have any internet until the 9th. On the plus side, we get to the house early!  I'm super excited about that.  On the minus side, we have to be ready five full days before we had planned to move, and we have 24 hours in which to accomplish it when we'd thought we'd have a week.  (I have already said my "I told you so's" to Meg and Leah, who have been making fun of me for packing like a mad thing for the past week or so when "we have so much time to move!") Anyway, I will be around when I can, and I'll still be reading and reacting - just probably not posting much after this coming Monday!  I'll leave you with these bonus pics of the beasts, though:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Sadie Xander            




Six months

Stats: I lost 6 pounds this month, bringing my total since surgery to 68 pounds lost and my BMI slowly nudging down to 38.8.   I'm kind of sad that my six month doesn't boast better scale stats, but the difference is here: I _finally_ got cleared to restart strength exercises by physical therapy. It seems the day I started that, I hit a complete roadblock: I've been exactly the same weight since the day I started. My nutritionist says "water follows glycogen" and when you work your muscles, they uptake more glycogen. He cautioned it may be a couple weeks before I see the benefit, but promises I will actually see the benefit.    If nothing else, this whole post-op thing has been teaching my patience   In other news, I'm sorry I haven't been here as much! I've been running, running, running it seems this month. I went to VA with my mom for a couple days for an antique show, I've been studying for my GRE, hiking, and gardening every chance I get. My little garden is going nuts It's so much more fun to get outside and hike or garden! I love gardening, but the lugging and squatting and pulling was not my favorite. It seems so much easier right now!    Similarly, on my hike a couple weeks back, there were actually a few areas that had trees down over the trail and other obstacles, and I grinned and dug in to climb over them. I plan on redoing a trail I did last October, 70+ pounds ago, just to feel that difference.    I had my 6 month followup. The improvement in my cholesterol is crazy! I never had truly bad cholesterol, but we have a massive genetic issue with triglycerides in my family - all of us children started showing high trigs even as teens - even when thin - and my dad continues to have horrible issues even after his liver transplant (often higher than 500!). To see mine in the 80s makes me so happy!   I am somehow fighting a vitamin A deficiency. My multi has it, but my level dropped pretty low with my six month labs, so I'm taking a separate supplement for A now. All the rest of my labs were just peachy, and my surgeon says I'm right on track, weight loss wise. My nutritionist has me aiming for 1300 calories a day and (gulp) 130 carbs a day. So far this week, I managed to hit 1200 a couple times, but overall Im finding the adjustment rough.   Otherwise, I'm continuing to chug along and Im crossing my fingers hard that the scale starts moving again soon! 




Summer Vacation, baby!

This is just a general update - I haven’t done one yet this month, so here goes.  I’m three and a half months into maintenance, and so far, so good. I’m eating quite a lot, but getting used to that, so it feels pretty normal to be stuffing my face all day now. I’m at about 1800 to 2000 calories per day, which is what online caloric needs calculators say I should be taking in for my age/sex/weight/activity level. Here’s what I’ve been eating most days lately:  Breakfast: Syntrax shake with berries blended in Snack: Greek yogurt with frozen berries Lunch: Tomato and pepper and feta salad with olive oil and lemon juice Snack: Bean and veggie salad (usually Indian style stuff that my husband makes, like chickpeas and peppers and carrots and cabbage, sometimes with halloumi cheese, and lots of spices) Snack: cheese and crackers (I found Triscuits at a store here, a once in a blue moon find, so I’m having 6 crackers per day and hoping they never run out…) Snack: Peanut butter protein powder balls - this helps keep my calories high Dinner: beans and veggies, usually (again often Indian food; my husband has been great about cooking), sometimes a veggie burger patty, or Thai curry with tofu or shrimp Snack: often a square of 85% chocolate and a date or two - the dates have a ton of sugar/carbs, but they don’t seem to trigger cravings or hunger. That’s about 1800 calories. Sometimes I swap out one of the snacks with a protein bar or some nuts. I found a new brand of protein bar called Fulfill (Irish, I think?) and they are awesome like candy bars, but similar macro profile to Quest. Fortunately, I'm OK at stopping at one   Last night I went to a friend’s house, and she had a bowl of Smartfood (yummy popcorn with cheese powder, but real cheese not chemical stuff). This is my kryptonite. I mistakenly had a handful, which due to the magical properties of Smartfood turned into several handfuls. I. Couldn’t. Stop. So crunchy and delicious and moreish, as the English like to say (so good you just want more). It’s easier to just say 100% no, as stopping after one handful is harder for me. I was berating myself for letting my snacking impulses get the better of me, which they did. But when I got home, I checked the nutrition info and two cups was less than 200 calories, which fit into my day OK, so no real harm. However, I did feel that *urge to snack* that I fear, so I know Smartfood is probably not a great idea to keep in my house. Fair enough, I could have guessed that. I would have taken out the whole bag pre-op, so two cups is a pretty good stopping point for me.  I’ve been stepping it up at the gym lately, doing weights instead of just cardio. It’s interesting and kind of fun and motivating to see the amount I can lift go up. My little teensy muscles are getting bigger. I actually have arm muscles now and some definition in my shoulders and biceps and triceps and stuff. I’m just mostly doing machines at the moment. It’s really helping to tone things up and make me feel a lot stronger.  This, in turn, is probably driving some of the changes I’m seeing in my body (I’m sure it would be changing anyway, but it’s actually changing pretty quickly). I’ve just today gotten rid of the rest of the clothes I bought when I got to my original GW of 150 (let this be a lesson to you: don’t spend a ton of money on clothes until things settle down!). The things I bought when I got to my current GW of 132-137 are now getting kind of baggy. My weight has stayed the same, but my body is gaining muscle and losing fat, I suppose. I still have more loose skin than I’d like, particularly on my upper arms and on my thighs and bum, but I think that will continue to change for a while, so I’m not going to get too worked up about it quite yet.  I’m wearing about a size 2 or 4 US, but had the surreal experience of trying on a size 0 pants at The Gap the other day and having them fit. They were a little snugger than I want to wear in this part of the world, so I went with the 2s (!!!???) but the 0 fit on my body just fine. So strange. My normal top size is XS. I really never thought of myself as a S anything in my life, let alone XS, and had always told myself I had “big bones” (that comforting phrase most big people apply to themselves, usually after parents have applied it to them, I suppose). I don’t have big bones. I have medium size bones. Not small! But also not big. I mean, I realize there is definitely size inflation in the world of fashion, so I’m taking my size 0 and 2 with a size XXL grain of salt, but I looked at an old clothing catalog from the 1920s the other day, and my measurements would still put me on the small end of the size spectrum. So, I guess I’m legitimately small now. I don’t feel it, but I’ll accept it.  I’ve had the lovely experience, a few times now, of trying on clothes at a store and needing a different size while in the dressing room and calling out to the shop assistant to have them get me the right size. Smaller or bigger, doesn’t matter, I’m not embarrassed! I never never never had shop assistants do that when I was heavy because 1) I was often trying on the largest size in the store, and 2) even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t want the scrutiny so would get dressed, leave the dressing room, and go get it myself. This is a lot easier! Just yell for it.  Still having problems saying no to things I try on that fit but maybe aren’t the ideal piece of clothing. I’m so used to buying anything that fits and looks halfway decent that I have a hard time putting something back because of the color, or construction, or price, or even just because I might find something similar that might fit more perfectly. “But it fits, buy it!” says my Old Me brain. “In fact, buy one in each color!” My Old Me brain needs to catch up.  On Sunday, I’m leaving for a trip to France for a few weeks, so I may not be around here much during my travels. Here are some reasons why this whole trip is a huge NSV:  Comfortable plane travel! It’s a walking holiday, so I’ll be putting in 10+ miles per day on the trail, going from village to village - I have done this several times before, but it had gotten to be pretty unpleasant at my higher weights, and I had basically given up on ever doing it again. But here I am! Ready to walk.  I’m not stressed about gaining weight on vacation - I suspect I may lose, just due to walking a lot and not having my normal food around.  I’m not going to track my food intake! <— *record skipping sound* What!?! No, no tracking while in France. Also no food prep, which is a little scary, but I’m taking bars and shake powder, so I’ll get my protein in. I’ve gotten to buy a bunch of hiking-ish clothing for the trip that looks pretty good on me! Usually this is a style of clothing that I shy away from because it makes me look like an unfashionable potato. But now I look like a hiker! Still fairy unfashionable, but in a fit, hiking sort of way. I’m going to be in France and not in a 24 hour a day battle with myself over what I’m allowed to eat. Usually 75% of my brain is busy figuring out what to buy at the next boulangerie or patisserie because “I can’t get this at home, so might as well take advantage while I’m here.” That was a mind-set that always saw me gain a lot on vacations to France (and other places) before, but served me particularly poorly while I lived in France (both times) and led to enormous weight gains each time. Now, I may have a treat now and then, but that’s it. I’m fine with that - my brain is just way less interested in indulgences. I’m going to be in France and be a thin American person, not a fat American person. I hate hate hate how French people generally perceive Americans, and weight is a major factor in that. I’m anticipating that they will be quite a bit more friendly.  I’ve actually been training for this! I’ve been going to the gym like 4-6 times per week for ages, and also hiking 1-2 times per week. I honestly never did that on previous long walks. I just avoided the gym and hoped I’d be OK.  Here’s hoping my poor, usually blister-plagued feet hold up. I think I’ll get fewer blisters being lighter, but my feet are the weakest link, for sure. I’ve got a lot of miles to walk. Wish me luck. Last but not least, an update on my prediction about student evaluations. A few months ago, I said I was pretty sure my student evals would be better now that I’m thin because student evaluations are crap and stupid and based on totally irrelevant factors, such as appearance and gender and age and other things, rather than actual teaching proficiency or effectiveness. My evals put me at number 4 in the department, which has 200+ teachers, so yay me. Of course, now I’m pretty sure those numbers say that I’m an awesome teacher and student evaluations are completely relevant and 100% accurate and based on totally legitimate factors… 

6 month appointment!

I had my 6 month appointment today and it went really well! To start, the nurse who weighs us did not recognize me at all when she came in to get me - and said so! Haha! I am down 93 lbs from my first appointment and 81 since surgery (I've had those numbers wrong - I thought I lost 14 lbs before surgery, but apparently I only lost 12. Oops!). The weight range they wanted me to be at by one year was 167-194. I've surpassed their expectations, to say the least! 

They're happy with my diet, but want me to up the protein a little. I've been getting my protein in ok, but they're concerned that since I'm just riding the line, there are days when I won't be able to get it all in. They're totally right. Currently I eat about 900-1000 calories a day. I walk most days, but I REALLY want to do more exercise. It's just been a struggle to work it into my schedule. I got some advice on how to modify workout videos so that I don't get discouraged. 

I was commended on my choices of good carbs. I don't eat tons of carbs, but I do eat them and I'm careful about them, so I got kudos for that.

And y'all. Y'ALL!!!! I painted my own toenails today!!!!! I have not been able to do that in YEARS. 


Highest Weight: 279
Surgery Weight: 267 (apparently)
Current Weight: 186
Goal Weight: 167 (I'm adjusting it to the low end of the clinic goal for now)
Dress size: 14
Toenail color: Eternal Optimist by Essie

I'll add some pictures later! I think I'm going to have my daughter take some 6 month photos for me. 

A little reflection

Only just found blogs .......aah  Having enjoyed reading the journeys they also feel like a time of self reflection and a way of self monitoring. So here goes I'm over 3 months now and down 42 pounds the last two weeks I have been in a stall but have not let it bother me as I know it will end as I am sticking to plan and exercising more too and can feel the inches going . I think as I gave myself a good head start pre surgery I won't see consistently high figures and feel so blessed to be on this path . We are of to Wales on holiday at the end of the week and I don' feel conerned about being able to keep on track I love to be organised so have food prep in place for the day before we go . I am developing quite an apron as they call it here. Skin hang over my tush.  No hair loss as yet have thick hair so hope it won't show as much . Much more able at work and around the farm . Had to order new nurse uniform uk 16 usa 12  Shorts last year and this year uk 14!!




8 months (and then some...)

Somehow this post has kept being put off... I meant to do it on the 9th, but ran out of brain.    I've also been busy packing for the move - we're still waiting for our closing date, but we want to be ready. (It should be in the next two weeks!)  My entire being has been focused on moving - to the extent that I think work is suffering a little.  But I've managed to stay mostly on track with my eating and -- after a brief slump that was mostly weather-related - I've also gotten back to walking every day again. Every night I go over in my head the things I want to talk about in this update... and then I fall into bed with a book and the next thing I know it's morning again. How does that keep happening!  I've got a little list together now, though, so here goes. ONEDERLAND - I'm in it!  I officially went under 200# on 5/7/18, and now on 5/18/18 I'm at 194 - I do love the week of my period!    I may be able to squeeze out another pound or two between now and Sunday if things go as they usually do this week.  (Literally squeeeeeze - imagine wringing out a soaking wash cloth!)  It's been weird, because I really didn't expect to get here.  My surgeon didn't really think I'd get here, either.  I haven't been here since I was in college!  As of today I've lost 75% of my excess weight.  How crazy is that?   Food - Like I said, I'm staying on track, keeping carbs low and protein high.  I'm actually doing better with my protein lately, averaging around 80-90g a day.  Net carbs wobble between 50-60 a day - a little higher than a lot of people go, I know, but I don't seem to have an issue at this level as long as most of them are the incidental carbs that come with my yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.   Calorie-wise, I don't keep close track - but I tend to average now around 1000-1100 a day.  I'm planning to stay in this range until maintenance.  As far as amounts go - I can definitely eat more in one sitting than I could before.  Not a ton more - but enough that I don't have to eat five times a day to get all my protein in.  I'm still getting a lot of my calories in the form of protein shakes, yogurt and cottage cheese!  But I supplement that with nuts, cheese, sliced deli meat, eggs, and sometimes bacon or some chicken.  Oh, and sashimi!  I had that for dinner tonight.  It was lovely. Health - I feel so good lately!  I mean, I've felt pretty good since surgery, but lately a lot of things seem to have gotten better. I get out of breath a lot less lately, even walking fast or climbing stairs; I can walk a lot further than I ever expected (I did 4 miles the other day at a pretty good clip - afterward I was tired and a little sore, but nothing out of the ordinary.)  Today I mowed the lawn, something I haven't done in the ten years I've lived here - front and back, and it's a double lot!  Afterwards I could feel the hard work, but was still fine for doing all the stuff I normally do in a day.  I can go up AND down the stairs in my house without holding onto the railing - I'm not quite brave enough to carry things downstairs because I'm still not quite sure of my feet, but it's still a thing I can do!  And I can go up and down the stairs at work without holding on, too, and that's two flights.  It's harder work, I'm definitely a bit out of breath by the time I get to the top, but I can do it.  I had my yearly physical earlier this month, and my cholesterol and triglycerides are much much improved, and all in the normal zone; blood glucose totally normal (though it always has been), blood pressure was great, and my doc removed "sleep apnea" from my list of conditions!  I think she's as thrilled with how short that list is getting as I am.  Maybe because this update is so late, I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about, well, myself.  So much has changed since surgery, I can't even really find a way to wrap my head around it.  Many of the vets here have said they still think of themselves as fat or overweight, or still see themselves as fat, even in the mirror.  For me - I find that every time I see myself in the mirror, it's kind of a shock. It's not that I think of myself as big anymore - I'm not, at least not like I was.  But I definitely don't expect to see a person with a narrow face and cheekbones and a jawline.  I don't expect visible collarbones.  I don't expect narrow hips or a waist that visibly nips in above them.  I don't expect narrow, non-sloping shoulders.  And when I look in the mirror and see those things, it's jarring.  I mean, wonderful - don't get me wrong!  But definitely startling.  Just yesterday I had to go to the office for a work thing, and to get into the building I have to walk along a sidewalk with a big wall of windows on one side.  I turned my head as I was walking, and it was almost like a funhouse mirror, because my legs looked LONG and THIN.  What???  I mean, I'm 5'3 - there is no part of me that is long.  But my legs are now proportional to my body, and that makes them look long.  So weird.  That's all stuff I really like about my new body... but there are things I don't like, too.  That's ALSO weird.  I'm used to just... one big uniform dislike:  Fat!  I never even really parsed it out into various fat parts like "double chin" or "big butt" - My fat was everywhere.  I'm sure there was a time when I was going up the scale that fat landed preferentially on some parts before others... but by the time I was at my highest weight, it was just piled on everywhere.  Now, I can look in the mirror and find specific things I don't like.  My rosacea is a big one - it's pretty bad, and much more noticeable on a small thin face than it was on a big moon face.  My jaw is pretty square, and I'm not quite fond of it (though I do love that I can actually see it now.)  My new slim throat is a bit wrinkly.  I mean, this is all minor stuff, nothing that I spend a lot of time thinking about - but it's just sort of novel to have specific things about my looks that I don't care for.  I'm also not particularly happy with the excess skin thing. At this point I'm pretty sure I'll be getting some plastic work done, sometime after I hit maintenance.  Part of it is appearance - I'd like to do something with my upper arms because I'd really like to be able to wear a tank or a sleeveless cami now and then in the warm months, and my bat wings are immense and floppy.  But part of it is comfort, too.  My thighs have gotten a bit difficult to manage at night when I'm trying to sleep.  I'm a side sleeper, and I have to consciously drape the flabby part of whatever thigh is on top, so that it doesn't fold over on itself and feel super bizarre.  My belly and butt are also mostly flab now, but these can be camouflaged pretty easily with the right pants and some spanx.  The bat wings are really the thing that bothers me most.  Anyway, I just mentioned what I'm not thrilled about for the sake of completion - in truth, those things are 100% outweighed by all the things I AM thrilled about.  I still get compliments a lot, and I still really like that (though I still don't fully know how to react to it!).  One of my coworkers from another department said, "You look so good... I think you have lost a whole me!"  Which is true and then some; I'm pretty sure she doesn't weigh 161#!  A neighbor stopped by while I was mowing the lawn today and said, "Kio, I have to tell you, you are so skinny now!"  And a friend said, "Are you done?  You look like you don't need to lose anything else."  I just told her that my clothes were hiding a multitude of sins, and left it at that.    It's true - I can definitely see where these last 54 lbs or so are "hiding" when I take a bath! I've noticed some fun stuff, too.  Like - my cat doesn't crawl over me in bed anymore.    He used to do it every night, several times - and he'd kind of piton himself up like he was climbing a mountain, so I had all these scratches on my shoulders, where he always started his ascent. Now he just JUMPS over - because he CAN. No more scratches!  And he's EIGHTEEN.  So you know, he can't really jump that high!  Also, I can cross my legs fully now, so that my calves line up (you told me I'd get there @CheeringCJ,and I did!). I can wrap my fingers all the way around my wrists so they overlap.  And - the steering wheel feels very far away from me these days - nowhere near my belly! Overall, I feel like I've had a good month.  I'm looking forward to seeing how many more of those I can rack up on my way to goal!    




Surgery Update

Long time, no see! There is so much to share and discuss. I'm not prepared to give a large update, though.  I was just released from the hospital this evening. My body and mind are wore out. For now, some basic details... I had surgery on May 2nd. Complications happened. Alot of blood filled my left lung. It had to be drained. So, a couple days after surgery, a chest tube was inserted. My lung had 2 water bottle amounts of blood in it. Afterward, I had a blood transfusion of 2 pints. I'm still trying to figure out what caused the problem. I haven't been given answers, yet.  I'll go into more detail after I get some rest.  




T - E - N

T aller E thanol N ature Ten months since surgery y'all!  Last month brought many deaths into my life, my ex-boyfriend re-entered my life (after a year!) and proposed, the harassing work situation from last year has re-surfaced and I've been house hunting for my first purchase!  I suppose at this point in my life, I really thought I'd be married (and that answer was NO) so house hunting alone has been a bit anti-climatic but still an interesting process (especially my first offer....and subsequent rejection! lol).  I keep wondering if when I walk into these houses, is it supposed to feel like a 'say-yes-to-the-dress' moment? Taller:  Everyone keeps saying I look taller, perhaps it's because I'm not as wide so my height becomes more noticeable.  When asked my height I actually go into panic mode because I don't really know anymore.  Waaaay back when at the start of the journey, a nurse measured me at 5'9", which caused incredulous laughter because I have always registered my height at 6'0".  This nurse was approximately 5' tall and very, very pregnant so I somewhat thought she just couldn't reach my head.  Re-measured a few months later (by a shorter gentlemen at my GP office) I was told 5'10.5", which I thought (and friends and family members thought) sounded off too.  With all of our technical advancements, is height really still measured by standing against a wall with a metal bar?  This becomes increasing important as we calculate BMI.  No matter what the number, everyone has been saying I look taller, which I really think means I'm not as wide and therefore people can notice my height!            Some photos I found online with folks (or cartoons!) getting their height measured.  You'll notice that the first three, the measurer is always taller than the measureree.  BUT look at the last one! When did you ever see that in the doctor's office??   Why is that pertinent?  Because our doctor's use the BMI to determine what level of tests we have to go through before getting bariatric surgery. Had my height been measured appropriately from the onset, it would have dropped my BMI and I would have needed only half the tests I needed prior to surgery.  There was also an incident with a scale within the doctor's office that measured incorrectly, I brought it to the staff's attention and it was like twisting arms to get them to change it!  Be an advocate for yourself, even for the silliest items.           Some alternatives to coping with alcohol:  archery, long beach walks, reading and talking to my therapist/friends/family Ethanol.  And by that I really mean alcohol because rather than coping with food, I have definitely been coping with an increased consumption of alcohol, which has dramatically stalled my program these last 2-3 months.  I am lucky in that I have no history of alcohol abuse, have a wonderful relationship with my therapist to treat my PTSD, and have developed some alternative strategies that are working thus far.  But even without any type of history, this surgery makes you vulnerable to these kinds of issues.  I feel like you need to be vigilant and don't be afraid to seek help.  In fact, even if you don't think you have a problem but have noticed your 'reward' after a hard day is a glass of wine or beer or drink, ask yourself what's going on and if that's the road you want to go down.  I do not feel safe from developing any other 'new' obsession now that food is off the table and I think because I did, I ended up sliding these past few months.  I'm trying not to feel so bad about that, to forgive myself and make better decisions for these next few months but focusing one day at a time. NATURE!!  Mother nature is taunting us like the saucy wench she is!  We'll have a gorgeous day and the next day I'll see my breath.  Last night I walked on the beach for about 2 hours and while it started out overcast but still pleasant, by the end it was frigid, foggy and positively spooky.  Fresh weather is just around the corner, which will brighten even my saddest moods and I plan to wring every last drop of the day.  This upcoming month brings a trip to the west coast to officiate my friend's wedding, the start of my diving for work (brrr!! cold water! 54*F), and a townwide yard sale.  While I have helped with family yard sales (well, I'm sure I stood there while my mom did all the work! lol), I've never hosted my own.  And, being the researcher I am, I have been reading online about haggle-free yard sales (not socially acceptable),  pricing strategies (be ready for hagglers) and not pricing anything strategies (you can make more and its less work).  Just like in my Poshmark, I want to do minimal work and make the most money.  So far PoshMark has brought in ~$250 for minimal work.  I don't think I can get that much out of my garage sale items but my plan is to donate anything that doesn't sell so something is better than nothing!  Thoughts from other yard sale junkies?   What's this vegetarian eating?  I created a recipe I am calling broccoli piccata with fresh lemon, capers, spaghetti squash, broccoli and some red pepper flakes.  By straining off the sauce, cooling it, mixing in genepro and then remixing the sauce with the cooked ingredients, I'm able to get some decent protein out of the recipe, while also getting in some important veggies.  I also created a veggie egg scramble that did not turn out quite so well.... lol!  Planning my meals for the week has been really helpful in making sure I eat appropriately through the week rather than just drinking protein. So let me put it to you all:  Is there a more accurate way to measure height?  For post-ops, did you struggle with an addiction transfer? For yard sale experts, to price or not to price?!      

My 6th Month Surgiversary!!!

I can not believe it has been a half year as of today!!!  It's been a whirlwind year and it is only half over!  I have gone through so many changes that I literally don't recognize myself! I eat about 700 cals/day, get all my vits in (I've only missed a few), get my protein in 98% of the time and usually get my water in but not as often (maybe 80% of the time it is over 120 oz).  I haven't been losing weight like I was and it is frustrating BUT it is still waaaaaay more weight than I have EVER lost in a half a year.  I am at 65# down and only 6.5# away from the goal weight my Dr gave me at my first appt in June 2017.  I was really hoping to have reached it by my 6th month and I am so close, but it is ok, I hope to reach it during this month!  Either way i am pleased because my Dr at that first appt told me it would take me 12-18 months to lose that so anything ahead of that schedule is a bonus!!!  My body is changing more rapidly than my scale.  Things are rearranging and I am liking it better and better.  I do have some loose skin on my arms and thighs but it is better than having fullness in them!  I have a few shapewear items but find I don't need them as much as I thought I would.  (not saying I won't need them more later).  I went last night to Goodwill to get new stuff and they had a FABULOUS full length mirror that made you look really long and lean and it was like I could imagine what I would look like in another 30# (if I ever got down that far)....and darn, I looked INCREDIBLE! I have hardly noticed any more hair loss since I got my hair cut.  I am sure it didn't stop, I just don't see the long pieces everywhere anymore!  I am soooo glad I did it!  And I am getting used to it and not hating it as much.  Nothing ever tangles in my brush anymore so my brush isn't pulling them out either!   Granted I still take my biotin and collagen religiously but I am not as panicked about going bald anymore! Other than that, I have been at my new job and been enjoying it and enjoying dressing up a bit more than my old job. In fact, as I mentioned I went to GW last night to get more clothes. I now own 5 pairs of size 16 dress pants and quite a few dresses/skirts all in 16 or L) and I just bought 10 blouses last night!!!  That should hold me all summer! I think I really enjoy being able to put on most anything and not hate myself in it!  I still have an issue w/ button down chest is still a little larger than the rest of me, so when I get one big enough not to gap, it is too big all over, so for now I am staying away from button downs! I did find a great blouse that looked cute but it was an off the shoulder one (which I must say my shoulders are quite nice now!) so i would need a strapless bra but it was only $2.99 (-15% educator's discount) and so if I never wear it it is ok, but when I got it home and washed it and hung it up, I realized it was a Medium! I remember wearing a M on my first day of school my senior year....don't remember when it moved up to a large but I do remember thinking I was so fat when I was a Sr (can't imagine why!)  Granted, no other M will fit me yet but I was excited to see that one did!  I didn't take my pics this am because my husband left before I got up so I will take and post them tomorrow.  I like taking them because I can see such a difference as time goes on....though since I am closing in on my goal weight, I want the same courtesy given to contenstants on The Biggest Loser and I want to change my black shorts and tank in for compression ones so I look better in the pics!!!! haha! So now that my first half of a year is done, I can't wait to see the second half! I am having ppl come up to me ask say how great I look now (which oddly enough I hadn't had much of before now).  I get nervous about having to maintain once I finish, but that is a long way off and I can worry about it when I get there!   So for now, I am just going to be happy about where I am in life!!!!  (and I appreciate the part you all play in supporting me in guys have been the best!) As 6 month before and after pictures!  See, Transforming CJ is really transforming!          

Month 5

First up, the stats: I dropped 9 pounds this month, which brings me to 62 since surgery and 79 since my highest! My BMI has dropped to 39.8, finally and officially putting me under 40!  I'm noticing extra skin/flabbiness to my upper arms and upper thighs. They're smaller but so much more jiggly (never before would I have thought more jiggles was a good thing!).    Where I feel like I should have hit a stride this month, I actually slumped pretty hard in meeting protein and water goals and struggled to have the motivation to do so. I didn't overeat by any means - stuck right between 700 and 900 calories still, but I neglected my protein shakes entirely, and didn't fill in the void with other protein. I just couldn't face them down, and without them, I can't yet really hit protein goals. I'm sure this doesn't at all help with hair loss, either. I started to dust myself off in the final week of this month, even when it meant eating chicken thighs four times in a day to hit protein goals. Going in to May, I need to push hard to make it my norm and keep that groove going, because it really does make all the difference!   I'm still working with physical therapy over that foot that I broke last year and reinjured this year. They don't want me doing any lower body strength right now or putting more pressure on it than my 10-hour shifts already do, which kinda sucks because a) lower body strength is by far my favorite and b) my butt is getting pretty flat with the weight loss, I could use some squats! My foot is doing loads better, though, and I'm hopeful to be hitting trails again soon.    I went to Savannah with DH from Saturday until Tuesday this week and we had a blast. Traveling in the plane was far more comfortable than it was a year ago, and we walked all over the city and Tybee Island. It was so nice to have the energy! I also wore a dress out to dinner (which never happens!) and felt very comfortable - although my legs are still quite large, it doesn't bother me as much now to let them show a bit (especially with the gift of sunless tanners). I found a bathing suit I don't hate as well, and enjoyed some time in the pool and hot tub while we were down there visiting. Savannah is absolutely gorgeous and I look forward to going back some time!    In truth, the walking, the vacation, the fitting-easier-into-a-plane-seat - it all helped get me refocused. I think I've just hit a slump. I didn't slip into old habits, but I wasn't upkeeping my new habits, either. I kind of passed the month in a haze of ambivalence that came from god knows where, but Im glad its passed. I'm picking up protein water tomorrow (to avoid any further issues with protein shakes), and picking up a bunch of shrimp and chicken to grill out this weekend in preparation for the week. I also have plans for a couple hikes this weekend and some gardening. 
I think month six is going to be great!     (Us at Fort Pulaski and some other pics from vacation  )        




Five months out

Hello! I haven't written any updates about how I'm doing in a while, so I figured I'd make a blog post. I'm down 87 lbs total - 73 lbs since my surgery date. I've lost 65% of my excess weight as defined by my clinic. I have 42 lbs to go before I'm at my personal goal weight. That's pretty exciting! My weight loss has slowed somewhat, but that's to be expected. I tend to not lose anything for a week or two and then drop a few lbs in a matter of days. 

Today I did a lot of yard work - a good 5 hours worth - and it was a completely different experience compared to last spring. I'm able to bend at the waist with no problems, my knees don't hurt, and I'm able to work longer and faster. It felt great to get so much work done and not be completely worn out. I mean, I'm pretty worn out - I'm a human, after all - but I'm not aching from head to toe. I feel like I can actually take care of the yard this season instead of letting it go because I don't have the energy. And I actually enjoyed the work! 

I also noticed something really interesting yesterday. So before, when I was much bigger, when I would talk to someone, I would stand with my belly at a comfortable distance. I am still standing with the same distance between my belly and the person, but the issue is that I'm much smaller now, so it brings my face too close. I noticed yesterday when I was talking to someone that they were starting to slowly back away. I turned into a close-talker because I lost weight! Haha! It's such a weird thing that I never would have thought about. Now that I realize it, of course, I'll adjust my habits. But it's so interesting how there are these little things we don't even think about until they pop up. 

Eating is going well. Carbs are kind of sneaking their way back in, so I'm having to be more vigilant with snacking and such. Today I indulged in some carbs (after I got my protein - don't worry!) due to the massive amount of calories I was burning. MyFitnessPal is concerned I'm not getting enough calories today and is saying I need another 900. Haha! It's amazing how prior to surgery, I would have scarfed down some ice cream as a "reward" for exercise. That's just not how I think anymore - not to mention the fact that it would be almost impossible to eat enough to get those calories in. Instead, I'm focusing on making sure I get all my fluids in and I ate a few crackers with cheese and some low-fat popcorn while I was on breaks from yard work today - as fuel. 

In adjusting to my new body, I'm learning to appreciate what it can do. I've really struggled to find regular exercise that I can work into my day, but when I am able to do something very active, I feel fantastic! So I'm not giving up on working out a workout. I just haven't found my thing yet. 

Picture time! This is an Eileen Fisher dress that I found at a thrift store right before my surgery for $5!!! I snagged it thinking if it didn't ever fit me, I could always sell it (the dang thing sold for $260 retail!). But it fits now. It's actually a little loose at an XL (about a size 16 in Eileen Fisher, which translates to about a 14 in Lane Bryant), but that's a good look for this dress. I love it!