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Happy one year to me!

Hi guys! Today is my one year surgiversary and it just hit me HARD. As I sit here, literally sobbing at my desk with my office door closed, I thought I'd share a few thoughts with the one group of people that I know can understand my feelings more than anyone else. One year ago I was a smart, talented, woman who had cultivated a solid "fun, pretty-faced fat girl" personality over the decades of my obese existence. As my weight increased over the years, the best and most important parts of me were shrinking and I was turning into a "shadow person." I would cheer on anyone and everyone in life, but always from the sidelines which, as an extrovert who desperately wanted to participate in so many things, was very much out of character for me. I carried around such shame and will never forget many, many cringe-worthy moments in my life - not fitting on roller coasters, the entire experience of airplane travel, wealthy donors (I work in philanthropy) directly and publicly asking me why I was "letting myself go," looks and stares from fat-phobic people, visiting friends who lived in 5 floor walk up apartment buildings and barely making it up the stairs, being passed over for jobs that I deserved, not being cast in operas back in my singing days, trying to take up as little space as possible on public transportation, being picked on at school, experiencing discrimination by healthcare providers, and, quite frankly, discrimination by so many people every single #(*&%$ day. This world is so incredibly cruel to obese people. There is an assumption that you are overweight because you're a lazy stupid idiot who doesn't even try. Well, as a woman who has been on a diet since junior high school (or probably even earlier), I'm here to say that I tried SO HARD, over and over again. On this day, one year ago, I had weight loss surgery and I refuse to be ashamed. I. WILL. NOT. DO. IT. Since that day, I have literally been working my @*# off, fighting for the chance to enter my forties, not as the "it's such a shame - you have such a pretty face" girl, but as just plain f$cking awesome. Not because I dropped a ridiculous amount of weight, but because I am awesome and, spoiler alert, I ALWAYS WAS. Thank you for all of your amazing support and advice through this experience. I'm not done yet, but I believe in myself and I am in love with my new life. Thanks for listening!  

Boho Rosy

Boho Rosy

My first year SURGIVERSARY

Transforming CJ……did I realize last year when I set up the name of my blog, just how MUCH I would be transformed in one year?  No, there was no way I could imagine what I would look like just 365 days later, after all I hadn’t seen myself smaller in decades!  I knew I would be different, otherwise why would I agree to have the surgery in the first place, but I had no idea the profound effect it would have on me.  Not just my anatomy, but my mentality as well!  How did an entire year fly by like that?  I can’t believe it has been one whole year since I underwent the knife that would change my life.  This morning,  I am on the same train, heading to the same hospital I had my surgery in one year ago today, only difference is this time I have a sleeve full of Greek yogurt instead of being hungry and thirsty being NPO for surgery!  Well, not true, that isn’t the only difference, I am sitting here taking up less room on the train seat (see pic, I’m not hanging over into someone else’s half) and weighing 85# less than I did last year!   I woke up this morning having slept well because I didn’t have a c-pap machine on, and because I wasn’t  dealing with the acid reflux that was eating away my esophagus and making me have to sleep nearly sitting up.  I went and got my shower and wrapped up in a towel that not only completely covered me with no gaps but it overlaps quite a bit now!  I then went to put my makeup on and didn’t flinch at the sight of the triple chins I had developed.  Best of all, I had a closet full of clothes that I like and that fit me well and I have my choice of any of them (well there are always some in there that don’t make the cut…last time I wore them they were loose but this time when I pull them out they are too big to wear!). At the time,  I put on my black tank and pants and was ready for THE picture.  My monthly picture in the black outfit.  How I hated and loved them every month. I hated getting my picture taken (and seeing every bad angle possible…I remembered the days when I never saw my backside so I had no idea it was so big, now I was reminded of it every month!). I actually didn’t post those pics the first few months, as they were so mortifying.  I still get mortified seeing them but it is the only way I can see my progress when I feel frustrated.  I posed for the pictures, then ran upstairs to change into my real clothes for the day, which were chosen from that overflowing closet of nice clothes that fit! I zipped up my size 10 pants, pulled on my size medium top and headed back downstairs.  I went down to have breakfast and instead of a full bowl of cereal (which means 2x the serving size) and then a refill if I “needed” it, I had my container of 80 calorie Greek yogurt and was fine (go figure!).   I’ve done a lot of reflecting getting to this magical day on the calendar,  as is something was going to happen when I woke up (or perhaps stop happening).  I think it stems back to my years of dieting and having to be done by a certain day (like a wedding/vacation/reunion etc). It is silly, really, and I have come to terms with it by today .  I know I can keep at my journey and continue to do what I need to do.  If I lose any more weight, great, and if I don’t, I could be happy at this size! I find it so odd to be standing where I am a year later. So much has happened in this year that even if I was the same weight, I don’t know if I could have recognized me from last year to this!  My husband and I both went through major job/career changes.  We basically switched places…he worked in the city for years and I worked locally to be near our kids if they needed me.  Now I work back in the city (same place he worked for 27 yrs and the same place I worked 20 yrs ago) and he is the one that is local now and he takes the kids to school and appts etc. (which is really easy for me!).  I do totally different work and dress much more professionally (which I would have needed a new wardrobe for anyway, so it worked out well that I had to buy new clothes and I was able to get smaller ones!) .  My confidence has soared and I feel like a different person.  Finances are better off this year also since my husband got a job after 7 months of being out of work (and he loves it, which means his depression is gone).  So all in all I see God’s hand at work in every aspect of our lives and I have to only assume that the WLS was part of that plan!  I have learned a lot about myself in this past year and I can only imagine you all can relate.   Life changes as big as the one we all made when we decided to get the WLS comes with issues and can shake us to our very core.  However, it can be a good shaking…like the kind when you have a fruit tree and you shake it and the bad fruit falls away and the good fruit remains.  I feel that way and I can imagine most of you do also.  I feel like a lot of junk has been stripped away with all the extra pounds and I am standing here not only many pounds lighter but my heart and soul feel lighter too.  If you’re new to this journey, I hope you trust in the process and let the changes begin, externally as well as internally!   So, as I got off the train tonight (where I finished the entry I started while on this morning’s commute) I was treated to a gorgeous sunset and I felt it was God’s way of saying “the sun is setting on your first year, and it’s been a beautiful year...now go start the rest of your life with tomorrow’s sunrise”   I also  attached a picture the morning i left for surgery.  I was going in on a Monday and coming home on a Tuesday....granted i never made it home until late Thursday!  The other is the screen shot i had for my countdown to surgery, my “before and after” picture i did on line and it turned out semi-accurate now that i look back on it!      

CheeringCJ

CheeringCJ

 

11 months!

Wow. I cannot believe another month from now will be a year since surgery. In many ways, it feels longer, but in most ways, it feels shorter! This time last year I was keyed up, making all my pre-op appointments, wondering if I would be a success story for WLS or not. I was burdened by feeling I would be someone to cheat the rules, and end up not being able to lose weight.   I'm so happy to know I wasn't "that" person. I lost 100 pounds in 8 months, and although I've held steady these past 3 months thanks to the surprise pregnancy, I feel fortunate to have gotten as far as I have, and I'm confident once baby is here I'll be able to stick with my new "normal" in eating. Truthfully, it hasn't really disappeared, pregnancy or not. I'm hungry more often, thanks both to being past the honeymoon period and thanks to a growing baby, but even when feeling ravenous, my restriction helps keep me in check and I am reminded to go slowly and stop when necessary. I am continuously thankful that I will have a much healthier pregnancy because of this last year!   I am starting to regain energy as I leave the first trimester behind. I am still holding at around 208 pounds, despite an increased calorie count. I've been able to add walking back in to my daily schedule, as Im not leaving work and feeling horribly exhausted!    My reflux has actually improved. I'm able to get by on half the dose of my protonix currently, although my doctors have warned me I will likely quickly go back to the full dose. I am just enjoying the fewer pills while it lasts. I need to meet with my bari team soon to discuss all the changes and what the future holds for me as far as the conversion to a bypass goes - I'm assuming if my reflux remains better, I will not need the conversion, but I'm not sure. There's a lot in the air as far as my actual bariatric plan goes.    These days, diet/low sugar juice is a staple for me. It's been my one real, hard "craving" that I haven't been able to shake with willpower alone. Grape juice especially. I buy the small, single serving bottles and allow myself one a day. The rest of the day is filled with tiny meals every 2 hours - a few crackers, a cheese stick, clementines, a handful of no-sugar trailmix - plus my normal sized lunch and dinner. Breakfast is usually one protein waffle with a tablespoon of peanut butter, although on days I'm feeling nauseated, a low cal slice of toasted bread is also a good work in for me. I'm finally craving and eating small salads again (but only after finishing my protein!). I usually end the day around 1300 calories currently, and am working to try to get that to 1400.    The next month is full of large amounts of work, travel, the holidays, and hitting that year mark. I'm feeling ready to take it all on     I haven't taken comparison pictures in the past month, but I needed a reminder of how far I've really come in the months until now - pics are preop, 3 months postop, and 10 months post op):      

delilas

delilas

 

Eleven

Here I am, almost a year out. I'm actually posting this a couple of days after my 11 month anniversary. I've had a rough couple of weeks. I spent a week in an inpatient psych facility - voluntarily. I'm doing better now, though. I've just had a very difficult year and it finally got to me. While I was in the facility, my meds were adjusted and I got some therapy, which I will continue with, so I'm feeling hopeful.

I've been off my bike for the last two weeks, so my ride to work this morning was great and reminded me of how much I love riding! Especially as it cools off. Arkansas winters are not harsh, so I should be able to ride right through winter. I may ask some of you Yankee cyclists for tips on riding in the snow, though! 

I'm down to 152 lbs - so 2 lbs away from my personal goal. I am now 15 lbs below my surgeon's low end of the weight range they expected at a year. Slider foods are becoming an issue, but I'm aware and working on it. I'm going to ask my husband to take a photo of me soon so that I'm not just uploading bathroom selfies. Haha! But I'm down a total of 127 since the beginning of the journey, 114 since my surgery date. I'm in a size 10/medium in most clothes, down from a size 28. I was riding my bike 0 miles and now my longest ride to date is 32 miles. Feeling great!

In the last month or so, though, it seems like every time I mention my surgery to someone, they have started doing that thing again where they tell me about their cousin's wife's uncle's best friend who had surgery and got a [bowel adhesion, hideous ulcer, their guts got all twisted up, fill-in-the-blank] and now they have horrible complications, etc. I mean, I know that things can go wrong even years down the road, but I'm doing everything I can to prevent all the preventable complications and the ones that aren't preventable are so rare that if they were going to happen, they were going to happen. But it's interesting that people want to tell you this before you get surgery and after you've been successful. Ugh. 

 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

11 months.....

So I hit 11 months this week...and it is a surreal feeling.  For some reason (probably because I am motivated by results!) I am very driven by my 1 yr surgiversary....and I am not thinking that is a good thing!  I guess it goes back to my dieting days where you needed to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain function (reunion/wedding/vacation/etc) and when you were drawing closer but not making it, you gave up knowing “it’s never going to happen so why keep trying?”. I have that very feeling this month and in keeping it real, I am sharing it with you!  Part of me is motivated by that “Golden First Year” crap (as if I will wake up on Nov 7th much like Cinderella at 12:01 with the realization that all the magic is done and though it was a great ride, it is over).  Which is really just ridiculous (which is what the other half of me is trying to convince the irrational half!). As if my body had an alarm clock placed in it last November that would go off in one year and grind all weight loss to a halt!  However, you can’t convince my irrational half that that isn’t true and that “it’s over when the fat lady comes back” in Nov!!!!  Such weird mind games that go on in a previously fat, desperate not to back brain!  There are days I wish I had had a lobotomy last November also! Here’s the stupid thing....last year I was so gung-ho and couldn’t wait to start this journey, hoping desperately to get to the 170 pounds my surgeon “promised” me in the first year!!! I couldn’t wait to be 170 this November so I could be the lowest I have been since 1989!!!!  Life was going to be GREAT!!!  Then I hit 170 way early (just into my 7th mo) and was over the moon excited.  I saw my surgeon and he was excited and said go for more, so I felt like it was a guarantee and secretly decided I’d be 150 by my surgiversary.  Now that is such a stretch because I was that when i got married over 34 yrs ago and it was unlikely i could get to (and maintain) my high school weight when i was in my 50s!  But I had seen so many superstars here do it and be wildly successful at it.   So here I sit at 11 months post surgery fretting over the fact i am STILL 157!!!!  As if that was a curse or something.  Last year it was going to be a BLESSING to be at 170 and now my mind sees 157 as a PLAGUE! What is wrong with my head?  Geesh, get a grip!  I want to rejoice for myself and yet I am stressed over the whole thing and I don’t want to be (which is the worst part, I want to talk myself out of the discouragement I feel and yet I can’t seem to do it right yet).  I was thinking this weekend how I could really ramp things up and still make 150 by 11/6 but then the sober part of my head said “as if!!!” and I gave up my plans to head to the gym!  (Ugh, this girl has got to stop sabotaging herself!).   So.....how stupid of me to be this way, right?  And the dumb thing is if I was here all the time like I used to be and one of you said what I am saying, I’d be the first to jump on the bandwagon and talk them off the ledge bc I know what reality is and I can easily point someone to theirs but I can’t seem to find my own!  I am hoping it is a temporary insanity and I will get a grip (especially after 11/7 and I don’t instantly turn back into a morbidly obese person so I can just get on with my life as a new normal person!) This month I did have good things happen....I went down to 155 by losing 2.8# in one week...the week I started strength training....i lost ounces every single day and it was awesome like before.  Then I went away for a long weekend and i’ve been working late at work and been so super busy and skipping my lunches (where I walk 1.5-1.75 miles every day) and not making it to the gym or if so, just for 15 mins!  So I know if I buckle down I can get that momentum back I just have to do it (right, Nike?!?).  I did still lose inches though I didn’t lose weight (I did lose weight but went back up to 158 and got back down to 157 but am stuck there now).  The inches I lost weren’t phenomenal but at least i am still shrinking slightly.   So how is that for a “cheering” cj inspiring post?  *Sigh*. Just so you know i am not giving up, i am just not feeling it (which really is scary bc feelings got me into this mess in the first place).  I am trying to be rational and not eat my feelings but it is clear how irrational i am that i am upset at my victory not being bigger when it is actually BIGGER than my dr had ”promised”!  Gee, I need to slap myself upside my head and force me back in to reality!    

CheeringCJ

CheeringCJ

 

10 months

Lord almighty, where do I start?   Well, let's start, as ever, with stats:   Starting weight: 311 Current weight: 209   Starting BMI: 53.4 Current BMI: 35.9   My weight has, for the most part, held completely steady this month. Thanks to this pregnancy, I'm eating constantly (or so it feels) but popping between 208 and 210 pretty regularly. I hit 205 the week after I found out I was pregnant, but as usual when I hit a new weight, it had bounced back to 208 the next day, and there I've stayed all month.   I've been fighting morning sickness - or really, all day sickness - off and on. Some days I can't keep anything down until 3pm or so, and others I don't even have a twinge of nausea. My other major problem? IM SO TIRED. I've been warned I won't know what tired really is until the kiddo arrives, but man, I've never felt fatigue like this. Most days, I'm coming home from work and crashing for a 30 minute nap on the couch until it's time to cook dinner. I miss hiking so badly but the idea of waking at 6am on my day off is funnily foreign to me at the moment, despite that being exactly what I've done for over a year now! I wake on those days, thinking its 7am, when in reality its 10am most of the time. The tiredness (and frequent travel lately) have been the major factor in my absence. If I'm not sleeping, I'm running the thousand errands I should've done while napping     We got to see this havoc-wreaking little peanut on the ultrasound mid-September, and even got to hear the heartbeat although it was only 8 weeks at the time (yay technology!). I go back in a couple weeks for a monthly visit and a nuchal translucency test.    On the actual WLS front, I find myself in the weirdest place. I'm legitimately hungry every 2 hours or so. Naturally, I still can only fit 4 ounces or so in at a time, and I think it's just being used up a bit more quickly than usual. So my NUT wanted me at 1300 calories a day, and my OB says to eat an extra 200-300 calories per day right now, but I'm still lucky to hit 1200 most days. Once in a while, usually because of ice cream or a really fatty sauce with dinner, I can get up to 1500. I've been trying to focus on more healthful and varied nutrient foods for obvious reasons, but my brain wants salt, carbs, and more salt right now. With the exception of carrots, grapes, and mangos, nothing in the fruit or vegetable category is staying down right now. I can very easily understand why the typical recommendation is to weight until 18 months post-op to get pregnant - its certainly not easy to manage cravings and try to eat like I'm supposed to at only 9-10 months post op!   I'm also in a smidgen of mourning for the fact that this happened just before I would've seen onederland. It's petty, but damnit, it's honest. I know (I hope, I hope!) I'll see it after the baby is born, but thats a darn long time away.    On a competely different note, we recently visited friends in Colorado, and I got my hike on: 
We hiked the majority of Mount Falcon before the altitude hit me and we headed back down. I want to go back already! Coming home was a veritable disaster, and we spent over 36 hours in airports because of two cancelled flights.    I'm hoping as the fatigue from the first trimester wears off, I can refocus on participating here and making sure I'm managing my intake better. I miss all of you!

delilas

delilas

 

I fell down and went boom, but it all worked out...

I rode the Square 2 Square today! It was a little different than it would have been had it gone on as planned, but it was still pretty fun. About 20 miles in, I was adjusting my helmet and hit the edge of the trail weird and wrecked my bike. I mostly have a bruised ego, along with a skinned chin and knee, but my bike will need repairs. My bike was safe to ride, though, so I went ahead and rode the additional 10 miles I needed to finish. If my bike hadn't been safe to ride, I would have gotten a bike share bike and ridden that because I was FINISHING THE DANG RIDE. Haha! 

I'm pretty proud of myself. (Yes, I wore a cute dress to ride in because I'm femme af and that's how I roll. LOL) 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

10 months!

I'm 10 months out and I've lost a total of 120 lbs. The weight loss is slowing, I think, but that's totally fine. I'm at 159 now, which I never thought would happen, so I'm doing well! I'm sticking with around 1500 calories a day or so and more carbs than I was having before - largely because I need fiber. 

The ride I signed up for today was canceled because we had some intense rain overnight that flooded some of the tunnels and they can't really hold the ride and risk the liability if someone hurts themselves. However, I'm still going to ride the 30 miles this afternoon, rain or shine. I've ridden in flooded tunnels before and it's fine, just wet. They low key rescheduled for next Sunday - minus all the pit stops, etc. - and I'm going to ride that too. 

I'm still in about a size 12, though some size 10 things fit me (and some 14s, too). I'm about to have to shop for fall clothes, which will have to be from thrift stores. I'm actually thinking of doing a capsule wardrobe for fall now that I'm slowing down so much on weight loss. Things will fit me a bit longer and I'm wanting to simplify. Still mulling it over. I'll let you all know if I end up doing that. 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

10 months and counting....

It is amazing to me that I am ten months out!!!  How did that 10 months go flying by so quickly? But then again,  sometimes I think being heavy was a LIFETIME ago, not only 10 months ago!  How blessed I still feel for being able to have the surgery! This month wasn’t a big weight loss month again (eating out, going away twice, fresh Jersey peaches (so worth it!) and then  finding it hard to get back on track after vacation (but I am mostly there now).  I went up 2-3# in Aug but went back down to 158 so I am doing ok. I have continued to lose inches though….i put on and zipped up my first size 10 pants this month!  Wow!  I would have never believed it!!! Life is super busy but I am coping well with it…no stress eating! Though it isn’t always easy and I am not perfect.  However, while I am not stress eating, I do want food more than I did at the beginning and I find myself looking over other people’s food more and more….and I have found that is certain things make it into my house (usually as a “left over”) I am still not safe around them.  I guess I have to do what @BurgundyBoydoes and just say no to letting stuff in (isn’t it you that can’t let trail mix in, BB?). Anyway, it was so much easier in the beginning but I didn’t go through all of this to fail, after all failure isn’t an option (wasn’t that you, @Res Ipsa that says that?)  Clearly it is a battle I haven’t conquered and I have to still slay the dragon (or at least fight him since he seems un-slay-able!)….but I am willing to keep at it. I have been watching videos lately by Dr Matthew Werner, a bariatric surgeon and he makes a lot of sense….although I have to stop because I realize that I am weakest when I entertain the ideas of others! Like his thing is to eat fruits and veggies and not concentrate so heavily on the protein (though, he still says to have 45-60 grams/day) and I honestly have been wondering why I am still forcing 80-90 grams a day into me when I know I don’t need that much….but it was my initial NUT requirement and they haven’t told me any different so I still do it.  Anyway, my mind gets clouded when I start introducing new ideas like that in it.  Partially bc I know some of them are right so I will implement some while still using my old tried and true…then they get to be a hybrid and suddenly I am eating fists fulls of grapes every day and wondering why I am not losing weight.  Sooooo, I have decided to stick with that worked for me and revisit other foods after my 1st year it up. I know it sounds like I am being negative but I am just keeping it real here!   It was MUCH easier at the beginning but honestly I knew to expect it to slow down and get harder, I just don’t want to face it yet.  Still I enjoy being thinner, having hip bones to rest my hands on when I am standing, try any normal sized thing on and it fit (EVERYTHING comes in my size now!) and feeling muscles I haven’t felt/seen in a long time, so it is still so worth it and I am still going to push through this funk.  The one thing that Dr Weiner said that really stuck w/ me was it isn’t the smaller portions that are going to make you thin (anyone can make small portions of junky food) but it is the CHANGE in eating patterns (like making better choices, cutting out some things etc).  I have to come to terms w/ the fact that there are somethings I will never eat again….like fast food, which is darned funny bc I NEVER would eat it before….i mean, I’d take a few fries if I got it for my kids (which was rare) but I never liked or saw the value in fast food junk, but hearing him say on the video that we need to come to terms with never having that I totally get it…he said we are highly susceptible to downfalls like that bc we had WLS…not really bc we HAD it but bc we NEEDED it.  So I really don’t care about fast food but my mind had to accept that there will never be a place for it in my new sleeve (and actually I am fine w/ that, it is only the heart of a rebel hearing “no-no” that spurs a desire for it!). Other things are going on my very, very, very rarely list….like a biscuit….love them, rarely allowed myself to have them before but I would love one right now!   But nope, I will not do that to me….maybe once a year like on my bday or Christmas or something if I want to chose one splurge thing I might, but I don’t really need to make it part of my life other than that.  For instance, my bday is coming up in a few weeks….I like cake, love batter even more, and could eat icing by the spoons full….so am I safe around it? Nope!  And I am ok w/ not having it, instead I bought the ONE bar bday cake bar as a treat for when it rolls around.  I have no idea how it will taste but it had good reviews. Now, on to my pics….I had to get new pants this month….my old size 2x stretchy whatever they were (not really shorts, not really capris, but what fat women wear when it is too hot for pants but they won’t be seen dead in shorts) wouldn’t stay up for another pic and I don’t want a pic of them at my ankles!!! Haha!  So I got a size M shirt and a size 12-14 capris!  I put them on for the first time for the pic….assuming they’d fit (which is a nice feeling….I do that all of the time now)….and lo and behold, something absolutely miraculous happened……wait for it….wait for it….where is @CurvyMermaid ???  Look at the picture….for the first time in my LIFE…I have a thigh gap!!!!!  You can’t fake that or make it up….there it is, an ever so tiny white spot between my thighs!!!!   Wow!! My husband was making the pic montage for me and adding the new one and he said…”come see this…you should be very proud of this” and I said “what?”and he said “this little white spot here”…and he pointed to it and then put it side by side w/ my before pic and I gasped!  Who is THIS woman and where has Thunder Thighs gone???  Granted, you don’t want to see my thighs in real life, but really they aren’t as horrible as I imagined they’d be….i can live with them (as if I had an option).  (Another bonus, my sweetheart pointed out that I have even lost weight in my nose!!!  I have always hated my big nose which was a spitting image of my grandfather’s nose, but it never belonged on a girl’s face! Knowing a nose can’t lose weight, I looked at what he was talking about and really the side by side face shots from 10 months ago til now, do show a different in my big old nose!...who knew?) I am taking the lead from my buddy, @Kio and joining Planet Fitness.  I’ve been meaning to do it but have been walking 5-6 miles a day and I really don’t have the time for both.  But I think the walking can only take me so far…I need to strength train now, so it is time to move on.  My husband who is so super supportive is joining with me…and right now it is only 25 cents to join, and $10/month (which we get $150 back from our insurance if we go 120 in 12 months which I have done plenty of years before just to get the rebate…and then we have to pay $39.99 annual membership fee (due. 11/1) so it will be $160.24 total with $150 back….viola, $10.24/yr gym membership and a more toned body to boot!   Onward and upward, I will keep changing my lifestyle to make this sleeve work for me!  

CheeringCJ

CheeringCJ

 

General update (mostly about bikes - like I do)

I had decided a little while back that maybe I should go on more of a maintenance diet. I posted a couple of things asking about calorie intake and maintenance, etc. I had plateaued for a while and was thinking maybe 165-ish was just where I was supposed to be. So I decided to up my calories, add in some more complex carbs, and settle into my new weight. Then the weirdest thing happened - I started losing weight again! I think I was eating too few calories as I've upped my activity considerably, so my body was hanging onto the weight for dear life. I dropped about 3 lbs in the last week eating around 1500 calories a day (I had been averaging around 1000) and riding my bike a few days a week. So I'm going to stick with this "maintenance" plan and see how it goes. 

Yesterday, I rode my bike 30 miles. That's the longest ride I've been on. I'm really proud of myself! I'm going to work my way up to a 100 mile ride by this time next year. I want to ride this: http://www.thebigdambridge100.com In the meantime, I'm working up to riding the Square 2 Square ride here, which is a 30 mile ride, so I'm glad to know I can handle that. It's on September 22. My weight loss clinic has a group that is riding in it, but I'm riding on my own. I don't want to feel like I'm tied to a group - I want to be able to just go and not feel like I have to keep up with anyone else or hang back for anyone else. That's maybe a little selfish, but if I'm going to stay focused, I want to be able to focus on my own ride. 

I'm on Strava now, so that's been fun! It's been kind of interesting seeing how my speeds compare to others. I am not breaking any records, that's for sure. Haha! But there are several segments where I'm doing ok, which surprised me. I kind of see myself as a slowpoke, but I'm pretty average compared to other Strave users who ride the trail in my area. It's encouraging. Right now, though, my main concern is endurance. I didn't walk any hills yesterday - and Northwest Arkansas is pretty hilly. There were a couple of very steep, longish climbs and a few slogs (that's what I call not very steep, but LONG climbs). The ride I did yesterday was 15 miles North and then 15 miles South. On the Square 2 Square ride, the whole ride will be heading South, which will be more downhill than up, so I've been trying to challenge myself to ride a more difficult ride than the organized ride. Next weekend, I might actually do some (GASP!) hill repeats. Haha! I have noticed that hills even *look* smaller to me now. I know I can make it up the hill, I know it's not any easier really to walk it than it would be to ride it, so they're less intimidating. 

I haven't been taking full body pictures of myself much these days - I think it's mainly because there hasn't been much of a change and I only really bothered with it when I could see a difference. We're about to have work pictures done, though, so I should have a very nice "after" picture at the end of the year! I'm excited about that. I signed a release to be considered for Patient of the Week at my clinic, so we'll see if that happens. I would write a little testimonial and have my pictures up on social media, etc. Might be fun.

Anyway, that's how all of that is going. So far so good. 
 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

One year!

Hey, all you Losers!  I'm a day late, but I wanted to post something to commemorate my one year surgiversary.  It's so hard to believe it's been a year!  And yet so much has happened, so much has changed - sometimes it feels like it's been far longer than just 12 months.  Sorry in advance, this is going to be another long Kio post (tm).  In fact... this may be my longest one yet! A re-cap of my story: I started thinking seriously about WLS in April of 2017, but I wasn't really sure I'd go through with it until... probably sometime in June of that year.  I weighed myself in April for the first time in over a year, and clocked in on my home scale at 355 - which I have been using as my starting weight, though I know I've weighed upwards of that.  I think my high weight was really about 365-375, but I'd lost 100 lbs from that somewhere in 2013 or so on Paleo, and had been steadily regaining ever since.  I had given up entirely, and was eating so much crap.  My typical day started with taking my housemate Leah to the train, then going to Dunkin and getting a double order of hashbrowns and either a couple of donuts or a breakfast sandwich and some donuts and a sugary coffee.  Then I'd swing over to the drug store and pick up some chips (Doritos or sour cream and onion Stax were my drug of choice) and some Mike & Ike or a bag of chocolate candy.  I'd work on all that through the morning, then order something out for lunch (a burger or something with fries and a coke), then after lunch start work again on the chips and candy.  They'd be gone by the time Leah got home, and then we'd typically order out for dinner.  There was also almost always a dessert. This was practically *every day*. I was a food addict of the first order, and it was getting worse. I lost my dad in 2016. He was the best dad ever.  He made it to 84. He had sleep apnea, diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and COPD, and was getting around via motorized wheel chair for around the last 5 years of his life.  I miss him terribly.  When he died, he weighed about what I did.  I think that's what made me decide to try again - try something, anything, to avoid living out his past as my future.  It took some time and a few more precipitating events (not much worse in life than needing an MRI and not fitting in the machine). But eventually April 2017 rolled around and I started investigating WLS.  At the same time I went totally low carb / keto.  I knew it would work - it had before - I just had no faith that it would work long-term.  I still think I was right about that - it wouldn't have worked long-term - but it worked great to get me to a safer weight for surgery, and that was the logic I used.  I wasn't sure I was going to have surgery yet... but still, weighing less, just in case, seemed like a good idea. I met my surgeon for the first time in May, at 350 lbs. I had some issues that ruled out the sleeve, so we agreed on bypass.  I went through the program's various appointments with a "we'll see" attitude, and sometime in June, I went from "if I have surgery" to "when I have surgery" in my head.  It coincided with the point at which I had to pay a $350 non-refundable program fee to the hospital.   I wasn't about to lay that out for no reason.  I went through it, got my surgery date, and on September 8 (weighing 298 lbs!) I went under the knife. Everything I could say about the journey after that, I've pretty much already said over the past year in this blog.  So let's fast forward to yesterday! Yesterday morning, I got on the scale first thing, as usual.  I weighed 173 lbs.  That's a loss of 182 lbs total, 125 since my surgery date.  I now weigh less than half of what I did when I first started this journey, which means I've lost an entire ME in this process.  And since I'm a big fan of reflecting and looking back, it's time to go to the LIST! Here's what I wanted out of WLS when I started - originally posted September 2, 2017, a week before surgery.  Commentary in black is from that date; commentary in red is from today. Top 10 things I want to do when I'm lighter: Yoga. I've spent so long being basically disabled - painful joints, sore muscles, walking by holding onto things - that I'm really looking forward to getting some flexibility back.  I want to do poses and salute the sun and god knows what else... that is the extent of what I know about yoga! I... have not done any yoga yet.  Yoga classes, it turns out, are expensive! But I'm counting this as half a win anyway, because  I do stretching sessions with a trainer at my gym. I keep waiting for something to be too hard to do... but nothing is too hard.  I've got a little twinge in one shoulder unrelated to weight, but that was it.  And I am TONS more flexible than I used to be! Crossfit.  Right now it sounds absolutely horrible, but it also sounds like the kind of thing that gets you in shape and keeps you in shape through the combined forces of resistance training and cult-like peer pressure.  I've never done much of the former, but I'm extremely susceptible to the latter. (however, I've just looked it up, and crossfit gyms are freaking expensive. WTH. Well, maybe I can use some of the money I'll be saving by not eating much???) I checked out a Crossfit gym, but honestly, it DID give me a really strong cult vibe, so I stayed away.  Also, super expensive.  But this is a win anyway, because about two months ago, I joined my local Planet Fitness, and I've been alternating resistance training one day with cardio the next.  I feel really good - like with the stretching, when my trainer first showed me the weight machines, I kept waiting for some movement I couldn't do.  But there never was one.  Everything was possible!  It even felt GOOD.  Plus, PF has an on-call trainer you can get help from as part of your membership, no extra fee - or take random classes from, which are usually 1:1.  I've been taking shameless advantage.     Hiking. This one's a bit out there, as I have always found walking very difficult and I have a deathly fear of insects, particularly flying ones.  Particularly flying ones with stingers.  Still, I love the woods, and I live next to a huge lovely reservation with trails and like...terrain.  I can't remember the last time I walked on anything you would call terrain.  Most of the time it's challenging enough to walk on things called "concrete".  But nature! I want to be in it. OK so, truth... this is just half a win.  I am still deathly afraid of insects.  And the mosquitoes have been dining on me WAY too frequently lately.  I do not hike.  Maybe I will when Fall really sets in and the mosquitoes all die off.  But right now, not so much.  Instead, I walk the dog a LOT.  Anywhere from 2 to 4 miles.  And that may not sound like a lot to many of you, but for me it's a new life.  I couldn't walk from one end of my living room to the other a year ago, not without pain and breathlessness.  Now I can walk a few miles and come back home and mow the lawn.  Speaking of... Mow the lawn. God knows it needs it. It combines all the worst parts of hiking with gross sweaty manual labor, but it would be great not to have to rely solely on my housemate feeling like mowing or our lovely, helpful neighbor coming over and doing it himself when he gets disgusted with the height of the grass.  (really, he's great, and has never once hinted that this is his motive.  But nobody is that genuinely helpful - right??? He has to be doing it for his property value.  Or maybe he's just a saint.) This one definitely goes in the "win" column.  I mow the lawn like a mad thing - and we moved to a bigger place with a bigger yard three months ago, so the mowing is pretty intense.  It takes me three charges of the lawnmower battery to do the front, and at least two to do the back.  Then there is weedwhacking to do - about an hour to do the entire perimeter and the edges of all the beds - and then the clean-up, which is mainly blowing grass off the driveway and sidewalks.  I've gone from watching my housemate mow the lawn because I could barely do one trip the length of it to being the sole person in charge of lawnmowing in the household.    Park far away from things. One thing I never need to know about myself is how much time I've wasted in life looking for an open parking spot close to whatever. I look forward to not having to care. I'd rather park in Timbuktu than circle endlessly finding a good spot. You know - something close enough that I can walk from the car to the thing without getting too tired/achy to actually do the thing I came there to do. Another full win.  I can park blocks away if I need to, and I often do.  At Costco or when we need to be downtown, I don't think anything of parking a long way away and walking in to wherever I need to be! Shopping! I actually just thought of this one. Not only will shopping be more fun because I can buy nicer, more flattering clothes - it'll also be easier because I can do it for more than 5 minutes without needing to sit down and rest.  Another win!  I can wander endlessly through clothes stores, department stores, grocery stores... and I never need to sit down to rest.  AND I never need to hold onto a shopping cart!  I used to have to prop my front half up on the cart, basically, leaning on it like a walker.  Now I often grab a handbasket in the grocery store instead of a cart, and I amble around as long as I want. Stand around chatting with people at the office. I'm not the world's most outgoing person - in fact, I'm pretty socially awkward. But part of that social awkwardness has come from fear that if I walk anywhere, someone I know will stop me halfway there and want to either talk to me, or join me for one of those walking meetings like on West Wing. In the first case, I end up talking to someone while in great pain, and then having to sit down before I can continue on to wherever I was going. And in the second case, I have to huff and puff between sentences because I'm out of breath from walking.  To avoid those things, I generally walk a lot of places as quickly as I can with my head down, refusing to make eye contact.  Believe me when I tell you - this does not make people think you're super normal and probably a great gal to spend time with! Definite win.  I stand and chat ALL THE TIME at work now.  Or walk and chat, like we were characters in The West Wing.  I am a fully upright and mobile Kio now!  It has really expanded my social world at work a lot, and I love it. Kayak! I actually don't really care much about kayaking, but my housemate does, and she won't do it by herself, so I want to be able to go with her.  At my current weight I feel like I'd sink most boats, so I'm not too keen on it. No win here... but to be fair, we don't own any kayaks, and Leah hasn't gone kayaking either yet!  When she does, I will totally go with her.  And I won't sink the boat, because WE WEIGH EXACTLY THE SAME NOW. Go back to Turks and Caicos. I had an amazing time going there at 308 lbs; I imagine going there at my goal weight would be amazing times infinity. We're planning to go back in 2 years, and I can't even imagine how different it will be. I'm looking forward to finding out.  No win here yet, either, but that is financially driven, not weight-driven.  I would go in a heartbeat, and I would love it, but we're still saving.  Right now, the plan is maybe to go next year.  And I am QUITE sure it will be totally amazing! Travel of other sorts.  I'm thinking maybe about Scotland.  I've got a friend who lives there and I'd love to go see the countryside, maybe visit some castles. I've always been deterred by the number of stairs conjured up by the term "castle".  Plus I imagine you get there by walking long distance on the moors.  Or something.  Are there moors in Scotland?  I guess I'll find out! I haven't been to Scotland... again, finances.  But I have done other travel - most notably a road trip to Chicago that was perfectly miserable when I did it several years ago, and which was awesome and fun this year.  I drove all the way, and was comfortable all the way - I didn't feel stuffed into the driver's seat even once.  So half a win! So a definite 6.5 out of 10 on things I wanted to do.  But you know, I really count this as 10 out of 10 - because I COULD do any of these, if I wanted to and had infinite cash on hand.   I'm no longer limited by my weight - just finances and personal inclination.  Just the fact that I COULD do something, just by wanting to, is enough to count it as a win here.  I have so many more choices now, and my world has opened up so much... and THAT is what's really important.  There are a few negatives.  I have a lot of floppy skin hanging out on my arms and belly and thighs - enough that I'm seriously considering plastics, if I make it down to goal and manage to stay there.  I have a daily, haunting fear of failure - that I'll never make it to goal.  That I'll stop losing, start gaining, and end up back where I started.  My weight loss HAS slowed - I only lost 3 lbs this month, though that was at least partly due to a splurge on vacation.  And I've felt hungry lately - mainly in the mornings when I wait too long before breakfast.  I can eat more lately - not a ton more, but definitely more than I used to.  My hope is that these fears will keep me honest, and on track - and not just drive me insane.    And honestly - I wonder what I would have said if, a year ago, my doc had told me:  "You'll lose most of your excess weight.  But only for about three years.  Then you'll gain it back."  Would I have gone through with it anyway?  I think I would have.  I don't think that will happen - I think I'll be okay.  But I do think I would have gone ahead, even if there had been some kind of expiration date.  This experience would make it worth it.  So I'm going to keep on keeping on!  I know I have all of you guys to cheer me on and help me stay on track - you've been with me this far, and I'm sure TT will help me haul myself the rest of the way to goal.  I'm so grateful to you all, and to this wonderful, supportive place.  *HUGS* to you losers!!!    (33 lbs to go!  I can TOTALLY do this!!!) (Pics to come... after more mowing!)

Kio

Kio

 

Month 9 - and a huge surprise

So I finally got back to using the scale again this month. I weighed in at the hospital on the 21st when showing up for my EGD, and was thrilled to know I have hit and surpassed the 100 pounds down mark! I was 209 pounds that day. I still haven't really gotten my scale out of it's closet of shame right now, but I'm feeling good about that     The dysmorphia has been hella bad the last two months. I'm one of those that never felt I was as large as I was (until staring at the number on the scale or seeing a picture of myself). So to some extent, I'm fighting the notion that I haven't really lost much weight.  I also fight feeling smaller than I am. I can wear a 14 jean quite comfortably (which was a total surprise), and I've had to stop shopping at plus-size niche shops like Lane Bryant and Torrid for the most part. However, sometimes when I pick something up, I feel it should fit, only to have it fit me like a sausage casing.    Essentially, I feel overall I have no idea what I really look like, no matter how much I look at pictures or in the mirror. All part of the journey, I think.   In other news, I've been going to the gym much more faithfully and have noticed some forward momentum in stamina. I've also been doing (super duper beginner) yoga at home on a regular basis (thank you, youtube) and feel my muscles aren't as tight and my idiot left hip is finally coming around. Hiking continues to be a mainstay, although it'd be great if the rain could subside for more than a day or so.   I had the EGD, and thankfully, only one small ulcer. They put a bravo capsule in me (it attaches to your esophagus) and I walked around for a couple days with this giant data collector that connects to the capsule by bluetooth to measure my pH levels. It has a few buttons on it that I press to indicate when I am eating, sleeping, or feeling symptoms. I had 105 episodes of reflux in two days. I'm not sure what this means, still waiting to hear back from the bariatric office.    And I'm kind of burying the lead here, but last week I found out some major news.   I'm pregnant, y'all.    This comes as a complete and utter shock after nearly 8 years of trying, including 3-4 years of off and on fertility treatments. I have a completely blocked left fallopian tube, and polycystic ovaries, and was told in no uncertain terms I'd need IVF to conceive. We were planning after I'd at least hit the year post-op mark and gotten under 180 to go for IVF. Then last week, after a full week of aching boobs that were a lot worse than my normal PMS-type symptoms, I kinda shrugged and took a test, not thinking much of it. And then I saw two lines and lost my mind for a second. I quickly took a second test, told my DH, and we both said - "theyre cheap chinese tests, lets go get a real one". Ran over to CVS, bought several "real" ones and brought them home only for them all to pop positive within 10 seconds. Whew.    You guys are pretty much the only ones to know right now, because it is an ingrained part of my WLS journey. I haven't told my parents yet because my mother has been literally begging me for a grandchild for 13 years, and I'm at a high risk of miscarriage, so I'd like to at least meet my OB and make sure things are okay before I tell them. I'm actually kind of thankful for TTF, because I'm going to scream if I don't at least tell SOMEONE - and because, no matter what way this ends up, it is entwined with my WLS journey like a pretzel.    This certainly takes any revision surgery (for the heartburn) off the table for me for now, and has brought up a slew of questions about navigating nutritional needs while post-op. Thankfully, there's a lot of literature out there for this. I haven't yet told my bari team, partly because I know they're not going to be happy. We're supposed to avoid pregnancy until at least 12 months, and preferably 18, and here I am, pregnant at 9 months post op. I meet my OB in a couple weeks, and plan to call my bari team as soon as I know it's not an ectopic or otherwise problematic pregnancy.    So yeah. That's been my month. And my last couple weeks.

delilas

delilas

 

There's nothing wrong with you

This is just something I posted on another board - not specifically a weight loss board, but one I frequent.  It's kind of a catch-all advice site, and someone had asked how she could get herself motivated to try to lose weight again, when she had already tried everything, and everything had failed her.  She mentioned her family - a wife and kids - and wanting to be able to be active with them, and to not be in pain all the time.  I assumed, with the comment about constant pain, that she was probably of a weight that would qualify her for WLS - though she never stated it, just said she had a "significant" amount of weight to lose.  She listed all the stuff she had tried and failed - low carb, low fat, keto, paleo, fasting, intermittent fasting, therapy.  She was looking for -- I don't know, maybe encouragement, maybe support, maybe just some mental tricks to help convince herself that trying again was worth it. You guys, it made me so. Damn. MAD!  I was literally shaking with anger on her behalf as I read it.  Take away the wife and kids, and she could have been me a year ago. I was also desperate - but I knew that I was at the bottom of my bag of mental tricks.  I had given up on trying to eat rationally - it never worked, and it always made things worse.  Even worse than failure was success that was inevitably followed by failure - I knew I couldn't go through that again.  But there's so much predatory crap in the diet and fitness industry, and so many people have bought into it when damn it, there IS an easier way out!  Not even just an easier way - for most of us who have/had substantial weight to lose, right now it's the ONLY way out.  It's just that almost nobody wants to talk about it! So I responded, and maybe it wasn't the response she was looking for, but it felt good to just be honest about it.   I didn't even do it anonymously, so my usual "handle" was out there for everybody to see.  Everyone else who responded to her was suggesting "Maybe if you thought about it this way" or "the trick is to find exercise you love" or "only eat after 2pm and before midnight, like a gremlin"... And that's all fine advice for maintenance, but it's all basically crap when you're 100 lbs or more overweight.  At that point, your body is so out of whack it's going to take a miracle for diet and exercise to be anything but a pointless torment for you.  Anyway... here's what I said to her.  I'm posting it here because I don't want to lose track of it - other forums come and go, but TT is home!    ~ ~ ~ So, I can't tell from your post how much extra weight you're carrying. What I'm going to say is tailored specifically toward women who are seriously obese. It's coming from the perspective of a woman who has been fat all her life, and who topped the scales at 350 lbs, and whose obesity is now in remission.

The fact that you have tried everything and nothing has worked makes you dead normal. It is vanishingly rare for anyone who is significantly overweight to be able to lose that weight through diet/exercise and keep it off long-term. Only something like 5% of people can do it, and many of those do it by turning weight loss into a career. Trying to fix obesity with diet and exercise is like trying to repair a computer with a hammer - the harder you try, the more you @~$& up the machine.

Please believe that you haven't done anything wrong. You haven't failed. You've got exactly as much willpower and inner strength as any normal-weight person. People who are thinner than you don't have any secrets. They are what they are because their bodies LET them be what they are, not because they're just that awesome.

You don't need another way of thinking about dieting or a better way of motivating yourself to exercise or managing your emotions about your weight. And you certainly don't need therapy -- unless it's to get over the piles of mental and emotional crap society has been shoveling onto you since you gained your first five extra pounds. There is nothing wrong with you. Let me repeat, with greater emphasis: There is nothing wrong with you!

Nobody really knows how weight loss works physiologically. Certainly nobody in the scientific community devoted to the study of obesity. Believe me, I have made a PhD-level survey of the literature. Everybody knows how to lose weight in the short term; nobody knows how to keep it off long-term.

At this point in our scientific understanding of weight loss, there is only one thing that reliably reverses obesity for the seriously obese - and that's weight loss surgery. It works really well for most seriously obese people who have it - while diet and exercise alone only work for about 5% of them. But since most people still tend to view obesity as a character flaw rather than a physical illness, most people (and most doctors) will just advise you to diet more and exercise harder. Hell, that's what we tell ourselves, too. It's somehow comforting to think that if we were better people, diet and exercise would work for us. It's not so comforting to admit that they probably never will.

I'm not responding here to preach. I just wish someone had told me fifteen years ago, "Hey, you're not weak. You're just sick. There's a physical cure for it, you should look into it" instead of telling me to eat less fat, or fewer carbs, or go to the gym more, or see a therapist. Because I wasted literally years of my life eating less of whatever and exercising more and examining my emotions and adjusting my mental state -- but what finally cured my obesity was a couple of hours with a surgeon, who rerouted my insides and gave me a shiny new metabolism that allowed me to return to a normal weight.

TL;DR: If you're in the weight range that would qualify you for weight loss surgery, I would seriously suggest you look into it, because it's a simple and safe procedure that corrects the metabolic processes that keep you fat. Science doesn't know for sure why it works, but they know that for most people, it does. I'm convinced that for the seriously obese, any other advice is basically woo. ~ ~ ~  

Kio

Kio

 

Stalled, but.....

I've been stalled for a while. I'm still deciding if I even care, though. I'm a couple of pounds below the low end of my surgeon's goal (he gave me a range), so any more weight loss is honestly just sugar-free icing on the sugar-free cake. Haha! The fact is that I feel awesome! I am healthy. I am active. I eat a normal amount of food - maybe a little less than others, but pretty normal. I'm out of plus size clothes. I feel really, really good. So I'm not sure if I want to mess with continuing to try to lose weight. If I lose more, that's fine. But I just don't know if I really care to keep trying.

Anyway, I'm trying to shift focus into what my body can do now and improving on that. I can't really afford a gym, nor do I have time to travel to a gym to work out, so I'm really trying to figure out how to work in some body weight exercises (and some dumbbell stuff) to my day. It's really tough. I just do not have a lot of time! But I'm going to figure it out. With all this cycling, I need to work on my core and my upper body strength. My legs are getting a hell of a workout, but I also want to build my core strength and upper body strength for improved balance and agility on the bike - not just to get toned! 

And here's a pic of the stats from my ride today. There was a bunch of NONSENSE with headwinds today that I could have done without. Also, I had never been on the north part of the Greenway before, so I got confused about where I was supposed to go and had to backtrack, so there's some weirdness on the first little bit of the map. But it was a really fun ride! I'm tired, though! 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

...and we're back.

Home again. I had a lovely week and a half in three European cities, in which I denied myself very little. I ate a bunch of croissants and other delicious bread-type things. I drank a lot (like a lot) of cocktails (un autre Campari spritz, s'il-vous plait; einmal noch Aperol sour, bitte). I came home with six RitterSports in my carry-on. I managed to consume nearly an entire döner kebab in one sitting. I also prioritized protein the majority of the time and walked a ton—I don't keep track, but walking around is a primary travel activity for me by inclination. And on Tuesday, when I got on the scale when I got home from the airport, I weighed 176.8—about a pound and a half above where I was when I left. I'd been hoping just to come home still under 180, so that felt like a big win.  Then, of course, I ordered Chinese food, because years of family travel have carved into my bones the law that says that when you get home from the airport to an empty refrigerator, you have to order Chinese food (though I went for mu shu pork and BBQ ribs instead of childhood staples like young chow fried rice and sesame chicken)—so after two days (and some leftovers), I'm still up a couple pounds of bloat—I can tell that it's water because my fingers and face are puffy. I'm running water and home-brewed kombucha through my system to bring it down, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the scale says in a couple of days, once I've gotten myself back to baseline. But basically, it's looking like I didn't gain more than a pound or two at the most.  It feels fairly remarkable to be able to travel without either worrying about what I eat or don't eat constantly or coming home ten pounds heavier than I left. I had a good talk with a friend in Berlin in which I told her more about my surgical experience and the eating disorders history that contextualizes it than I've told most people, and that was the thing that I stressed to her, as I've also stressed it here—that the real victory feels like the ability to ease up, to not be trapped in the clutch of hyperfocus and anxiety and dysfunctional, disordered behavioral cycling.  I've got a hectic week ahead—very much hitting the ground running—but I'm looking forward to settling myself back into a good food groove; I'm still interested in dropping the 10-15 pounds I was interested in losing before I left. (Possibly nudged by the fact that I definitely feel a little more outside the norm of body size in Europe than I do in America.) I'm sort of informally shooting to do so by the end of the year, though again, I'm committed to prioritizing behavioral health and balance and happiness over scale weight, so if those two things are incompatible, the weight loss goal goes. But they're not feeling super incompatible right now. There's a little discomfort gnawing at me (that outside-the-norm feeling?), which is something I have to keep my eye on, but my behavioral goals are very much my own. I'm putting together a menu for the week that's all things I like that simultaneously support my nutritional needs (big batches of stewed lentils, quinoa salad, tuna salad, slaw), and feeling pretty calm and purposeful.   

nimiety

nimiety

 

Month nine

I thought I'd better get this posted before it's my tenth month!!!   Here's my 9 month pictures and update. I wasn't sure I could believe Jenn when she kept saying that little weight losses mean big inch losses at this point. I mean I believed it for HER because it was obvious but that could never happen to ME!! Until this month. It's so happening!  I haven't really changed pant sizes mostly because I haven't tried plus I've been wearing dresses more since they can be a little big and still not risk falling down like pants and I don't suffer from thigh chaffing like I used to!  I haven't ventured below a size 12 pants or a large top....although I bought a white tank top in Medium because I wanted it to wear it under my shirts to keep me decent (some of my shirts are so big when I bend over) and since it would be very tight, it would also act as a comfortable shape wear. Today I put it on for the first time, hoping it wouldn't be too restrictive that I couldn't breathe and to my shock it didn't even touch anything below my bust...it just hung there!!!  What??? A medium, just hanging on me?!?  That's not the shape wear I thought it would be...haha!  I'm finding moments like that are getting more and more common!  And the funny thing is I'm STILL shocked each time! (I still try to reason out they're "vanity sized"!  I just can't mentally grasp it!  It doesn't get old and it doesn't get mundane. Soooo glad I chose to have the surgery...this is amazing!   My husband is the same way....just as amazed. He put his arm around me when I got home from work and I knew all he felt was ribs and he said "you are just getting so small!". So I hugged him and his arms went around me and overlapped so that his hands clasped his elbows!  It's been over thirty yrs since he's been able to do that!  So amazing things are happening with my body that I am just not used to and they still don't cease to amaze me! (SO glad I had the surgery...have I said that enough?!?)   It's weird but I can feel my legs shrinking too. My thighs are getting smaller and all I can feel is solid muscle (I walk a LOT) and excess, ripply skin, but I don't care as much as I thought I would. I still would never wear shorts to work (which is fine bc I couldn't) or church but I will to walk in  them every night and every Saturday I wear them. When I walk, I FEEL my muscles working and my skin jiggling but I choose to be more impressed with the strong muscles than obsessed with the loose skin!  My butt is getting tighter (muscle wise, I'm afraid to look at the skin but I'm sure that's not getting tighter!!!) and oddly enough my hands end where my butt ends now (my butt used to keep going and going...) So that occasionally my hand hits the end of my butt and I am always amazed at how much smaller and higher it is! (Have I mentioned yet that I am thrilled I had the surgery?!?)   I occupy my time with doing squats and lunges while working in the kitchen or doing wash etc. Every 15 mins my watch tells me to do something so at work, I do tricep work or squats. I keep my muscles moving constantly... probably bc I am so aware of them now!  And I find that pretty cool!   I bought and wore my first S-M 8-10 dress this weekend and it fit plenty well to wear. On labor day our local salvation army will have their 50% off of clothes so you know where I'll be getting my fall wardrobe from!!! But oddly enough, I still can't grasp getting mediums but I'm going to!   As for my eating, well that's a different story. We went out to eat two weekends ago with my in-laws to celebrate our anniversaries together (see attached pic...34 years and counting!). I got grilled salmon on a salad bed with vinegarette and took most salad and half the salmon home. Problem is it was an Italian restaurant and they had warm bread with dipping oils. I only had a bite of my husband's then a second and finally one more nibble. And that was it for the evening. Until they brought us lemon cookies at the end and I had one small bite. All in all a fine night...didn't stray too far. BUT then we went out on Sunday and then Friday we went out one more time for our anniversary together. So, my problem is one of two or perhaps a combo and I don't know for sure. For some reason I can't stop eating now. It could be that I ate the forbidden bread (haven't had more than five bites of bread since November) and carbs and now my body wants them badly OR (and I'm leaning towards this one) it didn't effect my weight so I feel invincible...which is a scary place to be! That means it's mind game time. I ate plenty all weekend (admission: stale cheese curls that my son had in the cabinet.... really??? Have I not learned to be more careful by now?!?!). but my weight didn't go up. So I don't know if I'm subconsciously testing my ability to indulge and see how far I can go without it affecting me (scary!) And then the conscious half of my brain thinks "yeah but if you didn't overeat, your would have lost so you're sabotaging yourself!". (all true). I hate getting to the mind game part of losing weight. Ugh. I don't want to be here.    I'm super swamped at work right now so keeping busy keeps me from eating too much at work but two nights ago I couldn't stop eating at home!  Last night I.had a better resolve and did.much better. I have GOT to snap out of this--immediately!l   Still I wouldn't change having had the surgery, but I clearly need to change mindset. We are going away soon and I need to be back on track BEFORE we leave or this will snowball out of control and I'll be at 241.5 again in no time!   

CheeringCJ

CheeringCJ

 

Work work work work work.....

I said I was going to blog daily, but that has not happened. Ha! This last week has been very intense on the work front. There is a homeless encampment on University property that has been there for a long time and the university is basically evicting somewhere around 80 people from that spot. My work has been constant crisis management and feeling a bit like a failure when I can't find everyone housing (because no one can right now - my town is totally gentrifying and and it's a nightmare for human service providers - not to mention the people who need, you know, HOUSING). Basically, work has felt like I'm in a hamster wheel - lots of work and getting nowhere. And lots of crisis and frustrated clients.

So I'm taking most of this week off. I am giving myself today to catch up with clients and do some trainings for work and then Tuesday through Friday are MINE. I'm going to be working on my house and yard and going for bike rides, mainly. My kids and husband will all be gone during the day, so I'll have the place to myself. I'm eager to see what can be accomplished with my increased energy and an entire 4 days to work on projects! As long as I don't let the Netflix monster eat my days, I'd imagine a lot can be done. 

I have noticed that I'm starting to get comfortable in my body and starting to feel more relaxed about my body's capabilities. For example, I'm more likely to take calculated risks on my bike because I have more confidence in my body's ability to recover if I take a turn a little fast. I'm more likely to walk down stairs in heels a little faster than I would have a month or two ago because I'm confident in my balance and ankle strength. This is kind of a big deal for me, as a huge reason I hated doing any kind of exercise pre-op was because I wasn't sure I wouldn't fall down or hurt myself somehow. There are still no guarantees, of course, but before there was a 50/50 chance that if I really put effort into exercise, I would seriously injure myself. I remember deciding that I would try a workout video and really trying (though not really100%) and spraining my ankle and also hurting my wrist from catching myself. Just knowing that I can literally bounce back if things don't go just right lifts a big weight (ha!) off my shoulders and allows me to try harder without so much worry. 

On Sunday, I had breakfast with someone that I went on a study abroad trip with about 4 years ago. She is a heavy person (heavier than I was) and she and I bonded a lot over being large travelers. She still travels extensively and is thinking about starting a blog about traveling as a large person. She asked a little about surgery, but she is clearly ok with being a large person and doing her thing. I think that's awesome. She told me that she was able to climb the steps of the Sacre-Coeur (tallest church in Paris), which is pretty impressive! She is very young still - I found it easier to get around at my former size when I was in my 20's, too. But I will never tell someone that they shouldn't be content in their body or suggest that they change something they're happy with. It did remind me, though, of traveling at my former size and how difficult that was for me. When I went to Rome and Florence, I couldn't go on some of the excursions where we had to climb lots of stairs and it was a real bummer to miss it. One day I'll go back, though, and climb climb climb.
 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

Today’s ride

I rode 16.52 miles today - 11.2 without stopping except to snap a quick pic of the lake - complete with some intense climbs. My ride ended in a cemetery, which is fitting for I am now dead. Lol! My legs could probably go longer, but my butt hurts so I’m done for the day. 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

More bike stuff....

I've been enjoying riding my bike (which you all know because I won't shut up about it), but my husband had been feeling kind of low about it. He used to be an avid cyclist, but got cancer 2.5 years ago, recovered, and has had issues with neuropathy from the chemo ever since. He got on some meds that are working, though, so I basically forced him to go on a ride with me. Well, not so much forced as annoyed the crap out of him and aired his tires up and put his bike in the car and.... well maybe I did force him.  ANYWAY, he did great and it was so much fun! We rode a short jaunt (about a mile and a half) from a trailhead to a local restaurant on the trail and shared some food (way more affordable for us post-op - ha!) . We waited there for a surprise storm to pass, then we rode until he wanted to turn around, which he kept going a little further and a little further because he was having fun. He tracked it and says we rode a little over 7 miles. I'm hoping he'll jump into this active lifestyle with me. I really like riding with him.

I definitely could have ridden a lot further, but today was all about him getting back on the bike. I'm going to start going for training rides soon for the Square to Square ride. My goal is to get to where I can ride 30 miles and still want to do things for the rest of the day. LOL

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

Headed off for some travel.

I'm about to take off for ten days in Europe. Two things about that relevant to this space: 1) I'm a little bit grumpy about the fact that I'm disrupting a really good groove. I've been interested in losing a little more weight, and lately that's been working out well for me: I've been in a good, easy, pleasurable routine that's made that feel very achievable. I'm seeing scale weights below the bottom of my usual range—the last few mornings have been below 177. You know what's not like an awesome step towards losing five or ten pounds? Eating in nice restaurants in Paris. That said, am I complaining about heading off to eat in nice restaurants in Paris? Good lord, no. I'm not an ungrateful idiot. I'm going to do what I've done before successfully during travel: hit my water hard, walk around a lot, and eat enjoyably in moderation with a focus on protein. In my other stops I'll be staying with friends, so there it'll be easier, although of course I'll still want to try things, and will in fact try those things. I'm going to try to keep near the forefront of my brain the fact that it would be really nice to come back still in range of that low point; I'm also not going to be super strict and regimented about my behavior while I'm away. I'm not taking protein powder or anything special. Just being a normal person who keeps an eye on things. 2) I've never been in Europe as not a fat person. It's always been a presence in my travel, that sense of alienation, of being looked at, simultaneously conspicuous and invisible. My last stop is Berlin—the last time I was there was fifteen years ago, the summer before I was inpatient for ED treatment. I remember the way it felt to be in that differentiated body. I remember how much it defined my experience there. This is going to be different. I am nervous and excited. I have fussed a lot over my packing. What clothes, what shoes, what makeup. But as I'm headed out the door, I feel okay about my ability to move through the world.  I'll check back in when I get home. 

nimiety

nimiety

 

I signed up!

I signed up for a local bike ride in late September called the Square to Square ride. If you want to know where I"ll be September 22, it's here: http://fayetteville-ar.gov/1931/Square-to-Square-Bicycle-Ride 

The ride is 30 miles on very hilly roads (but that's just how it is here - haha!). We have an amazing trail system here! The Razorback Regional Greenway spans 36 miles with some offshoots that provide even more mileage (especially in Bentonville and Fayetteville - two cities that have an avid cycling scene). As many issues as we have with the Walmart corporation, they sure are generous when it comes to bikes and art! 

Anyway, I'm working on a training schedule. So far, the longest I've ridden since I started up again is about 10 miles. I will say, though, I felt like I could EASILY ride twice that. So I feel like I can fairly easily ride 30. Still, I want to make sure I can get it done in a reasonable amount of time and feeling great at the end. So I"m working on a training schedule.  After this, I want to train for a century ride! 

Also I'm turning into this guy:   

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

So close!

I’m still working toward the low end of my surgeon’s year out goal range of 167. This morning I’m at 168.  Next goal - 150. After that I will likely focus on maintenance and quit weighing outside the doctor’s office.  (The colors don’t mean anything other than I like lots of colors and I have a lot of pens and highlighters. Haha!)

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

Happy hour

Well my org had a happy hour event. I drank half a Kentucky mule and ate a wing with the skin taken off and the cheese off some cheese fries. It was tough, honestly. Those social situations where there’s communal food and an expectation to drink are weird and difficult. I did have a nice time though. My coworkers and bosses are goofballs.  Last night I went to a launch party at my weight loss clinic where they were introducing the new minimally invasive cosmetic procedures they are starting to offer. I ended up winning a $250 gift certificate that they let me use as a deposit for future work. If we put down a deposit last night, we get 20% off if we book something within the year. At the very least, I can have some laser hair removal done. Ha! But I’m going in for a consult on my arms, thighs, and neck. We’ll see what they say. It might be worth saving up for.   

Cardamom77

Cardamom77