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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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!
This months stats:Pounds lost since last month: 8Total since surgery: 76Total since highest weight: 93Current BMI: 37.4I 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 thereI 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 feelingUntil next month
V - ictories (non-scale and scale!)
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!
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.
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!!
A fun thing happened today...I stopped at the plus-size shop that has pretty much been the only place I've been able to shop until just recently. Nine months ago I was purchasing 5X clothes and today I bought 0X tops (not sure the point of 0X, but that's okay, closest to size 0 that I'll ever be and that's just fine ). I had run out of the house without a coat today and ended up putting on a coat that was in my car on the way to be donated (because it's frickin" freezing, Mr. Bigglesworth - bring on the warm weather so I can ride my new bike!). It is a pretty blue embroidered coat from J.Jill that always made me feel like I was a little bit fashionable in my really large clothing.
The saleswoman commented that I needed a new coat, which I've been hearing a lot lately, but I've been trying to wait until next winter. Then a few minutes later a woman got in line behind me and commented on how pretty my coat was. I thanked her and then thought a minute and said, "Would you like this coat?" I told her it had been in the donation pile and that I would love for her to have it. I took it off right there and had her try it on. It looked great on her and made her so happy. It made me happy as well. It's hard to get rid of some clothing even though it's exciting to be in smaller sizes and it makes a difference if you know someone is going to enjoy it as much as you did. Not only that, it prompted a conversation about WLS. This woman had recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and because of the experiences shared on this forum, I was able to provide information about the impact surgery has for people with that diagnosis.
My other fun story is about a recent visit with my 8 year old niece. We were at a restaurant for a family dinner and playing games in her notebook to pass the time. After many rounds of tic-tac-toe and the dot/square game I asked her if she'd like to play the adjective game (once an educator, always an educator). She agreed so we took turns writing words that described each other. Her initial list for me (not to brag or anything) consisted of awesome, best, fantastic...I was trying to get her to think a little deeper and was writing words for her like funny, talented, sensitive. On her next turn she thought for a minute, looked me up and down and wrote "healthy." I can barely keep from tearing up just typing this. So glad the right messages are coming across and that I'll be able to increasingly keep up with (and be here for) her and her sister as they grow up.
I am actually 3 days early to post this, as my 9 month surgiversary is 3/14/18. I have to admit it is pretty crazy that it has already been 9 months!
Last week gave me an opportunity to obtain two photos that I want to share with you. I really don't have many pre-surgery photos, as I was always the one yelling to delete any pic I was in, or to dodge all pics as much as I possibly could. In the fall of 2016, they decided to put together a book for the police agency that I work at. Sadly for me, that meant a photographer coming in and taking our pictures. For once, I could not yell at someone to delete the pic. When I saw this pic, I was depressed. And it was also the pic they used on an ID card, so it was in my wallet and I had to see it. In hindsight, I see now that this pic is what prompted me ask my PCP about weight loss surgery. This pic was the kick in the pants that I NEEDED to do something for me.
The second pic was taken last week, after an 80# weight loss.
I am overwhelmed by all the changes at times. I have a hard time with sizing. Yesterday I bought a size 8 pair of shorts at Old Navy. SIZE 8! I don't ever remember being in single digit sizes. It's strange. I hold things up in the store and think "there is no way I will fit into this," and then it fits. I don't know if that is a body image issue, or just getting used to the new me.
I still mentally struggle with the fact that my restriction won't let me eat larger quantities of food. But then I remind myself that I feel great, and I can have small samples of whatever I want so I am really NOT deprived at all. I also save the food for leftovers if it is something particularily awesome that my stomach just does not have room for at the moment.
My foot is slowly getting better from the Plantar Fasciitis. I am still doing 35-50 mins 5x per week of some sort of cardio, usually still stationary biking. The weather is getting nice here now though so I plan to get back to walking.
I find myself worrying more about my husband and his weight. He eats good when we are home, but at work/lunch time he does not lol. I don't want to be the irritating wife, but I do want him to live a long healthier life. His genetics are horrible for high blood pressure/heart issues. Sometimes I feel like I must be annoying to be around, since this healthy stuff has become so important to me.
I also wonder when people will stop saying "hey skinny!" in the hallway at work. It is flattering to have your hard work acknowledged, but I don't want to get in a position where I need their affirmation to feel good about myself (if that makes sense).
So there you go - ramblings from TammyP, aka "Hey skinny" <3
Always told myself that I would not be one of those people who sign up on a forum and then abandoned it, but it’s been a year & a day since I last posted. For those who are now discovering my little blog, let me give you a quick history so you won’t have to read my two old entries:
I had always thought about having some type of surgery for years. I always dreamt that I would hit the lottery and have plastic surgery until I was like the ideal image in my head. It did not help that I used to watch shows like Nip/Tuck. It’s so easy for those with money to have surgery to have some surgeon sculpt their body until they were happy. Probably why we have plastic surgeon shows on cable tv. I realize now that even if I did have the money then that I would be constantly going in to have plastic surgery for my eating habits would never change. I ate excessively for I was depressed over how much I weighed and the vicious circle would just repeat itself. I will never look like the image I have in my head, I have accepted it which has helped change my eating habits.
Now that I have my loving wife & two beautiful daughters, I did not want health problems that are associated with my weight to cause my death. My death would have probably been from sleep apnea for my first sleep apnea test, I stopped breathing 102 times an hour. Add in: high blood pressure, spinal stenosis in my neck & lumber region, shortness of breath, light headedness, as well as other problems; I was a walking time bomb.
We’re off to see the wizard…
Late June 2016, I go in to see my primary doctor about a handicap card and he talks with me about weight lost surgery to see how interested I was in pursuing that avenue. It was time to do something, not just for me but the peace of mind of my loving family. I agreed and viewed the videos, read the paperwork, and appointments were made to see my weight loss team. August 2016, I met my team. One of the team goes over my bloodwork results, another talked about what I should eat instead of what I was eating, and finally the surgeon. Surgeon wanted me to show I was committed to this program and had to lose 20 pounds before he would sign the paperwork. Six months of countless appointments, daily food diary entries, working out at Planet Fitness; I lost 62 pounds (which 20 of those was from cutting soda from my diet) and got my surgery date, March 7th, 2017.
The night of March 6th, 2017: no food or drink and pretty much no sleep. Between being nervous and worrying about if something would go wrong, I had no intention of sleeping. Neither did my wife. We got to the hospital on March 7th, before the sun even came up and was prepped for surgery. They had to put an IV in my arm and I hate needles. I really hate needles, and anything related to needles, due to my father being a diabetic and watching him take insulin twice a day when I was younger. Now I get to watch my wife go through the same thing. Amazing how I was a 6 to 8+ cans a day soda drinker that I never became a diabetic. Anyway, I found out that they have a spray that numbs your skin before they put in an IV. I always ask for the numbing spray when I must have an IV put in now. Which came in handy for my journey after surgery was not a walk in the park….
Not a Walk in the Park…
4 P.M. March 7th, 2017. Waking up in some pain would be an understatement. They had to push pain killers in my IV as soon as they woke me up because all I did was thrash around with my arms flailing due to the pain. I have had laparoscopic surgery before when I had my gallbladder removed in 2003 and the pain then was nothing compared to this surgery. I realize that the two surgeries are way different, but the pain level was more than I was expecting and then some. Then there was Sophia…
Sophia, female, nurse, smelled like rotten trash and truly a royal pain in my you-know-what. That’s the best description I can come up with without probably being kicked off this site due to extreme use of profanity in a tirade that would take up most of this blog. I will admit that she knew her stuff when it came to medical knowledge and the application of said medicine. But had absolutely no personal skills or bed side manner. After my surgery, I was pretty much out of it and on pain management for the first 24 hours. Getting woken up hourly for tests and blood work did not make it any better. All I wanted was to sleep for at least 4 hours without any interruptions but that was not going to happen; especially with Sophia.
10 P.M. March 8th, 2017. Sophia comes in and tells me I had to drink so much of a liquid before I could sleep. Let’s see my stomach has had major surgery, I am exhausted beyond belief, and my pouch was what I thought at the time, inflamed & swollen (see my next blog). I was to the point that even a sip of water seemed to feel like I drank an ocean. Add in the IV was pumping so much fluid in me that they were waking me up by emptying my catheter bag constantly. Every time I fell asleep due to having no sleep, she would yell my name and tell me that I could not sleep until I drank it. I was to the point of throwing it at her, but I was not going to face an assault charge over her. No matter had satisfying it would have been to take my anger out on her, I am not that type of person no matter how far I was pushed.
6 A.M. March 9th, 2017 Made it through the night without telling off Sophia, let alone asking for another nurse. Walked for a short distance the day before & now walking a few laps on my hospital floor. Mostly just to get out of the room & away from Nurse Sophia. So, I am exhausted from doing my laps & hauling around my I.V. rig with my heart monitor pack hanging off my neck which is just making my spinal stenosis worse by the second, but I get back to my room and Sophia was there, lucky me. I barely get into bed after plugging all my equipment back into the wall, so it can recharge, and Sophia is asking me what I want for breakfast and lunch. I can understand ordering breakfast but lunch. I was dealing with my stomach that just wanted to be left alone and here was Sophia pushing clear liquid items. I understand that I had to eat and drink before they could discharge me. I was trying to eat and drink, so I could get away from the wicked witch nurse, but my stomach was not happy to comply. Thirty hours away from discharge, could I make it? Every second felt like a lifetime. Thankfully, I would never see Nurse Sophia ever again.
Boy, was I wrong. But first, all men are created equal, but not pouches & sleeves. (Next Blog)
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I am pre-op and I have been wanting to make a blog about my journey, if nothing else to keep a record of how I feel before and after. My highest weight was 307 pounds. That is a lot for me. I had never thought I would be that heavy. The bad thing is I gained that weight during my supervised diet. Who does that? I feel so ashamed that I gained that weight. The first 6 months of my supervised diet was basically just me getting that note from my doctor that I completed another month. I was serious, but I didn't realize how serious I needed to be until these last 3 months of my supervised diet. I have completed the last 3 months of my diet with the Cleveland Clinic and I realized my real issue. I am addicted to food. I know a lot of overweight people are, but I really really learned this on my pre-op diet. I have been eating every emotion I have ever felt. When I couldn't do it anymore, I realized I am emotionally crippled. I have no way to deal with my emotions without food. So these last 3 months have been a roller coaster of me crying and feeling more depressed than ever! I am starting to find other ways to get through these emotions, but I never imagined how hard that was going to be. I had to take a class with the Cleveland Clinic to learn to cope with my eating habits and it has REALLY helped. I was diagnosed with binge eating disorder, and know that information helps. SO, where am I now?
- Nutrition- Cleared ✓
- Surgeon- Cleared ✓
- Psych (Pending)
- Medical (Pending)
- Insurance Approval (Pending)
Current Weight: 277
Well, here I am at six weeks post-op. I was in a no-weight loss rut for about 10 days. I'd lose a few tenths of a pound, then gain it back. Up/down, up/down. Finally, three days ago, I broke through the stall. I've now lost 29 lbs (29 since the liquid diet and 19 since surgery).
I've been keeping a daily diary of everything I'm eating and drinking in MyFitnessPal. That really helps me a lot. I'm sticking with the plan. I'm upping my activity level. I'm really trying hard to get my fluid goals met every day. I'm still not doing great with the fluids.
Otherwise, I feel really well. I've officially moved to regular foods. I've been tolerating things very well. We had chicken thighs for dinner one night this past week. I was able to eat 2 oz of chicken, plus about 2 tablespoons of a goulash-y veggie mixture I made, and about a tablespoon of mashed cauliflower. That's a lot of food for me. I'm up to about 700 calories a day now.
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Here I sit, worried. My op is next Tuesday but I fly out on Monday alone, to face my future head on.
I've watched the vlogs, I've read the blogs I'm very ready to have this op.
I know it's not going to be easy, I have a fear I'm going to die on the operation table, and flying home after 5 days makes me wonder if I'll even make it through the airport from gate to exit without collapsing. Maybe I'll need a lift on one of those electric trollies to beep me through, a fat VIP!
Will my mind trip me up post op? Will my addiction fight back?
Oh dearey me, This is a happy first blog post!
One day at a time, just one foot in front of the other. Lets try to look at this from another angle.
Ok, here's a positive. I started my low calorie diet on Friday and have already lost 6lbs. There. That's my positive
Time for tea
Everything is going well. I'm currently weighing 240lbs. That's 113lbs down form my highest weight. 66lbs down since surgery. Average 13lbs loss per month. Pretty good. I had my 100 day post-op checkup with my clinic last month. Checked in with the nutritionist, psych, and nurse provider. Everyone was pleased with me. I'm pleased with myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm losing too slow and sometimes I feel like I'm losing too fast. I'm just grateful to be losing anything at all.
Currently I'm in size 20W pants. Down from a tight 28W last year. Size 20W has always been my "lowest" size as an adult. I think I was a size 18W in Jr. High school. As an adult, whenever I would lose weight I usually made it down to a 20W and then the weight would slowly creep up and so would the pants size.
Size 20W is my comfort zone. I love me at this size. I feel great at this size. I love the way I look at this size. I get compliments at this size. Men notice me (and smile at me) when I'm this size. Feeling so good about being this size is probably why I would start slacking off on my diet or stop exercising in the past which would cause me to start gaining again. I have no intention of slacking off on my diet this time around. But I don't know what the future holds for me once I get to size 18W. It's going to be a whole new world for me.
I'm feeling pretty blessed overall. I was reading some posts/blogs and watching some WLS youtube people and see a lot of post-op folks struggling. I'm grateful I have not had any further complications since recovering from the surgery. I have not had any more problems with constipation. I am not having any problems eating anything (except lactose). I don't have nausea problems or vomiting (unless I get too much lactose). My biggest hurdle is still not eating often enough because I never feel hungry. And my second hurdle would be not eating enough when I am eating. I get disappointed with eating. I don't get much joy out of it before. It's a job now. Even if I'm eating something really tasty, I can only eat 1/2 cup. I miss the days when I could pig out and lick the plate clean. That's not my life anymore. I get sad about it sometimes. But I've also been really happy trying new foods and finding protein products that are tasty. It's a fine-line balance of happy/sad when it comes to food. I'm sure we're all going through that rollercoaster.
Other than all that, life is good. I took a brief vacation to Las Vegas. Had the joy of not needing a seat belt extender and could even cross my legs AND use the tray table. Ate some nice meals at fancy places - cheaply! - during happy hour. Perfect for appetizer portions and inexpensive. I did try some wine. Wine is delicious. I can sip a glass of wine for an hour, enjoy being social. I never once felt sick, or overly intoxicated, and I can go to bed sober and wake up feeling good. Wine could be slippery slope for me because I love it so much so I will have to make this a "special occasion" treat and not a frequent thing. Empty calories and potential for abuse if I indulge too much.
So that's the update. I have my 6-month checkup in January. I will be doing my blood/lab work for the first time to make sure my vitamins and all that stuff is correct. Then I won't see the docs again until my 1 year appointment in July.
Ta ta for now!
I know I have been a little MIA lately - life has been very busy between family and work. I am now eight months out and down almost 70 pounds. I am So, So happy and I have no regrets whatsoever. I am still dealing with the side effect of thinning hair but I have realized that if I really focus on getting my protein in and supplementing with Biotin that it does help. I found the best way to get protein in is to use a Yetti cup with the iso-pure Alpine punch. It is 40 g of protein per bottle and when it is super cold, you do not get any aftertaste whatsoever. I have also recently started taking 10,000 MCG's of biotin to help with the hair loss. I sprinkle in a little bit of the X fusion hair fibers so you really cannot tell about the thinning hair. I think it is more noticeable to me than it is to anyone else. I used to get handfuls of hair falling out, now it is just five strands. I think I am finally passed that part of the journey thank goodness . Another side effect of the sleeve is that I do have a much sensitive stomach or I should say noisy stomach. Within 10 minutes of eating, my stomach starts gurgling away - too bad I don't have a mute button for that! With having this extra weight off, it does make it so much easier to be more active. I am trying to incorporate in more walking into my daily routine. One of the things that I have started doing is at work I avoid elevators in the parking garage. I will park at the top level and walk up-and-down twice every day. I also try to sneak away in the mornings to go do a quick mile on the treadmill at work. I try to time it during my favorite show, The Price is Right so that I can get my fix of Drew Carey for the day. I know it is not running marathons but I figure every little bit helps. I actually caught myself wanting to run on the treadmill which just a year ago I never would've even considered doing that. I have been traveling a lot for work these last three months which used to be so hard on me but now is not an issue at all. Rushing through airports with heavy bags doesn't even phase me now where as before I would be huffing and puffing just to go a short distance. Again I have no regrets. I know I still have a ways to go but for the first time in a long time I have hope and believe that I can get to where I want to be!
My vomiting hasn't ceased, both effortless/involuntary rumination and episodes so violent I nearly pass out. Eating is a painful chore. I've been taken back to a liquid diet and am scheduled for an EGD on Monday. I'm no longer afraid of tube feeding. At this point I may welcome it. Just holding out hope for things to get easier. After years of complications, I'm a little disappointed this surgery hasn't alleviated my symptoms. At least I've lost 25 pounds since. That's something to hold on to.
I am a slow loser....
At first it depressed me, it aggravated me, and had me wanting to give up. Its my way, its the way Ive done this journey for the past 3 decades. I am good at losing weight, but when it stops I give up.
Now here I am, I haven't lost any weight since June. I only lost 50 pounds since surgery......it pisses me off.
Now I can say, I have not been perfect, but I can count the number of times I have eaten off plan on one hand, I can remember each time in the past year vividly because the pain it has caused.
I do not eat bread, pasta, starches and very limited sugar. By that I mean I will have a life saver now and again and my vitamins do have sugar in them.
I go to the gym three times a week and do the machines, I can see the results, especially in my shoulders and arms. This last summer I wore tank tops for the first time in a couple decades.
I have this love hate relationship with this forum. I love reading about people who have lost weight, but it really makes me angry as well. People who have started at a higher weight than I did and have twice as much in half the time. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! but yeah them!
But here I am, a little over a year since surgery and I am stuck at 160 pounds, on my 5'2 frame. My goal was 130, but I am stuck at 160. STUCK!
I've tried everything, I've upped my calories, I've lowered my calories, I've upped my carbs and lowered my carbs. I even tried going into ketosis by stop taking my vitamins.
I am averaging about 1200 calories a day....which leads me to my other thing.
For about a month now, I have been constantly hungry....yeah I know, the end of the year honeymoon period thing. But OMG, the constant hunger. I know its not a vitamin deficiency(which was my first thought) because I had my blood panel and I am in the standard range for everything except b-12 which I was WAY high on because I was taking too high a dose.
So I graze, mostly at night. So to compensate I eat smaller meals, really just a few ounces of protein, thats what I eat, in one form or another, protein. Veggies are like a luxury to me because in order to get my 80+ grams of protein in I stick to protein snacks, lefts overs, eggs, cheese and nuts.
But yeah, I'm stuck...160.....but ya know what....I dont care! I look at before and after pics of myself and I am proud, and for the first time since 1985 I can look at pictures of myself and not cringe. I went from 3x to L-XL. I can wear cute clothes, I can wear a PDF when I kayak.
I am not giving up.........Yes its been a LONG stall, but I am not giving up. Just 30 pounds to go.....I will get there. It might take me another whole year, but I WILL GET THERE. Because regaining the weight I have lost in not an option. Its just not!
All I have to do is look at my before pictures to know, regaining is not an option.
Here I am rambling....but this forum is my ONLY support. No one knows about my surgery....maybe that's why my slow weight loss is a good thing. If I did lose 100 pounds in 6 months it would be obvious, but since I am struggling and losing slowly, I am just like everyone else on a diet.
Crazy ramble is over......
23 weeks and it feels a lot longer than that. Sometimes I can hardly remember my life before I did this wonderful and amazing thing for myself. I've found myself saying to a number of people that besides marrying my husband having weight loss surgery has been the best thing I have ever done.
I must admit I have been incredibly lucky. After my surgery I had very little pain and no complications. They gave me a huge box of medication to take for pain and I only dipped into them about twice. There's only been two times where I have suffered from dumping syndrome. Once was when I had some coco powder in my normal morning protein shake which I was able to walk off fairly quickly. The second was an apple and blueberry instant porridge. Felt like a weird thing to dump from and it was pretty horrible. I got sent home from work for that one. But luckily neither of them made me vomit. Fortunately – or maybe unfortunately – I can eat pretty much anything. A real wakeup call about how I am still the one who controls what goes in my mouth.
Sadly I am one of those people that feel hungry. But seriously after the pre-op liver shrinking diet I can handle hunger. Most of the time if I get that feeling I do eat something but something small like a little bit of chase. I had a strange phenomenon the past few weeks. Whilst eating I was getting a kind of burning feeling in my throat which I was thinking was hunger so I would eat more. That didn’t help. Sometimes it made it worse. My go to for any bad feeling stomach wise has always been to eat something. But then on Monday morning it struck me that maybe that feeling was fullness! So I really started to pay attention to it. As soon as it started coming on I instantly stopped eating and it was gone. So yup, that’s what it is. Looking back I feel stupid for not realising it earlier but I’m still learning about this new tummy of mine. It’s also brought me back to chewing the heck out of food and putting my cutlery down between bites. Oh how easy it is to forget these simple lessons.
Getting through a whole cup of coffee before it goes cold can still be a struggle. But that’s a small thing in the overall picture. I’ve been getting my water in and all my protein with no problems. My program really discourages you from continuing to weigh and measure everything you eat after a certain point. So I have backed off from that but I still check all the labels and keep a running rough estimate of my protein for the day in my head.
I only weigh once a month so I am unaware of any real stalls. Some months are slower than others but that’s to be expected. I'm due to weigh again on the first but so far I have lost 73.5 pounds and 29 inches on various parts of my body.
Pretty much all the clothing I own is too big for me. I've tried not to spend money on clothes but I was forced to buy some new trousers and bras a few weeks ago. Some of my older clothes from the last time I lost weight (before it went back on) and a lot of those were even too big for me.
I’m getting loads of compliments. I try to take these quite humbly.
I’m still very worried about weight going back on.
A lady at work told me I was like a totally different person. That it was obvious how miserable I was before. I could only agree because she was right. I was a miserable person before I decided to have weight loss surgery. I never really realised how unhappy and sometimes mean I was.
I smile more, I laugh more, and I live more.
Someone asked me about weight loss surgery the other day. I told her to give it some very careful thought because no two experiences are the same. But that mine has been absolutely great and I love myself for it.
<3 Much love to all the people on this forum. I don't post much but I do lurk and read and take your advice. We've got some amazing people and support on this board.
A fair bit of time has passed since my last post so I figure it is time for another one. Especially considering I actually have a day off where I do not have to run a round like a mad man. As mentioned in my previous post my work life kind of exploded. I have been averaging 14-16 hour days with little sleep, but I have most of the people trained to the point that they can kind of function without someone there standing over them and as a result my hours are starting to get back to normal. Then again my normal is 12 hour shifts, so… really not that much different, just not as many days in a row.
Another plus on the work front is my wife finally finished the coloring book she has been working on and it is now published and available on Amazon! This has been a long project and has finally been completed. Just in case you are interested it checking it out here is a link:
Now for the WLS information:
I am now 86 days post-surgery and things are still going well. I have lost 85.1 lbs. since the surgery for a total of 101.8 since I began this process. I guess a pound a day is pretty good. I hope it keeps up because I still have a long way to go! I am still only getting in about 800 calories a day, less than what my doctor would like to see, but that is all I can really get in without feeling ill. I thought as time progressed I would be better at handling a little more volume of food in my pouch but that does not seem to be the case… I still only hold about 2 oz. before I get the uncomfortable full feeling.
Some of the side effects have been getting more… well… interesting. Being of Norse descent I have always had a natural immunity to the cold. As a matter of fact I have never had an issue of my hands or feet getting cold, even in extreme cold. My wife has always enjoyed this phenomenon because she has typically run colder and can always count on my ability to warm her up instantly in the winter. Well… that does not seem to be the case anymore. I think that Mr. Snow Miser has moved in and is messing with me. I am finding that my hands, feet and of all things my nose, have been getting cold… Very cold… especially my nose… What the heck is with that? The rest of me will be nice and warm and my nose is like someone attached an ice cube to it. I'm not sure what to do about the nose issue. When it is your hands you put on gloves... When it is your feet you put on warmer socks… but how do you keep your nose warm? Wear earmuffs front to back instead of ear to ear?
Start Weight: 465 lbs.
Surgery Weight: 448.3 lbs. (16.7 lbs. lost prior to surgery)
Current Weight: 363.2 lbs. (85.1 lbs. lost since surgery)
Total Lost: 101.8 lbs.
Starting BMI: 63.1
Current BMI: 49.3
Thankfully with my work schedule I have not had an issue of keeping my energy level up. Then again I'm not sure that I would know considering that I am constantly burned out! My hours are slowly reducing so hopefully I will have more opportunity to post and comment in the forum. Just keep in mind, I am still lurking on the forum and am keeping up with reading posts as I can.
Until next time… the saga continues….
I didn't lose weight in August.
I did a lot of other things, some of them productive and some of them pleasurable—and the month was a bit of a whirlwind—and I didn't lose weight. Right now, I'm sitting pretty much the exact amount of water I'm carrying because I'm carbed up (i.e. I've been eating enough carbs to keep my glycogen stores filled & thus retaining enough water to keep that glycogen soluble, which for me is about 5-6 pounds and a look of puffiness—higher scale weight, but stable mass) above where I was at the beginning of the month.
Now, I don't necessarily want to freak out about that. I feel pretty good about my body at this size, and the stuff that bugs me is post-weight-loss stuff, mostly—the skin stuff has gotten pretty real for me. My arms, my thighs, my stomach, my breasts—that's the stuff I struggle with.
I think physically I might be a little smaller than I was, but nothing major. The XLs I bought from the Gap were too big and the larges are right on point; I tried on clothes at J Crew and the 14s were roomy. I bought a one-size skirt from a boutique on West Broadway yesterday, the kind of store that doesn't even make an XL, and their stretchier larges fit just fine. I thought about a drapey blazer, but it just didn't feel like me—it's an adjustment, not just buying the thing that fits.
Anyway, it's time to decide what my approach is going to be for the rest of the year. My major priorities are twofold, and the first one is significantly more important than the second one:
1) I don't want to be a lifelong dieter—that was the whole point of surgery. I chose the VSG because it's the surgical option that's most like punching the reset button on your metabolism. Ghrelin production is a major part of the regulation of appetite, and removing the fundus of the stomach, where ghrelin is produced (and which is metabolically and endocrinologically central in other ways as well), suspends the metabolic freakout and defense reactions that would normally attend extremely low calorie intakes like those that happen after surgery. As metabolic function restabilizes, the body has the chance to reset a stable setpoint, is the hope. I want a stable setpoint. I want a weight that works for me that my body will defend as metabolic regulation reestablishes itself. I also want that weight to be sustainable for me without extraordinary measures. I do not want to be one of those people who's counting every calorie and striving for extremely low caloric intake ten years after surgery. I want to be able to settle into routines that maintain a stable weight without monitoring, or counting, or the more punitive kinds of self-denial. I want my eating life to be flexible, and pleasurable, and also sustainable and healthy. I do not want to be on a diet for the rest of my life. That does NOT mean that I won't need to keep an eye on things and check in, and keep best practices in mind. I committed to doing that when I signed on for surgery. But it DOES mean that if I can be 180 pounds and eat in a way that doesn't stress me out or 150 pounds only if I eat in a way that does, and sustain that way forever, I will choose the higher weight. Stability and sanity are, in combination, priority 1 for me.
2) That said, I have some vanity and lifestyle preferences. I would like to always be able to find my size in a straight-size store. I would like a little room for bounceback, should any occur. I don't have it right now. I'd like to have a low enough body fat percentage that plastics, if and when I go for them, can do as much for me as possible. I'd also like my cheeks to be a little less puffy, my cheekbones and jaw a little more defined. I've also thought about my powerlifting future. To be competitive, one wants to be at the top of a capped weight class, and that means either staying right where I am, or losing some more weight. The next class down caps at 158.5, so a walking-around weight of 155-160 would be a good place to land for that.
If the "window of opportunity" for weight loss after surgery—which is to say, the amount of time it takes your metabolic function to reestablish itself and a new defensible baseline of energy balance—is about 12-18 months, I've got about five months left. Putting in some effort in those five months to see if I can maximize the benefits of surgery would save me effort down the line, which is also a way I made the decision to have surgery. I decided that I was willing to devote some seriously intensive effort so as to reduce long-term effort. We're now in a place of slightly diminishing returns—that is, the difference between weighing 160 and 180 is a lot less significant than the difference between weighing 332 and 180, or even 200 and 180, frankly. So it's harder to get the energy up every day, especially when my life has changed and is changing in all these ways that make me want to run around and be a normal person and drink drinks and do whatever.
That said, the window is closing. And right now I'm feeling like it's worth a try to maximize that window. There are also other good circumstances for another push: the summer is ending, which means less orgiastic socializing, and the semester is starting, which means more routine. Plus, with the presence of a new person in my life, I foresee the necessity of fewer first-date drinks in my life! Not none, by the way—it's not exclusive, and it's also got some geographic distance—but definitely fewer. I'm looking forward to settling into something more routine for a few months. And so putting in some effort to see if I could lose another 20-25 pounds before the end of the calendar year seems worth it.
I'm going to try not to belabor myself with this. I'm going to remember priority 1. But I'm also okay with making some changes that would make the best use of my tools right now—cutting out Diet Coke again and making sure I'm pushing water, reintroducing protein shakes, skipping alcohol, and tightening up the ship a bit on food choices, especially carbs, all seem like sane principles for the next four months. Getting back on the scale daily seems to be working for me. I may go back to tracking in MFP.
I think there's some emotional ambivalence about being smaller than I am now, too, and that seems like an important thing to do some thinking around, but I can do that thinking while also putting in the pragmatic work. And the window is closing, so if I wait to decide, it may be too late to get the greatest possible benefit. So September-December are going to be a time of buckling back down after a loose, louche summer—not straightjacketing myself, just seeing what some reasonable effort can produce.
So I think that's the plan.
Hi everyone. Wow it's been a wild month, and I've kind of lost track of time and coming on here. So, a quick update on me, (Hopefully it's quick, we'll see!)
Two months ago, the house that I rented was sold. My old landlord told me two days after he sold it "So, I sold the place, take care!". We had lived there for almost 10 years. 10 years of life happened at that house. My son went from Kindergarten to 8th grade in that house, my youngest came home from the hospital to that house. Lots of memories. Well, the new landlord came by and served me with a new lease, and a "You have 60 days to get out" notice.
It is hard to find a place to live, especially when you have a zoo of pets and kids. It's hard to find a place you can afford. In fact, the stress of that was crazy. First, we tried to buy a house, and I paid off our credit cards in an attempt to boost our credit score. It worked, but not fast enough. It took almost a month of my 60 days for the credit to update and 30 days is not enough time to find a house that fits our needs, and close on it. I called the new landlord and begged him to stay, I even offered double our rent, and he was "Well, you are not the quality type of people I want living here, and I doubt you'd pass our application process". Wow. Just wow. Really, not the quality of people, I pay rent in advance, we don't party, we don't do drugs, not the type of people.
In a dark hour, I found myself at the local food bank, scouring through rentals, trying to find anything, anyone, anywhere we could go that would not put my kids out. I came across a newspaper (Yes they still exist), with a number on it, for a 3 bedroom house, with lots of storage and an option to rent to own. So, I called and left a message. About 30 minutes later I was called back, and a week later I signed a year lease for the new place, and with a bonus, we could keep all of our animals.
So, the past month has been moving houses, which is hard to do, and moving my mother in law in with us. As she was also evicted. It's been a heck of a process, that I find myself with little time to do anything else. I've had to change addresses for three kids in three different schools, in order to get my middle child on board with it, we had to do an inter-district transfer for her to remain at her current school. We now are paying for water, and sewer, and garbage. But I am not complaining, it's a house, it's a house that will feel like a home, and the location is great, I have no neighbors I have to worry about, literally, I am tucked away from a main road, with easy access but unless you were looking for my place you couldn't find it. I am thrilled.
But, that's not quite all that has been going on. First the negative. My sister in law, Michelle, passed away, two weeks ago, stage 4 breast cancer. She was my husbands favorite sister, and of course my mother in law is grieving from losing her daughter. It's hard to squabble about the petty things when something else happens that is devastating. The positive is that we were able to bring home another pet that was promised to my children if we ever had to move. His name is Marley, named after Michelle's favorite dog.
But again life is full of checks and balances. Outside of my personal life, my work life is happening. My manager had retired, which left an opening for his position. Out of three people, I was given it, however, yesterday news came down that his father passed away, which was his reason for retiring, so yay I was granted the position, but yay the position may not be available. Will have to wait and see which puts me in flux. It's difficult to be in flux, I am someone who likes to know what is going on. But, to balance that out, August 1st was a year from when I had my surgery done. This past year has been amazing, the ups and the downs. I am thankful for it all. For the negatives for showing me what I can get through and do, and the positives showing me what the rewards can be.
A year and a month ago, I was obese, depressed, frustrated. I had no sex drive, no drive really to do anything. I was tricking myself into thinking I was happy when I was not, and I made a change for the better. I took a plunge and I am so glad that I did. At my highest I was a little over 290lbs, As of this morning, I weigh 154lbs. I fit into size 8 in pants, and small in shirts.
My Progression :
Day before surgery -
Two months after surgery -
Four months after surgery -
6 months -
Seven months -
Nine months -
I am thrilled with how I look. I am so glad that I had my surgery done. I have excitement for a future in which I didn't even know could exist a few years ago. I am excited and happy for whatever lies my way. (Thanks for reading :D)
I finished my 6 months supervised diet, as required by my insurance company, on the 25th of July, when I had my 6th telephone appointment with my surgeon, who is in CA. I was hoping to be whisked right into a surgery date, but it was not to be. I still did not have a clearance letter from my PCP, which was the last insurance requirement that I had yet to meet. As well, my surgeon still was not happy with the size of my liver, and wanted me to work on shrinking it some more, so she put me on liquids only at that point. 3 protein shakes a day.
In complete honesty, it did take me several days to get to being fully compliant on the liquids-only part.
Well, today was my appointment with the PCP. He did a pre-op examination and sent me home with the clearance document. I've just now scanned it in and emailed it to my insurance coordinator! Yay!
I have another appointment with the surgeon on the 16th, with a liver ultrasound a few days before. Hopefully my liver will be at an acceptable size and I can get this show moving along. The insurance coordinator already told me that Blue Cross is pretty quick about returning the approvals, so I'm hoping it will be done by the 16th. We shall see :-)