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I almost titled this blog entry "Too skinny"? I am NOT complaining, but this month has been a bit of a trip into the Weight Twilight Zone. I hoped to get down in the bottom of my weight range before Christmas so I could enjoy holiday treats without fear. Also, we're going with 5 families for a week to a ranch in Arizona starting tomorrow so the eating/drinking will be tempting there too. Sooooo, I wanted to be at "fighting weight" when all that started. All good. I did that.
But then a weird thing happened. My husband said that I didn't need to lose anymore weight. My 25-year-old son home for the holidays said I was too thin and needed to eat more. He tried to pump me with fatty foods, carbs, and candy in an attempt to get high calories in with low volume. And I have to admit, when I look in the mirror, my extra skin looks worse, and I can see my ribs on the front of my chest. I feel like I am in an alternate universe! This can't be me! Even though I look a little gaunt undressed, for the first time probably ever, I think I look really nice in clothes. I'll never be tall and thin, but I'm short and thin-ish in clothes! Yay! So, I'm a little unsure of where exactly I want to end up. Still trying to figure that one out.
I have to say that stopping losing weight FEELS REALLY WEIRD. I've been losing for an entire year. Accepting smalls gains and losses is a mind trip. I still feel like I'm trying to balance on a tight wire.
Exercise-wise I'm toying with running. I've been walking 4-6 miles per day 5 days a week, and this month I've run three miles a few times. It feels so good! But I'm trying to be careful so I don't injure myself. I've only let myself run 2 days a week, and take a rest day after.
My "gifty" for staying in my weight range this month was a new pair of walk/running shoes. I've had the old ones for 5 years so I was REALLY overdue! The real treat was going to a running store, getting fit into the best shoes for my body, feet, and exercise regime. Running is a cheap sport, and I figure shoes is the only real piece of equip't I need.
As a final note I'd like to say that I am SO grateful for 2018! This year has been a transition year to the rest of my life with a healthy future looking very real. Successful VSG surgery and 115 pounds lost. What a gift this year has been! I will always remember 2018 as being the year I was physically re-born and given a second chance at a happy life! And thank you, my TT heroes for holding my trembling hand along this journey!
Maintenance Diary -
1st month - Range 135.4 - 140 pounds
2nd month - Range 133.0 - 135.4 pounds
3rd month - Starts today!
One year. I can't believe it's been a whole year - its funny, how it both seems twice as long, and also like it can't possibly have been a year already.In the year (and couple weeks) since surgery, I have lost over 100 pounds. I can power up stairs without losing my breath, do longer hikes, and I have a wholly different relationship with food. I'm very mindful of my tool; especially now that I really and truly feel hunger again. It would not be difficult to eat past the warning signs of fullness, but when those warning signs begin, I promptly set my utensils down. I don't even bring a drink to the table any more; it is too tempting to "wet my whistle" and find several gulps gone and then suddenly realize I have room for more food.I started in a size 22/3x. I now wear a 12/14 and a L/XL. I wore a 42H bra; I now wear a 36G. While my shoe size hasn't changed, and I was never someone who carried weight in her feet, my shoes do feel a bit looser now and I believe I'll likely be able to wear a non-wide width shoe when I purchase again. I'm thrilled compression socks fit me now without leaving a giant indentation in my calf muscle; I actually have problems with some of them falling down now!My stomach is still flabby (and I dont have a very cute (naked) pregnancy belly at all!), and the fat on my legs hangs depending on if my legs are up or down. My bat wings could cover a childs face. These things bothered me a lot more a few months ago; lately, they arent even on my radar. That may change after arrival of the kiddo, but for now I know my body is gonna change drastically over the next few months, and then drastically again over the months after that, so I may as well settle in for the ride. I'm not opposed to plastics, but my weight never stabilized before I got pregnant, so I have a long way to go after pregnancy still, and then some time to maintain weight before I can think about plastics.I'm now 21 weeks along in this little surprise pregnancy, and the second trimester has been pretty enjoyable. My energy is mostly back, the cravings are diminished, and I'm not yet so big that moving around on my own is difficult. I have about 8 weeks or so remaining until my doctor will force me into light duty, and in the meantime I keep up pretty well at work, despite how physically demanding it is. My focus gets to be on providing healthy foods, but also making sure I'm eating enough - which is actually pretty great for a WLS patient - I have double the reason to stick to my nutrition and calorie goals at the moment!Oh, and we found out last week we are expecting a little girlI haven't done any proper "after" pictures since becoming pregnant, so here's my most recent before and after, followed by a few bump pics The first is 17 weeks, the next is last week.Don't mind my hair in that second one, it was a rough day at workWe are having to go for extra ultrasounds just out of an abundance of caution for making sure WLS isn't affecting the baby's growth. So far she's in the 58th percentile and doing excellent!It's been bizarre to think of how quickly things changed just from WLS, and now how quickly things have changed again. I worry I'll have trouble switching gears again once I've had the baby, but I'm excited for an active lifestyle and to introduce a tyke to that - we're already looking at hiking packs that include seats for kids and hoping to plan a couple short travel trips next year to acclimate to traveling with a little one.I'll keep trying to remember to check in often - it seems I always think of TTF during the day at work, remind myself to log on, and then by the time I get home and cook and get ready for the next day, I don't remember a thing!
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A year ago today, I was headed into the hospital all nervous that I had made a wacky decision that I might regret. My sister had just died, so I was grieving and looking at going through this process without her - which was not part of my plan. She was my support system. My family needed me, but I told them I needed to go ahead and do this for myself and that everything could wait until I was healed from surgery. I almost backed out. Some of my friends and family thought I should have at the time. But I didn't. I felt like Brittney would not have wanted me to back out. She would have called me "chickensh*t" and told me to get my a$$ in that hospital. (We are very southern and these are terms of endearment. Haha!)
I had my one year post-op appointment this morning. A year later, my medical record reflects a 134 lb weight loss (my home scale indicates a 138 lb weight loss as of this morning). My blood pressure is perfect. I'll hear back about labs, but I'm not anticipating any issues. The dietician told me to work in MORE carbs (complex ones) and continue doing what I'm doing. He did not recognize me when I walked in! I'm going to the gym 4 days a week and doing circuit training and also riding my bike as much as I can, so I definitely need to get those carbs. Haha! It's really nice to be told to eat MORE food.
I still struggle to see what others see. I mean, my clothes are a size medium almost across the board now and I'm objectively slim, but I look down at my body and sometimes see the big me. The twice this size me. I can recalibrate and recognize it's not the truth, but my automatic thinking is that I'm fat. I still ask for tables instead of booths. I still worry about sitting in folding chairs. It is bizarre because none of this has been an issue for months. But the head stuff is a lot harder to remedy than the physical stuff. I knew that going in. It's just going to take a little more work to get straight there.
Here are my before/afters. I've posted them other places before, but wanted to add them here. The after pic was taken 2 weeks ago, but there's only about a 2 lb difference, so I think it's fine. Ha!
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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!
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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!
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!)
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.
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:
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….
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)