Hello! I haven't written any updates about how I'm doing in a while, so I figured I'd make a blog post. I'm down 87 lbs total - 73 lbs since my surgery date. I've lost 65% of my excess weight as defined by my clinic. I have 42 lbs to go before I'm at my personal goal weight. That's pretty exciting! My weight loss has slowed somewhat, but that's to be expected. I tend to not lose anything for a week or two and then drop a few lbs in a matter of days.
Today I did a lot of yard work - a good 5 hours worth - and it was a completely different experience compared to last spring. I'm able to bend at the waist with no problems, my knees don't hurt, and I'm able to work longer and faster. It felt great to get so much work done and not be completely worn out. I mean, I'm pretty worn out - I'm a human, after all - but I'm not aching from head to toe. I feel like I can actually take care of the yard this season instead of letting it go because I don't have the energy. And I actually enjoyed the work!
I also noticed something really interesting yesterday. So before, when I was much bigger, when I would talk to someone, I would stand with my belly at a comfortable distance. I am still standing with the same distance between my belly and the person, but the issue is that I'm much smaller now, so it brings my face too close. I noticed yesterday when I was talking to someone that they were starting to slowly back away. I turned into a close-talker because I lost weight! Haha! It's such a weird thing that I never would have thought about. Now that I realize it, of course, I'll adjust my habits. But it's so interesting how there are these little things we don't even think about until they pop up.
Eating is going well. Carbs are kind of sneaking their way back in, so I'm having to be more vigilant with snacking and such. Today I indulged in some carbs (after I got my protein - don't worry!) due to the massive amount of calories I was burning. MyFitnessPal is concerned I'm not getting enough calories today and is saying I need another 900. Haha! It's amazing how prior to surgery, I would have scarfed down some ice cream as a "reward" for exercise. That's just not how I think anymore - not to mention the fact that it would be almost impossible to eat enough to get those calories in. Instead, I'm focusing on making sure I get all my fluids in and I ate a few crackers with cheese and some low-fat popcorn while I was on breaks from yard work today - as fuel.
In adjusting to my new body, I'm learning to appreciate what it can do. I've really struggled to find regular exercise that I can work into my day, but when I am able to do something very active, I feel fantastic! So I'm not giving up on working out a workout. I just haven't found my thing yet.
Picture time! This is an Eileen Fisher dress that I found at a thrift store right before my surgery for $5!!! I snagged it thinking if it didn't ever fit me, I could always sell it (the dang thing sold for $260 retail!). But it fits now. It's actually a little loose at an XL (about a size 16 in Eileen Fisher, which translates to about a 14 in Lane Bryant), but that's a good look for this dress. I love it!
So I had my 3 month follow-up appointment today and everything is pretty great! I'm down 63 lbs total by their scale, 52 lbs since surgery (66 total by mine, which is the one I go by since I weigh more often and have more reliable data here), which they consider to be about a month ahead of schedule. My blood pressure was 124/78, so they took "hypertension risk" off my chart since this is the second appointment where it's been in a good range. My heart rate was 62 bpm. I need to exercise more, but I already knew that and I'm working on it. My diet has been great, so there were no issues advancing to their stage 4 diet, where there aren't really any limitations other than stay relatively low-calorie, get my protein, avoid sugar, and keep the carbs down. Other than that, I'm free to eat what I can tolerate. I'm SO excited for salad!
I'm feeling good. My joint pain is almost nonexistent. I have a little bit of creakiness still in my knees, but it's not too bad and improving all the time. My clothes are either fitting better or falling off of me, depending on when I bought them. I can walk in heels again, though I'm still a little nervous about that so I'm not pushing it. I also need to get my rings resized! Though I may just set them aside and wait until I'm at goal weight before doing it so that I don't weaken the bands.
Speaking of goal weight, I've set a long term goal. It's 150 lbs. That's technically still overweight according to the BMI chart, but I figure I'll have some skin left over and I've always carried more weight than I look like I'm carrying, even when at an in-range weight, so I'm giving myself an extra 8-10 lbs to work with there. That means losing a total of 129 lbs. I'm already halfway there!
I realized today that I'm 10 weeks from my surgery date. I've lost 55 lbs total, 41 after surgery. That's an average of 4.1 lbs a week since surgery - consistently! I never could get results like that on my own. I'm thrilled with my progress!
I'm doing well with eating, but getting pretty bored. Luckily, I found out about this place that sells mainly paleo prepared meals. Most (but not all) paleo entrees they have fit within my eating plan. They charge about $10 per meal, but because I can only eat a little at a time, one meal is about four meals for me. I can bring them home and divide them up to put in the fridge or freezer for lunches. Tonight I had Italian sausage and spaghetti squash from there that was really good! I'm also trying to find some new recipes in some cookbooks that I hope will liven things up a bit. It's about three weeks before my diet will progress again, so I just need to make it a little longer before I can have a salad.
I'm struggling with hydration - still. I'm thinking about getting one of those blinking lights that reminds you to drink water. Or I may make a hydration calendar on my phone that will make my Fitbit vibrate. I haven't decided how I'm going to do it, but I really need to get it figured out. It's going to be a serious issue if I don't.
So here's a before photo (it's a work photo, professionally done) and an after (which is not so professional, as it was taken with my phone in a poorly lit room - ha!). I was lamenting yesterday to my husband about how I couldn't tell the difference. I can now that I've looked at this. Holy crap!
To celebrate my 50 lb loss (yes! 50 lbs! I did it!), I hit the clearance rack at Target. I came home with a sequined dress, a lacy goth-y dress, a lace skirt, and a glittery skirt. I did buy a sensible black sweater dress that I can wear to work, but other than that, it was all shiny glittery lacy stuff. I guess the inner fashionista has made her way out and she can't be trusted at Target.
But I have lost 50 lbs! I had started out with a goal weight of 185, but I shifted that to 179 - a 100 lb loss - so I'm halfway there. I'm down from a size 24 to a size 20. I'm guessing I have a couple of weeks before I can get into a size 18 - already!
I'm going to the gym regularly, but I'm still finding my rhythm. I did cardio today and plan to do upper body tomorrow. I'm taking it pretty easy and using this time to get into the habit and trying not to get caught up in worrying about how many calories I'm burning or how much muscle I'm building. I'm just getting into the swing of things and not pressuring myself. I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to be able to go and get everyone around in the morning, so that's been not the most fun. However, my husband started school this week - which includes a free gym membership - so he may start getting the kids up and letting me get to the gym a little later than that. I hope that works out. This 5:00 a.m. business is nonsense!
Happy New Year! I have been busy with the holidays and haven't been on here much. Sorry about that! I figured I'd update how things are going, though.
I've lost a total of 45 lbs since I walked into the surgery clinic August 30, and 31 of those pounds were since surgery 6 weeks ago. I'm not sure at what pace I'm supposed to be losing, but I'm losing steadily, so I'm not worried. The holidays have been very difficult, both in terms of eating and in terms of the emotional difficulty my family has experienced with the loss of my sister. But it has also been a time when I have been given immense support from my family for my weight loss efforts. My mother made a small Christmas lasagna just for me, with peeled zucchini in place of the noodles. It was delicious! She also served a turkey mainly because she knew I could eat it. My husband has taken care to adjust our Christmas and New Year meals so that I can have a portion of them easily. Tonight I'll have some smoked pork loin and collard greens with mushrooms - and one single black-eyed pea (I can't have beans yet).
I have found some foods that could prove "dangerous" for me if I'm not careful. I ate some parmesan crisps - which were a lot like crackers and SO GOOD, but they are too easy to eat too many of and they are just something I'm eating because I want crackers, so I'm probably going to set those aside for now. Cheese in general is something I find that I tolerate well, but will need to be careful with. It's higher in fat than other options, so I will sometimes eat cheese when I really could eat something higher in protein and lower in fat. I will not give up cheese (I LOVE IT SO!), but I'm trying to be careful about when I eat it and how much I eat it.
My set diet from my nutritionist/surgeon is VERY strict, but I have bent the rules a bit. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners in general. I can tolerate sugar-free popsicles because they're tart enough that the artificial taste is overpowered, but I HAAAAATE artificially sweetened yogurt. I found Siggi's yogurt at Whole Foods, which is very lightly sweetened with agave nectar and sugar and has a little bit of fruit in it (which I'm technically not allowed yet). BUT a 5 oz container has 11 grams of sugar, about the same amount as 8 oz of milk, and 15 grams of protein - with no weird artificial sweetener aftertaste. So I'm eating it, dammit. Haha! I haven't had any issues with it and it's practically the only carbs I get in a day, so I feel pretty ok about it. The black cherry is my favorite.
If The Curry Incident of '17 (which I blogged about) was dumping, then that's the only dumping episode I've had. I have not vomited. There have been a few things that didn't settle well and gave me a little digestive turmoil (just gurgling and slight pain), but nothing serious. I haven't started exercising yet because I'm still struggling to get all my fluids and protein in (the thought of a shake makes me gag a little - but I've been putting unflavored protein in Fairlife milk and that's pretty ok). BUT I got all my protein in yesterday and I'm on track to get both my protein and fluids in today, so tomorrow is when I start my workouts! SOOOOOO typical to start a workout plan on January 2. Haha!
I hope the new year is good to all of you. I'm hoping for a much better year than our last.
Well, today at lunch I was in a hurry and grabbed this tuna curry thing from the natural foods store. The ingredients seemed like they'd be ok, but there were a few I hadn't tried before. It did not go well. I have been hurting for 9 hours (though it's lessened quite a bit now). I'm guessing the coconut milk was the culprit. I won't do that again! I'm planning on sticking to the stuff I know for a little while. Oof!
Well, I've hovered at 247-249 for the last several days. I had decided to stop weighing daily, but did it anyway, and now I know why I should knock that off. I'm not worried. My average daily calories hover around 450-550, so I'm doing as I should. I'm betting it's because I've had trouble getting all my fluids in and I'm hanging onto water weight. I'm working on that, though and should get it sorted soon. I had plans to start my exercise program this week and decided I'd better postpone it until I could get all my fluids in. One should not do cardio when one's pee is *that* color.
So far I have eaten, successfully: eggs, chicken breast and chicken thigh, tuna, cottage cheese, ricotta bake, beef brisket, homemade chicken soup (which included a couple of carrot slices and a stray onion or two - yum!), yogurt and kefir, creamy tomato soup, and a tiny sandwich I made myself with cloud bread (bread-like stuff made out of eggs and cottage cheese) and smoked deli ham, with an incredibly thin layer of reduced fat garden vegetable schmear from Einstein's Bagels. So far, so good. Nothing has come back up and nothing has upset my stomach, though some things make it gurgle more (I'm looking at you, tomato soup).
I'm able to get more than an ounce in already - 1.5 or 2 oz of meat, I can easily get in 1/2 cup of yogurt or soup. My surgical clinic says we are absolutely not to eat more than 1/2 cup at this stage, though, and that if we can eat that much, it should be something pretty liquid-y. I haven't had any issues with getting too full or feeling sick, though, outside of the "Oh. No. Nope." feeling when I've taken the bite that fills me up. And I've had to train myself to leave the last few bites behind rather than trying to finish things. That's a habit that's difficult to break. But I'm getting the hang of it.
My appointment went great! I was down 18 lbs from my pre-op appointment. My incisions look good. I was cleared for all activity, as long as it's not in lakes, rivers, etc. (due to bacterial concerns until my incisions are 100% healed - there's still a little scabbiness). My diet was progressed and I had about a half a scrambled egg today. It was SO GOOD! I felt like I was eating eggs for the first time. The flavor was stronger (in a good way) and I felt completely satisfied after eating half of an egg. That was amazing to me!
I feel really good about this. So far, things are going incredibly well. I'm sure I'll have some minor screw ups from time to time, but I think I'm doing pretty well. I can't wait to try some more food, but I'm also really happy taking things slow. It makes the whole process more mindful, which is a definite positive.
..... I choked down another 4-in-1 shake, though I'd rather eat a mouse.
I hate these shakes now. HAAAAAAAAATE them. I'm glad they're temporary. After today, I won't have to drink these anymore. I can go back to putting raw natural protein powder in something I flavor myself and I can eat (soft) FOOD. I am so excited about being able to vary the flavors of things and to have more savory foods! I've always been a sweet tooth, but I would be totally ok with never having another sweet food in my life if I could just have a variety of savory foods. Right now all I can really have is broth. I like broth, and I've branched out on broth (currently enjoying a beef, turkey, bison, and lamb broth), but (wo)man cannot live on broth alone.
I have some farm fresh eggs from my mother's neighbor's farm and that's what I'm having tomorrow when I get home from the clinic. I've never been so excited about scrambled eggs in my life. I mean, I DREAMED about scrambled eggs last night. I'm not hungry and I don't even necessarily want to eat, but when I have to eat, I hate that it has to be these stupid shakes.
Grocery shopping over the holidays has been interesting. I'm starting to get a little sad about things I won't be able to eat. Pannetone (our homemade stuff, not that nonsense from the store), nuts, figs, all the rich, fatty foods that I like for holidays. But on the other hand, I won't feel like I have to roll out of bed and waddle around feeling stuffed and gross. AND I can focus on my family and friends instead of the food. I may bake, though. I really love to bake for others, so I might have to go ahead and do it. I'll see how I feel in a week or so.
And I REALLY REALLY miss my sister. Her birthday is the 11th. She would have been 38. :'(
So yesterday was fun! I went back to work and was doing ok, but my throat got all weird during a meeting. I went home early and was on the phone with my mother when I noticed my speech was a little weird and my lips felt odd. My mouth and eyes were swelling and itchy! I had some kind of allergic reaction or was breaking out in stress hives or something - eventually my arms and belly and thighs were covered, too. So I went to the doctor (just in case) and it's all still a mystery, but Zyrtec and Benadryl are ok for me to take, so I got a prescription for the Zyrtec and bought some generic Benadryl for night time.
Then I when I got home, I had an episode of feeling VERY woozy and dizzy, sweaty and weak. I made it to my bed and started feeling better after resting a bit, but I'm planning on calling the clinic today just to make sure it's not something to be concerned about. I'm also working from home today. Apparently I pushed it a little too much yesterday. :-(
Or maybe it's 5? At any rate, I'm doing very well still. I've lost 6 lbs since surgery, which makes 21 lbs since I walked into the clinic in August. Today I drove myself to my mother's to go through more of my sister's stuff. I overestimated my stamina, both physically and emotionally, but I excused myself before it got too bad. I also reminded myself that not everyone would be willing to go handle these things a few days after major surgery, so I went above the call of duty.
I am only taking pain meds to sleep at night and I have still had no nausea, even after I stopped taking the nausea meds. It's kind of freaking me out a little, actually. Like EVERYONE I know has had nausea after surgery. Maybe I'm just not prone to it? I found a really really really good expensive broth to sip. It costs $7 for 16 oz at Whole Foods, which is RIDICULOUS and not something I would usually buy myself, but since we're spending so little on food for me right now, I bought some. It's the Epic Artisanal Turkey Cranberry Sage broth. It has 9 grams of protein in a serving and it's my evening "dessert" after drinking sweet shakes all day. Ha! I also had my first cup of decaf coffee and it was AWESOME.
Oh, and, um, this is what I sing in my head in the bathroom now, dedicated to my newly rearranged intestines:
Well I feel great, actually! I'm in a little pain, but I'm already off my pain meds (might take one before bed, though, so I can sleep tonight). I don't know what sorcerer trained my surgeon, but I have had minimal pain and zero complications. I've also had zero nausea, which was a surprise. I'm getting my protein down (if I drink two shakes mixed with Fairlife 0, I only HAVE to drink 2!) and sipping water religiously. I have to pee constantly. Haha! Yesterday was probably the worst of it - I hurt a lot and was super grumpy when I got home. But today is a million times better.
So surgery went incredibly smoothly. I had a surprise hiatal hernia (*high five* @CJireh) but the surgeon said it took about 3 minutes for him to fix that up while he was in there, so no big deal. I was up and getting myself to the bathroom and walking the halls by myself the night of surgery. One nurse looked a little like my sister and came to check my vitals and woke me up, so I was elated for about 2 seconds and then started crying. She was really sweet about it when I had to explain what was up.
Today I got a shower, which was nice, and I'm watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV with the kids. I'm looking forward to my gravy-like substance for dinner (broth with raw protein powder - ha!).
Well, I've done just fine on clear liquids and magnesium citrate today, though the bathroom is sure seeing a lot of me. Ha!
I'm missing my sister a lot right now. I would be calling her up and joking around with her, asking her for advice. She was my dear friend. She would have come with me to the hospital. I have been talking to her anyway, even though she can't answer. I think she would be proud of me.
I'm nervous, but excited to start this journey. I'm thinking about joining the gym my husband goes to so we can go together. I haven't decided yet. I haven't been all that successful at trying to work out at home, though - and he goes pretty regularly - so I'm thinking it might be wise to go with him. We'll see. It will be a little while before I can go anyway.
My sister died last Tuesday night, at 11:10pm, driving down a country road. She missed a curve, hit a steep embankment, her car went over, and she hit a boulder. We don't know why. We don't know what happened. We never will. She was the only one in the car. She was 37. She was my best friend and a brilliant mother and aunt.
I have had to speak to lawyers, morticians, wrecker services, storage facility owners, organ donation services, school counselors, teachers, friends of hers, etc., etc., etc. It has been awful.
I'm still having surgery on the 21st. I didn't push it back. I think it's the right thing, but I won't know for sure until it's done. I'm on my pre-op diet and doing well. My surgeon knows what's going on with me and has been incredibly kind, even prescribing me a month of my antidepressants so that I have time to get in with a regular doctor. I feel well taken care of.
So. Things kind of suck. I'm not as excited, but I do think this is the right choice. And I'm going to go write that living will now......
So yesterday I started my pre-op diet. I got 113 grams of protein, so I feel pretty confident about my ability to pull this off. Ha! I know it won't be that easy after surgery, since I won't have the capacity to eat as much, but I think it's a good indication that I will be able to get the protein I need without a huge amount of effort. We'll see!
But I want to say how awesome my husband is. He got laid off recently, so he's taken on a lot of the household responsibilities (though he certainly did his share before, too). He does the meal planning and most of the cooking currently. He looked over my diet and made sure that each dinner he makes either fits my requirements or will fit them with slight alterations. For example, last night he did a baked tofu with a sauce, but left the sauce off of mine since it had a lot of sugar in it - the tofu was still delicious! I just really appreciate his dedication to helping me through this. He's had a hard time wrapping his head around it - mainly because he worries about my safety and surgery makes him nervous - but he's made it clear that he wants to do whatever he can to support me anyway.
He is, however, going to drop me off for surgery and then go find stuff to do for a couple of hours so he doesn't sit and freak out while I'm in the operating room. Haha!
So here we are. I'm starting my pre-op diet a week early. I have reasons for this. Most of my work time is spent in a court room where food and drink are not allowed, but I'm not in court at all this week. I need to get on a reliable hydrating/proteining/eating schedule, so I figured it would be smart to start the process during a week with some wiggle room rather than a week when I'm in court. It certainly won't hurt me to start early. The diet is basically having a protein shake for two meals and a low-fat protein and vegetable for dinner with a couple of high protein, low-fat snacks. I can do that for two weeks.
I'm having a little bit of emotional stuff going on right now about the surgery, but I'm still convinced it's the right thing for me. I have always been a body positive/fat accepting person and I do not regard BMI as a good indicator of health. Having this surgery could be perceived as something that goes against my values. I've often wondered if I'm not a hypocrite for doing it. I worry about the dynamic that I have with other body positive/fat accepting people and how that may be affected. I'm not famous and don't have the same issues, but I've looked up to Ashley Nell Tipton as someone who experienced difficulty after her decision to have a gastric bypass and has handled that tension really well. I hope that the respect and admiration I have always had for the fat community will remain apparent as I lose weight.
I also realize that there will very likely be a point where I can no longer use the word "fat" as a descriptor, which is strange for me. I have always identified with fatness. I feel as though the word has been reclaimed as a more neutral, or even positive, descriptor and it's a little sad for me to think of not being able to align myself with the fat community at some point. While I look forward to losing weight, I do find beauty in fatness and do not see thinness as more (or less) attractive. I just want to feel better and to be able to move around better.
So that's where my head is currently. It's a lot to take in! I know there is no such thing as being "done" with emotional work, but I do hope that I find a place to put some of these feelings within the next couple of weeks. I tend to be very aware of my mental health and my emotional state, so I will probably talk a lot about that process on this blog. I think it's a process that some people leave out of their story, so I want to include it in mine.