Hard to believe it's been such a long time since I last updated! I never meant to let a month go by without posting here. WLS was such a huge point of change and disruption in my life (in the best possible way) that I didn't think there would ever come a time that I didn't need to talk about it endlessly. But truth - after a while, the machinery of normal life grinds on, and other priorities begin to reassert themselves.
At 19 months out, I feel pretty evenly-keeled about my surgery and post-surgical experience. I have a lot fewer questions these days. I have a pretty firm grasp of how my new digestive system works, and how to manage its little quirks. I do still need this place - it's a touchstone for me, a reminder to keep doing what I'm supposed to do, a reminder that I didn't set out on this path alone and don't have to travel it alone. I think I'll kind of always need it. But I don't check in multiple times a day anymore - or even every single day. I think that's a good thing, because some of those check-ins were out of fear. Now, I mostly check in because I miss you guys, and because I want to help answer questions for n00bs, and because I want to know how everybody is doing.
I can still say this, though - even though I'm not here every day, my WLS is still almost always at the forefront of my mind. I'm thinking about it when I get out of bed (easily) in the morning, when I go to sleep (without my CPAP machine) at night, when I put on my medium-sized clothes for the day, when I look at my new thin body in the mirror, when I'm on minute 20 of a long hot shower because it doesn't hurt me anymore to stand up that long, when I park at the back of a parking lot or walk into a mall for a few hours of shopping, when I'm first out in the morning to grab the snowblower and spend a few hours cleaning off the driveway, when I'm walking up and down the stairs without holding on, when I jog from one room to another for no reason... there's literally no part of my life now that doesn't remind me that I am a new, happier, healthier, stronger person. Maybe that will fade someday, but at 19 months out... it's still front and center, all the time.
With regards to weight loss, things are still going well for me. I see you guys who had surgery around the same time I did sneaking off into the Maintenance Cafe, and I'm jealous! But I'm not quite there yet, myself. I toy with the idea sometimes - I'm at a weight that I could be happy maintaining long-term - but I'm just not quite ready to call it yet. I'd really like to make it to the goal in my sidebar (140# - normal BMI for me) -- which is arbitrary, super ambitious, and probably not a great weight for me to maintain long term... but which I'd like to see at least once before I say I'm done.
Getting into the numbers: In September 2018, at my last update, I was 173#. My weight loss has been slowing down as I go, and at that time, I was fairly sure I wasn't actually going to lose much more. But today I weigh in at 158#, so as slow as the going feels lately, it's still actually going. From my highest recorded weight, around April/May 2017, I'm down 197# total. I can't believe I'm within 3# of losing 200 total -- that number just feels insane! And I'm down 15# since my last "official" weigh in, which at this point was about 7 months ago. (I no longer compare my weight to my sister's, because I'm now 12# less than the last weight of hers that I knew for sure. I feel like I officially live in crazy-world - I'm the smallest/lightest person in my household, and the new designated "person who does all the hard stuff" like climbing, lifting, mowing, snowblowing, etc.)
In terms of how it works... after the first couple of crazy loss months after surgery, I used to have a "loss week" each month. I'd maintain within a pound either way of a number for three weeks, and then in the 4th week I'd drop everything I was going to drop for that month. I don't really know when loss is going to happen now. It doesn't seem to happen on a schedule. It's more like... I hit 169, and was pretty happy. Then a while later I realized I'd hit 166, and that was nice, and then I went back up to 168. Then a while later, surprise, 165. It's just sort of a two steps down, one step up kind of thing - but the trend is still generally down. (Honestly - I suspect I may STILL have one loss week a month- but the losses are so small, maybe just a pound or two, that they can easily be masked by how much water and salt I consume on any given day. It doesn't mean it's not happening, just that it's harder to see exactly when.)
As for what I'm doing... I still weigh myself basically every day, and I still record new "low" weights here for my signature and my profile/sidebar. The only time I'll skip a day is if I know I won't see a loss - generally if I've had any kind of a "splurge" the day before, like on a holiday or something. I find the scale keeps me honest, and helps me decide how strict I'm going to be with carbs on any given day.
I still eat mostly on program, but I do have periods of a day to a couple of days where I'll vary the percentage of nutrients in favor of carbs. It's not exactly optimal, but my keto days far outweigh my non-keto days, and I feel like I'm still on track. I've eaten some stuff I shouldn't have, but I'm proud to say that none of those things are Doritos or Mike & Ike's . And I still can't eat very MUCH, which is a blessing. So when I do go a little overboard, it's kind of like... falling out of the boat into shallow end of the kiddie pool, instead of into the ocean. Yesterday, for instance - as a treat, we went out for lunch, and I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and a bag of chips. Then I cut the crust off the sandwich so it was actually a pretty tiny sandwich, and maybe ate 3 or 4 chips, and felt totally satisfied and full. It's not something I would do as anything other than a rare treat, but it didn't trigger cravings or set me off on a crazy carb spiral, so I'm not too worried about it. Most days are still the usual - coffee with Fairlife, protein bar or shake, yogurt and/or cottage cheese for the daytime... and then something mostly protein for dinner. I find that having a "usual" makes the usual that much easier to get back to. (My nutritionist is fine with all this, but would like me to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my meals. I haven't quite managed to do that yet. Maybe it'll be easier now with summer coming - that is prime fruit and veggie time! )
For most of the winter, I honestly didn't get a lot of exercise in. I stopped going to the gym or using the treadmill, and only did outside walks on really nice days - which are few and far between in Massachusetts winters. But I've been doing more lately - mostly on the treadmill. For the past couple of weeks, I've been doing long and slow walks while I either work, or watch stuff on TV, or read. By "long" I mean I spend 1-2 hours on the treadmill (usually divided into 2 sessions if I do 2 hours), and anywhere from 1.7-2.5 mph depending on how hard I'm working. I like it - it keeps me off my butt. As I've said here many times, the one failure of my WLS is that it did not make me magically less lazy! My commitment to exercise is still half-hearted at best.
Other good stuff, though: I had gall bladder surgery recently, which relieved a lot of sort of ongoing stomach pain. I had my WLS surgeon do it, and in my pre-op appointment I was stunned when he pointed out to his little student doctor person that it would be far easier to do this surgery on me now, because I'm now normal-sized (NORMAL SIZED?! YES. THAT IS WHAT HE SAID!!!) I can walk as long as I want and as far as I want now, without pain (except a touch of foot arthritis, which is a lot more manageable than it used to be). And it it occurred to me just the other morning that I was just BOUNCING out of bed in the mornings - literally bouncing off the edge and onto my feet! This compared to the many, many overweight years where I would swing my legs carefully to the side and sort of slide to my feet, testing all the way for pain and balance.
For any of you out there still in your decision-making phase, I can truthfully say that my life is unimaginably better now than it was before surgery. You know that saying - that money can't buy happiness, but it makes misery a lot easier to bear? I feel that way about my WLS. Being smaller hasn't magically solved all my life's problems - but it does make ALL of my life problems a hell of a lot easier to face!!!
And now finally, because it's been so long... here's proof-of-life, from about a week ago.