Yes, I have neglected to write anything here for a long time! This isn’t because I’ve lost interest in TTF (I read it daily and comment fairly frequently). It’s just because things have gotten pretty routine for me, so I feel less of a need to do the soul searching I have spent so much time doing here in the past. I’m not taking anything for granted (working hard on that!!!) and I definitely haven’t gone back to my old ways, so I think things are OK.
As a catch-up since last summer (what?? that’s a long time!), my trip home was good. There were some stares and a lot of comments from people who hadn’t seen me in a while, but most people were fairly polite about it. I told a couple of relatives about the surgery. They seemed OK with it. I had a face to face in person talk with my mom’s friend who has also had surgery - that was really nice! I haven’t spoken in person to any other WLS post-ops ever. Well, at least not knowingly. I have a co-worker that I suspect. But an in-person discussion was good.
No one here in my current location knows about my surgery still. Some of them remember that I've lost some weight since I was hired (yeah, just a tiny bit, like 50 pounds!) but they don't seem to remember that it was very drastic, so no one has asked. I'm just that thin person who eats really weirdly. Famous for the eating weirdly.
So, on to the more recent months. I’ve been just incredibly active this year. This has been a great change for me: who knew I wasn’t a lazy person, deep down inside? I go to the gym a few times a week, I hike once or twice a week, usually, and most astonishingly, I have started running, really actually running, not slowly jogging while cursing in my head about how miserable I am. I run 3 or 4 times a week now, and have worked my way up to about 40km (25 or so miles) per week. I am not fast, but I’m pretty average for women who are runners. I have run a half marathon distance four times - that’s 22.1km (13.1 miles). I am shocked. I usually do a long run each week (16km/10 miles or longer) and I’m not even sore the next day. I have started to look quite a bit leaner, as you’d suppose. I can also do pushups now - a huge victory I’ve been working on for months. I can do 10 proper push-ups, not knee push-ups, and can do 5 sets of them. This makes me feel like a superhero. I had a big treat-yourself day at the mall a couple of weeks ago and splurged on expensive running shoes. Honestly, is there a better way to treat myself than fancy running shoes? I love them and they make me feel fast.
All this activity means that I’m not limiting my caloric intake much. I kind of eat as much as I can, and usually end up at around 2000 calories per day. I try to eat more on long run days. I am still being very careful about the quantity and type of carbs I’m consuming. No bread/pasta/rice/potatoes/chips/junk/etc. I eat a few whole wheat crackers just about every day, but that and dairy and fruit are the vast majority of my carbs. I “treat myself” with a little bit of junk now and again, but I am happy to find how self-limiting that is at this point in my life. Sweet stuff makes me sick so I don’t eat it, and crunchy snacks fill me up pretty quickly. If I eat too much junk for a couple of days in a row, I start to crave it and have to cut back, which I do. Generally, I avoid junk, though. I’d rather eat Greek yogurt with berries. So as to shatter any illusions that I am perfectly navigating this whole maintenance thing, yesterday I had some chicken on a salad for lunch at the mall. I am a vegetarian mostly still (I eat fish sometimes now) but I was starving and had just gotten done running 13 miles and really really wanted some substantial protein. White meat chicken, done in shwarma style = dry. It "didn't sit well with me," as someone with a better filter than me might say. A quick trip to the mall restroom and felt better. Puking at the mall - not my favorite.
During December/January (the dreaded holiday season) I had visitors and was also recovering from a hip overuse injury (running related: why simply DO something when you can OVERDO it? That’s my motto…), so lots of junk plus very limited activity meant that I gained a few pounds. I got back at it when the guests left (and my hip got better), and got the numbers back within the range I like, although at the higher end of the 5 pound range. I started to worry about this, then noticed that my clothes were looser and I looked leaner. I have now started to not worry about the numbers. I’m OK with being at the top end of my “comfort window.” I’m pretty strong and fit.
Some NSVs for the year, besides the running, gym going, and push-ups, include: loving my new sense of fashion, enjoying shopping, feeling OK (not great but OK) about being in my bathing suit in public (it’s the loose skin that makes me fret), being able to hike up big mountains with a heavy pack, meeting new people and having them tell me I look like a very fit person (several new employees this year have sought me out to ask about which gym to join! hilarious), feeling comfortable leading workshops in front of groups, flying comfortably (well, as comfortably as one can in cattle-class), not having my feet hurt even when I’m wearing heels, feeling comfortable in sporting goods stores, shopping for active person items, feeling at home at the gym, not being embarrassed to tell someone I run or how far/fast I run, not being afraid to go to the doctor to get weighed and measured, etc., feeling in control of my food intake and also not afraid to eat at restaurants (I was awfully nervous about this during my year of great losses), being happy to get my picture taken, and not having to wear shape-wear to keep my thighs from rubbing together during hot weather (it’s that time of the year again here on the Arabian Peninsula).
I still have some crazy bouts with my head. I’ve worked very hard to keep running and working out in the “because I like it” and “entertainment” categories instead of using them as punishment for myself or a way to “earn” food. My balance with exercise has honestly gotten a little tricky just with me wanting to do more. And more. And more. I mean, I really do like it, but old me would have used it as a punishment/reward system. I have to be careful because of my hip (the overuse injury), which is probably for the best. It keeps me from running too much. However, I do have some days where I still just think I look or feel fat. I had that yesterday after running a half marathon distance. I mean, what?? I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I looked fat in my jeans all afternoon. This is a pair of jeans I bought because they look good on me. They’re a size 2. I know I’m not fat. I just felt like it. Brains are weird. Mine is crazy sometimes.
Occasionally I get down on myself for eating too many treats. I eat a piece or two of 85% dark chocolate just about every night, and sometimes I want to not eat it just because I feel like I don’t deserve it, or like it’s too much junk, or I don’t need it (of course I don’t need it). It’s just that habitual feeling of needing to “cleanse” my diet occasionally. However, I’m not really doing anything wrong with my diet right now. I eat pretty well: lots of protein, some fruit and veg, very little garbage. No need to cleanse the diet. That’s just a habit. I do occasionally need to force myself to eat more calories, particularly on long run days. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that more is sometimes better, as far as calories go. Some days I just feel like eating easy stuff, like yogurt and bars. I try not to do that.
Overall, in general, I think I’m doing really well. I need to schedule my doctor’s visit to do blood tests and such in the next month or so - I’m just dreading the bureaucracy of it, rather than the actual conversation with the doctor. That’s a novel feeling. I take my vitamins really really regularly, so it should go OK, I hope.
One whole year (plus two months) of maintenance! I’m so happy I did this for myself, and so grateful for all the support I’ve gotten here on TTF. You guys are great and help keep my mind in the game. Thank you for everything.
I’ll post an update photo soon. Due to my schedule, I’m rarely home during the afternoon daylight hours I need to get a good comparison photo. I’m not hiding anything - I’m just being lazy.
In the meantime, here's a picture of my new shoes and my legs and a street cat from the gas station (petrol station) down the street. I was stopping for water and she was soooooo friendly.
OK, as promised, here's a photo of me. I'm hiking in a wadi (dry river canyon?) in Oman, just downstream from a hot spring, hence the crazy color of the water. My arms are looking pretty ripped in this photo - not sure if they look that way all the time??? Maybe they do. They've been getting pretty muscly lately. I still need to do a real photo with the same background and outfit and stuff for tracking purposes, but I still haven't done it. Life has been busy. In a good way, mostly!