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Two years and two months post-op

Jen581791

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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.

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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!

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Written beautifully. I can relate to every instance besides running the half marathon. I did run my first 5 k last October. End of April I am trying a 10 k. I only jog so reading that you really run is very inspirational to me. I feel lost now that I have stopped losing but reading your experience gives me a new outlook on my year two, I'll keep training to build strength. I remember reading about your walking vacation and often hope I can do that sometime. I have enjoyed following you because you are a year ahead of me and I can see what path you have had and I want to follow. Good luck on your year three progress. 

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Thank you so much for sharing your update.

You are reaching the point in time after reaching goal weight where I began to feel that being in maintenance mode felt totally normal and comfortable, and you seem to be feeling the same way. 

Have you been able to explore all around Oman?  From what I can find on the internet, it looks like a very beautiful place to explore. 

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Thanks, @tracyringo, @Anita62, and @Res Ipsa :) 

Anita, the running was almost accidental - I started just jogging a bit, but spend a fair bit of time with someone who runs pretty seriously. My 5k efforts started to seem really short, so I bumped them up, then a bit more, then a bit more, and pretty soon 22k started sounding reasonable :lol: I actually ran almost 60k this past week! But just because I like it and it's fun for me. 

Res, I've been exploring around Oman quite a lot, fortunately. There's so much good hiking and off-road driving and swimming and snorkeling and and and... We go somewhere new almost every weekend, which is great! We had a four day weekend last weekend and ended up hiking 3 out of the 4 days :D The hot season is here now, so it's time to head for the mountains where it's cooler. At least we have that option.

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Hey, @Jen581791, great update!  You too are an active skinny-mini (I was just reading @Cardamom77‘s entry).  You girls amaze me (and put me to shame!) I was at the gym today counting the moments til i could leave....although my program did call for 6 reps of this or 8 reps of that , and I upped them to 10 or 12 because I could handle it so I wasn’t all THAT bad! ;)  I have stopped losing long ago but I am still afraid to admit I am in maintenance (so I have a crazy brain too!)...go figure!

i think it is awesome that you’re so active.  I tried running before and I sometimes enjoyed it (I would walk, then jog, then run and back to jog as I went down the street w/ mini-goals like “I will run until the next stop sign” etc).  Problem is my knee joints started to hurt.  Then again that was when I was in the upper 100s or lower 200s so it might not hurt my knees now I don’t know.  I can run on the treadmill but not 100%, I can do up to 2 mins at a time then pull back to 3mphs to catch my breath.   You know one thing i noticed in your post is that you are in the hot season now...the PERFECT excuse for the BIG Jen to stay inside in the air conditioning to avoid excessive sweating and chaffing and yeast build up in the sweat between rolls (we all know what those things all mean, sadly enough) but nope, you are up and out and active in the warmth! I find myself doing the same thing.  The excuses have all faded. I walk 1.5 miles every day at my 30 min lunch break.  If it is hot or cold.  I bundled in layers and scarves and gloves etc all winter (only my eyes shown as I walked outside) and in the summer I even went when i had a dress and no stockings on (I can finally avoid the chub rub at this point!). Don’t you LOVE how the surgery changes so many other decisions you make and habits you had?  Although I am disappointed w/ myself I am still pleased as punch that I had the surgery and would do it in a heartbeat if I had to do it again (only I’d do it 15 yrs sooner, right after I had my last baby!)

btw, I am so impressed w/ your rewards system too....instead of the old food rewards, you got yourself cool new running shoes, THAT is a huge difference from what you would have done at your former weight! Kudos to you!

Congrats on your continued success and being an inspiration to us all.  Keep up the good work, girl friend!!!  You are awesome!  (And I know you’re not lazy bc you run and hike so much, so do get a picture done soon! :) You’ll be glad you did!)

Edited by CheeringCJ

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WOW! Great post! Thanks so much for all the good news. 

I'm glad you got to talk face to face with a post-surgery friend. I have one friend that had the surgery before me, and I see her a couple times a year. It always feels so great to celebrate with someone in person and to actually talk freely about it. 

And I'm so impressed about the running! Last time I remember you had to stop running because of your hip. I'm very interested to know how you were able to add miles and keep the hip happy. I have had overuse injuries on my foot in the past, so I decided to keep my running to only 4 miles, 2 times a week. But maybe I could add more? They worst thing would be to get injured again, but your story gives me some hope. Can I add more and how slowly did you add? 

And you are doing really well. With all the exercise, I think the chocolate or whatever is probably good for you. You probably need the calories and added variety any way you can get it. I have a frozen yogurt popsicle every night and don't feel bad about it at all. It keeps me a little saner knowing that I can maintain my weight without being super, duper strict for the rest of my life. They are only 100 calories and actually have some good protein, but the principle of knowing I eat these for pleasure helps my head know that this new healthy lifestyle is doable forever. 

Size 2 jeans!!!!! wooooooo!!!! Fantastic! Atta Girl!!!! Pics please!! :) 

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On 4/16/2019 at 3:20 AM, CheeringCJ said:

You know one thing i noticed in your post is that you are in the hot season

Ugh, yes, it's getting hot. Overnight lows of 75-80 mean it's not even cool when I get up to run at 5:30am :( But I'm surviving so far. It's going to be treadmill running season soon, so I'm trying to run outside as much as possible for the moment!

Yes, no excuses anymore. It helps a lot that I feel way better all the time now - it makes it easier to go to the gym or go for a run or hike when it doesn't hurt or feel uncomfortable and (weirdly important) I don't feel self-conscious. I feel like I look like a badass when I run - for the first time in my life! I never worry that I'm being stared at. 

It sounds like you're doing what you can, exercise-wise, which is great. I would bet that your knees would be a lot happier with impact exercise now at a much lower weight, but careful if you test that theory out. I've had bad knees since I was in my teens and wrecked them doing sports, but at this weight, I hardly notice. My joints are thanking me!

No more chub rub. It's heavenly. 

 

10 hours ago, Cindy Lou Who said:

Last time I remember you had to stop running because of your hip.

Yes, I have had a couple of "breaks" with running since last summer, when I've had to take it easy for a couple of weeks because of my hip. I'm doing a few things to help it out: stretching a lot afterwards (I've found special hip stretches that are better than what I've tried in the past), spacing out my running days with rest days by not running more than 3 times per week for a few months, building up my hip muscles with exercises focusing on the areas that give me problems, and also adding miles pretty slowly. I was adding 10% per week for a few weeks, then staying even for a week or two, then adding 10% for a few weeks again. All dependent on not having pain. That combo seems to have worked out pretty well. I logged about 40 miles last week (WHAT. THE. HECK.) and am on track for 30-35 this week, all without pain. 

Good luck with the running - even a couple times per week is such great activity for your heart and cardiovascular system, and it doesn't hurt for burning calories, either! :D 

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On 4/16/2019 at 10:32 PM, Jen581791 said:

I logged about 40 miles last week (WHAT. THE. HECK.) and am on track for 30-35 this week, all without pain. 

Good luck with the running - even a couple times per week is such great activity for your heart and cardiovascular system, and it doesn't hurt for burning calories, either! :D 

Wow, wow, wow on the miles without pain! That is SO inspiring! I do aerobic exercise 5-6 days a week, and I definitely think it helps my heart health,  spends nice calories, and helps with stress so I don't stress eat! :lol:

Right now I'm running twice per week and the other days I do fast walking, elliptical machine, or rowing machine. My thinking was that I'd do some other aerobic stuff so I wouldn't get injured. But I'd like to run more (it's the quickest workout), so maybe I'll try adding one more day per week or adding miles slowly. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Jen! Jen! JEEENNNN! I’m incredibly happy to read your story and all of your successes. You are a real inspiration to us all. You are a personal inspiration to get off my butt and move a little more. OK, a lot more. 

Big fat hugs. 

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11 hours ago, NerdyToothpick said:

Jen! Jen! JEEENNNN! I’m incredibly happy to read your story and all of your successes. You are a real inspiration to us all. You are a personal inspiration to get off my butt and move a little more. OK, a lot more. 

Big fat hugs. 

Hiiiiiiiiii! Thanks :wub: I'm just glad to see you back here. 

As for my personal level of movement, ugh, I'm super motivated right now, not sure why. It scares me a bit that I'll burn myself out, but I guess as long as my limbs are healthy, I'll keep it up while I have that mysterious oomph that gets me out the door. 

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2 hours ago, Jen581791 said:

Hiiiiiiiiii! Thanks :wub: I'm just glad to see you back here. 

As for my personal level of movement, ugh, I'm super motivated right now, not sure why. It scares me a bit that I'll burn myself out, but I guess as long as my limbs are healthy, I'll keep it up while I have that mysterious oomph that gets me out the door. 

I’m slowly catching up on things around here. I was thrilled to read your blog post. 

Your arms are giving me life!! 

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