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Six Month Surgiversary



Six months! I can't believe it. It's both flown by and dragged by, depending on my mood at the moment. Me six months ago seems like me in another life.

I have lost 99.2 pounds since my pre-op diet started, one month before surgery. I have lost 80 pounds since surgery (come on, scale, can't you give me one more little pound so I can have a round number?). In the back of my head, I had a fantasy that I dared not speak of... to lose 100 pounds by my six month mark. Looks like I failed. (JUST KIDDING, I PROMISE!) I am pretty much pinching myself every day now, and not just to check on my loose skin. I'm still about 40 pounds from my stated goal weight, which I reserve the right to alter as I approach it, but that seems like a totally doable thing. I just need to keep doing what I'm doing.

My size has decreased pretty dramatically - I am getting used to looking in the mirror and being OK with what I look like for the first time in a long time. I have a bunch of new clothes that actually fit me and aren't baggy to hide my silhouette, and they look pretty good! I'm shopping in the straight size stores with no problems at all, including some medium tops and large bottoms, with 14 mostly working. As a pear shaped person, that's to be expected. My boobs have decreased to a more reasonable size that doesn't much interfere with clothing purchases or vigorous exercise, so that's good. I'm starting to see a bit of loose skin, with flappy arms and jiggly thighs, but I would trade 10x worse loose skin for the weight loss I've had so far. I can always wear compression-y things. Depending on how things go, I could see some plastics at some point in the future, but I'm not really thinking about that yet.

I can move better and more easily. Walking fast up hills or stairs is no problem. Getting up from the floor is easy. Getting in and out of small places is a breeze. Crossing my legs is comfortable. Heck, just standing and sitting are more comfortable. Everything just seems a little easier and more comfortable. *yay*

I'm averaging about 700 calories a day right now, and I hit my protein goal of 65g per day about 95% of the time. Vitamins every day (I forget now and then but not often). Water is no problem for me, so I drink about 12 glasses a day or more. I've tried a few brands of protein shakes, and Syntrax Nectar (the first one I tried) is the one that tastes the best to me (best is relative here, though - sicky sweet protein drinks are not my fav). I eat a boatload of Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, plus veggie fake meats and some fish and quite a bit of shrimp. I'm coming around to eggs (not their taste -yuk!) and can eat about 1 1/2 if I really try. I haven't really eaten anything I shouldn't yet - I mean, I've had like three french fries, five tortilla chips, and one tiny handful of popcorn over the last six months, really just to taste it. I haven't had any sweets or real junk food. I haven't had any real dumping episodes, but several fish-related very uncomfortable periods followed by losing the fish, which hasn't really been that terrible, just painful beforehand. Vomiting post-op is really more like when babies spit up milk - quick and not too gross, without the acid and nastiness.

My exercise has primarily been walking. I'm getting an average of 10,000 steps a day right now, including days when I'm in the car all day or whatever. I do some squats and modified push-ups and other stuff around the house. I'm waiting until after I move to join a gym - that'll be in less than 10 days (!!!). Due to weather constraints on the Arabian Peninsula (it's hotter than a [fill in your region's idiom of choice] until October/November), my outdoor walking will probably not continue.

My whole decision to move back to the other side of the world is really its own NSV. My husband and I have had rather bad luck in finding jobs we like here in the good ol' US of A, and we actually really enjoyed living in Dubai while we were there. However, at a higher weight, and hey, if we're being honest with each other, in the last few years there when the scale numbers were drifting ever higher, just the idea of having to sit on a plane for almost 20 hours was enough to kill my desire to go back to the Middle East. In fact, being so much heavier, I was really mentally suffering with the idea of looking for jobs at all - my self-esteem was low and getting lower. The svelter me is actually excited to start a new job and is not really worried about sitting on a plane. I mean, it'll be awful, but not like "I'd rather jump out the window than sit here for another 15 hours" awful.

So, my six monthaversary weekend: I drove to visit old friends in Seattle. We had a great weekend, catching up and chatting. I did not tell them about WLS. They are nice and would undoubtedly have been supportive, but they are thin, from families of thin people, and would not have understood. So I was just "doing low-carb" and "not very hungry." They've seen me lose and gain before, so they politely didn't even say anything beyond, "You look good." I wore great clothes, I walked around in a skirt without shorts things on underneath to prevent chafing (thigh gap is not a realistic goal for me, I think, but less thigh chafing? definitely), I felt confident seeing old friends, I was happy to meet new people, I had an evening out with a large group with no alcohol but a nice cheese plate, I walked and walked and walked and didn't get tired or out of breath, and I came prepared with all my gear to make sure I got my protein in (shakes and bars and string cheese and almonds). I am handling it

The one bad moment was a pretty bad one, though. My friend, bless her soul, has never been on a diet in her life, and has only a very general idea of what low-carb might mean. I offered to take them out to dinner (where I could order something appropriate), but she insisted on cooking. Too late I discovered that most of the dinner would be pretty carby, and served over white rice (?!). "Well," I thought, "I'll just dish up the other stuff and not take any rice and mutter something about carbs." Nope, I got to the table and discovered the dinner already there, plated nicely. Huge pile of white rice with carby stuff on top. "Wow," she said, "I think I dished up too much stuff! Those plates are really full!" "Yes they are," I replied out loud while shrieking silently in my head. It was enough for me for like three days. And that would be if it was low carb stuff. White rice? That might ball up in my stomach and get stuck for a month.

I smiled and sat down. My husband was making concerned eyebrows at me. I just gave it my all. I didn't try any of the rice, but I ate as much of the stuff off the top as I could. I ate until I couldn't, in a way that I never do now. It was really pitiful how small a dent it put in my plate of food. My friend was worried that I didn't like it, of course, which is basically how I played it off (well, politely saying that it was really good but still not eating much comes off that way pretty naturally, I guess). It was horrifying. I was really embarrassed. She was really embarrassed. The only good thing I can take away from this is: next time she'll let me take her out. It was a bad end to a good weekend, and it got me thinking about what to do in the future if this happens. I'm a bit at a loss. Any helpful tips, people who've been there?

I did run across this the other day, for situations where you get called out about weight loss if you're not open about it. It's pretty funny, if you haven't seen Clusie L's stuff before.


There's also this one, S#!T people say to bariatric patients. If you're ever feeling that those around you are not sensitive to your situation, this may be for you: 


I'll leave it right there, since Clusie L is just a whole lot funnier than I am.

Please be kind with the photos - I am so freaking nervous to post these here.




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Oh. My. Stars! 99.2 pounds!!! Say what?! Incredible! You have done such a good job! Your pictures look amazing. Your butt in the latest one. So cute & lifted (TMI?). I'm thrilled for you! Well done! Good luck with the move & new job!

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6 minutes ago, Gretta said:

Oh. My. Stars! 99.2 pounds!!! Say what?! Incredible! You have done such a good job! Your pictures look amazing. Your butt in the latest one. So cute & lifted (TMI?). I'm thrilled for you! Well done! Good luck with the move & new job!

Totally not TMI. Butt is totally improved. 

Going down a size in t-shirt and leggings helps a bit visually, too, I think. 

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Jen, as usual an awesome post. I can totally relate to the dinner with friends thing, it is one thing I am dreading. My extended family might as well be Italian the way they treat food! I am going to have to come up with some good dodges :)

By the way, the pics are awesome! You look fabulous ;)


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It's amazing to me that you have lost 100 lbs (I'm calling it!) since your surgery. Your resolve to continue to eat healthily and care for yourself is inspiring. I hope you know that you are a role model!

I'm sorry to hear about the awkwardness with your friends. I have no advice to offer. This weekend, I went to a restaurant with my family and I couldn't eat anything on the menu. My BIL and SIL were mortified and it became a bit of an embarrassing situation. They know about the surgery, so I didn't have it as tough as you did. Next time, dinner is on you! :)

Thanks for introducing us to Clusie L. She is hilarious!

Edited by NerdyLady

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Jen - I cannot tell you how much I benefit from your beautifully written posts.  They are descriptive, informative and inspirational.  Congratulations on the amazing progress that you captured in your photos.  You look absolutely fantastic, but know that your pretty smile and eyes are the same from day 1.

I don't have any advice yet for the dinner scenario you described.  We went to dinner the other night with friends who knew I'd had surgery recently.  She kindly made grilled chicken and some vegetables.  I took about 2 oz of chicken, a tablespoon of sweet potato, and one round slice of zuch and yellow squash and a half a mushroom.  I cut everything up and started eating and visiting.  After a few minutes I looked up to see that all three were done and just looking at me, with the majority of my food left still on the plate.  I said, "um, sorry...but I think this is how it goes now."  They were very kind to say take your time and that they ate too fast, but it made me think about when I'm in the same scenario with people I've chosen not to share with.  

Thanks again and good luck with your upcoming move!

Edited by kayak19

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Jen!!! You look incredible! And I agree with Cinwa, those are the best before & afters I've ever seen. Your attention to detail shows in the pics, but more than that, jeez what a transformation! What a difference six months makes. Congrats on your amazing progress!

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Just echoing others on your prose and pictures - really nice and the photo series is great. If I was you, I wouldn't be nervous about the photos, I'd be so PROUD and  empowered by your OBVIOUS success. Way - to - go. Perseverance and level headedness. 

Can you keep those shots up from abroad? Obviously the background will change but your contours are what count. Perhaps it was just your fashion choice but the black lower and solid colors upper make it easy to see you shrinking away. 


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Awwwwwwww, everyone is so niiiiiiiiiiiiiice! Thank you :) 

It's pretty hard to look at the first couple of photos - no wonder I wasn't happy - but the progress is amazing, and I'm really pleased with how things have gone. 

@Havamal Let me know if you think of something. I am just stumped. I'm going to be walking into a brand new social scene next week, and it is going to be hard. 

@NerdyLady I'm not tiny by any means, but thank you :wub: Yes, I have a butt, and would gladly share with you if I could. 

@kayak19 Thanks! I'm glad you find them helpful. I was so inspired by other people's blogs - it kind of seems like my duty to pay it forward. I get it about the long slow dinners. I think I am just going to be one of those people now: a slow eater who doesn't eat much. Now THAT'S a new identity!

@valslosinit Thank you :) 

@Raddy Thanks for your support, Raddy. We all need a little motivation now and then - I'll be yours if you'll be mine. 

@cinwa I will go ahead and take that compliment. Thanks! I've spent a bit of time fiddling around with dimensions in pixels, etc, in order to make them as close to just right as possible, allowing for the variability of the photographer (my patient husband). 

@athenarose Thank you! I am so pleased, and I'm not even done yet! I keep looking back at your before and afters for inspiration. 

@BurgundyBoy Thanks - I'm trying hard to engage emotionally with the process and distance myself from the negative thoughts about the whole beginning phase. It's hard after years of negative inner voice. Just keep trying, just keep trying. 

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Woo!!!! I'm late to this post, but I'm so so so excited for you, @Jen581791!!!! You are kicking butt, taking names, and legit changing your life. Yay for Dubai! To be honest, I've occasionally looked at travel nursing gigs in the area, but I'm a long way from convincing my DH. I want lots of pictures when you go :D

Crazy sorry about what happened with your friend. Unsure if maybe a quick polite email would help? With some of my friends, that sort of "Hey, it's just been on my mind and I want to make sure you know THIS is what was happening, it's not that your food sucked" - would totally help. Annnnd with some it would make it worse. As for avoiding it in the future....I'd say ask to plate your own food, but man it doesn't help when the hostess beats you to it!

Your photos are amazing. You look confident and happy! :wub:

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Wow. Just wow!!! What a wonderful transformation!! 

I agree with  Raddy. You have a genuine kindness that shows on your face.

And your results are soooo inspiring. Congratulations on a great achievement!!

I salute your success.

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@delilas Thanks so much! I'm feeling really good about things. I'm actually off to Oman, but used to live in Dubai - Dubai has some great gigs for nurses, I think. It's definitely a big change, though! I'll be sure to post pix.

I may just let it slide with my friend - she's not a serious food person, so it's likely not of lasting importance to her... I hope.

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Thank you Jen for the compliment. Truth is my country has huge potential and I love it dearly. But years of wars, civil wars and social unrest have placed us on the third world countries list. It's a shame really. But life here has a zest, a je ne sais quoi that makes it unique. I hope your visit was to a more  civilized part of the country as there are a lot of differences.

Have a nice trip to Oman. I have traveled throughout the middle east but not to Oman. Let us know  when you're settled in :)


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