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197lbs and counting

It’s been a long month since I have last written but after my weigh in this morning I felt like I could share a few things and at least find a way to be positive in them. I got on the scale after not weighing myself in over a week and amazingly it read 197.0. I cannot remember the last time I weighed under 200lbs. I know that it was back in high school at some point. It made me smile and immediately tell my husband who beamed one of his 150 watt smiles at me and said, “good job!”. I feel like it is.

In the past two weeks I did no exercise which I realize isn’t a good thing. I was committed to going to the gym 5 days a week and then all of the sudden, it was just something I needed a break from. I am going to return to the gym tomorrow and do my best to get back into the 5 day a week routine. I know this is going to be difficult to do because I recently got a job that I will be starting on the 18th. It is part time but for the 3 month training program it is full time. So I will be working in an office environment for 8 hours a day for the first time since 2005. Since then I have been a retail store manager so returning to an office job is a big deal for me. It will definitely impact when I exercise and my sleeping patterns and all of that. I have high hopes that it will turn into a full time job in a year or less but that it is also something that I truly enjoy doing. I stopped enjoying working in retail years ago and I had been looking for a way into another industry but when your family is counting on you to make a certain amount of money sometimes you need to stick with what you know.

My poor husband is also going through some job flux now. As I wrote a while ago, he was put on a suspension with pay from work back in December. It was for a flim-flam situation then and the fact that it took his company seven weeks to decide if he was going to stay or if he was going to go was even more ridiculous. Well, after all of this time they finally got back to him this past Friday and released him from employ. It is difficult for both of us to deal with. For me it is because I know that he was paid pretty well, the benefits were good, and he carried the health insurance for the family and I happen to have a lower abdominal hernia that needs tending to. For him it is because his pride and integrity were thoroughly abused and insulted, he genuinely enjoyed his job, was a champion of the company, and he is feeling like he let me and our children down because we depend on him to be the bread winner and to provide us with things like health insurance.

It’s a scary situation. We have a little savings but, not much. I could get us insurance through my new position but since I am a part time worker the premiums are quite expensive and basically my entire month’s pay would go to paying for our health insurance. Hubby is diligently looking for new opportunities and has been the entire time he has been on suspension. He has an interview lined up for this week so I am hoping that it is not only something he really would enjoy doing but that it will pay the price point that we need and that they offer him insurance almost immediately. If he doesn’t get a job/insurance quickly I am not sure how that is going to affect my continued surgical aftercare and it will definitely put off getting my hernia repaired for an undetermined amount of time which is also quite frustrating.

Life. Life happens when you are busy making plans. Life happens when you least expect it and generally when you are the least prepared for something to “go wrong”. All I can do is continue to focus on my weight loss, whether I can have my doctor monitor it or not. All I can do is do the best job that I can do with my new position and shine and in every way possible so that they offer me a full time position sooner rather than later. All I can do is be a supportive wife and believe in my husband and in all of his talents that he brings to the table for a company and hope that there is one out there intelligent enough to see his resume and know that he is the guy that they need for their team. If all of these things can align, my family will be back on track to living okay. At the end of the day, that’s all anyone wants, right?


3 months post op

Tuesday was my 3 month post op checkup and since surgery I have lost 70lbs and am insulin free. I suppose that means I am a recovering diabetic. We talked about how much progress I have made and what it is that I ultimately want as a goal from this surgery. I explained to my doctor that I want to weigh 140lbs when it is all said and done which is an additional 65lbs from where I sit today. I expressed concern that I am not losing weight as rapidly anymore and that, in fact, I have been sitting at the same number on the scale for over a week now. She tells me that is to be expected and that even people who have undergone weight loss surgery will reach plateaus and they have to find a way to bust through them and get back on the path. My brain understands what she is saying to me but, my heart was crushed.

I think because things were working so well I just assumed that I would continue going down until I got to the last 25lbs or so that I want to lose and that those last few pounds would be a struggle. I didn’t realize that the second half of this entire journey was going to be a struggle. She reminded me to think of the things that I have already accomplished and that what I have done people rarely do in a lifetime let alone in a span of time that is truly so small. I understand what she is saying but, I just don’t feel any differently. Yes, I can feel some muscle tone and definition in my body. People who do not see me often tell me that I look great. Even my father comments on how small I am getting when he hugs me and tells me that he can wrap his arms around me and hold on to his own elbows now while he does it. All of those things are fantastic. My question is, how does one cope with not seeing the changes in yourself?

I have a job interview today and I am wearing a size 14/16 dress for it. I have not worn this size clothing since high school. That fact in itself is something that I should be celebrating, right? When I look in the mirror I wonder if others see a fat girl trying to squeeze into a dress. Even when consciously I know that the dress fits fine. It does not cling. It is not too tight or unseemly in areas. When am I going to be able to take off the fat girl goggles and see myself for what I am becoming and not who I used to be?

When you spend as long as I have being overweight, it truly is difficult to think about yourself differently. I cannot even imagine what size clothing I will wear when I finally hit my goal. I have been shopping at a plus size women’s clothing store since I was about 15. I am close to being able to shop wherever I want. When my process started, all I wanted was to no longer be an insulin dependent diabetic and to be able to shop wherever I wanted. The first thing has been accomplished. The second thing will be accomplished here in the next three months, I’m sure. So when will I feel like I am being successful at truly changing my life? When will I feel like I am slaying the fat monster and insuring that it will never come back into my life? I don’t know when exactly but, I am hoping that it’s soon.

Finally! A small achievement

About 5 days ago, I got down to 207lbs and I was so excited. I realized that I was a pound away from losing 60lbs since surgery and more importantly, that mark would represent losing 50% of the weight that I want to lose. I was pumped! The very next day I was up to 208lbs. I figured that maybe it was water retention or worse as I have been very constipated in the past few weeks. I was certain that in a day or so it would come off and I’d be back on track. Well, I sat at 208lbs for 3 days and then yesterday, I had the horror of realizing that the scale said 209lbs. I freaked out! This is not supposed to happen. I went through surgery and I am committed to making eating changes and exercising for the long haul. I DO NOT want to be on the weight loss rollercoaster. I only want to be on a downward trajectory. Finally, I decided that I needed some help with the constipation issue and decided to take one of the products that work overnight. They are not kidding! They definitely do work overnight. After being able to go this morning I decided to weigh myself: 206!!! If you listen closely, you can hear the trumpet sounds blaring now. This was my moderate goal of where I wanted to be in time for my check-up next week. Originally, the ultimate goal was to be under 200lbs by that appointment but with this stall I don’t think I can lose six more pounds in 7 days. Although, never say never. Perhaps the exercise gods will smile upon me.

Looking back at all of this, I know that stress didn’t help with the constipation situation. My family’s life has been on pause for 2 1/2 weeks since my husband was put on a paid suspension from work. The whole situation is completely ludicrous and he is not guilty of anything. However, he works in IT and everything has to be investigated and apparently, it will take as long as it takes. People clearly are not as worried about it as we are or the whole situation would have been resolved by now. We both pray daily that things will work out and that he will be able to keep his job thereby continuing to pay bills and be productive members of society AND be able to keep our health insurance that I so desperately need, not only for my weight loss care but for the fact that I have a very large lower abdominal hernia that needs to be remedied through surgery as soon as I can undergo anesthesia again.

I say all of this to illustrate the lesson I have learned. There are going to be setbacks. There are always going to be unforeseen circumstances that are going to be minor roadblocks. The mark of a true champion is how you push forward and persevere in times of adversity. Before, seeing 208 and 209 on a scale for a few days during a weight loss battle would have derailed me to the point of finding my face in the bottom of a Ben and Jerry’s container. Now, I was just annoyed. I know that I am committed to true lifelong change. I know that I will never again weigh 266lbs. I felt like the stall was an afront to all the hard work that I am putting into this. But, I pushed ahead and did my best not to think about it or about the black cloud that is looming over my family while we continue to wait for someone who doesn’t even know my husband to make a decision in regards to the fate of his career. You have to think positively and take solace in the little things and although this is a small achievement, it makes all the difference for me and reinforces the idea that I can do this. I will do this. Failure is not an option. I did not come this far to be stuck weighing 206lbs for the rest of forever and continuing to be a fat girl. There is nothing but sunshine and blue skies ahead for me. If I believe it, it will happen, right? 140lbs here I come!

Three Months and Counting

Today happens to be a milestone in my weight loss journey. Three months ago today, I had my gastric bypass surgery and received a truly new lease on life. The morning of my surgery I was weighed in at 266lbs. Today, I weigh 214lbs. That is a loss of 52lbs in three months. Not too shabby, right? I am working the procedure and using it as the tool it is meant to be. Bread, pasta, and potatoes are ultimately gone from my diet. I focus on lean proteins and vegetables. Sure, I miss pizza and coke zero. I see Pizza Hut commercials and find myself salivating. Then, I quietly remind myself that nothing tastes as good as thin is going to feel and I soldier on and do my best not to think about the things that I used to love to eat that I am now no longer having.

I have been doing some diligent exercise from about 6 weeks post surgery. I go to the gym six times a week for at least an hour a day. I use the elliptical machine, the treadmill, the recumbent bike, and the weight machines. Every other day I do an hour of fat burning cardio and every other day I do a half hour of cardio and 30-45 minutes of weight lifting. This is now my lifestyle. I am never going to be able to not exercise. Even if I do not want to go to the gym, I force myself. Case in point, it was snowing here yesterday afternoon and I made myself change into my gym clothes and walked down the hill to the gym I go to in my townhouse complex. I didn’t want to and it would have been much easier to just sit on the couch and continue to watch cartoons with my children. But, I stopped to think what kind of message that would be giving to them. I enjoy them seeing me head to the gym everyday. I like that they know that I am dedicated to my weight loss and even more than that, I am dedicated to being the healthiest mother that I can be, for them.

It is not easy for me. I have never liked to feel sweaty or to be smelly. I still don’t. But, I come home from the gym and head to the bathroom so I can immediately shower off the funk. I keep waiting for the time that exercise will start to be “fun”. I am not sure that is ever going to happen for me. I am starting to at least look forward to going to the gym because it feels like “me” time. I get the opportunity to not fill up sippy cups, to not help to blow noses, and to not be a meal-generating machine. I have the chance to turn on my Ipod and forget about the outside world for at least a little while. I don’t agree that it is a stress/anxiety buster but, perhaps that will come later for me. I am as stressed as I have ever been right now as my husband and I wait with bated breath for news that he will be able to keep his job and other news on whether or not I am going to be getting a job. Because of all of that stress, I am not sleeping well and have been a bit short on patience for people and for things. But again, I try to push all of that to the back of my mind and make sure that I am getting to the gym daily. I know that this procedure is only going to work as well as I am willing to work it. It is a tool. It is not a magical cure. If you go into the whole gastric bypass process thinking that it is a magic bullet where you are going to go to the hospital for a few days and come out a gorgeous, lean creature you are sadly mistaken. If you are dedicated to the changes that you need to make, eventually it will pay dividends. I have never been able to lose a lot of weight on my own. If I lost any at all, it would be 20lbs at the most and would at some point find its way back to me.

This is my miracle. I am 52lbs lighter today and I am only going to continue to get smaller and smaller because I am dedicated to doing this and that is the result that I want. I will not settle for less. 200lbs is no longer a place I want to be. My goal weight is 140lbs and I have my eye on the prize. The only thing that can get in my way or derail me is me. Even with tough situations like the possibility of my husband losing his job and my family being displaced from our home because we cannot afford to pay the rent are situations that I am going to have to deal with and power through. I pray daily that God will look out for my family and will not allow us to become homeless. I seek inner peace and patience in myself. I work hard not to get discouraged when the scale doesn’t show a difference. I take time to remind myself of the famous saying, “and this too, shall pass”. I owe it to myself.

Frontal photo of me the day of my surgery

Frontal photo of me the day of my surgery

Side view of me the day of my surgery

Side view of me the day of my surgery

Frontal photo of me today, 3 months post op

Frontal photo of me today, 3 months post op

Side photo of me today, 3 months post op

Side photo of me today, 3 months post op

Alcohol consumption post gastric bypass

With the holidays around us, I attended a party during the holidays and even hosted Christmas dinner myself. The food wasn’t a big deal. I don’t overeat so even three months post op my stomach is still small. I tried to make intelligent food choices wherever I went and made sure not to overeat. I was not prepared for what would happen when I decided to have a glass or two of wine. I knew that I was not going to over do it solely because alcohol is empty calories and I do not see the point of having those anymore.

So as my guests arrived to my Christmas party, I decided that I was going to have a beer. Well, about halfway through the bottle I was completely and utterly intoxicated. Man, my surgeon was not kidding when he said that alcohol reacts differently in the body post gastric bypass. They always tell you such things but, they generally make it out to be much more than it really is. Well, not this time.

After a particularly rough day last week, I decided that I was going to have a glass or two of wine. Again, after consuming one and a half glasses of wine, I was trashed! It is utterly amazing how my body responds to alcohol now. I am not saying that I am never imbibing again but, I am definitely going to be selective about when I do it and how much I have.

Alcohol is quite dangerous to people who have have gastric bypass surgery. Because the surgery bypasses the pyloric valve in the stomach, any alcohol that is consumed does not have the chance to mix with digestive juices in the stomach. Therefore, the “raw” alcohol flows directly into the small intestines (just as any fluid or food that is consumed after gastric bypass), which happens to effect the consumer much more quickly and the “buzzed” feeling happens to hang around much longer than it would have pre surgery.

So from me to you, if you decide to have a drink after surgery, proceed with caution.

Feelin’ Good!

It is amazing to me how something so simple, so small as a number on a pair of jeans affects a woman in so many ways. It can make us feel amazing, or not so much in the blink of an eye. It can make us evaluate who we are and what we are doing with our lives. It can make us celebrate with our girlfriends or it can make us weep alone in the shower. Why do we allow so many things outside of our own selves determine our self worth? I have been thinking about all of this since my trip to Lane Bryant yesterday. I went there with the intent to use a coupon on some new bras and perhaps a workout outfit. Before I knew it, I was trying on a pair of jeans in a size that I thought that I had truly no hope in fitting into and low and behold, they fit…comfortably. Size 16. Wow.

I almost could not process the moment. I have been very dedicated to sticking to my new way of eating post bariatric surgery and in the past month, I have also become very dedicated to establishing a workout routine. I know that those two things together are supposedly the holy grail of being healthy but who knew that they really do work for a fat girl…a real woman with curves on her curves, someone who has spent her entire life wondering what to do about her ever increasing size. Well, I am here to tell ya that they work!

Right now today, I weigh 224lbs. That is 42lbs lost since surgery day. My next check up is my 3 months post op in mid January and I want to be out of the 200s by then. I look at the scale and I know that is a very ambitious goal but, for the first time in my adult life I also feel totally confident in being able to achieve that goal. I am starting to look different, even to myself. I started to feel different a while ago. Now I know that I am going to conquer my weight problem. In fact, I cannot even call it that any longer because I have a solution. I know what my body can and cannot tolerate as far as fuel goes. I also know now that you cannot continue to overfill the fuel tank and have the machine run efficiently. I hear my father’s voice in all those statements. He would say those kinds of things to me my entire teenage life and I never really understood what he meant. All I wanted him to do at the time was to shut up, ignore it, and let me disappear to my room and not comment on the bag of oreos that I was carrying there with me. Thanks Dad for continuing to try to enlighten me and give me good information so that one day I would be wise enough to use it. I am finally wise enough and it is feelin’ good.

40lbs and counting

Today I had my 6 week post op appointment and I have lost 42.6lbs since the day of my surgery. I cannot even begin to process that information. I look at my own body and I really don’t see any changes. Others look at me and tell me that they most certainly can and that feels good. However, I wonder when I am going to see the changes myself. I look at myself in the mirror every day and imagine what I will look like and what I will feel like when I finally hit my goal weight.

Until now, all I have really done is go about the business of healing from surgery. Starting tomorrow I am going to hit the gym and work on raising my metabolism so I can make the most of this second chance. My surgeon had nothing but good things to say about my progress today and ensured me that if I start to work out I will really see the difference in my body sooner rather than later.

The bad thing that came out of today’s appointment is that I have a lower abdominal hernia that needs to be corrected. My surgeon wants to hold off on doing that for a good 6 months if we can because of the adverse effects of having back to back surgeries and have anesthesia so close together.

I don’t go back for another check up until January and I really want to make some amazing progess in this time. I hope to go back weighing 190lbs or less which means that I am looking to lose 40lbs in 12 weeks. I think I can, I think I can. I just need to keep my eye on the prize and get moving. Look out world, the skinny girl is busting loose!