Monday, November 17, 2014

8 months post vertical sleeve

It seems crazy that it's been 8 months since I had surgery.  My "new eating" has become like second nature to me.  It still seems crazy that the whole thing is done and over.n it all happened so fast.  It hasn't even been a year that the mere idea of surgery was even brought up to me.  One year ago I didn't even know what vertical sleeve gastrectomy was.  I had no idea that there was a life changing procedure, an alternate to bypass that seemed less scary to me, that could change my life so much.  I am so glad that things went so fast and that I was approved for this surgery.  I only wish I had done it sooner.   For the first time ever I feel like I have a handle on my eating.  The weight is the side effect of that...just one piece of my complex puzzle.  Here's some before and after stats:

Before:  252 lbs
Today:  169 lbs (83 lbs!)

Before: size 20/22
Today: 12/14 bottoms, M or L tops

before:  everything and anything all day, everyday
Today:  3-5 small meals a day, protein powder in my coffee every morning(yum).  I try to keep the carbs down but I don't ever count calories or carbs or anything anymore!  It feels amazing!

Before:  embarrassed, ashamed, avoided others, discouraged, bitter, focused on my obesity
Today:  myself!  I can be myself!  More confident, happy, love shopping, better mom and wife.

Before:  tired, sore, hard to move around myself, sluggish, LAZY
Today:  more energy, more agile, active, MY WEDDING RINGS FIT AGAIN!!!,  I now do fun things with my kids!, capable of so much more

It's hard to put 8 months in a nutshell like this but it's great for me to be able to look back and see my progress.  If anyone is just reading this feel free to scroll back to March when I had surgery.  Or before that where I have been blogging for years about the ups and downs of my wieght loss(and gain) journey.  It's been a wild ride!  Surgery isn't for everyone. I never dreamed it would be for me.  But it's done and it's now part of my crazy journey.  I am so happy about this!

I hope my blogging buddies have all been doing great.  I haven't been on here in ages and I need to catch up on some of my favorite blogs.  Would love to hear from some of you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

5 months post op -vertical sleeve gastrectomy

It's been 5 months since my bariatric surgery.  This experience has changed my life!!!  It is hands down the best decision for me, and my only regret is that I didn't look into it sooner.  I never thought I was big enough to be a candidate.  That is called denial at its best.....

Here's some stats:

Before:  252
Today:  178.9
Total loss:  73.1 lbs

Before:  20/22, XXL, 2x
Today: 14 bottoms, M or L top

Before: all day... Each serving enough for several people
Today:  3-5 small meals a day( plan calls for only 3) with very few sugars or carbs.  I do this so my body can feel good!  I cannot believe how much less sluggish I am without them.

Before:  very little.  Too darn tired. And lazy.  Eating was my sport of choice.
Today:  back to running!  I am changing up my speeds, distances, and routes to keep it from getting boring.  Today I did a whole 10 minute mile.  For some that's a piece of cake.  For me, it's a huge accomplishment!

I feel ....normal?  My recovery time was pretty quick actually- just a few weeks I would say.  Learning to eat less has mentally been a challenge even though my belly gets full.  THIS is what made me realize I couldn't have done it without surgery, and why I have failed again and again.  There is a mental aspect along with the physical aspect of overeating and obesity that needs to be dealt with.  Having the small stomach for those moments of weakness is kind of like a backup plan.  I am learning so much about my eating habits and about myself through this.

I am proud of myself!  I have energy and ambition again!  And I feel so much less self conscious and embarrassed.  I am not hiding from people anymore.  I love shopping again.  I am a better mom, wife, daughter.  I feel I need to mention that my family and friends have been so supportive of me, and this has been such a blessing.  Not everyone has that kind of love and support.  I am so fortunate to have a great circle of loved ones.

That's about it!  I signed In here so I could go through some old posts.  It helps put things in perspective for me.  I hope you are all doing well.  I used to get a lot of comments and rarely do anymore.  But I also realize that some may not be able to relate with my choice to have surgery.  And that's fine too!  One year ago I would never have thought surgery was an option for me let alone that it would be all done and over with.  It's amazing the difference a year can make.

Monday, June 30, 2014

15 weeks post vertical sleeve

Today is 15 weeks since I had VSG.  Tomorrow is one of my follow up appointments.  I have pretty well settled into my new ways and it feels good.  Here's the details:

WEIGHT:  I am down 63 lbs.  My weight is 188.8 down from 252.  I am finally a starting to "feel" the weight loss.

SIZE:  I am in a 16 down from a 20/22.  I could wear a 14 but I am comfortably wearing a 16 for now.  Most tops I am buying are a Large.  This is super exciting for me.

FOOD:  I am keeping the carbs down but not keeping track or anything.  I am eating 3 times a day and having my protein scoop in my coffee.  This is great because then I don't need sugar or creamer :).   I do enjoy a chip or a snack or a bite of something yummy if I want it.

EXERCISE:  I so need to be getting better at this.  I have done a bit of running but nothing steady.  I know it's good for me and I need to do it more.  I also need to get into some simple weight lifting with dumbbells.  There is no reason not to.  I am just being lazy and procrastinating.

HOW I FEEL:  most days I have a ton more energy than I used to.  Keeping the carbs and sugars down are definitely helping with this.  My confidence is starting to increase and I am enjoying the differences in me.

STRUGGLES:  One of the biggest things that remains an issue for me is knowing when to stop eating.  I know what my portion sizes should be.  I know to eat slow.  Yet it's a struggle for me most days.  I eat fast and too much , which seems like a ridiculous amount compared to how much I used to eat.  And although I am thankful that I get a full feeling in my belly, that is not how it should be.  I should not eat until discomfort.  This is something I am working on.  It's quite eye opening for me that my love of food and how I eat so fast is not really "normal". You would think being full would be a great thing to achieve after eating so little.  But for me, there is usually a bit of sadness that I am full and a desire to eat more even though I am full.  Very eye opening.

For now I take it day by day, meal by meal but I am less focused on eating than I used to be.  I have adjusted into my mew lifestyle and I hope it continues to be smooth down the road.  I have had several people come up and ask me about my experience.  They are obese and considering surgery. What works for one isn't for everyone but I am glad to share my journey.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

12 weeks after Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

It's been 12 weeks since my vertical sleeve gastrectomy.  The weight came off pretty quick in the beginning and has slowed down significantly.  However, I consider myself losing at a healthy rate now.  I have hit few stalls recently which I hear is normal.  One was a week and a half, and the other was two and a half weeks.  Frustrating, yes, but I continued on.  Having had surgery I feel a bit different about my weight in general.  I don't feel like I am on a diet anymore.  I don't feel like there is an end to this like I have always felt in the past regardless of what program I was doing.  This feels permanent.  I feel like I am so much better equipped on my journey.

So, let's get to the changes.
Size:  I am wearing a size 16 right now.  That's down from a 20, which I am positive should have been a 22 had I bought the actual size I needed.  I played the game of only buying the "big 20's" so I wouldn't have to face the fact that I actually needed a bigger size.

Weight:  my weight is currently 195.7 down from 252.  That's over 56 lbs.   I am happy to be in onederland but it sure has been a tough few weeks getting here with these pesky stalls! I looked at my last post from 6 weeks ago and I am down 11 pounds.  Not the fastest loss but the way I see it I am hopeful it's a permanent loss.

Eating:  my plan calls for 3 meals a day and a protein supplement.  I use the obesity help website and usually I find it useful for how others in my boat are faring.  I usually have a cup of coffee in the morning with a protein scoop in it.  This is helpful not just to get my protein in but it takes the place of the cream and Splenda I used to use.  My three meals are usually 2-3 oz(by volume, not weight) and consist of mainly protein and sometimes veggies now.  I try to keep the carbs/sugars way down and protein up.  However, if I am at a birthday party or picnic I will allow myself a tiny bit of cake or something of the sort on occasion.  After all, this is not a diet.  This is my new life and I deserve to live! Some of my favorite meals are an egg with a sausage link, turkey chili, chicken and pork( I do lots of different recipes with these) cheese sticks, almonds, etc.

How I feel:  I am assuming it's keeping the sugars/carbs down thats helps with this, but I do have more energy.  I cannot even explain how groggy I used to feel all day long, even with several cups of coffee. I am not one of the many lucky post-op people who loses their appetite and cravings, but I do feel that keeping the carbs down that I am able to keep them at bay.  My full feeling is now back to normal almost,  if I eat too much or too fast(I am still learning) I get loud hiccups.  It's kind of become a laughing matter at work with my lunch buddies.

Exercise:  I am happy to say that I have started running again.  My longest run is 2.5 miles at this point.  Not my longest or fastest run ever, but the best in a LONG time.  Feels good to be back in the game.  I had forgotten how nice that post run feeling of accomplishment feels :)

My attitude:  I am sure my husband, kids, and family are thrilled that the miserable, self loathing Jen is gone and that spunky Jen is back!

Well, that's it for now.  Right now I am taking it day by day.  Each day feels like an investment of what's to come.  I am starting horse riding lessons this week in preparation for hopefully buying a full size horse for our farm.  We currently have mini horses, goats, and chickens but I told myself that when the weight came off I would follow my dream of owning and riding my own horse!

I hope you are all doing great?!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

6 weeks post op- vertical sleeve

I am happy to report that my tantrums have stopped!  Now that I have moved onto "real food" I am not feeling deprived.  The soft diet was tougher than I thought it would be.  I am just over 6 weeks out from surgery and I am down 45 lbs.with 8 of that being lost pre-op.  My current weight today:  206.9.

One of the reasons I decided to have this surgery was because I do not want to be on a diet the rest of my life.  I have been on the losing end of that battle for over 15 years,and it's been exhausting.   I hear so much about how the first 6 months after surgery is the time to lose the weight and that I should make the best of this time frame.  I know I will never be able to go back to eating fast food allllll the time, and serving sizes meant for 3 people... Others who have had this surgery ( some of them die hards in my opinion) say to keep protein up, carbs down, this trick, that trick. etc.  I am following my portion guidelines (about 2 ounces (by volume,not weight) and trying to make good choices.  To me, it seems some of these people are still dieting.  For me, it's more about what works best for my body....What makes me feel good physically.  I will have a bite or two of cake if I am at a party, but not until after I eat my healthy protein portion of my meal.  It's still a fine line to make the right choices while still enjoying life.  It's something I have always struggled with.

But now... I have a tool.  It makes the things that I have always struggled with easier.  I will always love food, but my new tool makes me soooo much more capable of handling it.

People have started to notice a difference in how I look.  And finally....I am starting to notice a difference too!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1 month post op-Vertical Sleeve(bariatric surgery)

I had my bariatric surgery, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, on March 17, 2014.  Its been 4 weeks and I am down 30 lbs since surgery, and down 39 lbs from when I first stepped foot in the surgeon's office in January.  Weight was coming off pretty quick after surgery but has slowed down since.  Sometimes I don't lose for days.  Some days I don't weigh because whether I weigh or not, I am still doing things as I should per my plan and I don't want the frustration of not losing.

I drink two protein shakes a day.  Usually I have a ready made Pure Protein or Premier Protein at work, and later in the day I have one that I make out of powder and a scoop of PB2 which I have found is quite pleasant. I eat three meals a day, but not within 30 minutes of drinking.  I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around 2 ounces being a meal.  I have been eating moist scrambled eggs, string cheese, chicken salad, egg salad with a drop of olive juice(yum), cottage cheese, yogurt, deli ham and turkey, and fish.  For drinks I have been drinking one vitamin water zero or sobe life water, and then refilling the bottle with water when it's gone.  Between that and my protein shakes I am hitting both my protein needs and water needs each day.  I am tracking my calories using my "Lose it" app that I love.  I usually range between 500-600 calories a day for now.  I will be moving onto stage 3 foods soon so I can enjoy different foods.

Mentally, stepping on the scale each day is fine some days.  I remind myself its a doton my graph.  Right after surgery weight was falling off.  Sometimes, as typical with bariatric surgery it slows or stalls but eventually starts back up.  I know in the big picture I am losing so I am not complaining about that but it is hard to stall with eating so differently!  I also use the weight trend app on my phone that shows on a graph how my weight is headed downward.  I like that a lot.

Something that's odd for me is that even though I am down 38 lbs(30 since surgery) I really struggle to see it and feel it yet.  I feel like with that much weight I should.  I went into surgery at 244 lbs and I am 214 now.  I keep reminding myself that I was much heavier at my start weight than I have ever been.  With medifast i didn't even start until I was 206.  So 214, although its down from 252, is still high for me.  I am still wearing the same clothes.  This is how I tended to gain so easily in the past.  Maybe they were snug before and comfortable now, but still...the same clothes!  No one has really commented on a difference in me either, other than a few people said my face is thinner.  So I anxiously await that moment when I SEE it and FEEL my weight loss. 

Tantrums...  I am not 3 so luckily I have kept them inside :)   There have been a few times when I really wanted to have what others are having.  For the most part, in this stage of the game, I am eating very differently from my family and others I am around.  Sometimes I am fine with it, other times not so much.  We ordered pizza for my daughters Bday party this weekend.  It looked and smelled sooooo good.  I should also mention that I am one of these people who did NOT lose my cravings or appetite after surgery like many do, even with my Prilosec(this helps calm stomach acid which mimics hunger).  I cant decide yet if that's a good or bad thing.  Another thing I have realized is that even though my stomach may get "full" after two ounces(totally different feeling-my new full feeling is more a fullness in my esophagus) my head is not yet satisfied with what I have eaten.  It does usually catch up after a while though.  I take about 20 minutes to eat my 2oz and that's a struggle for me slow it down!  But its been only a month and I am working on it.  Its a learning curve.

All in all, I am very glad that I had the procedure.  I realize it sounds like a lot of negativity in my post, but I am just expressing the things that I personally struggle with.  Soon, I will start feeling and seeing the benefits of my weight loss and having lost before I know that will change my tune dramatically.  So stay tuned!

Anyone who would like to chime in with a comment, something that has helped you or someone you know, or your experience, I greatly welcome it! I have not been blogging much so anyone who is looking to catch up on my experience with bariatric surgery it can be done in a total of 3-4 posts :)

I hope everyone out there is doing well!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Bariatric Surgery Experience-Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy(long post)

My VSG Experience- March 17, 2014

After only two months from the time that I went to my Bariatric info session, I was sitting in the pre-op room waiting for my VSG surgery.  Although it was not the typical 3-6 months that I was told it would take, I had done ample research on the procedure and knew this was what I needed.  I had all sorts of emotions.  I was excited.  Scared.  Happy.  Nervous. I even felt a little guilty and embarrassed  for feeling that I “had to” go this route.  But obviously my way wasn’t working and hadn’t been for the 20 years I have been overweight.   I was afraid people would judge me.  I decided not to tell many people because I didn’t want anyone’s opinion to change my mind.  I prayed about it from the beginning and I put it in God’s hands that if this was the route I was supposed to take then I would.  So, when everything went through so quickly and smoothly(the appointments, insurance approval within 24 hours of submittal, etc) I really felt like it was meant to be.  My highest weight was 252 lbs.

I will start by saying I have an amazing support system.  I have a husband, mother, best friend, and several other great friends who I am close with.  They know me well and were totally on board with my choice.  My husband went to appointments with me, and my best friend came to the initial meeting  and support group with me.  I feel so blessed in that aspect.  I know lots of people do not have a support system, and I have been so lucky to have someone hold my hand throughout this whole process.

My Dr did not require any liquid diet before surgery.  I was free to eat what I wanted up until midnight on the day before surgery.  I had lost 9 lbs which was close enough to the 5% they requested before surgery.  I think 5% would have been about 13 lbs.  But because I was steadily losing and all my tests were completed I was scheduled for surgery.

So, there I was on St. Patrick’s Day, waiting for my surgery.  My arrival time at the hospital was 10:45.  They took me back and got me ready while sending my hubby to the waiting room.  I had my IV put in, was hooked up to fluids, put in a gown(without underwear-not sure why this was so surprising to me), given a blood thinner shot(heparin) and then my husband and best friend were able to come back and stay with me until it was time for surgery.  I knew it would be a while because the patient in the room next to me was before me, and based on what I overheard, his situation seemed pretty complex.  So when he was rolled back, the nerves started to hit. My surgeon popped in to talk briefly with me, the anesthesiologist came in, as well my OR nurse and pre-op nurse.  It was 2:00 before it was actually my turn.

I hugged my best friend, kissed my husband, and even asked for a picture of me with my surgical hat on so I could document my journey.  And off I went.  They put something in my IV to calm me(they said that is standard).  I got into the OR and it was very bright.  I think there were windows which was different than my c-section OR rooms.  They put the mask on my face and told me to take some deep breaths.  I did.  I remember just before I went out that my eyes were open but I didn’t feel like I could breathe in my chest.  I kind of fought the anesthesia for some reason, not sure why. 

The next thing I remember I was awake in recovery.  I was sweating profusely.  I don’t remember being nauseous but I later learned that must have been what it was.   I think I was moaning or making some sort of noise.  The nurses were talking to me and about me.  They were talking about my pulse being 130, and giving more meds, etc.  They took the legs cuffs(to prevent blood clots) off which  were making me sweat even more, and gave me new ones.  I don’t remember much else other than being rolled up into my room.  I was groggy but was able to clear up the confusion about what room I was supposed to be in.  They had told my husband and I a different room than they were told.  The room they were told was already occupied. 

The nurses rolled me in, and my husband and best friend were there waiting.  They asked how I felt and I jokingly(and druggedly) told them I was okay and to get me a Whopper!  The nurse explained that she was not cheap on the drugs and that I should be feeling pretty good.  I was.  I looked up at the clock and it was 5:00.  Three hours had passed and I had been through surgery and recovery.  My husband said the surgery only took about an hour and 15 minutes.  He said it was quick and that the Dr. came out and said it went well. 

I have six incisions in my belly, but only one of them really bothered me.  It still does. I would later find out it was the one that my stomach was removed out of.  And after watching a VSG on YouTube(after the surgery) I now can totally see why!  These incisions had  steri-strips.  For anyone interested, watching the procedure was not nearly has gross as I thought it would be.  Actually, I was quite fascinated by it!

I had a private room which I was pretty excited about.  As the hours went on I realized that my biggest discomfort was actually laying in bed.  My back hurt and it was just an overall uncomfortable feeling regardless of what position I was in.  It was the gas that they had pumped into me. I wanted to be up and walking all the time.  The first night they made sure that I had someone with me while walking.  I was hooked up to the monitors and IV so it was kind of a pain because I knew I couldn’t get up every time I wanted to.  I knew the nurses had other patients.  The first night seemed to be a busy night for the nurses on the floor.  But even so, I was given great care.  In hindsight, I should have used the pain button I had more often.  I didn’t realize I could use it whenever I wanted and I was only using it every hour or few hours.  It wasn’t until the next day shortly before they took it away that I realized that I could use it every few minutes if needed.  And it did help.

On day 2, I did not have any kind of a swallow test that I hear so much about.  And from what I saw on the videos I watched on YouTube it can actually be done during surgery.  So all I had to do was sip one ounce of water in an hour’s time.  If that went okay, I could sip 2 ounces of water in an hour, and then finally three.  On that second day I was able to walk myself if I wanted to.  My kids came to visit, and some friends.  I was switched from the pain button to crushed Percocet pills as I have had an issue with Lortab in the past.  Lots of people stopped in from the hospital.  The surgeon, Occupational therapist, Physical therapist, case worker, nutritionist, etc.

I didn’t sleep much while in the hospital.  I woke up a lot. They were always giving me medicine or taking my BP/temp.   I walked a lot.  The gas pains were less but still there.  On the 3rd day I got to go home.  They told me that I would be out by 11:00 and to my surprise I was. My hospital experience was actually pretty great.  I had my own room, great nurses (with the exception of one nurse assistant I didn’t care for), and a fancy bathroom with Corian counters and beautifully decorated walls.  The only issue I had at this point was that my blood pressure would not go down. It was pretty high at 164/100.  They didn’t like that, but said it was most likely due to pain and the fluids they were giving me.  So they gave me some pills and sent me on my way.  I was pretty still and quiet the whole hour drive home. 

When I got home my mom and grandmother had arrived in town to help take care of me.  I rested and made a chart for when I need to take the medicines. The first night home I woke up and didn’t feel good.  I took my pain meds and Zofran,  and I got up to walk around.  All of a sudden I started getting hot, sweating and felt nauseous.  I did not throw up and it only lasted a few minutes before the Zofran kicked in.   After that night, I took it right before bed for the next few nights so that wouldn’t happen again.  I called the office the next day and they advised me not to have my protein drink so close to bedtime.  Between those two things I was okay.

After a few nights I found myself waking up on my side which is how I normally sleep.  I would tire out during the day and take a little nap.  I was keeping track of my fluids and protein to make sure I did not get dehydrated.  Having my mom, gram, and husband here was a huge help. 

I made the choice to go back to work at 11 days out.  I should have taken longer but it will be okay.  My first day back was a lot of sitting which I don’t typically do.  It seemed that sitting aggravated my incisions more than standing and walking around.  And my bra was hitting/rubbing on two of my incisions.    At two weeks out I am down about 20 lbs from surgery date.  I am following my eating plan to a T.  I have been in touch with the nutritionist who has been fabulous with answering my questions.  I don’t see or feel the weight loss yet, but I know I will soon.  It usually takes about 30 lbs for me to feel/see  a weight loss or gain. 

My feeling of full at this point is much different than before surgery.  I eat very slowly.  A bite every 2-3 minutes as instructed.  When I start to feel full  it is kind of like a burpy feeling at the bottom of my esophagus.  Nothing like the full I used to feel.  It’s a learning curve and I am paying close attention to my body.  I eat 3 meals a day and sip protein drinks and water throughout the day, as long as it isn’t within 30 minutes of a meal.  I do hope that with time I can eat more than what I am eating now.  I truly do enjoy food and cannot enjoy much right now!

This is just my story.  I am sure other people have different experiences, but I thought maybe this would help some of the newbies like me who are looking for what to expect.

Monday, February 24, 2014

New surgery Date and Insurance Approval!

I work at a school and have a day off the week before my surgery.  My surgery was scheduled for a Monday.  I called the scheduled and politely asked if it was an option to have the surgery the week before at some point.  That way I would have to use less sick time.  To my surprise, she said that since my insurance has now approved the surgery I can have the surgery a week earlier.  My new surgery date is March 17th!!!  Wow, I was just hoping for a few days but hey, lets do this!  Three weeks from today I will hopefully be out of surgery and on the road to recovery. 

Lets talk about insurance for a second.  I am like astonished that my surgeons office sent the paperwork on a Friday and that I have an approval on Monday.  Amazing.  Having said that, I am sure it was helpful knowing that there was a checklist of stuff that the insurance company wanted and a checklist of stuff that my surgeon wanted before they would even send for approval.  But still, I thought 10-30 days.  Not 24 hours!

I had about two days of panic after I was given the date.  But now I am back to being ready to get this over with and work on my new lifestyle.  I have high hopes and I sure do hope that I succeed the way I want to.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

A surgery date...

Much to my surprise, just a few hours after my last post, I received a call from the surgeon's office.  She was calling to give me a surgery date.  What?!  Already!?  The date is March 24th.  She then said she was submitting my file to the insurance company to get me approved.  I am hoping there are no holdups there.  But I am thinking they probably wouldn't have scheduled me if they thought there could be an issue.  At least that is what I am telling myself.  The insurance company did tell me that they have up to 30 days to make a determination but that it is almost always within 10 days.  One of my primary doctors said that my BMI alone would get me approved no problem.  My BMI is about 43.  Anything about 40 is considered class III obesity-MORBID OBESITY.  And apparently if you have co-morbidities you can be approved with a BMI of 35.  When I started this process I did not think that I had any co-morbidities, but I have since learned that I do after going though the testing process for approval.  I have sleep apnea and high blood pressure.  Right there that is 2 of the 4 big ones.  Cholesterol and diabetes are the other two big ones.  My cholesterol was not checked but I am 99.99999% sure that would not be pretty.  So, I am thinking that I am in good shape (haha) for approval.

So for now I am going to wait...and prepare.  I have pulled out my meal planning sheets they gave me.  Some are pre-op, some are post-op separated by week.  Its time to buckle down on how and what I am eating.  I am looking them over and planning.  I need to give myself the best shot possible.  Although I did lose 6 pounds between my first and second appointments, I did not make the effort that I should have and that I know that I can.  They wanted 5% loss from me.  That was about 12 lbs.  I gave them 2.5%, but I could have done so much better.  I have a little bit of shame about that.

I have received so much support and I am so happy(and surprised) about this.  My family, friends, and fellow bloggers have been wonderful.  Now that I have a surgery date, its time to ask for the time off from work.  I am hoping that goes smoothly.  This is where I stress a bit about whether this is elective surgery or not.  I feel a future post coming on about this :)


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bariatric surgery-Tests complete

I met with the nurse practitioner at the Bariatric surgeon's office Monday.   I was only down 6 of my 12 lbs required (5%) in order to schedule surgery.  Obviously I have never been through this process before so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Before she came in I heard the nurse giving her a quick "recap" about me.  I almost fell over when I heard her say that my required tests were all done and that "she isn't that big so 6 lbs should be good enough weight loss to schedule her".  I have to say that I do hide my weight well but I was still surprised to hear that.  On me, 250 lbs is a size 20 and I carry most of it in the front of me, instead of being wide.  But nonetheless, my 250 lbs puts me at a BMI of 43.  Anything over 40 is considered class III obesity, also known as MORBID OBESITY.  So when she came in she reviewed my chart and told me I was ready to be scheduled for surgery. 

All of a sudden it felt real.  All of the hoops have been jumped through.  The EKG, the Psych clearance, 2 sleep studies, letter of med necessity, blood work, etc. I felt a bit nervous.  And excited.  So now I wait.  My first visit with the surgeon was January 21(the info session was January 7).  My second was Feb 17. Things had moved much more quickly than I anticipated.  This might be the part that takes the longest.  Apparently what happens is my chart goes to the scheduler/insurance approval department.  So I am guessing she will write up my letter to the insurance and if/when it comes back with approval I will get a surgery date scheduled.  From what I got from my insurance it can take 30 days but is almost always approved within 10 days.  But who knows how long the surgeons office will take to send out for approval and then call me with a date.

I was under the impression my recovery time out of work would be about a week.  I think that's what the Dr said at the info session. The NP yesterday told me to plan for at least 2 weeks but that I could take up to 6 if I needed it.  I am so very glad that I was told about the statistic for morbidly obese people.  I keep reminding myself of it.  "Once a person reaches morbid obesity, there is a 5% chance of losing the weight and keeping it off".  The stats are 80% for those who have bariatric surgery.  My weight is something I will always have to battle.  But it will be nice to have a much better chance because of the surgery.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Steps to approval for Bariatric surgery

I mentioned in yesterday's post some of the steps that I have had to go through to try to get approved for the surgery.  In case you didn't see them I will repost them here.

Lose 5% of starting weight
Meet with nutritionist regularly
Psychological clearance
Sleep Study and clearance
Blood work
Several appts with surgeon before and after surgery
Support group meetings before and after surgery
Letter of medical necessity from primary dr.

To be totally honest, I just started to lose the 5%.  I figured I would have several months to get 12 lbs off right?  "I can do that in a few weeks" was my mode of thinking.  But, when I started scheduling my appointments I was able to get in with most of them much quicker than I thought.  So I have been trying to eat well and make good choices in the hopes that this may all happen sooner than I thought.

I figured my psych clearance would consist of an appointment and that I would have to wait for his report.  Nope.  He typed it up right there after our hour long talk and sent me on my way.  He also told me his wife had bariatric surgery which made me feel like I was in the right hands :)

I had my annual appt with my OBGYN last month.  I have kind of been using him as a primary dr for a few years now.  I called him a week before my appt and asked him if he would order the bloodwork that the surgeon wanted me to have and we could discuss it at my upcoming visit.  I figured it was a long shot but I got a call back and he said he would be glad to.  We discussed my results at my appt.  I asked him if he would write my letter of medical necessity and he said yes.  I figured I would have to wait for it.  Nope.  He typed it up, printed it and sent me on my way with the words "I will see you in a hundred pounds from now!".  He said he has seen me lose the weight and that he knows this will be a great option for me.  Huh.  Another person on board.

Because the questionnaire that I filled out at the surgeons office labeled me at risk for possible sleep apnea, the surgeon said I needed a sleep study before moving forward.  So I went and had one within a week.  Again, this was quicker than I expected.  I was hooked up to about 30 wires and wondered how I would possibly sleep.  Yet I did!  The results from this test took longer, about a week and a half.   And when they called they said I do in fact have mild sleep apnea.  I had 13 respiratory events per hour but the cause for concern was that my oxygen dipped down to 84%.  I also apparently had 50 periodic limb movements and was awaked 7 times per hour from those. Sooooo.  Now I go back and have a second sleep study with a CPAP machine to see if that helps.  Then after that I again have to wait for the results to be read.  If things are better then hopefully he will sign off on me having the surgery and I am sure order me a CPAP machine :(

Support Group...I was pretty iffy about this.  I wasn't sure how I would like it.  My awesome friend Laura again accompanied me and we made a fun day of it.  The meeting was actually pretty good!  The leader was nice, and there were people who were pre-op as well as some post-op.  It was a small, friendly setting with only 8 of us I think.  I liked it so much that I was disappointed when I realized I can not make the next one because we will be out of town. 

I have a nutrition class scheduled for March 3.  I did meet with the nutritionist on the day of the consultation with the surgeon.  She made me realize that I eat fast.  I never realized I did, but she said meal should be lasting 20-30 minutes.  WHAT?  More like 5 for me!.  And also to my surprise, my husband spoke up in the meeting and said he is realizing that his eating habits are not helping me.  Huh.  We are all growing here I guess.

And last, an EKG.  I have a meeting with a new primary dr close to home.  I cant use my OBGYN forever now that my babies aren't babies anymore! She was recommended to me from a nurse who works there.  Hopefully she will be able to do my EKG and send that along to the Bariatric office.

So, those are the basic steps that I am going though.  I figured I would do a post on it in case anyone else is tossing this option around in their head.  Before December I knew nothing(accurate) about bariatric surgery.  I have done lots of research and have lots of statistics .  Before December I never thought this was an option for me.  But, the further I get into the process, I am feeling pretty sure it is just the tool I need to succeed once and for all.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some major changes...Bariatric surgery?

I have been missing for a while.  A looooong while.  And when I pulled up my blog tonight I was a bit saddened when I saw that my last post was labeled" How Jennifer got her groove back".  The truth is, like most disappearing weight loss bloggers, I was NOT able to get my groove back.  In fact, I hit my highest weight ever at over 250 lbs.  I am 5'4.
I have been miserable. 
Uncomfortable in my own skin. 
Feeling defeated. 
My eyebrows look atrocious because why bother?

Having had a taste of thin(ish) in the past I truly feel like I am missing out on my own life.  I miss my confidence.  I miss wearing clothes that I like and that fit.  I miss having energy.  I miss putting on a bathing suit and not shrieking.

And then it happened....

I went to Dr after I tried to break up a dog scuffle.  My finger was infected.  Of course the first step was the scale.  I got on and she put it at 150.  Then 200.  Then she looked at me with a strange look and put it on 250.  Ding ding ding.  We have a winner.  The words that she said next I believe will change my life. 

"Wow.  You really hide your weight well....I want you to know that I was your weight a year ago and had bariatric surgery.  Best thing I ever did."

I thought she was crazy.  Who was she to say that?  I had never met her.  I acted like I was interested as she was telling me about her bariatric surgeon and how great he is, about how it was the best thing she ever did, and how happy she is. But really I was just shocked by her reaction to my weight.

So on the way home I called my mom to tell her, still in disbelief.  At work the next day I told my co-worker.  Her response was that her daughter in law had the surgery and is quite happy with it.  Huh.  So at this point, the wheels started spinning.  I was sure it was a long shot but could this be an option for me?  She put me in contact with her daughter in law and we chatted a bit about the procedure, the pre-op requirements, her dr, etc.  All of her experiences were great, and get this... the SAME SURGEON as that nurse I had met.  I looked him up online figuring I would find something, anything, to steer me away.  Nope.  Amazing reviews.  That says a lot for a dr these days.   I talked with my husband, then my mom, my grandma, and a very few close friends who I knew would be honest with me.  After all, this was a crazy idea right?

To my surprise...they were ALL FOR IT.  Wait...what? I am not big enough for this surgery right?  I thought for sure those very closest to me would be against surgery.  After all, it is "elective" right? I figured the insurance would never pay for this.  My mom's response hit home for me.  She said, "it's worth looking into Jen.  You have never settled for being overweight.  Some people accept it as part of who they are, but you never have.  I watch you struggle everyday".  She is right.

With my army of unexpected support, my research began...and continued for a while.   Then one day I ran into that nurse while at the vet's office.  Seriously?  We chatted for a bit and all of a sudden it just felt like it was time to call the Bariatric clinic to see how this whole process works.  They were very nice.  The first step was a mandatory info session that they offer once a month.  So I went with my amazing friend Laura.  The surgeon who I had heard so much about was the dr who gave the presentation. He then answered any questions anyone had. And I had questions :)  I am a research geek and I like to be prepared.

I filled out the paperwork they gave me and mailed it in a few days later.  They then review it and decide if they feel you are a candidate for bariatric surgery of any kind. If they think you are a candidate they call you with an appt.  Much to my surprise I am a candidate.  And not only am I a candidate, I have a BMI of 43 which means the insurance most likely wont put up much of a fight.  I am morbidly obese...the highest category of obesity.

HUH.   Was this really happening?

I went to my first appointment with the surgeon and nutritionist on January 21.  I didn't really know what to expect. I also met with the nutritionist that day as well.  My husband came with me and even asked questions.  The dr said something that stuck with me when answering one of my husbands questions.
Hubs: "Can she gain the weight back"
Doc: "There is an 80% chance she will not, but if she doesn't change her eating habits she can become one of the 20%.  However, once a person reaches morbid obesity, their chances of getting the weight off and keeping it off are less than 5%...and that's what makes it a disease."

BAM....And that was it.  That was the turning point when I knew this was for me.  I have been yoyo dieting for years.  More than half my life actually.  I have been fighting an uphill battle for sure but I never knew the statistics were that strongly evidenced.

I would like to also say that I have done lots of research on the different procedures out there.  And this office is, in my opinion, VERY thorough to make sure that you succeed and that this is not a decision made on a whim.  You cant just make an appointment and go have surgery.  No.  There is a whole process, and a bariatric agreement you have to sign. There is a 3-6 month time frame or more before you can have the surgery.
Here are a few examples of requirements for both pre and post op patients:
Lose 5% of starting weight
Meet with nutritionist regularly
Psychological clearance
Sleep Study and clearance
Blood work
Several appts with surgeon before and after surgery
Support group meetings before and after surgery
Letter of medical necessity from primary dr.

I have most of these things completed but I am hung up on the sleep study.  I have been tired.  I chalked it up to my weight.  But now I find out I apparently I have sleep apnea and restless sleep. My oxygen levels drop into a concerning %.   It was concerning enough that I have to go back again for another test this week with a CPAP to see if it helps.  Hopefully it does and I can get the clearance.  This is just one more thing that reminds me that I need to get this weight off for good. 

So there you have it.  This brings me up to where I am now.  Tomorrow I will write about some of the tests I have had done and some of the reactions from friends(the few I have told anyway).  I hope this finds you all well.  I will be spending some time catching up on favorite blogs!


Friday, July 5, 2013

How Jennifer got her groove back...

Hehe.  That's what I kept thinking for a title post.

I have not been on the scale since my recommitment to my health.  And honestly I am really enjoying it.  I am feeling accomplished just by logging my food into my Lose It app.  Some days I am above goal, some days below.  Isnt that that MODERATION?  Could it be?  I found the sweet spot?  I am not going to say it has been a piece of cake though.  Every meal is a thought process.  Shoot...everything I put in my mouth, or choose not to, is a thought process.  But that's okay. Because at the end of the day I am usually satisfied.  If I want cake, I have it.  If I want pizza, I have it.  And the app makes it pretty easy.  Every once in a while I find something that isn't in there and I have to manually log it in, or guess, but for the most part I seem to have it down.  The other day I wanted ice cream.  In the past I would have thought, "no, I cant.  I am on a diet". Or even worse, I would get a huge cone or sundae with all the fixins and then use that as an excuse to get off track and somehow stay off track for an indefinite amount of time.   I actually made myself have some the other day because this is NOT a diet.  I had something to prove to myself.   I ate it, logged it, and it was yummy.  There was no guilt.

But back to the scale thing....  I have decided not to weigh in for the time being because I know my body and it will take a good 20 + lbs before I even start feeling or seeing a difference in myself or my clothes.  That's a struggle I have always had and it makes it hard to stay focused.  So with no set weigh day and a goal of how much to eat a day I am somehow finding it feels good.  At least at this stage of the game.  I am sure when I DO feel or see a difference I will want to get on the scale and see how its going.  But for now I am just taking it day by day and if I had a day of lots of calories I can make up for it over the next few days.  I have so much work to re-do and I don't want the numbers messing with me.

I went for a jog a few times this week.  Today I did a full mile.  It felt good.  I forgot how I love to sweat when I am running because it makes me feel productive. It was humid. Am I getting back into it?  Could be!  I even made a new playlist for when I run.  This is a MUST for me when it comes to running. I  know lots of people who don't like music when they run.  They say "the quiet helps them clear their head".  Not me.  I NEED music.  Upbeat, peppy music that keeps me moving. 

I would like to say I am experiencing a blast from the past.  But really its fragments from the past.  Baby steps.  hehe.  Its running a mile, not training for a half marathon!  But it feels great!  Without the scale I just have to keep the faith that what I am doing is good.


Today's reason for losing weight:
*Every day it is struggle to get dressed.  There are so few options for me at this weight.  I am not happy with how anything looks on me, and I refuse to buy more "big girl" clothes when I have a perfectly gorgeous wardrobe in my closet just waiting for lots sizes smaller than I am now. I am wearing the same things again and again and yet not happy with them. I cant wait to enjoy shopping again!

Today I am thankful for:
*I got to have a foster dog at my house for a few hours.  My friend runs a dog rescue, and I love to help in any way I can.  He loved it here!  We filled up the plastic kiddie pool and he loved it!  Labs do love the water!   He sucked up all the lovin we were giving :) I was sad to bring him back.  He barks a lot in the dog pen, but once he was out he was so laid back and just hung out in the yard with us.  I have two dogs already.  One who he played with, the other who doesn't like other dogs much.  Otherwise, I would totally want to keep this sweet boy!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 6 on track

I hit my highest weight ever, yet I just could find the motivation to do anything about it.  That is something I never understand.  I have battled my weight for a good 15 years now.  I have gotten to where I want to be a few years ago.  I was there.  I had the taste.  I loved how it felt.  Yet, somehow I let myself get back to the old me.  Only heavier.  The embarrassment, shame, disgust and self consciousness are all back.  And it feels awful.  I just couldn't get ahold of it. 

Over the years I have done lots of "diets", eating plans, exercise routines, etc.  And after 15 plus years and lots of failures and a few successes along the way I have learned a lot.  FINALLY I am seeing the big picture.  I used to hear the word "moderation" and instantly think "blah blah blah". I have always dieted.  I FINALLY am realizing that dieting doesn't work.  Period.  I need something I can do for life.  Something I can live with every single day. 

I really like the Lose It app on my phone.  Its very easy.  I can scan foods and foods are easy to search for.  It tells me how many calories to eat for my current weight, how many I have eaten, how many more I can eat, and takes into consideration my activity.  LOVE IT.  I have combined this with my knowledge that protein keeps me full and keeps the hungry beast away,  and that less sugar means fewer cravings.  All those years and I am finally realizing that success is not a start of a diet and an end of one.  Its a lifestyle change.

I was put to the test yesterday.  I am 6 days into tracking my foods.  We had a gathering yesterday with all the work ladies and our kids.  We are all off for most of the summer so it was great to see them.  Little did I know that when I got there they would have an early birthday party planned for me.  Cake, gifts, the whole nine yards.  CAKE.  In the past I would've thought...."oh no...cake.  I will eat it and scratch the rest of the day and get back on track tomorrow".  And then it wouldn't happen.  Instead, I ate the cake, added it to my log on my app and ate accordingly the rest of the day.  At the end of the day I was under goal with calories and felt pretty darn satisfied, and accomplished!  The cake was good and I enjoyed it...guilt free too!  Depriving myself on certain diets never works for me.  It just adds to my yoyo weight history.  I see that now.

I am not gonna lie though...its been a struggle to exercise.  I am not there yet.  But I know me, and once the scale starts moving just from eating well I will definitely include the exercise portion of getting healthy.  I know I need to and I will.  The motivation will come.  I cannot believe how hard it is to exercise at this weight.  Ugh.  My body is angry at 240 lbs. 

I am going to spend some time catching up on some blogs.  Hope you are all well!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

I think I got it!!! Its working!!!

I am happy to say that I am feeling on track.  I would get on track, then fall off, then I would get back on...only to fall off again. It was so frustrating and demeaning.   I was hungry.  Exercise seemed to feel soooo hard compared to when I was fit.  Something just had to give.  I knew I couldnt keep going at this rate or I would just continue to get bigger.  But being so hungry and dreading exercise made it very difficult to get through a day successfully. 

So after talking with my cousin who is becoming a personal trainer, she suggested that I eat more. Of course I was excited yet skeptical.  She calculated the amount of calories that I would have to eat to sustain my weight and it was a huge well over 2000 calories a day. Had I really been eating that many?  Yup, no doubt :(  So anything less than that would allow me lose.  How fast I lose is up to me(within healthy limits of course).  The bigger the deficit the more I lose, the less of a deficit the less I lose.  Basic concept of calories in/calories out.

So my new to allow myself 1800 calories a day. It feels so doable and sustainable in REAL LIFE.   I was so used to cutting down dramatically to get the weight off.  But with that comes hunger.  1000-1200 calories a day is just not for me.  I like food.  I dont like to feel deprived.  So this higher calorie allowance combined with eating more protein to to stave off hunger seems to be working for me.  I am tracking it all and I will do another post on how I am doing this soon.  But, its working for me!  My daughters birthday was this week.  I ate cake.  I had dinner/lunch out twice this week.  I ordered and didnt feel deprived.  Who knew a few hundred extra calories could make such a difference for me.   The last I checked the scale it said 233.  That was last week.  I will get on again sometime this week.  I am extremely confident which is a great feeling!

Sometimes I eat all 1800 calories, but most times I dont.  But just knowing I can is just what I need. If I eat them all I will lose.  If I dont...I will still lose.  Yaaaaay!    So often gaining and losing weight becomes mind games.  And those of us who are obese know that the mind games often win and therefore its hard to lose the weight and or/keep it off.  So knowing I can eat these calories eliminates a lot of those mind games.  If I know I am going to have a special event (my daughters bday or a work lunch) I just prepare and calculate the extra (cake )calories into my day.  Period. Not so bad when it doesnt take up half of your calories for the day right? 

*Today I am thankful for:  the response I have gotten after my "comeback".  I wasnt sure if I would get "shamed" when coming back after gaining the weight.  Instead, I was welcomed and even praised by so many of you for doing so.  Its great to know I am not alone in this journey.

*Today's reason for losing weight: Running a half mile at this weight is awful.  I cannot wait to get back to running a mile or more with less effort and with much more enjoyment!  Its great to have been there though and to know it IS possible.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Each choice makes up the big picture

I have been struggling with making myself believe that every choice matters.  Every time I choose to eat, or to exercise(or not to)...every single time counts towards the big picture.  However, I am so far from my goal right now and I am so much further behind the starting line than I have ever been.  Its hard to accept the fact that I have to redo all of my hard work(plus more!), and that I let myself get back here.  But the fact is that every single choice that I make DOES matter.  Every choice I made got me back to obesity.  Every trip to McDonalds, every double portion, etc.  The best way I can think to convince myself is that my health and weight is like a puzzle.  And to get where I want to be, healthy and fit, I need to keep adding pieces to the puzzle until it becomes complete.  The reality is that my puzzle is like a million pieces.  I sure do wish it were an easy 25 piece puzzle.  Hehe. 

I have started to run again(sorta). I run some till I just cant anymore, walk some, run some more, etc. I started a few weeks ago, and then I stopped for a few weeks. I lost the tiny bit of stamina that I had gained back.  So now I am back at it again.  I have to remember to take the advice that I have given so many times right here on my blog when I was "a runner".  So many people have asked me how they could get into running and how it could possibly be enjoyable.  And what I have said over and over is that starting to run is not easy.  It becomes eaiser with time.  At first, that "I cant breathe and need to stop before I die" feeling is awful.  Then your heart and lungs get into shape and before you know it you are running a mile...effortlessly.  And once you are capable of running a mile then anything after that is totally doable.  The second tip to enjoying running is to pace yourself.  If you start out too fast you tire quickly and you have less endurance.  Thats not to say you cant push yourself to increase your stamina here and there.  So...there I have it.  My own advice that I have given to lots of people.  I have been going back to this advice a lot lately.

I keep asking myself why it seems so much harder to get running than I remember.  My conclusion:  I am 240 lbs(I think...I have not gotten on the scale recently).  When I first started running I think I was well under 200 lbs.  That extra weight surely makes a difference.  My body is pretty angry at this weight.  And asking it RUN at this weight seems crazy.  My daughter weighs over 40 lbs and the thought of running with her attached to me is crazy,  And thats pretty much what I am doing...running with a ton more wieght on me than I ever had.  But I am trying my best regardless of how frustrating it is.  I have to keep telling myself "It has to be this hard for it to get easier".



I am back to using my Lose It app and making good choices.  On the advice of my cousin the personal trainer I am allowing myself more calories and I will cut them as lose weight. 

*Today's reason for losing weight:  Although there is still much snow on the ground here, warm weather and then summer is going to sneak up out of nowhere.  I hate to be fat especially in the summer! 

*Today I am thankful for:  Sugar free popsicles. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Good food Bad food vs moderation

One thing I can say is that I have done lots of diets.  I have tried so many different eating plans(south beach, medifast, atkins, Weight watchers, etc)out of sheer desperation to get this weight off.  Some were more doable than others, some "worked" better than others, but in the long run I realize I havent really found what works for me.

But I am getting there. 

Regardless of the diet programs I have been on, it has always been good foods(okay to eat) and bad foods(no no foods).  There are foods that were okay to eat on each particular diet, and foods that werent okay.  I have learned that this has left me utterly confused!!!  I am working so hard to learn moderation.  I have some tough habits to break.  One thing I am trying to overcome is if I eat something that feels "forbidden", to try to make it NOT feel forbidden.  I want to allow myself things that I want and then to move on with the rest of my day eating healthy.  Just because I eat one thing that is sweet or yummy doesnt mean the whole rest of the day has to be a loss.


How many times have I heard this word.  TONS.  Yet it never really sunk in.

I AM HUMAN.  If I deny myself all the things I love all the time then that is not sustainable for me. It plays into the diet mentality which is not permanent.  If I eat something yummy and higher in calories and fat, its okay!  I am human. I can eat well *MOST* of the time and still enjoy an indulgence here and there.  This is moderation. 

MODERATION- the middle comfort zone between a restrictive diet (I have tried them all!) and overeating indulgent foods all day every day.

MODERATION- no starting an stopping.  Example:  "when I am done with this diet I can have cookies and cake".  There is no end because its not a diet!   Doesnt that sound amazing?

I have never been in this so called sweet spot and I feel myself moving towards it.  I just might be onto something here....  fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will it ever feel natural?

Today I made a good choice.  I know to some it may sound simple but its a pretty big deal for me.  There is no doubt I love fast food.  I wish I didnt.  I havent had it in a while.  The closest I came was when we were out and stopped at McDonalds for the kids to play and have dinner on our 4 hour drive home through what seemed to be a blizzard.  I chose the grilled chicken salad with southwest dressing.  I was highly satisfied and so was my belly.  I struggle a lot when its time to eat and we are out.  I find myself in this boat a lot.  If I am hungry I tend to lose all control of my choices. 

But not today!  My mind was racing though, I am not going to lie.  My dr appt was at 10:30. It took forever.  Then I needed to get a prescription.  I looked at my watch and it was almost 1:00.  I was hungry.  My daughter was in the back seat whining not just that she was hungry, but that she wanted to eat now.  I told her we would eat at home.  She begged to go through the drive through.  I told her we needed to get home so I could take my medicine.  Its true, but it was only eye drops and it could have waited. It wasnt a far drive home.  But I almost gave in.  I almost went to McDonalds.  Instead I came home and had some burger, a greek yogurt and a few almonds. I wasnt prepared but I still made a good choice.  And after my belly was full, I was proud.  Because it was full from the foods of my choice, not from salty, fatty, carby foods.  But I almost gave in.  So, what was different this time than every other time?  I made myself drive in the opposite direction.  But I am sure if I had driven the other way I would have stopped.  I wouldnt have been able to just drive by. I need to prepare myself for these things.  My husband took my almonds out of the car the other day.  He was trying to help I think by keeping the car clean.  But I want them in there.  They are my go to if I am hungry.  Oddly they fill me.  I need to have more go to foods kept with me.  I will have to work on that.  Because if I dont get hungry then the temptation is controllable.  Make sense? one point I really thought I had this healthy thing down. But this is a never ending journey for me.  And I have to accept that because there is no other option.  Well, the other option is to be obese and unhealthy as I age.  So, really, thats not an option.   It is a ton of work and a constant battle for me to try to be healthy.  Its annoying to have to stress over every meal and everything I put in my mouth.  I want to get up and out and exercise without making myself do it.  I want being healthy to be NATURAL for me.  Will it ever be?  30 days to make a habit right?  I dont agree.  I was thin(nish) for over a year and got back to square one....or shoot...behind square one.  I struggle every single day on this journey.  Tomorrow I am going to blog about my mindset of good and bad foods and how that affects me.  I am hoping other people will be able to chime in and give some thoughts and opinions.  I will say that I am glad to be on track despite the many tantrums I am having along the way :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Waiting to see results

I am still going at it!  My cousin is a teacher, but its quite clear that her passion lies in nutrition and being a physical trainer.  She is transitioning careers soon.  My(our) uncle passed away recently and my cousin and I were "reunited" at the services.  She is a tiny, beautiful thing, but so down to earth and easy to talk to.  I talked with her about my weight gain and my struggles with my love for food, etc.  She has so kindly offered to help me.  We may live like 5 hours apart or more, but I am so grateful.  She gives me my workouts by text and has given me some great ideas on nutrition.  I am making healthier, more natural choices which makes it much easier to track my calories(although she swears I dont need to) to keep my cravings down.  Its nothing short of amazing to me how much more control I have in my food choices when I am not eating sugary, fried, fatty foods.  I used to live off the stuff.  Its like I dont want to eat it because I dont want the cravings to come back!

As for my weight...I have no idea.   I was up to 240.  I had lost 12 lbs and had a hard time being excited about it because I am so far from where I want to be.  I was down to 160 two years ago ish and felt great.  So being down to 228 from 240 hardly seems exciting.  Its like redoing all my hard work which is so frustrating. I didnt feel or look any different after that 12 lbs.   So, I am trying something new.  I am avoiding the scale somewhat.  I want to know I am making good choices and hopefully soon feel/see the weight coming off.  I know from my experience that with my body it will most likely take 20-30 lbs before I see a difference.  Thats how I gain so easily too.  It kinda sneaks up on me.  Thats a lot of weight to gain or lose without changing clothes sizes.  I think what I will do is weigh once a month.  I will put my focus on my good choices and exercise and hope that I get the results I am looking for. 

Exercise....yes, she has me doing some short yet intense workouts.  She is a crossfit goer and knows what she is doing.  They are tough workouts.  I have had a stomach bug for a few days so I havent worked out. But before this I managed to run a mile on the dreadmill.  I have had to work up to that mile.  It wasnt pretty but I did it.  I am excited but frustrated.  I ran a half marathon...13 miles!!!!!!  a year and a half ago!!!  I want to get back there.  I wish I hadnt let myself get back to this! 

But I did.  And so I keep trucking along at least knowing I CAN get there again.  And I will.  Last night I dreamed I was training (effortlessly bu the way) for the half marathon.  It was a reminder how running didnt used to be the struggle it is right now.  I cant wait to enjoy it again!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

4 year olds dont have filters

This was my second week of limiting my sugar intake along with adding exercise.  The scale obviously didnt get that memo because it said I gained a pound.  But its okay.  Last week I lost 12 pounds in one week!  I have not necessarily been tracking any calories because my appetite and cravings have been well under control.  So I assumed the lack of hunger and eating lots of salads and proteins that I was on the right track.  And I probably am, even without a weight loss.  I know that exercising is good for my body and that the food I am putting in is nutritious.  So I will keep plugging along and keep trying to make good choices.  I really dont want to be tied to some plan like I always seem to be.

*Today I am thankful for:  having a part time job with flexibility

*Today's reason for losing weight:  the other day I was grocery shopping with my 4 year old.  She was between me and the cart and grabs my belly and said "this is getting big mommy".  Yup, true story....

Monday, January 14, 2013

The buffet

I have done well eating all week...almost effortlessly.  My appetite seems under control, and I don't seem to have many cravings.  I exercised last week on the treadmill doing various intensities, each session lasting 30 minutes.  My parents were in town this weekend which is always great.  I love when they come.  My dad has been doing a lot of work on my new house, along with hubs.  So the hubs wanted to treat them and took us all out to dinner.  A buffet.  And I was TOTALLY fine with it.  I ate well and not many things tempted me.  Usually a buffet is a gorging event for me.  So many choices, in unlimited quantities!  A fat girl's dream!   After my main meal, I decided to allow myself some dessert.  I had worked hard for almost two weeks of cutting sugars out and eating only healthy carbs.  It was an amazing experience.  I enjoyed it.  I limited myself.  I FELT IN CONTROL of my eating.  I ate dessert in moderation and left the restaurant ( a buffet mind you) without feeling totally stuffed, yet satisfied.  This little success may seem minuscule to some but is very important to me.  

I have had a bit of sadness in my life lately.  I just lost my aunt to cancer right before Christmas.  I have several other relatives who are sick(hospice involved) and/or not doing well.  It is taking a toll on me, and especially on my mother who is watching her close loved ones die.  My mom is my rock.  Its hard to see her sad and upset.  So I decided its a good time to bring back the "Today I am thankful for...." section to my blog.  Readers always seemed to enjoy it and remembering at least one positive that happened is a great frame of mind to get myself into..  And along with that I will also bring back "Today's reason for losing weight..." to my blog. 

*Today I am thankful for:  my husband.  He is a great team player in this marriage.  Most of the things around the house are shared chores.  There aren't many "man chores" or "woman chores" in our house.  He cooks sometimes.  I paint sometimes.  Sometimes he does laundry, sometimes I take out the trash.  He may be superdad while I stack wood.  When the kids were small he changed diapers, washed bottles, etc.  He does laundry, but is also quite the handyman.  Really, he just steps in and we get things done. He's a big manly guy at 6'3" yet a warm fuzzy when I need him to be.  Here I am talking about him and he doesn't even read my blog to know about it!

*Today's reason for losing weight:  Apparently the girls at work are doing weigh ins every Monday at work.  None of them are big in my opinion, yet they all seem to think they are.  I can relate to that because when I was 160 (my lowest weight) I still wasnt happy with how I looked (are we ever??) I heard them say they are all within 5 lbs of one another.  I am guessing I am at least 80 lb more than them.  Now THAT makes me look at my size and weight quite differently. I felt like an outcast fat girl again :(  I will say that I work with very sweet ladies and there is no negative feelings among any of us.  My feelings of being an outcast are clearly my disgust with myself. 


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Smell and taste

I can smell and taste a little bit more as the day goes on, so hopefully that means I am on the mend!  Everyone loses their taste at some point when they have a cold or sinus infection for a bit.  But this is the first time I didnt have taste or smell for almost 3 days.  It made me more conscious of my eating habits.  I have said how I havent had many cravings and that my appetite has been under control since I have tried to cut sugars out and eat more complex carbs.  And it was the same these past few days.  So what is very enlightening to me is that I found myself very disappointed when I couldnt taste.  I wanted to be able to taste and enjoy my food, and I was ticked off when I couldnt.  I guess I really do love food.  There were a few times I found myself wandering around aimlessly looking for something to eat even though I wasnt hungry or craving anything.  I had to remind myself that I wouldnt be able to taste anything anyway, but it was again a realization that I DO eat when I am not hungry or craving anything.  There was no smell that made me hungry.  I was looking for food because I am used to it being something that makes me feel good, or just to eat out of boredom.  Interesting.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Week one-still going

Hello All.  Just a quick post today :).  One week in and I am down 12 lbs.  I am rather shocked by that, although I am sure it is mostly water weight.  I continue to limit my sugar intake, and I am taking in mainly carbs that are complex(some fruit, wheat bread, yogurt, etc).  And as I posted the other day, the most *miraculous* thing so far is that my appetite and cravings seem under control.  I am not calorie counting, or following any specific diet.  I am just listening to my body and trying to be more active.  I eat when my body says its hungry, but yet not ravenous to eat junk like usual.  Its a totally different kind of hungry.  I have used the treadmill a few times for 30 minutes and have done mostly walking with an alternating running(not jogging).  I know this one minute segment of running is what is helping my lungs and body to build endurance.  I feel like I am going at this pretty slow and taking this as another learning lesson.

I am currently reading a book about food addicts.  I will give more info about it when I get further into it.  But so far, it makes an awful lot of sense and makes me look at this journey differently.  I think I am battling a sinus infection and cant seem to taste or smell anything today, or yesterday.  I do feel better than yesterday, but if tomorrow isn't a ton better it may be a trip the the Dr for some antibiotics. 

Hope all is well. I will check in again soon.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sugar and feeling in control

It feels great to be "back"!!  Its no secret I have experimented with several different diets and methods to lose weight.  I have no regrets along the way because essentially I have learned what works and what doesn't work.  And that is so important in this journey!

One of the plans that I did was Body for Life.  It focuses on certain exercises paired with an eating plan.  I bought the book and that was about it.  There was nothing else to buy. And I didn't even need to buy the book because its all readily available online, for free even :).   The plan focuses on eating properly, and gives a pretty specific list of foods that can be eaten.  It teaches what complex carbs are and how they should be paired with a protein.  You do the plan for 6 days and get one free day.  Its a rather restrictive eating plan, however, the main thing that I learned from this plan was that it really controlled my appetite.  This is the only plan of the many, many plans that I have tried that was able to control the beast( aka: my appetite) and almost totally took my cravings away.  I know that my appetite and cravings are my main issues in this journey.  When I would get hungry on this plan, it wasn't a craving or starvation feel.  It was a simple belly growl reminding me to eat.  But there were no cravings for sweet sugary things like I am used to.  Great right?!  So where did I go wrong?  The free day.  You get a free day and I learned that once my body got sugars, and simple carbs, it was very hard to get back on track.  It take a few days of eating their way to get rid of the cravings again.

This is one of the most important things I have learned in this journey.  When they are out of my system I don't crave them!  Even if they are right in front of me!!  Now THAT is nothing short of AMAZING!  So, I am not calorie counting, and although I am not following this diet per say, I am taking what I learned and using it in my every day life.  Feeling in control of my eating is huge for me.  I am cutting out most simple carb sugars, eating complex carbs, and exercising. 

It feels great!  It feels great not to be on any specific plan and yet still be eating well.  This might be a first, and hopefully a way of life. It feels great to be in control of my appetite and cravings. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What is healthy?

When I signed into blogger I noticed I had one less follower then when I posted the other day.  I usually don't pay much attention to the number but notice it now when I log in.  But I am not bothered, which is odd because I tend to be a sensitive person.  The way I see it is that this is my journey.  It may not be inspiring to people when I am coming back after putting ALL my weight back some.  I am not running half marathons and losing weight regularly yet.  I am not posting about my accomplishments or how great things are going (yet).  But this is my reality right now.  My struggle.  My journey. And I accept it...because otherwise I play the denial game and would continue to get bigger and bigger.  Of course I want to be inspiring to others through this blog.  But....Life isn't always easy, and its not REAL if I only post about the good things.  I am not perfect.  Life isn't always perfect.  There are bumps in the road, and obstacles that stand in our way.  Some are bigger than others.  Its what we do when we get to those bumps and obstacles that matter.

Speaking of perfect, I have been thinking about what my actual goal is(again...sigh).  I was down to 160 lbs at one point a while back,  and that was still considered overweight for my height and frame.  Yet for me, I do believe I was happy at that weight.  I felt good.  My body felt good.  I wore a size 10(even with the Fupa).  When I ran my half marathon I weighed about 180 lbs.  Again, I felt good.  My weight a bit higher, but there is no doubt I was somewhat fit.  I ran for 13.1 miles straight!  I am still in awe of that.   At any rate, I know lots of people who ARE at their ideal weight, yet they don't exercise an ounce, or they smoke, or eat like garbage, drink lots, etc.  And sometimes I am jealous that they don't have to think about exercise, or every single thing they put in their mouth and how it will affect their weight and pants size.   But I have learned that its one thing to look healthy and its another thing to BE healthy.  I learned the other day when I tried to run at 240 pounds, that I WAS healthy back then.  I see now that it took great endurance, stamina, and strength to run that half marathon. I WAS healthy, even if I was still overweight according to some chart.

One of my greatest accomplishments was that half marathon in October 2011.  And before that, it was my first 5K, and then my first 10K.  These experiences changed my life.  They showed me what I am capable of if I just put my mind to it. They showed me that I can be fit and wear cute clothes.  They showed me I can be confident and proud of myself.  Now that I am back at square one(or maybe even behind that).  I cant even run a half of a mile without stopping and being so uncomfortably out of breath, I realize and appreciate just how fit I was.  This is a HUGE lesson learned for me.  Putting the weight back on stinks, and having to redo all my hard work to get it back off stinks, but figuring things out in my head and learning from them is priceless.

On that note, I have felt in control of my eating and plan to incorporate some exercise very soon.  I am in the right mindset, finally.