3+ Months; Follow-Ups and Personal Goals

Hey everyone, I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since I last posted, I honestly have no idea where the past few weeks have gone, but I promise to be more diligent in my weekly routine from here on out.

I had my three-month follow-up with my surgeon this week. I admit I was a little nervous, because what if he wasn’t pleased with my weight loss so far or what if my blood work showed something was lacking? It’s all good though, apparently all of that worry and concern was for nothing, though I was a little low on vitamin A, he was very pleased with my weight loss. from our first appointment in early January to this past Thursday, I have lost a total of 59.4 pounds, that’s pretty awesome if you ask me, and apparently he agrees — he even went so far as to call me a superstar patient! He was also pleased with my typical menu, though he did tell me to make sure I don’t eat too many mixed nuts as they are calorie dense, but he was impressed that I had pretty much cut out all sweets and additional salt to my meals (both of which I was addicted to prior to surgery). He was also very happy to hear that I had been working with a personal trainer and had been doing strength training as well as cardio. Though he was pleased, I am not off the hook yet as this was just the first follow-up in a series of follow-up that I believe lasts around five years, I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to make sure that I don’t back-slide on old habits. Some days that is super easy, some days it is super difficult. I’ve been remiss at taking full body photos but I have been taking pictures of my face and it’s sometimes jarring to see my face prior to surgery in contrast to my face now.

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The left photo was taken on 1/11/17 and the right photo was taken 9/28/17 – it’s nice to see cheek bones and a chin, but one thing that I notice is how much longer my necklace hangs now.

In other health related news, a few weeks ago, I was chatting with my primary doctor during a routine follow-up and had mentioned that I was experiencing intense hot flashes numerous times a day. We decided to do a blood panel to look at my thyroid levels and my hormone levels to see if I was pre-menopausal (which my doctor and I both agree that I am too young for) or if my thyroid medication was too high, which can cause a number of side-effects including hot flashes. A few days later, she calls me to tell me that my hormone levels are good and that my thyroid is now functioning as hyperthyroidism vice hypothyroidism, that we need to lower my medication and recheck it in a couple of months.

All-in-all, I am very happy with my results so far. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement, in fact, I think it is time to start writing out some goals and sharing them here as a way to help me stay accountable. So, here goes . . .

OCTOBER GOALS

Exercise:
*At least 20 minutes of brisk walking 3 times a week.
*3 gym sessions a week (either meeting with my personal trainer, working out on the machines myself or classes).

Food:
*Log calorie/carb/protein/beverage intake at least 3 days a week.

Do you write goals for yourself, for improved health or otherwise? If so, how do you make sure that you reach them?

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Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | Leave a comment

Lightning and Winds and Rain and Irma

Hey everyone! It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve posted, but I promise it’s not because I forgot about it, it’s just been crazy hectic here lately.

As some of you know, in addition to my full-time during the week, I am working toward my Master’s degree in English, so this semester I have class after work on Thursday evenings. Well, the Thursday after my last blog post, I was sitting in class, struggling to keep up with my brilliant professor when my cell phone starts vibrating, I tried to ignore it because as I mentioned, my professor is brilliant and he’s also explaining things that were completely over my head and if I stop focusing on what he is saying for even one minute, I will get completely lost. Then the buzz came a second time. This time, I looked; it was my husband telling me that  tree came down in our yard and asking for the number for our property manager. I discreetly found the number and sent it to him, about ten minutes later, my property manager called me, the call went to voicemail, then he sent me a text asking for my husband’s number. Now, I am trying to hide my phone under my table, listen to what my professor is talking about and get everyone everything they need; clearly it wasn’t working. A few minutes later, I received yet another text from the hubby telling me that they had called the fire department, turned off the electricity and were evacuating! To say I was confused is an understatement. I flipped back through my text messages and noticed I had missed one very important text where he told me the house had been hit by lightning. Ok, now I have to turn off my school brain and turn on my wife/mother brain. I packed up my stuff, told my friend what I had just found out and left class to head home.  Walking out to my car, I called home, called my boss to tell her what was going on, called my parents to let them know they might have company tonight and drove like a crazy woman to get home.  I got home just at dusk, using a flashlight and adrenaline, I packed a bag and we loaded up to go to my parents house for the night. We spent the next couple of days making sure the house was safely inhabitable and assessing the damage. In the end, we lost the air conditioner, television, cable box and wireless internet router, plus the network cards in our computers. Our landlord/property manager worked hard to get the air conditioner fixed by late Friday night, we decided to do without cable and a new television for now, and replaced the router and fixed the computers and by Saturday evening, we were all home as a family.

Unfortunately, the fun was just beginning. As we were dealing with all of the house/lightning/electric/air conditioner drama, a little storm south-east of us was brewing into a record-breaking hurricane named Irma. Once we were able to take a breath and relax, we started paying very close attention to what Irma was doing, and she was refusing to make up her mind. It finally became evident, that regardless of what side of the state she was going to directly hit, all of Florida would be impacted. We started preparing for the worst case scenario and stocked up on water and canned goods, enough to get us through a few days without power. By Friday, her path was pretty clear and even though it wasn’t going to be as bad as we had originally planned for, we knew that we were going to be hit with lots of wind and rain Sunday night into Monday. We played board games and snacked on hurricane snacks most of Sunday night, went to bed at a relatively decent hour, mostly because nothing exciting was happening yet, so sleep wasn’t evasive. I woke up around 2:30 in the morning to the fact that we lost power, but quickly went back to sleep until around 9. When I woke up, the winds were starting to subside and by 11, we were able to go out and assess the damages. We were lucky – we were without power, but other than the tree that came down the previous weekend, we had no fallen trees, just an awful lot of yard debris. Our power was restored sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 and the job of yard cleaning has been taking place (very slowly) ever since. As I said, we were very fortunate. I have seen so many images of complete devastation, houses under water and I believe there are still people without power, seven days later. I am grateful that we made it out unscathed, but heart-broken over the flooding I’ve seen in my home town, just one county away.

I admit that I made some not-so-great choices and had my share of junk food during the hurricane;  white rice with my beef stew, a cheese puff or two here and there, a few Ritz Crisps here and there, and even a few gluten-free “Mint Slim” cookies (think of Thin Mints from the Girl Scouts, just not as good) but all-in-all I feel I did ok and since the scale is still going down, I must be right. Since surgery on June 26th, I’ve lost 41 pounds and 54.5 pounds since January 1st. I am 23 pounds away from my second goal, and 52 pounds away from where I think I want to be (but that can change as I get closer). I take it day-by-day, working out and working hard to make healthy choices.

It’s been a pretty interesting couple of weeks for us and there’s even more stuff happening that I didn’t write about, but I will save that for a later blog post.  If you’ve read this far, thank you so much. I know it was a lot of rambling and “stuff” but I truly appreciate your support and your allowing me (and even encouraging me) to share my stuff with you.

If you were in Irma’s path, please reach out and let me know how you fared.

XOXOX

Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | Leave a comment

Tossing Out the Invisibility Cloak

The past couple of weeks have been challenging. As I mentioned in my last post, my second semester of school just started and my office is going through a re-organization, two major events and since I ditched my former coping mechanism of eating, I’ve been working hard to allow myself to feel all the stress, and process it the best way that I know how without shoving chips and cake and other junk in my face.

Eventually, the stress got the better of me and I had a few days of what I call “the blahs”, where I just don’t feel so great and I start thinking about all the things I am NOT vice all the things I am. One of the things I am not, and I wish I was, is outgoing and overtly social. I have always chosen friends who had those characteristics, but I have been more of the wallflower, the wing-man, kind of blending into the background and seemingly (at least to me) being invisible.

In the Harry Potter book series, Albus Dumbledore gives Harry an invisibility cloak that once belonged to Harry’s father. This gift protects Harry as he moves around the castle, among other places, while also aiding Harry in his sleuthing and protecting him from harm and danger. I have used my fat and low self-esteem as my invisibility cloak my entire life – protecting me from making friends, getting hurt and even knowing/loving myself – and I am getting pretty darn tired of it. I want to be seen, I want to be heard, I want to feel that my voice matters. Now I know my family and friends would argue that all of those things are already a reality, but in my mind, I am not fully convinced.

As of today, I have lost just over 50 pounds since January 1st, and 37 pounds since surgery. I am finally shedding my invisibility cloak and I can’t wait to see what happens next! I am not sure exactly how I am going to do it, but I think I will start by purchasing clothes that fit and flatter, vice the black on black ensembles that I used to be drawn to, it’s time that I allow color into my closet! Then, I think I will work on actually allowing myself to have an opinion about stuff again – when I was hiding behind the fat, I tended to shy away from sharing my opinion because I feared bringing attention to myself. Not anymore, I want the world to see me for who I am and recognize what I bring to the table.

It’s time to toss the invisibility cloak side and step out of the shadows into the world, it’s time to LIVE!!

Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 2 Comments

A Lesson to Learn Over and Over Again

I apologize for not posting last week, it’s been pretty hectic here between work and trying to figure out a new workout/gym routine and getting everyone back-to-school ready and preparing for our road-trip to South Carolina with my daughters to witness the total eclipse yesterday.  I go back to school this week, so the next couple of weeks will be spent trying to find a balance between work/family/gym/school and homework, and just when I get that routine down, something else will come up and I will have to adjust again – but that’s life right, ever changing. I will admit, if it wasn’t, I would get bored.

The only issue with constant change and fluidity, is that it can cause things like weight loss to move at a slower pace than it would if that was all I had to focus on. And that can be a little frustrating.  I am not complaining though, I’ve been losing consistently, but I’ve been losing very slowly – I’ve only lost 32 pounds since surgery almost two months ago,  and only 40 pounds since starting the liquid diet the week prior. I know that it’s amazing compared to how difficult it was to lose weight before surgery (it would take me months to lose 5 pounds and I would easily gain it back after a weekend traveling) and I also know that I shouldn’t compare my weight loss journey to anyone else’s, but there are times when it is difficult not to.

 
That being said, I have lost inches, in fact, my daughter and I were at TJMaxx this past Sunday and she convinced me to try on a pair of jeans that are a size 16. Initially, I was dubious since I recently bought a pair of capris that are size 18 and are a little tight around the calf, but I tried them on as requested and was thrilled that they fit! Later in the evening, we found ourselves in another department store and I bought a pair of capris and shorts, both size 16! No more saggy bottom jeans for me!!
 
It seems that I have to learn this lesson over and over again, if you get discouraged or depressed because you don’t feel you are losing weight at the rate that you feel you should be (or as others are), make sure you are paying attention to more than just the numbers on the scale. I haven’t lost as much as some, but in two months, I have gone from wearing size 22 pants to size 16 – I will take that over the number on the scale any day!
 
Have a great Tuesday, much love to you all!!!
Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 1 Comment

An out of town guest, visiting Savannah and St. Augustine.

My girlfriend flew in from Southern California to visit me this past weekend and though we were in vacation mode, we were constantly on the go. She flew in late Wednesday evening, and I had planned to take her to Ichetucknee Springs State Park to spend a few hours relaxing among nature while floating down the spring. Unfortunately, the weather forecast called for thunder and lightning storms and choosing not to get her electrocuted while visiting my wacky state, I opted to drive her around to see the lovely sites instead. We first headed out to the beach, then went back inland to enjoy a BBQ lunch, buy some yummy cupcakes and the head to a huge used bookstore where my daughters and I regularly shop.

The following day, Friday, we headed up to Savannah, Georgia with my daughters,  my cousin and his wife to walk River Street and meander through the city, enjoying the perfectly manicured and picturesque squares sprinkled every few blocks. We made reservations at The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen’s restaurant, where she was introduced to fried green tomatoes, fried okra, cheese biscuits and Johnny cakes (cornbread pancakes). I did eat 1 fried green tomato, and a couple of the fried okra, but for lunch I opted for the chicken salad sandwich with cheese grits.

I only ate the chicken salad part out of half of the sandwich and the cheese grits were too cheesy for me (I never thought that was possible), so I only had a small bite. We then ordered dessert, and each of us shared among the table. All together we had banana pudding, key lime pie and peach cobbler. I had a bite or two of the pudding and cobbler and a bite of the pie and was completely satisfied. How drastically different from pre-surgery where I could have polished off my entire meal and dessert and then had bites of everyone else’s dessert. Once our meal was over, we headed back home. We decided to stop at a local department store and I was very excited to discover I could wear capris that are two sizes smaller than what I am currently wearing. They are still a little snug in the calves, but not for long!

Saturday, we headed a little south to the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, for a leisurely walk down St. George Street, shopping for trinkets and souvenirs. I usually get fudge when I go to St. Augustine, but I didn’t this time, and honestly other than when we passed by the shop when we first got there, I didn’t even think about it the rest of the day. We stopped at a pizza place where I ordered a Panini and ate about a quarter of it. I brought it home, but it really wasn’t very good the next day.

Finally, on Sunday, we choose to relax and head to the beach! We spent a few hours laying in the sun and playing in the water then headed home to shower and nap for a bit before my cousin and his wife came over for dinner. We decided to treat my girlfriend to a good home-made southern meal on her last night at our house so my husband and I made shrimp and grits for dinner. I have to admit, it was the best shrimp and grits we have made in a while. The only bad part is that I could only eat a few bites before I was done. Of course, that’s really a good thing, and I usually don’t miss foods that I can’t eat a lot of, but shrimp and grits and my cousins home-made banana cream pudding are two things that I would have loved eating full portions of.

I am so happy that my girlfriend came to visit. I truly enjoyed showing her around and catching up with her. I know that she will be very happy to get back to her healthier eating though. I am done eating out for a while, it’s one thing to have left overs at home, but at one point this weekend, my refrigerator was full of to-go containers from restaurants. Most of which ended up in the garbage, because I have a three-day limit on the leftovers I will eat. If I brought home pulled pork on Thursday, I will not eat it after Saturday — it’s just my thing. Eventually I am going to have to convince someone in my family to split meals with me, just to prevent wasting so much food, it hurts my heart as well as my wallet.

All-in-all, I think I did well this weekend. Could I have done without the fried okra and the bites of cobbler and key lime pie, sure, but I don’t regret anything and given the opportunity, I would probably do it all over again. Just because I have had bariatric surgery, that doesn’t mean that I will stop living and enjoying myself. A lot of celebratory stuff revolves around food and I don’t see that culture changing any time soon. I have to be responsible for how I handle that and if it means that I have a small bite of something and move on, then I am ok with that.

I know that some people disagree, what are your thoughts?

Categories: Vertical Sleeve, VSG, Weight Loss Surgery | 8 Comments

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