Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm About To Get Real

98.6 lbs gone!  I'm only 1.4 pounds away from being able to say I've lost 100 lbs.  So exciting!  I'm wearing a size 14 now.  Interestingly, my shoe size has also dropped.  I've went from a 7 Wide to a 6 1/2.

My eating habits have taken a turn for he worse.  I mean they've gotten bad.  Carbs and sugar every day.  I decided to do something about it and went all liquid protein for a day.  The most unbelievable thing happened.  My tolerance for sugar and fried foods went out the window!  I am now getting sick when I eat something I shouldn't.  This is new, and I don't know if has anything to do with going liquid for a day but that's when it started.  I'm going to count this as a blessing.  A deterrent.  Hopefully this will help get me back on track.

I've started drinking my morning coffee with a scoop of protein.  Sometimes I'll add some coffee creamer, too.  A cup of coffee with Nectar Vanilla Bean Torte and Coffeemate Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie is to die for!  Absolutely delicious.  I know it's a few extra calories, but it's better than a lot of things I can think of for breakfast.... like donuts!  Um yeah, I don't know if I want to get started on that.  I was in Schnucks a few weeks ago and saw a fried croissant.  I used to love those, so I thought I'd just get one.  Well, that one turned into three or four over the next couple weeks.  This, my friends, is exactly why I decided I needed to do a day of liquids to try to get myself back on track.  I'm still not back on track, but it's much better than it was! I'm focusing on protein first but that sweet snack is killing me.  I have to stop.  Now.

Classes are just about over for the semester.  I took two finals today and have one more in a couple days.  I'll be so glad to be finished this semester!  Looks like as long as I passed all of my classes, I have my Associate's Degree.  Then, I'm taking the spring semester of and starting back up at the university next fall to finish my bachelor's.  Hopefully, it'll be on to my master's after that!

Okay, time to get real.  I'm still having body issues.  Lots of body issues.  I see myself and I look so big to me in the mirror.  It's only when I look at a picture do I actually see me.  My clothes are starting to fit a little better, but I'm still struggling with a lot of extra skin.  I have a bit more fat to lose, but I'm getting a lot more toned now.  I think it's because I do a lot of squatting and lifting at work, I'm strengthening my muscles.  Even my husband and my doctor have noticed.  I can actually see my muscles when I flex.  Hooray!  Unfortunately, no matter how much I work out and how much I tone, I am not going to lose the extra skin and a bunch of fat is going to continue hanging around.

So tonight I leave you with a couple pictures of a 34 year old woman who let her body go for 15 years, getting larger and larger.  A woman who has had 4 babies, two of them being twins.  A woman who reached the whopping weight of 286 lbs and has lost 78% of her excess body weight.  This is for all those pre-op patients out there wondering what their body will look like after they have lost weight.  I can't say that you'll look like me.  Maybe you'll be lucky and your skin will bounce back.  Mine won't.  The only way for me to get rid of this now is plastic surgery.  Once my BMI hits 30 (it's now 32) I am to return to my plastic surgeon for a followup.  This, folks, is why I wear Spanx.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Burt's Bees Skincare

One thing that we're all told before weight loss surgery is to expect changes in skin.  People who have oily skin my get dry skin, and those with dry skin may get oily.  There's a science behind it and it mostly leads back to hormone fluctuations. 

As a BzzAgent, I recently had the opportunity to try out a new line of skin care from Burt's Bees.  I've always loved this brand so I was thrilled to give it a shot.  I received a couple bottles of Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin.  One was a cleanser and the other a moisturizer. 

As soon as I put on the cleanser, I knew that I liked it.  The scent was light and natural, not heavy with perfumes.  It went on very smooth and rinsed away easily, leaving no film or residue.  It did not feel harsh on my skin. 
Next, I used the moisturizer.  It also went on smooth and was not oily or greasy.  It left my skin feeling so smooth. 

I've been using both the cleanser and moisturizer for about two weeks now.  I've noticed that my skin is smoother and softer.  Best of all, I'm not left with breakouts like I was with my old skin care products. I'm sold.  In fact, I plan on buying the matching eye cream as well. 

If you're looking for a new skin care regimen post surgery, I highly recommend you give the Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solution for Sensitive Skin products a try!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nine Month Update

It's been one year since my first consultation with my surgeon and a little over nine months since my surgery.  A lot has happened since my last update, but it's mostly just person stuff, not surgery related.  I've lost ten pounds since my last update.  Most of that was within the past month or so, believe it or not!  When I look at my weight loss ticker, it just doesn't seem real.  189.  That's 97 lbs lost and 39 to go until I reach my goal.  I've lost 77% of my excess body weight, so even if I don't lose anymore, I consider this surgery to be successful.  I do, however, plan on losing a lot more!

I started a new job in September and that has kept me very busy.  I'm got a job in a deli/bakery.  I may have mentioned before that I have a lot of bakery experience.  Because it's been so hard to find a job, I took it knowing that it would be very hard on my new lifestyle.  Being around all of those delicious goodies all day has been very hard and I'll admit to have indulged more times than I should have - my vice being puff pastries and cheesecake.  I think the novelty of them are starting to wear off and I'm getting back on track.  In fact, I lost three pounds this past week alone!  It's also been difficult because when I'm at work I have to eat fast and eat whatever I can get a hold of.  Sometimes there's some kind of high protein entree in the hot case but it's mostly fried food.  This is how I've found out that I'm able to tolerate fried foods once more.  I'm also able to eat bread again.  This scares me a bit, so I'm trying hard to avoid them.

My schedule is very hectic right now.  I go to class through the day then work in the evening.  Sometimes I am fortunate to work during the day on days I don't have school.  I don't see my kids as often as I'd like, some days for just an hour a day.  I miss them, I miss being home and I miss eating right.  So you'll have to forgive me for not updating my blog lately, I really just haven't had time!

Speaking of school, check out this photo to the left.  This was me in March 2010 when I was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  My how things change!  I look at that and can't believe that's me.  It's true that you really don't realize how big you are.  I look like me only grossly swollen.

I was wearing a size 28 in this picture, and it was tight.  Today I'm in a 16 in pants and can wear a large or some mediums in shirts.  My pants are significantly bigger than my shirts because I have a lot of excess skin around my abdomen.  Details about that in a bit, though, first I want to talk about my clothing size.  I found Spanx to be my best friend.  They really hold things in and make a better fit.  Right now I have to tuck the excess skin into my pants and it just looks horrible.  I'm wearing a pant size 1-2 sizes bigger than my waist and legs, so it always looks frumpy and I hate that!

About a month ago, I decided it was time to buy a couple good bras.  I'd had two bra measurements done and neither of them were correct.  I started this journey at a 48DDD.  I thought what fit me best right now was a 38DDD.  That was until I went for an actual bra fitting.  I tried on a few bras and had someone adjust them and finally found my size.  Hold on to your seats.  38G!!  Holy cow.  This just validated the feeling that I had that my breasts were way too big and causing problems (mostly back pain.)  It was impossible to walk into a store and find a bra in my size.  I did buy to balconet bras from Lane Bryant and let me tell you the results are amazing.  I'm half tempted to post a comparison picture between my old bra and the new one.

So I figured I'd had enough and made a consultation with a local plastic surgeon who was highly recommended by people associated with my bariatric surgeon.  I mostly talked with her about a breast reduction, to which she said I was a good candidate for.  I must get my BMI to 30 (it's currently 33) and be at a stable weight for three months before I can have surgery.  So we're working on it, almost there!  Hoping by next spring, maybe summer, I'll be able to get that taken care of.
Gross hanging skin in the back and in the front!

I also talked to her about a panniculectomy - removal of the excess skin.  She said that will have to be a totally separate surgery and we will discuss it more later.  It's going to be a lot more complicated as far as getting insurance approval for because it has to be proven to be medically necessary.  This is true (because of rashes and such) but it's harder to prove that it is needed.
This skin is not going to go away on it's own.  To the left is a picture of me, 37 weeks pregnant with my twins.  My belly stretched out so big!  I have too many stretchmarks to count.  My skin has totally lost it's elasticity.  Even if I got down to 120 lbs (which I don't plan on) I will still have the hanging skin because it's just not possible for it to bounce back.

After the first of the year, and when I get closer to my goal weight, I will be working more towards my goal of a panniculectomy.  I dream about it, how wonderful it'll be to just zip up a pair of jeans in the correct size and have them hug my body.  Instead, they are tight around the abdomen and way too loose around the waist and in the legs.  I recently bought a pair of size 16 jeans from Old Navy.  I tried on a pair of 14s but I couldn't get them comfortably zipped.  Instead, I have the 16s which are too baggy and I have to keep pulling up but at least they zip, right?  If I wore my Spanx every day I could probably wear the 14s.  But I don't want to wear them to work because let's face it, they are not exactly comfortable and I do a lot of physical work with lifting and squatting.

Speaking of lifting and squatting, I went to see my primary doctor a couple weeks ago to get a prescription for B12 shots.  She had seen me only a month prior to that visit and said even though I'd only lost a few pounds I looked even smaller.  She said I looked toned and the new job was probably giving me a nice workout.  I do feel a little more toned, too.  This morning I had my husband feel my thigh and even he said it felt a lot harder.  Yay for toning!  Oh, back to the B12.  I got the injections so I didn't have to remember to take a pill every day.  I'll inject myself once a month.  I haven't done it yet, my first one will be in two weeks.  I think I'll see if my mother-in-law can do it for me since she's an RN.  Now I just need to find a multivitamin that I like and remember to take my iron!

I'm still drinking a protein shake for breakfast most mornings.  I haven't had one in the past week because I had a mild stomach bug (my first one since surgery) and sometimes the protein shakes upset my stomach anyway.  Didn't want to tempt fate.  I have found a new way to enjoy my protein shakes, though - fat free coffee creamer!  Sure it has a few calories and carbs but I'm not using much of it and I love the flavor that it gives a straight Vanilla Bean Torte flavored Nectar protein powder.  Delicious.  Just typing about it makes me want to go get one.

I guess that's about it for updates.  I seriously need to develop an "ick" factor for the food at work.  I need to get my eating back under control and get the spark back that I had just after surgery.  I'm so close to goal, I don't want to blow it now!

I want to give a special shout out to my support group at New Life Weight Loss Center in Herrin, IL.  These people have become a family to me.  I love you all so much and am grateful for the friendships I have made and support you all give me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender 200W

Oh, the things I imagine using this handy piece of kitchen equipment for!  It's the Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender 200W.  I have a chance to try one through Bzz Agent and I'm really hoping they pick me.  Then, I'll be able to tell you all the wonderful things it could do!  The first thing I'd try, of course, is a protein shake.  Maybe some protein in coffee because I can never quite get that to blend well enough.  Purees! Oh, the purees this thing could do, which we all know is essential to the new bariatric patient.  I would make purees with it even now.  I'd puree cauliflower to make mashed cauliflower or cauliflower pizza crust.  I'd puree squash to make soup.  The list goes on and on!  I bet it would even whip eggs to make a fluffy omelet.  Mmmm!!  This thing could be a bariatric patient's best friend!  I hope they choose me so I can tell you all first hand how this tool works!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blender Bottles

I've went through so many blender bottles since starting my weight loss journey a year ago.  They have almost all leaked.  I have a new opportunity to try the BlenderBottle by Sundesa.  I'll be getting it through BzzAgent.  I'm so excited to try it!  I still have one protein shake a day, religiously, so I'm really looking forward to this Bzz campaign.

I'll be posting more of an update post in the very near future!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Well, I did it!  Just a day after I made the last post, I made  it to Onederland.  My weight is finally in the 100's.  It's been a long time coming but I did it.  You know the odd thing, I think I made it because I slightly increased my calories.  It makes me wonder if my metabolism just needed a jolt.  I got about 1000 calories a day a few days in a row.  Now I will drop it back down to 800 and see what happens.

Granted the reason for my calorie increase was not a good one.  I was preparing for my twins' birthday party.  I made a ton of lollipops and cupcakes.  I had to sample some to make sure they were okay.  Well, maybe I didn't have to, but would you serve food you hadn't tasted?

The last time I weighed this much was in 2003.  The time before that was high school.  I actually got down to 172 last time I lost a massive amount of weight and will be thrilled to reach that again.

Did you do the math?  8 years ago I weighed 172.  A year ago I weighed 286. I actually gained most of that within a year!  That's a 114 lb gain.  Yikes.  Thank you progesterone & estrogen.  I stand by my claim that Provera is the devil in shot and/or pill form.  So now I've lost 87 lbs of that regain.

That brings me to mini-goals.  I think I've shared some, but I've made a few more so it's time to post them again.

  • 199 lbs (Onederland)
  • Fit into husband's t-shirts
  • 195 lbs (Less than husband)
  • 186 lbs (100 pounds lost)
  • 172 lbs (weight I was at my last weight)
  • 167 lbs / BMI 29 (No longer obese)
  • 150 lbs - Goal Weight
I don't know if I'll get to my goal weight but I'm going to try my hardest!  At 6 months out my weight loss has definitely slowed, but it has not stopped and that's the important part.

The picture above is one that I took at my twins' birthday party.  It was at the Science Center and there was a full length mirror, which I don't have at home, so I took full advantage of it.  Quite honestly, I was surprised by how thin I looked.  I'm also getting my curves back.

Speaking of curves, I've got plenty of them but not how I'd like them.  Sure my breasts are looking a little better, it's no longer the same size as my waist and my pear shape is finally going away, but I have so much loose skin.  This is a picture taken of me from behind.  Those aren't fat rolls on my back.  It's hanging skin.  It's even worse in the front.  So much so that it hangs over my pubic area.  I'd probably be a size 12 by now if it wasn't there.  Maybe even a 10.  But as it is I have to tuck it in and then the front of my jeans look funky (you can see this in the post below where I'm standing in front of my husband's Trans Am.) 

My jeans are baggy in the legs, loose around the waist but tight around the lower abdomen.  I hope everything catches up because I hate it.  It's awful and takes a lot to maintain so I don't get a rash or odor under the skin.  It adds an extra 5-10 minutes to my shower time to make sure everything is completely dry plus adding any powder or anti-chafing gel that may be necessary.

I don't know if plastic surgery will be something that I'll be able to do, but if I have the opportunity I'll definitely consider it.  If I wasn't so diligent with staying dry and clean I'd be having major issues with rashes right now.  We'll see when that time comes. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Red Toenails

Why did the elephant paint it's toenails red?  So it could hide in a cherry tree!
Why did the bariatric patient paint her toenails red?  Because she could!

I was about to head out to a support group meeting the other day in flip-flops.  I looked down at my poor pitiful feet which are in desperate need a pedicure.  I had to do something.  I went into the bathroom, took my bright red nail polish out of the medicine cabinet, put my leg foot up on the bathroom sink and stood there painting my toenails.  It's so much easier than it used to be.  

I had my 6 month post-op appointment yesterday.  It went excellent.  I'm right on track and my labs were perfect.  Guess I'm doing something right!  I have some trouble with hanging skin.  I was told that if down the road it is still a problem, my surgeon can do something about it so that's a relief.  In the meantime, adding weights to my cardio should be a helpful way to tone it.  I bought a size Large shirt yesterday.  It fit so nice, I went back and bought another one today.  I'm loving my new size.  Oh, one more thing before I go.  See the scale above?  I'm hoping to be in Onederland this weekend.  Crossing my fingers!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How I See Food

To me, the whole world is a Taco Town.  If you're not sure what I'm referring to, I highly encourage you to view the Saturday Night Live skit, Taco Town at  You'll have to watch a short commercial first.  What I can eat and what other people can eat has such a stark contrast.  I see the whole world eating Taco Town Tacos.  So what's a Taco Town Taco?
It's a crunchy all beef taco smothered in cheese, lettuce tomato and special southwestern sauce.  Then it's wrapped in a soft tortilla with a layer of refried beans.  Then it's wrapped in a corn tortilla with a layer of monterey jack cheese.  And, it gets even awesomer when it's covered in a gordita shell and smothered in a layer of guacomolito sauce wrapped around the outside.  But it gets bigger!  It's baked in a corn husk filled with pico de gallo then wrapped in a crepe with egg, sausage and portabello mushroom.
Then the whole thing is wrapped in a Chicago style deep dish pizza.  But wait, it's not a Taco Town taco until it's rolled up in a blueberry pancake, dipped in batter and deep fried until a golden brown.  Finally, it's served in a tote bag filled with spicy vegetarian chili.  This sounds insane right?  Well, a quick search for these images on Google proved that it wasn't so far fetched.  It's amazing how many people have actually tried making this at home!  Not only did they make it, they ate it, too.

This huge monster of a taco probably sound outlandish to most people, though.  But, the thing is, anytime I go out to eat I see Taco Town Tacos.  Not literally, but metaphorically.  Take this Baconator from Wendy's for example.  My husband loves these.  Admittedly, he does not eat one very often, I can only remember him eating one or two in the past year.  This thing is huge.  If I tried to eat it, I would probably only get a couple bites in.  Then, I'd spend the next hour with nausea, sweats and the feeling that a baseball sized glob of food was stuck in my esophagus.  I can't even imagine trying to eat this thing!  The burger alone weighs 300 grams, that's about 10 ounces or 2/3 of a pound.  My poor little stomach will only hold 4-6 ounces.  It has 930 calories (that's over my 800/day goal), 58 grams of fat, 195 mg of cholesterol and 41 carbs.  About the only thing it has going for it is 58 grams of protein, but then again, look at all that burger, cheese and bacon.  Of course it's going to have a lot of protein.  Unfortunately the calories, fat and cholesterol are not worth it.
KFC's Double Down was something that repulsed me even before surgery.  Using fried chicken as the bun?  Seriously?  And people raved about this.  I didn't take the time to look up nutrition facts.  I just know that it makes me sick just looking at it.  I do like KFC's grilled chicken, though.  Our local restaurant only recently started serving it.  It was delicious.

Even a Big Mac from McDonald's just looks so huge to me now.  How did I ever eat one and still be hungry?  You could remove two of the buns and one of the patties and it would still be too much for me to eat.

There's even a local Mexican restaurant whose claim to local fame is a burrito the size of your head.  Who can eat that??  Apparently, a lot of people can.  But not me, and for that I'm grateful.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  The only reason I feel this way toward food is because I've had surgery.  That's partially right.  I think that having the surgery has put a lot of things into perspective.  The portion sizes in this country have increased dramatically.  Just look that this burger from 20 years ago compared to today's burger.  The calories are almost doubled!  It's no wonder we are an obese nation.  We need to get portion size under control.
 Who's to blame?  Us?  The restaurants?  Fast Food?  Busy lifestyles?  I think it's a combination of everything.  We wanted bigger sizes and the restaurants gave it to us.  We got too busy to make homecooked meals so we stopped in the drive-thru too often. 

So, if you haven't had surgery or don't plan to, how can you get your portions under control?  First of all, eat from a smaller plate or bowl.  We also eat with our eyes.  If our plate looks full, we are more likely to eat less.  Secondly, eat slow.  Allow the food time to hit the stomach and for the stomach to send a signal to your brain that you are full.  Often, overeating is because we are simply eating too fast.

Focus on protein and fiber.  These are the things that will fill you up and keep you full longer.

Limit bad carbs.  This includes potatoes and pasta.  If you must eat carbs, opt for whole grain.

The general rule of thumb is half of your plate for veggies, 1/4 for protein and 1/4 for grains.  However, this will be different for bariatric patients.  We must always eat our protein first and this will compose the majority of our meal.  We should have about 4 oz.  Then, we eat our veggies.  If, and only if, there is room left for grains, then we can have them.  The majority of the time, however, there will be no room left for grains. 

The first time I went to Denny's post-op, I swear my eyes just about popped out of my head when the waitress set the plate down in front of me.  I couldn't believe how big it looked.  I ended up eating about 1/4 of the meatloaf, 1/4 of the green beans and a few bites of the potatoes.  I took the rest home and got 2 more meals out of it.  It's not that much different today at 6 months post-op.  I always at least have one more meal whenever I go out to eat.  Gotta love sleeve leftovers. 

I even started ordering my steaks medium rare because I knew when I brought them home to heat them up, they'd cook a little more and I hate well done steak. 

So now that we've established that I'm repulsed by portion sizes, what do I think is an acceptable fast food portion size?  Check out that picture to the left.  That would be it... minus the soda, of course.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

6 Months Post-op

I've been meaning to update for a while.  Really, I have.  Life has just gotten in the way!  I'm doing pretty good.  Weight loss has slowed down to a crawl.  In fact, I've been hanging out at just a couple pounds above 200 for a month now.  So close to Onederland but not there yet.  I thought I was going to make it by the end of June, but I didn't.  Now, I'm hoping to make it before I go see my surgeon for my 6 month followup one week from today.  I just can't seem to lose anymore but I'm trying really hard.  I need to get out and walk more.  I was doing so well but then it got hot outside, near 100 temp with  114 heat index.  I wish we lived closer to the mall so I could just go walk in the air conditioning.  But, we don't, so I don't go often. 
I started this journey in a 28, sometimes size 30.  I'm now in a 16 and can wear some 14s depending on the cut and fabric.  I'm still feeling restriction.  I've discovered that I can eat about 3/4 cup of food but I usually stop at 1/2 cup because 3/4 makes me very full.  A typical day at 6 months post-op includes a protein shake for breakfast, lunchmeat and cheese or tuna for lunch and a grilled meat like chicken breast, steak or pork chop for dinner with some sauteed veggies.  I get about 800 calories a day, 70g of protein and less than 40g carbs.  I love my carbs, though, still do and sometimes they creep in and I get closer to 60g.  My weakness is potatoes.  I don't really do pasta anymore (though occasionally I'll have some Dreamfields.)  I've been guilty of having a few potato chips but not many.  One thing that kinda scares me is that I've discovered I'm able to tolerate bread again to a small extent.  I actually ate a hawaiian roll the other day.  Granted, they are small and I stopped there.  I've been able to eat a piece of toasted whole wheat bread for a while but the fresh bread thing is new.

Another thing I've noticed is that if I eat something other than a protein shake for breakfast, I'm more likely to graze for the rest of the day.  For instance, last week I had an egg in a basket for breakfast.  Then by the time lunch came around, I felt like I was starving but can't remember what I ate.  Later, I had a handful of almonds.  Then I ate dinner.  Later that night I had a small bowl of popcorn.  Compare that to yesterday.  I had a protein shake for breakfast, ham and cheese for lunch and a half of a small Wendy's chili for dinner.  That was it.  In fact, I almost feel like I could go back on the liquid protein diet (shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, lean protein and veggies for dinner) and be perfectly happy.  I know I'd eat less anyway and not miss it.

I started working again at the end of last month, but it didn't last long.  I was hired at a well known retail store for their bakery.  I have a lot of bakery experience so I was excited to start the job.  I loved the work, it was great.  But, let's backtrack.  I arrived to work early on my first day, water bottle in hand, ready to start the day.  When the manager showed up, she told me I was not allowed to have the water behind the counter.  She recommended I talk to personnel when they came in later that day, so I did.  Personnel told me that no, I can't have my water but I was welcome to leave the bakery to get a drink at the water fountain.  I offered a letter from my doctor but I was still not allowed my water.  So my problem was this - it gets busy and the water fountain is halfway across the store.  Not only that, but when I use the water fountain I am unable to track my fluids so I have no idea how much I'm getting in.  The first week about killed me.  I never had time to go to the fountain and I was so dehydrated.  By the time I got home from work after a 9 hour shift, there was just no way to catch up on my fluids.  I had to use my first break to drink my protein, my lunch to eat (can't drink after eating) and that left only my last break of the day to try to cram in as much fluid as I could at work.  When you only have a 6 oz stomach, that isn't easy.  I warned the manager and personnel that if I didn't have my fluids, I would end up in the hospital.  They didn't believe me and I really think they doubted that the majority of my stomach had been removed.  Anyway, come July 4th, guess where I was?  Yep, in the hospital hooked up to an IV getting fluids.  I had been so lightheaded and dizzy, had a headache, was weak and my blood pressure had skyrocketed.  I got 2 bags of fluids and went home that afternoon feeling so much better.  I called my work to tell them what happened and I still think they thought I was making things up.  I thought about it overnight and the next day I called to resign my position.  5 1/2 months post-op and that was the first complication I've had, first time I've needed fluids.  I didn't even get dehydrated when I had the flu 2 weeks post-op!  I figured it wasn't worth my health to continue that job.  So now I'm on the job hunt once again, looking for something that will accommodate my school schedule.

I guess that's it for updates for now.  I really need to update this blog more!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4 Months Out

I'm sorry for neglecting this blog.  I think it's for many reasons.  I just finished up classes for this semester and that kept me very busy.  There's been a lot going on at home as well.  Mostly though, I think I've just been embarrassed because I haven't been doing as well as I should be.  After I saw my surgeon for my 3 month followup, I was kind of down because even though he said I was doing great, he felt I should have lost more at this point.  On that day I had lost only 37 lbs post op.  I'm now just over 4 months and have lost 45 lbs post op.  It's going very slow for me.  I think exercise has messed me up.  First I was doing Curves and overdone it without upping my carbs.  Then I injured my shoulder and started going to physical therapy.  I haven't done much exercise in the past month.

My shoulder is starting to get better but I will not be going back to Curves.  My PCP wrote a note to them and my membership was cancelled.  The machines (and smart card) caused me to overwork my muscles and I ended up with tendinitis in the rotator cuff.  At first they thought it might be a rotator cuff tear but it has improved.  So now I need to go walking or figure some way to get cardio in.  I'd do the Wii at home but my kids and husband are out of school and I don't want to make a fool out of myself!

I've made a few poor food choices lately.  I got an awesome deal on some all natural potato chips (they were free!) so I bought them.  And ate them.  Not much, maybe half a bag over the past month, but I think that was too much.  I also ate some Easter candy - which gave me my first experience with dumping syndrome.  That was not fun, and it taught me to avoid sugar.

My sister-in-law is studying cosmetology, so I had her do my hair last week.  She gave me a wonderful haircut with long layers.  I can wear it straight or curly, which I love!  She also gave me a hint of color and subtle highlights.  I think it looks great.  Next time, I may go bolder.

So I'm off for the summer now.  No school, no work!  Though I've toyed with the idea of getting a part time job.  It all depends on my husband, he's looking for an internship in HVAC.  I'll have to stay home with the kids if he gets one.  Thinking of getting back in to cake decorating while I'm still in school.  Now that I've lost a lot of weight maybe I can stand being on my feet longer, but I still worry about the pain in my hands.
I guess that's about it for an update.  I leave you with a graph of my weight loss progress over the past year.  I've went from a high of 286 to my current weight of 213.  This morning I met a goal.  I've lost 73 pounds, which is one more pound than I've ever lost on my own.  My next goal is to weigh 210, which is my drivers license weight.  The goal after that is 199, which of course, is onederland!  The last mini goal I have set is 186 which will be 100 lbs lost.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

These Are Not My Pants (or are they?)

I really didn't have a grasp of how much weight I've lost until I held these jeans up for a picture.  I used to wear these all the time.  They are a size 28 from Lane Bryant.  The pants I currently wear are a 20, though I think I might be able to wear an 18.  I've now lost 65 lbs.  Physically, I feel better though I don't feel like I've lost that much weight.  I notice that I fit better in tight places (like the area by my washer/dryer or the driver's seat of my car when my husband has the seat pushed all the way up.)

I haven't been to Curves in a few weeks.  I injured my shoulder and am now going to physical therapy.  My diagnosis is internal rotation tendonitis.  I'll be going 3 days a week for a month and hopefully that'll relive the swelling, get rid of the pain and strengthen my shoulder.  Since I can't take NSAIDS, they are going to try a couple topical medications.

I had to give a persuasive speech for class last week.  I chose the topic, "Bariatric Surgery - It's Not The Easy Way Out."  I think I did very well with it, used very convincing statistics and people were impressed with before/after pictures.  Especially the ones where I and a friend lost a lot of weight and then regained it all back.  I got an A on the speech! 

In my last blog entry, I promised a couple product reviews.  I've been using Celebrate Vitamins Grape Flavor.  I've found that I can tolerate them a lot better than the Bariatric Advantage.  I absolutely love the Celebrate Hot Cocoa Calcium.  It's a little gritty but it's delicious. 

I recently switched from a Blackberry to a Droid 2.  I'm using a couple of applications that have made life as a bariatric surgery patient so much easier.  One is Drinking Water.  It reminds me throughout the day to drink my water.  The other is Med Minder.  I put my meds and vitamins in and it'll remind me at points throughout the day (of my choosing) when I'm supposed to take them.  I haven't missed any since I started using it, I highly recommend it!

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Been A Long Week

It's been a very long week... actually a long couple of weeks.  I just haven't had time to post an update, but here it is.  Last week started with me moping about not losing any weight.  I figured that it might have something to do with exercising so much but not increasing my calorie intake.  I typically get between 600-800 calories.  I decided to up my calories on the days that I work out to see if it would work.  Before I could do that, though, a tragedy struck my family.

See the baby girl in this photo?  She belongs to my cousin.  I blocked out her face to protect her identity, but she is the most gorgeous little angel I've ever seen.  She was born Wednesday afternoon.  They immediately noticed something was wrong and flew her to St Louis for emergency surgery.  They found that there was nothing they could do to save her, so they sent her back home to spend her last hours with her parents.  They originally gave her less than 24 hours.  She was a fighter, though, and they bumped it up to 72 hours.  Once again, she proved them wrong.  Sadly, she lost her battle at only 73 hours old.  I'm not sure how much into detail I've went before, but I am a social work major and my plans are to work in perinatal hospice.  I am already the executive director of a nonprofit organization that provides support and services to families who have lost a baby.  I've lost a baby myself.  My cousin asked me to handle all of the arrangements, so I did.  This precious little angel was laid to rest this past Tuesday.

If that wasn't enough to deal with, I also had jury duty.  It was a very interesting process.  Fortunately my time was up before the baby's funeral.  I did face a problem with food and drinks.  They allowed me to drink whenever I needed to, but food provided a bigger challenge.  Do you know how hard it is to find a nonperishable food for the soft diet that is sleeve friendly and will fit in your purse?  It's one thing if I could have protein bars, but I'm still 2 weeks away from that.  So I took nothing.  And when I got home, I ate an entire Starkist Lunch Kit!  I was starving, I actually felt stomach hunger.  It filled me up and I felt satisfied.  There's been other things going on the past couple weeks.  Meeting with my kids' school, my mom had surgery today and I was also inducted into an Honor Society at my college today (yeah, this is my second honor society and I'm kind of a nerd I guess!)  I have not been to Curves since Wednesday of last week and I've lost *drumroll please* ....................... 5 pounds!!  I'm now down to 225.  It's hardly believable, that's 61 lbs total.  Amazing.

I have some more things to write about - I've tried some new vitamins, things like that.  Look for those in the next post!  Right now, I'm going to go figure out what's for dinner.  Maybe I'll actually sit down and breathe.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Feeling Fat Again

I'm almost two months out now.  As I mentioned before, my stall has broken, but now the scale is moving at a snail's pace.  I guess I need to stop weighing every day, but I can't help it!  I don't think the hydration sensor on my new scale is very accurate.  I went several days getting adequate fluids, and it still reads between 33-35%.  

I have lost a total of 56 pounds now.  That's 28 pre-op and 28 post-op.  The other day, something happened that made me feel like I never lost those 56 pounds, but in fact gained 56 pounds.  My husband and I took our kids out to dinner.  When we were done eating, went out to get in the van.  Although we looked before crossing the parking lot, out of nowhere a Ford Explorer sped through the parking lot and almost hit two of our three children.  I got the kids safely in the car and my husband confronted the driver, an early twenty something woman.  She got very hateful with him and said loud enough for our children to hear, "If I had seen them, I would have run them the f___ over."  I was just shocked that somebody could say that!  It really scared my kids (not to mention us!)  We ended up getting the police involved and she has been in trouble for quite a bit before.  Anyway, when she made the comment about running them over, my jaw hit the floor and I commented on how that was uncalled for.  She told me, "Shut up, you fat b***h!"  I was already incredibly upset that our children were almost hit, so that hit me like a ton of bricks.  We were shaken up for the rest of the night, we'd had plans to go shopping but decided to go home.  I don't want it to seem like I wasn't concerned for the kids, or that what follows is more important, but this blog is about weight loss, not my children, so I'm blogging about how her comment made me feel.  For the last few days, I've stewed over that.  All this work that I've put into losing weight and she took all of my success away in those five little words.  I feel horrible, sad, defeated.  I know that I shouldn't let her have that power over me, but I can't help it.  It gets to me. 

So, anyway... I haven't lost much in the past month.  I'm worried that when I go back to see my surgeon next month that he won't be happy with my progress.  I've been working out a lot, getting my protein and fluids in and my calories range from 600-800 a day.  I really limit my carbs and rarely have anything with sugar.  I bought these little Mio bottles.  They are amazing, they taste great!  I just add a couple squirts to a bottle of water.  It's great flavor, no calories, no sugar, no carbs.  Just flavor, plain and simple.  They have fruit punch, strawberry watermelon, sweet tea, peach tea, berry pomegranate and mango peach.  This is my order of preference.  My kids love it, too.  So much, in fact, that I'm already going to have to buy some more of the Fruit Punch and I've had it less than a week.  But, I'd rather they drink this than a sugary drink.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shirataki and New Scale

I saw Shirataki noodles on Dr. Oz a few months ago and have read posts about them on weight loss surgery forums, but had never been able to find them until recently.  I picked them up from the Neighborhood Co-op at less than $2/package.  I bought one package of spaghetti and one package of fettuccine.  A lot of people have complained about them having a fishy smell and a weird texture.  I read up on them before I prepared them.  First, I cut the package open (found in refrigerated section with tofu) and drained it into a colander.  Next, I rinsed the heck out of them with cold water. 

When I thought it was probably enough rinsing, I rinsed twice as long.  Then, I put them into a small sauce pan, covered with water and boiled them for about 5 minutes.  There was absolutely no fishy taste.  They were a little rubbery, but it was fine.  I topped them with some ground beef and Ragu Roasted Red Pepper & Onion spaghetti sauce.  Oh, don't forget the parmesan!  It was absolutely delicious.  I ate maybe 1/4 cup all together.  The shirataki noodles are made of tofu and yam flour.  They have a whopping 20 calories, 3g carbs, 2g fiber and 1g protein for a 4oz serving (which most weight loss surgery patients wouldn't come close to eating.) 
I liked them so much, and there were so many leftovers, that I but them in small containers and refrigerated them overnight.  I ate another serving for lunch today, and they were still fabulous.  In fact, they may have been better because they had all night to soak up the delicious flavor of the spaghetti sauce.  Will I use shirataki again?  Most definitely!  In fact, I already have plans for the fettuccine one, some grilled chicken and alfredo sauce.  I might throw some peas, carrots and mushrooms in for good measure.  I'd also like to try Dreamfields pasta.  They have an elbow macaroni that I know I could do wonders with! 

Today, I bought a brand new scale.  I had been wanting a new one, so when I saw this at Walmart, I had to have it.  Not only does it measure your weight and body fat, it measure hydration - a must for any weight loss surgery patient!  It's by Health o Meter and it cost about $30.  Maybe a little pricey for a scale, but I think the hydration reading will pay off.  I already saw that I wasn't as hydrated as I should be.  It read 35%, when I should be 50%.  Looks like it's time to drink some more water! 
If you're looking for a scale, definitely check this one out, especially if you're having issues staying hydrated.  It will store information for two users.  You can use the scale without the body fat and hydration reading as well.  This scale is not for people who have pacemakers, as it uses an electrical signal through the body to give the readings.  Happy Weighing!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Great Week

I have had a great week!  I finished one full week (3 workouts) at Curves.  By my third workout, I felt so energized.  It gave me the push to do other things, so I even went walking later that day!  I love being more active, I certainly couldn't have done this 50 lbs ago, at least not in the shape I was in. 

I ordered a Fitbit earlier this week and it came in today.  So far, I love it.  I can put it in my pocket and it tracks my movements.  It has the same sort of technology as a Wii.  It will track steps, distance, exercise intensity and even sleep.  Out of the box, it took about 15 minutes to get a full charge and it says that it can go 3-5 days before it needs another charge.  So far it seems to be pretty accurate and I love that it can not only track my steps, but also distance and most of all intensity!  I'm going to wear it to bed tonight (it comes with a wristband) to see how well I sleep.  If you look on the right column of this blog, you'll find a link to my Fitbit profile.  You can see my activity level for the day and even what food I am eating.  I have to manually list the food, but it even tells me how many calories I've burned.  Very nice! 

I have no real update weight wise.  I've lost a little bit, but I'm waiting until Monday to get an official unofficial weight check.  I'll also do measurements at that time as well.  Oh, one thing I have noticed, it seems like the swelling is going down in my stomach because I've been able to eat a bit more.  Not a lot, just a couple more bites.  Protein shakes are also going down much easier now.  I've also been adding some lemon to my water and it's a great change.  I've found that I don't want a lot of sweet stuff now, so I don't even add sugar to it... it's like lemonade without the sweet. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Broken Stall!

So, I gained about 3 pounds in the past month.  Finally, over the weekend, the scale has started to move back down and I have lost all 3 pounds!  I'm so excited about this.  I hope that means this stall is broken and I will continue to lose.

I've done a crazy amount of walking lately.  Of course, some of that was because I was shopping, but that counts!  I took several thousand steps in a day so I'm definitely counting it.  I've been doing a little regular walking, too, of course.  I did my first workout at Curves this morning.  It was just like I remembered it.  I plan on going every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after I drop the kids off at school and then go for at least 30 minute walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I put on my pedometer this morning only to discover that it's broken, so I need a new one.  My iPod Nano 6G has a pedometer on it, and I've used it, but I don't want to waste the battery by having it on all day - and it was a little expensive so I certainly don't want to risk losing it!

Today, I got my eyes checked out.  Got new contacts and ordered some new glasses, can't wait for them to come in, they are really cute.  I had some dental work done last Friday, the right side of my face was numb all afternoon and evening.  My husband took me to Red Lobster that evening.  I ate half of a lobster tail and about 3/4 of my snow crab legs.  The next day for lunch, I had leftover garlic shrimp scampi and the rest of my lobster tail.  It was all so delicious and went down my sleeve quite nicely, without that stuck in the throat feeling that I get from most other things.  I only wish Red Lobster wasn't so expensive!  Since seafood fit so nicely, I tried fresh fish by eating a Starkist Lunch To Go the next day for lunch.  Again, delicious and easy on the sleeve.  Of course, I only ate a couple of the crackers, though.  As if I didn't get my fill, I took my daughter to Long John Silvers today and got the grilled Pacific Salmon.  It wasn't too bad, but not near as good as those crab legs!

Anyway... Wednesday night I have to give a speech so I bought a new outfit.  I'm unsure if I should wear the belt or not.  Here's a pic of both.  I also bought a new big barrel curling iron to try a new hairstyle and I love how it turned out!