Two Years & 255lbs Later…

Today I’m “celebrating” two years since I had weight loss surgery and about 2 1/2 years since I started the journey to a healthier and happier life. It’s funny to think about when I started this process, knowing I would have to go through a six month supervised diet prior to surgery, feeling like it would never happen. It felt like the six months would never end – and here I am years later wondering where the time went.

I can’t describe with words how much my life has changed for the better since this whole thing started. Every time I attend a local support group meeting, I make the joke that I would have surgery annually if I had to – like renewing a lease. While I say that as a joke, it really is the truth.

Gone are the days of being in constant physical pain – and feeling miserable. Gone are the days of worrying about breaking chairs, public ridicule, ill-fitting online order-only clothing, two seats on an airplane, social anxiety, and generally watching life pass me by as a bystander. I feel like I’m living, I feel like I’m alive.

In support group meeting, people often ask me what he toughest part has been. For me, it has never been physical… but mostly the mental and emotional changes I’ve been through in the past 2 1/2 years. The relationships you have with people can change for the better (or worse) when you make a complete overhaul in your life. What I’ve learned is that I needed to be a bit more “selfish” and make myself a priority if I wanted to get to a healthier place and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I make no apologies!

If I had to do it over, I would do almost everything the same. I’m glad I went “hardcore” and was strict with my eating habits for as long as I could go. Losing as much weight pre-op was key. I’m forever grateful that I started therapy during the supervised diet. Attending support group meetings regularly has been integral. Taking pictures along the way really helps in those times when it feels like you’ve only moved an inch, but in reality you’ve gone a mile.

The best advice I can give to anyone starting this process is for you to practice both accountability and personal responsibility. Accept that poor habits have gotten you to where you are, but turning it around is possible. Track. your. damn. food/drink. WEIGH/MEASURE EVERYTHING. Too often, I hear/read about people magically gaining weight or “stalling” in their weight loss… wondering how this is happening. If it’s happening…. you aren’t being honest with yourself about how much you are eating and drinking – plain and simple. No more excuses, no more denial. That’s the best way I can summarize!

What’s next for me? Well, I’m very excited to be finishing the plastic surgery process in just two weeks with a thigh lift and slight revision to my lower body lift – yay! In just over six weeks, I’m turn 30!! I’m very excited about it, believe it or not, because I truly feel as though I’ve gotten better with age! :) I’ll be updating here and there after surgery – wish me luck! :)

Same outfit - two years apart!

Same outfit – two years apart!

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General Update, Plastic Surgery Progress Pics, & Round 2?

It’s been awhile sine I have updated…. mostly because there hasn’t been much to share in my journey to be a healthier and happier version of me! March was also the busiest month I think I have ever had in my entire life. I’ve put in a lot of hours at my full-time job, completed a tremendous amount of freelance work, and finally finished the graduate class I got an extension on in the Fall (fell behind because of plastic surgery as well as gallbladder removal in December!). In addition to all of this, I’ve been traveling like crazy for both personal and work-related reasons.

I think things are finally calming down now. I thought I would write a short update and post new pictures to show the progress of my plastic surgery scars. I’m really happy with how they are looking, although I will admit to not liking the scar above my ass crack from the opening I had after surgery. No big deal, really, but bothers me a little bit! I have created a password protected post to show the progress on my plastic surgery scars. If you don’t have the password and would like it, shoot me an email at flirtybythirty15@gmail.com. I promise to get better at checking this email address! :)

Just a couple of noteworthy things! First, I’ll be visiting Dr. Capella again on Friday for a follow-up appointment (I can’t believe it has been OVER six months since plastic surgery – where did the time go!?) During this appointment, Dr. Capella is going to talk to me about an inner thigh lift, something I have decided I want to do. I’m a little undecided about implants, but it’s something I’ll talk with him about. I won’t lie… there are certain times of the month (I’m guessing for hormonal reasons) that my breasts look much fuller and nicer than they do, say… right now. It’s moments like right now that I think, “Hmm… I wouldn’t mind some new ta-tas!” lol I don’t necessarily mind the SIZE of my breasts as much as the shape and fullness of them.

I have an idea of how much the thigh lift costs, which is why I have been doing so much freelance work. I was able to save half of the almost $20,000 cost for the first round of plastic surgery by saving, saving, saving! I financed the other half and at the time, my husband and I made a “deal” that together we would pay the cost of the financed portion of the first round of surgery and if I wanted anything else, that I would use my own freelance money for it (I keep all of my freelance money for myself… muahahaha!) I don’t want to finance the second round and I’d like to pay in cash… so I guess it will just take a little time! I’ll have to write another update after Friday’s appointment to let those who are interested know how it goes!

Also, I have less than 3 months before turning 30!!! Crazy! Obviously, when I started this blog I had a lot of goals for things I wanted to accomplish by 30. At the time, turning 30 seemed so far away and the list of things I wanted to do, see, and accomplish seemed impossible. It’s amazing how much your life can change in a few short years – for the better! Every time I go to my local support group, I tell pre-op patients that I would have this surgery over and over again…. even annually, like renewing a lease, if I had to because the experience has certainly been worth it! :)

Struggles with Determining “Goal” and Body Fat Percentage Testing

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted because there really hasn’t been much to say! Life has been pretty busy with full-time work, consulting work, school work, and trying to remain as active as possible. The dark, cold, and snowy Pennsylvania winter days have been pretty depressing to say the least! I really wanted to learn how to ski this winter, so that I would have some kind of outdoor activity to do; however, I made a deal with myself that I would not do so until I caught up on my graduate course from the fall that I got an extension on due to both plastic surgery and gallbladder removal surgery in the Fall. Nope, haven’t finished yet lol!

As far as plastic surgery recovery goes, everything is a-okay! My scars are healing, getting lighter in some places, but still pretty noticeable overall. I’m really hoping the arm scars get a bit lighter before the summer, but to be honest… I’m not sure that it would stop me from wearing something sleeveless, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see! The gallbladder surgery went well, nothing fun to report there. I haven’t had any issues with not having my gallbladder anymore, so I say good riddance!

On another note, I have had mixed feelings about my “goal” weight for quite some time now, to be honest. My original weight goal when I started this process was to be in a “normal” BMI range and for my height of 5’9.5″ that would put my weight at about 172-174 lbs, depending on the chart I have looked at online. Currently, my BMI ranges between 26.9 to 27.7, still in the overweight category.

I’m conflicted, because my goal is to be in optimum health and be a “normal” weight, but I’m just not sure I have the dedication to get down another 11-15 lbs. You would think after losing 260ish, it would be no big deal… but as most people know, the closer you get to a normal weight, the harder it becomes. I have achieved many things physically, I feel as though I look good for my weight, and I can fit into clothing from any store. So, why doesn’t that feel good enough? Honestly, I’m not sure I would ever be satisfied, even if I were at a “normal” weight…. yet I don’t want to fall back on making that some kind of “excuse” for not achieving something. It’s a weird mental place to be in for me.

But, on a positive note – a year ago, I did a BodPod body fat percentage test – long before I had plastic surgery. I believe, at the time, that I was around 200 lbs and my body fat percentage turned out to be 36.5%. I was pretty disappointed in that number at the time; however, I knew I had a long way to go so I shouldn’t have been surprised!

A couple of weeks ago, I repeated the test and was very surprised by the results. My weight has been bouncing between 185-190 lbs since things settled from plastic surgery, with my desired weight coming in at 185-187. According to the BodPod results, I have 132.7 lbs of lean muscle mass, which at my weight that day of 189.5, left me at 29.9% body fat. I was very surprised by this number because it does put me at the very top of the “acceptable” range for body fat%. So, now I’ve been asking myself – should this number be my goal? Should it be “good enough” that I am in an acceptable body fat % range, despite being “overweight” with my BMI?

Just something I’ve been thinking about. Do I think I need to lose more weight? No! But, part of me would still like to… so I remain undecided. The good news is that I’ve been maintaining well and I feel great. I’ve included some updated “before and after” pictures – very exciting! I cut my head out of the shiftless ones because I looked like a hot mess…. though it didn’t seem to bother me in the before pictures – yikes!!

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Update! Life After Plastic Surgery, Holidays, Bikini and Boudoir Photoshoot!!

It has been such a long time since I’ve posted. Every day I find myself saying I’m going to take progress pictures from my plastic surgery and then post an update “later” and then of course, later never comes. I finally had to put my foot down and get organized!

Life has been busy, but in a good way. I have been busy with my full-time job, freelance work, and my life has become MUCH more social – especially in the last year. I can’t tell you how freeing life is without carrying around 260 extra pounds. I’ve talked about “fat person logistics” in other posts before and anybody that has been morbidly obese knows what I mean. There are so many logistics on your mind constantly as a large person that you never have to worry about when you are “normal” or “overweight” and I don’t miss them AT. ALL.

It’s been so long since I’ve had to wonder if I could fit into a chair. It’s been so long since I’ve worried about breaking a chair! I don’t have to worry about getting to meetings and other rooms early to ensure I can get a seat “on the end” and sad, but true… I no longer have to worry about the size of bathroom stalls – yikes! I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I have worried about being able to buckle a seatbelt or whether or not my pants would fit once they came out of the dryer. If I had to fly for work or personal travel, I wouldn’t be concerned at all about fitting into a plane seat – in fact, I’m thinking of selling my own personal seatbelt extender on eBay lol!

I will say that while the attention I receive has died down SOME, my weight loss and the way I look STILL becomes the center of attention at larger gatherings. On one hand, compliments are nice, but on the other hand – sometimes “compliments” can sting. Especially when people tell you, “Oh… now you look SO much better” or something like “Your husband must be SO much happier” – I mean, WTF?!

The holidays went well in terms of keeping my weight in check – and I also had to have my gallbladder removed. I did have a week where I sort of ate what I wanted without any kind of worry (December 24th – 31st) – but that came at the price of about 12 lbs. Yes, 12 lbs in a single week. Thankfully it took a little less than 2 weeks for it to come off… but it’s certainly a scary thing to see on the scale. This is certainly one of the reasons why I think it’s important to keep in mind that the “holidays” is not the 6 weeks or so between Thanksgiving and New Year’s…. but they are really just a few days and keeping your eating in check is very important.

Things are still healing VERY well from plastic surgery. I am 16 weeks post-op today and I am still SO happy with my results. It was worth the money, scars, and recovery – for sure! I believe I have made the decision to have an inner thigh lift later this year. Check out the post I’ll be making later this morning if you’d like to see my latest progress pictures. Are my inner thighs just AWFUL? No, they aren’t. I could live without doing them of course…. but they still bother me and Dr. Capella has said I would be an excellent candidate for surgery. Now, it’s a matter of making the final decision and saving the $6,300 I was quoted for the procedure!

The most exciting thing I’ve done lately is a boudoir photoshoot!! So, I bought a bunch of sexy lingerie and had professional photos taken for no other reason than BECAUSE I CAN!! haha I have seen the photos and ordered prints of my favorite and I’m beyond excited about it. The photographer posted “sneak peek” photos awhile back on her Facebook page – and you can see them here if you’re interested.

When I started this blog and called it Flirty by Thirty, I never in a million years thought I would actually come this far. I so desperately wanted to lose weight, feel healthy, be active, and then look the part of someone that was “flirty and thirty” and I definitely think I’ve accomplished that goal and I’m only 29 1/2 at this point LOL!

To leave you on a final note – I bought a bikini on eBay the other day because it was cheap and I thought it was cute. I don’t think I would ever wear this in public because I’m still self conscious about my thighs but, WOW… I never thought I would actually look in the mirror and not hate what I see and it is the product of A LOT of hard physical, emotional, and mental work!

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