Hello? Is Anyone Out There?

For some reason, this blog has been on my mind a lot lately. I know I haven’t been around for a long time, but for quite some time I have felt that I didn’t have anything new to contribute to you all. This blog started in November 2012 and through the last 6 1/2 years some of you have followed me through the many phases of the massive weight loss process – from the six month pre-op diet, through the surgery, into maintenance, and through the recovery from plastic surgery.

The physical changes pale in comparison to the emotional and mental transformation I have experienced in the same timeframe. When I started this process, I was married and living in a small town in Central PA. I had few friends, wasn’t well-traveled, and felt like a prisoner in my own body – lacking a social outlet because of the physical and emotional pain that came with being almost 450 lbs. I still remember a time when everything I did was physically difficult and required careful planning, but admittedly the memory is vague at this point.

Today, I am divorced and living in Philadelphia – my first time living as a big city gal! About three and a half years ago, I took a job that (at the time) required a lot of travel. I explored many parts of the US I never dreamed I would see and had never left the country until my 31st birthday. Since then, I have traveled to 10 different countries and will add three more this year. I have continued to see a therapist, although there have been periods where I have taken a break for various reasons. Therapy still remains one of the biggest keys to my success.

I have discovered just how discouraging the dating scene can be and it has nothing to do with my weight or history with weight loss. Instead, I have discovered the present day mentality that people are disposable, replaceable, and the hopes that the “next best thing” is around the corner. To say I have been hurt in the last three years by people I trusted is an understatement. But, I continue to dust myself off and try again. I would like to think I didn’t come all this way, becoming a better version of myself throughout the years through tremendous amounts of hard work, to not get what I want out of life.

I would love to blog more again. I guess I’m just not sure what those of you who may still see this post would want to hear from someone like me. What would be helpful? There’s no new exciting news. No big weight losses. No upcoming plastic surgery. No scar healing progress photos.

There’s just me, living a more simple and happy life,  trying to figure out where to go from here.

Four Years Post-Op: An Update

Hey everyone! About a week ago, I realized that I passed my four year anniversary of having surgery. It’s a bit crazy to think I started this process 4 1/2 years ago… so much can change in what feels like so little time.

As an update, things are going ok. In a previous post, I mentioned that my husband and I had split. The divorce was final in January and I have been adjusting to living alone and being single ever since June 2016. This last year has been a strange combination of the highest-highs and the lowest-lows. The good news is we remain friends and have a great relationship. It can be difficult not to have the companionship of my best friend anymore, but I hope (in the long run) both of us will be much happier and better off.

Some of the positives include the continued travel for work. I actually had the opportunity, to go to Paris last month. I took a few extra days off and toured the city with my sister and had an amazing time. Whenever I take amazing trips or do new things like this, I never forget how fortunate I am that it seems as though I have no limits to what I can do (after losing the weight). Four and a half years ago, I was limited by everything which is not something I have forgotten.

With the travel, increased socializing, and “living” I have been doing, comes the ever present battle to keep the weight off. After traveling to Paris and then back-to-back-to-back work-related travel, I find myself at the absolute TOP of my maintained weight range at 200 lbs. That isn’t acceptable. I had been maintaining in the 190-195 range for awhile. Time to get serious. I have re-dedicated myself to getting to the ultimate goal of 170 and won’t stop until I get there. Maybe that takes me a year. Maybe it takes me two years. I don’t care. I will never stop trying to keep the weight off and reach a state of optimal health.

A couple of people have sent me messages recently asking me for tips and advice. The best I can do is share with you some of the tips below with the caveat that I certainly don’t have all of “this” figured out. And, I would caution you against people who think they do. This is a continuous process of learning and adjusting. The moment you think you have it all figured out is the moment you get complacent, IMO.

  • If you’re early out from surgery, maximize your “honeymoon” phase. Don’t test how much you can eat. Don’t have “a little bit” here and there of things you shouldn’t. Yes, you can lose weight at any time; however, the honeymoon phase is the time when your restriction is the highest, motivation is the most intense, and hunger is minimal or non-existent. TAKE ADVANTAGE.
  • Unless you are in maintenance and have years of proven ability to guess-timate how much you eat/drink you should weight, measure, and track every. single. thing. you eat or drink. You need to be honest with yourself and be meticulous. It is so incredibly easy to take in more calories than you should when you don’t track everything honestly.
  • Therapy, therapy, therapy. I would not be where I am today without it. Also, I would not have made it through this past year without falling back into emotional eating habits if I had not addressed my issues in therapy. In fact, my therapist closed her practice over a year and a half ago (around the time I started my current job) and I stopped. I’m thinking of getting back into it.

So, that was a long update. Below are a few pictures from my Paris trip. I’m thinking about taking some new photos of my plastic surgery scars, in the event that anyone is curious what they look like 2 1/2 years (LBL, Breast Lift, Arm Lift) and 2 years (Thigh Lift) out. I’ll make a separate post on the blog in a few days (maybe!)



Another EuroTrip and Getting Back on Track

Just posting a quick update! As you may know from my last post, life has been a bit of a challenge. A week or so before my 31st birthday, my husband (with whom I have been together for 11 1/2 years) and I decided to separate. It has been a challenging six months, to say the least. I’m happy to report that overall, things are going well and I believe that 2017 has a lot of great stuff in store for me.

After my last post, I found an apartment and moved out. In early October, I started divorce proceedings and it will be final on January 3rd. The sale of our house should go through in the next few weeks – all of these things are a stressful process. But, I’m happy to say that we have completed this process with zero arguments, remaining friends, and without lawyers. Even though it pains my heart that our marriage didn’t work out, I am truly lucky to have met and been with a wonderful person for so many years.

One day, I was sitting in my apartment… feeling sad… and wanting to cheer myself up. So, I decided to use airline miles and hotel points from all of my business travels to take a vacation in early October. For some reason, since I was a kid I have dreamed of going to Ireland. So…. on impulse I booked a flight to London and then to Dublin and I WENT! Not only did I go on the dream vacation, but I went alone. Something I never thought I would do and sometimes still can’t believe I did! I included some pictures below of the trip! It was an incredible experience and I can’t put into words how grateful I am to have my health and so much opportunity.

Heading into the holidays, my weight is at the lowest it has been for probably about 18 months. I’m happy and proud to say that during these difficult times, I have not turned to food for comfort and I am ending the year with a lot of momentum into getting (maybe finally) to a goal weight. This morning I weighed in at 190.6 lbs. Below is a picture of me at my company’s Christmas party last week!

Thanks to everyone for your kind messages and for keeping me in your thoughts! In my next post, I’ll be sure to take updated plastic surgery scar photos. It has been 2 years and 3 months since my first round, and 1 year and 7 months since the second round. I’m guessing the scars are as faded as they will ever be!


December 2012 vs. December 2016 – 444 lbs to 190 lbs

Turning 31, Eurotrip, and the End of a Marriage

I say it every time I post, so here it goes again, “Wow, has it really been that long since I have posted?!”

Time goes by quickly when you’re either having fun or life becomes incredibly busy or stressful. I feel as though all of those things have been happening to me in an odd sort of combination.

To start with the good stuff, I turned 31 a couple of weeks ago. I started this blog years ago and at the time, turning 30 (where the name of the blog comes from) seemed like such a distant thing. Now, 30 has come and gone and I can say honestly overall it was a great year. I have a job that allows me to travel all over the country, meet new people, and pays me well. The frequent flyer miles and hotel points earned from these trips allowed me to take my very first trip out of the country! On my 31st birthday, I got on a plane to Dusseldorf, Germany to meet my cousin and travel partner for quite a vacation!

During our vacation, we spent a couple of days in Germany and then took a train to Amsterdam. It was a beautiful city and I was amazed by the canals. Such beautiful scenery. Perhaps my favorite part of the entire trip was touring the Anne Frank house. I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” as a kid and could never have imagined I would find myself, someday, halfway across the world touring the very space she lived for over two years in hiding.

Then, we headed to Brussels. What a beautiful city. It’s amazing to see the architecture of the old buildings. Going to another country, with a much longer history, truly is eye opening for this small-town American girl.

The sad news is that a couple of weeks before this incredible vacation, my husband and I decided to split up. We were married for five years, but together for 11 1/2 and we just couldn’t make it work anymore. It still shocks me to find myself in this situation, as I truly did think we were going to be together forever.

People will mostly likely ask, “Did the weight loss have anything to do with the split?” and to be honest, I don’t know how to answer this question. Our relationship, for a long time, has been one of deep friendship, but never really physical or romantic. For many, many years I just thought this was because I was SO heavy and never blamed him for not being attracted to me. I had assumed when I lost weight this would change. The weight came off, and nothing happened. I pushed the issue. He pushed back. I continued to push, searching for answers about his lack of interest. In the end, we determined we were better off as friends. He feels as though the romantic side of the relationship is lost and can’t be recovered. So, here I am… a newly single 31 year old professional woman trying to figure out what my future will  look like. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time.

Below I included some pics of the vacation. I’m probably going to take more plastic surgery progress pics soon. In the meantime, enjoy!


Me (left) and my cousin (right) in Dusseldorf, Germany.



Collage of Brussels

Wow, it has really been 4 months? (and scar healing progress pics)

Click here if you are looking for plastic surgery progress pics. The arms and breasts are now 18 months out – the lower body revision and thigh lift are now a little over 9 months out. I am happy with how things have healed and still couldn’t recommend my surgeon, Dr. Joseph Capella and his PA, Scott, enough. His office staff was amazing as well.

On to the update!

I can’t believe it has been four months since I last gave an update. Time really does fly!

Things have been going well. I am loving my new job and all I appreciate all of the new experiences I am having. As I mentioned, the new job I started six months ago has me traveling the country almost every week and it’s exactly what I wanted. Never in my wildest dreams did I think 3 1/2 years ago that I would be getting on and off planes every week without worry of fitting into seats, seat belt extenders, strangers commenting on my size, etc. This whole process for me has been a journey I would take over and over again.

The downside to the new, fun, travel-filled life is 9 lbs. I wasn’t at a weight that I wanted to be at before I started this job and in six months I have put on 9 lbs and I know better than to act like that’s “nothing” – it is definitely something. The eating is not the part that is giving me trouble – I have kept a tight grip on my eating. It’s the alcohol. Oh, the empty liquid calories of free wine and cocktails. Very bad – and definitely sneaks up on you. You really don’t need to be drinking to excess all the time to see the scale creep up due to alcohol. Time to reel it in, big time!

I have the next two weeks working at home and then it’s off again! In this time, I’m going to catch up on work… hopefully be more active in online and real-life support groups, get to the gym, and spend time with family/friends that have felt neglected as I have been a road warrior. BUT, this time spent with them will include NO drinking lol. Time to get serious again!

An Update on Me! Including Plastic Surgery Scar Progress Pictures!

I open every blog post these days with, “It’s been so long since I posted…” I remember when I first started the process (almost three years ago) to have weight loss surgery, I saw a lot of people post online that were 18 months+ out that talked about how they were so busy living their life that they were absent from online communities. At the time, I remember thinking “I can’t wait to be that person” and that’s exactly who I am today.

Things have been very busy for the past few months. I found myself really eager to explore more of the country/world and travel. My previous job didn’t allow me to do that and so I started searching. I just completed my 8th week at a new job that has kept me on the road for 7 out of those 8! I’m doing well with the new company and I travel the country on someone else’s dime. Can’t complain too much!

It’s strange to be living this new life. I live in a world now where everybody I meet (from my company or companies we work with) only knows this version of me. Nobody has any idea that I used to be heavier and sometimes they poke fun at how careful I am to not eat too much and exercise on the road. Sometimes I even get comments on how I don’t need to worry about it so much because I’m “fit” (which is funny because I don’t consider myself to be that fit at all.

Being on the road is a struggle when it comes to eating well. For the first few weeks, I let the food and drink consume me (because hey, it’s free!) But I have been doing better for the past couple of weeks. I am about 5-7 lbs higher than I want to be… so I’m working on getting into a better routine. I’m confident that I can find a balance. This kind of confidence isn’t something I have ever had. Heck, maintaining weight is something I was never able to do before – and in February I will be two years into maintenance (though plastic surgery did remove about 10-12 lbs). It’s always a struggle and a fight – but for me, it’s effort and a fight that is completely worth it.

Without this whole process, this new job never would have been a reality either. The fact that I can easily hop on a plane, fit into seats, need no seatbelt extender, and walk quickly in heels across the airport is not lost on me. I see people struggle to do these things almost daily now and I empathize. I realize it really wasn’t that long ago where I was in the same position. I am thankful everyday that I don’t have to worry about these things, but also realize that I could be right back in that position if I’m not mindful and careful.

Those are my random thoughts for now! If you are interested in updated plastic surgery photos, click here (email me if you don’t already have the password).

Plastic Surgery Progress Pictures Post-VSG

Hey everyone! I haven’t written in awhile because things have been incredibly busy. But, I did want to check-in to let everyone know how healing has been going from my second round of plastic surgery (inner thigh lift and lower body lift revision) and post some progress photos as well!

The healing process was pretty easy. I was really worried about the inner thigh lift because I have read a lot of experiences from others that this particular surgery was incredibly painful, but I’m glad to report no complications and minimal pain. I am still very happy with the results, even though I have noticed my outer thighs have relaxed and I still have some saddlebags/cellulite. But, I think things still look great and to be honest… if I’m expecting a better looking body (with clothes off) at this point… I really just need to hit the gym a bit harder and be more dedicated to strength training/building muscle. I think improvement in my body is certainly doable, but at this point… it’s something I can do myself without any more plastic surgery! I just have to decide if I want it enough, you know?

I have to say that I’m VERY happy with how the incisions on my inner thighs and groin have laid flat and are a very thin line. I have seen some photos of some terrible inner thigh lift scarring and I just can’t say enough good things about the work Dr. Joseph Capella and his PA, Scott did on me! They are miracle workers for sure. I am very confident that the inner thigh lift scars will fade very nicely, much like my arms. I would say final results on what my breasts/sides/arms look like will be seen in the next two months as I approach 1 year post-op from Round 1!

This was just a quickly written update… there are some changes happening in my life that I’ll write about soon, for now I just wanted to share photos and answer any questions if you have them! Thanks for your continued support! 🙂

To view progress photos, click here.

The Verdict Is In! I’m Flirty at 30!!

So, obviously when I started this blog and the process for having weight loss surgery, I had a time-related goal of getting to a place where I was mentally and physically healthy by the time I was 30 years old. I was 27 at the time, and to be honest…. 30 seemed so far away! I chose the name of the blog “Flirty by Thirty” because the concept of being “flirty” was more than just looking better. It was about having a certain level of confidence (in how I look and feel) as well as a mindset (for the first time in my life) where I was happy with what I saw when I looked in the mirror and didn’t feel constant unhappiness with my health.

Well, yesterday was my 30th birthday and I’m going to officially declare myself “Flirty at Thirty” and say that I have achieved what I didn’t think was actually possible when I started my blog. When I started, I was 444 lbs with a BMI of 63, and was absolutely miserable. Anyone that has reached that level of unhealthiness knows the constant misery having so much excess weight causes. To think that I couldn’t even stand long enough to wash the dishes (and had to sit down in a chair), is hard to even wrap my head around now.

There have been so many things I have been able to cross off my “30 by 30” list along the way. Some of my favorites include conquering the dreaded hill at work, flying in an airplane without an extender or second seat, buying flirty lingerie, zip lining, and wearing lots and lots of high heels! 🙂 I haven’t accomplished everything I want to, but that’s OK because hopefully I now have a long lifetime ahead of me to do everything I set out to do.

There are a lot of things that I think helped me along the way to achieve my goals. This list isn’t all inclusive, but if I had to summarize, it would be this:

  • MOST IMPORTANT: Be honest, accountable, and responsible. This means weighing/measuring/tracking food honestly. Don’t kid yourself by thinking you can have this surgery and continue to have the same eating behaviors as before surgery but “just less of it” – you will be surprised how easy it is to consume more food than you need beyond a year out from surgery. If you are not losing weight or have regained…. it is because you are eating too much. Period.
  • JUST AS IMPORTANT: Get therapy to work through your food issues. Let’s face it, the vast majority of people who are heavy enough to qualify for weight loss surgery have emotional issues with food. Some people are successful on working through these issues on their own, but many are not. Figure out your issues, face them, deal with them, and then move on with your life!
  • IMPORTANT IMHO: For me, staying as strict as humanly possible, for as long as humanly possible with the types of food I was eating in the supervised diet and for about 7 months after surgery (about 13-14 months overall) really helped me get as much weight off as possible as quickly as possible. Once I started letting certain foods back into my life, losing more weight has become a struggle.  I am STILL a firm believer in not attempting to practice “moderation” until you have worked through emotional food issues first. For me, it wouldn’t have been possible to practice moderation from the beginning and come anywhere close to my weight related goals. Now, I’m good to go… but I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if I hadn’t kept it very strict for a very long time.
  • Find a support system of people that can know where you’re coming from – whether that is family, friends, online support groups, or the support groups at your surgeon’s office.
  • Be assertive. Don’t let others pressure you into eating things you don’t want to eat, stop losing weight before you hit your goal, or talk you out of having surgery altogether.

Ok, well this has turned into a long post! I just want to thank everyone for their continued support. From here, the goal is to maintain the “Flirty at Thirty” mindset and work in improving my fitness and body once I’m healed from my second round of plastics. Who knows where the direction of this blog will head now? But, I will continue to check-in and be more than happy to post plastic surgery progress photos and answer questions, if you’re all interested! 🙂

Picture from yesterday! 🙂


Plastic Surgery Round 2 Progress Pics and a Big Day is Coming!

Plastic Surgery, Round 2, Four Weeks Post-Op

Just wanted to post some pictures and an update. Tomorrow I will be 4 weeks out from a medial thigh lift and revision of my lower body lift. Healing has been going well. I haven’t been in much pain (much to my surprise – I have heard recovery from the thigh lift can be rough) and I’m starting to feel pretty normal for the most part. A couple of random thoughts/info/suggestions:

  • I took only a week and a half off from work. This was enough but I was pretty tired when I went back. Even now I get a bit tired from time to time.
  • Purchasing a female urinal is a good idea for anyone considering surgery. I could use the toilet the entire time while recovering, but it made things easier.
  • I had to purchase new shapewear. After the first round of plastics, I declared myself to be never in need of them again and pitched all of them. Oops! The shapewear has been necessary for wearing long dresses so that the tops of my thighs don’t rub together. When you’ve got incisions, that’s uncomfortable!
  • I had very small openings at the junctions of the incisions in my groin. You could barely see them and they are already healing up well. One thing that was annoying after surgery was that I developed a leak. Some where in the groin, I was “leaking” fluid for about a week – had to wear a lot of bandages. Bummer!

I’m happy that I had the surgery and I hope I continue feeling that way. I’m trying to just wait and see how things settle, because I know as things loosen and settle… the look of the results will change a bit. Tonight when I took pictures, I’m glad I put a side to side comparison together because I was having difficulties deciding how much of a difference the lift made. I think if you look at the pic, you can see the most differences in how much smaller my legs are around the knees.

The Big Day

There is a big day coming for me! I started this blog over 2 1/2 years ago and as you can see, the name is Flirty by Thirty. I remember picking that name because I had recently attended a birthday party for a relative with the theme of “Flirty Thirty” where the birthday girl was turning 30 and we were all supposed to buy her lingerie as a gift. I remember the sadness I felt when thinking about how I couldn’t wear cute and flirty things, and how lingerie would never be in the cards for me. I desperately wanted to be happy, healthy, and to feel beautiful. All of those things were the goal when I started writing about my decision to have a VSG.

Well, I’m happy to say that my birthday is very soon!!! I’m turning 30 on Saturday and to be honest, I can’t believe the day has come. When I started this blog and thought about turning 30, it just seemed so far away. What I wanted to achieve seemed impossible, and I doubted my ability to ever be in the place that I am now. I’m so glad I worked hard and kept with it. I can’t even begin to describe how worth it everything has been, but I’ll write more about that Saturday….

Click here to view progress pictures from Round 1 – 9 Months, Round 2 – , Week 4

(Please email me at flirtybythirty15@gmail.com if you need the password)