Today, I’m half the woman I used to be…

Today was officially a scale victory for sure! I woke up this morning and weighed in at 221.8 lbs. I started at my heaviest weight last November 20th at 444.2 lbs. That means my 222.4 lb loss in just over a year puts me at HALF of my starting weight. We’re not talking Excess Weight Loss % (EWL) – we’re talking 50% of my starting body weight. It’s crazy to think that I’m literally half the woman I used to be – can’t even wrap my head around it!

Just as an update, things have been going well for me. I haven’t had any real stalls lately and I’m hoping that my body will be nice enough to get me out of the 220s before it does! I have been going to the gym about 4-5 times per week and I feel good. Everyday I tell myself that I’ll just go… and then if I want to leave after 5 minutes – then so be it! It really helps me to “take the pressure off” and keep in mind that I’m not being forced to go to the gym – or stay there. Nobody is watching what I’m doing and nobody is keeping track. I find myself ending up there for 40-50 minutes, which is great. I’ve been doing some light weight lifting and I’m working on the Couch25K program. I just finished Week 2, but I think I’ll give Week 2 a few more days before I move on to Week 3.

The non-scale victories that I’ve been experiencing lately are almost too many to count. Jogging/walking on the treadmill is certainly one of them! I found myself at a meeting the other day sitting in a type of chair that used to cause me SO much pain, discomfort, and embarrassment. Well, during my meeting the other day I was comfortably sitting in it, turned sideways with my legs comfortably crossed! One of my “30 by 30” goals was to “fear no chair” – and I’ve now crossed that one off the list! Woohoo!

I also have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I’m firmly wearing a size 16 pants and large shirts. WOW! It’s crazy! I bought a bunch of large short sleeved shirts back when I was wearing a 2X, hoping I could fit into them by spring and here I am fitting into them pretty well by the start of December. I can’t ever imagine wearing a medium… so maybe they will be forever shirts, instead of transitional ones? lol

I look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving today with my Mom, her husband, my Brother, my Sister, and my husband. We’re driving 2 1/2 hours, hanging out for awhile, and then coming back. We weren’t confident in the roads on Thursday, so we decided to celebrate today. Time for some turkey and green beans! 🙂

My upcoming mini-goals are to FINALLYYYYY get out of the “obese” category and just be considered overweight! Then, I’m looking forward to weighing less than my 202 lb husband. Then… it’s the BIG ONE – “onderland.” It has been a decade since my weight has started with the number “1” and there will be MANY tears if it ever does again!

Celebrating 216.8 lbs Lost! 6 Months Since Surgery, 1 Year Since the Beginning! Long w/ Pics!

Today is a big day for me and I’m celebrating!! Today is the day that I decided to change my life and get “real” – as I always like to say! On November 20th, 2012, I had my consult with the weight management clinic where I had my surgery and weighed in at 444 lbs. My PCP referred me to this office and for that I am so grateful. At this appointment, the weight management doctor recommended that I have surgery – but I still wasn’t sold on the idea! Either way, I decided to start the six month supervised diet just in case.

It wasn’t until I found the ObesityHelp site and “lurked” for a little while that I decided to have surgery. I saw so many inspirational stories about successes, setbacks, failures, etc. and they gave me so much hope. Yes – even the stories that weren’t all about rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns that shoot skittles out their butts (lol) were inspirational to me. It was so refreshing and helpful to get information and perspectives from people that were actually living my life in a way. There is nobody in my real life that understands the emotional and physical pain that I felt every single day of my life for the past 8 years or so. But, I know that you all do and I found a lot of comfort in that fact.

I can’t tell you how much my life has changed in the last year. I don’t look like the same person and to be honest, I don’t feel like the same person either. Some people claim they haven’t changed after losing weight, well screw that – I’ve changed!! The person writing this post is much happier, confident, and is actually “out there” living life rather than watching it pass me by. However, even though I am getting out and doing more things, I do find myself with a different kind of “social anxiety” now.

In the past, I didn’t want to go places because I was worried about fitting in chairs, breaking chairs, will I be able to walk around, will people be staring at me or harassing me, etc. and that prevented me from living life. Now, I find myself wanting to avoid group social situations with people that haven’t seen me in a while because of the attention that I get. I’m still struggling with receiving so much attention in large groups of people. I’m already dreading the holidays for that reason.

Yes, I am proud of the work I’ve done in the past year, but for some reason the, “I’m so proud of you” and “You are an inspiration” comments are still hard to hear. My therapist summed it up the other day when she said, “It sounds to me like you feel as though you’re some kind of imposter?” She hit the nail on the head there. I know that it’s something I need to continue to deal with and it’s a good thing I’ve been dedicated to not only my eating, but also working on my mental health with a therapist. I would not be where I am right now without getting therapy – of that, I am certain!

Do I have any regrets? Sure I do, don’t we all? But I do NOT have any regrets about going through with surgery. It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m tempted to say that I wished I had done it sooner like everyone does, but to be honest… I feel like this all happened at a time in my life where I was ready to really make a change. If I had done it sooner, I don’t think I would’ve been in the right mental place and probably wouldn’t’ have had as much success as I’ve had so far.

For anyone that is curious to know, I follow a 600-800 calorie eating plan with 90-100 grams of protein, 25 or less grams of carbs, and aim for 100 oz of water. I eat basically the same exact thing every single day. I eat at exactly the same times every day. For me, this journey had to be about taking away the control that food had over me. Personally, I have found that eating the exact same thing every day and following the exact same schedule has put me on autopilot and in this mode, I do not have to think about “What sounds good for dinner? How can I dress up this diet food to taste better? What kind of “on plan” treat can I have?” If I start giving too much thought to the food I’m eating on a daily basis, it starts to consume me again. I prefer to keep it simple, follow a set of rules, and stick to them. This is not to say though that my eating has been perfect for the last year. Just the other night I went over calories because I was grazing. I was grazing on high protein, low carb food… but it was still mindless eating and I’ve got to get tough and put a stop to it so that it’s not just more than a one time thing.

So, to conclude the novel that I have written here lol… it’s been one crazy year that resulted in 216.8 lbs leaving my body. What a ride. I will never say “216 lbs gone forever” because let’s face it… I let myself get to 444 lbs once and I could certainly do it again. I think it would be silly to pretend that it could never come back. I will probably always fear that I’m one cookie away from severe morbid obesity and a BMI of 63. For now, I’m going to focus on the positives and continue striving for my goal! Here are some before and “during” pictures!

Here is a pic of me wearing the same clothes – one year apart! I don’t even know if the picture shows just how big those clothes are now lol!

Comparison

Here are some old pictures

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Here are some current pictures!

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And finally… the progress pictures for this month! Ok… after this, I’m done attention whoring!

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Traveling for Work = Sad Memories & A Gym Update!

I have to say that I have a really great job. I work for a major University as a software trainer and sometimes it requires me to travel to the many campuses that our University has across the state. I generally enjoy traveling to other campuses and getting the opportunity to meet interesting and friendly people. Sometimes the travel is constant and then sometimes it doesn’t happen for long periods of time. At this point, I would say it’s probably been over a year since I’ve traveled, but today I’m leaving town to spend the night in the Philly area to teach classes at a campus tomorrow morning.

Traveling for work brings back some sad memories for me. Well, they weren’t sad memories until I started thinking back a lot on them lately. The majority of the travel that I’ve done for work was prior to me starting the supervised diet (one year ago tomorrow – yay!) and having surgery six months ago. So, as you can imagine, my eating habits were VERY different when I was on the road in the past.

My eating habits on these trips make for sad memories. I always traveled on my own, which means these trips were the opportunity to eat whatever I wanted, in whatever quantity I wanted, on the University’s dime, and without having to hide my behaviors from anyone else. When I was at home, I would eat when my husband was upstairs, I would eat in the car on the way home, or eat in my office at work. You know what I’m talking about… all of those eating behaviors that morbidly obese individuals take part in because they feel the shame and embarrassment from them. Well, when I was traveling on the road… I didn’t have to hide. So, when I think back on my traveling experiences… I can see myself sitting alone in a hotel room, gorging on food with no shame, and then falling asleep feeling terrible. These memories are sad ones and it is hard to believe that things can be so different now.

So, for this trip… I’ve got a plan in place! I have packed food to take with me for tonight and snacks for tomorrow. I already know where I’m going to get lunch and dinner tomorrow as well. I have ensured that my hotel has a fitness center and I have packed the appropriate workout clothing and sneakers! Tonight… I will not sit in a hotel room alone and gorge on food. I’m going to let the past go and make some new, better traveling memories. I will arrive, get settled, workout, shower, eat a dinner I’ve brought with me, watch a little TV, and then go to sleep. Hopefully these become my new traveling habits – because I have a feeling travel will be extensive in the Spring and I must plan ahead!

As for the gym update – I signed up one week ago and have gone four times since then! Exciting stuff. I go there and do what I can so that I can feel healthy and happy. So far, so good! I’ve set realistic expectations and let go of the idea that if I don’t spend an hour a day in the gym that I shouldn’t bother with it. Nobody knows how long I stay in the gym or how much or little I do but me… so if I’m happy with what I’m accomplishing – shouldn’t that be enough? All I want to do is gain a little strength back and tone some of my pathetic muscles, and be healthy enough that I can run far away from the carb monster if he decides to start chasing me!! 🙂

Sometimes the past hits you like a ton of bricks….

So, I’m coming up on six months out from surgery in a few days and a little over a week away from the one year mark of starting the supervised diet. I’m excited to write a post recapping the last year and also to share some before and “during” pictures (FYI – this is not that post lol).

I was looking through some pictures here at work there are saved in a shared network folder from a summer event that took place in July 2011. I knew there were a few candid photos of me in there (since I never POSED for the camera back then), so I went in search of them to use for my upcoming post.

WOW…. photos do NOT lie. I took one look at the picture and suddenly got emotional – right here in my office. Who is this person? I remember her…. she was in pain, she was miserable, and she felt alone in her struggles! The past really hit me like a tons of bricks.

Thank God for all of you, for this surgery, and for giving me the good sense to wake up, get real, and take action. Here is one of the photos I found (and this isn’t even at my heaviest, nor does it show you my entire body – but you get the idea):

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