An NSV Revisited: Seatbelt Space w/ Pic

A long time ago, I made a post with an NSV showing (in a picture) the extra space I had in my seatbelt. There was a time just as I was starting the supervised diet that it was becoming a serious struggle to buckle my seat belt in my car and that was VERY scary for me. Forget about fastening it when I had my winter coat on – no way it would happen!

I am getting so close to several scale victories and I’m starting to get impatient. In a few pounds I will be “overweight” with my BMI, I will weigh less than my husband, and I’m 10 lbs away from being in the 100s. After losing 233 or so pounds, I want to reach these goals SO badly that I’m going a little nuts.

So, today after leaving the gym, I decided to give myself a little perspective. I took the entire seat belt out, clicked it in, and then took a picture of the extra seat belt that was available. As you can see in the picture below, it sticks out so far that I had a hard time getting a picture of it! This is really what I need to focus on during this time! The holidays have been tough, I’ve been working on weight loss for almost 14 months and I need to get back to celebrating these kinds of victories and reminding myself of how far I’ve come – rather than thinking about how I have 40 more lbs to go to my goal.

P.S. I’ll provide a gym update. Two months ago I joined a gym… since then I’ve been going about 4-5 times per week doing some light weight lifting (two separate people have made comments about my arms looking really good – not knowing that I’ve been lifting – woohoo!) and I’ve been working on the Couch25K app. I just finished “Week 4” – I can’t believe that I’ve come that far… during Week 1, I couldn’t imagine running for a total of 16 minutes. It’s VERY exciting! 🙂

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I wish people would “think” before they “compliment!”

The holiday season has brought a lot of family gatherings and of course, a lot of talk about my weight loss. People in general have been very kind and complimentary when they see me – they tell me they are proud of me, that they are excited for me, that they are happy for me. It’s greatly appreciated, although overwhelming at times.

Some people, on the other hand, should probably think about how their “compliment” comes across before they say it lol. What do I mean by this? Here are a few examples:

Someone says to my husband, “Hey there…. did you get a divorce and marry a gorgeous, beautiful, new gal?”

“You are looking beautiful! Congrats! Oh… your husband knew all along that you were beautiful!”

“You are so pretty now!”

Ok… now I let these comments slide because I know the people they are coming from and I know that these people truly do mean these things as a compliment. But, come on?! Do people not realize, POSSIBLY, how these comments might make me feel a little bad? Geez! It does make me wonder what in the world they said about me when I wasn’t around – although I try not to think about it too much.

It just seems to me that people think in their minds that now that I’ve lost weight and approaching a “normal” size, that any comment about my appearance is ok to make.

What are the worst “compliments” you have received?

Christmas Eve Festivities Follow-Up & NSVs

Thanks to everyone that offered kind words from my post yesterday! Boy what an evening it was! I thought I might give a little update and share a picture…

So, I put on my Christmas party dress and went to church with my husband and mother-in-law. I was feeling a little bit of anxiety about receiving attention – especially since the church is packed on Christmas Even with people that I don’t see often. So, my husband and I sat down and an older lady that I don’t know turned around and said hello to us, looked at me and said, “You! I’ve heard good things about you lately…. you look great!”

While this was a very nice compliment, I was kind of like, WTF? haha I didn’t know who this person was… so I’m thinking – who are you and who are you talking to lol? I just said thank you and something along the lines of “I pay people to say nice things about me” because that’s part of my humor that I use when I’m uncomfortable.

Then, my husband’s cousin that I’ve only met a couple of times sat next to us. My mother-in-law said, “You’ve met Randy’s wife Nikke before, haven’t you?” and she looked really confused and said… “Ohhh, no… I don’t think so…..” even though she definitely has… so that was a little strange! (I found out later that she asked her aunt who the woman with Randy was – apparently she missed the part where my MIL said – this is Nikke, Randy’s wife and was very confused because she didn’t recognize me)

When I went up to receive communion, I felt the entire room’s eyes on me and I know to some extent that was all in my head, but at the same time… I know that I was a bit “on display” in that moment. When church was finished, a good friend of the family came to give me a hug and tell me YOU. LOOK. FABULOUS!! and she hugged me hard and said she was so happy for me. It was nice… I was handling it well!

Then, my husband and I went back to my mother-in-law’s house for the party. Things went well! I ate before church so I planned ahead and I didn’t eat anything. Everyone noticed that I wasn’t eating, but didn’t say anything because they clearly know I’ve been trying to lose weight – so that was nice… nobody trying to be a food pusher or ask me why I wasn’t eating.

The best part of the evening was the kind of attention I received – which was none to my face haha. Two people said something to me very briefly during the party. I thought great – I’m not the center of attention or conversation. Well, I found out afterwards that I indeed was the topic of conversation, but everyone was having those conversations with my husband. He said no less than a dozen people came up to him to RAVE about how great I looked. This was perfect – the compliments without the attention that is so awkward! Many people said they didn’t know who I was and that whole thing is still a little crazy to me too. I try to remember though that all of the people that know me in my life since moving away from home don’t recognize a version of me at this size. People from MY family and hometown would recognize me, though with seeing me on Facebook would still know I gained a ton of weight and am now losing it – this version of me is not something that they haven’t seen in the past.

Overall – great night! I didn’t have too much social anxiety and I felt beautiful. For once, I didn’t feel as though I looked odd standing next to my husband. Here is a pic of the two of us together last night!

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This Weight in History: “Next year at this time, you could look like a whole different person!”

I haven’t checked in since my 7 months post-op post on the 13th – things have been busy! I’m happy to say that I have until January 6th off from work and I couldn’t be happier. I was SO ready for a break. Unfortunately, I have been a bit bored for the past couple of days and I’m finding the boredom is making the head hunger much more intense – ugh!

For the past day or so, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the past (hey, like I said, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands) and my thoughts keep going back to something my husband said to me exactly one year ago today. Every year, his parents (now just my mother-in-law) throw a Christmas Eve party for friends and family after the Christmas Eve church service. Last year at this time, I had just started the six months supervised diet 5 weeks earlier and had also just started writing on my blog. In my second post ever, I talked about how I failed to plan ahead for the party and didn’t eat anything all night long. Let’s just say from that point forward I learned my lesson and adopted the saying, “Failure to plan is a plan for failure” or something along those lines! lol

So, back to what my husband said to me. After a long night at the party, we were on our way home and I was talking about how hungry I was because I hadn’t eaten anything. I mentioned that I was happy that I hadn’t eaten anything – like cookies, cakes, pies, etc. but that I also knew that eating nothing at all is not a good thing and my assumption that there would be fruits and veggies there to eat was definitely a wrong one! I was sticking SO closely to my supervised diet plan and SO motivated to lose weight, I refused to eat anything at the party. Like I mentioned before, I was about 5 weeks into my new healthy lifestyle at this point and down about 25 lbs already (from 444.2 lbs to 418.6ish lbs). During our discussion, my husband said something to me that gave me so much hope and so much to look forward to and I remember it so clearly:

“Just think about it… next year at this time, you might look like a completely different person!”

Of course, at the time these words seemed so impossible but they left an impression. Christmas Eve 2013 seemed like a lifetime away – hell, surgery seemed like a lifetime away! I will admit though that when he said this, I felt the pure desperation inside of me that his words would come true. The idea that in a year’s time I could be much healthier, look much better, and be in much less pain was all I could think about for the rest of the ride home. I’m not a formally religious person, but I’m pretty sure I probably prayed that night for the strength to make it through this whole process and have the attempts at weight loss be “different this time.”

I’m so happy to be reflecting on that moment and my husband’s statement today, one year later, and to know that he was right. I do look like a completely different person and I’m not talking just about the physical person that I am. While I do look completely different (and SO much better lol), I’m also different inside – more confident, happier, and not in the kind of pain I was a year ago.

For the first time since I’ve been with my husband, I’m going to this Christmas Eve party not afraid of breaking chairs (or the toilet seat at my in-laws house like I did two years ago LOL), not sitting in the exact same spot because it’s too hard to navigate my big body through the rooms filled with people, and I’m not going to be worried about people staring at me while I eat either. The only anxiety I have this year really is about all the attention I will receive because of my weight loss. It’s something I still am not used to and not entirely comfortable with – you know, all of the going on and on about it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and every person will say, “You look great!” and leave it at that?? Nah, probably not…but that’s ok I’m just going to enjoy the fact that this year will be so much better and that I’ll be rocking a size 16 dress that is a little too big for me instead of the size 30 dress pants that I wore last year! Maybe I’ll get someone to take a couple of pictures so that I can post them later!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and all of the other holidays to all!!

7 Months Post-Op and Struggling Today!

Today, I am 7 months post-op! I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. I’m really looking forward to having a break soon for the holidays…. work has been getting pretty busy lately. I’m wondering if that’s why I find myself struggling today with wanting to eat? I’m not feeling any physical hunger at the moment… but the head hunger is practically killing me. Maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s just from feeling tired… but today is a day where I could very easily resort back to some poor eating habits! I’m having a really hard time resisting the sweets that are in the house. Thank goodness I’m leaving after I write this to go to my mother-in-law’s house! I can get my mind off of it for awhile.

Overall, I’m down 228.2 lbs from when I started the supervised diet – I couldn’t be happier! Since surgery 7 months ago, I’ve lost 122 lbs exactly. I find it really interesting that in the 7th month, I lost slightly more than the 5th and 6th months. I joined a gym a month ago and have been doing some light weightlifting and working on the Couch-2-5K app 3-4 times per week… so it’s possible that as my weight loss was going to naturally slow down, the exercise kept it from doing so? Perhaps I joined the gym at the perfect time? Who knows! It’s not a huge difference, but I’ll take it!! My monthly losses have looked like this:

  • Month 1 = 24.8
  • Month 2 = 17.8
  • Month 3 = 18.0
  • Month 4 = 19.2
  • Month 5 = 13.2
  • Month 6 = 12
  • Month 7 = 14

One thing I have noticed is the return of physical hunger. Not a lot… but it is certainly there. I feel those hunger feelings again when I haven’t eaten in awhile. Not only that, but I’ve definitely noticed an increase in capacity. Although I can still feel satisfied eating the amounts that I did before, I really do have to be careful and make sure that I’m measuring my food because it has been easier for me to eat more without getting near the “full” feeling. I have noticed in the past month that my calories have been in the higher end of the 600-800 range and sometimes I’ve gone over the 800 calorie threshold. This hasn’t been caused by eating anything different than I normally do, just more of it and so I’ve got to try and keep a lid on it.

Another big change I’ve noticed is my husband insecurities coming through lol. He met me when I weighed about 250 lbs, so now at 216… it is a situation he has never experienced before. He’s not used to me wearing makeup, doing my hair, buying stylish/professional/cute clothing, and I think it makes him uneasy. On one hand, he really enjoys the fact that I’m feeling good and confident (and I’m SURE he enjoys the fact that I look better lol), but on the other hand, he hates the idea of other men hitting on me. Which I think is funny, because that 10000% has NOT happened at all. I’m actually kind of jealous of all the stories on read on the forums of women that start getting hit on right away after losing even a small percentage of their excess weight and then here I am… no interest from anyone whatsoever lol! I feel like I’d have to pay someone to hit on me for crying out loud hahaha 🙂

This is all definitely a struggle, but SO very worth it!! Here is a fun little comparison picture! The pic on the left was from a work event July 2011 and the other pic is my terrible attempt at a “selfie” in the bathroom mirror last night LOL I still don’t know how women take such nice pictures of themselves… I have not mastered that art yet!!

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My thoughts on deprivation – why is it a bad thing??

I really, really, really hate the words “deprive”, “deprived” and “deprivation” and it is used A LOT on the OH boards, Facebook groups that I’m a member of, and in blogs that I follow. Deprivation is the denial of the possession or use of something. So, I have to ask – why do people treat deprivation as such a bad thing when it relates to depriving themselves of food?

I deprive myself all the time. This weekend I went shopping and I wanted to buy SO many things, but I knew I shouldn’t be spending too much money on clothing (or anything for that matter) because I don’t have endless money, so what did I do? I deprived myself.

I really love to gamble. I’m a Black Jack enthusiast. Whenever I travel for work, I always seem to find myself within driving distance of a casino. When I find myself bored during a weekend, I think about driving to the nearest casino and having some fun! But, do I? No! It’s not a fiscally or mentally healthy activity to engage in all the time, so what did I do? I deprived myself.

Last night, I really had to finish a freelance project before I went to sleep. What I really, really, really wanted to do was to go to bed; however, I stayed up later than normal to finish my work because I had a responsibility and obligation to do so. When I wanted extra sleep, what did I do? I deprived myself.

We deprive ourselves of things all the time and we probably don’t even give it a second thought. We deprive ourselves because it’s not healthy for us to indulge in all of our “wants” or because we have certain obligations and responsibilities that force us to make the decision to “go without” something.

That’s why I have such a hard time wrapping my head around why people treat depriving themselves of food that led to our obesity as such a terrible thing. People will say, “I did not have this surgery so that I would feel deprived. I will still eat the foods I love, just less of it” or “I refuse to deprive myself… because then I’ll just want it more, give in, and then eat a lot of it.” The way I see it, I didn’t deprive myself much of anything for a long time and it led me to be 444 lbs. I really needed to “do some depriving!”

I have a problem with food. This is something I’ve learned about myself in the past year through self-reflection and lots of therapy. I want to get to the point where saying no to a piece of cake feels exactly the same way as saying no to the extra sweater that I wanted to buy on Saturday. I say that because “depriving” myself of the extra sweater on Saturday does NOT make me feel like when I do buy the next sweater, I need to buy 5 of them! So, when I say no to the piece of cake, I don’t want to have a reaction where it just makes me want to eat 5 pieces of cake when I finally do have some. When I feel like I’ve worked on myself enough to where deprivation of food feels like deprivation of other things, then I know that will be the time to start adding certain things back into my diet. I don’t feel like I’m there yet though.

These are just my thoughts. Just because I can’t understand a way of thinking that many other people agree with, doesn’t mean that I am judging or saying that you’re wrong, so let’s not start that BS! There are many ways of thinking about things in this world that I don’t understand in which I am in the minority, so that’s ok. No matter what your opinion is on this, I’m curious to know what you think? Why do you think we treat deprivation so differently when it comes to food and the deprivation of other things is no big deal? Isn’t that just an indicator that we’ve still got a problem with food and we should probably keep a lid on eating certain things until we’ve got a handle on it?

The emotions of shopping after weight loss surgery

I hate shopping. I have never been someone that likes the act of shopping – it has always made me cringe. My entire childhood was spent being taken from flea market to store to yard sale to mall, etc. Half the time my Mother never bought anything and the other half the time she only bought things that she wanted. Of course, if I acted like a typical kid and asked to get something, I got the “Stop being a spoiled little brat!” remark.

Now, let me clear something up right now… I was NOT a spoiled brat when I was a kid. These comments came from my Mother, who was VERY strapped for cash when my brother and I were little and she is also someone that does not handle stress and anxiety well. So, instead of calmly telling me, “Sorry, honey… Mommy really can’t afford that Barbie right now.” – I was made to feel as though I was a terrible child for asking. Trust me, Mom comes up quite a bit in therapy.

So what about when I went school clothes shopping and I could buy something? That was a disaster as well. For most of my years growing up, I was about 30-40 lbs overweight… so imagine how fun it was to try and find cute clothing to buy in rural Pennsylvania where there are no big malls in sight. Cut to my late high school and early college years when I was thinner and at about a normal weight. I could finally fit into clothing and looked a bit better… but then I couldn’t afford to buy anything.

For the past 5-6 years, the problem wasn’t money or availability of clothing, it was now the fact that I’ve been 300-444 lbs during that time. As you can imagine, there aren’t too many options for someone at that size. For years I have been ordering clothes from Old Navy.com because even they stopped carrying plus size clothing in the store about 7 years ago and department stores like JC Penney’s and Kohl’s didn’t carry plus size clothing big enough to fit me.

What’s the point? Well, last weekend I went shopping at outlet malls in Maryland with women in my husband’s family and this was huge for me for several reasons. First, I would normally avoid a trip like this because I could not physically spend 5 minutes standing on my feet a year ago without major pain, let alone a trip of all day shopping, walking, and carrying bags. Second, even when I would go shopping with my husband’s aunts and cousins in the past, it was never really all that fun to watch them try on cute clothing and just stand there while they shopped their little hearts out. I felt out of place just walking into most stores! Last year around this time when I went, it really was just for the socializing.

So, last weekend was new for me. I found myself trying clothes on and liking the way they fit. At the first store, The Gap, I took two sizes of the same shirt into the dressing room – an XL and L. Naturally, I tried on the XL first thinking it would be the one! Well, it was definitely too big and the L fit perfectly. It was crazy! I think that I have a pretty good mental idea of what I look like now and I luckily DO NOT see the 444 version of me in the mirror at this point, but I still do pick up clothing and think, “Wow, this is way too small to fit me!” when really it will fit perfectly!

For the most part… shopping was a great experience, although I have to admit, not being able to wear certain things because of excess skin was disappointing. But, the positive emotions I was feeling when trying on and buying new clothing was overwhelming. When people ask me why I’m so strict with my diet and why I’m so driven towards my goal, and why I don’t just have “a little taste of something here and there”, I wish I could bottle up the feelings I had this past weekend and somehow show/give it to them. Letting go of all of the bad shopping memories and making new, positive ones makes the “deprivation (I HATE that word)” worth it to me – at least at this point. I’m not saying I do things perfectly or that I will always eat on plan… but I take each day as it comes and try to make the best choices possible. I do what works for me and I’m so glad I’m in a much better mental and physical place than I was 13 months ago…