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!)

 

 

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! 🙂

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Two Days Post Thigh Lift/Lower Body Lift Revision

What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! I have been doing a lot of traveling for personal and work reasons. During this travel, I have spent a lot of time thinking (because you have time to do that on plans and car rides) about how my life has changed in the past couple of years. I have the opportunity to do so many more things now that I’m not trapped in a 450 lb body. I feel great, I look great, and I am healthy!

At almost 450 lbs, I never would have been able to fly in a plane without buying a second seat. I never would have been able to wear nice, properly fitting clothes and heels with confidence while giving a presentation at a conference last week. I never would have been able to spend the weekend doing all kinds of fun things in a fun city – like visiting a jazz club, comedy club, and the zoo! Even if I had the physical stamina to last through these activities, the embarrassment of trying to navigate around in these situations with such a large body would have been extremely difficult.

So, two days ago (on Thursday), I went to New Jersey to have a medial thigh lift procedure and revision of my lower body lift with Dr. Capella. The surgery took about 3 hours and I was able to go home the next day – which I did, since my husband had to work on Friday. I’m happy to report that things went well and I”m doing ok.

What I find the most interesting is that I’m in some discomfort, but not really a lot of pain, to be honest. I haven’t taken a pain killer in over 12 hours and I may try to stay away from them from this point forward. I got sick this morning with terrible headaches and throwing up and I think the pain meds were just not sitting well with me!

I was disappointed to wake up and learn that I had two drains put in – that was a bummer. Dr. Capella had said I wouldn’t need them, but I guess when he got in there he saw that I had a seroma and fluid buildup left from the first surgery that apparently wasn’t noticeable during my checkups? It’s news to me too! You would think I would have noticed fluid retention, but I guess not lol. SO, he said to get the best result, he put in drains to make sure all of the fluid comes out. Annoying, but for the best I’m sure!

My incisions look like I expected them. I was surprised by how much of the lower body lift he revised though. I thought he was just taking up the sides a bit, but I’m cut almost the entire way around. Even though things are going well… ugh, I think this is IT for me! I’m tired of recovering from surgery lol.

I’ll take some pictures tomorrow to share with anyone that is interested, but beware… it’s scary looking!

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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