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!)

 

 

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! ­čÖé I’ll be updating here and there after surgery – wish me luck! ­čÖé

Same outfit - two years apart!

Same outfit – two years apart!

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Creeping out of the weight loss surgery closet… could it be worth it?

The topic of whether or not to share the decision to have weight loss surgery with others is often brought up in weight loss surgery forums and blogs. It’s a personal decision and I usually find there are two “camps” 1) people that stay incredibly private about their decision or 2) people┬áthat are an open book.

Since beginning this process 20 months ago, I have remained pretty private about the whole thing. I told limited family and friends about my decision – basically only the people I absolutely knew would provide me with support. I’m a sensitive person and I care what people think of me. I wish I were a bit more evolved and didn’t care at all (I envy those kinds of people), but I have enough self-awareness to know that being the recipient of judgment and negativity was going to hinder my ability to stay on course (as an emotional eater that hasn’t completely conquered my issues).

When people ask me what I’m doing to lose weight, I jokingly respond with “I don’t eat a thing that tastes good” and the subject usually┬áchanges. Nobody has ever really pushed the issue. I have never been asked if I’ve had weight loss surgery, although people do ask my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and closest friends. I made it clear to these individuals that they are free to answer the question however they would like… as I do not expect them to lie for me. That’s a terrible position to put somebody in and when asked, these individuals respect my privacy by saying “I don’t know, you’d have to ask her!” – which of course, nobody ever seems to do.

I was asked a few months ago by someone on Facebook in a private message what I did to lose the weight. I knew this person to be a trustworthy person so I confided in her my decision to have surgery because she is someone that could potentially benefit from it, though she would be a lightweight. She was very supportive and told me she was proud. I have been much more likely to put pictures on Facebook lately and so of course, I get more questions about what I’ve been doing.

Two days ago, a girl I graduated high school with asked me what my secret was… and I know this girl to be overweight enough to qualify for surgery. I had an internal debate on how to answer her. On one hand, I desperately wanted to share with her my experience and to be completely honest… and on the other hand, I know she lives in my small hometown and that when you tell one person, you might as well tell everyone. I started a conversation with her this evening just simply offering to her a list of what I eat everyday… but we got to talking and I could almost feel her desperation (that’s a bad word, but I can’t think of anything more appropriate) to regain her health and happiness.

I threw out the idea of weight loss surgery by saying something along the lines of, “I think a person needs to do whatever they can to get where they need to be… I think weight loss surgery is great, doctors, nutritionists, therapy, etc.” When I said this, she said she thought she could do it on her own and that “The idea of surgery scares the crap out of me… too many bad stories about that” Immediately I knew that she had this idea in her head of the neighbor’s, uncle’s, best friend’s, brother that had surgery and died! I immediately felt compelled to say “NO, WAIT! LOOK AT ME! I had surgery and I am great!”

Honestly… that’s kind of how it went from there. I told her that after losing 100+ lbs in a supervised diet, I had a long way to go and I needed more help. I told her that I had a surgery less invasive than gastic bypass, but very effective. She immediately started asking me genuine questions and the information started to pour out of me. I shared with her my first progress picture and the pic of me at 18 months out from the start of the supervised diet wearing the same clothes. She was amazed. She asked more questions…. I could literally feel her hope and energy coming through the computer. She’s about to take a trip to Disney and has already asked me if we could talk when she gets back. She wants to know more about the doctors I used, the surgery I had, and all of my experiences. Like I said, I could feel her hope and energy through the screen… and I was immediately glad I shared the information.

I’m not ready to tell the world I have had surgery. I am not ready to make some kind of Facebook announcement or to be the poster child for the VSG; however, with the way I am feeling in this very moment after this conversation…. if the entire town I come from finds out I’ve had surgery and the “secret” is out, then so be it. The idea that within just a few minutes I could give someone like her… who is in the exact some position I was in less than 2 years ago, hope for the future (regardless of whether or not she goes through with it), then it has become 100000% worth it. I actually never expected to feel that way about it and who knows maybe I will change my mind if everyone actually does find out and start questioning me HA HA! But right now, I am so very glad I made myself vulnerable!

Boringgggg! My Daily Foods!

I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I eat everyday. I thought it would be beneficial to those that are interested to post it as an entry rather than in a comment reply so here it is! ­čÖé So… to warn you, I am VERY boring when it comes to food. I eat basically the same thing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Honestly, this is not a new habit that I started the supervised diet as I have always been this way. In the past, I just ate the same BAD things every day lol.

My goal is to maximum protein and minimize carbs. I don’t really worry to much about fats because I don’t believe certain fats are the enemy. Also, if I’m striving to maximize protein then I’m not choosing fatty meats anyway! So, here’s what a day looks like for me

Stats

  • Protein = 95-100g
  • Carbs = 11 – 19g
  • Fats = 25 – 30g
  • Water = 80 – 110 oz

Food

  • Breakfast = (3) Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Links w/ 1/8 cup shredded reduced-fat colby jack cheese
  • AM Snack = 1 oz beef jerkey (great value brand bought from Wal-Mart)
  • Lunch = 2.25 oz of Tyson grilled chicken strips with 1/8 cup shredded reduced-fat colby jack cheese
  • Afternoon Snack = 1 oz beef jerkey
  • Dinner = 1/2 Butterball turkey burger w/ 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat colby jack cheese
  • PM Snack (optional) = 1 Strawberry or Raspberry Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt

The only thing that really differs in my meal is that sometimes when I go out to eat, I eat grilled shrimp, chili, or part of a grilled chicken salad. I eat at the same times everyday as well. It’s routine and I like it. I don’t need variety… I need to be healthy…. I need to get to goal…. I need to not give food so much power over me!!

Better Than Bypass??

First, I want to say that NO, this post is not about the Sleeve being better than the RNY procedure. I think a decision on which procedure to have is a personal one and everybody should make that decision for themselves.

HOWEVER, I will say that a lot of people come to the boards to make a “Help me decide between sleeve and┬áRNY” post. It seems like a lot of┬ápre-opers┬áare concerned that they will not be able to lose as much weight with the┬áVSG┬áas the┬áRNY. Continue reading

Ah HA!!! My Suspicions Were Right!!

So, on the ObesityHelp.com forums people talk a lot about the┬ábougie┬ásize that their surgeon uses during a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) and there is often debate about whether or not this size matters and has an effect on weight loss. I never asked my surgeon what size bougie he was going to use, because honestly I didn’t really want to know beforehand. I was comfortable with my surgeon, the hospital, and the weight management clinic and I trusted that they would do a good job. I do not have any other options in the area for VSG surgery that would be covered by my insurance and there is not way that I could self pay. With that being said, I was looking through my medical records online and found the notes from surgery (had no idea they were online) and was surprised, yet not surprised about what I found. Continue reading

Surgery Tomorrow: My Reflections on the End of the Six Month Supervised Diet and 108.8lbs Lost (w/ pics!)

Well, tomorrow is the day! I started this journey on November 20th, when I had my first consult with the doctor at the weight management clinic where I live. Throughout the past six months (one week shy), I have lost 108.8 lbs. These are my thoughts, reflections, and advice based on my (very limited) experience. (Warning: Long Post!) Continue reading