Six Month Surgiversary! {182}

17 Mar

WOW. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I have posted here. but I really honestly have been SO VERY BUSY. Thankfully I also find time to take lots of selfies, so this post will at least be photo rich ūüėČ

I have finally hit a real “plateau” of sorts, and I think it is a combination of my metabolism finally slowing a little, and then of course the new muscle weight I am putting on, that basically cancels out the fat I am losing (although I am still SHRINKING)

When I started this journey, I pictured my goal weight of 145 putting me at a size 10-12. Well I am already a 10-12 at 182 lbs! I can wear “large” tops which completely blows my mind.

My meal prep is evolving to be as simple as possible, while still being “tasty”. I love ZOODLES (Zucchini Noodles) and came up with this super easy recipe that includes ground turkey browned in a skillet with fresh garlic and chopped onion, then mixed with ready-made spaghetti sauce (WATCH THE SODIUM IN THAT STUFF THOUGH!!!!). I don’t pre-cook the noodles because I don’t like the way they re-heat that way. I put them raw into my little 1/2 cup containers, and top with the meat/sauce mixture, then a little sprinkle of fresh grated parmesan and refrigerate or freeze. When I’m ready to eat it, I microwave it for 30-60 seconds, let it stand for a few minutes to steam the noodles, and enjoy!

 

Last month I flew for the first time in a few years. It was CRAZY to be able to sit comfortably in airport seating, and then to get on the plane and NOT need an extender belt. In fact, I had like 15 extra inches of seatbelt here!!! WTH?!?! Seriously, sometimes I am still shocked at how much smaller I am.

The trip was for a Birth Photography conference, which was basically AMAZING. But fresh  Cold Pressed Juice does not exist on every corner in Clearwater Beach, Florida. I take it for granted here in CA that I can walk into any number of shops and order a green juice made just for me, the way I like it. LOL (My favorite is Nekter, because their app lets me order on my phone and pick up quickly when I get there). We did find cold pressed juice in Florida, but it was pricey and could not be customized at all. Still healthy and yummy though!

My hair loss has continued, and has necessitated yet another dramatic haircut, and the addition of a cool “concealer” powder that I brush into my scalp to cover my balding spots. Total game changer! Like, I feel ten years younger using this product. CRAZY.

My workouts now include one session a week with a personal trainer, at least three group workouts/classes a week, and cardio on my own 2-3 times a week. I’m running, swimming, dancing, weightlifting, etc and LOVING how capable I am. ¬†I also carry hand weights in my car, and when I am stuck in heavy traffic I am working on sculpting my shoulders and arms. I drive 2,000-2,500 miles every month, and this IS Southern California, so I spend a great deal of time in traffic.

 

I had my labs drawn a few weeks ago for my annual physical, and those results went to Dr Suh (my surgeon) as well. ¬†I have a follow up appointment with him next week and can’t wait to go over my nutrition profile! I did not consult him when I started Juicing 2 months ago, just followed my gut – and my labs confirm what I believed: I neeeeeeed to drink my veggies! I don’t take my vitamins as regularly as I really should, but I drink 40-60 oz of the fresh cold pressed MAGIC every day. And all of my levels are confirmed to be EXCELLENT based on my labs. My current favorite juice recipe is Ginger, Cucumber, Carrots, Kale, Celery, Lemon, Lime, Apple, and Pineapple. The fruit is in small quantities, so I don’t have to worry too much about the extra CALORIES…and I actually am pretty sure that sipping these healthy calories all day has a lot to do with my current gut health, and my body’s willingness to keep shedding pounds even though I am only eating 1/4 cup 5-6 times per day.

 

My birth business is thriving right now, so it may be awhile before I get around to posting again – but hopefully when I do, I’ll have time to post my new measurements!

 

 

Two “new” things I got to do this week, were a trip to Legoland for my son’s birthday…..and I could easily fit on every ride we went on, and never got tired or sore walking around the park; and I got new HEAD SHOTS taken, since I now look NOTHING at all like my old headshots. It was weird to feel confident IN FRONT of the camera! Weird but good.

 

Thanks for reading this! Now #GoBeAwesome ‚̧

New Year, new ME {200}

3 Jan
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Me and my three youngest kiddos, Dec 2016. Approx 220 lbs here, size 14

YES, as the title indicated, I am down to 200 lbs. Not 199. Not 201. Just straight 200 lbs (well, 200.2, to be exact). I seem to have hit my first little “plateau”, but its only been 4 days, so its probably just me being impatient to get to “ONEderland”. ¬†Period bloat is also not my friend right now.

Since my health insurance is now covering a gym membership for me at LA Fitness, I’m adding weight training and swimming to my workout regimen, but still keeping Jazzercise! Dance for life! (I still can’t DANCE, I have absolutely NO rhythm, but I so love jazzercise!)

I shrunk out of my “TC” (tall & curvy) sized leggings from LuLaRoe, and am now wearing “OS” (One Size….fits size 2-12) In jeans I am down to a size 12, for the first time in over 20 years. ¬†Today I even put on a size 10 bathing suit!!! (pics of that to follow soon, I promise!)

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My daughter got me a new track jacket for Christmas, in a size Large “to shrink into” (I really do love that girl of mine! Always so positive and supportive. Apple does NOT fall far from the tree, she’s like my own personal “Life Doula”). Anyway, the Large jacket already FITS me!!!!!! I could not believe it when I tried it on Christmas morning!!!

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My three month follow up appointment with Dr Suh last month was pretty uneventful; he suggested I switch from a multivitamin to a prenatal vitamin, simply because I feel like I am having memory issues. (I think? I mean, I can’t really remember if my memory was better before….LOL) ¬†I also was given the go-ahead to try eating BEEF again, which I finally did tonight and it was AMAZING. I made Carne Asada for my family, with beans and rice and tortillas, garnished with avocado slices and cilantro, and of course fresh lime to squeeze over the meat. I still can’t have the rice or tortillas, but I made myself several little 2 oz containers with the meat, beans, cheese, cilantro and lime. OM NOM NOM.

My serving size is still 1/4 cup max, and I am still eating that 4-5 times a day. On the days that I double up my workouts, I try to eat a sixth meal to make sure I still have some nutrients going in.  Yesterday I made Chicken Noodle Soup for my family, and I took out enough for a few tiny meals for me BEFORE adding the noodles. I am finding that pretty much any meal I make for my family can be modified to be bariatric-approved.

I just started juicing, as recommended by a friend to pack more micronutrients into my diet. Its really hard for me to even get 20 oz of this stuff into me in a day, but I do feel better already, just three days into this. ¬†The recipe I made today included cucumber, celery, carrots, kale, apple, lemon, pineapple, and fresh ginger (just a tiny bit!) I added up the cost per serving to make my own juices at home, vs buying them at Nekter or similar places…..$9 for approx 20 oz of store-bought juice, or about $1.75 for 20 oz of home made juice, using a hand-me-down juicer from my friend. SO worth it, especially because at home I can customize it for flavor preference or specific nutritional needs.

I drink 60+ oz of water a day, now adding 20 oz of juiced veggies and fruit, and of course as much protein as I can get into me. Protein shakes have gotten really old, so I find myself reaching for those Isopure protein waters more and more to help me get my 60 grams of protein per day. ¬†It’s really hard to get it all in!

I’ve finally reached a couple of negative side effects from my Sleeve Gastrectomy. My hair is thinning ridiculously, so last week I got most of it chopped off. I am confident that it will come back, but for now it’s just…THIN.

More concerning is the spinal/nerve issues I am encountering now….I have a pinched nerve between L4 and L5, and it’s very likely caused by my super RAPID weight loss….theres literally NO “adjustment period” for my spine to catch up to my constantly changing center of gravity. ¬†The pinched nerve has caused some numbness just on my skin on the inside of both calves, and my chiropractor thinks he can help me keep this from progressing to a motor issue (in other words, I will still be able to WALK no matter what).

All in all, I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me!¬†

 

If a picture speaks a thousand words…. {219}

27 Nov

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I have not had time to blog much lately, but have been taking lots of selfies to document my SHRINKING. ¬†I still don’t really have time to write today, so I’m posting a bunch of recent pictures. If you follow my social media (FB & IG) then you may have already seen many of these.

That number in my title says it all, 219 lbs! I am 10 weeks post op and have lost 73 lbs total, 52 lbs just since surgery.

My measurements today:

Waist: 41.5 (-4.5 inches since September)

Hips: 48.5 (-7.5 inches)

Rib Cage: 37.5 (-2.5 inches)

Bust (over bra): 44.5 (-5 inches)

Right Thigh: 26 (-3 inches)

Right Calf: 17.5 (-1.5 inches)

Right Bicep: 13.75 (-1.5 inches)

Right Forearm: 10.5 (-2 inches)

I HAVE LOST A TOTAL OF 27.5 inches just in these areas, in ten weeks!!!!!

We went to my husband’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball a few weeks ago, and I ended up buying a new dress the morning of the ball – in a SIZE 16!!!

Later that same week I caved in and bought some cheap jeans at Costco, in a size 16. THEY FIT! They actually feel a little too baggy in the butt and thighs now, so I went back yesterday (while they were on sale for $12 LOL) and bought a pair of size 14 jeans, knowing they’ll have to fit me sooner or later. Tried them on last night, and they FIT! They are tighter than I like, so in that specific style I seem to be sort of between sizes right now. ¬†BUT, by Christmas, I will be puling out all of my old size 14 clothes! I am excited for this because I know I saved some CUTE stuff from back in the day. The jeans I wore on my first date with my now husband (February 1997….almost TWO DECADES AGO) were a size 13/14. I still have them, so I’ll totally be taking a picture in those sometime soon.

For now, I pretty much live in workout clothes and LuLaRoe leggings, and I’m totally cool with that.

 

 

 

 

One Month Post Op {240}

16 Oct

One month ago today, I checked in to the hospital for my Gastric Sleeve surgery, weighing 271 lbs.  That weight was 21 lbs down from my highest weight earlier this year of 292.  In my first month post op, I have lost 31 more pounds! Thats a total of 52 lbs gone for good.

At my one month post op appointment this week, I was cleared to exercise again. Until that point, I walked anywhere from 2 to 5 miles per day. Well this week I finally went back to JAZZERCISE, and can’t even begin to describe how good that felt! I had to do a lot of modifications, especially keeping things low impact because my ankles and knees are still sore from carrying all this excess weight for over 15 years (and because I sprained my ankle about a month before surgery, and while it is ‘healed’ it is not as strong as I want it to be for higher impact exercise). ¬†I still burned a lot of calories, called forth a lot of sweat, and rolled out those endorphins I have been missing for the past month or so. ¬†This is what I love about Jazzercise – it’s FUN, and anyone, at any fitness level, can get a GREAT workout from it. ¬†I started doing Jazzercise in August, aiming for 3 times a week. I wanted it to become a habit before I went in for surgery. Sure enough, the whole last month I have been anxious to get back to Jazzercise! I know there will be some weeks that I only make it in twice a week, and other weeks I will make 4 or 5 classes – but my goal is 3x per week. (notice I’m wearing my Vagina shirt LOL #BirthIsMyPassion #ILoveWhatIDoula)

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I’m also planning to do a 5K once a month, eventually actually RUNNING those races. This first one coming up October 30th, I plan to walk most of it, but might be able to run/jog some too. ¬†This is part of my overall fitness goal, to LOVE running again. Once upon a time, running was very freeing for me. ¬†I was a distance runner with great stamina. ¬†With everything I have learned as a Birth Doula about¬†the mental power behind physical endurance, I absolutely KNOW that I will once again love running. Next year I want to run a half marathon, and the year after that I’ll run a full marathon. And I’m going to LOVE it.

I got to add some new foods to my diet this week, specifically chicken, turkey, and lettuce (just NOT iceberg lettuce, as it is hard to digest and has almost no nutritional value). In the weeks leading up to my surgery, I was on a zero starch diet. This was really hard for me because, well, I LOVE food, and so many foods have starch in them. It wasn’t a zero carb diet, as I was able to eat all the fruits and veggies I wanted; just no bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, etc. So I ended up at Chipotle at least once a week for a salad bowl (no rice) that really filled me up and gave me lots of good protein. ¬†When I found out I could eat chicken AND lettuce again, that salad bowl was the first thing to come to mind. Of course I have to introduce new foods one at a time, to make sure I can tolerate them, so I started with chicken for my dinner the day of my post op appointment. That went well, so the next day I tried whole beans (have been eating refried beans as part of my soft foods, but needed to make sure I dint have any problems with the whole beans. ¬†When that was fine, I went to Chipotle and got a kids “build your own taco” meal; my boys had the juice and chips and tortillas, and I was left with chicken, beans, and lettuce. YUM! This yielded 6 meals for me, so I was super happy. I’ve also enjoyed ground turkey this week, and baked chicken. I just have to take TINY bites, chew really well, never serve more than 2 oz as a meal, and stop eating the second I feel full.

I’m shrinking so much faster than I imagined – and even as the changing numbers on my scale slow way down in the next month or two, I know I will still be shrinking. Muscle weighs more than fat, but is more densely packed – so a pound of muscle is physically much smaller than a pound of fat. And muscles burn more calories than fat, so the more I can raise my overall muscle content, the faster I will burn through all of this excess fat. At 240 lbs, I still have 95 lbs to lose to get to my goal of 145. ¬†I don’t even know what would be a realistic size goal for me; the smallest I have ever been since reaching adult sizes was a size 10, and that was at 120 lbs before I had my first baby. I was SKINNY but had wide hip bones and shoulders. So I don’t know if I physically CAN get smaller than a size 10 (?) Time will tell.

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This dress is a size 16, and when I tried it on a couple weeks ago (2 weeks post op) I could not close the side zipper AT ALL. Yesterday I tried it on and IT FITS! Zipper and all! No spanx needed. Since we still have a few weeks until the Marine Corps Ball, there is a very real possibility that this will be too loose on me by then! ¬†I’m not wearing the right bra with it in this picture, but it is a lovely ballgown and I am thrilled to finally be able to wear it.

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Speaking of shrinking, here are my updated measurements (number in red is my measurements taken 4 weeks ago, on September 19)

WAIST: 44″ (46″)

HIPS: 50″ (56″)

RIB CAGE 39″ (40″)

BUST (over bra): 46″ (49.5″)

RIGHT THIGH: 27″ (29″)

RIGHT CALF: 17.5″ (19″)

RIGHT BICEP: 14″ (15.25″)

RIGHT FOREARM: 11″¬†(12.5″)

Oh, and I am totally gonna invest in a full length mirror. It’s getting so hard to get these shots in my bathroom mirror or small wall mirror!

I did remember to wear the same outfit for my one month post op appointment as I wore for my pre-op, because I took this picture as I was leaving the pre op appointment in the big mirror at Dr Suh’s office. Had to recreate it (sort of) for the post op! The clothes are really baggy on me now, so at my next appointment in 2 months I will be wearing something different.

LuLaYES {246}

8 Oct

Yes, I have gone over to the “dark side”. I finally fit into the LuLaRoe leggings I bought from a previous client like 8 months ago or so. And obviously I HAD to start buying more, right? Well only “birth” related prints, of course. The uterus print leggings are actually a gift for a friend, but the ‘vagina’ print top is alllllll mine! LOL

I’m still 100 lbs overweight, but I look and feel so much better than I did 45 lbs ago!!! ¬†My ankles and knees are protesting less and less. My back aches less. I actually really can’t wait to get back to working out! Jazzercise is on my calendar a few times this week. I’ve been going for evening walks with my kids, and will be starting those in the afternoon now since its getting dark so much earlier (and time change is right around the corner). I won’t start weight training until January, other than some at-home exercises with a kettle bell that I already have here. My insurance is going to start covering gym memberships as of January 1, so I’ll be signing up and likely purchasing at least a few personal training sessions to get me going. ¬†In addition to burning all this fat, I want to sculpt and tone as I shrink.

Size wise, I am still able to wear the same bras I have for quite some time, but now the band around my chest actually FITS (and I have adjusted the hooks to the next tightest setting) and of course the should straps fall down all day if I can’t keep the straps at their newly shortened length. The clips slide throughout the day, so that part just sucks. ¬†I am fitting into a lot of size 18 stuff for the first time in a long time, and can ALMOST fit comfortable into a few size 16 pieces. ¬†In a few weeks, I’ll be posting pictures of me dressed for the Marine Corps Ball, wearing a ballgown I bought about 5 years ago and never could fit into before now. ¬†Also working on some “before/during/after” photo complications, using some of these eye opening BEFORE pictures of me at 280-290 lbs.

Jeans have been a wardrobe staple for me for quite some time, and I have ZERO jeans that fit me right now. I’m not planning to BUY any new jeans until I at least get down to a size 14 though. So….leggings are my new best friend.

 

 

 

 

Fork Yeah! …and can we talk about FAT SHAMING? {251}

30 Sep

Two weeks post op, and I am down TWENTY POUNDS. I’m also feeling better than I have physically in years.

I bought these cute little appetizer forks on Amazon and love them for my 1/2 scrambled egg! They make it so much easier to remember take TINY bites. If I forget and take too big a bite, it is immediately uncomfortable to downright PAINFUL. (a large gulp of water will also hurt, so I have to be really careful to just keep SIPPING slowly)

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I haven’t been posting DAILY update pictures on my Facebook, but I am hoping to at least post new pictures every two weeks or so as I go through this process. This is me today at a “Color Run” event at my son’s school. I have this interesting mental thing, for years now, that I can look at myself in the mirror and be in total denial about my weight, but then later see a picture of myself from that same day and go, “Oh my gosh, am I really that FAT???” ¬†Well today my friend snapped this pic of my with my phone, and when I looked at it later, in my car, I sat there and bawled like a baby for at least five minutes (maybe ten?). These were HAPPY tears, as I am so grateful that what I see in the mirror is also what is showing up in pictures. I really AM shrinking! ¬†I wanted to call Dr Suh right that minute and THANK him for this second chance at the whole rest of my life.

 

Now, can we talk about something a little less “happy”? I’ve had a lot of time to think about this, and have honestly experienced it from both sides; FAT SHAMING is a real thing, and those who participate in this hateful practice are doing so much more damage than they may think. ¬†There are so many ways we JUDGE those around us, based on appearance, and whether we are willing to admit it or not, we change our behavior toward people based on the judgements we’ve made. ¬†The thing is, we all at least know on the surface that it is wrong to judge someone based on their skin color, because they can’t choose to be whatever color you/we/they might prefer; they were BORN that way. But a huge percentage of our population thinks it is OK to judge FAT people because the fat person clearly “chose” to be fat. (not necessarily, but even if that statement was true…..are we really such assholes that we would marginalize a large, and growing, part of our society like that???….no pun intended BTW)

I’ve definitely been passed over for jobs because of my weight, I’ve missed certain opportunities because of my weight, have had to sit out of a lot of activities, etc. ¬†I’ve been laughed at and teased. ¬†But the truly painful situation, that I don’t think people are aware they are creating, is the many MANY times I have felt invisible because I am fat. Obviously people SEE me, because, I mean, how could they not? But they don’t see ME; they see a fat woman. Or maybe even just a fat PERSON, without even noticing my gender. No specific identity. I’m just invisible to them. Sometimes even to my own friends or family. ¬†They didn’t see ME, the loving wife and mother; or ME, the compassionate and educated Birth Doula; or ME the Marine Wife; or ME the activist; or ME the baker of the most amazing lactation cookies anyone has ever tasted; or ME the life of the party. (ok well maybe that last bit is a stretch… ha ha ha).

I was complaining about my crooked teeth the other night to a neighbor who I don’t know very well. I told her I really want braces, and she said, “well if it makes any difference, I’ve never noticed your crooked teeth”. I tried to be nice in my response, but the words had to have sounded at least a little bit bitter, as I explained to her that I am used to that, because people never notice “details” about fat people. ¬†But as I am shrinking, people will notice my crooked teeth. And my chin whiskers. And a million other things I have ignored about my appearance for the longest time, because NOBODY noticed them anyway.

I don’t write this all out now because I want sympathy – I truly don’t. I just want everyone who reads this, who sees my transformation as I finally get to (gradually) reveal my TRUE self to the world, to THINK about the damage you’re doing when you groan or roll your eyes to see a fat person next to your assigned seat on an airplane. Think about the actual HUMAN BEING you are shunning for no other reason than that they are overweight. ¬†Think about the FEELINGS of the person you are ignoring because of their weight. That overweight guy at the gym, struggling to get the treadmill up to even a brisk walking pace, but sweating bullets anyway, deserves a high five, not an eye roll. ¬†The heavy lady who walks her dogs in the morning, huffing and puffing, might want a walking buddy, rather than someone impatient to pass her and get back to jogging (or rather than rude teenagers yelling mean things out their car window as they pass. YES, I have actually seen that happen.)

I got on a plane once, excited to be heading to a conference for the weekend (with no kids!) I walked up the narrow airplane aisle with a grin on my face and a little bounce in my step, and as I slid my carryon bag into the overhead compartment I saw my seat mate register that I, all 250 or so lbs of me, would be sitting next to him on this flight, and saw him shake his head a little and place his forehead into his hand in a “why me?” kind of pose. As the gesture and its implications all sunk in, my demeanor instantly changed to very quiet and subdued, and I could not even speak for fear that the painful tears welling up inside would spill over. I spent the whole flight silently choking back those tears (thankfully I was only traveling to Sacramento, roughly a one hour flight, but OUCH.) The next morning, having put¬†that humiliation aside, feeling somewhat confident in a new outfit, I stood at the podium to present a workshop to a couple hundred conference attendees, and GUESS WHO WAS IN THE FRONT ROW? Yes, my mean and judgy airline neighbor. I smiled nervously, determined not to let his rudeness effect this workshop that I was SO excited to be presenting, and refused to look back directly at him until I called for questions at the end of my 90 minute presentation. He was clearly impressed, and I seriously hope he was at least a little bit ashamed of his rush to judgement the day before.

DON’T BE THAT GUY. Be the one who smiles, makes small talk, makes an effort to get to know – to SEE the fat people around you. We are all just as talented, smart, funny. etc as the “normal” sized people you know. You might just find that your soul mate or your best friend is hiding behind a fat facade.

FAT LIVES MATTER, folks.

 

 

8 days post-op {256}

24 Sep

Yes, you read that number in the title right – I have dropped FIFTEEN POUNDS since surgery 8 days ago!

I literally can’t even wear the jeans I wore the day before surgery, as they are falling off me now! I was a size 24 but wearing size 22 stretch jeans because of my weird shape. Today I put on a pair of old denim capris, size 20, and they are loose on my waist.

My incisions are healing well, and I am slowly adjusting to eating soft foods. ¬†So far I have had scrambled egg, vegetarian refried beans, and broccoli cheddar soup. ¬†I’ve also still been sipping soup broth, juice, and lots of water.

I found these containers at Walmart, $2.57 for a 4 pack. The ziplock ones are fantastic because they actually have a marking for the 1/4 cup, which is my max meal size right now. ¬† In my last post, I promised measurements. I took these the day I got home from the hospital, so they are pretty close to my “pre-op” measurements:

Bust (over bra) ¬†49.5″

Rib Cage 40″

Waist 46″

Hips 56″

Right Thigh 29″

Right Calf 19″

Right Bicep 15.25″

Right Forearm 12.5″

I’ll take new measurements on the day of my 4 week post op follow up appointment, and then probably again at about 6 months post op.

I also promised you BATHING SUIT pics….These were taken in July, and I weighed 282 lbs. Note the “front butt” on my thighs….this is already dramatically disappearing! This, by the way, is the main reason I rarely wear dresses and skirts – the painful chafing that results from those things rubbing together is unbearable! I’m looking forward to wearing lots of skirts and dresses when my thighs normalize.

I also can’t wait to take AFTER pics, maybe even in this same bathing suit next summer!