It Has Been a Life Changing Year!

Hi Everyone!

I truly cannot believe it has been a year since my surgery!  My life is COMPLETELY different in every aspect from one year ago.

First my stats:

Start weight was 241. BMI of 40. Size 22.  BP 150+/100+.  Body fat 53% (normal is 19-26%). I had health issues of depression, hypertension, pre-diabetes, sleeping issues, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

1 year post op and I weigh between 135-138 – I have lost 106lbs!!! My BP is 102/64. My BMI is 22.  I wear size 4 jeans, and small tops. My body fat is now less than 23%. My health issues are gone!  I have very mild joint discomfort occasionally.  And this is all before I have the surgery to remove the extra skin on my abdomen which is planned for later this year – that will take off about 8-10 pounds of extra stuff and then I will be done.  That will be AWESOME!  When I wear cute dresses now I still need to spanx it up, it will be lovely to not have to do that.
My daughter Chelsea spent the night here last month, and in the past when she has borrowed something to sleep in it has always been her dad’s stuff – still enormous on her tiny frame but smaller than wearing something of mine.  This time she wore my pajamas….and they FIT her!  That was really amazing.
I have felt like a “small” person for months now.  I do not see a heavy me in the mirror.  Lots of people told me I would always feel like an obese person inside forever…and I do not feel that way at all.   I feel tiny, I know I look small and heathy and it makes me feel wonderful!
I have gotten to a point where I am doing pretty well with the new “plumbing”.  Until last week I had not had an episode of sending food back up in a few months.  It happened while I was out of town, and that does seem to be when I am most vulnerable to problems eating.  Even if I eat the same things I eat at home, I don’t have as much control over what is actually in the food.  Still – a very small price to pay for my health.  Dr Snyder thinks I may need an endoscopy to open up the entry to my intestines from the bottom of my stomach pouch, so I am having a test done soon to do that.
I have so much energy.  At a time when many of my peers in their 50s are starting to slow down a little, I have energy to burn!  I also have a lot more social confidence.  I am by nature an introvert, so this has never been my strong suit – yet I find myself looking forward to being out now…and that was never the case before.  I know my husband is enjoying this change in me so much.  He is definitely the more social of the 2 of us, and he loves that I like being out more now.
My heart aches when I see a heavy person struggle….or with the look that I know so well…knowing that most people look through or past them, ignoring them and making them feel insignificant.  I know their pain.  I want to help all of them.
I am so incredibly grateful for this new life.  I wish everyone had the same opportunity to have this level of change.  I love where I am and where I am going….and I am finally comfortable in my own skin.
Advertisements
This entry was posted on March 5, 2013. 9 Comments

9 Months Post Op – I’m Healthy!!!

A before photo to reference.

WOW!  It has been an amazing 9 months!  This time last year I weighed somewhere between 240-250lbs, and I had given up completely on ever being at a healthy weight.  I would have given up a limb to get to 180.  And a size 10 sounded like a mythical achievement!

I had my 9 month check up this week, and my greatest achievement thus far is the gift of health back to myself.  I am now in better shape than I was when I started college 32 years ago!  I was also really flattered to have been asked to be a mentor for a few incoming gastric bypass patients, that will start soon.  I will also become a regular at the bariatric seminars on the patient panel and will occasionally also be introducing Dr Snyder as well.  Truly honored to be a part of this world-class team!

My stats:

Start weight was 241. BMI of 40. Size 22.  Shoe size 8.5. BP 150+/100+.  Body fat 53% (normal is 19-26%). I had health issues of depression, hypertension, pre-diabetes, sleeping issues, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

9 months post op I weigh 140 – yes, I have lost over 100lbs!!! My BP is 102/64. My BMI is 22.9.  I wear size 4 jeans, size 6 in a dress. I am now a size 6.5 in shoes. I have no idea what my former dress size was because I didn’t own any. My body fat is now less than 23%. My health issues including the depression are gone!  I have very mild joint discomfort occasionally.  And this is all before I have the surgery to remove the extra skin in my abdomen.  These numbers will get even better and put me from a fitness category into an athlete category!
I have no problem reaching for small sizes when I shop now, and in fact just had to purchase new winter jackets and coats that are smalls!!  I have learned to try on the next size down with everything I buy because that is usually the one that fits.  I had a huge AHA moment this week. I bought myself very cute extended calf boots several months ago.  I had to get them stretched to even go on over bare skin.  They now fit over jeans which is a look I love, and and can see that soon I will be able to buy normal size boots.  I couldn’t do that even when I was young.  My body has completely re-contoured itself, and it is small and sleek.  And healthy.
I recently chopped off my hair and colored it red to go with my new look and I love it.  Makes me feel sassy and strong.  I think I will keep it this way for quite awhile.
One of my new revelations is that I am now cold.  All the time!  I used to keep my house at 60 degrees, and everyone else froze.  Now I  wear fuzzy boots on my feet and layer sweaters and scarves.  A few days ago it was 70 here and I was dressed like it was mid winter.  Hilarious!
I have so much energy!  I stay up much later than I used to, and I am also sleeping a little longer in the morning…I still get up before 6:00 most days, but that is a big change from my previous go to bed at 9:00 and get up at 5:00 with lots of waking during the night.  Now I usually sleep through the night, going to sleep around 11:00 and getting up around 6:00.
Every change I made this year has been worth it.  No caffeine?  Who cares!  No booze?  So what!  Teeny tiny meals?  Bring it on! I would do all of this again tomorrow!
A few shout outs are in order here:
Dr Michael Snyder, my bariatric surgeon and his amazing team – I LOVE YOU GUYS!  And am forever grateful.
My husband Scott – I love you, you are my rock, and you helped me believe.  There is no one else like you in the world.
My family – mom, Chelsea & Arin – you believed, and you cheered me on.  I love you, and I am grateful.
My dogs!!!!  – My exercise companions, my confidantes, my huggers when I was weak.  You bless me with your uncomplicated love and your total conviction that I am the coolest person on the planet in your eyes. Everyone should be so blessed.
My friends – you know who you are.  I love you.  Thank you for believing in me.
Ok, a few photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stay tuned!!!!!
This entry was posted on November 3, 2012. 11 Comments

GOAL!!!!!!!

GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

91 pounds gone FOREVER, I weigh 150! My BMI is 25!!!!!!!!! I am a size 8!  I am officially a HEALTHY, normal weight person! I WIN!!!!!!

My starting weight was 241, BMI of 40 (morbidly obese), I wore a size 22 and I was hungry ALL. THE. TIME. I was pre-hypertensive, pre-diabetic, asthmatic, had trouble sleeping and snored like a truck diver, my joints ached all the time and I was chronically tired. Today – I sleep like a bear, my asthma appears to be gone, I have no joint pain, my blood work is excellent, I work out, am rarely hungry and I am never tired.

It was SO WORTH IT!!!!!

My surgery was 6 months ago.  I sat in Dr Michael Snyder’s Bariatric Seminar in Denver just over 7 months ago, on December 15th of 2011 (have I mentioned I LOVE him and his work?).  My life has COMPLETELY changed in that time.  I am more confident, I have added friends and deleted non-friends from my life, I am in shape, I have more choices and I love the life I am creating.

This was not as hard as I thought it would be physically….but it was harder than I thought it would be mentally.  Getting out of that old space in my head has been interesting, and sometimes challenging.  I would do it all over again tomorrow if I had to.  And I hope that along the way, I provided some hope for others who are now where I was.

I am COMMITTED to staying healthy, following the rules of my new lifestyle.  I still have not had a drink, I do not consume caffeine anymore, I eat tiny portions multiple times per day and I track everything that goes into me to ensure I reach at least 65 grams of protein per day and at least 80 ozs of water. I will have to take supplements for the rest of my life, but that is all OK for me to stay healthy.

I have decided to have plastic surgery to deal with the sagging skin, and get a tummy tuck and breast lift as well.  I worked HARD to get here, and I want to look as good as I can for as long as I can.  That will likely happen sometime this winter.  I also want to loose about another 10 pounds before that surgery which will take off another 8 or so pounds as well.  So my end goal is actually the low 130s.  That is a great weight for a 5″ 5 1/2 woman.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted on July 25, 2012. 7 Comments

9 Pounds Left to Goal!!!!

I AM IN SHOCK!

I weigh 159! I have not been in the 150’s since grad school!  I am 9 pounds from my surgeons goal for me, with a total loss of 82 pounds!!!  My current BMI is 26!  I cannot express the depth of my gratitude for this change in my life…..to Dr Michael Snyder my amazing surgeon and now my friend, to my exercise support group and most especially my coaches Richard Kalasky and Carlos T. Hill (even though my stress fracture has sidelined me for a bit) my AWESOME partner in life Scott Silverstein and my Arbonne supplements and weight management products AND the skin care that is making my scars disappear and my sagging skin to bounce back.  LIFE IS GREAT!!!!

I have not been in the 150s since grad school….26 years ago.  So much of my life spent fighting a battle that I could never win.  I am so grateful I never gave up.  I ALWAYS knew in my heart that someday I would be healthy again, I just did not know how.

Today is also exactly 5 months since my surgery.

Scott and I have a consultation appointment next week to look into the plastic surgery I need to get rid of the excess skin and tummy tuck I now need.  While I look good in my new clothes, they are about a size and a half bigger than I really need because of the excess skin that I need to dress around.  Pretty excited to get the process started for the NEW body that is emerging from under the weight.

I am so happy.

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted on June 26, 2012. 2 Comments

The 80/20 Rule

I was so excited to begin this journey, and it has been amazing!  I am constantly shocked at how much my life has changed in 4 1/2 months!  I remember chatting with my surgeon, Dr. Michael Snyder right after my surgery while I was still in the hospital.  I was thanking him for this awesome gift – my new tool of my gastric bypass.  And he said that while it was a great tool, and 80% of the weight loss process would come pretty rapidly if I followed the system, the last 20% would be the same tough work that everyone faces, and then keeping it off would be just like everybody else.

Of course I heard that and understood it, but now I GET IT!

To recap:

I started at 241lbs.  I am 5’5 1/2″ and that gave me a BMI of 40 – morbidly obese.

My surgeon’s goal for me is 150 – a weight loss of 91 lbs and a BMI of 25.  The top of normal weight.

My goal is 135lbs, and a BMI of 22.  Mid-range normal.  And – I am small boned, although I lied with a straight face for decades about how I was just a big, athletically built girl.  Not true.

I currently weigh 165lbs, with a BMI of 27 – slightly overweight.  I have lost 76lbs, which is 83% of my surgeons goal for me, and 72% of my goal.

My weight loss has slowed WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY down in the last several weeks.  I am now losing in 1 pound increments per week.  Seriously.  This is while I am exercising, consuming maybe 800 calories a day (burning 300+ with exercise and normal activity on average per day) and drinking about 80+ ozs of water daily.

I am not frustrated.  I did my research, I knew this would happen.  ALL progress is awesome, and every week I am down from the week before. I am one of those weird people who weighs every day, and honestly I would stop that if it was stressing me out, but it is not.  We have one of those scales like you see in a doctor’s office, and it shows ounces.  So I weigh myself almost every morning at the same time without a stitch on, and it shows a few ounces every day.  SUCCESS!!!!  My clothes are still showing inches lost at a pretty rapid pace – which is so fun, because it shows that the exercising is REALLY paying off!  I have to go out and buy new jeans and new shorts again.  And I just did that.  I’ll be in size 8’s very soon.  Surreal!

This process WORKS…if you do the do.  I AM doing the do.  And I will kick that 20% right in the ass!

Stay tuned!

 

What happens when you are not compliant?

I have been out and about in the world a lot more since I got under a size 14 (currently a size 10 or Medium)….. Because I feel great and look like a “normal” person.   In the course of being out a lot, I have met a bunch of other people who have also had weight loss surgery  of some kind.  I am really surprised at how many I have met – or people who are directly related to someone who has had the surgery.

So that is either really fun – the kinship of the process, sharing our successes, marveling at the change in our respective lives…..OR, it is entirely awkward.

When it is awkward, it is ALWAYS because the person I am chatting with has “fallen of the wagon” of the guidelines set forth by whomever their surgeon was and fell back into the old habits that got them where they are.  In some cases, back up 50% or more.  Breaks my heart.

And it always boils down to just a few things – and I honestly see these as excuses, because we are talking about people’s lives here…..their health, the amount of time they will live, their ability to be productive and contribute to their families, society, and themselves.

1. They are no longer in touch with their surgeon

2. They are not involved with any support groups or counseling

3. They are not following an exercise regimen

4. They are no longer sharing with people that they had the surgery.

Across the board these people say the surgery does not work – at least for them.  But here is what I observed:

On 2 different occasions, and this is kind of funny but still made me sad – I arrived at get togethers of all women, and there was one woman at each that was pretty heavy (220+lbs) drinking wine and eating cupcakes and very kindly offering me the same.  Both times, I was carrying my own water and had protein snacks in my purse, so I just declined and said no thanks.  I am always packing my own stuff, because I. AM. IN. CHARGE. OF. MY. OWN. DESTINY.  Both times I got asked why no drink – I think they were expecting to hear I was in AA – and I told them that I cannot drink for a year post-op my gastric bypass surgery.  Hence the conversations.

And what I hear from people who have gained weight back – and honestly look like they could qualify again for the surgery is:

1. I need to be able to eat / I deserve to eat whatever I want

2. I hate being different from other people

3. I am OK at this weight and I am comfortable here

4. I am going to take this weight off when I am ready.

And my thoughts in order are:

1. No you don’t

2. No you don’t

3. No you aren’t

4. No you won’t

And, some observations by my brilliant surgeon and friend Dr. Michael Snyder:

1) Major problem of “forgetting where you came from!” In all of history, if you do not remember your past, you are doomed to repeat it. This is true for everyone– from nations to individuals.

2) “Fear of success!” Some people are more comfortable with failure. “If I succeed, people will expect more from me.” Clearly, this is toxic thinking. But, I do see it in people who claim to be “more comfortable” at a higher weight. It is what they are “used to.”

I am not special. I do not have superhuman will power.  I AM following the rules of the tool – my new digestive system courtesy of Dr. Michael Snyder and my gastric bypass surgery – to create and maintain success.  I am plugged into my surgeon and his amazing team.  I do go to support groups and I am exercising.  I still don’t like exercising.  Bully for those of you that do, I am not one of them.  But I do LOVE how it makes me look and feel.  So I am doing it.  And – I am compliant to the dietary rules.  Yes, I have fewer choices than you.  But I don’t care, because I am healthy.  And getting healthier every day.

So – if you fell off the wagon – I am begging you – GET BACK ON!  We are all here to support each other!  Get in touch with your surgeon, support groups and exercise groups.  Do WHATEVER IT TAKES to reclaim YOU!

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted on June 18, 2012. 2 Comments

Who Knew Shopping Could Be Fun???

Recently I have been shopping for new clothes as none of my former clothes fit me anymore.  I had 20s (should have been 22s) through 16s in women sizes – meaning the at the 16W is about a regular 18 at a store like Old Navy or Nordstroms.  I am now a true size 10 and a medium in dresses and tops…which is surreal to me.  This is a great problem to have, but ultimately challenging for me.  I have not really been out shopping for clothes in decades.  I have just run into Lane Bryant, gotten whatever looked OK, and left.  Usually in black or other dark colors, and I certainly did not linger trying lots of things on.  The whole process was just mortifying because I felt so awful about how I looked.

I needed some clothes and went shopping.  I kept snagging 12s and 14s thinking they would fit, and could not figure out what the issue was.  Finally one of the staff came and looked and just left and returned with size 10s and mediums.  I was so freaked out because I was sure they would not fit and I would be mortified. Again.

But they did fit – everything.  AND – I already needed new underwear and bras, and I just swapped those out in April.  So freaking weird.  Not to anyone else, just me.  I am down 75 pounds.  I weigh 166 – just 16 pounds from my surgeon’s goal for me, and it is becoming apparent that I may be a size 6-8 at that weight, and very likely in some small tops.  Kind of freaks me out.

Part of what I needed was a new bathing suit.  I wound up buying a size 10 Badgely-Mishka to-die-for bathing suit.  I am attaching a picture, just to be brave.  And a cute little dress to wear to a graduation event.  The dress is a medium from Express.  Where normal people shop!!!!!  Picture also attached.

As I was running around shopping, I almost walked into Lane Bryant – from habit……..it was such a defining moment for me.  I will never shop there again.  Ever.

And now – people who are meeting me for the first time have no idea that there is a former fat girl living inside of me.  My outside is reflecting how I always knew I could be….and the hard work is paying off….so quickly!  It has only been 4 1/2 months since my bariatric birthday – January 26, 2012.  And I am healthy, active, compliant to my exercise and meal plan, and LOVING my life.

I have energy, sleep well, look great and am becoming a role model to others.  I never feel depressed anymore, and I have none of the overt medical issues that I was literally carrying around with my obesity.  I love it, and it feels so huge all at the same time.

I am still shocked regularly by how insensitive people can be.  Most people are either genuinely interested in the path to my surgery and what has happened since, or just plain happy for me…but a smaller percentage will come right out and either say that I “cheated” or that I should have had more willpower and just dieted and exercised.  Truly amazing what people think they have the right to say regarding other people’s health.

I am going back in to get my stress fracture checked out next week.  I am hoping I can start running again…my weight loss has slowed down without it – even though I am weight training and walking, it;s not the same.  You have to do cardio, and keep doing it to get the rest of the weight off.  The surgery is not a magic pill….you have to use the tool and do the work yourself.

That’s it for now….stay tuned!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on June 11, 2012. 1 Comment