Monday, November 6, 2017

Excuse Me?

Hello everyone! I'm heading into week 16... Wow! I'm still trying to wrap my head around how quickly the time is passing. When I was in the pre-surgical program, I was grateful for the time I had to prepare myself for life after surgery. Now that I'm in the thick of it, I'm happy with my progress so far. Matilda and I are getting along great. Sure, she makes weird noises often, but I appreciate every noise, every twitch, every warning. I listen to her when she's telling me she's had enough or she doesn't like something... And especially when she loves something. It's hard to stop eating when you're enjoying your food, but I do. I do stop. I think that's what make me so content. I feel like I am doing well managing my portions and impulses.

This past week, I had another NSV or Non-scale Victory. On Friday, I checked in with my Primary Doctor for a blood pressure check. My blood pressure has been on the low side, and I told him that I've been having dizzy spells when moving. He took me off one of my blood pressure meds for two weeks. I am to monitor my blood pressure and report back. So far, my blood pressure is still great. I'm talking only one medication for it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to get rid of both of them. The more weight I lose, the more hopeful I am I can get rid of another medication.

How's the gym going? Good! I ran for 10 minutes straight this past Friday, and today I walked/ran in 5 minute intervals. Practice makes perfect. My goal is to run a mile continuously by the end of the year. I'll update you on New Year's Day.

So, I've been thinking a lot about the holidays approaching. I have a lot of parties and get togethers. Pot lucks and such. My goodness! How will I handle it? Or the questions?

Sushi? Maybe without the rice...

The questions don't bother me. I'll tell you exactly why I'm eating so little or why I don't want a drink. I've never hidden anything about what I'm going through. However, if anyone has the nerve to say, "Oh, you did it the easy way," I'm giving you a warning.

I belong to a couple bariatric groups where we can communicate and get some help and support from others who have already gone through the process. It is amazing the lack of support many of us receive from our family and friends. Loved ones that are hoping we fail and don't get the surgery. Friends who try to sabotage and straight up throw shade. I can say that I haven't encountered anything like this...yet. I did have a family member say she didn't understand why I couldn't lose weight "the normal way" and hopes I don't gain it back. Hell, I pray everyday I don't gain my weight back. That's why I'm working so hard now.

Don't even try to ruin my
good vibe. You gonna
get hurt.
Comments like that don't bother me. However, if anyone comes at me with "The easy way" convo, they may get their feelings hurt. Why? Because I'm working my ass off. Are you getting up with me at 4:30 am to go to the gym? Are you lifting up heavy stuff? Are you squatting 120 lbs and deadlifting 140? Are you leg pressing 190? What's easy about all of that stuff? What's easy about running nonstop for 10 minutes when you weigh over 200 pounds?  Come at me if you think this shit is easy.

I love that it's not easy. It's difficult. It's challenging. It's hella frustrating. But it's so rewarding. I found my winter sweaters that I haven't worn in 4 years, and I'm wearing them. I finally wore a pair of boots this weekend that I've had for years, but I was never able to zip them up be
cause my feet were too fat and swollen...and they were comfortable! I have energy and drive. Yeah, I can't eat sushi yet, but it's all good. Sure, Matilda doesn't like cake and pie, but that's okay. This isn't easy. It's not a path many can take. But, the rewards are so fulfilling because I'm getting my life back.

So, if you want to tell me how easy I have it. Don't bother. I'm not listening.

Weight Loss Update
HW: 360
SW: 278
CW: 228 (50 pounds post op!)
GW: Kiss it!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Perseverance is Key

Happy Monday, Readers. It's definitely been a week of developments. All week, my stall has been in the back of my mind nagging slightly, but not discouraging me. If anything, it was nagging me to work harder and not quit. I was very determined this week, and I also started my new weight training plan for the next five weeks.  There was some hella sweat and pain this week. I was tired, and I was suffering from muscle fatigue - which can be a good thing.

Muscles break down when stressed, and repair themselves, which makes you stronger. Friday, my leg day, incorporated and additional set of squats and lunges. So now I do wide stance and close stance on squats and walking lunges and side lunges. I thought nothing of the side lunges since they appeared to be quite innocent. My butt and legs are still sore...three days later!

My interval running has also improved. I notice that my heart rate isn't as high as it was when running intervals at 4 mph - which means my endurance is improving. I'm adding a few 1 minute 5 mph sprints, and I'm doing that twice a week.

So, at the end of the first week of my new weight regimen, I broke my stall and lost 5.6 pounds.

When I stepped on the scale this morning, and saw that I left the 230's behind, I felt quite emotional. We all know that the scale can be the bane of your weight loss existence, so you really take it with a grain of salt. My emotion stemmed from how well I handled this stall. I didn't run to the scale everyday like I did last time. I worked hard. I rested my body. I stressed my body. I even caught myself from making a bad mistake - which I'll explain later. In all of this, I kept on my plan. I knew what I had to do. I trusted the process, and I worked. When you put all of that faith in yourself and your plan, and you see results, it's so rewarding. I hadn't worked this hard at fitness since my last go-round losing weight. It felt amazing getting back to that place.

I'm also realizing how much Matilda is helping me. She's my favorite tool in my took kit because she is really helping me with my food portions and choices. She doesn't like desserts like cake and pie, which I appreciate, but she loves snacks - which can be very dangerous, which leads me to my biggest revelation this easy it is to get back into old habits.

I'm close to four months post-op, and I've handled most foods really well. I picked up some peanut butter filled pretzels from Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, and occasionally I'll have a serving here and there as a snack with some string cheese. This past week, I noticed that I was starting to think about those pretzels more and more. I was thinking about them...wondering and planning the next time I was going to eat them. Then, I was adding one or two extras to my snack portion. It won't hurt, right?

The last time I ate them, I knew I couldn't do it anymore because I was starting to think about them like I did all my food and meals before. Couldn't wait to eat them.... Thinking about them... Anticipating the next time I would eat them. Matilda helped me recognize my old habits creeping back in. I said to myself, "This is how I'm going to gain my weight back." It's a serving. Then, a serving and a few more. Then, two servings. I've done this to myself so much. I'm glad I caught myself this time. And sadly, there are foods I'm not going to be able to eat because they trigger old habits. Peanut butter pretzels, hot tamales, jelly bellies, swedish fish, lemon oreos, chips and french onion dip. Those are all of my trigger foods. My favorite snacks. I'm going to have to quit you.

I also realize that my cravings are going to be there, so I'm not going ignore them. I'll indulge occasionally to keep the beast at bay. Yesterday, I enjoyed a small amount of candy (chocolate - which isn't my fav) along with some peanuts and cashews. It was satisfying and tamed the crazed sugar beast. It didn't make me want to jump into the cabinet and gorge myself on anything. I ate my serving and was quite happy. I also vow not to eat one piece of candy tomorrow - no matter how bad I want to do it. I'll keep my tiny stash in the freezer and eat a piece here and there when the beast is restless. Plus, when you complete 75 minutes of Zumba, you deserve a treat.

Now, I know many in the weight loss community wouldn't agree with my approach. I personally don't care. What I've learned is everyone's journey is different. Everyone's body is different. I'm not going to deprive myself because I know the outcome won't be good for me. I want to be able to enjoy some things occasionally, and still my goals. I will work hard everyday so my cravings won't control me.

Zumba style!
Happy Halloween Everyone! Don't eat too much candy. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. That's going to be interesting...  Later!

Weight Loss Update
HW: 360
SW: 278
CW: 229.8
I promise, Matilda, I won't
do this to you on Turkey
GW: TBD...

*Take a look at the chart. It seems my stalls are occurring every five weeks. I wonder if this will happen in this next cycle.
**Although my highest weight was 360, my highest weight this time around was in July 2016 at 335 pounds... so, yes, I have lost 105 pounds!

Monday, October 23, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Hey everyone! I know it's been a few weeks since I updated. During that time, I hit my three post-op milestone. I didn't have any doctor appointments or anything, but I have been trying different foods and textures. Some agree with me... and some don't. Matilda is still in control and she still runs the slow. I still feel restriction, and I'm eating a constant 800-1000 calories a day and eating four small meals. It seems to be working well. My appetite isn't out of control - even with my workout schedule, and I eat about every 3 hours or so.

Hi Matilda!
I have my surgery date
and tummy name on the back.
Speaking of Matilda, my tummy arrived about a week ago. My tummy pillow is a nice reminder of my surgery. She's cute and squishy. I also can toss her around if her namesake is acting up a bit. If any of your are curious as to where she came from, let me know, and I'll give you the deets. The dark blue portion of the pillow is pretty true. My stomach is shaped in that manner. The light blue part was cut away and discarded...never to be heard from again.

So, what have I been up to lately? Well, I've been working quite a bit which is why I haven't updated the blog lately. Work seems to be calming down so I can give you all an update. The last two-three weeks have been great. I've been trying some new foods. I've tried tempura shrimp and veggies, calamari and even made some protein pancakes. Matilda enjoyed all of them, but she's not too keen on the leftovers. I try to warm up as much food as possible in the oven instead of the microwave
Oy, Matilda! Calm down!
because Matilda doesn't care for dry foods. This time, I think it may have been too much oil. Matilda was pretty unhappy, and I took some anti-nausea medicine to help. I felt better in about an hour.

My workouts continue to improve. My first five weeks of my weight lifting program passed, and I can definitely see the results. I met with the gym trainer this past Friday to review my progress, and we agreed with some additional exercises for the next five weeks - including core work and an extra weight day. So, now I'll be doing weights 4 days a week - arms, chest, legs, and back. I'll include some core work 2-3 times a week, and continue with my cardio 6 days a week.

Yes! That does mean I will be weight training 4 days a week, and cardio 6 days a week. It does seem like a lot, but I really do feel great. I need to make sure I rest one day during the week to give my body some down time. I'm fitting into more of my clothes and wear the majority of my closet right now. I'm even fitting into shoes I couldn't wear a few months ago.

The trend line is the truth!
There is still an elephant in the room - the STALL. I've stalled again. I've been holding steady at 235 going on three weeks. My last stall was pretty discouraging, but this one isn't. Of course, I'd love to see the scale move, but I'm seeing so much more progress with my fitness improving that the scale is become less important. I'm no longer stepping on the scale everyday, but I am flexing my muscles in the mirror.

When I reviewed my weight loss graph on FitBit today, it really does reflect the true nature of weight loss. The trend will be a downward slope with periods of flat lines -- the plateaus. I'm just in my second, but I know I will have many more. It's so important to keep going. Don't get discouraged. Change up your routine - change your food choices. But, do not stop your forward momentum. I didn't gain the weight in 6 months, so don't expect to lose all the weight in 6 months.
Nope. Not today.

The surgery really is a tool. I have to set my goals and keep going. Today, it was extremely hard to get out of bed and get to the gym, but I got there. I was late...but I got there.

As the weather gets cooler and the snow starts to fall, it's going to get more challenging to get my workouts in, but I have goals. I am focused. Don't let outside factors distract you from your finish line. It's not a timed race, so take your time. Be nice to yourself. Matilda and I may have our moments, but we're stuck with each other. Permanently. This is our new normal. I plan on embracing it and squeezing the hell out of those lemons.

HW: 360 lbs (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 235

Monday, October 2, 2017

I Gotta Say....

It was a great week! This past week was without a doubt the best week I've had since I had surgery. My energy is steady. My body was tired by the end of the week due to my workouts, but it was a satisfying tiredness. I don't know any other way to explain it. I feel myself getting stronger, and I'm able to tolerate more foods.

I was feeling so good that on Friday, I was brave. I texted my husband to ask if he wanted to go out to dinner. I wanted to order a hamburger, and I felt it was time to give it a try.

My favorite food is hamburgers. I love the cheese, the lettuce and pickles. I adore ground beef, so hamburgers are it for me. I've had ground beef since surgery, and Matilda was happy with it, but I hadn't tried a hamburger, and I really wanted one. So it was time to test it out.

Now, my hamburger after surgery is quite different than before. No bun. No lettuce. Just the patty with pepper jack cheese and some ketchup. So, I ordered my burger - an 8 ounce burger with a side of oven baked potato wedges. I ate maybe 3 small wedges and about 2 ounces of burger with ketchup. And I waited for Matilda's response.  Well, I didn't have to wait long cause homegirl was letting me know what's up.
We got our burgers back!!
Watch me whip...

Yeah... she was dancing like I was doing Zumba, but in a good way. She was hella-happy! She couldn't wait to take the burger home and eat it over the next two days!

That's right. I ate the burger for lunch on Saturday and Sunday, and split my pickle spear as well. I really missed ketchup!

I know every week won't be like this week. I've had some not so great weeks and some recent disappointments. Sometimes I wondered if I broke Matilda, and the surgery wasn't going to work for me. But, I kept thinking about something my Physician Assistant told me, which is what other surgery patients told me. Stay on course. Follow the plan and instructions. Trust the process. 

I'm starting week 12 with an almost 10 pound loss - in one week. Ten pounds. Where the heck did that weight go? My face looks different. I haven't been in the 230's since September 2013. I'm fitting into more of my "small" clothes, and some pants are even too big now. I'm fitting into jackets and such I bought years ago hoping I'd get into them one day, and they sat in the closet for several years collecting dust.
Looking good, girl. Can I
have another burger?
Remember, protein, protein,
I'm running for two minutes at 4.1 mph now. Three minutes of walking, two minutes of running. Weight days are tough but exhilarating. Zumba is still life. Did I mention I can eat a hamburger? Just call me Wimpy (if you don't know who Wimpy is, shame on you!). Tuesday is tomorrow, you know.

HW: 360 lbs (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 237
GW: Many Hamburgers! (#jk)

Monday, September 25, 2017


Hello my lovely Readers! Week 10 is here, and I'm feeling a bit conflicted. It's so easy for me help others who may have questions or are curious about my experiences, and I try to encourage them as much as I can.  So...why is it so hard for me to follow my own advice?

Matilda and I drown our
sorrows in H2O!
When I last left you, I was disheartened by a high blood pressure reading at my two month post-op appointment. Wishful thinking I hoped it was due to me running up two flights of stairs to get to the office, but when I went to my Primary Doc appointment on Friday, it was not the case. My blood pressure is high. The one medication I'm taking isn't enough, and my PCP (Primary Care Physician) placed me back on my second blood pressure med that I hadn't taken since my pre-op liquid diet.

I just knew that when I went to my PCP, he was going to take me off of my blood pressure and high cholesterol medication - I mean after all, he already took me off my diabetes meds, right? I was not prepared to leave the office with a new script.

He could tell I was disappointed, but he gave me very encouraging words. Usually, a 60 pound weight loss will reduce blood pressure, but in my case, it didn't. He was quite positive in saying that he wasn't worried because my blood pressure was under control before surgery, and we'll get it back. Plus, he gave my 1/4 of my prior dosage, so that's a positive. I'll check back with him in 6 weeks to make sure all is well, and I'll use my home monitor to check it regularly.

Matilda's idea for a
Halloween Costume.
And although he gave me such encouragement, I was still bummed. I got surgery to get rid of my medication, not to add more. I couldn't help but feeling like I got a "D" in school.

It's so easy to focus on the negativity, and but it's so important to focus on positive items, because other than that unexpected outcome, the week was amazing! I love Planet Fitness! I love lifting weights. I love how much stronger I feel. I killed my Zumba routines this week, and I've achieved my step goal for over 8 days now. I got a streak going.

Can't stop... Won't stop!
How can I let a small setback outshine everything that I accomplished this week? I can't. I can do this. I did walking lunges with 10, 15 and 20 pound weights IN EACH HAND! I bench pressed, squatted, overhead pressed, shoulder raised, bicep curled and so on. I jumped and hopped with no knee pain. I ran for 2 minutes straight today at 4 mph! I haven't done that in years.

I did all of this, so my blood pressure won't win. I need to realize that my weight loss will be a journey. It's not a sprint. I'm not going to get rid of my medications instantly. The weight isn't going to fall off in 2 months. I need to follow my own advice and adjust my expectations.

HW: 360 (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 246
GW: No Blood Pressure Meds?