Monday, December 4, 2017

Goaldigger

Hello everyone! I can't believe another week has passed so quickly. Thanksgiving is behind us and we're now into the holiday season. Lots of parties, events and gatherings, which also means more food. Food is everywhere. I'm even guilty of it because my hubby and I will be making cookie tins this weekend. Will I be able to stay away? Probably not. I'm sure I'll indulge in one oatmeal raisin walnut cookie. Matilda always makes sure to halt me at one, but I always think of the day when one won't be enough. It worries me.

After the epic Thanksgiving that resulted in hello-crazy weight loss - my largest weight loss week to date - I've been feeling differently. As a weight loss surgery patient, in the back of my mind there is this thought that maybe I'd never be small. I guess it's hard to shake those body image issues that tend to stick no matter how much I've lost. But this week, I've been thinking that I will be that smaller person. It's totally possible. I see it now. I feel it. I see changes like my knee. I have a knee, and I can see it. I can cross my legs, and that always baffled me because I couldn't understand why a person would want to sit like that. Now, I see why because it's quite comfortable. I can work with my laptop sitting on my lap - hence why it's named a laptop and not a bellytop. I've hit size 16's, and my sneakers are getting too big! That's right. My feet are getting smaller!

So, I figured if I'm feeling so great, maybe it's time to test my limits. My workouts have been going great. Actually, a little too good - which means it's time to change it up. I already had my goal of running a mile by 12/31 (and I'll get to that later), but I also wanted to challenge myself to do some high intensity Zumba. I've been doing Zumba for a very long time. I use my Wii and I also go to live classes.  The Wii is awesome, and I enjoy it very much, but there is nothing like a live class. No matter how many live classes I've attended, there is one instructor who I feel has the best class, and I went to visit her studio this past Saturday all the way in Cleveland, OH. (I live in Erie, PA).

She's amazing, and her routines are high intensity and high impact. She's an amazing instructor, which makes for an amazing class. When I arrived, I received the best sweaty hug (as she was finishing a class), and I was ready for the next one. Although she wasn't teaching, another amazing instructor was there, and I was ready!

I couldn't believe what I was able to do. I was jumping, hoping, moving and shaking. Burpee pushups in a Zumba routine?? Yes, I did that. Quick foot movements and all, and I was laughing. I was overjoyed. I was so ready for anything she gave me. Dripping in sweat and exhilarated, I knew that I would be ready to get my own Zumba Instructor certification when I'm at goal. Yes, that will be done. I can't wait until I can teach others. Working out is fun when you find what you love.

Challenge met!

On Sunday, I was still flying high on my way to Planet Fitness so I figured I'd give myself another challenge. I wondered if I could accomplish my year-end goal. I got on the treadmill and did a 5 minute warm-up walk, and preceded to smash my goal by running for 25 minutes straight at 4 mph, and completed 1.5 miles without stopping. Sure, that's slow as shit, but I don't give a HOOT! I weight 313 pound at the beginning of the year, and I just ran for 25 minutes without stopping!!!

Completely blow away and overjoyed with my progress right now. I know the scale sometimes dictates how one may feel about how well they are going, but right now, the things I can do now versus a month ago - a year ago ... there is no comparison. I feel so amazing. I feel that I can do anything, and since I've already met my year end goal every early, I'm going to focus on my goals for the next year.
  • Steadily increase my run by 5 minute increments each week. My plan is to increase my endurance and keep my heart rate strong and steady. I eventually plan to run a few 10K's in 2019 at a good pace (5 mph).
  • Get my Zumba certification in 2017.
  • Be free of all medications for blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Reach my goal weight in 2017 - and I'm still not sure what that is or what that means. 
What are your goals for 2017? Not resolutions.... Goals. What do you want to accomplish? Please feel free to share, and it doesn't have to be health/fitness related. Get those goals. Set them. Review them. Make them realistic and attainable. We got this.

Weight Loss Update
HW: 360
SW: 278
CW: 216.8
GW: 160-170

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Test

Good job, Matilda.
Well done.
Happy Monday everyone. I know it's been a few weeks, but I figured I'd fill you all in after Thanksgiving. I was also struggling with a health issue prior to my vacation, and I'm happy to report I got that addressed prior to leaving. So, let's start there.


I reported before that my doctor is working on adjusting my blood pressure medication. I was on too much medication and was experiencing dizziness so he told me to stop taking one of them. Well, the pill I stopped taking also had a diuretic in it. After the first week off the pill, my body started to retain water in large amounts. My ankles swelled and I wasn't urinating no matter how much water I drank. I ended up almost gaining 10 pounds.


I spoke with my doctor, and he told me to discontinue the one bp med, and switch to my other med with the diuretic. He mentioned we may need to play with these meds until my bp stabilizes, and we find what works. I'm happy to report that I'm doing much better. I was able to lose all the water weight I gained and my bp is very good right now. I'll continue monitor and report.


So, before I left on vacation on 11/18, I weighted in at 232.2 lbs. I was looking forward to being away from the scale as I have difficulty leaving it alone sometimes.  I planned to workout at least three days while in Raleigh since I have a Planet Fitness membership. I was going to watch my food and not track anything in My Fitness Pal. It was a test. Will I be able to eyeball my food portions and eat properly? Will I make sure to listen to Matilda when she tells me enough? How will I handle all the food and all THREE of the Thanksgiving dinners that were planned during the visit?


I did prep as well as I could. I took lots of pre-measured snacks, meats, boiled eggs and cheeses. I made sure to have plenty of water to drink, and planned proper lunches on the road so my husband and I would have healthy choices. I even booked a hotel that served free breakfast each morning so I knew I'd be able to eat eggs and other items that Matilda liked.


Each morning at the hotel, I had a scoop of scrambled eggs and 1/4 of my husband's waffle. Yep. I was testing Matilda, and she really likes waffles. I never finished any of my plates so I'm still not estimating my portions well, but at least I can really key in on when Matilda is done. Grade: A+


My lunches ranged from meat and cheese that I brought along with some snacks. I liked my cheese sticks, 1/2 boiled egg and turkey pepperoni or beef summer sausage. So for the most part, these were pretty uneventful except for one day, which I will explain. Grade: B+


I worked out three days in a row - Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday - Arm day, chest day and leg day. On Wednesday, I was able to work out with my sister and my husband. I was feeling amazing so I was really working hard. It was earlier in the day when we were working out (around 9 am) so I hadn't had breakfast yet - which was a mistake. By time we were done, it was lunch time, and I was feel pretty lousy. We had picked out some chicken and potato salad for lunch - and Matilda didn't like it. Not at all. After a few bites, I ended up taking my anti-nausea meds and slept most of the afternoon. My bp was low and my sugar was low. It took until the early evening for me to feel somewhat normal. Grade: A (for the workouts)


I also found out that protein bars and nuts do not mix. Matilda punished me with a couple bouts of the runs. Nothing major though.


We didn't eat out much. We did go to Chili's twice and I ate 2 southwest chicken egg rolls on both occasions. We also ate at Wing Stop on Saturday, and I didn't care for the boneless wings. I had a few mozzarella sticks and 3-4 fries. It all sat like a brick in my tummy. Grade: C-


Now, Thanksgiving was epic. We had three meals with three different groups of people on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On all three days, I ate very sensibly with eating a bit of dark meat and vegetables. No macaroni and cheese. A drop of dressing. A few olives. That's about it. Now, I did try my hand at desserts. Matilda loved the mini cheesecakes I brought from Sam's Club. She also liked the yellow cake with chocolate icing I made. I had a small bite. I even tried a pinch of a Kings Hawaiian Roll (nah, didn't taste great). I did fall in love with Trader Joe's Organic Corn Chip Dippers - which is a healthier alternative to Fritos. I could see myself getting in trouble with those. Grade: A+  because I can see what foods I can lose myself in and will avoid them like the plague.


In summary, I did well. Matilda handled all the food combos pretty well. I didn't have much illness, and if I did, I recovered well. I know I was eating more than normal, but I was not over eating or grazing. I ate about 3-4 times a day, and I definitely got good water in.




Another joy during the week was Black Friday. Oh yeah. I got down in a few stores. My husband and mom were great cheerleaders in getting me to pick out a few items. My mom was telling the sales people that I had lost 100 pounds and was so proud. She was helping me spend my money. It's amazing being able to shop in stores that don't specialize in plus size clothing. My favorites are Macy's and New York and Company. I also did some damage in Victoria Secret and Athleta. Oh, and we cleaned up with candles and free items at Bath and Body Works.


So, now I'm home. Time to meet with the scale and see what happened...

217.6 pounds. 14.6 pound loss in 8 days.


Yeah. I stepped on that scale twice. I knew I had lost because the water was gone, but I wasn't expecting to completely skip over the 220's and head to the 210's. My clothes were definitely fitting differently. My shoes were loose. I could see my collar bones more. I couldn't help but look in the mirror in the hotel room because they had a full length one, and we don't really have one at home. I could tell I looked different as the week went on. I felt different. Did I feel 14 pounds lighter - HELL NO. But, I'll take it!

Matilda's on the Honor Roll!
I really had no idea what to expect. This was my first vacation since surgery, and I'm glad it went well because my husband and I will be heading to Las Vegas for Christmas. I plan on visiting Planet Fitness while I'm there and planning the same type of snack options as I did during Thanksgiving. I will be eating out a lot more, but I find myself ordering from the appetizer menu and I will try to do that as much as possible.


I really couldn't have asked for a better vacation. I have so much family and friends in North Carolina. It was truly a blessing to spend all of that time there. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I wish you the happiest holiday season.


Weight Loss Update
HW: 360
SW: 278
CW: 217
GW: 160-170

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 week...how 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
Day!
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
GW: LEMONAIDE!

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,
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

Expectations

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.
#notfunny
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?



Monday, September 18, 2017

Gratitude

Greetings! I hope you had a decent Monday. This week was quite interesting and a lot happened. So, strap in because I hope you won't mind a longer post since I have quite a bit to report.

First off, I had my second post-surgery check in with my Physician's Assistant today. It was a good check up. I got my "report card," which is just a summary of weight loss since I started the program in January. I'm down 61.5 pounds since January 2017. I've lost almost 37% of my excess body weight.

One thing I wasn't expecting was a high blood pressure reading - 132/93. I'm pretty bummed about that, but I hope it's an anomaly because I haven't had a reading that high in a long time. Plus, I hate that the office uses a machine. I also just ran up two flights of stairs so maybe that was the problem. I will see my PCP on Friday, and I'll speak about it with him. I'm more concerned about his reading and evaluation. They don't use a machine at my PCP's office, and he will make the decision to remove me from any medications so we're going to have to wait and see on that one. I hope to have good news next week.

During my visit, I spoke to my PA about an "episode" I had this past Wednesday. If you are easily grossed out, I suggest you skip the next paragraph. I promised to give you the good, bad and ugly, and this was pretty ugly.

*********************************************************************************
Matilda was not feeling good after
eating and laying down.
This past Wednesday I was pretty sleepy and I had just eaten a few Gerber Arrowroot Cookies. So, I decided to go to bed.  About an hour later, I woke up suddenly with stomach acid in my throat so I rushed to the bathroom because I though I had to vomit.  Well, for the next 5 minutes or so, I spit up tons of saliva and dry heaved a few times. There wasn't anything in my stomach, and my throat was burning, and the taste in my mouth was atrocious. It was not pretty! My husband was worried and wanted to take me to the emergency room because I haven't had anything like this happen. Well, all I could do was spit up tons of slimy saliva. Eventually, the burning and awful taste disappeared, and I was able to settle down. I had an awful time sleeping, and I developed a cough - which may be due to the damage to my esosophagous.  I just experienced what people in our community call the "Slimies."
*********************************************************************************
In speaking with my PA, she confirmed my suspicions. I had a bad reflux episode from eating too
I won't do that anymore!
close to laying down. I should not lay down 2-3 after eating. She also mentioned that its possible to develop GERD after surgery, so I'll need to keep an eye out on that. It can be managed with medication, but I really don't want to be placed on another pill since I'm trying to get rid off all them - except my vitamins. So, lesson learned. No eating after 7 pm for me!

I recently attended a presentation on the beauty of Gratitude and how being grateful and expressing gratitude can be so powerful and healing. Although I had an unpleasant experience this week, I'm still so grateful that it happened. Why? I learned something new and will incorporate the learnings so I can avoid it in the future. I was also ill, and I didn't keel over. I handled it like a champ. I was quite proud of myself because I was sure I was going to have a melt down. I just took it easy the next day, and went to the gym on Friday. I'm grateful that I made this decision to better my health and improve my life.

I'm also grateful that I broke my stall this week. Yeah, I lost everything I gained and then some. It was so bizarre. It was instant. The change came so fast, and all of a sudden I'm fitting in my size 18 jeans again. Six sizes in two months - that's some very rapid change! I started my weight lifting program this morning. Three days a week - arms, legs and chest/back. I created a work out journal to record my workouts and my progress/struggles. I will try this for four weeks, and then revisit with my trainer to switch things up.

I have pictures up on a new page called "Sleeve Progression" if you want to take a peek at my progress.  Entering week nine - officially two months post op. Hold on tight, who knows what I'll be reporting next week!

HW: 360 pounds 
SW: 278
CW: 250
GW: Gratitude!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Return of Beast Mode

I promise I don't wear a skirt when
I lift.  Matilda does tho...


 Hello everyone! I had a very decent week. I'm officially eight weeks from VSG surgery and I'm feeling pretty normal - other than Matilda Gertrude taking to me all hours of the day or night. She's quite the chatty gal.

Today also begins the last stage of my dietary progression. At this point, I can should be able to tolerate most foods - keeping note of those that may give me trouble. Right now, I am still avoiding fruits with skins, raw vegetables, breads, pasta, rice, corn and steak. I haven't had much trouble with any food I've tried so far. I even introduce nuts this past week, and it was great. I'm so happy I can still eat nuts because I do enjoy them as part of my diet.

Regarding my weight stall.... I've been keeping the faith that I didn't break Matilda. She still has hella restriction, and although I may attempt to put more food on my plate because she said she's hungry, the restriction is REAL. Around 15 - 20 minutes in, she puts on the breaks and I give up. I definitely don't force anything no matter how good it is. I'm letting it go. The scale isn't going to break my spirit. Besides, I had huge gains this week - and this has nothing to do with food.

It's no secret that I really missed working out when I was heavy. I've always dreamed of being athletic. I come from a family where my mom, dad, brother and sister all played sports and were quite active. I never was. I've always been heavy, and I secretly envied all of them. It's my wish to one day be athletic.

Come on! Who wants to go to the
gym at 4:30 am?
Well, Beast Mode has returned! I worked out five days this past week. I mixed it up, too. I did resistance bands, Zumba, walking/interval running, elliptical, kettlebells and free weights. I even changed my gym membership from the YMCA to Planet Fitness because I like to work out hella early... like before the chickens start to crow because I'm a morning person. Yes, I'm one of those annoying ones.

I woke up at 4:30 am. I already had my workout clothes sitting out from the night before. I got dressed, grabbed some water and drove myself across town to Planet Fitness. Yes, its farther away from the Y, but for some reason, I like it much better. It definitely doesn't have all the amenities of the Y, but for the price, it's perfect. Plus, I have all the access to machines, free weights and cables that I could never get to at the Y. I figure I'll go 3x a week, and make sure I still work in my own kettlebell routines at home. Eventually, I hope to have my own home gym.

I'm feeling like my old self again. My appetite has also returned, which is why I'm glad I can eat nuts again. A serving of nuts is perfect for Matilda to handle, and it'll give me some good protein to help satisfy my workout hunger.

Beast Mode may have also helped break my stall, but I won't know for sure until next week. I lost 1.8 pounds from last week, but **shrugs** I will say that I feel my strength coming back, and my arms are getting stronger and more defined. These are the real victories. Until next week...

Weight Update
HW: 360 circa 2006
SW: 278
CW: 257
GW: BEAST MODE! (or size 12)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Choices


Hello my lovely readers, and Happy Labor Day for those of you who reside in the United States. I hope you take advantage of the time off to do something you enjoy. For those of us who live in northwest Pennsylvania/northeast Ohio, it's a lovely day.

I started my day with some activity.  I did some weight training - I bought 2 ten pound dumbbells and some resistance bands and put those to good use. I also swung my 20 pound kettlebell - single arm swings, snatches, squats and full American swings. I'll admit I was curious/concerned how my incision sites would react. I have one incision that goes quite deep and there were some internal stitches that may take 8-10 weeks to fully heal, but I was given the green light to start weights at 6 weeks.  It's been 7 weeks now, and no pain anywhere. I'm quite pleased with that so I'll make sure to incorporate more weights 3x a week for about 30 minutes along with my other cardio.

So, how is Matilda doing? She's great. Matilda Gertrude (as my mom calls her) wakes me up sometimes in the morning talking because she's empty. I won't say hungry, or maybe this is a new signal for hungry because it doesn't feel like the hunger pains I felt in the past. It's more of an empty feeling and lots of noise because she won't shut up. Right now, I don't feel hungry. I feel empty. So, I try to eat every three to four hours.

Last week was a tough one. This week was much better. I really focused on my protein and calorie goals, and I was able to hit them by incorporating a 4th meal.  I'm keeping my carbohydrates below 50 net grams and try to get my protein in the 90-100 gram range. I also make sure to start my day off with 16 ounces of fluid, and drink that amount between each meal. If I do that, I will also meet my fluid goals of at least 64 ounces a day.

Argh! And I hate spaghetti too!
I also spoke with my Physician Assistant about my blood work. She did confirm that my protein levels are low and my kidney function was showing signs of dehydration. She did say my iron was fine (great news), but my Vitamin A was low. She told me to back off my extra B-12 and now I take an extra Vitamin A along with my Vitamin D. I'm fine with the extra vitamins. My goal is to get off of my last two medications - Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol.

As for my weight loss progression... What weight loss? I gained again this week - 3 pounds. Now, if I was a newbie to this whole weight loss thang, I'd been like ready to go buck wild and throw some stuff. How is it remotely possible to gain weight when I'm eating 800-900 calories a day. Son of a %$#@!
Damn scale! Where's the tape measure?

I'll admit, there is a smidge of disappointment when you don't see the scale move, and that's why it can be a curse to have one if your home if that is your measuring stick. For me, it's more complex because I know why I'm stalling/gaining. I also know that in time, the scale will begin moving again. My body's gone through quite a shock, and it's still healing and trying to figure out what the hell I just did to it. This also won't be my first stall. I'll probably have several more before I finally reach my goal - whatever that may be. I'm looking for a size goal (12) more than a weight goal. I also want my guns to pop!

I think my biggest adjustment since I had the sleeve surgery is coming to terms with my "Fat Brain." What is Fat Brain, you ask? Well, for me, Fat Brain is how I approached food as an obese person - large portions, fast eating. Fat Brain is how I food shopped - going for less nutrient dense food and more processed food. Fat Brain is how I know I can eat two lamb meatballs and then only can eat one.  Fat Brain is getting upset that my serving of protein fortified cereal was only 3/4 cup because I didn't think it was going to be enough - only to find that it was more than satisfying.

Matilda says "Not today, Fat Brain."
Fat Brain got me at the grocery store today. Why don't you pick up that piece of carrot cake? I picked it up, and then I thought, I don't think I'll enjoy this. Look at all that icing. So I put it down. Fat Brain said to me pick out a pint of Halo Top Cookie Dough Ice Cream. You got a coupon. So, I did, but then I turned over to read the nutritional data, and I didn't want to put that stuff in my body yet. Fat Brain got me at my mom's house when I tried a small piece of pineapple pound cake - only to scrape off the toppings and eat two tiny squares and push it away. Fat Brain said, "YES! Dig in." Only to find that it wasn't satisfying, and I didn't want it.

Matilda is really running the show, and I appreciate how she really is making an impact of my food choices.  Right now, she is in love with low fat cottage cheese and turkey pepperoni. She also enjoys an occasional Gerber Arrowroot cookie or 1/2 serving of Pepperidge Farms Pretzel Goldfish. Who knew kiddy food could be so satisfying and at the perfect serving sizes - especially on those days when I may need the extra calorie boost from my activity. My mom did tell me my dad used to eat up our teething cookies when we were babies, so maybe I take after him.

Thank you Matilda Gertrude.  You are doing exactly what I need you to do. Healthy choices - and keeping my Fat Brain in check.  Until next week.....

Weight Progression
HW: 361 (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 259
GW: Size 12!!












Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Struggle Is Real!

Hello Readers! I'm sorry for the late post. This last week did not go as I hoped. That's what happens in life. Murphy's Law does exist, and my personal motto has already been "Life is how you handle Plan B." I definitely feel like I'm in Plan B mode, and I'm going to handle it like a boss.

I'm finally in week six, and this week I'm allowed to go back to the gym and I can start with light weights. Sadly, I only worked out one day, and I did Zumba. I did great, but I didn't have the opportunity to do more than the one day. I'm a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't make more of an effort to go, and based on what happened later in the week and yesterday, I think I have bigger fish to fry than getting 3-5 days of activity in at this point.

My 41st birthday was Sunday, and overall I had a good birthday. I spent time with family and friends, which is how I like to celebrate. I didn't eat much. Had the opportunity to eat cake, had a smidgen of a bite, and didn't like it so I gave it to my husband. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. I don't like cake. Matilda was like "Uh-uh!" It just doesn't taste the same. I wonder if it's more of a mental thing. I hope it means I'm fully embracing my new lifestyle. When I do crave something sweet, I have two Gerber Arrowroot Cookies. Low in carbs and sugar, it's the perfect treat. Plus, they are easy to eat and Matilda enjoys them very much.

So, back to my Struggle. I'm in the soft diet food stage. According to my dietary guidelines provided by my nutritionist and surgeon, I should be eating between 800-1200 calories a day and getting in 60-80 grams of protein, along with 48-64 ounces of fluid. I'm really having trouble getting everything in. If I focus on getting my calories and protein in, I fall short on my fluids. If I focus on fluids, I only eat two meals a day. It's starting to take it's toll because I've hit it.... THE STALL!

Weight loss stalls happen. I was expecting it a lot soon than now. Most patients hit their stall around week three... where the scale just won't move. I've had stalls before, and they can definitely be discouraging. This one, not so much. I'm very careful not to use the scale as my ONLY measurement tool because it's deceptive. I actually gained 2 pounds over the last week, but we all know there is no way I could have eaten enough to gain two pounds. But, lacking proper nutrition can reek havoc on the body, and that's now my focus. Proper nutrition.

I need to find a way to hit my protein and fluid goals. 48 ounces is not enough water for me. My body runs best when I can get my fluid in the upper 60's to 70 ounces a day. Right now, I'm skating by on around 48 ounces, and I'm feeling it. This week I plan to be more diligent with my drinking. It's difficult because I can't drink 30 minutes before or after each meal, and if each meal take 15-30 minutes, that's 90 minutes of not drinking 3-4 times a day. It adds up.

What happened yesterday hit home and showed me that I really need to try harder to reach my nutrition goals. I had to get blood work done for my next post-surgery appointment. A full blood work up - vitamins, minerals, protein, sugar - will all be measured. I usually go to ACL/Quest to get my blood work done because it's a walk in clinic, and it's pretty quick. Yesterday, they pissed me off by making me wait almost an hour because someone skipped over my name (yeah, right!). Then, one I got called back, the girl said she needed a break because she had morning sickness and was afraid of needles. Excuse me, but what the ever flubbing flub!! You in the wrong job sweetheart. So, she pokes me twice. No luck. Then another old broad tries and she's bending my arm all back and forth, and I

said "STOP! I'm out of here!" I was almost in tears by the time I left because I get hella anxiety when I get blood drawn because I've had some awful experiences. I had my first panic attack in March when I got my upper endoscopy done in March because they couldn't get the IV in.

Matilda wants a do-over!
So, I has to go to the hospital to get my blood drawn. It took three different ladies, four more picks,  three hours and 4 warmers to finally get ELEVEN vials of blood. By then, I was shaking because my blood sugar had dropped so low. I eventually made it home, cold and shaky and just pretty much passed out for the rest of the day.

My blood work results just reinforced what I knew to be true. Protein low. Iron low. Sugar too low, but A1C was great. Diabetes is in full remission.

Weight loss surgery is no joke, and it's not for everyone, but it is for me. Struggling is just another method of growth. Matilda is still brand new. She's unsure, just like I am, but somehow both of us need to find a way to make sure we feed our body what it needs to be strong. Time for Plan B. I'll let you know next week how it goes. Until then...

HW: 361 (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 256
GW: 160 (?)

Monday, August 21, 2017

I Gotchu!

"Girl! Do yo thang! I gotchu!" -Matilda
Hello again! Matilda sends her regards. She's going quite well five weeks out. Time is certainly flying by, and it's also time to advance my diet to stage 3 - Soft foods, and it's just like it's described. Foods soft in texture. Avoid fruits and vegetables with skin along with raw vegetables.  Today I'm planning on having some salmon and broccoli. Wow, sounds exciting right? Well, I'm totally pumped because I haven't had anything but liquids and pureed foods for about 6 weeks so we are definitely ready.

Matilda and I certainly has quite an eventful week. We went to a Bruno Mars concert - which I was a bit nervous about. We also went out to dinner with family and did a 3K walk. So, lets debrief.

I've been waiting for this concert since January when I got the tickets. I went with my hubby and my parents - my mom is a quite a fan as well. I was a bit apprehensive because the last time I was enjoying music, I became ill and needed to leave. I certainly didn't want that to happen here.

We also went out to dinner, and I know that can be particularly challenging for weight loss surgery patients. I just approached it practically. My family loves Mexican, and I love it as well so I knew I tolerated refried beans very well. So we went to a Mexican restaurant. I ordered refried beans and one taco. I decided to be adventurous and take the ground beef and cheese from the taco to add to the beans. This could explode in my face because I've never eaten ground beef yet, but I also know that Matilda loves ground turkey so I'm hoping ground beef would be the same... And it was. Matilda was super happy, but I didn't each much because I didn't want to overdo it before the concert.

Treasure! That is what you are!!
At the concert, Matilda was quite content. She rocked out! We were dancing and wiggling, and yes, we were told to chill a time or two, but it's Bruno Mars! You don't sit down. We drank plenty of water because we were working up a sweat. In all, it was a great night. She got a bit grumpy later because she was empty, but I told her to hush and went to sleep. She got some eggs and grits the next morning, so she was happy again.

Add caption
I also signed up for a Erie Mayor's Cup 3K walk. If you've followed me in the older posts, you'd know about my journey to complete a 1/2 marathon, which I did complete. I don't have a desire to do that again, but I'd like to make running a part of my fitness goals. I'd like to complete 3K, 10K and 15K's.  My goal this time was to complete the 3K within 60 minutes, which I did with no problem. It was a hilly route, which is great for endurance so I made sure to keep my pace as quick and comfortable as possible. Matilda handled her biz, and was happy to get plenty of hydration afterward.

It was definitely a great week. Work went well. I feel like I'm getting myself back on a schedule. I'm going to pick up my activity this week because next week is week six - and that means I'm cleared for lifting again. I plan on getting back to my kettlebells next week. I won't do it more than twice because I still need to take it easy, but I'm ready to get back to picking up heavy things. I want to get back to my level of activity I had in the past. I loved it, and I miss it. It's time to pick up the pace.

For those of you reading, please let me know if you have any questions about my process. I don't want weight loss surgery to have a negative stigma. It's a tough decision to make, and I want people to know what I went through, and my recovery after surgery.

HW: 361 (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 254
GW: 160 (?)




Monday, August 14, 2017

A New Reality

Wow! It's been four weeks since surgery. Time has really flown. I was also release to go back to work today. I'm very fortunate to work from home, and my employer is very supportive and gave me the time I needed to heal. I'm actually back two weeks earlier than scheduled.  It was a good day!

I really took it easy this week per Doctor's orders. I mainly cleaned up around the house and started cooking again. I really enjoy cooking - especially trying new recipes. I use Pinterest religiously, and I was happy to pull out one of my favorite recipes to bring to a deck party with some friends. They love Almond Butter Cups and cornbread so I made both.

I hadn't made items like this in a while, and I'm a huge fan of cooking from scratch since that's how I was raised, and I feel it's a wonderful, healthy option. When I had lost a good amount of weight earlier in the blog, I made so many good meals. I was flirting with clean eating. I completed a Whole30, and fell in love with the power of Paleo eating and sweet potatoes. I now realize as I gained weight, I lost a lot of passion for cooking in the kitchen because I had gotten so big that it was physically taxing to cook.

Cooking from scratch requires lots of work - prepping ingredients, chopping and slicing, shopping at various stores. I stopped a lot of that and mainly focused on items I could quickly get to the table, which did both me and my husband a disservice.  With the weight I've lost so far, I've found my passion again. I contemplating returning to Paleo/Keto as a food methodology.

Eating is such a large part of our social functions. My family always celebrates birthdays, anniversaries, and just being together with food. When I get together with my friends, we always bring a dish to share and we enjoy noshing as we catch up with each other. My husband and I enjoying dining out. As a bariatric patient, I'm entering a new reality where I must be comfortable with my limits.

I've eaten out since I've had my surgery with my husband. We had Mexican (my favorite) and I thoroughly enjoyed the $2.00 refried beans I ordered and took home to eat for the next few days. I've eaten with my family and small pureed dinner with them. I had a ball at the deck party and happily ate a tablespoon or two of Buffalo Chicken Dip and Hummus (Yes, please!) My friends are wonderful and asked specifically what I could have. Luckily, those two dishes are common at our gatherings

My fork wasn't that big!!
I ate with my tiny utensils and tiny bowl and laughed the night away. Of course, they were curious about my surgery, and I happily told them my steps. My friends are amazing and supportive, and I appreciate the interest they showed because I know they are concerned for my health and well-being.

It's unfortunate that many bariatric patients hide their surgery because of the negative feedback and stigma applied that we are taking the "easy way out." People try to talk them out of it, or they won't be supportive of their decision. I've made it no secret that I felt that way at that point. Now, I feel it is my duty not to hide. If a person wants to know, I'll tell them. If a person has negative points that they want to share with me, they won't like my response. I don't deal in negativity so take that shit somewhere else. I don't care if people stare as I eat with my tiny utensils or ask for a take out box as soon as my food arrives. This is my new life. My new reality. And I welcome it.

HW 361 (circa 2006)
SW 278
CW 259
GW 160 

Monday, August 7, 2017

I Forgot

Hey everyone! Thanks again for reading the misadventures of Me and Matilda. I'm three weeks post-op today, and I at times I felt so amazing I forgot I had serious surgery three weeks ago, but Matilda let it be known who runs the show. Matilda runs this!

I am very happy that I am still on pureed foods. My favorites are beans, guacamole, hummus and salsa. I've pretty much been switching between these foods and sometimes combining them. My fav combo so far is 2 tablespoons of beans, 1 tablespoon of guac and one tablespoon of salsa. I've yet to get all of it down, but I can do pretty good in 30 minutes.

I also had my three week follow-up appointment with my surgeon's office. My blood work is very good, blood pressure excellent. Incisions are healing good. Next appointment will be in September and they will do a full blood work up to review my vitamin levels.
Matilda's first warning....
Now, about the tug of war between Matilda and I. Things were going great. We were getting along very well. I was feeling great and my energy was up so I decided to do more than I was supposed to... It was more activity that Matilda was ready for so she whispered softly "No!" On Saturday, I had more activity and was enjoying myself. Matilda got a little upset and said a bit more forcefully, "NO!" I still ignored her so on Sunday, she took me out. I was enjoying myself at the Jazz Fest with family and friends sitting peacefully in my chair, when all of a sudden I felt like was going to get sick and faint at the same time. I was hot and flushed. So, my hubby, the dear man he is, hustled me out of the park and back home where I could rest and get comfortable. I was very nauseated, but I never got sick. Matilda was shouting "NO!" and grumbling and huffing and puffing all day Sunday and didn't calm down until around noon today. 
Matilda's last warning!!

I spoke to my Physician Assistant about it today, and she pretty much told me I was doing too much activity, and I needed to rest for the next few days, and she's right. My right side is a bit achy and Matilda is still cussing at me for not paying attending to her message. I'm sorry Matilda. I hear you loud and clear. I'm only allowed to walk until 6 weeks post-op. At that time, I should be able to do more activity - and lift heavy things, which I really love to do and miss terribly.

Now, if any of you out there are considering weight loss surgery, there are many options out there. Luckily, my husband had a friend who has the gastric sleeve and was able to outline exactly what I could expect if I decided to get the procedure. I appreciate the guidance T.D. 

Once I made the decision to pursue surgery, I contacted my local hospital which has a bariatric program. I made an appointment to attend the informational, and that was my first step. Once I reviewed my insurance to make sure the surgery was covered along with the surgeon and hospital, I was good do go, but it doesn't happen overnight. Some insurance companies require 3-6 months of dietary documentation and review. My insurance required 6 months, and at first I was upset, but then I realized how much of a blessing it was because I really needed to prepare mentally for this life change.  My insurance plan required the following:
  • 6 dietary documentations from a medical professional. I was lucky that my surgeon performed these visits. For 6 months I met with him to review my dietary progress and along the way, we formed a bond. I'm so happy I chose him.
  • No weight gain from your initial starting weight. I'm sure there could be reasons why your insurance would approve surgery with a weight gain, but I didn't even want to go there.
  • BMI over 40 - or BMI of 35 with several co-morbiditites. I had a BMI over 40 along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and mild sleep apnea, which was discovered during testing.
Now, my bariatric program had additional requirements:
  • Extensive blood work 
  • Sleep apnea study
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Attendance at three pre-op support group meetings
  • Psychological clearance by a mental health professional
  • Three dietician visits - two group meetings and one individual meeting
So, it's really wasn't a gut check decision. I had plenty of time to make sure this was the right choice for me. I couldn't have asked for a better bariatric program or a better surgeon. 

So, as I sign off and get back to relaxing before Matilda starts shouting again, thank you for reading. I will have pictures next week at my 1 month review.  You'll find my stats below.

Weight Loss Stats
  • HW 361 lbs (circa 2006)
  • SW 278
  • CW 264.4
  • GW 160