Monday, July 31, 2017

Mind BLOWN!


Good day! I hope everyone has a good week. I'm now two weeks post-op, and today I can official start the next stage of my diet--pureed food, which is pretty much like eating baby food. I know that may sound pretty disgusting, but I'm really excited. Why? Well, when you've been on a liquid diet for 26 days, you taste buds are ready for some texture - even if it's mushy. There are many choices, and I'm ready to put my stick blender to the test. Hummus, guacamole, beans, greek yogurt, chili, soft scrambled eggs... Believe me, I'm not crying about this stage. I'll be eating pureed for three weeks.

I'll admit I advanced my diet by trying a few things early. Why? Well, I feel so good. Sometimes I don't even feel like I had surgery, and that's when I have to be careful. I can do stairs now, but I still can't carry anything heavier than a gallon of milk. I did have a hernia repair, so I'm happy my husband reminds me to sit my ass down. Love you honey!

So, last Thursday, I tried mashed potatoes. I ate about 5-6 tiny spoonfuls over 15 minutes using my diet tool spoon. Saturday, I tried pureed chicken and grits. I ate about the same amount in the same time. Sunday, I had about a tablespoon of greek yogurt, and FINISHED IT in 15 minutes. I also has about 6 small bites of scrambled egg for dinner.  Took me about 18 minutes.  So, as you can see, I must take small bites, chew and take my time. Matilda liked everything except the mashed potatoes. It made her a little uneasy so I just took my anti-nausea medicine, and I was good to go. She loved the chicken, grits, yogurt and egg. It's a bit overwhelming to think, "Is this how I'm going to have to eat for the rest of my life?" But, I'm working with a baby tummy. I will always eat slowly, but I'll be able to eat more food as Matilda heals. I'm taking it one day at a time.

I promised in my last post to explain a bit about my decision to get the gastric sleeve. Many of you know me very well, and it's not a secret that I love to read and learn. I love facts and data, and that's pretty much how I came to my decision. Facts and data. Now, I know many people feel that science can be subjective, and for those folks, you do you. For me, after I reading a few books, the writing on the wall was clear.

When my doctor put me on another medication in mid 2016, I was pretty bummed out. I had gained back all but 5 pounds of the weight I lost this last go-round, and things were a bit bleak. I couldn't wrap my head around why I felt like my body was physically and mentally working to gain weight. I constantly has mental battles when I went grocery shopping. Don't buy those chips and dip, yet I grabbed them. Don't eat those Lemon Oreos, yet I sat and eat the entire package in one sitting. Don't eat that candy, yet I'd eat a 5 lb bag of Swedish Fish with no problem. It was completely automatic, almost like I had no control...AND I KNOW I DID!!

I couldn't understand why my body was happy heavy, when I was completely miserable.

So one day, I was searching youtube to watch Weight of the Nation, which is a great documentary It
about the obesity epidemic.  I also came across another documentary called That Sugar Film and it seemed intriguing, so I watched it, and was mind blown. I knew sugar was my main problem, but I had no idea to what extent businesses will go to make a profit. That was just my naivety. So, next I came across a lecture by Robert H. Lustig on youtube that has received over 5 millions views. It's lengthy, but I was enraptured because he was able to explain what I have been struggling with my entire life. My Body Set Point - the amount of body fat (and hence body weight) most people cary is relatively stable and appears to be controlled or maintained at a level.
After the video, I went to my public library and checked out a few books to read:

  • Fat Chance by Dr. Robert H. Lustig
  • The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
  • Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
So, yeah, the nerd in me was in full mode. Mind blown over and over again. My body is wired and likes being heavy. My body will fight me tooth and nail to get back my heaviest weight because it likes it there. It doesn't matter that I have co-mobidities that will put me in an early grave. My body likes it, and will make sure I stay there. 

And, and although I was happy to read about the science of set points and how my body worked, it was a bleak outlook because it made me think there isn't anything I can do about it. I've lost over 100 pounds twice in my life time, and gained pretty much all of it back. How can I battle against my own body and win?

I wasn't going down like that. I began to research about how to battle set points and establish a new one. Many people are successful at reaching a new set point with the diet and exercise. Sadly, I am not one of those people, but there was research stating that bariatric surgery can be a useful tool to establish a healthy body set point, and that's how I made my decision.

My sleeve is not the answer... it's a tool to get by body to a healthy set point. It will be difficult. It will take time, and I will probably have to fight to maintain it. I went through 7 months of preparation to get to this point. Matilda and I have a lot of work to do, and we're looking forward to it.

Next week, I'll go more into the steps needed to prepare my mind for surgery. Thanks for reading. 

Weight Loss Stats
  • HW 361 lbs (circa 2006)
  • SW 278
  • CW 268
  • GW 160

Monday, July 24, 2017

Welcome Matilda

Hello everyone! I hope I wasn't too dramatic with my last blog post. It was tough for me to decide how to tell everyone what was going on, so I just figured I'd throw it out there and see what stuck. I do appreciate all the support and well-wishes that I received. It means so much to me.

When I decided late last year to pursue weight loss surgery, I had no clue that the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (or VSG) was an option. Last time I looked into to surgery, my insurance covered the gastric bypass and the lap band, and I decided against both of those because I just knew I could lose weight on my own, which I did. But, as I learned in my studies and experience, there is a big difference between losing weight and maintaining weight loss. My hope is that VSG will help me lose a large portion of my access weight and maintain it. How that happens is for another blog post... it's all about your body set point, and weight loss surgery is a tool to move that needle.

So how am I doing??

I'm one week post op, and I feel good. I started walking as exercise on Saturday, and I went again to the YMCA today for almost one hour. I'm happy that I was working out prior to surgery because I feel my body is already accustomed to moving so I should have a quick and healthy recovery from surgery. I'm also allowed to drive short distances.

I said "NO" to pain meds after the hospital - which I'm happy about because I haven't suffered any ill effects from that stuff.

Did I mention I'm not hungry.... That's a huge plus. I drink plenty of water and calorie free, sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages to prevent dehydration, and I supplement my meals (liquid broths and strained soups) with one scoop of unflavored protein powder or chicken soup flavored protein powder.  Oh, and I really like sugar free popsicles.

My diet is very restrictive to allow for my new tummy to heal. I always though it funny that people named their sleeves after surgery. Why would you do that?  Then, I found out why.  My tummy talks to me all day long. She grumbles and sighs. Huffs and puffs.  Curses and squeals. She's a cantankerous old hag so I named her Matilda. In all honestly, Matilda has treated me quite well. The most unhappy she's been was the night after my surgery when I had two awful bouts of dry heaving.  But that wasn't her fault. Anesthesia is a bitch, and I've never had surgery before.

I also didn't realize how important it was to pass gas! My nurses cheered when I farted in the hospital because it means I'm getting rid of the gas they use to inflate your belly during laparoscopic surgery. The gas can be quite painful and I'm still dealing with it today, but the more you move, the more your fart, and the better you feel. 💨💨

I don't want to bore you incessantly with other drabble, but I will say the staff at UPMC Hamot in Erie, PA is great. They helped to get my nausea and pain under control without using opioids, oh... and if you followed my Popeye arm from FaceBook, the fluid was finally absorbed and my forearm is back to normal (bad IV location). It looks worse than it was.

Next week, I'll have more details on my journey to weight loss surgery and the steps it took.

Thanks for reading!  And feel free to ask me any questions you like. I will also be updating my weight loss chart and including new pictures.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Open Mouth... Insert Foot (Instead of Food)

It's been a very long time, well over two years, and and a lot has happened in that time.  First, the most amazing thing...I got married to the most wonderful man on 2/3/2016. We are still going strong. He is my best friend, my biggest support and my rock. My life is so much better with him. We got married in Las Vegas, which was perfect for us since that was the first trip we took together as a couple.


Happiest day of my life!
As you can also see in this picture, I gained a significant amount of weight that I lost over 5+ years ago when I started this blog. It's definitely disappointing. If you have ever gone through significant weight loss only to regain, it's very difficult and demoralizing, and I've gone through this TWICE! I was so ready to get rid of all those "BIG CLOTHES" in my closet when I shed weight. Then, when I started gaining, I couldn't fit anything. So, I ran back to those stores I swore I'd never shop at again just to buy just one pair of pants because I just knew this was a temporary phase...  Only to buy another piece, and then another piece, and then another pair of pants but bigger because the I outgrew the previous pair. I have clothing in my closet that ranges from size 24 to size 14.  Size 3X to size L. It's a closet full of broken dreams.

And what do I tell all those people who were following me and cheering me on? I'm definitely not the poster girl for weight loss. What do I say to them? What do I tell them? What do I say to myself?

All I can say is I'm sorry. I let go. I let it all go. I loss focus. It was so easy. I found reasons not to exercise, which is just pure laziness and avoidance. I didn't want to stop eating the candy and the carbs and the sweets that I love so much. I have no excuse. There is no excuse. I stopped exercising ,and I started eating too much. That's how the weight came back, and it came back fast.

I'm back on my meds again. My diabetes returned along with its buddies hypertension and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). I'm on two medications for hypertension now... four medications all together. I know I need to lose weight and keep it off. That is the only way I'm going to get rid of these medicines, and I miss my activity. I loved working out. I loved doing things that I couldn't do before. I want to get back there.

I ask myself every day... Why? Why did I let it go? All I can do is shake my head. I honestly feel like I came across as a pompous know-it-all. I didn't know what's best when it comes to weight loss. I didn't have a clue. If that was the case, why am I back to square zero for the third time. I have so much to look forward to in my future. Why would I want to spend years with my new husband sick with comorbidies and constant increases in weight? 

So, all of this self-degradation leads me here. I was afraid to return to my blog because I was ashamed, but two very good friends (and you know who you are) convinced me to return because my story isn't as uncommon as I thought. Maybe I can still help people, and I owe many of you a very large apology.


First, I apologize for disappointing you. I shouldn't have stopped blogging because of my 

shame at failing once again.

Second, I apologize for all of those people who are part of the bariatric or weight loss community. I used to believe weight loss surgery was the "easy way out," which is pure ignorance of a subject I knew little about at the time, and I hope you welcome me into your community because I am having weight loss surgery today.

For those of you surprised at my choice, I surprised myself too when I decided to do this eight months ago.  That's right. It took EIGHT months to get here. I did not tell a whole lot of people, but I'm certainly not hiding it either. And it sure as hell wasn't easy. 

Last, I apologize if I hurt anyone by not saying anything. I needed to do this for me, and I have the support of my family. It helped me get where I needed to be mentally and physically for the surgery and recovery. I hope you understand that.

As for the future of this blog, that's up to you. Do you want to read about all this stuff...AGAIN??? 

I do enjoy blogging because it clears my head. I like going back and reading what kind of head space I was in at a moment in time. So, I'll keep up the weekly posts. Maybe I can help one or two of you make a decision. I had a few people help me make mine, and I appreciated their help and wisdom. I want to pay it forward if I can.

I've been morbidly obese my entire life. I've never known what a "thin" day felt like. One day, I hope I will. In future posts, I'll give details on what happened over the last eight months. It was quite a journey.