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!!